Every parent concerned with their state implementing Common Core standards as it relates to federal dollars match to them should download this form, print, sign and forward to everyone you know. It is from Truth in American Education. Locally, FoundersIntent signed onto several press releases (click HERE to view letter to Luther Olsen, and HERE to view letter to members of the Republican Governors Assoc) to stone-walling state legislators that refuse to hold public hearings on the issue.
Since they won’t let us speak to them, we must try other measures. You may share any of the letters provided here by links with anyone you like.
Please make this go viral, as the video of THIS MAN has since last night. A father in Maryland stood up in a public education meeting designed to silence debate (you had to write your questions down, no discussion), and for doing so he was assaulted by a security officer, arrested and charged with assaulting the GUARD! Please stand up at every turn.
Sign the form. Share the video. Stand up. Speak out. Without you, liberty stands still.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you still cannot see the file above by left or right-clicking on the link, then please try this shockwave preview window below
In light of the recent buzz surrounding Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s radio PSA on gun safety and crime-prevention, other local sheriffs have been brought into the mainstream with their own opinions. While a few law enforcement officers are vociferously opposed to the PSA and have thrown partisan attack jabs at the Milwaukee Sheriff, most have been supportive. One such local Sheriff is three-time elected Daniel Trawicki, from neigborhing County, Waukesha.
On January 29th, he wrote an op-ed that was featured in the print edition of the Waukesha Freeman, a daily County newspaper. They feature the columns of many prominent, local leaders in the Conservative community. Below is one of the most reasonable and difficult-to-rebut cases for protecting the right to bear arms in a way that is normal, and wise. Not partisan, radical or dangerous. He joins Sheriff Clarke in trusting the people to be partners in crime prevention, tyranny deterring and safety-promotion. Here is the radio PSA Clarke put on the air last week:
Wisconsin is blessed to have a strong Conservative government that has observed open-carry for a long time, and recently passed sweeping concealed carry legislation. In a little over a year, 155,000 citizens have gone through certified safety courses, applied and received their concealed carry permits in the State of Wisconsin. From Governor Walker to Attorney General JB Van Hollen (who is registrant #1 on the list), the state has a strong hunting and personal protection legacy that shows how a government of the people can trust the people to govern themselves. The way the Founders intended.
With the recent tragedies across America, our leaders in Washington are once again calling for stricter controls on firearms.
The obvious answer to senseless violence seems to be the restriction of firearms and access to specific types of guns, magazines and bullets. To many it’s a quick, easy and appropriate solution that will help protect our children, neighbors and friends.
There is, however a serious flaw in that logic. The idea that this simple solution will resolve society’s larger problems is ridiculous. everyone wants a clean, neat and tidy answer as to why we are killing each other, and there is none. No one wants to factor in the status of our health care system in general and the breakdown of mental healthcare in particular across the country. where do family values and the breakdown of family relationships and responsibility come into play? How about our children and young adults have access to over-the-top movies and video games that depict murder and mayhem as just another Saturday morning?
As our children experience difficulty in the classroom or social settings, the answer is to medicate away the problem. Depression, poor grades, anxiety and everything in between have a quick and clean remedy. Don’t focus on the root of the problem, rather take a pill and make the SYMPTOMS go away. No one could deny the outrage we all feel when another senseless killing occurs. And helpless victims are cut down in their prime. But are guns really to blame? National crime statistics show time and again that there are many other causes other than so-called assault rifles, and high capacity magazines that are responsible for the majority of deaths in the United States. A quick look at deaths in automobiles and specifically alcohol-related crashes makes us aware of how fragile life truly is. Yet I don’t see a national movement to outlaw motor vehicles or alcohol.
Many feel that outlawing certain guns and components is a quick and easy solution to a long and complicated problem. I do not follow, nor agree with that line of thinking. Some may think that proposals recently outlined by the President are logical initiatives to combat a national crisis. Others, including myself, feel that they are direct attacks on the constitutional rights and freedoms our Founding Fathers strived so hard to maintain. Our opponents ridicule the second amendment to the Constitution, as never intending to protect what we currently have. They argue that language about a well-armed militia and protection from the government is too broad and misunderstood. I argue just the opposite. That is exactly the type of behavior we are to be protected from, and at least for now, the Supreme Court of the United States of America agrees with me.
