Follow the [European] Leader?

By Monica Frede

 

Last week, many pundits commented on the New York Times op-ed that vindicated Sarah Palin’s infamous “death panels” that drew scrutiny from Democrats and moderate Republicans during the ObamaCare debates of 2009.

See, Republicans boasted, she was right all along! Even the New York Times admits that there will be rationing. Yes, Steven Rattner did write in his op-ed that “unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently—rationing, by its proper name—the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.” Yes, Rattner did write that “elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.” And yes, he also stated that families that try every available treatment option to extend or improve the life of their elderly relatives are “an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear.” Continue reading

One Fish, Two Fish, Government Fish…. Adieu Fish

By Monica Frede

 

“Small businesses have always been the engine of our economy, creating 65% of all new jobs in America, and they must be at the forefront of our recovery. That’s why the recovery act was designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs.”
– Pres. Obama in 2009

“Instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to small business owners who are creating jobs right here in America. Already, we’ve given small businesses 8 new tax cuts and have expanded lending to more than 60,000 small business owners.”
– Pres. Obama on July 24, 2010

“As a part of health reform, 4 million small business owners could be eligible this year for a health care tax credit worth perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. “
– Pres. Obama on Sept 27, 2010

President Obama and his administration want to solve the riddle of how to fix the American economy. Unfortunately for him, securing the right answer has one requirement: to get out of the way.

Small businesses cannot guarantee economic growth, but then neither can our government. Then why do so many Americans believe that the government is the safety net? Because the government has been just that— so far. But every net has a breaking point, and even Jesus taught this. At the request of Jesus, Simon cast out his nets into the sea one more time, after toiling all night without catching any fish, but his obedience was rewarded with a harvest greater than his fishing net could hold— and it broke.  The lesson?

Don’t trust in what man can do. Trust in what God has already done.

The number of new businesses that exist today is at a 16-year low. Only 2.5 million jobs were created in 2010, which is also at a 16-year low. Then who is creating all the jobs? The government. Even Steve Jobs told the president that it is easier to start jobs in China than it is in the United States.

Every small business owner will experience some sleepless nights. What do we do if we can’t meet payroll? Should I fire the employee who has a wife and three children? Will the bank extend our loan, and if they don’t, then what? But congressmen do not lay awake at night with such concerns. They have a guarantee—regardless of what happens in the economy, they still receive a salary, and every two years, they manage a campaign for their own reelection, which is of little concern to most of them. After all, incumbents rarely lose re-election. US House reelection rates between 1964 and 2010 average nearly 90%, with US Senate reelection rates slightly lower.

The Federal Government has not passed a budget in the last three years. In 2011, the Federal Government spent $3.6 trillion. The total Federal receipts were $2.3 trillion. That’s a shortage of $1.3 trillion. And 29% of that spending pie consists of Social Security expenditures. And unfortunately for us, in 1960 there were 5.1 workers to every retiree, but in 2009, there were only 3 workers to every retiree. And it is projected that by 2030, there will only be 2.2 workers to every retiree.

And yet, we trust the government safety net.

The CBO published the “Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” in December 2010 stating that under our current policies, the U.S. Public Debt as a percentage of GDP would balloon continuously, growing from 61% in 2010 to 110% in 2025 and 140% in 2040. Let’s keep this simple: anything over 100% means we have no money to pay what we owe. And yet, Americans continue to elect those who promise hope and change.

Given these all-too-real statistics, why do so many people believe the government knows what is best for our economy and our futures? Why do we trust them? Another chart provides the answer. The four largest discretionary spending categories of our government directly impact the individual: The Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Education and Housing and Urban Development.

The government is spending its largest amount of income on you— on your neighbor, on those who are sick and on the young who need to be educated. The individual who receives basic needs directly from his government is an individual who will forget his ability to be self-sufficient.

In America today, we have 28 million small businesses that employ 60 million people. Every one of those small business has a budget. Every one of those small business owners spends less than what they take in. Every one of those employees care about the success of their company, because the day the company is not successful is the day they may be out of a job. But yet these companies are demonized.

The Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 took out their anger not only on banks, but on local, small businesses. Neighborhoods in New York were occupied for over two months, during which protestors urinated and defecated on streets and in business’s outdoor trash containers, and they destroyed property of those same business owners. In the last year in Wisconsin, union organizations and liberal organizations called for boycotts on local businesses that support Governor Scott Walker. The co-administrator of a Facebook page, “Boycott Scott Walker Contributors,” reacted to a concerned citizen who was disturbed that these boycotts would directly result in low and middle-income earners losing their jobs. He said this in response:

“But the core issue is that we’ve reached a state of ‘war’….So yes, in times of war, there will be collateral damage…Basically the only thing corporations care about is money, we can’t really affect them by saying things or flashing (protest signs). The thing to do on a day-to-day basis is to try to reduce their revenues.”

Yes, businesses want to make money. They want to succeed and they want to exchange that money for goods—not only for themselves, but for you as well. They want to hire you. They want to promote you. They want to give you a chance to be successful. But what does the government want? They want to take your money. They want to spend your money, and they want to keep your money.

Far too many Americans trust in their government to be their provider. They believe the government’s net will serve up just enough fish to last until the next need arises.  But below the surface, the sea is out of fish. With what could happen in our economy any day now, give this a try: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Because eventually, your god runs out of money and runs out of lies.

But my God already walked on the water, and His fish fed thousands.

 

An Anniversary and A Funeral: ObamaCare

By Monica Frede

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) gave a celebratory speech to Congress on Wednesday, the same week as the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Health Care Act, evoking the core principles of the Declaration of Independence— life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She could hardly contain her glee:

 

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is exactly what the Affordable Health Care Act helps to guarantee. A healthier life, the liberty to pursue happiness, free of the constraints that a lack of health care might provide to a family. If you want to be a photographer, a writer, an artist, a musician, you can do so. If you want to start a business, if you want to change jobs, under the Affordable Care Act, you have that liberty to pursue your happiness. And that is why I am so pleased that this week we can celebrate the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

Time to start the party.

If you want to pursue your dream career, change your job, or start your own business, the government is here to say you can do so! (Imagine the commemoratory events planned in offices around the country this week: colorful streamers falling from drop ceiling tiles, balloons strung from fire sprinkler heads and Obama’s glowing smile supplanted on “Happy Birthday” sheet cakes.)

I have another idea of what could help those Americans trapped in dead-end jobs, shackled with their inevitable pursuit of depression: capital. Anyone who wants to start their own business needs capital. Why not create a law that anyone who writes a persuasive letter to the federal government, expressing their heartfelt plea for the funds needed to cover start-up costs such as three years of salary, equipment costs and legal fees, will receive a check in the mail? Mrs. Pelosi certainly would support that idea. After all, having sufficient capital to start your own business is the very definition of pursuing happiness.

Although we have many Americans who do not want to be small business owners, their letter would look slightly different. “I have not been on a family vacation in two years, and my kids really want to meet Goofy at Disney World. Can you send a check for $3,000?”

Critics quickly poke holes in my suggestions: but we’re not talking about free vacations; we are talking about providing health care. Health care saves lives. And that provides all Americans life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness.

Is that so? To what end?

Daniel Webster (1782-1852), a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts, as well as a U.S. Congressman and U.S. Secretary of State, presented a testimony before the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1840, persuasively arguing for the people’s rights to establish qualifications for their elected officials. Early in his testimony Webster said, “No man can be said to have a right to that which others may withhold from him at pleasure.”

That statement, another harbinger for our times, like so many of our Founding Fathers’ words, rebukes our modern-day governmental philosophy that more is better and much more is best. The temptation of holding office coincides with the temptation to trade handouts for reelection. Webster continued:

There may be among legislators strong passions and bad passions. There may be party heats and personal bitterness. But legislation is in its nature general: laws usually affect the whole society; and if mischievous or unjust, the whole society is alarmed and seeks their repeal. The judiciary power, on the other hand, acts directly on individuals. The injured may suffer without sympathy or the hope of redress.

Nancy Pelosi and her counterparts grossly augment their realm of legislative authority by extending “the pursuit of happiness” to include health care coverage. Again, no citizen is denied health care when needed. But that same citizen is required, by law, to pay for services rendered. But the damaging ramifications of the Affordable Health Care Act “benefit” only a portion of the public, rather than protect the general welfare of the whole.

