Regnat Populus

The people rule.

Obamacare Paid In Part By Tax On Private Care

Posted by Max Barron on May 14, 2009

obama_healthcare1_1Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and savor the irony as the Obama administration and his minions on the hill consider funding Obamacare in part by taxing what he said (while campaigning) should not be taxed – Employer based health care benefits, which is currently tax exempt.  If you recall John McCain’s health care reform plan involved taxing employee health care benefits to fund a tax credit for people to go out and buy their own health care insurance.  You will also recall that Obama railed against such a tax saying that it would hurt low income and middle class families.  However, the idea is gaining steam in Congress as they have estimated that removing the tax exemption could generate up to $297 billion in tax revenues.

The idea of taxing employee health-care benefits to raise money for an overhaul of the health system is gaining strength in Congress, although it drew criticism from Barack Obama when he was campaigning for president.

Experts lined up Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee and said it is one of the best ways to pay for a health-care overhaul. Many top Democrats support the concept.

Not so coincidentally taxing the benefits to pay for Obamacare is also another nail in the private health care coffin – which Obama and his statist Congress are building – and another way to help ensure the inevitability of single-payer nationalized health care.  The major road block for Obamacare is funding.  The overwhelming costs of his health care initiative cannot be funded from just one place…

A comprehensive plan that would include coverage for those now without insurance is expected to cost about $1.2 trillion over 10 years. So far, the government has identified where it will get about half of that sum.

The sheer magnitude of funds needed for Obamacare means that Obama and Congress are going to have to get creative with their taxation.  As discussed earlier here they are also considering a Soda Tax  and naturally, another alcohol tax.  Falling short of the currently projected $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the currently estimated $297 billion annually is starting to look mouth-watering good.  However, that doesn’t mean that removing the exemption will fly in Congress.

Leading Democrats say they still want the benefits to have some tax advantages. “To be honest, I don’t think we’re going to repeal the exclusion,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) said at Tuesday’s hearing. Instead, they are considering placing a cap on the amount that is tax-exempt, and higher-income employees could see the tax benefit curbed.

“I don’t see how you put a package together…unless you touch the exclusion,” Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank, said at Tuesday’s hearing.

Translation – more class warfare.  My prediction is that targeted voting blocks (poor and lower middle class) will probably keep their exemptions while the middle class will probably see partial exemptions.  The upper middle class will see less, if any, exemptions and those vile, evil, rich people will get no exemptions and/or possibly pay even more. 

Call me cynical but I highly suspect that Obamacare will cost well above $1.2 trillion – which of course, means that those initially kept expemtions will be slowly stripped away.  And should these exemptions be stripped we can look forward to an acceleration towards a complete single-payer system.  The irony is that by killing exemptions to pay for Obamacare and usher in the single-payer system, once private health care is dead and buried… how will it be paid for?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

An Entitlement Society Is A Bankrupt Society

Posted by Max Barron on May 14, 2009

aria-babiesEconomics 101 – you cannot sustain increasing debts without increasing, by wider margin, incomes.  We Conservatives know this, the government knows this – but doesn’t care, and the Wall Street Journal points it out yet again.  Our entitlement programs, more specifically Social Security and Medicare are a few years short of total collapse.  Unlike a corporation, these programs can’t file chapter 11.  Instead, Congress will drive up taxation – to no avail – in order to sustain these programs for a few more years before they do what is inevitable… fail.

The Medicare fund for hospital care will be depleted in 2017, two years earlier than government actuaries estimated a year ago. Last year marked the first time that Medicare ran a deficit, paying out more in benefits than it generates from taxes and other revenue.

The report also factors in a 21% cut in payments this year, required by law, to doctors working for Medicare. But for the past several years, Congress has canceled that reduction.

Keep in mind that the 2017 date is based on a 21% cut in payments to doctors in the program, which Congress reliably cancels.  The current Congress, controlled overwhelmingly by Democrats, is virtually guaranteed to cancel the cut again this year.  Invariably, this will bring the 2017 date down a notch.  The solution to this program’s complete and dismal failure?  It won’t be proper privatization, no sir.  It will be more tax revenues… or a heavy hand smacking the health care industry – ala Chrysler.  Or both.   

