August 2009

The recently-vacated US senate seat resulting from the death of Senator Edward Kennedy does not belong, as the press would have us all believe, to a family or an individual. He may have been elected and served in this seat for 47 years, but the seat is not “his”, nor does it belong to his heirs or the Democratic party.

It belongs to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as described below:

Part the First

Art. V. All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are the substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.

Art. VI. No man nor corporation or association of men have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclusive privileges distinct from those of the community, than what rises from the consideration of services rendered to the public, and this title being in nature neither hereditary nor transmissible to children or descendants or relations by blood; the idea of a man born a magistrate, lawgiver, or judge is absurd and unnatural.

The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

This simple fact needs to be remembered and understood by our state legislators and the media in their attempts to rush towards the last wishes of Senator Kennedy. The Senator was a man, to whom all the provisions of our state Constitution applied. Even Articles V and VI, although they be inconvenient to the political aims and motivations of the state Democratic party.

Hopefully, even in our modern day, politically-supercharged government, it will be recognized that we are a nation of laws and not men when it comes to not only the individual citizen, but also for those who serve in the government.

I think that each of the members of the Massachusetts legislature needs to put the political stagecraft and hypocrisy aside, grab their copy of the Massachusetts constitution and read it, and then demonstrate their fealty to it with their actions in the coming weeks.

We citizens of Massachusetts deserve no less!

As I read the newspaper and web headlines over the past few days it occurred to me that President Obama is more concerned about the Constitutional rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay (and future captives from Afghanistan or Iraq) than he is about those of the average American citizen or taxpayer.

Why, you say?

Well, he and his administration are going to great lengths to insure that the “rights” of the terrorist miscreants are insured through mirandizing captured combatants and closing the “harsh” digs at G’Bay and bringing the mendicants stateside. In fact, the president has re-organized the interrogation of combatants from under the the direction and supervision of the CIA to under the auspices of the FBI. See, it was revealed that high valued detainees like Kalid Sheik Mohammed were not only water boarded, but they were told that their families would be harmed if they didn’t cooperate with US interrogators. They were also threatened with hand drills and empty pistols. They were screamed at…and they had to listen to…folks, please send your minor children out of the room…LOUD MUSIC!! But it should be mentioned that the only “enhanced” interrogation technique actually used was the water boarding. The remainder of the actions were threats only.

And you know what? These interrogations delivered valuable information regarding future attack sites and terror plans. But Obama and his minions are quite sensitive to the “rights” of these sub-humans, so they will be treated in higher regard and receive all of the legal deference that a citizen of the US would receive.

This sensitivity to the “Constitutional rights” of the terrorists is juxtaposed with the treatment of American citizen’s Constitutional rights during the health care and cap-and-tax debates. Both of these proposed legislative plans are, to say the least, abusive to and intrusive into the rights of an average citizen. But the fact that nowhere in the Constitution is the Congress allowed to craft legislation to do either of these things (mandate our health care or require us to acquire/change certain behaviors regarding energy usage) won’t stop Obama and the other Democrats from trying.

My question is : Where are the Constitutional advocates for OUR rights in the White House and in the Congress? Why do our political leaders think that they can force us to accept restrictions and strictures on medical care and with the energy that we choose to use.

In a perfect world our leaders would care for and respect the rights of their citizens. They would carefully interpret the Constitution with an eye towards our rights, and respect our rights. They would protect these rights as they would their own.

The Constitution isn’t supposed to be a device for extracting political power from an unwitting populace.  Similarly, this document shouldn’t be used to increase the legal standing of foreign enemies who would gleefully destroy us all. American citizens are owed much more than the treatment that they are receiving from their elected representatives.

No wonder so many average citizens are speaking up and being heard at the town meetings being held this summer!

I heard an economic analyst state that the Congress spends 165% of what they take in as taxes.

If you or I, average taxpaying citizens, did that, we’d have our credit shut off and our credit score would be ruined. And in the future we’d have to pay for what we needed with cash (until our credit was repaired.)

I know that we’ve become self-centered and selfish as a society, but I think that people at their core know what is right and what is wrong. Spending 65% more than you take in is WRONG. There’s just no two ways about it!

Borrowing at this level (if you spend 165% of your receipts, you’re borrowing 65%…duh!) is unsustainable. The health care situation has been termed, incorrectly, unsustainable. Creating mountains of debt year-after-year is accurately identified as unsustainable. Our children and their heirs won’t have very many complimentary things to say about our present, misguided, generation.

This should be yet another reason to throw the bums out then next time that we get the chance. Our incumbents may be “good guys and gals”, but that’s no reason to keep them in their position of power and to allow them to abuse this power unchecked.

If we do nothing about this situation, we do so at our own peril.

I came to the conclusion that single payer health care coverage for Americans is a bad thing because of the poor performance of past and present government programs in controlling entitlement levels and costs. First, a look at Social Security will allow you to see it as the “Big Lie” of government. The present unfunded liability is a shocking 12-14 trillion dollars. We only have approximately 2 trillion dollars on-hand, physically in the SS trust fund, our only tangible asset. This means that paying out benefits to seniors now and in the future forces us to go deeper and deeper into debt.

Now consider Medicare. The total unfunded liability for Medicare is the sum of its parts: Part A, which pays for hospital care, has an unfunded liability of $10 trillion for current participants and $15 trillion for future participants, for a total of $24 trillion; Medicare Part B, which pays for doctor visits, will require $25.8 trillion in funds from taxpayers to pay for promised benefits over and above the modest premiums that retirees pay; and the recently enacted Medicare Part D, which pays for prescription drugs, will need $19 trillion from taxpayers on top of beneficiary premiums and state transfers. All said, Medicare has a staggering unfunded liability of almost 70 trillion dollars!

Now, if we add the SS and MC liabilities, we come up with the astronomical number of approximately 85 trillion dollars!! That is slightly more than the entire GDP of the US for a single year!! [This is the shameful residue of turning many of our citizens into co-dependents of our government, quite possibly for political reasons only.]

Right now, almost 100% of the taxes we pay go to funding these hopelessly indebted programs. The funds to do everything else we borrow, primarily, from the Chinese and also from the Europeans to a lesser extent. It is as though we’ve been on a long, drunken spending spree as a nation up until this point in time. And we’ve maxed out our national credit card with no hope of being able to pay it back.

So, in direct ignorance of the SS and MC situations, the Democrats want to convert our health care system to a single payer system…that single payer being the US government. How can any of us expect that within a decade that this scheme won’t be hopelessly broken and unrepairable given the track record of Uncle Sam with SS and MC?? And how can we not expect that as a nation that we won’t be many tens or even hundreds of trillions of dollars deeper in debt?

Simply put, we can’t!!

This present Democratic fixation with “reforming” health care is nothing but a grab at the ultimate in political power — the power over the most intimate part of your being, your health and personal welfare. It is also a way for the politicians to control a significant, and growing, part of our economy with their actions and at their caprice. I read a quote somewhere that said “He who controls the medical profession, controls life itself.” Do you really want our government, which has no defined Constitutional role in such matters, controlling your life?

Try as they might, politicians cannot make access to health care a right. Rights are the behaviors and actions of a human being. Health care is a SERVICE provided by skilled and trained individuals to another. Do you mean to tell me that I have a right to my doctor’s services? I think not, and the Constitution reinforces this assertion. Do you have a right to a house…food…a car?? Where does it stop?

No, you have the right to strive and to work for these things, but you don’t have the right to EXPECT that they will provided for you by someone else. The Constitution guarantees you the right to pursue those things, but it does not guarantee outcomes!

So, when the proponents use the fig leaf that health care is a right, or they’re only trying to lower costs by “bending the cost curve downward”, realize that they are lying to you as certainly as you’re drawing breath and they’re speaking! And playing the sympathy card that we need to cover the 50 million (in reality this is more like 8-10 million) uninsured Americans doesn’t wash either. These uninsured individuals need to pony up SOMETHING! We as a nation can’t be in the business of giving something for nothing any more. If you are to be covered, then you’re going to have to PAY for it! Otherwise, our children are going to pay dearly…if we as a nation can even survive the deep fiscal abyss that Congress and several presidents, including Mr. Obama, have placed us in.

Just like an average, ordinary American individual…the government cannot afford to spend or give away more than it receives, and it cannot be everything to everybody. Each person has limitations, even the wealthiest among us, and it’s about time that our elected representatives realized this same immutable fact about the US government!

Democratic US representatives and senators are out during this summer’s congressional recess on a whirlwind town meeting “listening” tour in their respective districts. These meetings were intended for them to rub elbows with their constituents and to act as fora for them to convince us of the utility of their health care scheme.

Understand that the Dems are trying to explain their blind, almost maniacal support for their health care program, which is essentially the onerous Obamacare plan to socialize medicine in the USA.

However, they are experiencing vociferous opposition in the form of “angry” citizens at their public communications events. What were once intended to be planned stagecraft by the ‘electorati’ turned into authentic forums for the expression of frustration and, yes, anger by the citizenry at large. People actually exhibited the scandalous effrontery to upbraid and criticize their ersatz representatives in the Congress.

Such cheek! Such unmitigated gall!

As a result of the citizen engagement and opposition encountered, the Democratic party, as well as individuals reps and senators, have accused the opponents of all manner of crimes against humanity. They would have the uninformed believe that these folks are simply nay-saying mobs…militia men and women…shills for the Republicans…malcontents who oppose this plan because it is being pushed by a black man!

The racist bastards!

When one side of an argument, regardless of what the argument is, has to resort to calling their opposition X or Y, where X or Y is indefensible and reprehensible, that action is way beyond the pale. The default denigrating claim of the Democrats and their lap dogs in the mainstream media is the generic cry “racist!” Who in their right mind wants THAT scarlet letter affixed to them by the “righteous” crusaders on the left?

So now we have news stories describing “mobs”, and “angry” opponents of the health care bill…people with swastikas and Nazi symbols (??)…and other pejoratives meant to discredit their righteous opposition. After all, how are these poor reps and senators (who apparently haven’t even read a Cliff Notes version of the proposed legislation) to deal with “angry mobs” that confront them? Particularly when those rabble-rousers have actually read the health care legislation, understand the troubling issues with it and are asking pointed questions regarding actual passages in the bill.

All this name calling against average citizens who deign to confront their betters, who allegedly are acting in the citizen’s best interests, is quite an exercise in hypocrisy. I seem to remember organized anger and faux protests when actual rabble was roused to picket (with manufactured signs and rehearsed sloganeering) the homes of Wall Street executives in Connecticut who were demonized as greedy and unpatriotic by Obama and certain members of Congress during the financial bailouts in the Spring of 2009.

These protesting mendicants were bussed in from afar by ACORN and the SEIU in order to bolster Obama’s claims that these greedy executive “robber barons” were beneath our contempt and worthy of our scorn — all to win political points.

Now those were organized eruptions of outrage if I ever saw them!

So, now we have elected representatives disparaging their constituents and simultaneously marginalizing their concerns. Rather than engaging the folks in opposition and LISTENING to their concerns, the Congress folk stick like glue to their preconceived notions regarding health care “reform.” No, no, no…their minds won’t be changed by an apparently educated and concerned group of ‘troublemakers’, who are growing in size exponentially, daily.

See, our representatives know what’s best for us. We’ve somehow collectively demonstrated that we cannot be entrusted to care for ourselves, or God forbid, make decisions for ourselves. This perception emboldens our elected officials to dream up legislation that treats us like so many pasture animals (llamas, sheep or cattle, take your pick) and forces us to conform to the will of an increasingly powerful central government. We hear the trite and tired line that “50 million people don’t have health insurance or access to health care”, and the rest of us Americans, in the spirit of motherhood and apple pie are supposed to then concede our Constitutional rights to fix this apparent societal slight. Well, when you peel back the lies and the misinformation, you find that there are only 8-10 million folks who cannot afford health care or insurance.

Ceding my health care rights to the government — that sounds like a plan to me!

The Democrat legislators would rather determine the rule by promoting the exception!

If the condescending Democratic reps and senators don’t start to listen, really listen, then they will feel the wrath of their constituents at their next election. And rightfully so. People forgive and forget a lot of things of their elected officials, but the indignation and the personal stakes associated with this health care proposal make it unlikely that the detached stances taken by and the vitriolic insults hurled at their constituents by these officials will be forgotten or forgiven.

This is a good thing. In a free society, revolutions don’t necessarily need to occur at the barrel of a gun or with fighting in the streets. The revolution can occur at the ballot box, and those detached, effete and unaffected legislators who took advantage of their position that was afforded to them by their constituents will be term-limited by those self-same “angry” citizens. If they chose to ignore the voice and the will of the people in order to forward some partisan ideological or political aim, like putting in place a socialistic, government-run health care system, then they deserve to be “retired” from public office.

Because they’ve forgotten that they above all are public servants and beholding to the will of their constituents. They may need to be politicians to be elected, but they mustn’t forget the reason they get to live that cushy, good life. They need to listen and show absolute fealty to the people who they represent.

They must NEVER forget their citizens! They must always listen…and they must always HEAR!!!

My or anyone’s citizenship in the United States of America is no insurance policy for success in our individual lives. Nor is it a guarantee for such success. The way I see it, our citizenship is an opportunity to become whatever we choose to become.

Since the 1930′s, presidents and legislators in the Congress have co-opted the Constitutional meaning of citizenship and have turned it into a fiesta of born-into “entitlements.” This started with Franklin Roosevelt’s attempts to bring a slouching America from the depths of the Depression and gathered great speed with Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs in the 1960′s.

Suddenly for many Americans, failure was not an option. They could select whatever lifestyle they fancied, productive or otherwise, and the government would literally insure them a living. Just as suddenly, initiative, merit and accomplishment became increasingly meaningless to a vast number of Americans who could count on their monthly stipend from Uncle Sam, as they live on the dole in perpetuity with no expectations placed on them of leaving the free ride. It would be one thing to offer citizens a life line on a temporary basis — if catastrophic illness or job loss beset a person, then the government could (if the finances allowed) help such an individual on a temporary basis until they regained their footing. That seems like a caring and prudent thing to do for citizens who would otherwise be contributing members of our society. It is money well spent and it fosters a proper spirit of productive community.

But the key concept in the equation is temporary. At this point in the history of the US, there are tens of millions of citizens, otherwise able-bodied individuals, who have become a permanent helpless underclass. The only source of “wealth” and sustenance that these individuals achieve is from what is provided to them by the government.

Whether this is by chance or by design is not the issue. what is at issues is the fact that these many millions of individuals have become enmeshed in a perverse co-dependency with the government that is supposed to be there only to assure their right to eke out the living that they have the initiative or drive to accomplish.

Perhaps this whole mess is just a manifestation of the Laws of Unintended Consequences. Big hearts and good intentions at the time the legislation was dreamed up and enacted never intended or foresaw the entitlement class that has been created. And who would have dreamed that helping an individual in their time of need has transmogrified into helping generation after generation of people who are satisfied with nothing more than being needy and dependent.

And this dependence is being widened day-by-day as new entitlements are being dreamed up — like “universal” health care. Adding new entitlements and benefits only widens the gap between the have’s and the have-not’s — between the can’s and the wont’s.

Now, perhaps there is something more sinister afoot! If it hasn’t occurred to you then it should that dependent people who are provided their daily bread, so to speak, will be grateful to those individuals who were/are responsible for the largess given to them. So, why wouldn’t one think that in some respects that entitlement programs are a political quid pro quo, a get out the vote program it would seem, for the politicians who either enacted these programs or show continued support for them? Aren’t politicians who have the reputation of bringing home the goodies more likely to be re-elected than those who preach a more fiscally conservative philosophy?

You’re darn tootin!

The one thing that stands between all this government-based social generosity and reality is the total available wealth of the country’s productive (tax paying) citizens. Collectively, we only earn so much, and furthermore the government can only tax so much of the income of the productive citizenry (it would seem). The problem is that the politicians seem to continuously forget this immutable tenet of our society! They over-promise and over-deliver, resulting in huge government budget deficits. Deficits that our heirs will be responsible for long after we are gone.

All this happens because our politicians have turned our Constitutional citizenship into an insurance policy with no pre-existing condition clause and no term on its benefits. I think it’s high time that we start to demand that our politicians respect the hard work and generosity of the productive citizens in our country, instead of looking upon their contribution as a responsibility. After all, where is the similar responsibility of those on the receiving end of the entitlement? Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that answer, because apparently there is no corresponding resp0nsibility for those who have become essentially wards of the state.

I think its high time that we demand that the United States be seen by our elected representatives as a meritocracy first-and-foremost — and that hard work and accomplishment are not only admired, but required. Entitlements should have a definite term or life span, except for those among us who cannot fend for themselves due to actual and genuine disability or need. And those exceptions should be periodically reviewed to insure that our monies are well spent according to the needs of the recipients.

America is a wealthy country, blessed with rich natural resources and, for the most part, creative and industrious citizens. It’s about time that we start to embrace the needs of the industrious rather than cater to the wishes of the malingerers unless we wish to reach that tipping point in our society where there are more dependents than there are the productive. It’s at that point, and we’re almost there as a nation, where those who receive control the behaviors and the wealth of those who provide.

And we will be a miserable substitute for the country that our Founders had envisioned.