Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Education, Freedom, Heartwarming, Law, Politics | Tags: Governor Scott Walker, Reform and Renewal, State of Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s outstanding young governor, Scott Walker, appears on the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Knowledge, wonderful interviews conducted by Peter Robinson.
I am deeply impressed with this young man. He was elected to face a state in trouble, with problems with the schools, the state budget, domineering public sector unions. The Democrats in the Legislature skipped town to avoid having to face up to a vote they might lose. The Governor was picketed, threatened, the subject of near riots by angry protesters, and he went ahead and did what was right anyway. Courage, and then some.
He has fixed the problems, survived a recall election, and put Wisconsin on the path to freedom and good government, opportunity and growth. Courage, character and determination. He seems to be a really nice guy as well.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, History, Liberalism, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: A 28th Amendment?, Congressional Misbehavior, The Same Laws Should Apply
In Monday’s Wall Street Journal Gerald D. Skoning argued that we need a 28th Amendment to the Constitution providing that all members of Congress have to comply with all laws that other citizens have to obey.
“Congress shall make no law,” the amendment might read, “that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the senators and/or representatives, and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the senators and/or representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”
I agree absolutely. We would not have this disgraceful mess of ObamaCare legislation were not the members of Congress and the government excused from any participation in it. Some may have faith in the high moral character of their elected officials and argue that it shouldn’t take an amendment to make the members of Congress behave. True, it shouldn’t, but it apparently does. Mr. Skoning enumerates a bit of the telling history:
- In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act established the minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, and time-and-a-half for overtime. Congress exempted itself from coverage of the law, and congressional employees were left without the protections afforded the rest of Americans.
- In 1964, President Johnson signed the Landmark Civil Rights Act, including Title VII, which protected all Americans from employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Congress exempted themselves, and staffers and employees were left with no equal-opportunity protection, nor protection against sexual harassment, of which there have been innumerable examples.
- The same blanket exemption of Congress was contained in a total of 10 other federal statutes regulating the American workplace, including protections from age and disability discrimination, occupational safety and health , family and medical leave — all issues that Congress felt were important to impose on American industry, but not to civilian employees working in the Capitol.
- The Reform of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 left critics unable to eliminate the exemption. Members of Congress remained immune to lawsuits for compensatory and punitive damages in cases of employment discrimination. Instead they enacted a self-policing system where Congress investigated and enforced its own compliance with civil rights laws.
- In 1995, with Republicans in control of both houses, the Congressional Accountability Act was passed eliminating the congressional exemption for all workplace laws and regulations. Some thought that was the end of Congressional exceptionalism. They were mistaken.
- Insider trading (buying or selling stocks based on insider information not available to the public) has been a violation of federal securities laws for almost 80 years. It was never illegal for members of Congress. CBS’s 60 Minutes did a segment with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Schweizer for his book “Throw Them all Out”. He testified that it was an opportunity to leverage your position in public service and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends and your family. Six months later, Congress passed and the president signed the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012″ — which required online posting of their financial transactions. Just last week while voters were focused on gun control and immigration, House and Senate members voted to repeal the provision that required the online posting of their financial transactions.
If the question is — does it take a Constitutional Amendment to make the members of Congress behave responsibly? — the answer seems to be yes indeed, and Congress isn’t all that inclined to obey the letter of the Constitution either, nor is the President. Something to think about. America has always been a nation of laws, but it’s certainly getting a little loosey-goosey isn’t it?
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Energy, Freedom, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Economist John B. Taylor, Free Markets / Free People, the American Economy
High unemployment. Business in the doldrums, the recovery that Obama keeps promising remains elusive, in spite of his claims. Many small businesses that are the usual engine of growth are struggling. The elephant remarked yesterday that the only business that seems to be visibly expanding is the gun range.
The business organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Association and others readily say that uncertainty is holding them back. To open and run a business is a risk. There are all sorts of uncertainties that affect your bottom line. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. The actions of this administration have been to increase uncertainty across the board. Will taxes go up? Are energy costs going to rise and by how much? What new regulations are going to be issued? Have I broken any regulation that I don’t even know about that will have an armed swat team breaking in my front door? What crazy new environmental regulation is the EPA going to come out with tomorrow? John Taylor explains.
Filed under: Politics, The Constitution, History, Economy, Conservatism, Freedom, Heartwarming, Capitalism | Tags: Calvin Coolidge, Our 30th President, The Great Refrainer
President Obama has made it quite clear that he sees no possibility of reducing government spending. Every penny is necessary. Roger Kimball fortuitously described the president as “fiscally incontinent.”
Amity Shlaes’ magnificent new history of the Great Depression: The Forgotten Man, which all Democrats should have read, and few probably did, has been followed by a splendid biography of our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge., titled simply Coolidge. She calls him “The Great Refrainer.” “I am for economy.” he said. “After that, I am for more economy.”