Obama administration officials used the new estimates as a rationale for overhauling health care. “Today, we’re not issuing just another government report,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “It’s a wake-up call for anyone concerned about Medicare and the health of our economy. And it’s another sign that we can’t wait for real, comprehensive health reform.”

The Obama administration has proposed several ways to control Medicare costs, including cutting payments to private insurers and allowing the government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Some of those cuts face resistance in Congress, which will need to approve them. Even if approved, the savings won’t come close to fully offsetting the increasing cost of the program. Many of the savings have already been reserved to pay for the administration’s plan to overhaul health care.

What Sebelius and the Obama administration are neglecting to mention is that the Medicare program has been government driven from the beginning.  And it is failing – just as anyone with any common sense would foresee.  So what’s the solution?  More government.  More entitlements… more, more, more. 

However, what the administration is careful to tip toe around is the issue of taxation.  The simple fact of the matter is that new taxes and higher taxes will be needed to prop up Medicare immediately. 

“In the end, there’s going to be a lot of huffing and puffing and some genuine savings from changes in Medicare, but there is no way to balance Medicare without significant increases in taxes,” said Henry Aaron, an economist with the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

Medicare, like Social Security, is a failing social experiment… One that should be kept in mind when discussing the merits of nationalized health care.  Sebelius and Obama seem to believe that all Americans should be placed in a health care system, run by the government – like Medicare and Medicaid.  As if the current entitlements aren’t abysmal drains on the economy and the senior citizens currently subjected to them.  Not one of the federally driven entitlements is in good shape, nor can they be, because there is NEVER enough money.  Take Social Security for instance, which is something that everyone pays into.

The Social Security trust fund wouldn’t be exhausted until 2037, but that is four years earlier than last year’s report predicted.

The actuaries estimated that Social Security beneficiaries would not receive a cost-of-living increase for the next two years, and that a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries would pay higher-than-usual increases in monthly premiums, 8% in 2010 and 15% in 2011.

Each year the estimated year of bankruptcy is lowered.  Last year it was 2041, now 2037, next year it will be even lower.  This is because of the simple fact that federal entitlements fail.  They always will fail.  There are far too many people drawing far too little funds.  The only solution is to raise taxes on any number of things.  Even if those tax levels were raised and new taxes were created, there still would not be enough money to sustain the level of debt from these entitlements.  So more taxes will be created and more private wealth consumed, until there simply isn’t anything left.  It is like bailing water off of a sinking Titanic with buckets. 

That is especially clear given the fact that the Baby Boomer generation is about to begin their mass move to retirement, where their collective weight will be on our shoulders as they are enrolled in Medicare and begin to draw Social Security. 

My prediction?  These failing programs will be used as another sob story justification for nationalized health care.  Which if enacted, will fail, just as every other entitlement or government run program.  Realize that since the creation of these programs tax payers have dumped tens of trillions of dollars into them… and they failed.  What makes anyone think that nationalized health care will be any different?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fedzilla Sinks Its Claws Into More Banks

Posted by Max Barron on May 13, 2009

BLOBPIC2

See! We told you so!  When the Fedzilla first began discussions of limiting or involving itself in executive pay for TARP recipients, we told you it wouldn’t be long before they expanded those policies and more to non-TARP banks.  We were right.  Yes, once again our oh-so-trustworthy federal government has once again decided to expand its reach, scope and power in such a way that would make The Blob envious. 

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has begun serious talks about how it can change compensation practices across the financial-services industry, including at companies that did not receive federal bailout money, according to people familiar with the matter.

The initiative, which is in its early stages, is part of an ambitious and likely controversial effort to broadly address the way financial companies pay employees and executives, including an attempt to more closely align pay with long-term performance.

Administration and regulatory officials are looking at various options, including using the Federal Reserve’s supervisory powers, the power of the Securities and Exchange Commission and moral suasion. Officials are also looking at what could be done legislatively. 

