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
“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. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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 →
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?
In 2007, the Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
For those who are listening to the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault”, think about this: On January 3, 2007, the day the Democrats took control of Congress, the DOW Jones Industrial Average value was, at closing January 5, 2007: 12,398.01. Since then, from June 20, 2008 to January 28, 2011 it went well below 12,000 (as far down as 6,626.94 on March 6, 2009). It is finally showing some signs of recovery, but even the current Dow is inflated by virtually free money and the cash-printing of the Fed.
The Unemployment rate: Was 4.6% in January of 2007, and at 8.1% currently. Please note that an undetermined number of unemployed people that have used up all unemployment benefits and continue to be unemployed IS NOT counted in this percentage as it only counts those on the unemployment compensation rolls.
Debt: Is shown in the table below for each President and who controls Congress. And ahead of predictions, total national debt reached 100% of the GDP by the third quarter of 2011. If counted using the total public debt outstanding over the annual GDP in chained 2005 dollars, the ratio reached 115% on Feb. 2012.
People complain about exploding deficits under George W. Bush, and some of this consternation is well-founded with his increased spending every year, often at a greater pace than his predecessor. However, his economic policies led to even greater increases in tax revenue per economic dollar created. President Bush demonstrated that letting people keep more of their own money leads to economic growth. In 2001, America was experiencing the unprecedented triple shock of a recession following the dot-com bust, economic disruption due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, and corporate accounting scandals. Fortunately, the country was able to overcome these challenges, in part because President Bush’s tax relief put more money in families’ pockets and encouraged businesses to grow and invest. Following the President’s 2003 tax relief, the United States had 52 months of uninterrupted job growth, the longest run on record” per the White House.gov archives site.
As another example: Based on that historical record from the National Bureau of Economic Research, we should be in the third year of an economic recovery boom right now. That is what we experienced under Reagan, which was the last time we recovered from a recession of similar magnitude. In September 1983, the Reagan recovery, less than a year after it began, created 1.1 million jobs in that one month alone compared to Obama’s 230,000. In the second year of the Reagan recovery, real economic growth boomed by 6.8%, the highest in 50 years.
But back to our current issues: Clinton shares at least some of the blame for the current financial chaos. He beefed up the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act to force mortgage lenders to relax their rules to allow more socially disadvantaged borrowers to qualify for home loans. In 1999 Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which ensured a complete separation between commercial banks, which accept deposits, and investment banks, which invest and take risks. The move prompted the era of the superbank and primed the sub-prime pump. The year before the repeal sub-prime loans were just 5% of all mortgage lending. By the time the credit crunch blew up it was approaching 30%. In 2003, the Bush administration tried to stop the runaway train of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Democrats alone didn’t stop this. No one filibustered the Bush administration’s bill in the Senate; it didn’t have the votes to pass. Likewise in 2006, when Chuck Hagel, John McCain, John Sununu, and Elizabeth Dole attempted to fix Fannie and Freddie, Republicans controlled Congress and did nothing to pass this bill. Democrats blocked it, but had there been some help from Republicans, both efforts would have passed easily. This is not just a Democratic or a Republican party problem at this point.
January 3rd, 2007 was the day Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in those same areas of the economy…BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES which were weakened by Clinton’s actions mentioned above and mismanaged.
THANK YOU for dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES! BTW: Bush attempted to control and reign in Fannie & because it was financially risky for the US economy. Barney blocked it and called it a “Chicken Little Philosophy” (but…the sky did fall!) and the Republicans in congress followed his lead. Why? Because both parties were getting money from Freddie and Fannie. You can look at this table at this site to see the total contributions made to each member….which, strangely enough, Obama had the second largest contributions (just under C. Dodd)….
The last balanced budget was in 2001 in the 106th congress controlled by Republicans. In that first year of Bush’s administration, Congress had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending when he, somewhat belatedly, got tough on spending increases. Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009, as well as 2010 & 2011. Obama has now gone 1,000 days without a budget, and is still blaming it on the minority Party for most of the last 6 years.
For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed Lame Duck President George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budget.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of those massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009. Let’s remember what the deficits looked like during that period:
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself and a Democratic Congress.
In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is: “I inherited a deficit that I voted for, and then I expanded that deficit four-fold since January 20th 2009.”
