FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR

Obamacare is one of those disasters half of us would just like to go away. The other half either has selfish financial interests or Utopian pipe dreams tied up in such Socialist legislation. Think I am being unfair to the other half? From the beginning we knew Obamacare would not work. Obamacare is economically unsound. So from the beginning we knew what the Democrats wanted was a single payer, government-run healthcare monopoly. Don’t we know how, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, Obamacare would have been fixed? Don’t we already know Obamacare needs to be fixed?

So now we have this stinking albatross around our neck. What is the best way to get rid of it? There is no quick and simple answer.  Budget reconciliation does not clearly provide it.

The reconciliation process, created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93–344, 88 Stat. 297, 2 U.S.C. §§ 601–688), establishes the mechanism by which Congress can move controversial legislation without it being subject to a filibuster in the Senate. But to use the authority, Congress must take certain prescribed steps and avoid potential pitfalls. (continued here)

Pitfalls! So it is that Congress cannot include matters extraneous to budget reconciliation in a budget reconciliation bill.

Specifically, section 313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act defines “extraneous” matters as those that:

  • do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;

  • produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;

  • are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;

  • increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision’s title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee’s reconciliation instructions;

  • increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision’s title, as a whole, remains budget neutral; or

  • contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds.

(from here)

Thus, when Congress tried to repeal Obamacare in 2015 they ran into problems in the Senate.

In October 2015, the House passed H.R. 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom, which repealed significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

  • the Automatic Enrollment Requirement,
  • the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF, also referred to as the “Obamacare slush fund”),
  • both the Individual and Employer Mandates,
  • the Medical Device Tax, and
  • the health insurance “Cadillac Tax,”.

The bill also prohibited federal funds for Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics for one year. Instead, the bill designated an additional $235 million for the Community Health Center Fund.

When the bill reached the Senate in January 2016, the Senate parliamentarian reviewed the House-passed bill to see if provisions of the bill met the extraneous matter requirements of the Byrd Rule.  She determined that repeal of the individual mandate and employer mandate, were extraneous policies, and not primarily budgetary in nature.  As a result, they were dropped from the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered an amended version of the reconciliation bill that retained the policy of the individual and employer mandates, but eliminated the penalty for non-compliance.

Final passage from the conference committee occurred January 6, 2016 and was vetoed by President Obama two days later. (from here)

So even if the House passes the bill before it, the Senate may weaken it.  Unfortunately, we have little reason to believe the Senate dislikes big government.

So let consider a solution for this problem. Let’s begin by properly defining the problem. How did Obamacare happen? Democrats, politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions, got control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Therefore, to repeal Obamcare, we need control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we are not quite there. So, the solution is getting there, getting enough Conservative politicians to pass Conservative legislation.

Why do the American people elect politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions? That is both a problem of the heart and the heart of the problem. To the extent we can do something about it, it is an education problem. Before the Democrats created budget-busting boondoggles like Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare, they took over the education of our nation’s children. So it is we have public funding of schools starting in kindergarten and ending with the completion of doctoral programs. Inevitably, people educated in socialist institutions by people who make their living off socialist institutions have difficulty seeing what is wrong with Socialism.  Inevitably, when the absence of instruction suggests such things don’t matter, children raised in secularized institutions have a difficult time relating to God and God-given rights. Therefore, if we don’t want everything run by our government, we must privatize our education system.

Are you familiar with school choice? Even if you are, you may find it useful to visit What is School Choice?  This is an article provided by Focus on the Family, which some would call a right-wing Christian organization. Here is how that article begins.

School choice is a nationwide movement that empowers parents by enabling them to make the best possible choice for their children’s education. In short, it puts power in the hands of parents to decide which type of education best fits the needs of their particular child – whether that is a public, private or religious institution, or educating their child at home.

School choice also protects parents’ constitutional rights to direct their children’s upbringing in accordance with the values, principles and religious convictions they hold dear. (continued here)

Think about it. Has the notion of the People running the own lives — educating their own children as they see fit — become as scary to our government as it was to the British Crown in 1776?