There’s no real surprise here at all.  Conservatives were railing about this inevitable overreach months ago.  The statists are going to do what statists do… which is expand the government and grab control of everything that they can get their grubby meat-hooks on – by hook or crook.

At the same time, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) is working on legislation that could strengthen the government’s ability both to monitor compensation and to curb incentives that threaten a company’s viability or pose a systemic risk to the economy.

Speaking of crook… The banking queen is undoubtedly rubbing his slimy paws together in anticipation. Regulating compensation of banks – even non-TARP banks – must be a wet-dream come true. After all, he’s the Finance Committee Chair. This would give him unprecedented power and reach – “Do as I say, or I gut your pay… Give me what I want, and you get your bonuses.”  I’m certain that he is apoplectic with glee at the mere thought of puppeteering the financial institutions of the U.S. – money and power being the purveyor of his every masturbatory fantasy.

Financial institutions are just the beginning – phase 2, if you will – and it won’t end there, my friends.  Quote me on that.  In fact quote the Government officials on it as well.

Government officials said their effort, which is just beginning, isn’t aimed at setting pay or establishing detailed rules. “This is not going to be about capping compensation or micro-management,” said an administration official. “It will be about understanding what is the best way to align compensation with sound risk management and long-term value creation.”

In an indication of how broad the effort may become, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said regulators need to examine compensation practices in the mortgage industry, suggesting new limits could stretch beyond banks.

The administration official claiming that these moves aren’t really about capping pay and micro-management – which they obviously are – had to be laughing out loud at his own incredulous and unbelievable lies.  Considering that the administration is openly stating that they are doing precisely what this official is saying that they’re not.  Then the official turns around in the very next breath and tells us the exact opposite.  Which is fairly unsurprising.

Also, unsurprisingly the statists all but flat out say that they know best, and therefore should tell these institutions how to best run their businesses… because Freddie and Fannie – both sponsored by the government and overseen by Barney “Blowhard” Frank – did so well, right?  Speaking of Freddie and Fannie, Sheila Bair says mortgage institutions are next on the Fedzilla’s platter.  It is only a matter of time before the wheels of Capitalism are ground to a destructive halt… and our economically viable futures with it.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tax Those Calories Away!

Posted by Max Barron on May 12, 2009

biggulpYou’ve heard of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” “Weight Watchers” and the “South Beach Diet,” all of which claim to help you cut those unwanted pounds and reduce your caloric intake.  But soon you could have a whole new diet…”Skimpin’ cuz the Taxes.”  Not long ago NY Governor Patterson discussed creating a soda tax – which would tax high sugar content beverages – to discourage their consumption.  Outraged, New Yorkers and the beverage industries stomped that idea into oblivion.  But not before the Mighty Fedzilla’s super-sonic hearing picked up on it.  Now, Fedzilla – oddly aroused by the idea – is contemplating creating a soda tax to help pay for their health care initiatives – a backdoor to single payer, government rationed health care. 

The idea behind the tax is, as usual, purportedly for our own good.  The idea is to tax the drinks to dissuade people from purchasing and consuming them, in the name of our health.  Basically they believe that if they tax those deliciously sugary beverages that it will reduce the amount of obesity and diabetes, thus lowering the costs of health care.  Supporters of this kind of tax believe that it will actually curtail consumption… it won’t.  Not only will the tax be ineffective, but it will also not produce the kinds of revenues needed to off-set the gaping chasm of a money pit that is nationalized health care.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this Soda Tax would produce roughly only $24 billion over the next four years.  That isn’t even the tip of the currently estimated $1.2 trillion health care initiative iceberg – which I consider to be a remarkably conservative estimate. 

From the standpoint of health care funding, the soda tax is completely pointless.  It will reach much further than the guilty pleasures of an ice cold Pepsi or Coca~Cola, though.  It will dip into numerous other drinks such as Gatorade, Capri-Sun and Powerade to name a few.  As the tax is aimed at calorie content… not sugar syrups.  And anyone who says that Gatorade and the like cause obesity is a liar and an idiot.  Pepsi, Coca~cola, Dr. Pepper, etc don’t either for that matter.  No, it is people that make people obese by not observing moderation (people with medical conditions like thyroid deficiencies not withstanding).  Again, it isn’t the funding that this tax is all about.  Mr. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, brings that point home.

“Soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it’s something government should discourage the consumption of.” 

It is about some statist oligarch telling the American people how to live their lives.  Because they know better than we mere plebes.  This isn’t to say that the soda tax will be effective in that mission either.  It won’t.  People will continue to consume them en masse because they have no personal sense of restraint or moderation.  And it isn’t for the government to moderate those lifestyle choices.  Which, if this tax slides through, we can all look forward to more of.  Look at the bright side, though.  When you order a steak, if that you can afford the taxes on it, you won’t have to worry about telling the server how you want it prepared… Capital Hill will have already decided that for you.

To turn a phrase “let them eat cake – let them be fat!”

Posted in Rants | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

No SCAAP For You!

Posted by Max Barron on May 12, 2009

soup naziWith the unveiling of the Emporer’sPresident’s 2010 budget, the states are set to get yet another kick in the anus as Super O dons his Soup Nazi hat and declares “no SCAAP for states!”.  SCAAP is the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program – A $400 million per year program that seeks to partially reimburse states for the federal governments border protection incompetence.  The program, first established in 1990, provides a bit of much needed relief to states for the jailing of illegal aliens that commit felonies, the identification of illegals and the expeditious transferring of criminal aliens for deportation.  SCAAP has been authorized for up to $950 for 2010, a much need boost in funding – as the program is decidedly under funded.  Or, at least it was.  Because as of 2010 it will no longer be funded if the President’s budget goes through unfettered. 

Among the states hurt most by the loss of funding will be California, which spends approximately $1 billion a year jailing criminal aliens.  Though they only receive roughly $162 million in SCAAP funds leaving California citizens to pay for the remaining $838 million annually.  Why should they be forced to pay for the federal government’s incompetence or political cowardice?  California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico cannot control the U.S. border.  That is the province of the federal government.  Thus far, the federal government has been incapable or unwilling to protect the border, allowing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to move into those states… and leaving those states with the bill.  A multi-billion dollar per year bill, at that.  However, the budget does call for more border patrol agents and a new comprehensive approach to handling criminal illegal aliens.

 “In place of SCAAP, the administration proposes a comprehensive border enforcement strategy that supports resources for a comprehensive approach to enforcement along the nation’s borders that combines law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts to investigate arrest, detail, and prosecute illegal immigrants and other criminals.”

What this proposal entails is anyone’s guess at this point.  The budget does state that it will increase funding to Customs Enforcement and provide funding for up to 20,000 new Border Patrol agents… it still does not alleviate the burden on states for jailing criminals that the federal government failed to prevent from crossing – or those that are already here.  While the 20,000 new agents is a good start to securing the border, there are many more things to be done, and continued SCAAP funding is among them.  The states should not have to foot the bill for the federal government’s ineptitude.

Not being one to present a problem without at least attempting to give a resolution – I have taken the liberty of devising a couple of ideas to help the states handle this issue.

  1. The states get to bill the federal gov’t every month the costs of jailing and extraditing illegals. As the costs mount… Barry and the Conga line Congress will have to seal the border. After all, it is only fair that the their budgets get hosed b/c they failed to do their due diligence at the border and jacked up a state’s budget. It’s only fair. OR:
  2. Have those states bring back the chain gangs and factory work. Their schools would be painted and kept. Their state facilities maintained. Ditches, roads, drainage, sewer, etc… They could kill off half the state shovel projects budget by harnessing the manpower already present. Oh, then send the bill for the inmate upkeep to Barry O.

