Category Archives: Economic Bailout

Paul Ryan’s Acceptance Speech

Full text of speech
Delivered August 29, 2012

“Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity – and I know we can do this. I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

For my part, your nomination is an unexpected turn. It certainly came as news to my family, and I’d like you to meet them: My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our boys Charlie and Sam.

The kids are happy to see their grandma, who lives in Florida. There she is – my Mom, Betty. My Dad, a small-town lawyer, was also named Paul. Until we lost him when I was 16, he was a gentle presence in my life. I like to think he’d be proud of me and my sister and brothers, because I’m sure proud of him and of where I come from, Janesville, Wisconsin.

I live on the same block where I grew up. We belong to the same parish where I was baptized. Janesville is that kind of place. The people of Wisconsin have been good to me. I’ve tried to live up to their trust. And now I ask those hardworking men and women, and millions like them across America, to join our cause and get this country working again.

When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, “Let’s get this done” – and that is exactly, what we’re going to do.

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.

So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets.

The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal. What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.

But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.

An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with Mom and me. Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.

We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my Mom today. Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.

It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.

So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing. In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.

They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

My Dad used to say to me: “Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.” The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.

And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business. It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp. What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair. We need that same optimism right now.

And in our dealings with other nations, a Romney-Ryan administration will speak with confidence and clarity. Wherever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side. Instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act in the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known. President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record.

But we are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

By themselves, the failures of one administration are not a mandate for a new administration. A challenger must stand on his own merits. He must be ready and worthy to serve in the office of president.

We’re a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we’re a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.

A generation apart. That makes us different, but not in any of the things that matter. Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the heartland, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by. And we both know it can be that way again.

We’ve had very different careers – mine mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones. By the way, being successful in business – that’s a good thing.

Mitt has not only succeeded, but succeeded where others could not. He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.

Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

The founding generation secured those rights for us, and in every generation since, the best among us have defended our freedoms. They are protecting us right now. We honor them and all our veterans, and we thank them. The right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders. And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge.

We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.

We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility.

We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.

The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this.

We can get this country working again. We can get this economy growing again. We can make the safety net safe again. We can do this.

Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done.

Thank you, and God bless you all”

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Greece – The Canary in the Coal Mine

By now, just about everyone is aware that Greece has issues. But what’s a bit appalling is how little we know about what is really happening with that country. The knowledge most people have boiled down to two points; Greece has run out of money and the people there are rioting in the streets. However if one digs a little deeper, you’ll realize that Greece is essentially no longer a sovereign country – it is a country led by a technocrat and more or less owned by the EU and ECB. Before I get into the implications of what that means, let’s first go through the brief history of how Greece got to where it is today.

Between 1999 and 2008, Greece’s real GDP was hovering between 3-4% while their debt percentage hovered in and around 100% until 2008 where it stood at 113% during the global recession. In 2009, the newly elected Prime Minister George Papandreou came into office and soon after revises the country’s budget projections, indicating the government had been understating its deficit for years. That year Greece’s debt percentage shot to 129% and is currently standing at 173% projected. After several credit downgrades in 2009 and 2010, Papandreou agrees to implement harsh austerity measures in exchange for $152 billion in loans from the European Union and the IMF. Riots ensue as the Greek population does not want to give up anything. Despite Greece meeting the austerity requirements of 2010, credit ratings continue to be downgraded so Greece pushes through another set of highly unpopular austerity measures June 2011 to qualify for a second bailout package for $157 billion in loans. Shortly after this, the Greek parliament agrees to new highly unpopular taxes, cutting public sector jobs, decreasing public sector wages, decreasing pensions for high-income workers and scaling back collective bargaining rights.

In addition to this very brief recent history, it is also important to note how Greece got to this point in the first place. Ironically, it began 30 years ago Papandreou’s father Andreas began building an unsustainable civil service in order to continue winning elections. Additionally, Greece had spent the last few decades erecting social safety nets producing cradle to grave benefits such as government healthcare, a generous welfare system and a retirement age of 61, (social security). In fact, the entitlement mentality is so firmly entrenched in Greek society, the population there does not understand anything else and seems perfectly willing to give up its’ national sovereignty while devolving into a cesspool of pain and misery grasping at the last reed it can find while drowning. And because they have no basis for understanding true freedom and liberty, they are willing to live through the degradation of their country in the hopes that things might magically get better. Here are a few of the things that are going on in Greece that are getting very little press in the US.

