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News Blog for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this "Blog" - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use Doctrine is posted & used.
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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 (429-347 BC)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Unexpected Encounters of the Patriot Act Kind

Everyone should read this.  The government is more intrusive than imagined.  This situation happened to the mother of a former candidate for the U.S. Senate.  It would still have happened to his mother even if he had been a U.S. Senator.  TSA Inspectors are  not the only people invading your private life and the worst part is you HAVE to give them permission.  Warning:  your blood pressure may be affected!

Thanksgiving Day was kind of a melancholy day for me.  We moved the last of my 91-year old Mother’s things out of the house my Dad built almost 30 years ago.  But I was not prepared for running head on into our nation’s Patriot Act in the process.

by Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: I spent much of Thanksgiving Day last week moving the last of my Mom and Dad’s things out of the house Dad built almost 30 years ago.  Dad passed away six years ago and Mom has remarkably lived alone until the age of 91.

We closed on the sale of Mom’s house this week, and that’s when I unbelievably found myself face-to-face with our Nation’s Patriot Act.  When signing the closing documents on the sale of her house, I was required to sign a document acknowledging that the federal government could investigate my almost 92-year-old Mom to confirm that she wasn’t a terrorist.  And because I was acting on her behalf, one for me also.

But that was only the beginning.  When we contacted the bank about opening a new account for my Mom to deposit the proceeds from the sale of the house, we were told that the Patriot Act required by Mom – yep, my 92-year-old-mom – to be present at the bank with identification in hand.

It is critical for Americans to understand that the twin pillars of our liberty are property and privacy.  When either our right to own property or to privacy is eroded, our liberty is in precarious danger of disappearing.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Curtis Coleman is the President, Curtis Coleman's Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Benjamin Franklin, liberty nor safety, Patriot Act, right to privacy, right to property, Curtis Coleman, Coleman Commentary Podcasts, Government and Business To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Breaking Rules: Senate Dems Past Words Belie Today's Words

Senate Democrats Once Blasted The Nuclear Option, ‘Breaking The Rules In Order To Change The Senate Rules’

Senior Dem: ‘If The Shoe Were On The Other Foot, I Would Not Advocate Breaking Senate Rules’
Definition Via
SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): “The majority has decided the time has come to unravel the Senate's traditional role of debate and that the time has come to break the rules and discard Senate precedent. I am very concerned about this strategy. It is important to remember that once done, once broken, it will be hard to limit and hard to reverse.” (Sen. Feinstein, Congressional Record, S.4807, 5/10/05)
  • FEINSTEIN: “I hope Republicans will choose to honor the tradition of our democracy and walk away from this confrontation. I know if the shoe were on the other foot, I would not advocate breaking Senate rules and precedent.”(Sen. Feinstein, Congressional Record, S.5724, 5/23/05)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “…that is what these narrowminded groups are saying. And wildly enough, the majority leader and most--and thank God, not yet all--of his caucus is agreeing. Break the rules, change the whole balance of power and checks and balances in this great Senate and great country…” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.5426, 5/18/05)

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D-SD): “This notion that somehow in the midst of Congress rules that have been in place for generations should be eliminated and the bipartisan mandate they allow for should be eliminated is a step in the wrong direction. One of the consequences of the 60-vote rule is it takes both parties by the scruff of the neck, brings them together and says: You will have to reach across the aisle and cooperate, coordinate with your colleagues from the other political party, whether or not you like it.” (Sen. Johnson, Congressional Record, S.4047-8, 4/21/05)

SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): “Yet it looks as though the majority leader, encouraged by the majority, is going to try to change the rules --not according to the Senate rules. In other words, it seems the majority is breaking the rules in order to change the Senate rules. I don't think that is right. I don't think we ought to be changing the rules in the middle of the game. ... I think this starts to verge on the edges of riskiness, if we start operating this Senate under those kind of rules, rules that are breaking the rules in order to change the rules. Another way you could put it is that we talk about the majority is threatening to break the rules to win every time. Is that what the Senate is all about?” (Sen. Nelson, Congressional Record, S.3770, 4/18/05)
  • NELSON: “We must encourage compromise. To change the rules in the middle of the game is bordering on an abuse of power. Surely the Senate can rise above this partisan, highly ideological set of politics and come together for the sake of the Nation.” (Sen. Nelson, Congressional Record, S.3770, 4/18/05)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): “…those who think this effort to amend the rules by breaking them, the nuclear option, is something new under the Sun. This is not the first time that it has been tried. Sadly, there have been a few other efforts to amend the rules by fiat, but, and this is the crucial point, the Senate has never done it. Whenever an effort was made to change the rule by fiat, it has been rejected by this body.” (Sen. Levin, Congressional Record, S.5759, 5/23/05)

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “I urge my colleagues to bear the constancy of change in mind as they consider the proposal to break the rules to change the rules of the Senate. Many in the Senate's current majority seem bent on doing that. They seem quite certain that they shall retain the Senate majority for quite some time thereafter. But as Bertrand Russell said: Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come from people feeling quite certain about something, which, in fact, was false.” (Sen. Baucus, Congressional Record, S.5411, 5/18/05)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “Those who are forcing this nuclear option on the Senate are not just breaking the rules to win, but they want to break the rules to win every time.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.3763, 4/15/05)
  • DURBIN: “Today their allies in the Senate are willing to use the nuclear option to destroy the filibuster and to really destroy our system of checks and balances. The obvious question is, in a body of 100 men and women where counting votes is the most important thing: Do they have enough allies? For the sake of our democracy, I pray they do not. We hope there will still be a majority of Senators who love this country, love this Constitution, and love this Senate enough... This should not be an exercise of power by the extreme part of any political party.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.5288, 5/17/05)
  • DURBIN: “…they are prepared to push through this unconstitutional and unreasonable change in the Senate rules. It is the first time in the history of the Senate, it is the first time in the history of the United States, that a majority party is breaking the rules of the Senate, to change the rules of the Senate in the middle of the game. I think that is truly unfortunate. I only hope that some Republican Senators, who value their oath of office and who value this institution, will have the same courage the Democratic Party had when it said to President Franklin Roosevelt: You have gone too far. We cannot allow you to impose your political will on the Supreme Court. They stood up to their President and said our first obligation is to the Constitution, our first obligation is to the Senate. We will be Democrats after that, but first we must stand behind the Constitution.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.3763, 4/15/05)
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): “There is no question that by breaking the rules--that is what would happen, breaking the rules--the majority party would gain short-term advantage. … But the long-term destructive consequences triggering the nuclear option would be profound for our system of Government. For more than two centuries, Senate rules and traditions have respected the rights of the minority. That would be destroyed.” (Sen. Harkin, Congressional Record, S.5461, 5/19/05)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “We have learned that those who are intent on forcing confrontation, breaking the Senate rules, and undercutting our democratic checks and balances…” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.3773, 4/18/05)
  • LEAHY: “This nuclear option, sadly, is an attempt to break the rules of the Senate in order to change the rules of the Senate…” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.3765, 4/15/05)
  • LEAHY: “I would like to keep the Senate safe and secure and in a ‘nuclear free’ zone. … Is this how we want to govern the Senate? Do Republicans want to blatantly break the rules for some kind of a short-term political gain? Just as the Constitution provides in Article V for a method of amendment, so, too, the Senate Rules provide for their own amendment. Sadly, the current crop of zealot partisans who are seeking to limit debate and minority rights in the Senate have no respect for the Senate, its role in our government as a check on the executive or its Rules.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.3773-4, 4/18/05)

Tags: U.S. Senate, Rules, Breaking Rules, Democrats, words of the past To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Opposing Susan Rice Sexist? What About Opposing John Kerry?