“The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”
To remind you: All financial matters are initiated by the House. Here is the breakdown of who controlled which areas of Congress and for what years for each President.
A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT is the most sensical, most accountable method of reining in runaway spending. While the Founders never included such a provision, they didn’t think it was necessary with the limitations on revenue channels and the foundation of Federalism. Since the 16th and 17th Amendments, the Constitutional system we had has been perverted enough to create an almost insurmountable imbalance that can only be corrected with Constitutional limitations on borrowing and spending on the federal level. The first attempt at a BBA was in 1936, in the midst of a massive socialistic transformation in our Federal Government. On May 4, 1936, RepresentativeHarold Knutson (R-Minnesota) introduced House Joint Resolution 579, resolution in support of a Constitutional Amendment that would have placed a per capita ceiling on the federal debt in peacetime. Clearly, it never saw the light of day. Two Democrats, Thomas Perriello (D-WV) and Sen. Udall (D-CO) have both proposed their own versions, along with a more recent initiative by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). We need grassroots help to make this a major initiative in the coming years, or our children may literally not have an American Dream of which to pursue, let alone achieve.
The only class the Elite Left despises is the wealthy elite they don’t control.
The rich. The target of the left. The fat cats, Wall Street, greedy, old white men who laugh in the face of hungry children and scheme behind closed doors with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to split commissions on the next big tax break. The trust-fund babies who didn’t build that; the heartless no-gooders who refuse to give to charitable organizations that won’t benefit their own coffers. The CEOs who only care about making a profit rather than hire hard-working single mothers.
Thank goodness for Democrats. For without their audacity and shining example of words, not deeds, we would be led off the cliff like a pack of possessed pigs. Because of the hard-working liberal media, professors and politicians, we know the truth. Money is not earned, it is taken; the 1% are not charitable, moral people, but rather a greedy, destructive force. We should be thankful we have the 1% to take on the 1%.
This diatribe worked in 2008, but a lot has happened in the last four years. Well, TRILLIONS have happened. “You didn’t build that,” the “Buffett rule,” the failed stimulus, a phone call to Sandra Fluke, the “Camedon police acted stupidly,” Obama’s one-term proposition, and of course, the daily “I inherited this mess” conjugation. Impressive resume.
Thank goodness for Obama. For without his occasional honesty-when-sans-teleprompter, the Tea Party would not have established its platform. Less government intrusion. Lower taxes. Traditional values. Responsible, honest governance.
I believe that there is no greater teacher than experience. And with an unemployment rate that has hovered at or above 8% for over three years and families’ median net worth falling 40% between 2007 and 2010, people are willing to learn from their mistakes. The 2012 presidential election is a chance to cleanse the palate, and the liberal’s tired tirade against the rich won’t work.
Government is personal. We see the government in our daily lives: when we go to the DMV for emissions testing, when we pay sales tax at the mall, when we pay an extra dollar for a pound of ground beef at the grocery store, when we want to install a fence to block the view of our neighbor’s fake deer and flamingo lawn decorations. And nothing is more personal than our income. With a president who is more concerned with Warren Buffett’s tax rate than the trillions of dollars of debt he has amassed in his first term, we take notice.
Do I really care that Warren Buffett has side-stepped the tax code himself and with his holding company Berkshire, when social security is bankrupt? Am I supposed to be angry that those whose gross income is $1 million or higher only pay a 24.6% tax rate while ObamaCare threatens to push me into a poorly-managed, government-run Medicaid? Or why should I be concerned about Romney’s silver spoon when President Obama has golfed over 100 rounds since taking the oath of office, yet has not met with his jobs council in 6 months?
The ads will be merciless in the coming weeks. The “tax the rich” distractions and the allusions that Romney is trying to buy the election will be leading off the cable news segments each evening. Liberals want to reelect Obama on the promise that they will soak the rich—those evil, greedy individuals who are laughing while the economy implodes on children without healthcare or a next meal.
But they miscalculate how smart we are. No, we didn’t graduate from Harvard, but we do work for a living. We participate in the exchange of goods and services on a daily basis, which teaches more about how the economy operates than all the graduate classes at NYU. We pay our taxes. We learn by experience. And experience tells us to pay more attention to the left hand when the right hand is pointed at the wealthy.