One thing we know for sure: with all his faults, President Obama has done more to spur growth and stimulate the economy than any other President in recent times. Since releasing his firearms initiative, sales of firearms and ammunition are at all-time highs. Dealers cannot keep inventory in stock, and business is brisk.
I recently attended the Waukesha gun show with my daughter. What a novel idea – involve your children in healthy family-oriented events like the shooting sports, and hunting. While we were there along with thousands of other enthusiasts I was struck by the passion and dedication of our sporting community. As a law enforcement officer of 34 years, and elected Sheriff three times of Waukesha County, I can tell you that I have no fear of law-abiding citizens carrying weapons, concealed or any other way. It’s those individuals that possess weapons illegally that pose the greatest threat to our community.
While I was at the gun show I was reminded of the role the National Rifle Association has played in defending our freedoms to keep and bear arms. Just like Safari Club is the number one organization to protect your right to hunt, the NRA has been the torch-bearer for our gun rights. I have to admit that personally, I have been and on-and-off-again member of the NRA. No excuses… I believe in the organization and what they stand for. It just seems I have been forgetful in renewing my membership.
I recently heard that since our good President has rolled out his master plan to protect us from ourselves, membership in the NRA has gone up by 100,000. The number of new memberships is now at least 100,001. While at the show I made it a point to not only renew my membership, but become a life-member. No more forgetting or timely excuses for me. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and I believe in the people of this great Country.
If you believe the same, I suggest you become new member 100,002.
You may reach the Sheriff @ email@example.com | Phone: 262-548-7126
In today’s social media-endowed news machine, new Executive Orders or legislative drafts come out into the open and set off a flurry of viral screaming and bloodletting, without much vetting. True, the current administration has a clear disregard for the Constitutional traditions we’ve held for so long, but it’s hard to blame them outside of simply being wrong – they aren’t the first in our nation’s history to attempt or succeed at doing this. From John Adams, to Franklin Roosevelt, there were countless moves to subvert the Constitution as it were for various “emergencies” but were more often stopped, or limited because of that hallowed document that God himself seemed to ordain for passage. Imagine any such document being passed now, even in a very Conservative state on a local scale. Surely, the event of the Constitution’s ratification is perhaps as historically significant as the contents of the document itself.
Currently, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has ordered the three counties of the state to forego their Sheriff’s arrest powers, in contradiction with their state’s Constitution. Earlier in 2012, a bill was passed to approve stripping the Sheriffs of their arrest powers, signed by the governor on June 19th. Of course, this means state statute is in violation of the state Constitution, and courts will have to challenge any potential challenges. What this shows is how relatively quick the traditions we know and take for granted can be stripped away. Now, of course, if this is truly the will of the vast majority of the people, no one has the moral right to question their change. But that is why Constitutions exist, both state and federal – to slow down the process of changing foundational law from being altered by a mere, temporary wave of emotional group-think. The state should be amending the Constitution to clarify this position, but perhaps Atty Gen Biden is not confident it would pass. Time will tell if this is important to Delaware residents.
“WE’RE PARTNERS NOW. CAN WE COUNT ON YOU?”
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, elected Sheriff David Clarke continues to show that not all officials move leftward once in office. In fact, they can evolve forward, or at least reveal more liberty-minded instincts over time. First assuming office in 2002, when Wisconsin was one of only two states that did not allow concealed carry, the Sheriff has witnessed the state of Wisconsin move rightward, and has embraced the recent changes in law that allowed over 150,000 residents to carry a firearm for protection. In a recent PSA on local radio, you can hear the Sheriff take the lead and make a case to the public that we are in fact “partners in this” until they “get there” to help the residents protect themselves. That is the essence of self-government. It is in direct contrast to the nannyism that has overtaken so many in office, and that so many in the public assume is the capability of their government. Until it fails them.