Bob Morrison and Ken Blackwell
By Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors: Liberal Washington Post editorial page commentator Ruth Marcus sees sexism in the Republican opposition to naming the current U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, as Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State. Marcus trots out a well-worn story from the 1970s. She relates the formidable Alice Rivlin’s recollections as first Director of the Congressional Budget Office. “Over my dead body will we have a woman in that job” was the reaction of the House Budget Committee Chairman. (Chairman, Ooh! Bad!) That was Dr. Rivlin’s testimony. Dr. Rivlin sailed through confirmation to chair the CBO and is widely respected on both sides of the aisle.

We’re not sure if that powerful male congressional malefactor is still on this side of the sod, but just look at what writer Marcus overlooks: That committee chairman in 1974 could only have been a Democrat. For forty years, no one but a Democrat chaired any House committee.

Conveniently overlooked by Ruth Marcus as well in this latest attempt to gin up a phony war on women is the fact—one of those stubborn facts—that the first woman to be confirmed as Secretary of State was Madeleine Albright. Sec. Albright sailed through in 1996 on a vote of 99-0 in a Senate controlled by Republicans.

Ambassador Rice was herself confirmed by a unanimous Senate vote for her current position at the UN. That vote included, dare we mention it, Republicans. Some of them, we hear, were white males.

The reason for the increasing opposition to Amb. Rice as Sec. of State is her failure to present the truth about the Benghazi debacle. This is but part of a pattern with Amb. Rice. She headed up the Africa section of the U.S. State Department in 1998 when that “fudge factory” denied urgent requests from our U.S. diplomats in Tanzania and Kenya.

Amb. Rice told Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that she would have to “refresh her memory” about the horrific al Qaeda bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Greta Van Susteren has reported on the closed-door meeting between Amb. Rice and Sen. Collins that left the Maine lawmaker with more doubts about the ambassador’s record. Those bombings left scores dead and hundreds wounded.

Many of the victims in those embassy bombings were black females. The “Soft Power” so enthusiastically endorsed by the Obama administration provides a sympathy blanket for international conferences. But these confabs are always held in safe places, well guarded. For Americans and our friends on the ground, Soft Power can mean sudden death.

If Ambassador Rice fails to get the coveted slot at State, speculation turns to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Conservatives should also lead the opposition to the Massachusetts lawmaker. John Kerry gained fame testifying against his fellow Vietnam veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he now heads. Under oath, he claimed the U.S. forces in South Vietnam were violating the Geneva Convention in their treatment of the enemy.

That was in 1971. Young John Kerry also went to Paris to meet with North Vietnamese Communists for “talks.” What exactly was the nature of those talks? For a private citizen to negotiate with foreign powers has been a violation of federal law—the Logan Act—since 1798. Did Kerry negotiate? Did he demand that the North Vietnamese abide by the Geneva Convention? If not, why not? We know that our POWs were being subjected to daily torture in Hanoi. Kerry could turn to Sen. John McCain if he is in any doubt about that. Did Kerry keep written notes on his Paris meetings with our country’s enemies? If he did, let us see those notes. If he didn’t keep a record, is this the kind of Soft Power diplomacy he would bring to the State Department?

Lest you think we are stretching too far back in going after the mop-haired John Kerry’s youthful indiscretions, let’s talk about U.S. Senator John Kerry’s over-the-top advocacy of the Nuclear Freeze. He made that misguided effort on guided missiles his ticket to the Senate.

We now know that the Nuclear Freeze movement received major backing from the Soviet KGB. We know that it was the USSR’s best hope to split up NATO.

We know that the Nuclear Freeze was based on the absurd idea of how the United States should respond to aggressive Soviet moves in Eastern Europe, their placement of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) within striking distance of every NATO capital. Kerry and his fellow Freezeniks thought we should do nothing. We should rally world opinion to force the Soviets to withdraw their IRBMs.

Harvard’s Adam Ulam, a Polish émigré, famously put down that silly notion. In his heavily-accented English, he asked: “And wot will you do iff they dun’t?” Kerry never had an answer.

We don’t question John Kerry's fitness for the job because he’s a white male. We don’t even think he’s “French-looking” as the Wall Street Journal’s estimable James Taranto continually says. In fact, French President Francois Mitterrand supported President Ronald Reagan’s placement of Cruise and Pershing Missiles in Western Europe. We approve that French leader’s brave stand against the Nuclear Freeze.

Our questions of Amb. Susan Rice and Sen. John Kerry concern their proven records of failure in foreign policy. Their Soft Power brings hard times and even death for Americans and our allies around the world. That should be our only concern.
Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. 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. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He is a  veteran of the United States Coast Guard , is an expert on the history of the Soviet Union and  served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Susan Rice, John Kerry, presidential appointments, opposing appointments, records, failed foreign policy, Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, November 30, 2012

US Power Grid Vulnerable to Just About Everything

U.S. Power Grid
By Jen Alic, As Washington hunts ill-defined al-Qaeda groups in the Middle East and Africa, and concerns itself with Iran's eventual nuclear potential, it has a much more pressing problem at home: Its energy grid is vulnerable to anyone with basic weapons and know-how.

Forget about cyber warfare and highly organized terrorist attacks, a lack of basic physical security on the US power grid means that anyone with a gun—like disgruntled Michigan Militia types, for instance--could do serious damage.

For the past two months, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been tasked with creating a security strategy for the electric grid and hydrocarbon facilities through its newly created Office of Energy Infrastructure Security. So far, it's not good news.

"There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid," warns FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. This, he says, "is an equal if not greater issue" than cyber security.

FERC's gloom-and-doom risk assessment comes on the heels of the recent declassification of a 2007 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences on 14 November warned that a terrorist attack on the US power grid could wreak more damage than Hurricane Sandy. It could cause massive blackouts for weeks or months at a time. But this would only be the beginning, the Academy warns, spelling out an "end of days" scenario in which blackouts lead to widespread fear, panic and instability.