The left hand is wealthy itself, you know. The top 3 wealthiest Americans are Democrats (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison), and “an analysis of the Top 20 Richest People in America (from Forbes Top 100) reveals that a full 60% are actually Democrats.” And peruse the average net worth of the 25 richest congressmen (think hundreds of millions of dollars) to get a taste of the humble existence of those who want to soak the rich. For every Koch Brother on the libertarian Right, there are two David Bondermans and John Doerrs on the left who consider “philanthropy” to be writing checks for non-profit, politically influence groups. (Note: George Soros is merely a parenthetical mention in a sea of billionaire progressives.)
This election is not about voting for the man who promotes fairness. This election is about men and women who demand honesty from their representatives. One rich man pointing at another leaves little for Middle America except the realization that the rich aren’t the problem at all—the government is the problem. Wealth is neither intrinsically good nor evil. It’s what you do with it that determines merit.
The congressmen, senators and the president have become far more influential in our daily lives than the wealthiest private citizens, and we have taken notice. We have drawn a line in the sand. We have validated their merit.
Nothing on the teleprompter can ease unemployment or fix social security, but my vote can. Change from the top down doesn’t just refer to economics, Mr. President.
I will never forget what my dad told me the night my high school basketball team won the Wisconsin Division I State Championship: “you’ll appreciate this more as time goes on.” At the time, I didn’t think that was possible, but thirteen years later, he was right (as usual). Today I marvel at what my team accomplished because I understand what a rare opportunity it was to play with such talented female athletes, but also because we overcame so many obstacles in order to cut down those nets.
Such victories grow sweeter with time. And over time we will marvel about what took place in Wisconsin on June 5, 2012. Sure, we reelected Scott Walker in a heated recall election, and I don’t intend to re-hash the significance of this victory here, but it’s worth noting what the fiscally-responsible voters overcame, because we will need the same exertion and ardor on a national scale to overcome SCOTUS’s constitutional illusion on taxation come November.
TRUTH BEARS REPEATING. AGAIN.
Votes have consequences. But who says the consequences must be a slap in the face to conservatism? In eighteen months, Wisconsin voters mandated, then re-mandated, a leader that campaigned on fiscal responsibility and limited government. And here is a synopsis of what we put up with in the process:
Governor Scott Walker proposed Act 10 on February 11, 2011. The budget bill was aimed at overcoming the state’s $137 million deficit from the current budget, and by eliminating collective bargaining rights from public-sector unions, communities would now have the ability to adjust revenue by placing competition and authority in the driver’s seat. Hell broke loose on February 12.
Paid protestors and flustered fraternities descended on the Wisconsin State Capitol building within hours. With greasy hair, sleeping bags, drums, banjos, air horns and guitars, the protestors lived in the Capitol’s rotunda singing songs devoted to world peace and human rights. They craftily created a human peace sign, captured perfectly in a photograph displayed on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s website. For weeks, news crews captured their passionate songs and chants that drowned out legislative meetings taking place only a few feet away behind closed doors.
Protestors pushed against the closed doors of the senate chambers, pounding with their fists and shouting about injustices. Other protestors sat in front of the main entrance to the chambers, preventing republican senators from entering; the senators were forced to enter a separate doorway, walking between police officers holding back the rabid crowd.
Speaking from the second-level of the capitol rotunda, Jesse Jackson led the impassioned crowd in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Teachers received fake sick notes written by doctors excusing them from their jobs so they could partake in the festivities, and some even brought their students with them—a nod to alternative education by demonstrating social activism, and apparently, medical fraud.
On February 13, 2011, Republicans called for a vote on the Budget Repair Bill. Fourteen senate democrats, out of ideas (or principles), fled to Illinois and outside of the jurisdiction of state authorities, and remained at “undisclosed locations” for 26 days. Legislative leaders were forced to put off the vote, urging the senators to return to Wisconsin to “do their jobs.” Assembly democrats wore orange t-shirts with “Assembly Democrats for Working Families” printed across the front in bold, black letters—an act of solidarity with their fleeing friends.
