Republicans No More

My Friends, the time has come to start calling things for what they are and stop pretending that there aren’t those who would deceive us with the labels they use. To start remembering their actions and stop forgiving their mistakes. To start naming names and pointing fingers.

Today, the Republican-lead House voted to do something so contrary to the Republican Platform that they need to be called out and removed from the Rolls of the Republican Party, never to be considered trustworthy of the conservative ideals that the Platform espouses. Today, 28 people formerly called Republicans voted for unrestricted borrowing by the federal government for the next 13 months – no strings attached. This clearly goes against stated goals of the party platform, which states,

“The massive federal government is structurally and financially broken. For decades it has been pushed beyond its core functions, increasing spending to unsustainable levels. Elected officials have overpromised and overspent, and now the bills are due. Unless we take dramatic action now, young Americans and their children will inherit an unprecedented legacy of enormous and unsustainable debt, with the interest alone consuming an ever-increasing portion of the country’s wealth. The specter of national bankruptcy that now hangs over much of Europe is a warning to us as well. Over the last three and a half years, while cutting the defense budget, the current Administration has added an additional $5.3 trillion to the national debt-now approximately $16 trillion, the largest amount in U.S. history. In fiscal year 2011, spending reached $3.6 trillion, nearly a quarter of our gross domestic product. Adjusted for inflation, that’s more than three times its peak level in World War II, and almost half of every dollar spent was borrowed money. Three programs-Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security- account for over 40 percent of total spending. While these levels of spending and debt are already harming job creation and growth, projections of future spending growth are nothing short of catastrophic, both economically and socially. And those dire projections do not include the fiscal nightmare of Obamacare, with over $1 trillion in new taxes, multiple mandates, and a crushing price tag.” –2012 Republican Platform

It is truly unconscionable to lift the debt ceiling, if this platform is what you actually believe. If spending is out of control, then STOP IT!. There IS a way to stop out of control spending in its tracks. There IS a way to put your money where your mouth is; to walk the walk; to stand up for what you believe and save the country from a catastrophic future predicted by your party’s platform… it’s called “STOP BORROWING MONEY”.

Raising the debt ceiling in the face of out-of-control spending and crippling debt is perhaps the single most irresponsible action that could be taken. Therefore, it is time to stop calling these people Republicans. No more. If indeed they ever truly were Republicans in the first place, they certainly aren’t now. These are the names of those who should be stricken from the party and I personally will from this point forward refer to them as many things – but NEVER again as Republicans.

John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy,R-Calif.
Chief Deputy Whip Pete Roskam, R-Ill.
Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
Dave Camp, R-Mich.
Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
Richard Hanna, R-N.Y.
Doc Hastings, R-Wash.
Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Hal Rogers, R-Ky.
Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
Chris Collins, R-N.Y.
Howard Coble, R-N.C.
Charlie Dent, R-Pa.
Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
Pete King, R-N.Y.
Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.
Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
Patrick Meehan, R-Pa.
Gary Miller, R-Calif.
Ed Royce, R-Calif.
John Runyan, R-N.J.
John Shimkus, R-Ill.
Chris Smith, R-N.J.
David Valadao, R-Calif.
Frank Wolf, R-Va.

Republicans No More

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/11/republicans-who-voted-for-debt-ceiling-increase/

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll061.xml

 

By Jonathan Senn

 

Why Obama Lost First Debate

When my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child (we now have four), we did what many couples in that situation do. We started to read books about raising children. (Okay, mostly my wife read them and told me what they said…) It’s natural to do that. No new parent wants to go into it without any information.

However, until you have a child, you don’t have a clue! You can read all the research available, write all kinds of papers about it, and ask everybody you know for advice. But all parents know that research without experience is very limited. Until you’ve started raising a child, you really don’t know anything about it.

