Sat 28 Mar 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, PoliticsComments Off
Recently, the Democrats have tried to negatively brand the Republicans in their opposition to some of he more blatantly socialist plans and proposals by Obama as the “Party of NO.”
Nice try. But this branding presumes that Obama’s plans are urgently necessary and benign in implementation. But what we have going on in Washington is an honest disagreement in the details of legislation that will shape the future of our country. Obama’s vision of an American utopia apparently involves a massive, paternalistic government and legions of co-dependent citizens. And it also involves unprecedented and massive spending and debt.
The Republican vision of America differs substantially…however due to the make up of the Congress they are virtually powerless to prevent the wholesale enactment of Obama’s vision. The only way that they can get their point across is to be an active and vocal opposition, and to point out the problems and issues with Obama’s and the Democrat’s policies and plans. Other than that, we are all subject to the will and caprice of the numerically-superior Democrats.
So, when you hear the Dems moan and groan about the GOP being the “Party of NO”, you should be thankful for their thoughtful opposition. I think that the Democrats are mistaking NO with WHOA…we need to put on the brakes and understand what the ramifications of this legislation, born in Rahm Emmanuel’s cherished crisis time, are for our country and we citizens. A good example is the alacrity with which the “Stimulus” Bill was signed. Not a single Democrat who voted for that legislation, nor the Democrat who signed it into law (Obama) bothered to read this sweeping legislation. This meant that they didn’t fully understand the provisions in this law, yet they were eager to enact it.
The Republicans were virtually excoriated for their opposition to the stimulus…but as we’ve come to see, they were justified when some of the more controversial provisions came to light after it was actually read and studied.
Please don’t fall into the well-honed traps that the Democrats constantly resort to: Demonizing the opposition and using repetition to bolster their position, even when they are dead wrong.
Sat 28 Mar 2009
We live in frightening times. The world is a large and unstable place, fraught with enemies who would do great harm to the United States and its individual citizens if given the chance. We are also at a point in history where we live in financially uncertain times, and many people have lost considerable wealth in the past year.
However, I think that the most frightening issue we personally face is from within our own government. We have a new administration and a sitting Congress who apparently have little consideration for the Constitution that they swore to defend. You might think that my statement is a little over-reaching, and that I should cut these pols some slack because we can all have disagreements in interpretation. Good people with the best of intentions can agree to disagree, right?
Certainly that may happen. But let’s face it, I’m talking about disagreements in a plain view, non-esoteric reading of this document. As recently as this week we had members of the Congress trying to violate the Constitution (Article I, section 9 to be exact) where they were attempting to “punish” the TARP-bailed-out AIG bigwigs who received lavish bonuses — bonuses that the Congress vehemently opposed. And sadly, when many members were asked about, then informed of, the unconstitutionality of their proposed legislation, they chose to bear on with their plans.
We have politicians in the nation’s capitol who utterly disregard their pledge to “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions” (Article I, section 8.) in their embracing (and cultivating for personal, political reasons) the illegal immigration invasion of our country. However they appear to be quite astute Constitutionalists when it serves their purposes, particularly when they cite that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…” (Amendment 14, section 1.) to prevent illegal families with “anchor babies” from being deported.
We have a White House that has proposed a “stimulus” package (which is now law) and is proposing a budget which contain several measures that will bluntly intrude into the privacy and abridge the liberty of every American citizen. For example, the stimulus provision contains the frame work to nationalize the health care system: All medical records are to be computerized ostensibly for consistency, accuracy and cost savings for all Americans. But the result of this intrusion into our most private affairs, our health care, will be to standardize medicine and provide treatment benchmarks for physicians to follow. In essence, medical care and treatment rationing will be forced upon us in an effort to reduce the cost of health care. This one action will forever and detrimentally change the physician-patient relationship.