How would I fund either of these options?  Simple, cut out any one of the socialistic redistribution of wealth entitlements from the 2009 & 2010 budgets and that will be ample funding for something that the federal government is ACTUALLY responsible for.  For instance the $1 billion dollar trust fund for low income housing… or the $250 million giveaway to create mixed income neighborhoods, or the new war on childhood hunger, to name a few.  None of which are the province of the federal government.  Controlling the borders IS.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Obama Budget FY2010

Posted by Max Barron on May 11, 2009

Obama as FDR

Ladies and gents, the big O dropped his $3.6 trillion – with a T – bomb of a “budget” for 2010.  Frankly, I don’t know how anyone can really use the term budget with regards to the federal government at all.  There doesn’t seem to be any budgeting involved… Given that $2.3 trillion of that money is tied down by the entitlements our generous benefactors on Capital Hill have seen fit to bestow upon the masses – unconstitutionally of course.  That won’t stop Super O, though.  He is, after all, the anointed one.  So, what’s the One got in store for us in 2010?

The budget can be summarized with one word.  Expansion.  Most of this expansion will come in the form of regulators.  Of course, there is always the obligatory expansion of entitlements – gotta have that next generation of guaranteed Democrat votes.

Here’s the essential breakdown:

  • OSHA is looking to gain an addition %15 in funding for inspectors and enforcers.
  • IRS is getting an additional $400 million this year for more enforcers. 
  • FDA gets an additional $300 million for more field inspectors.
  • Labor Department gets an additional $400 million ($13.3 billion total) in discretionary spending cash.
  • Establishing a $1 billion trust fund for low income housing development and rehabilitation.
  • $250 million transfer of wealth to turn poor neighborhoods into “mixed income” neighborhoods.
  • $1 billion to create a new bureaucracy that will oversee the retirement savings direct deposit program.

Basically we are set to see an enormous amount of growth in public sector jobs and government reach.  Obama is set to spend more than $3.35 billion in additional federal growth.  This on top of 2009’s omnibus spending which sent an additional $513 million to OSHA alone.

But wait!  There’s more!  The Redistributor-in-Chief has decided to launch a new war on childhood hunger.  A war he says that he wants to win by 2015.  The problem here is, it won’t work.  The tax payers will have billions and eventually trillions of dollars siphoned off into this program only to see an increase or no change at all in childhood hunger.  Much like the “War on Poverty” that has been an abysmal failure… except for the success in placing millions on the federal dole and creating multiple generations of Democrat voters.  Welcome to part V of the Democrat Voter Insurance program.

With any Democrat budget comes both massive new spending and a few little cuts.  2010’s cuts while minuscule in comparison to the budget will have some far reaching impacts.  Big O, the little man’s friend, seeks to cut out payments for farmers whose sales are beyond a $500,00 threshold.  Even with the demand for more agricultural production, Obama seeks to punish those that actually DO produce, and could feasibly produce more to meet growing demand.  However, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, has already stated that this particular economic lashing will be a no-go.  But don’t expect to see any such quashing of the $900 million DoD contractor services cuts.  Though, the statists will certainly support the mission to create 33,600 new civilian DoD jobs – which will naturally come at the cost of contractor jobs.

The budget also calls for removing the $400 million State Criminal Alien Assistance program – which helps relieve the monetary burden of states jailing criminals here illegally.  Obama seems to think that the money is best used elsewhere and states that he is hiring more border partol agents.   Obama also states that he will work to deport illegals that commit crimes more quickly.  If that is the case, then shouldn’t ALL of them be deported immediately, since coming here illegally IS a crime? 

As expected nothing in the budget speaks to how we will pay for it all… There simply isn’t enough revenue to cover it.  Tax payers will either see hefty increases or China will get another visit from Hillary, and my and future generations will be paying the interest for the remainder of our lives.  But don’t worry, fellow Americans, we’ll all have government jobs and live in a worker’s utopia, am I right?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Tin Pot Dictator To Sieze More Assets

Posted by Max Barron on May 8, 2009

chavez-parrotOur lovable little America demonizing friend to the south has just passed a law (Thursday May 7, 2009) that will allow him to seize the assets of private oil companies without having to follow the usual rules for expropriation.  As if refusing to pay those companies the money that PDVSA actually owes them for services rendered wasn’t enough of a snub – Chavez delivers the proverbial bitch slap in the form of seizing the assets of those very companies.  Or at least, passing a law that says he can…  Everyone knows that a Tin Pot dictator can’t resist exercising new powers.