During the presidential campaign of 2008, many of us were saying that then Senator Obama didn’t have the experience to be President. He had never run a business. He had spent his entire (short) adult life being either a law school professor, a “community organizer” or a politician. The position of professor is the closest to real world experience, but the life of a professor is basically sheltered. Even as a professor, he had never published any legal scholarly material, which is what law school professors are supposed to do. So the argument was that he had never really done anything to give him any experience. Fortunately for him, he was running against an opponent who had spent most of his adult life (after his more-than-honorable service in the military) in political life. Again, not exactly a role that lends itself to gaining real world experience.

Fast forward to the current campaign. The argument about lack of experience is still a strong one. President Obama’s dilemma this time around, however, is that he’s running against an opponent who has spent most of his adult life IN the real world, running businesses (some successful and some not). While he may be wealthy now, there’s a reason for that, and it’s called success. He’s been a major risk-taker, and he has reaped the benefits of many of those risks. There was a time in our country’s history when such success was admired, appreciated, and imitated. In today’s political climate, such success is ridiculed, hated, taxed into oblivion, and otherwise scorned.

After Obama’s terrible performance at the first debate, the excuses were numerous. It was his anniversary. Romney cheated (with a handkerchief). Romney was too aggressive. The moderator was terrible. Romney lied. Or my personal favorite – the altitude affected Obama. (Thanks, Mr. Gore for that nugget.)

But one of the primary excuses given is that Obama didn’t have enough prep time. That’s where I think we may be onto something. Some Democrats and people in Obama’s inner circle have been saying he just didn’t have the time to put into preparing, because he was busy being President. I think they’re partially right.

Obama didn’t have the proper prep time, but not because he’s currently the President. It’s because he failed to prepare his entire adult life for this. Romney has been out in the world learning about business, seeing how things operate, running the Olympics, being Governor of a state, saving numerous corporations, worrying about employee payrolls, and otherwise being engaged in the private sector. THAT was his prep time. When he was asked questions about the economy, he could answer them, not because he spent a few days in Denver in advance of the debate, but because he spent a few decades working in the economic world.

You see, experience DOES matter. Ask any parent. Books are one thing. Life is another. I’m not sure that more debate prep can help Obama in advance of debates two and three, because you can’t cram life experience into a few days.

Backward Thinking

We’ve all been through difficult financial times. Loss of a job, extra unexpected expenses, increased cost of living. We’ve been there. Some of us had to dip into our savings. Others asked family or friends to help. Perhaps we sold some things we didn’t really need, took a part time job, or cut down on unnecessary expenses. We did what we had to do to survive and improve our situation. Nothing unusual about that.

The government, however, carried out a poll asking what people do when money is tight. The results?

•Savings 44%
•Family 21%
•Credit cards/loans 20%
•Government assistance 15%

Now, when I see those numbers, I can’t help but think that 65% are relying on savings and family, which is a good thing. Only 15% are relying on government assistance. So I start wondering if there are ways to get that 15% number to go even further down.

But that’s not how the government sees it. Instead, they would prefer that more people rely on them! They say: “Given that only 15 percent of you turn to government assistance in tough times, we want to make sure you know about benefits that could help you.” In other words, we want more people to know how to rely on us!

As I’ve stated many times, the government is not some entity that produces a product or service for which willing consumers are happy to pay. The government doesn’t generate its own income. It gets its money from you and me. So why would we want more and more people to rely on it?

Our personal freedoms decrease in direct proportion to the increase in our level of dependency on government. Wanting more people to rely on government is nothing more than backward thinking!

The Offer That Wasn’t

Imagine this:  for absolutely no reason at all, I start demanding that you pay me $1,000.00.  You don’t owe me a penny, much less a thousand bucks.  I didn’t loan you anything, sell you something, or provide you any service.  Yet, I start to demand the money anyway.

What would you do?  You’d probably tell me to go jump in a lake, or worse.  You’d wonder if I was crazy.  If I keep demanding it, you’d try to get away from me.  Whatever your reaction, the last thing you’d do is give me a thousand dollars!

