Sunday, December 26, 2010

History Repeats Itself, Yes, But This is Remarkable

Obama: "He just moves on to another issue. Never skips a beat," a friend of mine remarked of the President. "Obama has given more speeches and made more appearances than I can recall of any president. One speech, one issue after another. Remarkable really," he concluded.

FDR: In The Forgotten Man (published in 2007), Amity Shlaes quotes Ray Moley, a one-time advisor to Roosevelt: "When one set of these objectives...faded, he provided another." And Shlaes remarks, "The fact that he shifted did not have to matter" (248).

Obama: Obama talks of unity, then famously divides. Recall the recent comment he made to a crowd prior to the mid-term elections: "We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” A divisive comment like that is one thing coming from a candidate, it is quite another coming from the president of ALL of the people--Republican and Democrat.

FDR: "Now by defining his forgotten men as the specific groups he would help, the president was in effect forgetting the rest--creating a new forgotten man. The country was splitting into those who were Roosevelt favorites and everyone else. The division started at the top" (Shlaes 246).

Obama: After spending trillions of dollars in the first two years of his Administration, unemployment in the US has risen. Yet we are being told by the experts the economy is in recovery-- a jobless recovery.

FDR: The New Deal, also a Keynesian recovery plan that formed countless government agencies and spent billions of dollars, "was causing the country to forgo prosperity, if not recovery" (Shlaes 263). In 1934, Will Green, head of the AFL made the following point to the press, "While business has recovered half its Depression loss, only 30 percent of the Depression unemployed have been put to work." People might be speaking about recovery, but business activity was still far below 1929 levels--and it was a jobless recovery (262).

Obama/FDR Cabinets: Roosevelt was criticized that his "Brain Trusters," his advisors were largely former professors with no real world experience. The Washington Times recently published the chart below. With all the criticism of FDR's Brain Trusters take a look at Obama's Cabinet.

Nick Schulz, editor of the American Enterprise Institute's The American magazine, catches this eye-popping graph from a J.P. Morgan research report:


at the Washington Examiner:

Stay Tuned. The similarities between these two Administrations are remarkable. Really.

Friday, December 24, 2010

From the Heritage Foundation

Remembering the Providential Gift of America
Morning Bell, The Heritage Foundation

Christmas, 1776.

Summer had begun with strong declarations of noble ideals, but by winter the cause of liberty seemed to be at low ebb. Having suffered defeat after defeat, many had all but given up hope. It looked like freedom would succumb yet again, as it had throughout history, to the forces of authoritarianism and tyranny.

Then, on Christmas Day, 1776, a small band of colonial forces under the command of Gen. George Washington, having retreated all the way from New York, again crossed the Delaware River and brought battle at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington not only won the battle but regained the initiative and turned the war in the patriots’ favor. One week later, Washington defeated the British at Princeton and forced the enemy to withdraw, preventing its advance on Philadelphia, seat of the Continental Congress.

When it announced itself to the world in 1776, the United States of America was little more than an alliance of 13 small colonies on a barren continent, thousands of miles from their ancestral homeland, surrounded by hostile powers.

Now, well over two centuries after winning independence from the British Empire, America is the freest, wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth. Along the way it established sovereign nationhood, settled a continent and more and brought unprecedented prosperity to its citizens. It survived a devastating Civil War that threatened its very life, abolished slavery and raised up the emancipated to be citizens equal to their one-time masters. It triumphed in two world wars fought on foreign soil and a decades-long struggle against worldwide communism that, 20 years ago, led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union.

What accounts for this monumental success? The founding of the United States was indeed revolutionary. But not in the sense of replacing one set of rulers with another, or overthrowing the institutions of society. John Adams queried:
What do we mean by the American Revolution? The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

Our revolution was about the ideas upon which a new nation was to be established. Permanent truths “applicable to all men and all times,” as Abraham Lincoln later said, proclaimed that principle rather than will would be the ultimate ground of government.

What is truly revolutionary about America is that, for the first time in history, these universal ideas became the foundation of a system of government and its political culture. Because ofthese principles, rather than despite them, the American Revolution culminated not in tyranny but a constitutional government that has long endured.

To this day, 233 years after Washington and his men crossed the Delaware, these principles–proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and promulgated by the Constitution–still define us as a nation and inspire us as a people. These principles are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other. They are the highest achievements of our tradition, a beacon to those who strive for freedom but also a warning to tyrants and despots everywhere. Because of these principles, not despite them, America achieved greatness.

