American Elephants

Andrew Klavan Explains the Constitution. by The Elephant's Child

People are noticing the extent to which the political class feels constrained and  — annoyed — by the Constitution.  And of course, there are those who have never bothered to read the Constitution, and have little idea what all the fuss is about.

In 2004, an amendment sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd attached to the Omnibus Spending Bill changed the name of a holiday known as “Citizenship Day” to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.” The act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American constitution on that day.  In May of 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.  (Federal employees don’t get any time off).  Universities and Colleges nationwide have created “U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Weeks” in order to meet the requirements of the law.

For all those who have never heard of it, the holiday falls on September 17, or on the nearest weekday if it falls on a weekend.

For those who doubt that Constitution Day or Constitution Week has had much influence on their children or the young people they know, Andrew Klavan explains just what the Constitution is all about.

Bailing Out Supporters, Destroying More Jobs! by The Elephant's Child

— Only 22 days ago, on July 21, when President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, he promised that there would be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts.  Promises from the Obama administration are remarkably ephemeral.  It is better to simply pay no attention to such declarations.  The New York Times reports today that “the Obama administration pumped $3 billion into programs intended to stop the unemployed from losing their homes” including a program (bailout) announced by HUD that “will draw on $1 billion authorized by the new financial overhaul law.”

The administration is drawing on Dodd-Frank bailout funds because the previous mortgage bailout fund — the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — has been, according to the Special Inspector General for the TARP, a failure.

— Then there’s the $16.1 billion Medicaid bailout. Congress has already bailed out state Medicaid programs three times this decade.  The most recent was part of the $862 billion stalled economic stimulus bill.  Every state should have known that stimulus funding expired at the end of this year.  Thirty states built their budgets on the basis that President Obama would bail them out for 2o11 as well.  The states that budgeted prudently and planned for the stimulus to expire are paying for the bailouts of the 30 states that can’t control their Medicaid spending.

— The President says we need the $10 billion Government Union Bailout to keep your child’s teacher from being fired this fall. The schools that “fired” teachers this spring have already begun to hire them back.  If teachers unions were really concerned about saving teachers jobs, they would agree to pay-freezes or to paying some of the cost of their own health care.  But it is clear that the bailout is about union dues revenue, not your children’s education.

— The President wanted these new bailouts to simply be tacked onto the deficit.  The Senate got cold feet.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) got unusually creative, and found $11.9 billion in food stamp stimulus funds that had not yet been spent, and could be re-appropriated.  Democrats promptly told the Huffington Post that they will work to make sure that the cuts never take place.

— As a sign that Democrats are getting worried, they are attempting to “pay for” their bailouts by scrounging up some income from the other side of the ledger.  In this case the bailouts are paid for by a $10 billion tax hike on American companies that compete overseas.  Democrats seem to believe that punishing firms that expand their businesses in foreign countries will somehow increase employment here at home.  For every worker employed by a U.S. subsidiary in a foreign country, 2.3 Americans are employed here.

— In the administration, and in the leadership in Congress, there is a dearth of people who have ever worked in the private sector.  They have no experience of business and simply do not understand its workings. When budgets are things to be fudged, accounts jiggled, and you dig around in different pockets of other people’s money, these things are just not as serious as they are in the private sector, where if the books don’t balance, it can be a firing offense.  CEOs may get pay on a scale that offends many who think that business is somehow a lesser pursuit than “public service,” but if the company does not prosper, their tenure at the company is brief.

Fortunately, Congress has returned to their summer vacation.

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