After some time passes, and you continue to refuse my demands, I finally tell you that if you’ll just pay me $500.00, I’ll forget the whole thing and leave you alone.  How do you react?  My guess is you’d still tell me to leave you alone, as you don’t owe me anything!  There would be no reason for you to give me that money, even though my demand has been cut in half.  If you don’t owe me any money, you don’t owe me any money, regardless of how much I’m demanding or how much lower my demands get.

This is exactly what Obama and his minions have been trying to do to Mitt Romney and his tax returns.  They started out by demanding that he release 10 years of returns.  Was their demand based on any actual legal requirements?  Of course not.  They just wanted to harass him into releasing them.

When he refused, they used the well-known tactic of accusing without evidence just to pressure him into proving them wrong.  They claimed that he was likely a felon and hadn’t paid anything for the last 10 years.  Any proof of that?  Seriously?  They don’t need proof.  If the baseless accusation is serious enough, that’s all they care about.  They demanded that Romney release the returns to prove them wrong.

Romney didn’t bite.  I haven’t agreed with everything Romney has done in his campaign, and he wasn’t my first choice among the Republican candidates, but I’ve been impressed with his response on this.  He finally told Harry Reid to either put up or shut up.  Predictably, Reid has done neither.

So the Democrats decreased their demands.  They “offered” that if Romney would just release 5 years of returns, they’d let the whole thing go.  When they issued that statement, I was very curious as to how Romney would respond.  To his credit, he once again told them to forget it.  Remember, he doesn’t owe them a single thing.  So it doesn’t matter that they “generously” decreased their demand to 5 years.  He didn’t owe them 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years.

Of course, tons of voters have gotten caught up in the nonsense, and have also demanded the release of the tax returns.  They don’t know why he’s required to release them, they just know they want to see them.

So is this a requirement?  Nope.  According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (an oxymoron if ever there was one), a presidential candidate must file Office of Government Ethics Form 278 (OGE Form 278), which is a very detailed financial report.  You can find the requirements here.

Nowhere is a tax return listed as a requirement. The OGE form appears to contain more detail than a tax return would. But regardless of any of that, it is clear that a presidential candidate is NOT required to release his tax returns. If it were, Obama and Harry Reid would have pointed to the specific legal requirement and demanded that Romney fulfill such requirement. Because they can’t do that, they have to resort to accusations and hope that the voters go along with it. Unfortunately, many of their supporters just march right in line without giving it a second thought.

Just as you would refuse to pay me $500.00 when you don’t owe me anything, Romney has refused to release 5 years of tax returns when he isn’t required to release any. I think he’s doing the right thing.

2016: Obama’s America

I encourage all of you, especially my Democrat friends, to see the movie, 2016: Obama’s America, which is now showing. It’s by the producer of Schindler’s List, and is written by Dinesh D’Souza. It’s about Obama’s upbringing, and provides great detail on who he is and his political philosophy. This should frighten all of us as we consider who to vote for in November. If you’re on the fence, please go see it. If you support Obama, please go see it. If you support Romney, please go see it. I’m convinced that he’s not even really a Democrat.

Obama and Medvedev

The movie demonstrates that Obama is really an anti-colonialist, and he believes that America is the worst colonial empire existing today. This explains his apology tour. This explains his associations with “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others of like mind who are unapologetic in their bashing of America. This explains his blocking of drilling for oil in America while at the same time giving billions to South American and Middle Eastern countries to drill there. This explains his refusal to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. This explains his comments to Russian leaders that after he wins the election, he’ll have more “flexibility”. This explains his efforts to get as much of the American economy as possible under government control. This explains his lack of support for Israel, the only beacon of freedom in the Middle East. This explains his ongoing efforts to reduce our nuclear arsenal to levels that would be below many other countries, such as China. This explains his directive to NASA to change its focus from continued exploration to finding a way to connect with Muslims. This explains his own staff’s comments prior to his inauguration that they’d be ready to RULE from day 1.