  • After the collapse of the socialist party in November 2011, an interim prime minister, Lucas Papademos was sworn in to lead Greece through the economic crisis. Papademos is a technocrat and was previously vice president of the European Central Bank. (Could you imagine Ben Bernanke being sworn in as interim President?)
  • Having lost its fiscal independence, Greece is now required have the permanent presence of a Eurogroup Task Force with strong onsite monitoring capabilities. (In other words, it’s their money and they have the right to manage their money. Who owns the bulk of the US debt?)
  • This EU presence will ensure that state revenues will flow into a segregated escrow account for state revenues.
  • The Greek constitution will be amended to ensure that priority will be given to serving debt payments. This includes the right for European banks to seize Greece’s gold reserves, 111.6 tons.
  • Public sector salary cuts are so deep and because they are retroactive to November 2011, up to 64,000 workers will have to work without salary for a month and some may even be asked to return money.

There is far more to the Grecian condition than what I can post in this blog but the point is obvious. Greece’s socialistic experiment has been a complete and utter failure and from a practical perspective, they are no longer a sovereign country. And despite all of this, Greece is virtually assured to default anyway, only now with zero gold reserves.

Socially, the Greeks are feeling completely hopeless and are turning bitter towards the EU and specifically Germany. There are riots and lootings in the streets. Well dressed Greeks have been reported rummaging through the garbage for food. Clinics that were set up to service the immigration population in Greece have seen a 22% jump in the domestic population. And still, they’re clinging on to an idea that didn’t work – hoping against hope that it will all just go away

Understanding what is happening in Greece is essential when looking at our current economic situation. From a GDP perspective, the US is in a worse economic condition than Greece but we have the ability to print money. However, eventually every country will have to pay back the debt that they owe and Greece gives us a better understanding of what can happen when we fail to make the tough choices today. We cannot afford our current social programs and Obamacare begins to hit its stride in full in 2013. That means higher taxes and still more debt. Despite what’s lacking in our current healthcare system, Obamacare literally means the destruction of economy.

We have an opportunity this year to elect real leaders that will face our issues head-on. We need to repeal the healthcare bill and we need to seriously manage the scaling back of all of our social programs – social security, Medicare, food stamps, etc. We either face up to our issues with honesty and determination, or we will wake up one day and realize our country isn’t even ours anymore.

Why Democrats Must Be Defeated

By Michael Barry

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The Republican Outreach

liberty-bellThere is no shortage of advice to the Republican Party regarding the need to “reach out” to Hispanics, Blacks, women, moderates and younger voters.  Conventional wisdom says that the way to do that is to moderate our position on social issues and offer an equal or better program to solve the problems of healthcare, education, energy and the environment.  However, they do not answer the two primary questions: Why, and How?

At first glance the question of, why? would appear easy.  If the Republican Party is to have any influence over the affairs of state, their candidates have to be elected first.  On the other hand,   who would benefit, and what would that benefit be, if the Republican Party gained office by catering to voters who would otherwise vote for a socialist/democrat candidate?  There would be a definite benefit to the professional Republican politician in advancing his or her career goals.  The Republican Party would benefit by increasing its power in the Federal government. But, what about the rank-and-file Republican and the general welfare of the country?

The rank-and-file Republican would benefit only in that the advance toward tyranny might be slowed to a degree and the payment for irresponsible spending might be postponed for a generation or two, but in general, the average republican voter would profit little.  The general welfare of the nation would suffer greatly.  By moving the Party left in order to attract more moderates, independents, and liberal voters, the only obstacle to the eventual transition from a Constitutional Republic to an Americanized Social Democracy would be removed.

We have faced the threat of federal tyranny throughout our history.  Rarely have we succeeded in hindering its progress for more than a short time.  The three most notable examples were the revolution of 1800, the Reagan revolution of 1980, and the Gingrich revolution of 1994.  In none of these were the principles of the Republican Party altered to attract “moderates” or “liberal voters”.  Instead, the American people were reminded of who we are and what we stand for, and in each case the American people responded.

The voters the Republican Party needs to win over is the uninformed voter, whether they be Hispanic, African American, moderate Democrats or Independents.  Republicans, especially conservatives need to focus in the next eighteen months on educating the American people on the founding principles that made America the most prosperous and free nation on the globe.  Instead of allowing the MSM and the Democrat Party to identify us as the “party of NO” and the “party of the rich”, we need to establish a new image as “the party of the Constitution”.

The first step is to school our Republican leaders and elected representatives in the founding documents.  Too may of them are more concerned about increasing their personal power than in defending the liberty of their constituents.  The Republican penchant to “go along to get along” has to be jettisoned in favor of a firm stand in defense of our founding principles.  All Americans understand the importance of a constitutional government when it is properly explained.