Another example is the proposed “smart grid technology” that will be mandated for every home in the United States. it sounds innocous enough, and it has a noble goal (to help folks monitor their energy consumption in their homes) at first blush. But all is not what it appears to be! The smart grid depends upon smart meter technology, whereby the electrical meter in everyone’s home is replaced with what is essentially a power monitoring computer and communication system. This computer will interact with “smart” appliances and it will monitor the overall power demand versus the hours in the day in order to allow the home owner to more cost efficiently use, and hopefully make smarter decisions about using, energy. It will also have the capability to “shed” individual loads (that is, appliances, light, etc.) when the demand is highest and the utility cannot meet this peak demand. Isn’t it better to lose an appliance or two in favor of a complete blackout? And, it will have the capability to temporarily disconnect the electrical service from an entire house. The most troubling part of this is that these actions, including the monitoring of a particular domicile’s power usage history, can be done remotely, without the knowledge of the home owner. And remotely doesn’t necessarily mean just by the utility company for benign or noble reasons.
Do you really want the government mandating that you MUST participate in such an endeavor? Do you want the possibility that your energy consumption in your home may be monitored by some governmental entity in order to verify your compliance with some rule or regulation, or further tax your usage based on hourly consumption? Do you want someone else to have the capability of controlling your electrical power, and giving them the ability to some day turn off an appliance that shouldn’t be used, at say 10pm, because of some government-mandated restriction?
This smart grid technology by itself reeks of Big Brotherism. It appears to be a governmental attempt to force Orwellian controls on its citizens under the guise of some benign purpose. Now, I’m an electrical engineer, and I completely understand this technology. In fact I was initially enthusiastic about the promise of a smart grid, until I realized the very large downside of implementing this technology. Not only does it reek of Big Brother, but it portends to be a future realization of the Laws of Unintended Consequences. Could it be a case of “he who controls the grid controls behaviors?” I don’t know, but folks had better do their homework before blindly supporting such sweeping proposals. I just know that we are less free when someone else controls the parameters of our existence!
These are only two examples where our individual rights and liberties are being threatened by capricious provisions contained in these mammoth pieces of recent legislation. The Obama administration is taking a paternal approach when it comes to provisions such as these — they know what’s best for us, and far better than we do ourselves! And they are apparently justifying their somewhat egalitarian approach to the treatment of the citizens by poffering up excuses like “energy security” and “for the good of the country.”
So each day another chip, large or small, is legislatively chiseled from the piece of granite that was supposed to be our immutable Constitutional rights and liberties. And the sad part is that we’re letting our own lights and liberties be chipped at and eroded without so much as a whisper in many cases. As Dylan Thomas suggested, I’m not willing to “go gentle into that good night” and lay down and give up my God-given rights and liberties to a group of self-centered, self-serving egotists in Washington, DC — for their personal gain and aggrandizement in most cases!
I hope and pray that many, many millions of others feel the same way and they will push back hard and chafe against our callously disregarded Constitutional rights. I hope enough good citizens remain vigilant and ready to defend their rights…and be not so eager to give them away. Once they are ceded and gone, they will never be returned.
I hope people smarten up and realize that WE, the people are the custodians of our personal rights and liberties, and not some politician in Washington who assures you that this is the case. A politician who does just the opposite when they surreptitiously tucks a midnight provision into sweeping legislation in the name of “change.”
Because these are indeed very frightening times…
Wed 25 Mar 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Finance
, The EconomyComments Off
“Pay no attention to the man behind the TARP!”
You know that the acronym TARP is a pretty transparent moniker for the financial institution bailout program. Because I think that TARP really isn’t an acronym at all, it is a description for the literal shroud that was placed over the bailout process by the Fed. Perhaps DROPCLOTH, DRAPE, COVERALL, CURTAIN or CLOAK make lousy acronyms, and that TARP won out because the catchy “Troubled Asset Recovery Plan” phrase could be fit into the word.
But regardless of the words that make up the acronym, the program is nothing more than a cover for the for the politicians who got us into this financial mess in the first place with their tinkering. It’s a stratagem, a ruse, to divert attention away from them and place it on the financial institutions who followed the dicta of the federal government to the letter — making more and more and more unsustainable housing loans and mortgages — and then suffered the unintended consequences of this action.