At every possible opportunity, when faced with the choice between strengthening America and apologizing for her, he has chosen the latter, and weakened our country in the process. Throughout the small part of his life that is actually documented, he surrounded himself with people who filled his mind with the philosophy that America is evil and must not continue to be a superpower. He chose to marry someone who has never even been proud of her country (her own words) until it elected Obama president.

I don’t even think he’s truly a Democrat. As distasteful as I found President Clinton, and as distasteful as I find many in the current leadership within the Democrat party (Reid, Pelosi, Biden and the like), I believe that those people still love this country, even though I disagree with them politically.

With Obama, it’s different. I believe he found that his philosophy shared more in common with the Democrats than Republicans, so that’s where he can be most effective. But this doesn’t make him a Democrat. I think even most Democrats who love their country would be scared to know what he’s really doing. If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, then so be it. Go see the movie.

My impression of him is that he will take whatever position he needs to take on an issue that weakens the country. This goes beyond Obamacare (which weakens our freedom to choose and personal responsibility and strengthens governmental control) and goes beyond his tax policies (wherein he has consistently called for punishing success, which weakens individual ability and desire to success and produce and strengthens the government’s ability to take from us). His position on those issues is symptomatic of his approach that America needs to be brought down to the level of other countries, as opposed to trying to help other countries find the same levels of success that we’ve had here.

Barack and his father

At the end of the day, Obama favors government over individualism. The perfect example is his swipe at small business owners – “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen!” When challenged, he and his surrogates claimed that he was talking about building the roads and bridges. Okay, let’s assume that’s true. Who paid for the roads and bridges? Government? NO. Let’s remember that “government” isn’t some entity that generates its own capital by making and selling a product or providing some service that people were willing to pay for. If it were, it would be a for-profit corporation.

But it’s not. The only money the government has, it got from you and me, the people. And a lot of the people are small business owners. Some of them even own BIG businesses, which are even more hated by this administration. So even if he was only talking about building roads and bridges, who really built those? The people!

Obama has spent a great deal of time trying to convince us that we should appreciate the government more. I would suggest that it’s time for him and for his administration to appreciate the people more! Remember, America is great because of the individualism we have. Our personal freedom and responsibility. It’s not great because of governmental control. The entire purpose of the Constitution was to ensure that the government did NOT take control. The Constitution makes clear that the government answers to the people, not the other way around.

Obama has no understanding of that, because he doesn’t share the American experience. 2016: Obama’s America reminds us of that.

It’s time for us to remind Obama of that. Please go see the movie.

Where are the Bravehearts?

I recently was up late at night channel surfing before I turned in for the night.  When I came across “Braveheart”, an old favorite of mine, I was hooked and stayed up to watch the entire movie.  This Mel Gibson classic solidified its place in my “Top Ten Movies of All Time” list.  What an amazing movie!

However, if I may quote another of my favorite movies, “There was something there that wasn’t there before.”  Namely, a profound glimpse of what is happening in America’s political landscape today.  I would like to briefly mention some of the more striking comparisons that I noticed.

robert-the-bruce21. The Scottish Nobles.  In the movie Braveheart, the Scottish nobility are an interesting lot.  Before we can truly understand them we must remember where their power came from.  In medieval times, the monarchy held all the power, possessed all the wealth and owned all the property.  If you were not the king, you owned nothing – not even the fruits of your labor.  Taxes were meant to give everything to the king except that which was necessary for basic living.  Thus there was no middle class or upper class, just the lower – or common – class.  The king, however, could not just tax people and expect them not to revolt.  He needed strong leaders that he could trust to be loyal and subjugate the common class in the name of the king.  This loyal ruling class were the Nobility, and the king paid them richly in lands and titles.  Lands, or property, gave them areas of the countryside that could be harvested for profit.  Titles conveyed authority over vast areas of the king’s land to rule and oversee as a consolidation of power.  I know this is a rather simplistic view of the times, but the point is that power came from the king to the people, in particular to the Nobles.