The 2010 race for congressional seats is already shaping up to be a contest between “squishy” Republicans on our side and dedicated socialists on the Democrat side.  We need to start now to identify candidates who understand, promote and defend the founding principles.  A good example of the problems Republicans will face in 2010 is the Florida Senate race.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, “top GOP officials today took the unusual step of inserting themselves into a party primary, picking a moderate U.S. Senate candidate (Gov. Charlie Crist) over a conservative in Florida.”  “…in doing so, the top Republican officials also are aligning themselves with a candidate who has broken with party orthodoxy on environmental and voting rights issues and even appeared with President Obama to support the economic stimulus plan being lambasted by conservatives.”

Running against Crist in the primary will be Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a conservative of Cuban descent.   In many ways the Florida race will be a harbinger of just how serious conservatives are going to be in taking back the Congress from the socialists currently in charge.  The future of America depends on the 2010 primaries every bit as much as on the general election.  It goes without saying that the Republican Party leadership is going to be more concerned with protecting the seats of incumbents that have proven their ineffectiveness than in reforming the party to comply with the principles that have made America great.

Republicans who have shown themselves to place party above country and power above principle need to be challenged and defeated in the primaries.  That will only happen if the grass-roots movement that began with the “tea parties” continues into the 2010 primaries.

U.S. Government Unconstitutional

liberty-bellIn considering the pork laden spending bill wending its way through Congress, and the arguments for and against its passage, I have come to the conclusion that the U.S. Government is unconstitutional.  I came to this conclusion based on two propositions.  First, the Constitution is a contract between the people, the individual states and the federal government.  Second, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. (Article VI) trumping both rulings of the courts and the doctrine of legal precedent.

The current mislabeled “economic stimulus package” is only the latest example of how far we, as a nation, have moved from the principles of government set forth in our founding documents.

The first words in the first article of the Constitution say, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States”.  However, most of the laws that impinge on our individual liberties did not originate in the Congress.  For the most part, they originated from the bench of activist courts or one of the myriad of government bureaucracies that sprang up during the twentieth century.

Furthermore, the Judicial and Legislative Branches are not alone in abusing their powers to override the Constitution.  For years, the Executive Branch, in complicity with special interest groups and the courts, has been using its vast bureaucracies to implement laws it could never get passed through the Legislature. These new laws are implemented through the “rule-making” powers of the various Executive Departments and Executive Orders.

During his first week in office, President Obama signed a series of executive orders, most of them to counter those signed by previous Presidents, especially George Bush.  Executive orders are legitimate insofar as they technically apply only to those departments under the control of the Executive Branch.  The problem is, their effects reach into every nick and corner of our society, not just to those people and companies directly working in the Executive Branch.  As such, they are de facto laws.

It could be argued the rules promulgated by the various Executive Departments and bureaus are constitutional because their rule making powers where given to them by Congress.  The truth is, Congress delegated these legislative powers to the bureaucracies for political reasons.  Many of the rules established by bureaucratic decree, would be political suicide for members of Congress should they attempt to implement them directly through legislation.

Furthermore, the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to delegate its powers to another branch of government.  The only possible exception is found in Article II, Section 2, “but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

This brings us to the departments themselves, most of which are unconstitutional.  The Department of Education, for example, has no basis in the Constitution.  Education is not one of the enumerated powers delegated to the Congress.  Neither is the Department of Energy, or the Department of Health and Human Services.  The same thing could be said for many of the smaller departments of government and the quasi-government departments.  The National Endowment for the Arts is another good example.

Regarding the Arts, the Constitution is very specific as to the proper role of government.  Article 1, Section 8 assigns to the Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”  Throughout history, financial support for the arts has been provided by “patrons of the arts”.  In a capitalist society, good art will prosper while bad art, like bad manufactured products will fall by the wayside.  Under the Constitution, neither should be subsidized with taxpayer money.

It is obvious that all three braches of government operate outside the constraints of the Constitution.  That being the case, it cannot be said that the government as it is presently run is a constitutional government.  In addition, when government abandons the Constitution it no longer can make claim to being “a government of laws, not of men” since the Constitution is the foundation of all other laws.

If we are not governed by law, the only option is to be governed by force of arms.  That is the direction we are heading unless we somehow reform the government to follow the Constitution.  This is by no means an original observation.  It was expressed by Thomas Jeffers almost two hundred years ago.  Jefferson did not have the bureaucracies to contend with that we have today.  In his day, the biggest threat to the Constitution was the edicts of rouge judges with lifetime appointments.  However, the dangers to our liberties are the same.  In a letter written July 2, 1822 to William Barry, Jefferson issued a warning that applies as much today as it did then.

“We already see the power, installed for life, responsible to no authority (for impeachment is not even a scare-crow), advancing with a noiseless and steady pace to the great object of consolidation. The foundations are already deeply laid by their decisions, for the annihilation of constitutional State rights, and the removal of every check, every counterpoise to the ingulphing power of which themselves are to make a sovereign part. If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose between reformation and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the one or the other is inevitable.”