What they are hinting at is revolution—and it wouldn't take much.

So what is being done to mitigate risk? According to FERC, utility companies aren't doing enough. Unfortunately, FERC does not have the power to order utilities to act in the name of protecting the country's energy infrastructure. Security is expensive, and more than 90% of the country's grid is privately owned and regulated by state governments. Private utilities are not likely to feel responsible for footing the bill for security, and states may not be able to afford it.

One key problem is theoretically a simple one to resolve: a lack of spare parts. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the grid is particularly vulnerable because it is spread out across hundreds of miles with key equipment not sufficiently guarded or antiquated and unable to prevent outages from cascading.

We are talking about some 170,000 miles of voltage transmission line miles fed by 2,100 high-voltage transformers delivering power to 125 million households.

"We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don't have many spare transformers," according to the Academy.

High-voltage transformers are vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations in which they are housed. Complicating matters, these transformers are huge and difficult to remove. They are also difficult to replace, as they are custom built primarily outside the US. So what is the solution? Perhaps, says the Academy, to design smaller portable transformers that could be used temporarily in an emergency situation.

Why was the Academy's 2007 report only just declassified? Well, its authors were worried that it would be tantamount to providing terrorists with a detailed recipe for attacking and destabilizing America, or perhaps for starting a revolution.

The military at least is preparing to protect its own power supplies. Recently, the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $7 million contract for research that demonstrates the integration of electric vehicles, generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power for Fort Carson, Colorado. This is the SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security), and the Army hopes it will be the answer to more efficient and secure energy.

Back in the civilian world, however, things are moving rather slowly, and the focus remains on the sexier idea of an energy-crippling cyberattack.

Last week, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) urged House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to pass a bill—the GRID Act--which would secure the grid against cyberattacks.

"As the widespread and, in some cases, still ongoing power outages from Superstorm Sandy have shown us, our electric grid is too fragile and its disruption is too devastating for us to fail to act," Markey wrote. "Given this urgency, it is critical that the House act immediately in a bipartisan manner to ensure our electrical infrastructure is secure."

This bill was passed by the House, but has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

FERC, of course, is all for the bill, which would give it the authority to issue orders and regulations to boost the security of the electric grid's computer systems from a cyberattack.

But it's only a small piece of the security puzzle, and FERC remains concerned that authorities are overlooking the myriad simpler threats to the electricity grid. These don't make for the easy headlines, especially since they are not necessarily foreign in nature.
This article was provided to the ARRA News Service by James , Editor of a leading online energy news site. Its news and analysis covers all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and hydro.

Tags: United States, Power Grid, vulnerable, attacks, cyberattack To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News: Service. Thanks!

Inheriting a mess

By William Warren:
Nothing will be new in the 2nd Term under President-elect Barack Obama!

Tags: editorial cartoon, William Warren, Barrack Obama, 2nd Term, inheriting a mess To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Independence Forever! Don't Ratify the UN Disabilities Treaty.

By Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: There’s an old story from the Jewish shetls of Eastern Europe. There was a singing contest among the animals. The Nightingale loses, despite her lovely singing voice. Looking down on the jury, she sees the grunting wild pigs. She weeps, not because she lost, she says. “But see who my judges are!”

America must feel like the Nightingale whenever she has to go before a UN panel.

I had the honor of serving our country as U.S. Ambassador to the UN’s Human Rights Commission. In those days, the UN body had such worthy respecters of human rights as Algeria, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, and Sudan. Today, the UN Human Rights panel now contains such paragons as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

See who our judges are. Today, the U.S. Senate is being asked to ratify the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It’s another of those sound-good UN efforts that fall apart under examination.

The Heritage Foundation has warned against this document, which will seriously compromise American sovereignty. Heritage experts refer to it as another UN power grab. They’re right.

Just consider how well the UN is doing with its acknowledged responsibilities. The UN never said a word against the Soviet Gulag—the Communist system of slave labor camps. Millions of Russians and other ethnic minorities died starving or shot in those camps. Some even died mining radioactive uranium for Soviet H-bombs. No UN word of protest.

China? China has a Laogai system of “re-education” (forced labor) camps. UN interest in these? Nada. The UN was no help in Rwanda as hundreds of thousands died. Nor in Bosnia. The UN twiddled its thumbs over ethnic cleansing. The UN’s Iraq “Oil for Food” program—supposedly intended to relieve starving Iraqi children—enriched Saddam Hussein’s sons, and the son of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, but did little to help the children of Iraq. It was the world’s largest financial scandal. But it’s been conveniently dropped down the memory hole at UN Headquarters at Turtle Bay in New York.

The UN speaks constantly of human rights, but never acknowledges the right of humans to be born to claim those rights. The respected demographer Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that tens of millions of unborn baby girls have been targeted for death because they were female. UN interest in this global war on baby girls? Zero.

The Hudson Institute’s scholar, John Fonte, has carefully studied the ongoing effort of UN panels and the irresponsible influence of NGOs on that body. NGOs—non-governmental organizations—are accredited by the UN to lobby its constituent bodies.

Most of these NGOs are far left outfits that wage what Fonte calls “lawfare” against the United States and other liberal democracies. Fonte’s important book is titled, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? John Fonte asks use to consider whether we will subordinate American laws and institutions to an unrepresentative UN and the NGOs that are so powerful within it.

[Full disclosure: Family Research Council is an accredited NGO at the UN. My organization took this step to rally pro-family forces in the international community against what so many other NGOs are trying to impose on us.]

We now have thirty-six U.S. Senators on record against ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All of these senators are Republicans. That is four more than are necessary to defeat this treaty. We need to bring more senators—including Democrats -- on board to stop this dangerous surrender of sovereignty to the UN.

We need to remember the last words of advice John Adams gave us. He was asked for his reaction to the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence he had done so much to secure: Independence Forever, said the aged sage. As if to underscore those brave words, that great patriot died on July 4, 1826. We must preserve what he and so many others in our storied past have given to us. Keep America American.
Ken Blackwell formerly served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He is the co-author of the new bestseller: The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. He is a National Federation of Republican Assemblies Executive Vice President and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.
AlsoRead: Phyllis Schlafly - UN Treaty Mischief on Disabilities

Tags: Ken Blackwell. UN Abassador, Reject UN Treaty, UN, Disabilities Treaty, Independence Forever, Keep America American To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

6 Fixes to America’s Fiscal Crisis

Last night's Powerball winnings -- $570 Million!
Would fund the fed gov't for 1 hr, 26 min.
Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: President Obama made his first offer to congressional Republicans yesterday in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff”—an economic catastrophe of tax hikes just a few weeks away.

The White House’s proposal? $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $50 billion in new stimulus spending, and a change that would make it easier to raise the debt limit—so that all this spending could continue.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couldn’t contain his laughter at these suggestions.