So what do we do with President Donald Trump’s and Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill, the American Health Care Act? I suggest we help Trump and Ryan pass the bill.  It is not perfect, but we need to keep our allies strong.  Trump and Ryan need the win, and half a loaf is better than none. At this point, half a loaf is all we can expect.

Why must we keep Trump and Ryan strong? Although we must fight our school choice battles predominantly at the state level, we must keep strong advocates for school choice in charge of the Federal Government. Otherwise, Democrats will win the fight to federalize the education of our nation’s children with programs like Common Core. See the following.

Is Common Core is a commie plot? Who knows?  The point is that the Constitution does not authorize a Federally run educational bureaucracy. Even if the Constitution did authorize Federal spending on education, do we actually need massive numbers of bureaucrats to educate our children? What possible good could they do?

TED CRUZ WOULD REPEAL EVERY WORD OF OBAMACARE

Ted Cruz campaign ad (from here)
Ted Cruz campaign ad (from here)

“We’re at war” by insanitybytes22 is one of those interesting posts that gets us thinking. Since thinking can be a rather random process, the comment thread soon rambled over to Obamacare. Since Obamacare is topical to this election, I decided to steal some material from my comment and turn it into a pro Ted Cruz post.

You don’t like Obamacare?

Vote for Ted Cruz.

Where does Cruz stand on the issue of health care? There is lots of BS out there. Hence, Michael F. Cannon wrote Clean Up Your Act, PolitiFact: Why Ted Cruz Was Right On Obamacare And Jobs to refute what the mischief makers are writing. Here is an article that is fairly specific about where Cruz stands on the issue.

As an issue, Cruz addresses the topic of Obamacare on this page: Jobs and Opportunity. Why? The health care sector is a large part of our economy. When government steps in and makes our health care decisions for us, government kills jobs and limits our opportunities.

How do I feel about Obamacare? Obamacare is too much government, and I am voting for the candidate who most wants to reduce the size of our government. I hope Ted Cruz will kill Obamacare, but I don’t think he will rid us of Medicare and Medicaid.  Just killing Obamacare, limiting the ambulance chasing, and encouraging interstate competition between insurers will be monumental tasks. Getting our government out of the health care business — if it ever happens — will most likely take decades.

What is the Christian position on how we should make our health care system work? I cannot speak for all Christians, but one message that comes from the Bible is that no man is good, not one (Romans 3:9-20). That is why the people who wrote our Constitution designed our government with numerous checks and balances.

Because it forces us to accept the involvement of politicians and bureaucrats in our health care, Obamacare outrageously violates the Constitution. Because Obamacare is blatantly unconstitutional, we know from the get-go the people who crafted the legislation cannot be trusted. The majority of Americans don’t even want Obamacare. So the notion our leaders created Obamacare for the good of the American people is absurd.

Do I have a solution for all our health care woes? Yes. Don’t get born. Don’t get old. Don’t get sick. Don’t have accidents. Failing all that, rob a bank and spend somebody else’s money. Seriously, isn’t that all devious politicians have promised us?

When our government takes money from one person and gives it to the “needy,” that is stealing. Even if it were not, our Constitution does not charter Congress to redistribute the wealth. When the Supreme Court says that it does, they have to use ridiculously convoluted arguments. For example, because the Constitution is supposedly a “living document”, judges have the discretion to amend it. However, there is an obvious problem with that argument. If we say the Constitution is “living document”, that just says the Constitution doesn’t mean what it says.

Therefore, sneakier members of the judiciary try to hide their shameless shenanigans under the guise of common law.

Our constitutional system, without our fully realizing it, has tapped into an ancient source of law, one that antedates the Constitution itself by several centuries. That ancient kind of law is the common law. The common law is a system built not on an authoritative, foundational, quasi-sacred text like the Constitution. Rather, the common law is built out of precedents and traditions that accumulate over time. Those precedents allow room for adaptation and change, but only within certain limits and only in ways that are rooted in the past. Our constitutional system has become a common law system, one in which precedent and past practices are, in their own way, as important as the written Constitution itself. A common law Constitution is a “living” Constitution, but it is also one that can protect fundamental principles against transient public opinion, and it is not one that judges (or anyone else) can simply manipulate to fit their own ideas. (from here).