TARP was a way for the Congress to say “We screwed up, big time” without ever having to speak those words. Because everyone knows that the Congress NEVER makes a mistake. It only creates programs that need “tweaking” and perpetual incremental financial support because things “change.” TARP was a way for the Congress to literally and figurative take cover for their cockamamie plan to increase home ownership to those who could never, under any circumstance, afford to own and maintain a home. TARP was a way to divert attention away from the well-intentioned but fatally-flawed Community Redevelopment Act, whereby financial institutions were encouraged to loosen their lending requirements to the point of fiduciary irresponsibility in order to make the social tinkerers in Washington, DC feel as though they had made a meaningful change in our society. This was meaningful change, but as we all know now, at a tremendous cost to our country.
So, as the Congress crawls under their TARP, which has a whole laundry list of problems on its own, we taxpayers are left with the check. We’re left with the check as we are with every other boneheaded, Robin Hoodian, socialist program that the Congress in all its rose-colored glasses donning, vote-grabbing frenzy can foist, either “for the children” or “for the good of the people”, upon us.
Except this time the check has a lot of zeroes on it…almost too many for the check we’ll be writing to contain. This check is for trillions of dollars: Some real cash as far as I’m concerned. But hey, it’s the 21st century and I guess I need to update my thinking in terms of all things financial. A trillion is the new billion, so I need to get with the program. And why am I worried after all? It’s not like I or any of my contemporaries are going to be footing this dine-and-dash induced tab left to us by our clever pols. Uh, uh. It’s going to be our children’s children’s children who all will be cranking open their wallets, big time, to pay for this folly and excess in our time.
So hey, why just leave our progeny dusty old monuments to long dead patriots and a working, sensible infrastructure when we can leave them a mountain of historical, self-serving debt?
To do something that utterly foolish would be so 21st century of us.
Thu 19 Mar 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, PoliticsComments Off
Excessive government regulation leads to altered behavior in both the public and private sectors which in turn leads to unintended consequences and outcomes.
The prime example of this is the Community Redevelopment Act. This one piece of legislation essentially caused the mortgage meltdown of 2008 and our present financial crisis.
Don’t believe me or my words at face value…please do the research and reading for yourselves!!
Mon 16 Mar 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, The EconomyComments Off
An Associated Press story this morning quotes Barney Frank (D-MA) commenting on the fact that executives at bailed-out firm AIG received multimillion dollar bonuses. You can read the story for yourself HERE. It reveals that Rep. Frank has absolutely no shame.
I am gobstruck with the level of hypocrisy in this man. Two quotes in particular reveal why the people of the fourth Congressional district in my state of Massachusetts need to wake up and put this toxic man into the private sector where he most certainly belongs:
“These people may have a right to their bonuses. They don’t have a right to their jobs forever.“
He was also quoted as saying that the bonuses paid to these executives amounted to “rewarding incompetence.“
Can you imagine the gall of this man who sat in the middle of the financial tempest in making such comments about individuals in the private sector? Does Mr. Frank expect that he will have his job forever? Does he think that his incompetence and laxity in regulation oversight of Frannie and Freddie will be rewarded? Does he think that he can escape punishment for his incompetence and ineptness?
If there was such a thing as karmic fairness, then Mr. Frank would be in Federal prison for his transgressions. After all, he makes Bernie Madoff’s crime look like a pillow fight. He has cost the US economy trillions of dollars with his duplicity in his actions and his ideology-before-reality politics. Instead of prison, Mr. Frank was returned to the Congress by the inane voters in MA-4 to wreak more havoc on our economy, and to give him the pulpit to bloviate about private businesses that he helped face ruination.
Simply put, the hypocrisy is breathtaking…
Sat 14 Mar 2009
Is Barak Obama a modern day Moses? One just needs to look back at the rather humorous McCain campaign commercial where Heston-as-Moses parts the Red Sea. This image was interwoven with video clips of a rather self-aggrandizing Obama while then on the campaign trail. The question is, was McCain right? Is Obama the new Moses, fixing to lead his people to a more promising land?
With deference to the Cecil B. DeMille’s imagination realized in the 1956 epic, we can explore the Mosian-Obaman similarities and differences.