One congressional aide said the offer “amounts to little more than reiterating the President’s budget request—which failed to get a single vote in the House or Senate.

Perhaps House Republicans could simply bring President Obama’s latest proposal up for another vote to see if anything has changed.

The “fiscal cliff” is man-made. Congress—primarily the liberal-led Senate—and the President built it themselves through their legislative decisions over the past four years, and then they turned away and tried not to look at it until after the election.

Elected officials in Washington keep enacting short-term patches to keep the government running, which is not a real solution. We need to reform the programs that are causing the runaway spending and deficits today and in the years to come—the large, lumbering entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama said he’d like to reform entitlements in his first term. We’re still waiting. Watch the video.

In a new paper, Heritage’s J. D. Foster, Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy and Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, point out that:
Obama’s tax hikes would reduce the rise in federal debt over the next 10 years by 15 percent. The President is silent about the other 85 percent. The numbers confirm that President Obama’s tax hike demands are at best tangential to attaining a balanced budget.
The real issue is federal spending, and Foster and Fraser describe the bottom line this way:
When this year’s kindergarteners enter college, just 13 years away, spending on these two programs [Social Security and Medicare] plus Medicaid and interest on the debt will devour all tax revenue.
To make meaningful changes to the nation’s unsustainable budget policies, Foster and Fraser lay out four “simple, commonsense, and thoroughly vetted solutions” that already enjoy broad support across the political spectrum:

1. Raise the Social Security eligibility age to match increases in longevity. People are living longer, and entitlement programs need to be updated to reflect that fact. According to the Social Security actuaries, continuing to increase the eligibility age to 69 by the year 2034 and allowing it to rise more slowly thereafter to reflect gains in longevity could go a long way toward reducing Social Security’s funding shortfall. While this would not reduce today’s budget deficit, it would strengthen Social Security’s finances and put it on a path toward sticking around in the future.

2. Correct the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in Social Security. The annual COLA benefit adjustment is determined today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, the CPI, an antiquated measure, generally overstates inflation, meaning that benefits are increased a bit too much each year to offset inflation. Again, according to the Social Security actuaries, using a more modern inflation measure would substantially reduce Social Security’s shortfall over time.

3. Raise the Medicare eligibility age to agree with Social Security. Medicare has an eligibility age problem, but unlike Social Security, the Medicare eligibility age remains stuck at 65. An obvious solution is to wait five years and then slowly raise the eligibility age to align eventually with the Social Security eligibility age. While the short-term budgetary savings would be negligible, the long-term savings in Medicare would be profound.

4. Reduce the Medicare subsidy for upper-income beneficiaries. In 2012, the average Medicare beneficiary received a subsidy of about $5,000. Subsidizing Medicare benefits for low-income seniors—and perhaps for some middle-income seniors—makes sense, but upper-income seniors do not need and should not receive a $5,000 subsidy to buy Medicare health insurance.

In addition to those reforms, Foster and Fraser list two bonus proposals that have not been considered as closely by lawmakers, but would be simple and effective:

5. Phase out Social Security benefits for upper-income retirees. As a nation, we need to ask whether today’s working families should pay payroll taxes so that upper-income retirees can continue to receive their checks. In short, Social Security should be social insurance against poverty rather than a government-run pension scheme.

6. Consolidate Medicare’s elements and collect a single higher premium. Medicare is actually three distinct components, referred to generally as Parts A, B, and D, reflecting the fact that Medicare was built up over many years. This antiquated structure is confusing and inefficient. An obvious reform is to consolidate the three distinct parts into a unified Medicare program, with a single premium, and then raise the premium to cover 35 percent of related program costs.

Continuing to raise America’s debt limit every few months is irresponsible and dangerous. And failing to address the budget deficits that give rise to this debt limit pressure every few months is equally irresponsible and dangerous. Raising taxes would weaken the economy, kill jobs, and hold down people’s wages. This is not a “solution.”

Congress and the President should instead consider these serious fixes to the drivers of out-of-control government spending. All that’s missing is for the President to take the lead, which is what Presidents are supposed to do.

Tags: fixes, Fiscal Cliff, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Suckers' Leap

by AF "Tony" Branco: "You go first!"  Democrats: Unwilling to cut spending and pushing to increase taxes.  They want the Republicans to raise taxes then they might talk about spending cuts.  President Obama sinkers."

Tags: Ieditorial cartoon, AF Branco, Sucker's Leap,  Fiscal cliff To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Reporters & Radio Show Hosts Note Geithner's Unserious Obama Fiscal Cliff Plan

For Info To Contact Your US Senators
or Representative Click Here
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 30, 2012
The Senate reconvened and resumed consideration of S. 3254, the fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill.

This morning the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) that would direct the Secretary of Defense “to ensure sufficient sizing of the civilian and contract services workforces.” Senators voted unanimously for an amendment from Sen. Bob Mendendez (D-NJ) for more sanctions on Iran. A motion to waive the Budget Act on an amendment from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) concerning annuities for surviving military spouses failed by a vote of 58-34.

Yesterday, the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to reduce the backlog of veterans’ benefit claims, and agreed to amendments from Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) that would allow the Pentagon to construct a biofuel refinery, from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to express the sense of Congress that combat operations in Afghanistan should end by the end of 2014, from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to expand TRICARE coverage to cover autism, from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to prohibit the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the US, and from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to prohibit indefinite detention of U.S. citizens or permanent residents apprehended in the U.S. without a charge or trial.

The House; reconvened and this morning considered and passed (245 - 139) H.R.6429 — STEM Jobs Act of 2012 which will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States, to eliminate the diversity immigrant program, and for other purposes. The House moved to speeches by its members and is expected to adjourn until Monday.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) issued a statement highlighting the $1.058 trillion in higher taxes coming from ObamaCare over the next ten years. Many of the tax increases take effect on January 1, 2013.  Jordan said, “ObamaCare raises taxes on middle-income families, employers and investors. It hikes taxes on people with no health insurance, people with too little insurance and people with too much. Taxes are even going up on pacemakers, prosthetics, and other vital medical equipment. The ObamaCare tax hikes are a big part of the fiscal cliff. Stopping them should be part of the solution.”

Radio Show Host Kerby Anderson said today, "The so-called “fiscal cliff” is now just a month away and it appears Democrats are becoming less willing to negotiate and are doubling down on their positions. Rather than scheduling meetings with house Republicans to work on a solution, President Obama has gone back on the campaign trail in an effort to create pressure on Republicans to acquiesce to his demands.  He has made it clear that he is willing to allow the nation to go over the fiscal cliff if tax rates don’t go up.

Earlier this week, Senator Richard Durban, the number two Democrat in the Senate, gave a speech in which he essentially took entitlement and spending reform completely off the table. At the same time, Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid announced that he plans to change the senate rules to eliminate the Republicans ability to filibuster legislation he wants to ram through on a simple majority.