Yet those  sneakier souls ignore plain words of the Constitution which must take precedence over common law. Thus, whether they admit it or not, those sneakier souls are arguing that the Constitution is a “living document”,  that judges have the discretion to amend it.

So what is the alternative? If we don’t want government-run health care, how is free market health care suppose to work? It will never work perfectly, but does anything we can devise?

What are the problems with free enterprise health care? When we get sick, it is too late to go shopping for healthcare, and some people will always procrastinate. Some people will always be poor, unable to afford a doctor. And some will always be sickly at birth, so that insurance is impractical. Nevertheless, most of us want insurance, and we can afford it.

What does insurance do for us? When we have a catastrophe, our insurance helps us to pay the bills. In addition, because insurers have market clout and can hire people with the appropriate skills, they can negotiate affordable doctor and hospital fees. Therefore, if we can and we are willing to purchase health care insurance, the main thing we need our government to do is prosecute fraud.

What about those who don’t have insurance? The solution is charity. Charity is something politicians did not invent, and government NEVER provides. Politicians just take money from some people so they can buy the votes of other people.

When we let our leaders redistribute the wealth (or health care), what is Christian about that? Doesn’t redistributing the wealth bankrupt and corrupt our government? Don’t meddlesome government regulations wreak havoc on free market solutions that work quite well for the majority of people? Why is any of that Christian?

But what about the fact the people of the United States spend too much money on health care? Do government-run solutions reduce the cost of anything? Isn’t more government involvement just going to lead to the rationing of health care? Do we want bureaucrats to decide who doctors can treat and how?

If you or I want to buy an expensive car or house, why should politicians have the right to stop us? We don’t buy health care for the “People.” We each want to buy health care for ourselves, family members, and individuals we care about. It is a cinch that few politicians actually care about the “People.” Therefore, our leaders should just have the same right to health care as the rest of us, to buy health care for themselves, family members, and people they care about.

HAVE YOU BEEN DISTRACTED FROM THE ISSUES THAT MATTER?

newsThink about how odd it is. We elected a black president, and he promised to bring us all together. With his election, we would finally see an end to racism. Instead, the people who were supposed to end racism won’t let it die.

Here is how it has been going down.

  • Some white guy kills some black guy. In the last couple of big news stories, the supposedly killer white guys have been policemen.
  • The news media screams the supposedly murderous killing is about RACISM.
  • This president and his justice department do their absolute best to prove it is about RACISM.
  • Then the evidence slowly trickles out through the alternative news media (See 11 Facts About the Eric Garner Case the Media Won’t Tell You, for example.), and we find out it is just about self defense.
  • The news media moves on to the next racial expose.

So why is the corporate news media doing this? Why is the Obama administration helping to make national stories out what should be local stories? Why make so much effort to stir up racial animus?

Consider how a magician does his tricks.

Magicians use distraction techniques to draw the audience’s attention away from whichever hand is engaged in sleight of hand. Magicians can accomplish this by encouraging the audience to look elsewhere or by having an assistant do or say something to draw the audience’s attention away. (from here)

The same technique is used in warfare. Here is an example appropriate to the anniversary of our entry into World War II.

Operation Fortitude was the code name for a World War II military deception employed by the Allied nations as part of an overall deception strategy (code named Bodyguard) during the build-up to the 1944 Normandy landings. Fortitude was divided into two sub-plans, North and South, with the aim of misleading the German high command as to the location of the imminent invasion.

Both Fortitude plans involved the creation of fake field armies (based in Edinburgh and the south of England) which threatened Norway(Fortitude North) and Pas de Calais (Fortitude South). The operation was intended to divert Axis attention away from Normandy and, after the invasion on June 6, 1944, to delay reinforcement by convincing the Germans that the landings were purely a diversionary attack. (continued here)

Are we at war with our government? Are our leaders trying to deceive us?  If so, what we being distracted from? What are the stories we should be giving our attention?

Here are some examples.