(Above: Sheriff David Clarke (Milwaukee County, WI) PSA on protecting your family. “We’re Partners now, can I count on you?”)
But, the reality is that laws only have an effect when people actually observe them. Violations in preserving liberties, or traditional forms of government (like the Sheriff’s office) only hold their strength in the ignorance, and acceptance of the public. So, cries about usurpations often fall on deaf ears, often to the great dismay of defenders and oathkeepers nationwide. The way these travesties have been beaten back before is not a mere war of rhetoric, but systematic, patient argument for the principles behind the policies, not just the policies themselves. If the people do not change, the government certainly will not. And no one should be surprised when government moves leftward from the line of liberty. No matter what good men or women may be in charge, the Founders learned from history that government inherently moves the opposite direction of freedom. It is not entirely the fault of the leaders that the very nature of government is to subvert the autonomy of the individual.
And as long as the public accepts these changes, nothing can be restored. Ironically, government, even in its abuse of liberties, still wields its power to execute in the will of the people, either by their demand for it, or by their acceptance of it.
OUR GAME PLAN MUST CHANGE
Therefore, each of us must do what we can to teach generations at a time what it means to self-govern. For when this ethic is lost, the vacuum will, and MUST be filled with something. Since those who cannot govern themselves naturally become dependent, that vacuum is always filled with government intervention. History has repeated this over and over again.
During the 19th century, the Progressives looked at a nation constantly rejecting their policies locally and nationally and realized that to change government, they had to change the people. Public schools were already in place in many communities, but they were not ubiquitous and they were not standardized. There was no common standard in every school district, and therefore, no ability to move the masses toward collectivist thought. Indeed, the greatest extent of “collective benefit” ever considered usually ended at the city borderline. In order to achieve their great change, Progressives everywhere understood and agreed in writings that the change must happen at the local level. Each school must become standardized, removing local cultural uniqueness, religious instruction or philosophical differences. The change was motivated by legitimate desires to reform education, but they went further by imposing these changes whenever possible by convincing the public that higher governments should bequeath these changes from on high, rather than among each of the thousands of individual schools. Once this autonomy was surrendered, it was only a matter of gaining a few seats of influence to wield the power to institute the Progressive agenda in the next generation.
By the late 19th century, the tide began to turn. Republican institutions of local government, such as primaries, municipal government and state representation in the US Government began to change. On the back of a populist movement, Teddy Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan and Robert Lafollette reformed the very foundation of government, and the people supported it. After a generation of being taught a new respect for the term “democracy,” the majority of the public despised what they perceived as the autocratic monopoly of the Founders’ intent.
Here we sit, over 100 years later with a nation altogether different than we had then. Prosperous on the backs of greater generations, but squandering it for the assurance that we do not have to govern ourselves, or be responsible for our own actions. We got to this point slowly, progressively by design. And to reverse it, we must come to agreement that it can only change the same way the progressives achieved theirs: education, and asserting independence on a local level.
Too many conservatives dismiss the notion, saying the public education system is too flawed to fix, and that it is beyond hope, and we should retreat to our own families and sew our seeds there. Yet, how can we abandon a campaign we never engaged to begin with? From the very beginning, constitutional lovers of the republican methods of government have no made a concerted effort to hold back the almost unchallenged conquest of the left in education. And since our children play in the back yards of the children still in the system, it is hardly responsible to declare it is not our responsibility.
The state of Delaware has been a progressive state for a very long time, and their people willingly accept these changes without much of a fight. But why would other states wait until the policy becomes a target, rather than take the fight to the mind itself? As Conservatives who love the Constitution and the system the Founders intended, we do not war against policy and elections; but against the minds and impulses of a people conditioned by a machine we have chosen to neglect for far too long. The presumption of strength in Government by the forces behind this centralization is empowered by a lack of knowledge among the people.
We have a nation of ignorance that does not understand God, Natural Law or the simple process of deducing ethics and morals because ironically, they have been taught that moral absolutes and personal standards are archaic and oppressive – while learning these new philosophies in an absolute and standardized environment.