(What better protects the general welfare of the whole than removing government from health insurance? Just look to the housing market as our “lesson learned.”)

Additionally, handing out checks to entrepreneurs does not benefit the whole. The same can be said for food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child tax credits, Earned Income Tax Credit, student loans and government-subsidized housing.

No limits exist on the government’s ability to grant a benefit, cloaked in the right to pursue happiness, so long as the government denies the spirit of the Constitution and their limited legislative powers. And no elected official can pervert their legislative ability amongst a society that seeks their repeal.

Like Webster asserted to his Convention, “If he dislikes the condition, he may decline the office in like manner as if he dislikes the salary, the rank, or any thing else which the law attaches to it.” And if he chooses not to decline, we the people can remove. Because we are the government.

Happy Anniversary.

 

The Immoral Government and Our Moral Opportunity

By Monica Frede

Earlier this week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, penned a letter in response to recent visits by White House officials to the group of Catholic Bishops. In an effort to soothe the fiery debate ignited in recent weeks due to the Obama Administration’s mandate on private insurers providing its customers contraception coverage, the church leaders and White House staff discussed “the options.” Dolan’s letter, addressed to his Conference of Catholic Bishops, reaffirms the unapologetic position by the White House:

How fortunate that we as a body have had opportunities during our past plenary assemblies to manifest our strong unity in defense of religious freedom. We rely on that unity now more than ever as HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] seeks to define what constitutes church ministry and how it can be exercised.

The HHS seeks to constitute church ministry and how it can be exercised? This untoward conversation greatly concerned Dolan when White House officials further clarified their position:

At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for ‘working out the wrinkles.’ Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the ‘enlightened’ voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America. The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.

Even though these conversations existed within the walls of the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Washington D.C. offices, Dolan makes it clear why the contraception mandate should concern all of us:

They know that this is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception. It’s about religious freedom, the sacred right of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.

With a President and his Administration who are not concerned with the fundamental rights granted to our religious organizations— because to do so would require a pause, for a few moments, ruminating the original intent of the U.S. Government, which we can all agree is not going to happen— the argument must come to fruition from citizens leading laborious debates rooted in limited government and individual freedom.

It is no surprise that the White House believes themselves to be more enlightened than this 46-year old institution that has driven humanitarian efforts alongside past and the present Popes. An institution as grandiose as the government, capable of altering school lunches while juggling CEO compensation plans, vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and plastic bag usage, surely can deliver the exceptional alternative to the Catholic Church.

It is the very fact that we have allowed our government to take on the role of god that it believes it is god.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.”  The distorted control we have granted to our elected officials has existed for some time, peaking in our present scenario of an entitlement, welfare-laden state, leading directly to the throne of federally-funded morality (or immorality).

But what we also have today is an opportunity to reshape the debate. The fact that Americans are debating whether the federal government should require private, non-profit and religious organizations to provide contraception to individuals is both good and bad. The argument is good because people who question the acts of their government are people who have the potential to react to unjust laws. The argument is bad because we must entertain the argument at all. King wrote:

 

[T]here is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

Tension exists today— from Sandra Fluke’s passionate testimony pleading for financial provision from the government to support the co-ed lifestyle, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation entering the stage of public disapproval for its decision to cut its voluntary donations to Planned Parenthood (only to reverse course), to the Obama Administration defunding the Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign in lieu of a “lack of interest” from the public— and we are talking.

Every enactment of an Obama Administration law and regulation supplies the Conservative aggregation a fresh opportunity to create tension, but we should approach the theatre of thought with the simplicity of the facts, rather than the subjectivity of public opinion.

After all, opinions change. Truth does not. King reminds us that “human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.”

 

The Dangers of the Entitlement Mentality

By Ed Willing

The Entitlement Mentality of our generation is a degenerative disease.

The Entitlement Mentality has created a militia of ragged, angry civilians of all races and backgrounds.

Like him or not (I happen to enjoy him from time to time), Rush Limbaugh had it right when he put the Hurricane Katrina mess into context: “What we’ve seen in New Orleans is first and foremost the utter failure of generation after generation after generation of the entitlement mentality.”

