American Elephants


Your Taxes Are Going Up, And That’s Only The Beginning. by The Elephant's Child

I wish you a Happy New Year in spite of an upcoming year that is not promising.

We dropped over the fiscal cliff at Midnight, and then the Senate passed their 157 page fiscal cliff bill which everybody passed without reading it. Didn’t anyone learn a lesson about passing unread bills? Obama is triumphal because he accomplished his two main goals. He stuck it to the Republicans and can now call it ‘a tax cut’ that he delivered to the middle class (Don’t fall for that pathetic meme), and he forced Republicans to forgo their insistence on not raising taxes.

Republicans want to keep taxes low for everyone, because low taxes will help the economy to grow. New layoffs have been coming at a furious rate as more small businesses let workers go, or shift more of their workforce to part-time to avoid the massive fines imposed by ObamaCare on those companies who have more than 50 workers. People and businesses respond to incentives. The rich will rearrange their finances, or move to a location more friendly to capital. Businesses will invest in more labor-saving devices — more telephone trees, robotic voices, more automated check-out stands, more factory innovations that save the cost of labor and it’s benefits. And although taxes will go up, the revenue will not yield as much as expected.

Republicans recognize government jobs as just another expense that will require increased taxes from the public, and yes, the middle class. They believe in smaller, less complicated government that regards its tasks as those enumerated in the Constitution, rather than one that feels it’s role is regulating our showers, our lightbulbs, our appliances. (Did you know there are new regulations for dishwashers that reduce energy and reduce the amount of water used from 6.5 gallons down to 5 gallons. This will, of course dramatically raise the cost of a dishwasher, and you will not have it long enough to realize any savings in either water or electricity).

Republicans don’t believe that it is the government’s task to control health care, nor to tell the healthcare industry just what care they may give to a patient. Republicans believe a lot of stuff that is very hard to explain in short slogans or clever bumper stickers. They think deeply about their philosophy, the meaning of the Constitution, and the maintenance of liberty.

Democrats believe in the maintenance of power. Theirs. They want to win.

Their fondest desire is to end the Republican party and all its influences. Including the U.S. Constitution, singularly restrictive on what powers are granted to the government by the American people. Democrats don’t like those restrictions that Republicans are always nattering about.

Obama has not the slightest intention of cutting back on spending in any way. He doesn’t see any reason for doing so. Economist Alan Reynolds remarked that “Barack Obama does not understand economics and refuses to listen to anyone who does.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts it this way:

“With the population aging and health care costs per person likely to keep growing faster than the economy (gross domestic product), the United States cannot sustain the federal spending programs that are now in place with the federal taxes (as a share of GDP) that it has been accustomed to paying.” $1 in spending cuts ($15 billion) for every $41 billion in tax increases ($620 billion).

The compliant (suck-up) media has accepted the Obama narrative that it it’s only Republican rigidity that makes negotiations so difficult and leads to deadlock, because Republicans want to protect the rich. This means that there is even less incentive for Obama and Congressional Democrats to engage in genuine bargaining. But the media has not performed their job as government watchdog for many years.

We are not getting a genuine debate that we deserve. The president is lying about having cut a trillion dollars from the budget. He increased it by a trillion. The President is playing ugly Chicago politics in the national arena. And Chicago, the murder capital of the country, is the nation’s most dysfunctional city. Obama’s already overbearing arrogance will swell even more. No leadership. No understanding.

You can’t have Big Government and low taxes. Doesn’t work. The president will have to come after the middle class, because that’s where the money is. The payroll tax returns. They’re already talking about your 401-ks as a source of revenue. More to come.



Four More Years? by The Elephant's Child

The Constitution Is Under Attack! by The Elephant's Child

*The Constitution of the United States of America is 225 years old and in all that time amended only 27 times. It is the oldest constitution in the world, and has served us remarkably well.

So when all these other countries are writing constitutions and organizing new governments, how come they all form parliamentary governments of one sort or another? Even our very own Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg advised the Egyptians that if they were going to write a new Constitution, they ought to imitate the constitution of South Africa, which is precisely 16 years old. James Lileks explains  Justice Ginsberg’s appreciation for the South African Bill of Rights.

When French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing wrote the new constitution for the European Union, he studied the Constitution of the United States carefully, and wrote a constitution described as “a badly organized 855 page, 156,447 word document written at a 16th grade level”. It was elsewhere described as” the Constitution of a Dictatorship.”

It’s not too hard to figure out. Constitutions are written by politicians. Our Constitution is a document that says “We the People” grant these limited powers to the government, and anything else we reserve to ourselves. What politician is going to go for that kind of official limitation on their power? Some of us might say that politicians do a pretty good job of gathering power to themselves in spite of the limitations of the Constitution, and we’d be right. But the Constitution guarantees us a hearing when the politicians have gone too far, and we can call them to account.