Because 20 senators of the 33-member house are required to pass a fiscal bill, the “fleeing fourteen” left only 19 voting senate members at the capitol. Democrats hoped that by postponing the vote, the pressure of local union organizations and protestors would force Walker to negotiate. Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee said, “It was pretty obvious they [republican senators] weren’t going to listen to the thousands of people protesting.” Yes, that was correct.
Instead of waiting for vacationing senators to return to work, Walker’s assembly called for a vote on the bill on March 9. Even in the hours before the assembly voted, local school districts called emergency school board meetings to extend current teacher contracts, effectively nullifying the budget repair bill’s effects for school districts. The assembly voted. Protestors were enraged. The bill passed.
As quickly as the bill passed, activists demanded the recall of Scott Walker. The recall effort officially began on November 15, 2011, and on January 17, 2012, United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the recall effort along with the Democratic Party, announced that they had collected one million signatures, far exceeding the 540,208 required.
Donald Duck, Adolf Hitler, out-of-state activists, 25 journalists and 29 circuit court judges also signed the petitions.
Governor Walker requested that the Governmental Accountability Board certify the signatures gathered due to numerous reports of fraud, but a Dane County judge denied his request. Another Dane County judge, David Flanagan, issued a temporary restraining order on March 6 against Walker’s new voter ID law, right after he signed the petition. Because of his restraining order, the voter ID law would not be in effect for the recall election. Of course not.
Facebook provided an extended soap box to the impassioned youth who “stand with the teachers.” Innuendos ensued— the under-appreciation of teachers, lachrymose for hard-working middleclass families thrown under the proverbial bus, and iconic images of the blue fist—which AFL-CIO explains as an image “of solidarity and strength not only for the Wisconsin union movement but for the global struggle for social justice and democracy”– flooded the social media site for months. But the same crowd felt no compassion for Scott Walker’s sons who were also targeted with cruel comments. Of course not.
During the petition push, public-sector unions raised $17.6 million from state and national union organizations, and many protesters were paid to continue their foot battle right through election night. The governor’s family was targeted daily by an irate union supporter who shouted and honked his car horn outside of the family’s private residence. Lawmakers shouted “Shame!” at their republican counterparts entering and leaving the capitol each day.
Unions threatened and boycotted local businesses for supporting Walker, or for simply refusing to post pro-union propaganda visible to their clientele. The protestors caused $270,000 in damage to the state capitol building over the course of their stay (that is what democracy looks like?).
The recall election took place on June 5. Walker was the third governor in U.S. history to be recalled—and the first to survive. Rachel Maddow was stunned. Ed Schultz felt the same, befuddled that a man “who could be indicted in a couple of days” would win the election. CNN interviewed a distraught protestor who claimed, through impassioned tears, that the end of democracy—and the U.S— was upon us.
SO, WHO WON?
The voters won. Regardless of money, pressure, national labor organizations, biased media coverage, cheating, activist judges, distrustful politicians or misinformation, the voters won. We did it once this year and we can do it again. Repealing ObamaCare—and Obama— are much higher stakes for our nation, but regardless of the jeopardous policy, the jeopardous opponent remains the same. Time to lace up, folks. We can celebrate once we repeat.
No doubt, the last several years in America have been challenging to everyone, on all sides.
It has both challenged those on the left as they see so many millions question their policies and principles, and has infuriated said millions on the right because they cannot believe how quickly America has turned away from its founding principles. Both sides agree there’s problems in education, costs of health care and national security – they differ widely in how to address them. Interestingly, their differences are not usually as wide as they think. In policy, yes; in principle, no.
What was new in 1787 was the unique opportunity for free, moral men to establish their own government in a fair and enduring manner for all men. What was new turned out to be the specific system of checks and balances between governments; the acknowledgement of fallen human nature; government’s suspicion of their own power and the preservation of innate liberties that would create the most successful society in human history
Our system was not perfect, but as the Founders wrote, they sought a “more perfect union,” and fortunately, because of the character of her people the nation has found its way around the pragmatic decisions at the time to extend liberty to everyone as equally as possible before or since. We inspired a world in slavery; we liberated a continent under siege; we invented entire industries among our creative people; we ushered in the greatest economic improvement in the global community ever in history, and have managed to maintain it for longer than any other time in history.