From time to time, the Scottish people and lesser nobles would get so fed up with the absurd demands of their English oppressors that they would gather their forces and march to war – led, of course, by the nobles.  When the moment of battle came, the nobles, dressed in their finest military garb and flying banners to inspire their armies, would ride to the middle of the field and meet with the representatives of the king.  Promptly, without much argument at all, they would be promised more titles and lands if they would march their armies from the field of battle and return to their homes.  Nothing changed, except the nobles got richer and the people got poorer.  At some level though, the people were able to tell themselves that they marched to battle and “showed the English” that they really meant business this time.

In America, we would like to think there is no comparison to these Scottish Nobles – and indeed there SHOULD NOT be.  Sadly, the comparison comes to mind too easily to be ignored.  Politicians from both sides of the isle constantly tell the people that they will fight for the principles and issues for which they were elected.  Time and again, however, they are promptly bought off with promises of pork and power.  When I think of specific examples when this has been very apparent, two recent events come to my mind.  Most recently, the “fight” for the Debt Ceiling.  For many conservatives, this was an absurd line that could not be crossed.  Not “Should Not be crossed”.  “Could Not be crossed”.  There was no clearer “battle line” that could be drawn.  And our politicians proudly took up the call to arms.  They inspired us with their banners and speeches.  You remember.

john_boehner1Who are we kidding?  We’re not kidding anybody.  I just think it’s time to put the brakes on all of it.  Let’s get really serious about cutting spending, and the way we start is by saying no to increasing the debt limit.” –John Boehner, Dec 16, 2009

Now this money comes from our kids and grandkids who, this year, are going to get stuck with 43 cents out of every dollar the federal government spends; the debt’s going to be laid on them. The American people are shouting at the top of their lungs, ‘Stop, and stop now!’” –John Boehner, Jun 15, 2010


Our nobles, leading us to battle.  We rallied and called and protested.  And when the battlefield was set and the nobles met in the middle, what happened?  You remember.

john_boehner2I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the President of the United States.  I stuck my neck out a mile.  And I put revenues on the table, in order to try to come to an agreement to avert us being where we are.” 
[snip]
“So for the sake of our economy, for the sake of our future, I’m going to ask each of you – as representatives of the people of the United States – to support this bill, to support this process, and end this crisis now.” –John Boehner, Jul 29, 2011


Compromise.  Betrayal.  Failure.  What so many had fought for, had hoped for, just sold away for undisclosed deals made in the back halls of the Capital.  And who pays for it?  The people.  And, painfully, our children.  How could we let this one moment of true import where conviction mattered the most slip from our grasp as if the fate and future of this our precious nation didn’t hang on its outcome?  It might as well have been Robert the Bruce and the other Scottish Nobles that led us to war. 

robert-the-bruceWe will embrace this rebellion. Support it from our lands in the north. I will gain English favor by condemning it, and ordering it opposed from our lands in the south. Sit down. Stay a while.


Another perfect example of this happened in the 108th and 109th Congress.  From 2003 thru 2006, for the first time in modern history, the Republican party controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency.  What an opportunity to reverse decades upon decades of fiscal liberals and having to compromise!  Now the fiscal conservatives were in charge and the people would finally see the principles they had fought for become reality in the Federal Government.  You remember.

Compromise.  Betrayal.  Failure.  The deficits of the 108th and 109th Congress and the Bush Administration GREW!  The size of the Federal government GREW!  Entitlement spending GREW!  Once again our leaders rode the wave of the people’s discontent to power only to betray the principles of those who put them there.  And once again our children were burdened with the cost of their insatiable ambitions.