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson later recorded, was “neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, [but] was intended to be an expression of the American mind.”

As Americans, our aim must be a clear expression and forthright defense of the nation’s principles in the public square so that they become, once again, an expression of the American mind. Despite constant scorn by academic elites, political leaders and the popular media, most Americans still believe in the uniqueness of this country and respect the Founders’ noble ideas. They may fail a test of particulars – quick: when did Washington cross the Delaware? – but they overwhelmingly want to know about this nation and its meaning.

We must give voice to all those who have not given up on their country’s experiment in self-government, have not concluded the cause of liberty and limited constitutional government is lost and have not accepted America’s decline as inevitable.

The goal must be to restore the liberating principles of the American Founding as the defining public philosophy of our nation. As it was for most of American history, so it can be again.

The joy of this wonderful season is about new beginnings and the eternal promise of redemption. We Americans have the immeasurable benefit, the providential gift, of having inherited a great country.

We must never forget its confidence, optimism and promise, its endless capacity for renewal, are contained in our dedication to the enduring principles of liberty with which all men are endowed by their Creator.

May you and yours have a merry and blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lies and More Lies in the Never Ending Quest for Revenue

(Liberty Bell from my personal collection of photos.)

A country's tax policy lies at the center of the debate over liberty. The Founders understood that. They believed that the individual must be protected from government because they understood further that when government has license to confiscate property it will eventually become addicted to doing so.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 35 wrote: "if the jurisdiction of the national government, in the article of revenue, should be restricted to particular objects, it would naturally occasion an undue proportion of the public burdens to fall upon those objects. Two evils would spring from this source: the oppression of particular branches of industry; and an unequal distribution of the taxes" (emphasis mine)

He was right.

A recently published study revealed the United States ranks first among nations for the most progressive tax structure. In an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal Alan Reynolds writes: "A 2008 study of 24 leading economies by the the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concludes that, "Taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States." For all the accusations by the left that the rich must pay their fair share, The Journal of Economic Perspectives reports "the upper 1% of the income distribution earned 19.6% of total income before tax [in 2004], and paid 41% of the individual federal income tax. No other major country is so dependent on so few taxpayers" (Reynolds).

The accusations and distortions by the left are nothing new. Hamilton characterized these kinds of attacks as follows: "...argument presents itself under a very specious and seducing form; and is well calculated to lay hold of the prejudices of those to whom it is addressed. But when we come to dissect it with attention, it will appear to be made up of nothing but fair-sounding words. (emphasis mine)

Despite the fact that the Democrats recently claimed victory over the extension of the Bush tax rates, claiming that raising taxes would harm the economy, they will soon be back to their old bully pulpit attacking "the rich" for their greed and calling for higher tax rates for the "wealthy."

It is they who are greedy. And, sadly, ignorant.

Hamilton understood the importance of sound economic and tax policy and understood further the risk to the citizenry when those in leadership didn't. "There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or to sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue" (Federalist 35).

It is time for economic literates to explain to the public the facts of sound fiscal policy. Ronald Reagan style. And give voice to the Founders' intentions when they penned the Constitution: That purpose of government is to protect its citizens, not confiscate an ever increasing portion of their income and property in its never ending quest for revenue.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ronald Reagan Move Over

The extension of the Bush tax rates (what the media is now calling Obama's tax cuts) is a victory for Conservatives that should not be squandered. The Obama tax cuts are neither Obama's--they are Bush's--nor are they tax cuts--they are an extension of the current rates that were set to expire on 12/31/10. But the claim of the Democrats that these extensions had to be made because raising taxes on Americans in this economy would be disastrous is a true victory for Conservatives. It is also sound fiscal policy and should be capitalized on.

An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal points out: "As Milton Friedman taught us with his "permanent income hypothesis," consumers base their consumption on their longer-term income expectations, not merely on current income." Temporary tax rates return money to its rightful owner, the earner, but without the certainty of knowing what future tax rates are increased consumption will be muted by the lack of clarity. The Republican majority in the House has a golden opportunity to revisit the tax question while they have the Democrats on their heels and push for further, permanent cuts in 2011.

After passage of the bill Senator Dick Durbin (D) claimed: "The president has a big victory here. It's big because it means there won't be a tax increase at the first of the year, which could have hurt our economy."

Suddenly, though not un-coincidentally (recall the landslide November elections), the Democrats have found lower tax religion. If, as the Senator says higher taxes "hurt" our economy, why has it taken two years for the Democrats to support this extension of the Bush tax rates in an economy they call the worst since the Great Depression? Additionally, why didn't they propose lower and permanent rates to further stimulate demand?