This dire warning to William Barry could just as well be written to any one of us alive today.  We would do well to take into account his advice in the next sentence.

“Before the canker is become inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of the body politic as to get beyond control, remedy should be applied.”

The Trillion Dollar Pork Barrel

liberty-bellIf you have noticed a loud whirring sound lately, it is probably the sound of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the signers of the Constitution spinning in their graves as they watch the devastation of their beloved document by our socialist leaders in Washington.

On Saturday the White House released a four-page document outlining the President’s spending plan.  The report was a more detailed version of the plan announced in his speech January 9.  It calls for $825 billion in pork barrel spending under the guise of “America Recovery and Investment”, otherwise known as the “stimulus package”.

According to White House sources, the plan is near completion in the Democratic controlled Congress.  The proposed bill will contain more pork than all the meatpacking plants in America combined.  However, there is very little stimulus of the type that might create a substantial number of new jobs, or “jump-start” our lagging economy.  Instead, it seems designed to enhance the reelection of the Democratic Congress in the 2110 elections.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that most of the spending will occur in 2010 and 2011, coincidently just in time for the 2010 and 2012 elections.  Among the goodies supposed to create jobs and stimulate the economy is $30 billion to promote renewable energy, $200 million for renovating the Capital Mall, $275 billion in tax relief, even for the 40+ percent who pay no taxes, $50 million for the Endowment for the Arts, and, oh yes, $360 million to buy condoms for preventing the spread of venereal disease.

President Obama indicated his estimation of the intelligence of the American voter by boasting that the bill would contain no “earmarks”.  With that much pork, who needs earmarks?  Many Republican lawmakers expressed opposition to the bill as it is emerging, but for the wrong reasons.  They are not opposed to the idea of “bailouts” per se; they seem more upset that some of their pet projects are not being funded.  The vote buying is directed mostly to the reelection of Democrats.

When this spending plan goes into effect, the social, economic and political structure of American will be changed forever.  As government takes more and more control of businesses through stock purchases and regulations the capitalist system that has given us a standard of living that is the envy of the world will gradually be transformed into a government planned socialist economy.  With the planned deficits running at the rate of over a trillion dollars per year for the foreseeable future, we can expect the onset of hyperinflation and taxation that is even more confiscatory.  If not for us, then for our children and grandchildren.

It is not, however, the bleak social and economic outlook that should bother the true patriot.  It is the total, complete and probably irrevocable loss of our Constitution that should concern us.  Socialism cannot exist within the framework of our Constitution.  The Constitution is based on the idea of free market capitalism with each individual free to pursue his or her own prosperity as they think best.  The changes required just to make the proposed plans for health care and energy use in any degree effective will require major “forced” changes in our personal choices of lifestyle and living habits.  An outline of the plan is posted on the White House website.

  • Doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years.
  • Modernizing more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.
  • Making the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized.
  • Equipping tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries.
  • Expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
  • Investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.

The reader with a working knowledge of the Constitution will notice that none of the six items listed above fall within the authority of the enumerated powers delegated to Congress by the framers.  Pseudo-Constitutional scholars like President Obama and others will attempt to authenticate the constitutionality of the plan by pointing to the phrases, “general welfare” and “necessary and proper” found in the first and last clauses of Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution.

I have written many articles on these two clauses in the past.  This time I prefer to offer the opinion of two REAL Constitutional scholars, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.  One of the arguments used by those opposed to the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 and 1788 was that these clauses granted too much power to the federal government and there was the danger that future Congresses would use them to infringe on our liberties.  In an article appearing in the Independent Journal a New York newspaper James Madison responded to this objection:

“It has been urged and echoed, that the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.”

“No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases.”

“A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare. ”But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?”

“If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?”

“Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.”
~ Federalist No. 41 by James Madison

In 1791 Thomas Jefferson was engaged in an argument with Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, concerning the establishment of a National Bank.  In a paper to President George Washington concerning the matter, Jefferson dealt with the so-called “elastic clause”.

“The second general phrase is, ‘to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.’ But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank, therefore, is not necessary, and consequently, not authorized by this phrase.

It has been much urged, that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary’ not those which are merely ‘convenient’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase, as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one; for there is no one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience, in some way or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one phrase, as before observed. Therefore it was, that the constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of the power would be nugatory.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, January 15, 1791

The framers rightly believed that to protect the liberties of the people it was necessary to limit the powers of the federal government to those specifically granted to them by the Constitution.  To further reinforce this belief the ninth and tenth amendments were added to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.  That premise was no truer then than it is today.

The doctrine of “enumerated powers” is still the best protector of liberty we have to defend ourselves against the spread of tyranny threatened by Obama’s plan to “save us”.