Perhaps, instead worrying about policemen killing people when they violently resist arrest, we need to worry about our tax and spend crazy leaders. What are they doing to our country, and why are we letting them do it?

  • We had an economy that no one could surpass. We use to make things. Now we buy our computers from an authoritarian regime that clearly considers us a threat to its interest in conquest.
  • We use to assimilate new immigrants by insisting they become Americans. When immigrants came here, we expected them to work and learn English. Now we give them welfare and educate their children in their native tongue.
  • We use to have a president who honorably enforced the law, whether he liked that law or not. Now our president vetoes existing laws, and he calls that prosecutorial discretion.
  • When we did something stupid and made a situation worse — when we passed a law like Obamacare because people lied to us — we used to have the sense to repeal that bad law. Now we try to cover over the lies of the liars by “fixing” that bad law and pretend it just has a few flaws.

Why is it we act as if politicians always are right? Is the appropriate response to every government failure more government? If we are foolish enough to think such a thing, maybe we need to look at who educated us. Don’t politicians run our schools? Even though Opposition to Common Core spurs jump in homeschooling (www.foxnews.com), doesn’t the Federal Government want still more control?

Where does the Constitution give the Federal Government any authority over our education system? It is not there? Hummmm. Then why is the Federal Government taking more and more control over what we learn?

When we get lost, are we suppose to continue stumbling down the same unknown trail, or are we suppose to retrace our steps? Doesn’t it make sense to get back to a point where we knew our location? That’s the essence of Conservatism. When something doesn’t work, before we attempt to make any more improvements, we go back to what we know works.

 Addendum

Just in case you think our leaders don’t act when we are distracted, check out these stories.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is not done yet. So when we are enjoying good meals with family and friends on Christmas and New Year, we can count on those meals costing us more than we know.

 

WHY DO WE EXPECT BIG GOVERNMENT TO WORK?

ingodwetrustA Selfish Perspective

Because we are each unique, each of us perceives the world in our own way, and reach our own conclusions, even on the most basic questions. What questions matter the most? Ravi Zacharias (an expert in Christian apologetics) says there are Four Questions To Answer In Life.

  • Why am I here?
  • What is right and wrong?
  • What brings me meaning?
  • What happens to a human being when I die?

Are these the questions that matter the most to you? Some of you no doubt have your own list. Yet these questions provide a place to start. What if you had difficulty empathizing with another’s point-of-view. What if you see the world as revolving around you?

  • Why am I here? Answer: It is about me.
  • What is right and wrong? Answer: What I want is right; what I don’t want is wrong.
  • What brings me meaning? Answer: I exist to make the world serve my lusts and to acquire fame, fortune, and power.
  • What happens to a human being when I die? Answer: What matters is what I want NOW!

Loving The World

That Apostle John condemned such selfishness. He called it loving the world.

1 John 2:15-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

(Here and here are explanations of the passage above.)

When we become obsessed with the world, we lack empathy. We may be quite capable of manipulating others, but those others are merely objects, a means to an end. How does this self-centered perspective affect a selfish person’s attitude towards government? Consider a quote from President John F. Kennedy.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. (from here)

How would a self-centered person have reacted to Kennedy’s call for service? Would they take it to heart, or would they just expect the sappy politician giving them that advice to do them a big favor?

Examples Of The Big Favors Provided Big Government

When politicians make promises they have no intention of keeping, they lie.

Proverbs 26:24-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Politicians use to the power we give them to buy our votes. The worst of them promise to buy our votes with other people’s money. They make promises they know they cannot keep. Because the vast bulk of our nation’s wealth passes through the hands of ordinary Americans, to pay for Big Government, politicians must tax any ordinary Americans with a job. Then to finance their campaigns and spread their lies through the corporate mass media, politicians must cater to special interests. Thus, when politicians promise to tax the rich they lie.

Free Education: Parents, not government, have the responsibility for ensuring their children receive a good education. What happens when government takes over the education of children? Don’t politicians sell special interests access to our children? Thus:

  • Government buys the products of various corporate interests for the “benefit” of school children.
  • Labor unions leaders acquire control over numerous secure jobs with great benefits.
  • Without the approval of parents, groups with some really strange ideologies use the public school system to indoctrinate school children.