Local politics (read: municipal, school, church government) is the new Third Party of the modern age. Instead of focusing our anger solely on the bahavior of two self-perpetuating Parties that exchange power in peaceful transition, negate their ability to wield that monopoly. Local politics are where it begins. If you truly want to restore the Founders’ vision and preserve the power of the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, get involved and don’t let go. It’s no longer our children’s future that depends on, but our own is at stake.
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory, and might I add, nor the bullet for its swift precision. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Aside from the Constitutional realities of limiting the second amendment, it’s puzzling that mayors and governors demand federal action for things that are reasonably their responsibility to begin with. Public safety, education, public works are local issues, yet every time something bad happens, leaders seek help from D.C. It’s an addiction. The alleged “gun problem” we have is only the latest vehicle of surrender. Read More
Since the Supreme Court’s infamous 4-1-4 ruling on the Affordable Care Act in June, nearly two dozen states have grappled with whether or not to comply with the first of many forthcoming deadlines found in the rules written (and still being written) by the functionally unconstitutional entity known as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
November 16th is the deadline, and a flurry of letters are finding their way to Kathleen Sebelius’ desk this afternoon telling her they will not comply with the requirement to set up an exchange. The great debate has been over the enticement written into the law:
Either states create the exchanges, and the Feds will not only pay for the administrative costs but also the cost increases of expanding Medicare and Medicaid, or…
The Federal government will set one up for them and not give states the authority to direct their exchanges. Read More
Constitutionalists were far from confident that either result of the recent Presidential election would help restore the Founders’ intentions, but many were hoping that an Obama loss would at least slow the extinction. Especially in regard to Obamacare, Conservatives have put a lot of weight on winning federal elections to save what is left of our waning Republic. After a frustrating, suspect and humiliating loss, few noticed the victories for Federalism made across the country – by Progressives.
While Obamacare looks to be intact, and in light of the Supreme Court ruling in June, the battles of Tuesday seemed to be the primary battlefield for Conservative reform. But consider something else, for a moment. The states of Colorado and Washington each approved the recreational use of marijuana, as a product to be regulated and taxed. This is in direct opposition to Federal statute (the Controlled Substances Act) – and a 2005 Supreme Court decision – stating that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. But, many states have said otherwise. And this is the balance the Founders presumed the Constitution would protect. But under countless laws, conservatives and progressives alike have mistakenly sought the Federal government to solve local concerns, even if they are unconstitutional actions. And, the Supreme Court has repeatedly supported this presumption, as recently as the Raich decision in 2005, under the bastardization of the Commerce Clause. Coincidentally, this ruling was in regard to marijuana regulation by the Federal government. Nonetheless, today, nine states have approved either conditional or recreational use of marijuana, with many others considering it. All but one are traditionally “blue states.” Whether you approve of the legalization or not, it is an interesting observation in contradiction. Read More
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” – President Franklin Roosevelt, March 4, 1933
The world has designed itself to create many fears for today’s culture, whether by design, or by nature. Wars and rumors of wars, TV series about sleeper cells living next door, bird flu in your schools or on planes and murder in your neighborhoods wreak havoc on our collective psyche and have driven us to Prozac, counseling, or for some, video games. Anything to get our minds off the dangers that lie around us. Yet, we were promised a progressive society without fear, weren’t we?
Most of us have been raised to not fear anything, and face obstacles. Yet, our culture is more afraid today than ever before. That is, afraid of anything but failure; fearing failure is not an option. Our society has made us wear seat belts, forbidden smoking, drinking soda of a certain size, outlawed salt and speaking against hateful ideology while marginalizing the Christian religion as bigoted, the Founders as slave-hating aristocrats and designing a narrative that the rich are out to get us and take advantage of weak people like you and I. The One Percenters have become the Bane of society, according to the Progressive storyline. And we are weak. They need us to be weak. They need us to fear freedom from the entitlement they promise. Read More
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.” Read More
Recently a community voice from Shorewood, WI asked why the political right seems so intent on ending public education? This article is a response to his own. Wisconsin is the epicenter of public sector reforms and the heaven (or hell, depending what you believe) of public education reforms. He used a misguided historical revue to support his premise. That premise: that public education (presumably as we have it now, or under his vision or reform) is what those Puritans desired. Otherwise, why would he make such a blatant endorsement of the first colonists for public education?