A recent poll indicates that 67 percent of Americans expect our elected leaders to act like “spoiled children” in their handling of the fiscal cliff. It’s starting to look like they are right. Republicans are taking most of the blame for the lack of a compromise even though they are the ones actually trying to negotiate. In response to their efforts they are finding a total lack of urgency from the White House and Senate Democrats. According to a report in The Hill, 'A Democratic source close to the negotiations said that the White House 'definitely' sees running out the clock as to its advantage…'"

The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes reported yesterday, “Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, says he ‘burst into laughter’ Thursday when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the administration proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. He wasn’t trying to embarrass Geithner, McConnell says, only responding candidly to his one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts. Geithner’s visit to his office left McConnell discouraged about reaching a ‘balanced’ deal on tax hikes and spending reductions designed to prevent a shock to the economy in January.  ‘Nothing good is happening’ in the negotiations, McConnell says, because of Obama’s insistence on tax rate hikes for the wealthy but unwillingness to embrace serious spending cuts.”

Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s show last night, Sen. McConnell elaborated on his reaction. “You know, I did in fact laugh at him. I mean, it was, I wasn’t trying to embarrass him. It was a spontaneous report to an absolutely absurd suggestion. They’ve actually gone in the wrong direction over the last two weeks. $1.6 trillion dollars in tax increases, let’s take a look at it. . . . [I]t’s all on the usual poll-tested, oil and gas, raise the estate tax, there’s hardly anything they missed. It is a massive, whopping punch right in the nose to the American economy. I can’t imagine the Democrats would support it. I mean, Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, is certainly not going to support the estate tax proposal, Mary Landrieu, the Democrats from Louisiana, is not going to support the gas tax. Neither is Mark Begich of Alaska, completely unserious, and here we are witnessing the President running around the country thinking the campaign is not over yet. And they’re presenting laughable suggestions from the Secretary of the Treasury. He ought to be embarrassed to be asked to go up here and do something like that. It’s a serious blow to his credibility.”

Even The New York Times’ description of Geithner’s plan noted it was “loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts”: “Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits. The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.”

And The Washington Post pointed out that the proposal “mirrors previous White House deficit-reduction plans and satisfies Democrats’ demands” but “lacks any concessions to Republicans.”

Kimberley Strassel detailed today in the WSJ just how unserious the Geithner proposal was. “The president's team specified no amounts or details on spending cuts. Rather, the White House wants more spending. Oh, the White House also wants Congress to give Mr. Obama the authority to increase the debt limit, whenever he wants, as much as he wants. What do Republicans get in return? Next year, the White House will agree to talk to the GOP about cutting as much as $400 billion from entitlement programs. Maybe. If Democrats get around to it. Which they won't—because they'll have everything they've wanted.”

She adds, “How to put this tax-and-more-spending offer in perspective? It is far in excess of what the Democrats asked for in last year's debt-limit standoff—when the political configuration in Washington was exactly the same. It is far more than the president's own Democratic Senate has ever been able to pass, even with a filibuster-proof majority. It is far more than the president himself campaigned on this year. But the president's offer is very much in keeping with his history of insisting that every negotiation consist of the other side giving him everything he wants. That approach has given him the reputation as the modern president least able to forge a consensus.”

As Leader McConnell told Hugh Hewitt, “I can’t imagine that [red state Democrats] would vote for what the Secretary of the Treasury showed the Speaker and myself today. . . . This is, you know, absurd. . . . I think it’s all game playing. They want to make us look unreasonable. And you have to ask the question, to what end? There’s not an election for two years. The election is over. This is time to be governing. The posturing, the endless campaign, the never-ceasing finger pointing and blaming, you know, I know [the president is] upset about it, but he’s got a Republican House to deal with, and he’s got a non-inconsequential Republican minority in the Senate. He doesn’t own this Congress like he did . . . in 2009 and 2010. He can’t get anything he wants. Those days are over.”

Tags: US Senate, US House, fiscal cliff, federal spending, obamacare, news, radio hosts, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let The Sunshine In

Gary Bauer
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: White House and congressional leaders met behind closed doors today to discuss the solution to the tax/budget impasse. House Speaker John Boehner came out of the secret session and expressed frustration with the lack of progress. He is not the only seething Republican.

This morning on CNBC, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said it was increasingly obvious that President Obama is not seriously negotiating. Obama has not put one specific cut on the table -- all of his proposals involve tax hikes.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) went to the floor of the Senate and accused Obama of intending to do nothing to fix the debt problem and of actually planning to spend any new revenue he takes out of taxpayers' hides.

The bottom line is that the fiscal cliff is being manipulated by Obama into a potential suicide jump by Republicans. Obama is essentially saying, "Vote to raise taxes with no real spending cuts or my allies and I will crucify you for wrecking the economy so you can protect your millionaire and billionaire buddies."

I don't have a solution, but here are some first steps. Senator Sessions suggested that the closed door negotiations be opened up. He is right!

Republicans should demand it. Tell the public that when the doors shut in Washington, bad things happen to the average guy. Insist the negotiations be televised. If Obama refuses, hit him every day for his secret plans to destroy America's most productive, job-creating citizens.

Second, the GOP should stop insisting that the mortgage and charitable deductions be ended for the well-off or anyone else. Ending the charitable deduction will shrink the funds raised by non-profit charities and church ministries that help the poor and homeless. As a result the demand for more government programs will rise.

Ending the mortgage deduction, even for just the well-off, will have a domino effect, lowering the value of everyone's home -- the last thing the tentative housing recovery needs right now.

Third, go to some of Karl Rove's major donors and urgently request funds to buy nationwide TV time. Select some of our best spokesmen -- Governor-elect Mike Pence, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Jim DeMint -- and let them make the case for why the country is in the middle of a spending crisis, not an under-taxation crisis.

Fourth, announce legislation in the House and the Senate that ties congressional and presidential salaries to progress on spending. If the deficit rises more than inflation in a given year, salaries get slashed. It is called "pay for performance." We are for it when it comes to teachers, so let's be for it when it comes to our elected federal officials!

We might still lose the showdown, but can't we at least try to land a few punches?

Lastly, put a package of spending cuts on the table. Don't lead with Social Security and Medicare -- the public has been frightened by Obama's lies about what those cuts would be. Start with the following:
  • Cut to zero any foreign aid for countries that regularly vote against us at the U.N.
  • Freeze federal hiring and federal salaries. I know that will seem unfair for good folks working in government, but salary freezes have been common in the last five years in the private sector.
  • Propose an end to all subsidies for failed solar projects, windmills and other boondoggles. Of course, the Democrats in the Senate and Obama won't allow any of these cuts to be made. So what? We will educate the public, and the American people will know where each side stands.
Rice Fails With Leading Moderate
Just one day after a disastrous meeting with her most outspoken Senate critics, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice met with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), one of the most moderate, centrist members of the Senate. Whatever hopes Democrats may have had for Rice going into the meeting, they were dashed as soon as it ended.