There are some less-than-striking similarities between Barak Hussein Obama and Moses, the Deliverer of the Israelites from the Pharaoh: Both are captivating public speakers; both became leaders of their people and; both assumed the mantle of law-givers to their people.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. There are many characteristics and traits that place these men in marked contrast. Let’s take a look.
Moses raised his staff and parted the Red Sea as an escape route from generations of slavery in Egypt for his people. Obama, in his acceptance speech in St. Paul, Minnesota for his party nomination, declared “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Certainly actions speak louder than words, as Moses is purported to have actually parted the Red Sea: While Obama will rely on misguided policies and time to perform his feats of hydrological magic. Moses delivered his people whereas Obama could be responsible for bankrupting our nation with ill-begotten schemes based on coerced and co-opted science.
Moses stood up to the most powerful person in the world in the person of Pharaoh Ramses II, defying his edicts and commands. Obama spent enormous sums of money to secure the position of the world’s most powerful man. Since the day he was elected, he has assumed a “I won, I rule…my way or the highway” mentality with those surrounding him in government. Not only is he a leader, but an absolute leader to boot. Unlike Moses, this attitude doesn’t require courage as much as it does self-absorption and hubris.
Moses, Prince of Egypt, came to have a deep, abiding faith in God. He abandoned his secure life as heir to the crown in favor of acting upon his destiny to lead his people from bondage. As a reward for his temerity, he was cast into the desert to die, but yet he persevered to tirelessly lead his people out of Egypt in search of the Promised Land. We don’t really know Obama’s true relationship with God, but we can only assume it is fractious and superficial based on his past associations with churches and religions. However we do know that Obama abandoned an effete life in the US Senate to assume the position of world’s most powerful man. And in that position, Obama has, unfortunately, put forth policies that will further enslave and place into bondage many of his own fellow citizens — both taxpayers and entitlement recipients alike while promising (and then delivering) government benefits to only chosen ones.
Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, as provided to him by God for the salvation of his people. Moses had mixed results…as his people engaged in debauchery and the unfortunate golden calf thing. However, Moses was persistent and with the help of God prevailed upon his people to embrace the laws of God. As punishment for their transgressions, Moses and his people were fated to wander in the desert and the hinterlands for forty generations. Obama, on the other hand, has signed several legislative initiatives into law as a means of (in his mind) rescuing his people. But unlike the situation with Moses, where the Israelites were given free will by God to either embrace or ignore His laws, Obama’s laws are indisputable for US citizens. And unlike God’s laws that were delivered and displayed in plain view of the people, Obama’s laws were conceived in darkness and enacted in haste. And these godless laws are preoccupied with money and, ultimately, with the deliverance of power to the government.
A new Moses? Not likely! However, to his fervent supporters, and contrary to the evidence otherwise, Barak Obama is The One, The Deliverer. But to those of us who can see through his persona and his actions, he is a false prophet who can (and probably will) bring us nothing but bondage to an ever-increasing government.
Thu 12 Mar 2009
Obama supporters must have their rose-colored glasses firmly affixed to their crania. To be sure these glasses would have certainly slipped off their faces from their expressions of surprise as a result of the actions of their Chosen One as president. And in his meager tenure of 50 days so far as president, he has given us all legitimate reasons for surprise, dismay and fright.
During his election, then Senator Obama railed against many of the modi operandi of the institutions and denizens in Washington DC. He took his predecessor, George W. Bush, to task for the program that eavesdropped on overseas telephone calls terminating at Middle Eastern locations. This intelligence gathering tool was decried as an invasion of privacy and a landmark trampling of our personal liberties. That is until President Obama reviewed this policy and decided that maybe it (and the trampling of a few personal liberties) wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
Obama similarly railed against legislative pork and earmarks. As late as January 2009, the newly-minted POTUS chafed against the practice of larding up critical legislation with the residue of re-election for many Congressional reps and senators. Again, Obama chastised and railed until it came time to sign the $410 billion omnibus spending bill a few days ago. This legislation earned taxpayer scorn with, by some estimates, as many as 8,500 earmarks costing over $8 billion included in it. It seems he can choke down “the other white meat” in a pinch — perhaps if the sauce, or in this case political implication, is savory enough. And in an incredible display of political bravery, Obama chose to sign this bill behind closed doors. Is anyone surprised by his intergalactic hypocrisy in this matter?