President Obama, too, is a an enthusiastic member of the lower tax club. Only a week ago he was complaining that the House Republicans were holding unemployment benefits hostage to the tax rate extensions, then upon signing the bill declared: "This is real money that's going to make a real difference in people's lives. That's how we're going to spark demand, spur hiring, and strengthen our economy in the new year" (Reuters)

Ronald Reagan move over and meet the new supply-sider in the White House. His claim that "lower taxes spark demand, spur hiring and strengthen our economy" should be rung from every mountain top from now until 2012.

You heard it here folks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

(photo courtesy of my personal collection taken at the 111th Army Navy game)

Much has been made in the press regarding Mr. Obama having to postpone his Christmas vacation because of a recalcitrant Congress wrangling over "his" tax bill. A little has been made about Congress having to stay in Washington; potentially working through Christmas because the Democrat leadership left all of the heavy lifting until after the November election when they could--how to say this politely?--uh, stick it to the electorate during their lame duck session. With the passage of the extension of the Bush tax rates by Congress and scrapping of the $1.1 TRILLION budget in the Senate last night, perhaps our ruling class friends will get to go home after all and the President will get to don his Oakley's and board shorts and body surf for the cameras in the Oahu surf. Sigh of relief.

Yet, not once in the breathless press reports regarding Mr. Obama's Christmas vacation have I ever heard commentary or sympathy or even appreciation for the members of our military who will be working right through Christmas. Away from their homes and families. In a far away and hostile land. Not once.

So, I would like to thank them, each and every one, and their families. I would like to thank them for their courage and their self-sacrifice and their dedication to the preservation of this great Republic. I think about our military often, I think about their quiet discipline and constancy, their devotion to liberty, and their self-effacing humility.

I think of none of those qualities, by the way, when I think of Congress. But I digress.

As impressed as I am by the members of our military, I am equally as impressed with the naivete of many of our citizens. Can anyone tell me what that mysterious Coexist bumper sticker means? Tell me please why someone would slap an End this Endless War sticker on their back window? Do these people think that our country, and particularly those that serve, like war? That it never occurred to the average person to "coexist" peacefully with our neighbors? Is their smug moral superiority so veneered onto their brains that they think the rest of us have lost our way? That we enjoy seeing our military men and women sacrifice and suffer and die simply for the sake of mindless aggression? Did they not study the history of the Revolutionary War that launched this nation? Can you imagine a Revolutionary patriot slapping a Coexist sticker to the rump of his horse? Or a Revolutionary farmer planting an End this Endless War sign in their front garden while their neighbor marched shoeless through the bitter snow of New England trying to defeat the most powerful army the world had ever known?

Justice Stephen Breyer in an interview on Fox News Sunday last week argued that the Founder's couldn't possibly have understood what the future would hold for this nation when they penned the Constitution and the Federalist Papers: "That being the case, and particularly since the Founding Fathers did not foresee how modern day would change individual behavior, government bodies can impose regulations on guns, Breyer concluded." (emphasis mine)

It is exactly Justice Breyer's kind of arrogance that inspires our fellow citizens to explain to the rest of us the way the world works. It is what motivates City Council's to ban McDonald's toys, or the First Lady to dictate nutritional standards to our children; that arrogance emboldens the hapless Prius owner to paste a Coexist sticker on their bumper--to remind us all that peace is the answer. In case we didn't know.

So Justice Breyer in all his sophistication doesn't believe the Founder's exercised foresight? Allow me to quote from Federalist 34 where Hamilton is arguing for (among other things) a strong defense: "A cloud has been for some time hanging over the European world. If it should break forth into a storm, who can insure us that in its progress a part of its fury would not be spent upon us? ...Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others. ...To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character.

Those prescient statements seem to me to anticipate wars and attacks, jealousies and aggression and most importantly, to clearly understand the true nature of man. So, until the rest of us are civilized enough to Coexist, let's offer support and prayer to the real hero's--the ones who will quietly serve far from home during Christmas and the New Year, Easter and children's birthday's and wedding anniversaries. With deep humility and sacrifice.

An inadequately heartfelt Thank You members of our Military. May God Bless you and your families this Christmas Season especially.

Oh yes, and: Go Navy! Beat Army!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Change of Men

In Federalist 21, Alexander Hamilton writes: "The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men."