After a 90-minute meeting, Senator Collins emerged to say she was troubled by the "political role" Rice played with her false explanation of the Benghazi terrorist attacks. Collins added that she could not yet support Rice as Hillary Clinton's potential successor for Secretary of State.

As Politico put it, "It's not clear what Rice said behind closed doors to anger all these senators, but it's obvious the meetings went badly and this was hardly a nominee-in-waiting charm offensive."

But we do know one thing that is bothering Senator Collins. After the meeting she told reporters, "What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes the attacks on [the Kenyan and Tanzanian] embassies in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department." Collins continued, "In both cases, the ambassador begged for additional security."

Democrats Still Trying To Close GITMO
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has commissioned a report to determine whether the terrorist held at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be relocated to U.S. prisons. The Government Accountability Office study concludes it would be possible.

CNN reports that the GAO identified "six Defense Department facilities within the U.S. and more than 2,000 facilities holding individuals convicted of federal crimes that could hold Gitmo detainees."

The feasibility of doing so was never the issue. The main concern was always the logic of doing so -- the additional security risks posed to the communities housing these jihadists, and whether foreign terrorist thugs would be afforded the rights of U.S. citizens and tried in our civilian courts.

While liberal politicians are often unfazed by logic, the American people get it. A February ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70% of Americans favor keeping Guantanamo Bay open.

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, fiscal cliff, Susan Rice, Gitmo To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Free Stuff

by AF "Tony" Branco:  We all love "free stuff."  As long as their is no hook involved.  Checked out the hook folks!

Tags: Free Stuff, the hook, tyranny, loss of freedom, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Republican Senate Leader & House Speaker Address Democrats' Failure to Avert Fiscal Cliff

We are Democrats!  Did you really
believe we would agree to cut spending?
Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov. 29, 2012
The Senate reconvened and  resumed consideration of S. 3254, the fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill. Votes on amendments are expected throughout the day. 

Yesterday, the Senate began work on the Defense authorization bill. Notably, with an open amendment process allowed by majority Democrats for a change, no cloture motions were needed to begin debate on the bill, showing once again that the problem is not Senate filibuster rules. The Senate also voted 62-37  to adopt an amendment to the Defense authorization bill from Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) which removed a section from the bill designed to reduce DoD spending on alternative fuels. Senators also voted 85-11 to approve an amendment from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) to strengthen benefits for first responders killed or disabled on the job.

The House reconvened and plans to debate whether they will take up for consideration  H.R.6429 -- STEM Jobs Act of 2012 which will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States, to eliminate the diversity immigrant program, and for other purposes. No other major  issues are planned and it is expected the House will then adjourn until tomorrow.

Republican Senate Leader Says No to Raising Taxes:
It appears Senate Republicans have had enough with the failure of the Democratic Leadership to address spending and instead demanding higher taxes while threatening to change the rules of the Senate in January which would emasculate the minority party.

The Hill reports today that, “Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) slammed the door Thursday morning on Democratic demands to raise tax rates on families earning more than $250,000 per year. ‘We’re insisting on keeping tax rates where they are, first and foremost, to protect jobs and because we don’t think government needs the money in the first place,’ McConnell said on the Senate floor. ‘The problem, as I’ve said, is that Washington spends too much. But if more revenue is the price that Democrats want to exact, then we should at least agree to do it in a way that doesn’t cost jobs and disincentivize rates, as we all know raising rates would do,’ he said.”

Indeed, Democrats have focused on raising tax rates to the near exclusion of everything else, as even The New York Times notes today. “As the president and Congress hurtle toward a reckoning on the highest federal budget deficit in generations, Mr. Obama says he wants a ‘balanced’ approach to restoring the nation’s fiscal order. But the high-profile public campaign he has been waging in recent days has focused almost entirely on the tax side of the equation, with scant talk about his priorities when it comes to curbing spending. . . . In public statements since his re-election, he has barely discussed how he would pare back federal spending, focusing instead on the aspect of his plan that plays to his liberal base and involves all gain and no pain for 98 percent of taxpayers. Republicans and even some Democrats have expressed frustration that Mr. Obama has avoided a serious public discussion on spending with barely a month until deep automatic budget cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sounded a similar note in the Senate this morning by demanding the House pass Senate Democrats’ bill raising tax rates and claiming that’s somehow “a solution to this looming crisis.”

GOP Leader McConnell explained again why the Democrat insistence on hiking tax rates is a bad idea: “A lot of people around here seem to have forgotten that we’re still in the middle of a jobs crisis. . . .  National unemployment’s still just a hair below eight percent, and millions of Americans are still looking for work. So if it’s an iron law of economics that you get less of what you tax, why on earth would we want to raise taxes on work? Rates matter because they affect behavior. The higher the tax rate, the higher the disincentive to work. This isn’t just Republican orthodoxy. It’s basic economics. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently put it: ‘Increasing revenues by raising marginal tax rates on labor would reduce people’s incentive to work and therefore reduce the amount of labor supplied to the economy’ which would . . . by itself ‘decrease output in the medium and long term.’ In the middle of a jobs crisis, that’s the last thing we want to do. Shouldn’t we all agree on that?”

He noted, “The government spends way too much money as it is, and frankly, I don’t think the Democrats are any more interested in using new revenue to lower the deficit now than they’ve ever been. But don’t tell me you have to raise rates to do it. It’s not true. And the longer Democrats keep saying it, the longer it’s going to take to come up with an agreement.”

McConnell concluded, “[T]he President needs to realize he wasn’t elected President of the hard-left wing of the Democratic Party. He was elected President of the United States. He’s the steward of the nation’s finances. He’s got a responsibility to everybody to work out an agreement. And that means he’s got to come up with something that can get through a Republican House. So, we’re still waiting on the President. We can get there. But he’s going to have to lead. And he can start by putting the campaign talking points on the shelf.”

Speaker of the House Called on Democrats For Their Plans To Cut Spending:
House Speaker John Boehner at a press conference today called on Democrats to outline their plan for serious spending cuts that are needed as part of any truly “balanced” plan to avert the fiscal cliff and help get the economy moving again. Boehner noted, Republicans have put forth a balanced plan that includes significant spending cuts and entitlement reforms to protect American families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff, and it is incumbent upon President Obama and Democrats to do the same.

Speaker Boehner noted, ". . .  Based on where we stand today, I would say two things: First, despite claims that the president supports a ‘balanced’ approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts. And secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks."

"Listen, this is not a game. Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line. And this is a moment for adult leadership.  Campaign-style rallies and one-sided leaks in the press are not the way to get things done here in Washington.