The new law supposedly only affects some companies but not all.  Well operator companies are said to be safe from the law, while service companies are not.  A betting man would put money on the companies that are pulling out of their operations in Venezuela – due to debts owed them by PDVSA – as being among the first victims of asset seizure.  Similar has already happened in the past to groups like SIMCO who claimed a default and ceased operations there.

Roughly estimated Venezuela owed approx $14 billion at the end of 2008 to foreigncompanies that service the wells, boats and other aspects of oil production.  Rather than paying his bills, Tin Pot Chavez will simply refuse to pay – citing an inability to afford the debt due to sharp declines in crude oil prices – and seize the assets of the companies that he rightfully owes money to.  Naturally, PDVSA – Petróleos de Venezuela, the State owned oil company – says that its contracts with the service companies are overvalued because of the fallen oil prices. The service contracting companies disagree, and rightfully so. A deal is a deal. PDVSA should pay for the work that was done – just like the rest of the world.  Of course, they are dealing with a socialist weasel so the fact that he’s skipping out on the check is no real shocker.

Never one to let a good opportunity to play the class-warfare card pass – like  all good fascist & socialist dictators – Hugo took to the microphone to decry the bourgeoisie rich, who he cheated and stole from.

“Tomorrow we’ll start recovering the goods and assets that will now belong to the state — social property as it always should have been. Mr. Man on the moon, cover your ears because the cries of anguish from the bourgeoisie will reach all the way to the moon.”

Mr. Chavez, steeped in his own sanctimonious dribble, neglects the fact that PDVSA lacks the technology to carry out these endeavors.

“This is a grave error because we don’t have the technological capacity” for such activities, opposition congressman Luis Diaz said.

Essentially what Hugo has done is placed even more burden on his already floundering nationalized oil company… A burden that not even Atlas could shoulder. Since being nationalized PDVSA’sproduction has dramatically declined and will only continue to do so with the take over of the servicing companies. Seeing as how crude oil accounts for over 90% of Venezuela’s exports, this move by Chavez is guaranteed to sting… and when it does “Mr. Man on the moon, cover your ears because the cries of anguish from the fascist tin pot dictator will reach all the way to the moon.”

This should serve as an object lesson to every government or agency that considers doing business with Chavez’s ilk.  They’re guaranteed to rip up the bill and throw the pieces in the face of the presenter.  Socialist and fascist tin pot dictators cannot be trusted… as Chavez has once again reaffirmed.  Go ahead and scream to the Man on the Moon, Chavez, he doesn’t want your sulfur crude either. WAAAAHHHHHH!

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pelosi’s Pants On Fire

Posted by Max Barron on May 8, 2009

pelosiglam

Our most ethical and honest Speaker in history has stated time and again that she did not know that waterboarding was being used in interrogations.  Anyone with sense that has followed this controversy knows that to be a complete outright lie.  Well, now there is proof.

To recap – on April 23, 2009 the botox queen was quoted stating emphatically “we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used.” She went on to say that she was told that they “could” be used… not that they were.

However, the CIA has released documents that pin the tail on this donkey.

Wall Street Journal

The document lists 40 briefings provided to lawmakers on intelligence, judiciary and other panels, the first of which was provided to then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican, and Ms. Pelosi of California on Sept. 4, 2002. That briefing is described as covering “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It included the use of the techniques on detainee Abu Zubaydah, background on legal authority, and “a description of the particular [enhanced interrogation techniques] that had been employed.”

According to the CIAs documents Pelosi and others were informed on Sept 4, 2002 as to exactly what techniques were currently in use. Which, as has been reported, includes the waterboarding of Zubaydah. Looks like Nancy “Stretch” Pelosi has been caught red-handed – that is to say Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!!

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Republicans Should Lay Down And Accept An Activist SCOTUS… Or Something.