Clearly, he’s trying to use the Puritan arrival as a wedge to make a broader point that Conservatives are somehow contradictory in their policies and rhetoric.
He is correct. The first public school was in the home of a pastor, Philemon Poremont, near Boston in 1635. He based their entire curriculum around the Bible studies of the local church and they had a vision of hyper-local public education to increase the intellect, reasoning and understanding of the world around them. The Puritans came from among the Enlightenment, and had a profound respect for higher education.
In his historical journey, the author strangely emphasizes some of the “South’s” methods of focusing on family-based education and “personal responsibility,” and even more strangely emphasizes on only their men receiving education, and even brings up race. The clear inference is that the “political right” is more like the Southern pre-civil war-schooling methods, than they are like the Northern states, who had to drag the Southern states “kicking and screaming into the public education model of the North.”
PRESUMPTIONS WITHOUT A CASE
The problem I have with the entire rabble are the underlying presumptions within. That the fundamentals of education had to change completely, and the principles that make an educated community great (morals, respect for law, full literacy, access to higher education, academic diversity for changing economic sectors) must necessarily change into a more centralized, more expensive, more secular, less accountable system. He makes several false presumptions while making grand generalizations about “social conservatives” (That schools should preach against abortion, and promote a single religious point of view). Really?
“One of the traditions of the American education system has been non-government interference in private and religious schools.”
Actually, the “tradition,” as accurately pointed out in the beginning of the article, was non-government interference in ANY school. Notice how he conveniently changes the terminology to appeal to our common goodness. The American tradition was that the local superintendents or municipal boards that began funding them were allowed to run their schools as they saw fit. The concept of the Federal government being involved was as strange to the first 200 years of American education as Communism was to 1940’s American politics. In fact, it was seen quite the same: anathema, corrupt, a power-play, impractical.
To conclude his piece, the author states quite presumptively:
“Whether one is a social conservative, fiscal conservative or libertarian [as though they all fall into the philosophical box he subtly defined throughout the article]; the goal of ENDING public education holds the promise of ending liberal influence once and for all. [Hmmm… Way to make an argument for it!] That is the real goal of the privatization movement. [What “privatization movement?”] But, if they are successful, I don’t think they are prepared for the unintended consequences. Without a doubt, taking American education back 200 hundred years would be devastating.”
The author abruptly (and awkwardly) ends his article, and I believe it is not a mistake. Rather than explain WHY that would be devastating, or surmising what those “unintended consequences” might be, he ends the conversation with an implied “Selah” moment, as though he just said something completely true, completely devastating and completely irrefutable.
Here’s my take, and yes, I believe I speak for the VAST MAJORITY of Conservatives (social, fiscal, libertarian, or whatever other subcategories one can define) when I say public education isn’t fundamentally wrong. The status quo is what we take issue with.
Why is the political left seemingly intent on KILLING public education? Their policies do not foster economic success, so it would seem logical to deduct that they would not foster educational success. The political left has had a virtual monopoly on public education for at least 60 years, and the influence goes back well over 100 to the time of John Dewey and Horace “the state is the real sponsor/god-parent of the child” Mann. Why do I believe the political left is killing public education? Because they insist on protecting and merely adjusting the policies of the past. The recipe for death is doing the same thing over and over, and society in general shows the fruit of such policies. The “proof is in the pudding,” so to speak:
Because of increasingly more expensive education, state- and federal-funding is a huge portion of public school revenue. This means the local district loses autonomy and must submit to the strings inevitably attached to all funding sources. The money comes from somewhere, why must it be laundered through D.C. or the state Capital first?
Public schools are protectionist
Most public schools are the only choice local parents have, and public funds are only for those neighborhood schools the government has built. About a dozen states have opened up voucher and charter programs to increase competition for students, but like any industry, protected markets become wasteful, inefficient and suffer decreasing results. Yes, it seems cold, but so is the reality of a bad education.