Candidate Obama ran on an issues platform of hope and change. He bloviated about transparency and accountability in government, and about a new way of doing things.
So far in his term as President Obama, we have seen little change in his policies and and a thimbleful of hope. In fact, one of the greatest feats of political legerdemain (and many would say political condescension and contempt) in history was orchestrated by Obama: The crafting and passage of the $787 billion so-called Stimulus Package. Using the philosophy of his chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel that “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste…”, Obama and his fellow Democrat co-conspirators used the present economic crisis to pass a Christmas wish list of programs and spending that the Democrats have planned and coveted for at least 10 years.
But what has happened with the die-hard Obama supporters and the Obamaniacs? Has their unshakable faith in their Leader been shaken? Have there been any buyer’s remorse or voting second thoughts regarding The One? Instead of even batting one jaundiced eye towards the spending frenzy extraordinaire going on in Washington, the rank-and-file and the talking-head pundits are adroitly holding the party line. I simply refuse to believe that you could put anything that potent into KoolAid and get that desired result. But it appears that I’m mistaken. Obama’s supporters trot out in front of the cameras and put a spin on all that has transpired that would make even a gyroscope blush with envy.
Hey, I guess it’s time to grow some thicker skin my voting compatriots. After all, they’re only words. And in the end, it’s only money! The joke’s on us!! Until it isn’t. If the first 50 days of the nascent Obama administration are a preview of coming attractions of his policies and actions for the next three and three-quarter year of his tenure, then I fear we are all in for a long and bumpy ride. And if his cachet of supporters continue to robotically endorse Obama’s actions, then I will come to believe more fervently in Abraham Lincoln’s claim that “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Until you can.
So much for hope and sayonara change!
Sun 8 Mar 2009
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, UncategorizedComments Off
The Founders of our nation were brilliant men — proverbial giants among men — but they were apparently poor judges of character. And by character I mean that which is possessed by modern-day US citizens. Because they had no way of gauging the character of future generations, the framers failed to put all the checks and balances into the Constitution that would prevent the severe political problems and failings that we encounter today.
Human beings by nature are feckless, fickle and selfish. To be sure, we can exhibit remarkable generosity, goodness and charity, but we are (and always will be) subject to the seven deadly sins in our actions: pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. We humans can’t help this, as it is our default condition to suffer these sins if even in small doses. So, to satisfy these less than noble urges, citizens often use their precious vote as a tool of self-improvement. They vote for politicians who promise them the most goodies from the public treasury. This penchant has never been more prevalent or pronounced than in the last presidential election, where the candidate (Democrat Barak Obama) who promised the most liberal social programs and give-aways garnered the most votes. And subsequent to the election, it was well documented that many voters cast their vote for the candidate (Obama) who promised them the most goodies or entitlements (like socialized medicine or tax breaks or personal situation bail outs.) Whether we like it or not, and whether we wish to admit it to ourselves, many voters use their vote for their own good, rather than for the good of the nation.
It is because of this selfish political behavior that I suggest although they came very close, our Founders missed the mark with the Constitution. I believe that they left out several very important provisions in this document that would provide the checks-and-balances required to prevent future financial chaos and the looting of the public treasury, as well as rampant social degradation and unrest.
1.) Every Voter A Stake Holder
Every voter should have skin in the game. What do I mean by this? I mean that every voter should pay income taxes, thus proving that they are a productive member of our nation’s society. A person who pays no taxes is less likely to be personally or fiscally responsible. They have nothing to lose, so why vote for a candidate who is fiscally conservative or who espouses responsibility in personal actions? Why not vote for the candidate who promises the most entitlements and/or goody giveaways? It doesn’t cost those folks anything, so why not go for the goodies? A person would almost have to be crazy if they didn’t vote for something that was “free.”