Posted by Max Barron on May 6, 2009

Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law

CNN’s Senior Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, seems to have decided that Republicans don’t stand a chance against the Obama appointment machine… So they should just bend over and accept their fate – failure. She may have a point, Republicans don’t have enough votes by themselves to kill Obama’s appointments. They do, however, have a voice and can use that to dissuade certain appointments and/or convince Democrats to help block them.

Of course, Borger fails to understand the finer points of principle, justice and consequences. She also falls into the same category as other statist idiots who promote the ideological litmus testing of judges. Failing to realize that justice should be blind… not empathetic.

After all, hardly anything is more defining than a Supreme Court appointment: it’s about qualifications, judicial temperaments and resumes — not to mention beliefs. It’s what presidential elections are all about, after all. A president’s legacy is often largely defined by those whom he appoints to the court.

The key words are “beliefs” and “legacy.” First and foremost the system of justice, in order to be just, must not rule based on “beliefs,” but instead rule on the letter of the law. The notion that Supreme Court, or any other court for that matter, Justices should use their personal beliefs in their rulings promotes judicial activism. Which defeats the purpose of our entire form of government. Judges uphold the laws… they don’t write or rewrite them.
Secondly, the appointment to the Supreme Court is for life. Meaning that long after Obama leaves office, his appointments will still be on the bench. This is where the legacy comes from. The trouble is that an activist judge that rules according to their “empathy” (the word used by Obama) unhinges the legal system. Instead of justice being blind, and judges upholding the laws, the judges now write the laws and favor parties for whom they have empathy. Essentially it creates a miscarriage of justice. 
Borger goes on to question Republican and Conservative interest groups for laying groundwork to oppose certain possible nominees. Borger believes it to be a loosing battle that should not even be fought.

In a memo distributed by the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, the White House is taken to task for vetting at warp speed, which apparently results in appointments “to high government posts nominees who have cheated on their taxes and have other ethical problems.”

Moreover, the memo continues, “any rush to appoint a Supreme Court Justice with lightning speed is all the more unseemly.”

Really? Gee, how is it then that nine of the past 13 Supreme Court nominees were named within six days of the announced vacancy? Or that President George H.W. Bush took only three days to announce David Souter as his replacement for Justice William Brennan? Or just four days to announce Clarence Thomas as Thurgood Marshall’s replacement on the bench? When Thomas was announced, conservatives were enraptured, not offended by the process which they now say “violates the Obama promises of transparency and accountability.”

Brush aside the condescending sarcasm and what is left is the typical “but ___ did it, too.” That doesn’t make it right. Not to mention that the Judicial Confirmation Network has several very valid points. Virtually every other nomination to come from our illustrious president has been riddled with tax problems, ethics violations and conflicts of interest. Whereas the previous administrations to make quick judicial appointments showed far better judgement in their cabinet and high level executive appointments. Obama is withholding the names of his possible nominations to prevent public vetting which DOES “violate the Obama promises of transparency and accountability.”  His previous nominations and appointments also make it clear that he needs the people to do the vetting for him – as Team O is just plain bad at it.
There is, of course, one last issue with Obama’s previous appointments. Competence. All other problems aside, virtually every appointment thus far has completely lacked anything remotely resembling competence.

Every nominee has a paper trail which deserves to be examined. Each one has a judicial philosophy which deserves to be questioned. Each has a certain level of competency, which needs to be probed.

Precisely. In order to probe, the people must know WHO to probe. Which goes back to that whole transparency thing. The Republicans and interest groups are rightfully organizing their forces to combat certain nominations. Naturally, drive-by’s like Borger think it ill advised to do so.

Here’s the problem: It’s likely conservative groups are going to lose. So if President Obama appoints someone in, say, the mold of Justice Stephen Breyer, do they still lay themselves down across the railroad tracks of an incoming train — especially when the ideological balance of the court isn’t at stake?