And yet, never before has this legacy been more threatened by the very mindset that results from such long-lasting prosperity. Complacency, removal from struggle, disassociation from organic, neighborly concern is birthed in societies where we assume someone else can take care of this or that; we have allowed collectivism to creep into a society where collectivism had no part. Yet, we use the benefits of its absence (true liberty and free markets) to make an argument for it.
We have been doing this for over 120 years. The chickens have come home to roost; as they’d say in the northwest, the salmon have come back to spawn. And spawn they have – last year, 40,000 new laws were passed and enacted into law. Tacitus, the Roman orator and considered the world’s greatest historian warned us: “The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.”
How did this happen? It didn’t happen overnight, but it didn’t happen by accident either, nor by mere neglect. Good people were sold on false ideas proven faulty by the Founders, and the liberty baby was proverbially thrown out with the bathwater of a young and imperfect republic. The notion of the fallibility of man was replaced with the belief we could improve the human condition collectively. Every man has a voice; good government must surely follow, yes? No. It has never worked in human history, and unless we intervene now, history will replay itself once again and we will have failed to learn from it.
The Progressives’ war has been engaged for well over 150 years, but it received its greatest and most imperative successes about 100 years ago. After a series of failures in the Supreme Court, and multiple attempts to expand government taxation and service programs throughout the country in the late 19th century, Progressives, who had been working on reforming public education for years, finally got what they wanted in the early 1900’s with the democracy movement fueled by unions, women’s suffrage and increased civil liberties in the South. They saw the opportunity to seize on legitimate cultural reforms to change the very structure of American government, and our relationship to it. Real abuses in the corporate world and the harsh adjustment of cities to transition during the industrialization era led people to believe investing more power in government could be the best solution. They abrogated local power to state and federal power, and the consolidation of this authority was cemented when the idea of direct elections became the emphasis, rather than representative republicanism. From 1901-1913, nearly every republican structure in the nation had changed. In 1913, democratic energy finally came to a zenith with the passage of the 16th and 17th amendments – the power to tax, and the direct election of U.S. Senators, respectively.
The “federation” of government, by definition was intended to be a dispersed concentration of power, where the States individually retained the appropriate powers, “innumerable” as they were, and collectively delegated, few and “enumerated” as they are,in the central “national” government. This was by design.
In Federalist No. 46, James Madison asserted that the states and national government “are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers.”
Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist No. 28, suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’ benefit: “If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress.”
The birth of the Progressive reforms at the turn of the 20th century was the destruction of the only preventive-check on manipulated democracy. The 17th amendment fundamentally changed the balance of federal and state power by eliminating the accountability the Senators had with their states and transforming them into 6 year versions of the 2 year House. The result was 5 years of unaccountable, easily-corrupted de-governance determined more by lobbyists than that alleged “direct voice” everyone was looking out for. The clarification in the 16th amendment gave this new imbalanced government the power to confiscate as much money as it deemed necessary to its ambitions.
In the Founders’ vision of the Senate, the distance for positive action is as close as the state capitol and its legislature. Senators used to represent their state and the people’s need within that state.
The Founders understood that the failures of the Roman Republic and the Greek Democracy could both be gleaned from; their respective falls into extinction showed that no perfect government existed and could be manipulated by a flawed human nature, individual OR collective, for which the Founders had a profound fear of. They intended to create a dispersed power structure that both maintained the wisdom of republican representation, while protecting the right of a self-governing people to direct the behavior of their own government. The 17th destroyed the balance, and the results are the last 100 years of Progressive havoc. Prior to ratifying the amendment, citizens saw much more of their Senators. They also usually retained the ability to vote for their most popular choice, and the State legislatures would then most often appoint the most popular choice, subject to their discretion and the needs of their state. As a result, the Senate was essentially an advisory board to the House and Executive branch, not a mere politicking body as it is now.
While convincing arguments are made of caring for the poor, the mathematical realities are ignored. The concept of forced charity doesn’t register in the minds of the masses, because the masses are increasingly the beneficiaries of that forced compassion, rather than the ones with the gun in the face. Resisting the illogical programs – never mind their constitutionality for a moment – is futile because so many around you have come to depend on those benefits to survive. Very few are principled enough to vote themselves into struggle.