Now, I understand that many folks would be excluded from the voting roles because they payed no income taxes. Sorry, that’s too bad! However, there is an incentive provided in this proposal. I believe every citizen should pay income taxes, regardless of their income. Even if lower earning individuals payed income taxes at some token rate, say 8-10%, they would end up helping to pay their way. Folks who were unemployed but who have a proven history of working and paying income taxes would be eligible to vote. And those who are unskilled or chronically unemployed would be encouraged to find employment, perhaps even assisted by government-sponsored programs. But they could not vote until they secure a paying job. The goal would not only be to earn a living and become independent but to earn the right to vote. They would become stake holders in our nation, and full participants in our system and society.
2.) Term Limits And Reasonable Pay, For Good Or Bad
I honestly don’t think the Founders intended that a political position was meant as a life’s career. It appears that they saw public service as a temporary endeavor by citizen legislators. A public servant was expected to serve in government for a finite period of time and then return home, to the private sector. This is the antithesis of what happens in politics (notice I didn’t say public service) today. Wealthy individuals capture a public office and make it theirs, and they hang on to the office with the tenacity of a deer tick. Incredible sums of money are expended to win and then hold a particular office. The result is that many politicians are beholding to the special interests who got them elected in the first place, and that they have a fierce loyalty to the political party that served as their electoral sponsor. Thus party affiliation and party aggrandizement trump the interests of the citizens they are supposed to represent.
Term limits would serve to break the hold of powerful career politicians on public office seats. These limits would provide two benefits: They would create a flow of new faces with new ideas into public service; and they would end self-aggrandizement and political quid pro quos from dominating our political process. No individual would become more important or too powerful, and the will of the people would become more important than the political career of a particular candidate.
So, a term limit of two terms (8 years total, maximum) would apply to the President, three terms (6 years total, maximum) would apply to seats in the House of Representatives (whose ranks would be lowered to a maximum of 250 total representatives), two terms (8 years total, maximum) for seats in the Senate, and 10 years maximum for seats on the Supreme Court.
Having defined and reasonable term limits dictated in the Constitution would invigorate our process of governance. These limits would encourage new participants with new ideas to government and it would loosen and break the grip that polarized political parties now have on this process.
Finally, we citizens have allowed our elected representatives to vote themselves pay amounts and then pay increases that have moved them into the upper class and away from the average American citizen. this is wrong, and it flies in the face of the concept of “representative democracy.” If we pay our elected representatives exorbitant salaries, we allow them to become out of touch with the needs and the lives of the very people they were elected to represent. Can a politician whose bank account is guaranteed full fully understand the plight of a fellow citizen (and supposed peer) who struggles to make ends meet on a daily basis? The answer is “Certainly not!” The citizens of our nation deserve to be governed by individuals who are members of our peerage in all respects. We shouldn’t expect to be governed or led by our “betters.”
The Founders rejected the rule of a rich and dismissive ruler, the King of England, and the result was the very system that we live under today. Do we really want a situation to exist where only the rich and well-connected can achieve public office? Do we want the deck stacked because we fell asleep and allowed our representatives to pay themselves what the average citizen can only dream of? I believe the answers to those two questions are an unwavering “No!”
I suggest that the pay of any individual holding elected office at the federal level be set at 150% of the median income of American citizens. This would provide an incentive to those governing us to insure that only the best opportunities exist for the citizens whom they represent. Furthermore, any pay raises given to elected public servants would be indexed to inflation…and they would have to be ratified by public vote at each federal election. This simple action would provide the “How am I doing?” checks-and-balances that must exist if we are to expect committed and concerned public service and public servants.
3.) Taxes May Not Be “Progressive” And Any Tax Levy Will Expire After A 5 Year Period
Legislators get to have their cake and eat it too! They can enact tax levies upon the general population, and then they may craft how the taxes may be confiscated according to a person’s earnings. This may be a way to generate enormous revenue streams to the government, but it sadly is used to curry favor and create social class divisions and jealousies. Unfortunately, the use of progressive taxation in our modern society is used solely to appeal to the greedier side of the masses and to serve as a popularity mechanism for politicians who propose these taxes. In a Constitutional republic like the US, where we must bear a personal responsibility along with the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to us as citizens, we all must share the burden of providing funds into the public treasury.