“The Majority Leader and I just had a meeting with the Treasury Secretary.  It was frank and it was direct. I was hopeful we’d see a specific plan for cutting spending.  We sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do.  . . . .

“Yesterday, our leadership team met with Erskine Bowles and business leaders about averting the fiscal cliff and achieving the ‘balanced’ approach the White House says it wants. And I’ve made clear that we’ve put real concessions on the line by putting revenues on the table right up front. Unfortunately, many Democrats continue to rule out sensible spending cuts that must be part of any significant agreement that will reduce our deficit. And Mr. Bowles . . . said yesterday there’s been no serious discussion of spending cuts so far -- and unless there is, there’s a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff.

“. . . [G]oing off the fiscal cliff will hurt our economy and it will cost American jobs. Republicans have taken action to avert the fiscal cliff by passing legislation to stop all the tax hikes, to replace the sequester, and pave the way for tax reform and entitlement reform And we’re the only ones with a balanced plan to protect the economy, protect American jobs, and protect the middle class from the fiscal cliff. But without spending cuts and entitlement reform, it’s going to be impossible to address our country’s debt crisis, and get our economy going again, and to create jobs.”

Tags: US Senate, US House, fiscal cliff, taxes, government spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Our Politicians Are Behaving Like Addicts

Phil Kerpen
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, taxes will rise sharply for every American taxpayer. Also, as a consequence of the debt ceiling compromise reached in 2011, modest spending cuts are slated to take effect. Yet, Washington conventional wisdom has it exactly backwards; the modest spending cuts are seen as a disaster, and tax hikes as a cure-all for our fiscal problems. The debate is now more about whose taxes should be raised by how much and less about any spending cuts at all.

This is the behavior of addicts, and spendaholism is rampant in both parties. When the economy is booming the federal coffers fill up and Congress—no matter which party is in control—finds ways to spend it.

When the economy weakens, we’re told stimulus is needed and spending spikes even higher. Now spending has reached such frightening levels that persistent trillion dollars deficits are placing a political and practical limit on spending. Instead of bringing spending down, the spendaholics conclude they must raise taxes to bring in more money to spend.

The president’s proposed tax hikes on the rich are too small to make any dent in the deficit. Mark Steyn ran the numbers: Obama's Buffett Rule would raise $3.2 billion per year, which is less than the federal government borrows in a single day. It would therefore take the Buffet Rule 514 years to pay off the 2011 deficit alone.

Of course, the money won’t actually go towards deficit reduction. It will go to increased spending. In fact, historical analysis by Professor Richard Vedder of Ohio University found that for every $1 Congress raises taxes, it increases spending by $1.17. That means not only will the entirety of a tax hike go to increased spending, but that Congress will spend even more on top of that, worsening deficits. won’t raise your taxes. So much so that most elected Republicans have put their commitment to oppose tax hikes in writing by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The pledge states, in no uncertain terms, a commitment to their constituents to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates” and to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

Now, after campaigning on that promise, some Republicans -- no doubt in the grip of spendaholism – are pretending that raising taxes is a great act of political

For decades public pressure has established the Republican Party as the party that courage.

It isn’t. It’s an act of cowardice.

Raising taxes is what politicians do when they are unwilling to do the hard work of setting priorities and saying no to the politically powerful Washington special interests demanding more spending.

While the media breathlessly reports every wayward Republican considering a tax increase, there has been not one proposal for spending restraint from Democrats, and President Obama has advocated significant spending increases in his usual pet areas of renewable energy, union training programs, and the like.

So we face a real risk of a bipartisan agreement to fleece the American people with higher taxes – perhaps on the rich first, but eventually on the middle class because that’s where the money is.The only way to stop it is to demand that tax hikes be taken off the table completely, that those who made a promise to oppose tax hikes make good on it, and to force Congress to finally deal with its spending problem. I’ve set up a petition at urging House Republicans to do just that.
Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment; a columnist on Fox News Opinion where he first shared this article, and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, politicians, addicts, taxes, raising taxes, fiscal cliff, higher taxes, increased spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Arab Worlds Fight With Israel Isn't About Having Land...

by The Looking Spoon:

Tags: Middle East, Israel, land, Muslim Countries, land To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

They Said What? White House On U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice

Jay Carney

White House press secretary Jay Carney on whether U.N. ambassador Susan Rice misled the American people on the Benghazi terrorist attack.

"He [Barack Obama] is not particularly concerned about whether the ambassador or I went out and talked about the fact that we believed extremists might have been responsible."
- Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard, 11/28/12

Tags: They Said What, White House, Press Secretary, Jay Carney, U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, misled the American people, Benghazi, terrorist attack Hat Tip: Bootberrism for this post.   To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Breaking The Rules To Change Them

Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid Once Promised He ‘Would
Never, Ever Consider Breaking The Rules To Change The Rules,’
Called It ‘Illegal’ And ‘Un-American’