The problems are many-fold, but the most acute symptom of our degrading society is the federalization of these benefits. Local determination has been lost, local control is irrelevant and the consolidation of power in Washington, D.C. has become so great, that many have failed to see the sickening marriage between corporate powers and government powers are equally as frightening. Because the problem appears so daunting, we just vote our heart and hope for the best. But that’s what got us here in the first place.
The direct election of Senators removed the most important safe-guard against the mobocracy and manipulated masses. Where the states once had a direct representation in the Federal government, so they may protect the interests of their local determination, we now have a more corrupt body than the one we had sought to reform in 1913.
And make no mistake, the “reform” to be sought was merely the veneer selling point – the goal of far too many Progressives was the consolidation of power, not merely the improvement of human conditions, and they understood very well what they were doing. It was the manipulated masses that did not. Touché
THE REPUBLIC MUST FIND A HOME IN OUR HEARTS
The way to restore the balance the Founders intended is complicated, and you will never find complete agreement as to how, but we all should agree as to why. Without the repeal of the 17th amendment the 9th and 10th amendments have no value. Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution promises the States a republican form of government, for a reason.
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”
Every structure needs tensions on either side to secure the structure and assure stability. The 17th Amendment, in essence, violates the spirit of Article 4, Section 4, and eliminated that guarantee of stability, making the assurance a matter of one’s word only, not enforceable by any legal or practical means.
What I fear may eventually occur is that the imbalance Conservatives find echoing socialist ideals will become far worse, and lead us down a road much more repressive than the economies of Europe. One would think observing their experiments in enlightenment-communalism mixed with convenient shreds of facio-capitalism would have shown us the Founders were right, but it appears that this paradigm realization has not yet happened.
To restore the value of the 9th and 10th amendments, we must repeal the 17th amendment; Senators would once again be directly accountable to State capitals, and could be recalled in the case of malfeasance or counterproductive policy. And in order to accomplish this, I propose that a consistent dedication to education be orchestrated to teach our local communities how important a republican government is, and why our Founders constructed the careful balance they did. The Progressives have de-educated three generations of Americans into believing pure democracy is a human right, and that a representative system is more easily corrupted. Once the people have an understanding and cautious trust in the system, we may have States willing to forcibly restoring that balance. It will take more than a brave politician or two; rather, millions of educated citizens need to understand the need to tell their Federal government that it is too powerful; too presumptuous; too untrustworthy to retain the power once held by their local State governments. If power is forever corrupting, let the corruption be that which I can see and not be hidden; power distanced from the hand which can rightly correct it is forever lost to the ambition of rulers.
Our relationship with government will always be a fluid interpretation; as well it should be. We change as people, and as such, while our principles must remain, our methods of governing should also change. Instead of looking ahead into the unknown and experimenting with proven tenets of good governance, we should trust more the lessons of history than the dreams of planners and manipulators. The modern relationship we currently have in the 21st century with government will assure that we as a people only change in one direction – more dependency, less self-sufficiency, less education, more consolidation of wealth in the hands of few. Harry Browne aptly described the self-perpetuating nature of a benevolent government:
“Government is good at one thing: it knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch and say, ‘see if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”
It is not coincidence that the transfer of power from State to Federal government in 1913 directly correlates with the rapid increase in spending, government welfare experiments and the radical assumption of public debt. For the same reason credit cards are so easy to fall prey to in personal finance, removing oneself from the direct cost of local subsidies removes all inhibition to passively approving unsustainable debt and dependency.
Local government is so important to a free and successful society, and most people will agree with this. So the relationship with the federal government must change. Our relationship is determined by our status and morality as a community. So it would be reason to say experiments in social services, environmental policies, education structures and the means to pay for them should be retained as locally as possible. We can win hearts, and votes with this logical argument. You may be surprised how many progressive neighbors will agree with this line of thinking.
Our goal should be to know and engage our community as much as possible, not depend on the benevolence of a distant government to perfect the condition of a world it is too far removed from to understand. Education, health care, security, economic freedom, work conditions, civil rights are very personal, intimate areas of our lives, and should be held tightly and locally, even if they affect us as a whole nation. Teach your neighbors the virtues of a local community knowing and controlling its own fate, and you just might see the republic which protects this, find a home in the hearts of the democratic masses once again.