As such, legislators may only enact “flat” taxes on income or other revenue sources. Again, I don’t think the Founders dreamed that the government would one day levy onerous taxes (the very reason they formed our great country was in tax revolt to the British Crown) on a small segment of the population. If we are to be true to the words and philosophy of the Founders, we need to observe an egalitarian philosophy when it comes to paying for the trappings of our freedom and liberty. It makes every citizen a stakeholder in our government.
Finally, in order to remove the possibility of politically-induced taxation, any tax levy must expire after 5 years. If this tax is important to the operation of the government, it may be renewed at the time of its expiry, but because of term limits the renewed taxation legislation will be considered by new sets of eyes and new and differently-thinking brains. We need this renewal process to act as a checks-and-balances for revenues collected by the federal government. We cannot endow the government with powers that we, ourselves, do not possess.
Having a “sunset” of 5 years on taxation appropriations means that these levies/revenues would be subject to periodic review, and that the efficacy of these levies/appropriations would be undertaken prior to each expiry date. In this way, the citizens would be assured that our hard-earned money wasn’t being thrown at a problem or requirement without the vigorous oversight that we should expect from our elected representatives. The money collected from us as taxes should be treated and spent as though it has finite limits, because it does!
4.) The Government May Not Pay Or Provide Funds To Any Individual
Except for military and government service/employment, the government may not pay or provide funds to any individual or group of citizens. Today, the government has become a check writing behemoth. In fact, the government has become a no-deposit ATM for million upon million of Americans. The government has become a key player in the “health and welfare” of many, if not most, of its citizens.
The only way that funds from the public treasury should be provided to an individual is for services rendered to the government: Such as to military personnel or to government employees. A subset of this rule would be that the government could only hire those individuals require to do a job required by a particular department. Simply creating no-show or make-work jobs as a ruse to provide Welfare benefits is unacceptable.
I believe the Founders never dreamed of a situation where legislators would contemplate and then enact legislation to provide any payments (Welfare, Social Security, etc.) or services to individual citizens. The simple act of the government insinuating itself into the lives of its citizens by providing them a living is morally wrong and detrimental to both parties involved. I think that President John F. Kennedy channeled the thoughts and feelings of the Founders when he said:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy
Making payments to individuals just because they exist creates an unintended situation where citizens are encouraged to become unproductive parasites and representative are turned into political sycophants.
5.) Definition Of The Role Of Government
The Founders left the role of the federal government wide open to interpretation in the Constitution. They should have better defined the role or roles that this government should play in our nation. I believe that the the Founders intended the role that the federal government play be limited to the following areas: provide for a strong national defense; insure unfettered interstate commerce; negotiate treaties and trade with foreign nations; guarantee equal rights and equal treatment under the law; secure and enforce our borders and provide for an orderly means of emigration and foreign travel; and provide a means of redress for disputes between individual states.
Certainly there are more roles that may be assumed by the federal government, but these roles are more properly and efficiently left to governments at the local level. The people should be afforded hands-on governance that they may participate in directly — at the local level. They should not be subjected to the caprice of a central, removed government that will enact legislation that controls or effects their personal rights and liberties. The federal government may suggest legislation to be enacted at the local level, but it should be up to the citizens at the most local level of government to enact such legislation if they deem it to be beneficial and desirable.
The modern-day relationship of the federal government to the individual citizen is akin to an upside down pyramid, with the tip facing down towards each individual and all the weight of the federal government pressing down upon them. In their words and actions, the Founders never intended this situation of crushing oppression and control by federal dictum or ukase to exist. Rather, I believe they intended that the pyramid be turned upside down…where the government provides a broad and firm substrate of guarantees to the individual citizen and furthermore acts as a framework to assure Constitutional compliance, and the individual (and their rights and liberties) is held in paramount respect at the very apex of the pyramid.