In November the country overwhelmingly demanded a change of men. A change of direction. A return to Conservative, Constitutional principles. The election was a repudiation of the reckless disregard of Nancy Pelosi's House, and Harry Reid's Senate for the Constitution so carefully and courageously crafted by our Founders. The Founder's understood as Hamilton wrote in Federalist 22 that "The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority. "

In other words, the Founders respected the will of the people.

How far we've sunk.

Since the decisive election in November, instead of heeding the voice of the people, the left-leaning, Democratic majority continues the path they blazed with the unconventional hijinks employed to ram through Obamacare. They are rejecting the mandate of the election and the limitations of the Constitution. They do so arrogantly and without remorse. And their popularity has reached an historic low.

We might be able to suffer through Congress's treachery if we were blessed with a courageous leader in the White House. Instead our President continues to whine about his legacy.

The Hill reports: "In urging lawmakers to vote for his tax deal, President Obama is using one of his go-to lines from the healthcare debate, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) said.

"The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this bad deal," he told CNN's Eliot Spitzer" (Fabian).

The people spoke in November and the current ruling class has chosen to continue to ignore the very people they serve. They treat our governing framework with disdain and the President, instead of advocating for his constituents and protecting the Constitution, worries instead about his legacy. Hamilton had it right when he suggested the cure for an ill-administration is a "change of men" and that the "original fountain of all legitimate authority" is indeed the CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE.

Our current ruling class is imposing their will against the consent of those they serve. This is a dangerous and capricious precedent. Yet our president is focused merely on saving his presidency while the deficit quadruples and this cabal of self-serving bandits squanders our children's future.

We need a change of men. And we need it fast.

Come January. Quick.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Washington Elite--Meet Charlie Rangel

A few years back I began working on a book about tax policy history in America entitled The Power to Destroy. The title comes from a ruling by John Marshall, the fourth, yet arguably the most important Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In McCulloch v. Maryland, which involved the question of taxation and the rights of the states to tax the federal government Marshall wrote: “…the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

In a section discussing out of control Washington spending I wrote: In FY 2008, the U.S. Congress pushed through $17.2 billion in pork attached to 12 appropriations bills. There were many moments to cherish but we will consider but one here; certainly not the biggest earmark but one of the most interesting.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), a nineteen term representative, asked for and got $1,950,000 for a library and archives at the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at The City College of New York. In other words Congressman Rangel received $1.95 million dollars of my money and yours to finance a little library named for himself at a college in his district. He was challenged in his request by a mere two term republican from California, John Campbell who said, “You don’t agree with me or see any problem with us, as members, sending taxpayer funds in the creation of things named after ourselves while we’re still here?” Rangel did not. He responded, “I would have a problem if you did it, because I don’t think that you’ve been around long enough that having your name on something to inspire a building like this in a school.”

Today Congress voted to censure Mr. Rangel. By all reports he is a likable man but that is no excuse for his abuse of the trust bestowed on him by the American people. It's also no excuse for the cavalier way he has used taxpayer money.

The Wall Street Journal writes: "During the debate, Mr. Rangel sat slumped in a chair on the House floor as fellow lawmakers said his misconduct had dishonored them all. The 80-year-old Democrat who has represented Harlem for 40 years was found to have misused congressional perks, failed to pay taxes on some income for 17 years, failed to report assets properly for a decade and misused a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office" (WSJ).

Any one want to venture a guess as to what would happen if we failed to pay taxes on some of our income for 17 years...?

I know! I know!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Land of Fools

"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."--Abraham Lincoln

Welcome to the land of fools, California, where you can indeed fool all of the people all of the time. Witness Tuesday's election.
  • Jerry Brown: former two-term governor who, despite term limit rules in California has argued his previous two-terms occurred prior to the term limit law being passed and therefore, didn't count. This from the recent State Attorney General who should be enforcing laws on behalf of Californians not skirting them. But then he has an impressive "skirting" record given his office's invisibility in defending California voters against the court's ruling overturning Prop 8 for the second time. His role as governor with Prop 13 is another story. And then there's his problem with language. First, he compared his opponent to a Nazi propagandist like Joseph Goebbels, then someone on his campaign staff (most pegged his wife) called Meg Whitman a "whore." Of course, the whore comment related to Meg's supposed relationship to the public unions--the very unions Jerry created when he was governor in the 70's. Now that's irony. I've met Jerry Brown. A number of times. He's a kick. But eccentric, left wing policies on steroids are not what California needs. We are already hemorrhaging from those very policies. The very same economic and centralized government policies the rest of the country repudiated last night were embraced by a majority of Californians.
  • Barbara Boxer: THIS is the best we have? The most liberal Senator in the Senate. We've sent her to represent us again. Despite the fact that California faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Despite the fact she is a do-nothing (check her record), self-important (watch her interchange with the General during Senate hearings), silly (watch her debate with her opponent) ridiculously leftist members of the Senate.
Well done California. President Lincoln was wrong--you really can fool the majority of the people all of the time. As California unemployment rises and taxes are tacked on your every exhale...I'll be basking in the Arizona sun. If you don't mind, I am going to sit this one out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Obamacare, A Boon to Scientology?

Did you know that there are, "reportedly," groups that are exempt from the Obamacare requirement to own health insurance? I say this, mindful that Nancy Pelosi declared "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it." It passed and we are still trying to find out what's in it.

But, according to Sally Pipes in her book, The Truth About Obamacare, some religious groups are exempt from the mandate to own health care. Groups such as "Christian Scientists, who are uncomfortable with modern medicine, as well as Scientologists, whose criticisms are less clear, and Muslims who might oppose the idea of insurance altogether. American Indians are also exempt" (41).

If true, we may need to refresh our reading of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

Arbitrary exemptions will do nothing to increase the popularity of Obamacare, but may go a long way in increasing the the membership rolls of Scientologists.

Based on my read, equal is equal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Obamacare Waiting in the Weeds

With the increasing likelihood of the Republican party regaining control of the House and, perhaps, the Senate, it is time for concerned citizens to turn our attention to Obamacare.

To do so we must follow the trail of bread crumbs that brought us to this point. Let's start with what Obama told us when he was campaigning non-stop around the country for health care reform.

First, he told us that our health care system was in crisis with over 45 million uninsured Americans. Obamacare would insure everyone he told us. Next he promised that Obamacare would reduce the cost of health care for each family. He announced a savings for the average family of $2,500 per year. He pledged the government would spend less on health care when Obamacare was implemented and finally he declared emphatically that those of use who liked our health care plan could keep it AND the cost of our coverage would decrease.

Abracadabra. More and better care for much less money. Welcome to Obamaland where the laws of physics ("the seas will go down") and the laws of economics (reduce competition, increase demand and supply will expand while costs decrease) are suspended. That is some rabbit, Mr. Obama. And some hat.

But what has really happened since Obamacare was signed into law last March? Health care insurance premiums are rising at breathtaking speed. Announcements of insurance companies getting out of the health care insurance business are increasing. Enormous tax hikes loom. One month after passage the chief actuary for the Medicare and Medicaid Services found that spending on health care under Obamacare will increase $311 billion from 2010 to 2019, a rise strictly due to the passage of the bill. He also estimates that 23 million people will still be uninsured by 2019.


But there's more. The CBO estimated that the cost of Obamacare to taxpayers would be $989 billion from 2010 to 2019. The problem with that estimate is that the bill is front loaded which masks the true cost. Tax hikes begin years before the "benefits" kick in in 2014.. The cost in the first ten years of Obamacare (2014-2024) are closer to $2.5 trillion according to Sally Pipes new book, The Truth About Obamacare.

As Ms. Pipes summarizes, "So after the creation of 159 new agencies, the promulgation of 2,562 pages of bureaucratic regulations, and the spending of $2.5 trillion in tax dollars, two-thirds of those uninsured still will be. Only in government could that be considered a victory" (48).

As we prepare to vote in November let us keep in mind that under the current leadership the 2010 deficit (and this is before Obamacare) is 1.3 trillion dollars. The national debt has increased $3 trillion dollars since Obama took office. Huge income tax hikes loom on January 1st for working Americans while unemployment has sustained levels only seen during the Great Depression. Congress has recessed while neglecting to pass a budget, perhaps their single, most important function. And our president tours the country castigating business.

If that is not enough, waiting in the weeds is Obamacare, the greatest potential threat to our economic freedom yet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Socialism through Welfarism

Here is what Barry Goldwater wrote in 1960 in The Conscience of a Conservative: The effect of Welfarism on freedom will be felt later on--after its beneficiaries have become its victims, after dependence on government has turned into bondage and it is too late to unlock the jail."

Well, we're feeling it all right. When Goldwater wrote this some fifty years ago the entire budget for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (which included Social Security) was around $15 billion. Welfare program expenditures ranked second to national defense in overall allocations.

Fast forward to today. President Obama's 2010 budget calls for the following: $721.5 billion for Social Security, $457.1 billion for Medicare, $284.5 billion for Medicaid and $194.3 billion for unemployment claims just to name a few of the entitlements. And defense? Trailing the sum total of the quartet by a cool (approximately) $937 billion at $719 billion. In other words the president's 2010 budget called for $1.65 TRILLION in those four entitlements alone which is more than double the amount planned for defense. Add in income security benefits (a fancy name for welfare) at $363 billion and we have close to $2.1 TRILLION allocated to entitlement programs, dwarfing defense three to one and consuming the lion's share of the budget, our economy and our future.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time to Put the Lid On (Government)

I love these Tea Party folks. They understand that liberty is being confiscated each and every day Obama and the Democrats are in power. They understand, too, that the battle has been raging in earnest since FDR began his New Deal of centralization of power and redistribution of wealth. They understand that BIG government and consequently BIG deficits are bubbling over and it is time to put the lid on. And quick.

But here's the thing I don't get. Why aren't more people outraged? Why aren't ten times as many people attending Tea Party events? And sending money to conservative candidates? Or simply talking about what is going on, what can be done, to stop the spread of this, well tyranny?

The government has invaded every aspect of our lives, maintaining a presence in our bathrooms through regulation of toilet flushing standards, seeping into our kitchens with their stamp of approval on virtually every food item lining our shelves; government now regulates our light fixtures legislating the phase-out of the incandescent light bulb over the next few years to be replaced by the--some would say--toxic, halogen bulb. The government sets the standards of education for our children, fuel standards for our cars, supports the "arts," subsidizes education and housing for the poor and not so poor, and now they want to invade our very bodies with a health care program that will set the quality of health care in our country back a century. These, my friends, are not the legitimate powers of government. At least not a government guided by a Constitution such as ours.

As long as Americans acquiesce to every government demand, every invasion into our lives and consequently our freedom, the need for ever increasing taxes will continue. As Barry Goldwater wrote in The Conscience of a Conservative, "Property and freedom are inseparable: to the extent government takes the one in the form of taxes, it intrudes on the other" (43). If government continues to expand, the demands for funding will continue to grow. It is as simple as that.

So I applaud the Tea Party and the rising Conservative movement. But I will continue to wonder why it is not larger. Why the clamor is not greater. For as Goldwater also presciently remarked, " the public grows more and more cynical, the politician feels less and less compelled to take his promises seriously."

The time to take this crisis seriously is upon us.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unbelievers Stand Aside Please--You are About to be Crushed at the Ballot Box

To me the difference between conservatives and liberals comes down to one simple thing: the Believers versus the Unbelievers, in freedom. Of the individual sort.

The Believers count on their fellow man to act in his own best economic interest. Believers believe at their core the ideals America was founded on: individual freedom and liberty. And, in their view, this extends to private property--that is: the individual's right to amass and employ his private wealth however he sees fit. The Believer's assume their fellow citizens will--for the most part--manage their lives well. They will save and spend the money they work for on things that improve their lives and the lives of their children. The things that are important to them. That is their right.

The unbelievers don't take such a sanguine view of the individual. They believe that the government has a right to usurp individual rights in the interest of the common good. This is manifested most clearly in the debate over taxes. Nancy Pelosi (among others, the President included) claim that cutting the taxes of "the rich" is something the country can't afford. Doing so will increase the deficit--as though "the rich" work for the sole purpose of reducing the deficit having no say over its creation in the first place. The unbeliever's place the needs of the State above the needs of the individual who is creating the wealth. And in their view--manifested most clearly in the progressive income tax structure--the more wealth you have, the more of a right to it they have.

None of this is new. Nor original. Or progressive for that matter. Taxes have been the source of tyranny since the beginning of recorded history. As Charles Adams writes in his tome on the history of taxation, For Good and Evil--The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization, the Rosetta Stone, the "Proclamation of Peace" issued by Ptolemy V to end the Egyptian civil war sparked by increased tax burdens carried as its most important provision a "general amnesty debtors and rebels. Tax debts were forgiven" (Adams, 19) The tax burdens in Egyptian society had reached confiscatory levels. Debtors were thrown into prison, filling the prisons to overflowing. Private property had been confiscated and villages and farms abandoned. The fabric of society was threatened by excessive taxation. A remedy was required. Tax amnesty via the Rosetta Stone proclamation of peace restored order (Adams, 21). And the rights of the individual.

During FDR's reign, in 1935 to be precise, the economy was deemed to be in recovery--"a jobless recovery," ironically, according to Amity Shlaes', The Forgotten Man. Yet for political reasons FDR determined it was time to go after the rich, the source of jobs. Benjamin Anderson of Chase Bank warned against such a strategy. His point was, there is danger in targeting the rich. He noted while the economy was improving some, "the country was not getting the strong recovery that it should expect. The New Deal was causing the country to forgo prosperity, if not recovery" (Shlaes 263). The marginal tax rate had been increased to 75%. And the level of unemployment still 70% above pre-depression levels.

And so here we are again. With the democrats referring to our taxes as revenue needed for deficit reduction, adding threats that the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire for the wealthy while being reinstated for the middle class, with Cap and Trade, the Leviathan of taxation looming, state governments--like California--effectively bankrupt despite one of the highest marginal state tax rates in the nation, the politicians are forgetting one thing: it is our money. It is our government. It is our liberty. And it is our intention to exert our great displeasure with their policies in November.

Something it has taken the modern day citizen-militia or the tea party as it is most commonly called, to commemorate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Conscience of a Conservative

"...the Constitution is: a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism."
Barry Goldwater, 1960
Conscience of a Conservative

If you don't have a copy of Barry Goldwater's, Conscience of a Conservative, buy one. If you have one, pull it out and re-read it. Focus, in particular, on the chapter entitled "The Perils of Power."

In that chapter, Goldwater recounts for the reader the intentions of the founders in constructing our Constitution and three-branch government: to limit power. He reminds us that our founding document is "an instrument, above all, for limiting the functions of government." That "throughout history, government has proved to be the chief instrument for thwarting man's liberty." Government, not rich guys.

He also presciently reminds us: "The framers were well aware of the danger posed by self-seeking demagogues--that they might persuade a majority of the people to confer on government vast powers in return for deceptive promises of economic gain." And, finally, that no matter how airtight they crafted the hull of the Constitution, dishonest men would attempt to sail it anywhere they pleased, without regard for the will of the passengers. Goldwater writes, "rules of government... would be no match for men who were determined to disregard them. "

Which brings me to the health care law looming before us. Rasmussen reported today that 61% of Americans at least somewhat favor repeal of the law. Up 8 points from last week. And still, few Americans--including Nancy Pelosi and most of Congress--actually understand what is in the bill. My prediction? When Americans understand the gritty details of the law opposition will rise to 70%.

As you prepare to vote on the candidates, inform yourself. Even if you're voting for City Council-- or especially if you are voting for City Council and live in the city of Bell (population 37,000) where the city manager earns $787,000 annually and the city council members who work part-time earn approximately $100,000--learn about the candidate and his/her positions on the issues important to you. Treat your ballot selections like an exam where getting the right answer is the difference between life and death. Of our country as we've known it. Of our liberty.

Then cast your vote for the candidate who says as Goldwater wrote: "My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The President of Me

Have you ever had that feeling sweep over you that you have been in the very same place before? That out-of-body, deja vu realization that something was happening that had happened before?

While reading Amity Shlaes' history of the FDR Administration, The Forgotten Man I have experienced instance upon instance of that very sensation. I find myself checking the publication date again and again: 2007. She published the book in 2007, wrote it in the years leading up to 2007. While Bush was still president. Before Obama was the certain Democrat candidate, the president. There is no way she could have molded the narrative to fit our current political situation. No way she could have known just how eerily similar Obama's policies would be to FDR's. She is brilliant but she is not psychic.

The latest wave of deja vu came when I read the following few paragraphs.

  • "As Roosevelt in 1936 would freely acknowledge to another adviser, the election was about a single issue--Roosevelt (249). It seems that everything political over the past 20 or so months has been about one thing: Obama. There is no other way to view the bulldozing through of ObamaCare. He, in fact, said so himself. The Founders anticipated leaders like Obama and FDR. Madison wrote in Federalist 10: "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." And, thus they provided an intricate set of checks and balances to mitigate tyranny. Hamilton summarized, perhaps, the most effective check against tyranny in Federalist 22: "The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority." In other words, it is about us, not the Me occupying the White House.
  • The president (FDR) relished squeezing cash for the poor out of the well-to-do...The country was splitting into those who were Roosevelt favorites and everyone else. The division started at the top" (248-249). So obviously similar to what we are experiencing today and anticipated by the Founders. They understood that the very nature of man ensured society would have factions. The owners, the renters, the employer the employee, the religious, the atheist. Society (government) should not inflame the factions, increase the chasm of separation as FDR did and as Obama is doing, rather government should seek as Madison proposes in Federalist 10 "to control its effects. "Justice," he wrote ought to hold the balance between them."
  • "He (FDR) illuminated objectives--even fantastically unrealizable objectives. These excited and inspired. When one...faded, he provided another." The fact that he shifted did not have to matter (248). And this, too, is familiar. Obama talks of jobs, then health care, then castigates the rich, then castigates the Republicans, then talks of the need for increased spending to stimulate, then lectures on religious freedom, back to health care, jobs again, more stimulus. Each speech overflowing with the pronoun "I." Ever focused on himself, his legacy, his agenda. One new idea after another. Spinning. Spinning.
Out of control.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Play Out of the FDR Playbook