George Will emphasized that it is the book needed now:
Were Barack Obama, America’s most loquacious president (699 first-term teleprompter speeches), capable of learning from someone with whom he disagrees, he would profit from Amity Shlaes’s new biography of Coolidge, whom she calls “our great refrainer” with an “aptitude for brevity,” as when he said, “Inflation is repudiation.” She says that under his “minimalist” presidency, he “made a virtue of inaction.” As he said, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
He met his wife, the vivacious Grace, after hearing her laughter when she saw through a window him shaving while wearing a hat. Shlaes’s biography would be even more engaging had she included this oft-repeated anecdote:
When President and Mrs. Coolidge were being given simultaneous but separate tours of a chicken farm, Grace asked her guide whether the rooster copulated more than once a day. “Dozens of times,” she was told. “Tell that to the president,” she said. When told, Coolidge asked, “Same hen every time?” When the guide said, “A different one each time,” the president said: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”
Read this book, and send a copy to your favorite Republican legislator
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Freedom, History, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Conservative Republicans, Constitution and Country, Great Public Speakers
Here is Bill Whittle on February 18, 2013, speaking to Orange County GOP Central Committee. Republicans respond enthusiastically to those who can clearly state conservative principles with what seems to be effortless, forceful straight talk.
Some people are quick on the come-back, always ready with a quip and an effective response and a warm positive outlook. Think Reagan. Some people are ready with a quick response, combative and ready to do debate and make mincemeat of an opponent. Think Chris Christie. Others inspire us with courage and straight talk. Think Scott Walker. Others clearly express the American Dream. Think Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are proving to be effective speakers. Most of our Congressmen are not, and far too many are disasters.
I’m always conscious of this because I’m a s-l-o-w thinker, and the connection between my brain and mouth is even slower. No quick responses from me. I may come up with one an hour or so later, yet I can express myself in writing fairly quickly. But Bill Whittle is purely amazing. Could we have him give a seminar for prospective candidates on what it means to be a conservative in America?
This is worth every minute, don’t miss it.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Conservatism, Military, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Capitalism | Tags: Cutting Back on Spending, House Speaker John Boehner, Congressional Travel
House Speaker John A. Boehner announced last Wednesday that members will no longer be allowed to travel by military aircraft on Congressional delegation trips.
The Ohio Republican told members that because of the spending cuts mandated by the sequester, he will cut the costs of the taxpayer-funded trips by suspending the standard military aircraft and making members fly commercial. The airfare costs are still paid by the government, but commercial flights are less expensive than it is to commission a military plane.
“The Speaker believes this is the prudent and responsible course of action, and it goes above and beyond the spending cuts the House will be implementing.,” said a GOP aide. Good example too.
Mr. Boehner has steadily been a proponent of commercial travel. He has long flown commercial between Washington and his home district in Ohio.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Freedom, History, Politics, The Constitution | Tags: Collectivism Explained, The Inaugural Address, The Progressive Project
It is important to pay attention to President Obama’s second inaugural address. It wasn’t as much of a laundry list as the usual inaugural. Obama made the case, such as it is, for the progressive worldview. It lays out a rather shallow, confused strand of American political thought that results in an administrative state and a wise ruling class.
He emphasized “collectivism”— we’re all in this together, you didn’t build that. But his take on collectivism is quite different than what most of us would think of as community. Obama’s idea of the collective is that he and his chosen group of experts will tell us what to do and we will collectively pay for it. He has made it abundantly clear that he has little interest in public opinion except to determine how he can manipulate it with his community organizing skills.
The American people were quite clear that they did not want government-run health care, but that had not the slightest effect on what the government determined was in our best interest. People were worried about the cost of their health insurance which soon may triple what it was before ObamaCare.
“Together,” he said, “we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.” Odd. American businesses have been vehement in their anger at overregulation, attacks on businesses who support the wrong politicians, the rising cost of energy, and transportation, the need to hire extra people just to cope with the burden of government required paperwork. That, by definition, is not the free market.
“But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.” I’m sure he doesn’t have in mind a citizen uprising against government tyranny. What does he mean? From other progressive comments, it means they don’t like the Constitution and the Declaration and want us to ignore them.
“For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. no single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.” Aside from erecting large straw men to shoot down, this is just silly. He has no idea how to bring new jobs and businesses to our shores, and we can’t do them together, because he keeps shutting down real jobs in order to chase imaginary jobs in 21st century “renewable”energy in industries subsidized by the government and run by his political cronies.
The Constitution, Obama told WBEZ in Chicago, is a charter of negative liberties. The Warren Court did not break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution. To overcome the limitations of the Constitution, the Courts or the Congress would have to enact change. Twenty-first century people don’t need eighteenth century ideas restraining us. We’ re modern.