If these five simple changes had been made to the proto-Constitution, then we would be living in a much better nation. We would be living in a nation that hadn’t evolved in a self-serving manner due to the vagueness of the Founders, because perhaps they put far too much trust in the good and just character of human beings when they wrote our founding documents. We would be living in a nation where personal responsibility was encouraged and expected. We would be living in a nation where the public funds would be handled and the public trust would be kept with far greater care and respect. We would find ourselves with far fewer federal laws that dictate our behavior and erode our liberties in the name of some special interest crusade or by the whim of some entrenched politician. We would find ourselves determining the fates of ourselves at the local level, and we would be afforded a more direct control of our own destinies.
In short, we would find ourselves living in the place that the Founders had originally imagined and intended it to be! We would be free of the sinful corruption that inevitably creeps into all human endeavors, regardless of the original intentions. And we would live in a country where all its citizens are encouraged to be productive and participatory for the good of our nation.
We would live in a society that embraces the finest and highest aspirations of its citizens and not those of the least common denominator.
Fri 6 Mar 2009
There was a way that the Obama administration could have chosen to forcefully fix the current financial crisis, but unfortunately it would have required something in short supply in Washington DC — actual political courage. President Obama could have implemented a 6 month payroll tax “holiday”, which would have acted as a genuine stimulus to the economy. Real people who earn actual money would have essentially been given anywhere from 30-50% more earnings in their paychecks. Can you imagine the spending that would occur if real-life taxpayers were unleashed with this extra cash?
Some critics, like Senator John Kerry (D-MA) have said that we citizens wouldn’t spend this windfall correctly. We would save it or pay down debt, etc. We wouldn’t be able to do the proper stimulus job that the government could accomplish.
Can you imagine if there were millions upon millions of taxpayers and homeowners who would possibly use this money to have renovations done or additions to their homes built…or simply if they went out to dinner a couple more times a month? The effects of this spending would “marble” though our economy. The ripple effect would be unmatched by any pork-laden government spending that seeks out special interests and lines their pockets. Rather than doubting the power of individuals to save our economy, our government should be actively soliciting our participation. Instead, we get humiliated and insulted by the “rebates” of $400 per person (you know, the vaunted $13 per week that will rescue us from financial chaos and ruin!), which are essentially a temporary loan to ourselves because the tax tables weren’t changed…just the withholding tables, and temporarily at that.
Now, if Obama and the Congress were to have let loose the economic behemoth that is the American citizen instead of insisting upon the cleverly disguised power play they called a “stimulus” package, then we would already be feeling the effects of the action. People have lives they want to lead, and there is a greater sense of urgency in a personal need than there is about some ginned-up government spending program. Simply put, people will spend their money just about everywhere they can — from the mom-and-pop local market…to the big box mega-store…to their mortgage company…to the car dealership…to vacations…to everywhere and anywhere! The government isn’t the engine of the economy, they are a governor or throttle on it! Taxpayers and citizens with cash are the ONLY way that we can get out of the present crisis.
But, there’s another reason that the Obama administration didn’t propose this tax holiday, besides the blind hubris that grips our politicians in Washington. That would be the fact that if the electorate, particularly those who pay actual taxes, were to get an entire gross pay check’s worth of cash, even for a short period of time, then they would see for themselves just how much they pay to the government each pay period. The scam that is payroll deduction would be exposed and how! Do you really think that Obama would risk a tax revolt at the same time as this financial crisis? Because he would get one just after the tax holiday once folks were inured to seeing their higher pay during that time period.
Right now, the government relies on the “outta sigh, outta mind” sentiment that most folks succumb to while leading their busy lives. Payroll deduction allows the government to confiscate your hard-earned pay BEFORE you’ve had a chance to handle it. We all know why that’s done…to insure a known, predictable revenue stream, and so the government doesn’t have to chase around millions and millions of tax delinquents. They way things are presently done, the government doesn’t have to ask you for your money so that they can do this or that, they just take it!
So, Obama would have to have been crazy to have proposed and then implemented this payroll tax holiday. To administrators and legislators eager to appropriate our hard-earned money, the possible interruption of this political nourishment would be unacceptable and frightening. Imagine for one moment if the people had tacit control over our own government, instead of being treated like wage-serfs with open wallets?
But I submit that if Obama had done this, he would have been crazy like a fox! He would have struck upon the ONLY way that our economy could be rescued in a timely manner.
By the will of the American people.