We must remember that in America, unlike medieval Scotland, power comes from the people to the government!  We must elect leaders that will carry our cause into battle without compromise!  Compromise has been the bane of sanity in the Western world, especially since the end of World War II.  Historians can argue over why that has occurred, but we must reverse it.  There are some principles that must never be compromised.  Sanctity of Life.  Build strong families.  Live within our means.  Self reliance.  Nation of Laws.  Protect our borders, language, and culture.  Individual Liberty.  The list goes on.  These are things which only maintain their integrity when they are whole.  Water them down just a little and they fade away.

braveheart-5-241x3002. Braveheart.  In the movie, William Wallace was a man who had lost everything as a child and was raised in another country by his uncle.  When he returned to Scotland, he wanted only to marry his childhood sweetheart, farm the land, and live in peace.  He quickly found that a life of peace could only come through the defeat of the tyranny that had gripped his nation.  Edward Longshanks was intent on the continued subjugation of the Scottish people in order to further solidify his own rule, so he paid off his English nobles by allowing them absurd authority over the personal lives of the Scots (see prima noctes).  The people were fed up and were on the verge of rebellion, but lacked leadership that was willing to champion their cause to the end.  Enter Braveheart.  Wallace possessed one quality that the Scottish Nobles did not have.  He was not just frustrated or upset.  He was, in his words, “well beyond rage”.  In his mind, the world was so upside down that there could be no talk of compromise until it was upright once again.  The people followed him because he embodied their feelings exactly, whether they totally understood it or not.  Wallace clearly saw what was needed to remedy the situation and was willing to see it through to the end.  All the while, he did not let the end justify the means – rather, he lived by a code of honor that he expected from those who followed him.  Wallace also possessed one insight that the nobles did not share.  Power – true power with meaning and longevity – comes from the people not the king or the government.

You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You  think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.

Where are our Bravehearts today?  I’m not talking about warriors who paint their faces to discourage their foe.  I’m talking about political leaders who do not compromise their (our) principles when the battle for those principles is imminent.  Political leaders who clearly see the line between sanity and ruin.  Political leaders who are determined to follow a personal code of honor as they right the wrongs wrought by corruption.  Where are our political leaders who are guided by their principles and not their pockets?

3. Freedom.  The same battle cry yelled by William Wallace is the same cry we shout today.  Freedom!  But Freedom means nothing if we forget what we are yearning to be free from.  Tyranny.  Oppression.  Corrupt Government.  Taxation without Representation.  Religious Persecution.  These were problems that the founders of this nation were all too familiar with.  So in order to protect their infant nation from falling back under the control of these evil practices, they wrote two documents for the very purpose of protecting our future Freedom – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  And to this end, these documents LIMITED THE POWERS of the Federal government and “reserved to the states and to the people” all powers not expressly granted.  This is the very bastion of our Freedom!  Without it, there is nothing to stop the eventual return of those evil practices that we yearn for Freedom From.

So, if you haven’t watched Braveheart in a while, I encourage you to spend a few late nights searching for it on the ol’ tube.  Perhaps I’m just seeing similarities that aren’t really there.  Or perhaps there is more to this movie than kilts and claymores.  What do you think?

braveheart sce capture 7

Court Rules "Obamacare" Unconstitutional

supreme_court_buildingFinally, a court that gets it! Many of us have been screaming about Obamacare since the time it was being debated in Congress. We’ve recognized it as an unconstitutional power grab by the federal government. We’ve understood it as the first time in history that the federal government has issued such a far reaching mandate that the American citizen purchase a product that he or she may not want or need.

Now the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Atlanta has agreed. In a strongly worded opinion found here, the Court ruled that the individual mandate is not an authorized act of Congress under the Constitution’s Commerce clause. In other words, Congress went beyond its 10th Amendment enumerated powers in forcing Americans to purchase something against their will.

In part, the Court stated: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.”