Public schools are unaccountable
The advent of public unions in the mid-20th century changed education for generations. Education was relatively cheap. Retirement was seen as a personal responsibility. Health care was reasonably affordable. Tax revenues were plentiful in a rapidly growing, young superpower. Today, public-sector union membership outnumbers private-sector for the first time in history. These public teacher unions make tenure, shallow-evaluation, no-merit pay, and political power more important than results.
Public schools are amoral
Local schools, possibly for reasons of practicality and scale have become more centralized, reflecting more the diversity of entire communities, rather than individual neighborhoods. Now, instead of local schools reflecting the morals and principles of the parents in the neighborhood, they are forced to be as amoral as possible. Morality is offensive because it says some things are wrong. Rather than parents working hand-in-hand with local schools and teachers in supporting universal values, the schools are forced to become gray slates where the only absolutes are math, language and science. Oh, and tenure.
PARENTS MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
The problems in education are many, and the solutions are complex. And they usually involve parents as much as systemic solutions. But parents must have a system they believe in. This is the very reason the federal government must be banned – and in some cases, state government – from ALL local education. In nearly any organization or industry, most decisions must be made as locally as possible, near the source of the problem. This is, in fact the philosophy of the “political right;” running public education like a business as much as possible means it operates better and achieves better results. The “political left” has so badly demonized that process that they cannot possibly tolerate such practices in education, their fortress of power.
But how can one argue with the results? Anyone who believes in free markets and the right of us all to enjoy life, liberty and ownership of property should be consistent and see the benefit of this in the education industry.
WE MUST REDEFINE PUBLIC EDUCATION, NOT FIGHT IT
Is public education a physical school location, or the education of the public? The answer should tell you what side of the spectrum to which you belong. Progressives have ruled the debate by mastering the language we use, and creating the meme. Conservatives believe the local community should promote the education of the public. Liberals believe the local unionized school district should educate the community. Therein lies our difference.
Education is an industry, no matter how you slice it. But is it protected industry, or competitive? The America of 200 years ago, which the author initially praised, then later reviled, was actually quite static. But it was local. Operating public education like the industry that it is, logic would lead you to believe that results would improve, quality would improve, and yes, even market share would improve. Ergo, public schools would likely grow, not end.
ARE WE ACTUALLY, THE TRULY “PROGRESSIVE ONES?”
Conservative policies are, in fact, more “progressive” than our Progressive (liberal) counterparts’ outdated ideas. Imagine that! Rather than trying to bolt the wrong tire on a different part of the car as most liberal “reforms” effectively do, Conservatives want to reinvent the car, not the wheel and make it run more efficiently. Conservatives believe in education, for all races, genders and economic tiers. Yeah, imagine that! Conservatives believe in our schools, locally-funded, locally-educating, and locally-benefiting. Reflecting the beliefs, morals and economic needs of that local community. They believe results should dictate methods and methods should drive results.
Public schools are suffering from cultural decline, yet cultural strength and the infusion of virtue was praised by liberal “reformers” as being the very purpose of the public school system.
“Let the common [public] school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged; men would walk more safely by day; every pillow would be more inviolable by night; property, life and character held by a stronger tenure; all rational hopes respecting the future, brightened.” – Horace Mann
Wow – was it arrogance or just plain ignorance? Well, we’re holding them accountable, and their grade is F, and their return on investment is one of deep debt and pending bankruptcy. We, the shareholders in our children and our communities at large want the monopoly to end!
If we want to survive as a culture, public education must succeed. It’s time for a change, and Conservatives want cities to embrace true progress, and end ancient liberalism, not public education.
Significant waste exists in the current US health care system. This should come as no surprise.
An Associated Press article details a recent report conducted by the Institute of Medicine that found $750 billion in annual waste in the U.S. health care system, which means that for every dollar spent on health care, 30 cents is misused. The Institute found that waste existed in the following categories: unnecessary services ($210 billion annually), inefficient delivery of care ($130 billion), excess administrative costs ($190 billion), inflated prices ($105 billion), preventative failures ($55 billion) and fraud ($75 billion).