Social Security: The Social Security tax is a highly regressive tax aimed squarely at every American with a job. The rich don’t pay payroll taxes. Everybody with a job does, but because those taxes go into a secure “trust fund” Social Security is suppose to be a great deal. In fact, Congress just spends the money. If a private company tried such a scam, the CEO would be accused of fraud and put in jail.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare: Programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare represent a government takeover of our healthcare system. What advocates hope to do is what they have already done to our education system. Just as our education system has eliminated school choice for ordinary Americans, the government takeover our healthcare system will eliminate our ability to make our own healthcare choices.

Tax Credits, Deductions, and Various Other “Incentives”: Ever wonder how our tax system got so horribly complex? Various special interests have purchased innumerable special tax favors from the people we elect.

Minimum Wage: To anyone but the ignorant, the minimum wage is a fraud. What happens when government demands that an employer pay a worker more than that worker’s labor is worth? Doesn’t that question answer itself?

Making It Easy To Vote:  We give our elected officials enormous powers. Consider just the money our elected officials control. The combined spending of local, state and the federal government is over six trillion a year, and various corporations and individuals compete for access to that money. Therefore, these corporations and individuals lobby our elected officials, offering any temptation they can get away with.

Because the powers that elected officials possess (control over huge budgets, for example) represent a valuable commodity for dishonest people, we have no choice except to assume the possibility of electoral fraud. Traditionally, we have protected the vote by insisting that everyone who can vote vote in person on election day. That includes providing identification.

If you search the Internet, you will find huge numbers of articles claiming that voter fraud is a myth. Yet we all know Democrats want illegal aliens to vote, think the mere requirement for a photo ID is voter suppression, and fight any effort to clean up voter registration lists. If that is not suspicious, what is it? Consider these reports.

The basic argument? Conservatives say it only makes sense to verify that those who vote have the right to vote. Socialists whine that voter verification reduces the turnout of their supporters. They complain about the result and call that voter suppression, but they cannot show that requiring a photo ID, for example, wrongly suppresses the vote.

On the other hand, Socialists say that voter fraud is rare, but Conservatives point to the obvious. When little effort is made to detect and prevent it, voter fraud is easy.

Succumbing To Decadence

Because even a small society involves a complex interaction between many different souls, we cannot easily predict our future. We can only observe current trends and guess what might happen.

Currents trends do not look good. The dictionary definition of “decadence” is value-free. Without mentioning what is being lost, it points to a decay in moral qualities. Thus, to say America is becoming decadent, we must first clearly state what is being lost.

What is being lost in our society? Because we have given over the responsibility to educate our children to politicians, each succeeding generation of Americans has less knowledge of the wisdom contained in the Bible. Why is that important? Consider how the Bible defines wisdom. When King Solomon asked God for wisdom, what did he ask for?

1 Kings 3:7-9 Good News Translation (GNT)

O Lord God, you have let me succeed my father as king, even though I am very young and don’t know how to rule. Here I am among the people you have chosen to be your own, a people who are so many that they cannot be counted. So give me the wisdom I need to rule your people with justice and to know the difference between good and evil. Otherwise, how would I ever be able to rule this great people of yours?”

Solomon wanted to know how to discern good from evil. When men are fools, they call evil good and good evil. Then they become decadent (Isaiah 5:8-30), and they are doomed.

Like Solomon, we too need God’s wisdom. As it is, we do not know enough to vote for leaders who understand and appreciate the Bible’s wisdom. We have innumerable Bibles, but we remain spiritually immature. We have a baby’s wisdom. Because we have not studied the Bible, we cannot chew solid food. We still need milk.

Hebrews 5:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Ending Captivity By Big Government

When Jesus began his ministry, he started by quoting Isaiah.

Luke 4:17-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

When we sin, we oppress each other and make each other prisoners. We impoverish each other. We break each others hearts, and we are blind to our own sinfulness.

How did Jesus proclaim liberty and set us free? Check out WHEN DO THE PEOPLE STEAL THEIR OWN FREEDOM?