Progressivism doesn’t work. Utopian dreams are constrained by ordinary mathematics. You can’t add 50,00 new people’s insurance to be paid for, 100 new agencies each with hundreds of employees, vast new reporting responsibilities, and an insistence on putting all medical records online and expect health care to cost less.
We collectively must support Social Security and Medicare, but we cannot reform them, because people depend on them. Social Security goes broke, kaput, in 2041, The Medicare Hospital trust runs out of money in 2024, and those dates keep edging closer, as costs climb. Progressives oppose any effort to save the programs by reforming them and simply insist, without evidence, that they must continue. Utopian dreams are constrained by ordinary mathematics. The Progressive Project doesn’t work.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Freedom, History, Humor, Politics | Tags: Current Congressional Battles, Speaker John Boehner, The Ripon Society
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to The Ripon Society on January 22, 2013 in Washington DC. Former Representative Mike Oxley introduces the Speaker.
There has been a lot of criticism of the speaker from Republicans who have wanted him to do far more battle. They wanted to go over the fiscal cliff, assuming that would somehow be an attack on the administration. It wouldn’t. The blame would attach entirely to the Republicans, who are already blamed by the public for preventing all good things from happening with their nasty stubbornness. The painful fact is that you cannot run the United States government from one house of Congress, much as we would prefer to at this moment in time. On the other hand, we wouldn’t like it much were the situation reversed with Democrats running the country from a Democratic House.
There are currently 233 Republican members of the House of Representatives, and 200 Democrats. Each of those members have their own priorities and their own opinions. Think herding cats. Coming to some kind of agreement as to strategy and desired outcome is not easy. Our Founders designed our system of government so that each of the three branches is independent and must work with the other two to accomplish anything. Congress is designed to reflect the people, the population by districts. States gain or lose members with each census. The Senate, on the other hand, represents the 50 states, and each state has two senators no matter how populous or sparsely settled the state. It was a brilliant solution on the part of the Founders to force debate and slow consideration, and as governments go a pretty good answer to the problem that we are all human, and sometimes make terrible mistakes.
Republicans in Congress consider our debt and the economy to be the greatest dangers we face. The President did consider these issues to be important enough to mention in his Inaugural Address. Congress is more concerned at the moment with banning guns. Republicans might try supporting our leaders instead of trying to tear them down.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Law, The United States | Tags: Cutting Excess Regulation, Indiana's Mike Pence, Republican Governors 2013
The only real solution for solving our long term debt problem is turning around the stagnant economy. Robust economic growth is possible and not only creates jobs, but brings more people into the middle class, reduces poverty, and reduces our entitlement burden. “Asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more” will never accomplish that. Everything the administration proposes: more taxes, more regulations, more top-down bureaucracy, bigger government may increase government control of the people, but it acts like a brake on the economy, on people’s hopes and dreams.
Indiana’s brand new Republican Governor Mike Pence, was just inaugurated on Monday, but has made his first move to ease the regulatory burden. He issued an executive order suspending Indiana’s rulemaking process shortly after he was sworn in. The measure is designed to lower the cost of doing business in the state, and encourage hiring. Indiana’s 8.2% unemployment rate is currently higher than the national average.
“Over several decades the proliferation of administrative rules and regulations at all levels of government has increased the complexity and expense of economic life,” the order says. “Reducing this regulatory burden will promote citizens’ freedom to engage in individual, family and business pursuits.”
The order directs state agencies to halt rulemaking activity indefinitely, but also requires the state’s budget office to evaluate existing rules and issue recommendations for which regulations should be repealed, starting with the most onerous.
President Obama may not know who to create jobs or jump-start economic activity, but a significant number of Republican Governors do, and they are doing something about it.
Oh those Republican Governors! Last year, Ohio’s Tax Commissioner Joe Testa reviewed the state’s 20 or so tax computer systems to identify and fix inefficiencies. During that process, he discovered unexplained credit balances and that 3,500 businesses had overpaid $13.7 million in commercial activity taxes, which are imposed on gross receipts over $150,000.
Rather than hoard the cash, Ohio Governor John Kasich has instructed the Department of Taxation to refund the hard-earned money extending to the four-year statute of limitations and to audit returns for 184,000 other businesses who may have overpaid their taxes.
President Obama owes his re-election in no small part to the economic recoveries in Republican governed states like Ohio where unemployment has fallen from 9% to 6.8% when Mr. Kasich entered office in January 2011. Job growth nationally has been more evasive.
Mr. Kasich erased an $8 billion deficit without raising taxes, and streamlined regulations. The state expects to end the fiscal year with a budget surplus.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom | Tags: Gov. Jan Brewer, Restrained Spending., The State of Arizona
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins the swelling ranks of Republican Governors who are demonstrating just how it’s done. She has taken Arizona from a state with a $3 billion deficit to an $800 million surplus. Not bad. Hint for the federal government: restrained spending.