Some in support of Obamacare have argued that it is no different from requirements to buy auto insurance. On the contrary, auto insurance is not comparable. We are not REQUIRED to purchase auto insurance. In fact, we are not even required to purchase a car! If we don’t drive, gavel-360x225there is no need to get auto insurance. So in that sense, we have a choice to make. With Obamacare, there is no “choice”. We either purchase the insurance (“every month for [our] entire life”) or we pay the penalties.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized Obamacare for what it is – an unconstitutional attempt by Congress and the administration to force all Americans to purchase a product some do not want or need. Hopefully, the court’s logic will prevail in the end. This fight is far from over.

Two Kinds of Budgets

budgetingYears ago, right after getting married to my wonderful wife, I enrolled and graduated from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course.  This is where I learned the true importance of budgeting.  I also learned that there are two kinds of budgets.  The first is a “Zero-Based Budget”, where every dollar has a place to go and you end the month with zero dollars left over.  Of course, this budget includes everything from the utility bills to charity to savings and retirement.  Every thing is accounted for in the budget and you live within your budget.  When you run out of money in a certain category (such as “Eating Out”), you either pull money from another category or you stop spending money on that particular category.  This is not rocket science.  But it is pure genius.  And it works every time.

The second kind of budget is the “Needs-Only Budget”, where you look at your “Needs” versus your “Wants”.  When you separate everything as either a Need or a Want, you add up the Needs and see how much you COULD live on if you absolutely had to.  How low can you cut your “Eating Out” budget if you needed to?  No fancy restaurants and packing a lunch from home if possible.  Do you really need Cable TV?  How about Netflix?  Unlimited Text Plan?  Do you really need that new pair of glasses?  It’s amazing what you can really get by with when you look at it this way.

So when do you use one kind of budget over another?  The Zero-Based Budget is your normal everyday budget.  If you have trouble meeting your budget, you cut from your already identified list of Wants.  However, when you enter an emergency situation where your income is severely reduced (loss of a job, perhaps) or your expenses dramatically increase (such as serious medical expenses), you then switch to your Needs-Only Budget.  This allows you to increase cash flow to pay for increased expenses, or live within a reduced income.  Living under a Needs-Only Budget is not a comfortable thing to do.  Quite the contrary.  But that is the real beauty of it – you are very motivated to CHANGE your present situation if you can.

Curious.  When we look at the Federal Government we see neither of these budgets being used.  In fact, it seems that the Federal Government hascongress1 come up with a third kind of budget: the “Don’t-Even-Try Budget”.  For the life of me, I cannot understand how Congress can consistently pass a budget that exceeds its income.  Following Dave Ramsey’s plan, I am debt free except for a mortgage that I will pay off in less than 15 years.  I have savings in the bank for a rainy day and for retirement.  I give generously to charities that are important to me.  Following Congress’s plan, the Federal Government now has more debt than it has income.  SIX TIMES more debt than income.  The Federal Government is overspending its income by over 60% this year.  The Federal Government actually owes more in retirement (Social Security) than it owes in debt!

Furthermore, incredulously, Congress has invented yet another kind of budget for times of crisis: the “All-Needs-All-Wants-Plus-Kitchen-Sink Budget”.  In a time of crisis, in this case a reduction in projected income (Debt Ceiling) AND a dramatic increase in expenses (President Obama’s massive increase in spending in the current “budget”), the Congress actually RAISED spending.  By a LOT!

I would like to see Congress come up with a “Zero-based Budget” – also known as a “Balanced Budget”.  I would LOVE to see the Congress develop its “Needs-Only Budget”.  That is the only way we will see dramatic change in Washington.  That is the only way we will ever get rid of $15,000,000,000,000 of debt.

Tea Party Caused the Credit Downgrade?