SEN. REID: ‘Changing The Rules By Breaking The Rules,
Is About As Far As You Could Get From A Constitutional Option’
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules. I never suggested that at all. I say to my friend, I want to work something out. I repeat that for probably the fifth time here today, but in the process we cannot give up the basic rights this country and this Senate have had for more than 200 years.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4242, 4/26/05)
  • REID: “As I said, violating 217 years of standard procedure in the Senate, changing the rules by breaking the rules, is about as far as you could get from a constitutional option.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5250, 5/17/05)
  • REID: “One of the good things about this institution we have found in the 214 years it has been in existence is that the filibuster, which has been in existence since the beginning, from the days of George Washington--we have changed the rules as relates to it a little bit but never by breaking the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4437, 4/27/05)
  • REID: “The time has come for those Senators of the majority to decide where they stand, whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate or break the rules for the first time in 217 years--217 years--of American history. Will they support the checks and balances established by the Founding Fathers… It is hard for me to intellectually understand, emotionally understand how a Senator could say they know we are right but they are willing to break the rules to change the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5198, 5/16/05)
  • REID: “…there is no cause for the majority to break the rules and 217 years of Senate traditions to take that right away. Mr. Smith should still be able to come to Washington, with either a Democratic or Republican Senate.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4613, 5/9/05)
  • REID: “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abuse of power, the right to extended debate.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
  • REID: “You have to break the rules to change them in this instance because if you follow the rules, you cannot do it with a simple majority. … We cannot go down that slippery slope.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4464, 4/28/05)
SEN. REID: ‘Un-American,’ ‘Illegal,’ ‘Improper,’
‘A Partisan Political Grab,’ ‘Want Absolute Power’
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “The Senate is a body of moderation. While the House is the voice of a single man, single woman, and the House of Representatives is a voice of the majority, the Senate is the forum of the States. It is the saucer that cools the coffee. It is the world's greatest deliberative body. How will we call this the world's greatest deliberative body after the majority breaks the rules to silence the minority? Breaking the rules to change the rules. … They don't want consensus or compromise. They don't want advice and consent. They want absolute power. To get it, the President and majority leader will do all they can to silence the minority in the Senate and remove the last check we have in Washington against this abuse of power.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5456, 5/19/05)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American. The only way you can change the rule in this body is through a rule that now says, to change a rule in the Senate rules to break a filibuster still requires 67 votes. You can't do it with 60. You certainly cannot do it with 51. But now we are told the majority is going to do the so-called nuclear option. We will come in here, having the Vice President seated where my friend and colleague from Nevada is seated. The Parliamentarian would acknowledge it is illegal, it is wrong, you can't do it, and they would overrule it. It would simply be: We are going to do it because we have more votes than you. You would be breaking the rules to change the rules. That is very un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
  • REID: “The majority can't get what they want so they break the rules to change the rules. We believe the traditions of the Senate should be maintained. We believe if you are going to change the rules in the Senate, change them legally, not illegally.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
  • REID “They are talking about doing something illegal. They are talking about breaking the rules to change the rules, and that is not appropriate. That is not fair, and it is not right.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
  • REID: “The American people, in effect, reject the nuclear option because they see it for what it is--an abuse of power, arrogance of power. Lord Acton said power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. … That is what is going on. The rules are being changed in the middle of the game. They are breaking the rules to change the rules. Regardless of one's political affiliation, Americans understand this is a partisan political grab.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
  • REID: “I would answer to my friend, not only is there a suggestion about changing the rules, but they are going to do it by breaking the rules. To change a rule here in the Senate takes a simple majority. But if somebody wants to speak in an extensive manner relating to that rule change , you have to break a filibuster. They are not willing to do that. They are going to use brute force and break the rules to change the rules.  That is what they are talking about.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4436, 4/27/05)
  • REID: “The world is watching us. We should not be changing the rules by breaking the rules. We should not do that.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4614, 5/9/05)
  • REID: “We believe in following the rules, not breaking the rules. And while it is good to talk about this up-or-down vote, the fact is if we move forward as contemplated by the majority, it is moving toward breaking the rules to change the rules. That is improper. It will change the Senate forever and that is not good.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5375, 5/18/05)
  • REID: “To change the rules in the Senate can't be done by a simple majority. It can only be done if there is extended debate by 67 votes. So I do not at all say that the statements made by the Republican leader were wrong about our wanting votes and we were disturbed that there are no votes, but we never, ever suggested that rules should be broken.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5455, 5/19/05)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “You remember when you were growing up and you had this kid who was never happy? You couldn't win a game because he kept changing the rules in the middle of the game, and if you didn't allow the change, all he did was whine about it?  … What is going on in Washington? Trying to change the rules in the middle of the game is un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4437, 4/27/05)
So Harry Reid What Will It Be?
Are You Committed To Your Former Words,
Or Are You In Fact "Double Minded"
With The Devil On Your Shoulder?

Tags: Harry Reid, Former Words, Former Postions, on protecting the minority, history of the Senate, Un-American,  Current words, change the rules, breaking the rules, U.S. Senate, Ffilibuster, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Unbalanced Approach

Erskine Bowles is former co-chairman of
President Obama's Debt Commission
Democrats Are Taking Heat For Not Offering A Balanced Plan. Erskine Bowles and Editorial Pages Say Dems Must Move On Entitlements

Bowles: ‘Democrats Must Move On Entitlements’
“Democrats must move on entitlements in cliff deal, Bowles says.”(Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, 11/28/12)
  • “‘We are going to have to reduce the cost of entitlement programs,’ Bowles answered. ‘I’m not going to negotiate the deal here, but I will tell you that I showed the White House $600 billion of cuts in health care entitlements yesterday. … Some of them are reforms, real reforms,’ he said.” (Daily Caller, 11/28/12)
  • “Asked if he sensed Democrats could be more flexible on curbing so-called entitlement programs like Medicare, Bowles said: ‘I think we will see give in all areas if we're going to get a deal done…” (AP, 11/28/12)
Editorial: ‘Mr. Obama’s Time To Lead On Entitlements’
WASHINGTON POST: “At some point, [President Obama] has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the ‘hard decisions’ required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution... Only one person is in a position to make it happen.” (Editorial, “Mr. Obama’s Time To Lead On Entitlements,” The Washington Post, 11/28/12)
Editorial: Dems Must ‘Bend On Their Destructive Refusal To Trim Unsustainable Benefit Programs’
USA TODAY: ‘Social Security represents more than one-fifth of federal spending, much too big to ignore.’ “I am not going to be part of having Social Security as part of these talks relating to this deficit,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters this month. Seriously? How exactly do Democrats expect Republicans to bend on their destructive refusal to raise taxes if Democrats won't bend on their destructive refusal to trim unsustainable benefit programs? Social Security represents more than one-fifth of federal spending, much too big to ignore.” (Editorial, “Social Security Adds To Deficits,” USA Today, 11/27/12)
  • “…take a look at the president's own budget to see what's really going on. On page 465 of the budget's ‘Analytical Perspectives,’ they'll find a chart showing that Social Security ran a deficit of $48 billion last year. This year, Social Security will come up $50.7 billion short. In 2015, as more Baby Boomers retire, the gap between cash in and cash out is expected to reach $86.6 billion. Need a second source? In a report released last month, the Congressional Budget Office said Social Security benefits began exceeding payroll tax revenue in 2010, and without changes, the program will never get back into balance. Denying this harsh reality requires playing accounting shell games and believing (or pretending to believe) that Social Security can be bailed out by its trust fund. And if you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.” (Editorial, “Social Security Adds To Deficits,” USA Today, 11/27/12)
CBO: “With the population aging and health care costs per person likely to keep growing faster than the economy, the United States cannot sustain the federal spending programs that are now in place…” (“Choices For Deficit Reduction,” Congressional Budget Office, P.6, 11/12)

SIMPSON-BOWLES: “Federal health care spending represents our single largest fiscal challenge over the long-run. As the baby boomers retire and overall health care costs continue to grow faster than the economy, federal health spending threatens to balloon.” (“The Moment Of Truth,” The National Commission On Fiscal Responsibility And Reform, P.36, 12/10)

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): “I listen to the voices from the left and many of them say don't touch any of the entitlement programs. I don't think that's a responsible approach… I think we've got to be able to attack the entitlement programs, but do it in a sensible way that doesn't destroy them.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 11/27/12)

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): “…fundamental reform, we absolutely need it in our entitlement programs, Medicare, Social Security. …we do need to address Social Security because it's headed for insolvency as well.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 11/11/12

Tags: unbalanced approach, entitlements, government spending, democrats, Erskine Bowles, Kent Conrad, Richard Durbin, Simpson_Bowles, CBO, Congressional Budget Office To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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  • 12/29/13 - 1/5/14
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  • 12/28/14 - 1/4/15
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