Can you imagine if such a report was written about the ROI (return on investment) of Bain Capital? Or for that matter, if any publicly-traded company detailed similar annual financial results to its shareholders?
In reality, we have President Obama promising to expand the government’s takeover of health care, making such bold claims as, “Here in America, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin,” and “insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against an American with a preexisting condition. They won’t be able to charge you more because you are a woman. They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get the same quality, affordable health care as everyone else.”
What board of directors would allow a CEO to remain in place who has not lived up to his most basic promises (unemployment rates) while refusing to meet with and learn from his handpicked economic team in more than six months?
It is clear that we hired a man with no business acumen. By acumen, I mean a passing interest in company profits. And by acumen, I mean a man whose resume is devoid of any private-sector work experience. He has not so much as mowed his neighbor’s lawn or waited tables, which by all company standards, would not allow him to pass beyond the pre-screening questions in any job interview.
But he did. And we hired him anyways.
Since taking office, Obama & co became part owners in one America’s largest automobile manufacturers. But a recent Forbes article tells us that GM may be heading for bankruptcy yet again. This should come as no surprise, either:
“Right now, the federal government owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company. It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion. Right now, the government’s GM stock is worth about 39% less than it was on November 17, 2010, when the company went public at $33.00/share. However, during the intervening time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by almost 20%, so GM shares have lost 49% of their value relative to the Dow.”
Any CEO would be sweating under the collar to stand in front of his board with financials like this. But unlike most CEOs, the Obama administration wears two hats with GM: that of 26% ownership stake in the publicly-traded company, but also as the auto industry regulator through its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration branch.
Having a vested interest in the profitability of GM as well as regulator of its industry is both unrealistic and paradoxical. Another great standard for any CEO.
“Regarding an inherited bloated management structure at GM and the inefficiencies that went along with it, Akerson stated, ‘the good thing about our bankruptcy is that it took only 39 days. The bad news is that bankruptcy took only 39 days. If we had been there longer, people would have asked these questions and looked at these things.’”
Mark Modica, a National Legal and Policy Associate Fellow, went on to say:
“I have stated in the past that the Obama Auto Task Force which orchestrated the GM bankruptcy process relied on bankruptcy experts instead of auto industry experts when they restructured GM. Labor costs and pension liabilities were overlooked as the politically powerful UAW had its interests protected. The belief that an influx of $50 billion of taxpayer money and the removal of $28 billion of bondholder debt could permanently fix GM’s problems was a major miscalculation. The simplistic view that closing dealerships would greatly lower GM operating costs was also not accurate. Those realities are now coming to light as GM has about the lowest profit margins in the industry, despite all of the taxpayer help.”
Asking the tough questions? Overlooking significant issues? Protecting interests? Miscalculations? Again, the theme remains, this should come as no surprise. You don’t put a toddler in charge of walking a bullmastiff. You don’t ask the Taliban to create the abridgement of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. And you don’t allow a community organizer to redesign a healthcare industry that consists of 22% of federal spending and control a 30% share of one of the world’s largest automakers.
Unless, of course, he promises hope and change. And then some more hope and some more change four years later.
The Forbes article details the gloomy outlook for GM. “In the 1960s, GM averaged a 48.3% share of the U.S. car and truck market. For the first 7 months of 2012, their market share was 18.0%, down from 20.0% for the same period in 2011. With a loss of market share comes a loss of relative cost-competitiveness. There is only so much market share that GM can lose before it would no longer have the resources to attempt to recover.”
This hallmark company that peaked in 1965 with a commanding 50.7% of the U.S. market share requires leadership— the kind that translates words into actions. The kind that steps away from the teleprompter to get his hands dirty and turn around a floundering corporation, such as Staples, Bright Horizons or Sports Authority, to name a few.
Who do you trust to manage the country’s finances— an idea, or the brain trust of doers such as Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison or Mitt Romney?