Borger clearly misses the mark… and the point entirely. It isn’t a simple matter of ideological balance. It is a matter of justice and law. By placing activists on the SCOTUS, Obama ensures a legacy for himself – social justice (Obama’s words) – and thereby a complete lack of justice for Americans. If the courts sway by empathy then the U.S. can no longer be a society ruled by law. Instead it is a society ruled by judicial prejudice. Obama has stated numerous times that he wishes to create a court vastly more activist and legislative than the infamous Warren court. This would be devastating to the rule of law and to Americans.
Of course, Borger seems to think that Republicans and Conservatives should just lie down and allow the American people and the Constitution to take the Imperial butt-humping. I, for one, have an exit only policy…

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

When In The Course Of Local Elections: Arguing The Case For Social Conservatism

Posted by Max Barron on May 5, 2009

***Part 2 in the series of “When In The Course Of Elections” series.  For part 1 click here***

***In the interest of full disclosure: I am a rock-ribbed Conservative, both fiscally and socially. I am also a fervent Constitutionalist and Federalist. With that in mind – please read on.***

When In The Course Of Local Elections: Arguing The Case For Social Conservatism… At the state and local level.

It is important to note that there is a chasm between possessing ideological views and legislating them. Simply because a person holds a particular view doesn’t necessarily mean that they will impose that ideology upon the American people. This is what separates Federalists from the herd. A Federalist believes in the 10th Amendment. Any powers not specifically given to the federal government or prohibited by the Constitution shall be the sole property of the individual state.

As previously discussed in Part 1 of this series, the federal government should consist of Federalists who – true to the constitution – leave the social agendas and legislation to the states. The state is the proper place to install socially conservative views through our local representation.

For far too long have we Conservatives and the people of America focused on the federal level. By advocating social views in our Congress and President, we have brought about the very thing that we, as Conservatives espouse to stand against – Statism. In the mean time we have continued, to a certain extent, to ignore the local and state level. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Collectively we have abandoned the core essence of Federalism while declaring our dedication to it. And in so doing, precipitated its undoing.

By continually issuing decree that our federal politicians must espouse and legislatively support our social views we have held the door open and allowed the statists to stream in and legislate theirs at the federal level – thereby usurping the appropriate role of the individual states. Conversely we have neglected, by and large, the arena in which social issues should be addressed. That is the state and local arena.

This is not to suggest that we should elect the morally ambivalent or ambiguous to the federal level. It is to state that it is in the best interests of the Republic that we ensure that the states remain a moral compass and the federal government remain a slave to that compass.  Rather than the opposite – which is currently what we have. By ensuring that the federal government is comprised of those that refuse to legislate social issues we ensure that tyrannical oppression of the states cannot happen. It is also ensured that the states will be the de-facto moral fiber and compass – as designed by our forefathers – of the Union. Appropriately this is where social conservatism truly belongs.

This will also give the people a resounding and solid voice on the issues impacting their lives and locale. Which is where the social litmus tests yield positive results. One will also find the tendency of states to move towards the right. Of note is also the ease of changing state law as opposed to federal. It is also at the state level that “We the people..” have the power of referendum. By focusing our socially conservative ideology on the state and local level we give ourselves the loudest possible voice and greatest defense against the statist agenda. We will also find a more receptive audience at the state level.

Our forefathers designed a system of government that gave the states the greatest authority and impact on our daily lives. It is fitting that we embrace this design and direct our social views towards local governance where it will have the greatest possible impact. Utilizing this model will ensure the greatest possible amount of liberty for all Americans and provide the solid social fabric necessary to protect it. Which is precisely where the ideals and principles of social conservatism shine.

It will also remove the strain of social agenda from our federal representatives allowing the people to elect appropriately conservative federalists. Thereby placing our system of government back into balance. Rather than have 300 million people fighting over social issues that are not at the core of our union, the people within their own states can govern their own social behavior and allow the centralized government to settle inter-state disputes.

Should we achieve this form of self-governance the society as a whole will prosper and the morally ambivalent agenda of the liberal Democrats will eventually and inevitably die out. The people will see the virtues of the socially conservative states and the prosperity that they enjoy. And then they will see the social and economic rot within their own states. Nothing could make the case for conservatism more clear, more apparent, and less arguable. Seeing the inevitable success of the conservatively governed states, the citizens of liberal states will hoist the liberal oligarchs out on their collective keesters.

Posted in Politics, When In The Course Of Elections: | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »