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In October 2015, the House passed H.R. 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom, which repealed significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including: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

THE GROWING POWER OF GOVERNMENT AND THE THREAT TO LIBERTY: ELECTION 2016

declaration of independence

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

The Growth Of The Power Of Government

Why is it a problem when government is powerful? Government exists to protect our rights. Yet the power we give our government makes government itself a threat to our rights. Therefore, we must choose between giving the government just enough power and giving it too much.

  • To give our government the resources it needs to defend our rights, we must give our leaders the authority to tax us and spend our money. Nevertheless, the more we allow our government to tax and spend, the more we work for government instead of ourselves. At some point, we risk slavery.
  • Some decisions which effect a people must be made jointly. Thus, government must sometimes make decisions we would otherwise make for ourselves. So it is that in a nation of free men and women, we have laws that restrict us from harming each other (traffic laws, for example). In a nation of slaves, however, the laws just list a few trivial decisions that the leaders permit the people to make for themselves.

Here is a table that summarizes where the candidates stand.  Not certain the information is correct? Then check their web sites. I have only provided links where their positions are not available on their own websites.

ISSUE Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Taxing and Spending Favors tax simplification and reduction Favors increased taxation and spending (inferred from lengthy list of proposals)
Healthcare Private market solution Doubling down on Obamacare
School Choice For School Choice. Will end Common Core Against School Choice. Favors Common Core.
Immigration Favors extreme vetting Open borders/put new immigrants on the dole
Government Regulations Committed to reducing regulations Defends the current regulatory regime
Free Trade Opponent of the big trade bills Helped to craft TPP

To be continued: The Protection Of Our Rights

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.

 

DEAR CONGRESSMAN, HERE IS WHY I VOTED FOR YOU

capitolThe general election of 2014 is over. The Republican’s party has had an overwhelming victory. Nevertheless, we know the polling. Republicans did not win because of their own popularity. They won because President Obama and the Democrats insist upon making a mess of our country.

Therefore, I have decided to send a letter to my congressman. I want him to know why I voted for him.

Dear Congressman Rob Wittman

I suppose you are happy and content with the results of this last election, but I hope not. We sent you back to DC to do some hard, difficult work, not to enjoy the fruits of a great victory. We sent you to war with a ravenous government that claws and grasps for revenue. We sent you tie up in knots any congressman who would spend more money than we have. We sent you to shackle the phone and the pen of a president thirsting for power.

I cast my vote for free enterprise, not more government. Why? In the 80’s I worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  I went there as an advocate for increased spending for NASA. I came away as adamant opponent, someone who would have happily seen NASA scrapped. I had seen for myself that socialism does not work. That includes a socialist space program.

I recognize that some still pine away for the good old days, those days when the United States was the first to land a man on the moon.

Forty-five years ago last summer, Neil Armstrong and I walked on the moon. Our Apollo 11 lander touched down in the moon’s “Sea of Tranquility,” and three days later we were home. We splashed down and came safely aboard the USS Hornet. In that moment, America fulfilled a promise — to herself and to the World. Together, we resolved to lead in space, convey men to the moon and come home safely. As Americans, one nation, we resolved to do it, and we did it. The time has come to find that kind of resolve again. (from Getting on with getting to Mars by  Buzz Aldrin)

For forty-five years those who dream of exploring new frontiers have depended upon politicians to fulfill their dreams. We have been fools. Politicians have their own dreams, and they have nothing to do with space exploration. They never ever did. For the number of votes it buys, space exploration is too risky and costs too much. Moreover, government bureaucracies, even NASA, are populated by too many risk averse bureaucrats, not enough people with a dream.

I now know I cannot make my dream someone else’s dream. If I want my dream to become real, I must do the work myself with others who share my dream. Therefore, I now cast my vote for smaller government.

I cast my vote for a balanced budget. We cannot afford what Congress and the President want to spend. Since September 15, 2008, Congress has added over $12 trillion to the deficit (see How Much Obamanomics Has Cost Us by Stephen Moore).

I cast my vote for a strong defense. The United States still retains a strong military, but we face growing threats: a resurgent Russia, an increasingly belligerent China, and militant Islamic states. Yet too many of our leaders want us as weak as Europe, with a government that divert funds needed for defense into extravagantly expensive social programs, incapable of defending ourselves (see Europe’s sentinels have gone home by Bruce Lawlor).

I cast my vote for the resolute defense of our borders from illegal immigrants. It is no secret that our president wants to make law, not just enforce the law, that he would legalize millions of immigrants with a flourish of his pen. Thanks to a spineless Congress and out of control executive, we now risk becoming a bilingual banana republic ruled by a tyrant with a pen and phone. You know what the people of this country want done. Please find the courage to do it!

I cast my vote for an end to Obamacare. That law is blatantly unconstitutional. Repeal it first. Then we can worry about replacing it.

I could say more, but this is enough. So let’s summarize. When those in power insist upon spending other people’s money for them, politics becomes a blood sport, not fun and games. That’s why I did not cast my vote so that you could work with the president and the Democrats. I cast my vote so you could stop them and reverse their agenda, and I think it is safe to say that lots of other people voted the same way. Therefore, you now have a choice. I hope you will help lead the opposition to Obama and the Democrats. Otherwise, please follow those willing to lead that opposition, or just get out-of-the-way.

In times past, the Democratic Party defended slavery; they even sought to expand it into the territories and free states. Latter the Democratic Party fought for racial segregation. Now, in support of bigger and “better” government required to implement so-called social and economic “rights,” Democrats would enslave all Americans. That’s what socialists do.

The Republican Party began as a third-party before the Civil War. Because it refused to fight slavery, the party the Republican Party replaced is now long gone. Yet time corrupts all things and all institutions created by men. Therefore, unless we get involved in the Republican Party, we cannot depend upon the Republican Party to stop and reverse the damage the Democratic Party has done.

Do you favor the prosperity and freedom that comes with limited government and free enterprise? Did you reluctantly vote for a Republican who needs to be encouraged to defend freedom? Then please write him or her a note. Politely let your member of Congress know why you gave him or her your support. Then, if your member of Congress fails to do his or her duty, do your duty and help nominate another Republican to replace that delinquent.