A “cult fringe”.  Tom Harkin, Democrat Senator from Iowa on July 20, 2011. A “fringe element”. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Democrat, to CNN in April 2010. “Tea partiers-the fringe element of the Republican Party”. DailyKos, July 27, 2011. Harry Reid has called the Tea Party irrelevant, and claimed it will be short-lived.

Yet, once the S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating, somehow it’s the Tea Party’s fault? Both David Axelrod, of Obama’s team, and John Kerry have called this the “Tea Party Downgrade”. Interesting how it doesn’t take long for the Democrat talking points to use the exact same language.

My question is, how in the world is a fringe, irrelevant group capable of bringing down the credit rating of the largest economy in the world for the first time ever?

This is a problem for both major parties. The blame game immediately started after the downgrade. I thought the debt deal, which was supported by members of both parties, was supposed to save the economy. Isn’t that what we were told? Now, we’re told it’s Obama’s fault. We’re told it’s the Tea Party’s fault.

It’s clear to me that it’s the federal government’s fault. This is what happens when year after year, the federal government does not concern itself with living within its means. This is what happens when the government continues to waste money on matters that don’t actually benefit the country, continues to fund entitlement programs without giving the people in those programs the proper incentives to find employment, and continues to raise the debt ceiling without regard for its ability to pay the debt back.

Isn’t it time for the American citizen to stand up against the federal government’s irresponsibility?

Free Credit Report for the Government?

So Congress has now passed its Debt Deal.  If you watched any of the voting on C-Span or anywhere else, you likely saw many of your elected officials congratulating themselves on such a good job.  They celebrated the vote, happy that they averted a “default”, and avoided the largest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

What?  Increasing the amount of debt the country could owe somehow SAVES the country from economic ruin?  Our elected officials must live on a different planet than you and me.

In all of the debates regarding the debt ceiling, did you hear ANY of the representatives or senators ask if doing so was constitutional?  Hardly.  If any of them did so, it was only in passing.  Instead, the bulk of the debate centered around the completely fictitious notion that the U.S. might default on its debt.  This was never going to happen!  But that’s all the media reported on, and that’s all the elected officials talked about.

So is it constitutional?  According to Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution:

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;”

At first glance, it would certainly appear that Congress is well within its rights to increase the debt limit, as it has the power to “borrow money on the credit of the United States”.  But notice something else in the first clause:  Congress also has the power “to pay the Debts”.  Why is it that we never hear about that?

Can it seriously be argued that the founding fathers intended to give Congress the power to continually raise the debt limit without any regard for the ability to actually pay back those debts?  Of course not.  If the founding fathers were truly giving Congress such a power, they would necessarily have been allowing Congress to bankrupt the country.  That was never what they intended.

What Congress is doing, and has done for way too long, is focus only on its “power” to borrow money, without considering the equal responsibility to actually pay it back.  Consequently, our country continues to fall deeper into debt.

What about the commerce clause?  Is it constitutional under that?  I would say the same principle applies.  At some point, you lose the ability to regulate commerce when you’re nothing more than a debtor to more creditors than you can count.  Ask yourself this question:  when your monthly debts are more than your income, who’s in control of your life?  You, or your creditors?  The answer is simple.

What about the general welfare clause?  Surely it passes muster under that, right?  Again, the same questions yield the same results.  Who is benefiting when we as a country sink deeper into debt?  Not the American citizen, that’s for sure.

Finally, some have argued that the 14th Amendment gives the President the ability to raise the debt limit without the consent of Congress.  According to Section 4 of the 14th Amendment:  “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”  So, the argument is made, President Obama could simply ignore Congress and increase the debt limit himself, or, as some have suggested, declare the idea of any debt limit unconstitutional in and of itself.

Of course, this entire thinking is backward.  Congress (and the President) was concerned about our ability to BORROW above the current debt limit.  Why wasn’t anyone asking about our ability to REPAY what had already been borrowed?  Isn’t that our real problem?

For an excellent discussion of this issue, click here:  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/08/3614

 

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