Governments don’t want a populace that can talk back. When our new government was first formed, European countries were horrified. It was inconceivable to them that we should so elevate the common man. They had centuries of the Divine Right of Kings, and landed aristocracy, peasants and shopkeepers. Remember what an earthquake it was in the Middle East when triumphant Iraqis went to the polls to vote, men and women, and waved their purple-stained fingers in the air for newsmen to photograph.

The president and all officers of the government as well as the Congress and the Courts take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Obama’s aggressive disregard for any constitutional limit on what he wants to do has had the effect of sending Americans back to the Constitution. Conservative complaints are directed to all areas of Obama’s policy, foreign, economic and social. The fear that Mr. Obama was changing the rules led to the founding of the Tea Party movement.

On foreign policy, Obama’s claim that firing rockets in Libya were somehow not a war was troubling. Obama’s hiring of all sorts of ‘czars’ to manage aspects of national policy without congressional approval was disturbing. The notion that Obama could decide whether or not Congress was in session or in recess so he could make recess appointments of  someone who could not get Congressional approval, angered many. The administration’s argument that the protections of the First Amendment  do not extend to the Catholic Church’s freedom of conscience, while simultaneously granting freedom from participation to Muslims is sure to engender another Constitutional challenge. The administration’s EPA has been losing one court case after another, so there has been some welcome check on the agency’s activities.

Ordinary Americans who had never previously  heard of the Commerce Clause are perfectly capable of understanding the argument that if the federal government can require a citizen to buy a product in the marketplace, there is nothing that the citizen cannot be forced to do. How startling then, to discover that way too many liberals could not grasp that argument.

Liberals do not like the Constitution and would prefer to have it rewritten. They would much prefer a document that spells out the rights that the government grants to citizens and one that puts no limits on what government can do. Then they can all work for government, and they could keep the rest of us from disagreeing with them. Not my idea of Utopia, but I don’t believe in unicorns either.

* The marvelous Michael Ramirez daily comes up with perfect visual analogies. I don’t know how he does it, but you can see his work daily at Investors.com, and even purchase his book on his best political cartoons. A wonderful record of what we were thinking at a particular moment in time.

ADDENDUM: Here is Obama, agreeing with me about liberals Constitutional preferences. He goes even farther, to state that the Constitution should certainly contain rights about redistribution of wealth. At least this was his opinion on
January 6, 2011.



Get Acquainted With “Uncommon Knowledge” by The Elephant's Child
April 2, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

I continue to be enthralled with the Uncommon Knowledge videos from the Hoover Institution.  Peter Robinson is a marvelous host, and his stimulating questions make for enlightening conversations.  His guests are very interesting people, and I learn so much by viewing the conversations that I unhesitantly recommend them.  This week’s conversation is with Richard Epstein, extraordinary professor of law at the University of Chicago.  Today’s segment discusses Barack Obama.

All of the recent Uncommon Knowledge videos are available here. Each segment is about 7 minutes long.  Time well spent.



Happy Fourth of July…….. by The Elephant's Child

WE hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness —
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People
to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its Foundation on such Principles,
and organizing its Powers in such Form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness.

~ Action of the Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776

________________________________________________

“He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him into America’s richest man….Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.”

~Richard Brookhiser on George Washington

________________________________________________

“I have a deep-seated belief that America is unique, strong, great because of a commitment to personal freedom — in our economic system and our politics. We are a free people who consented to be governed. Not vice-versa.”

~Senator John Sununu

________________________________________________

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

~Ronald Reagan

_________________________________________________

“The clear lesson of history is that individual liberty, the basic underpinning of American society, requires constant defense against the encroachment of the state”

~Walter Wriston

__________________________________________________

“A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

~Milton Friedman

____________________________________________________

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

~Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 1926

__________________________________________________

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is
the soldier, not the reporter, who
has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator,
who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag,
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who gives that protester
the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

~Zell Miller



The Founding Fathers Explain Conservatism by American Elephant

The Founding Fathers

The brilliant Mark Levin lays out the bedrock principles of conservatism using the founders’ own words. It is no coincidence that they are the exact same principles our nation was built upon. These are the exact same principles that made America great, they are the exact same principles that liberty depends upon, and they are the exact same principles that liberalism seeks to destroy:

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”
~ James Madison
“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
~ James Madison
“…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
~ Thomas Paine
“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
~ Thomas Paine
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
~ John Adams
“To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
~ George Washington
“One single object. . . [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
~ John Adams
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
” I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.”
~ Thomas Jefferson



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