Flood victims had been victimized twice, once by nature and again by the perception that government would somehow save them from nature’s rage, he said. “They had no idea what to do because they’ve been told somebody else was going to fix it.” After fostering dependency among the citizens of New Orleans, Limbaugh said state and local officials failed to respond to the dependency they helped create. And not just local and state, but federal as well.

As far as the public is concerned, the promises from Washington to fix the reading problems Tommy’s having at his local 5th grade class is a sign that they know what’s going on and have the power to fix it. Then a hurricane comes (with days of advance notice) and everyone is wondering why the government didn’t bring in every helicopter, ship and airplane to bring everyone out just before the storm hit. And why wasn’t there food to eat, or clean porta-johns to use? And why wasn’t everyone in New Orleans who didn’t have the money to buy a car, given one by the Federal government? I mean, if Oprah can give away cars to her audience, surely Washington can find it in their hearts and pockets to pony up a Chevy, or at least (if unfortunately) a Kia.  Apologies to those who own a Kia.

Beginning in the 1850’s we began to turn over control of our education to the government. Poor communities and distant farm children needed a place to grow and learn and climb the ladder of American society. And surely, that was a noble goal. But 150 years later we have given over the right to teach our children everything from how to eat right and who made the universe to sex education and career planning. All this, so mom and dad can spend their time making more money so they can buy a bigger house that is less and less occupied every year, and pay more and more taxes so that Tommy and Gina can be taught the very things God instructed parents to teach their children in the first place. Then we complain that the system isn’t teaching what we want our children to learn.

I stated in another post on my personal blog that while churches that have been charged by God to take care of the “homeless, alien and without inheritance” build more beautiful buildings with glass atriums and larger parking lots, our individualistic mindset sentences us to the concept that we’d rather the government “servants” mop up the dirty mess, and keep our doorstep free from beggars and the needy.

Quarantine is the new charity: it benefits both sides.

I’m a Conservative who supports personal responsibility – I’m also a Christian man who expects the people of our local churches to fill the role the Government had to step into because we abrogated our responsibility. I don’t presume to defend the previous Presidential administration in every respect just because it wasn’t Obama; I believe it had only furthered our dependence upon it either by neglect or otherwise increasing our beauracracy. I don’t presume to defend Republicans in general, or criticize Democrats in stereotype. Remember “Compassionate Conservatism”?

I do however, defend the office and the function it is charged to hold. More importantly, the initial purpose of the office. And it didn’t include education, or entitlement programs or federal housing, it was to defend our nation against internal strife, crime and foreign invasion. I defend the right of any administration to conduct it’s agenda domestically and foreign the way it sees appropriate, because we’ve given government that right in every capacity. Whether I agreed with Bush’s Medicare Prescription benefit or not, it doesn’t matter. Even if I don’t like the way the politicians have conducted the Iraq war, or handled judicial nominations, or spent the tax dollars it has been trusted with, we placed government in the awkward position of relying on a simple majority vote to determine it’s course. “Just poll it!” And now when it makes a decision we disagree with, we criticize it. We barely have the right to!

We (The Entitlement Generation) are hypo (and hyper) critical sucklings of a surrogate parent. When will it stop?!

 

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Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin of humble means, Ed was raised by a single mother who also took her God-given call to raise her child in the way they should go seriously, and homeschooled him K-12. BEFORE it was acceptable. Growing up in Milwaukee and the son of an entrepreneurial mother made Ed a natural fit for small business, political research, debates and eventually online blogging. After college, studying music and theology, Ed graduated and entered the workforce while volunteering in Church music ministries. Between the opportunity to be the Youth Coordinator for a Presidential campaign in 2000, and becoming a real estate investor and small business owner, he learned quickly the realities of government intervention and taxation. Moving back to Wisconsin, he continued working in the real estate industry until the recession forced him into starting Lael, his own sales and marketing training company. Channeling his acquired skills from the sales training industry, Ed began to construct seminars about Constitutional history and activism. Ed has helped establish a non-profit that takes traditionally academic-only organizations to another level, helping to link together actual activists, recruited and trained by FoundersIntent.org and working to pass actual legislation in local communities that help further the cause of not only limited, but also localized government. His son is his singular motivation in changing the world today.