"Roosevelt had played around with economics, and economics hadn't served him very well. He would therefore give up on the discipline and concentrate on an area he knew better, politics."
The Forgotten Man by, Amity Shlaes (246)

At almost precisely the same point in his first term as Roosevelt was in his, Obama seems to be shifting from playing around with the economy, to hard-boiled, special interest politics. Economics hasn't served him very well so he is returning to the divisive accusation-driven speeches that hallmarked his campaign.

Back to Shlaes for a moment: "If he (FDR) followed his political instincts, furiously converting ephemeral bits of legislation into solid law for specific groups of voters, then he would win reelection. He would focus on farmers, big labor, pensioners, veterans, perhaps women and blacks" (246).

This was Roosevelt's strategy for re-election in the face of economic failures and disappointing rulings in the court against his Great Government Centralization Plan. Obama is taking the same bet. He's just raising the stakes some with angry and accusatory rhetoric. FDR, too, lashed out at the media and Supreme Court when he lost the Schechter Brothers case to a unanimous decision signaling the death knell for the NRA. He tried castigation and abandoned it. Conciliation and clever co-opting became the new calculation. And it worked.

Luckily for us, there is not a conciliatory bone in Obama's body.

There are more similarities. Social Security legislation was assigned to Frances Perkins of the Labor Department. This was a high priority item. Think ObamaCare in measuring its importance to the Administration. Ms. Perkins worried that she would have difficulty getting her social insurance system past the Court. A little snag called The Constitution. She confided her worry to Justice Harlan Stone. Stone gave her the following advice: "The taxing power of the federal sufficient for everything you want and need" (Shlaes 229). Justice Stone was providing the critical clue to how the Court would view the Constitutional test of Social Security. If it was insurance it wouldn't hold up. If it were simply another tax, it would meet the threshold.

In response to the various suits against the Constitutionality of ObamaCare, the government is now scrambling to take the same position.

One can hope they are just a little too clever too late. Setting your defense after the offense has already run the play doesn't usually work out so well.

Fingers crossed, set, hike.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2.5 Trillion Dollars in 19 Months. Oh Yes He Did!

The U.S Treasury Department calculates the federal debt held by the public. The federal debt is the money government borrows from those willing to buy U.S. Treasury notes--investors, or as the liberals like to call them: the wealthy. Those funding the federal debt, the wealthy, are the enemy of every liberal. Liberals hate the wealthy though they have no problem spending their money. Just a problem with the people who provide it. But, I digress.

For the first 200 or so years of our country's history, from the administration of President Washington to that of President Reagan, the federal debt grew to approximately $2.1 trillion. That's a great deal of zeros to be sure. But, President Obama, proving that he is truly the first post-sound economic policy president ,among other things post, generated $2.5 trillion in publicly held debt in just 19 months raising the total debt outstanding to $8.8 trillion. In one insatiable spending binge Obama beat all the records of the first 200 years of our history in just 19 months.

Yes he did.

And what did we get for all that spending? A chicken in every pot? A BMW in every garage? Not exactly. Despite record spending and promises from the president's economic advisers that if we spent the money unemployment would not rise above 8%, 19 months later unemployment hovers at 9.6%. The economy is growing in single digits rather than the robust growth the very same economic advisers and the president and the vice president advertised in their Summer of Recovery.

And now our economic-savant president has proposed more spending to get our economy rolling again. If that almost $900 billion stimulus bill didn't do the trick, how about $50 billion to rev things up? That's his plan. Oh Yes It Is.

Will it work? Not on your life.

This economy needs jobs. Private sector jobs. And to get those jobs employers need some certainty that they will not be taxed into usurious oblivion by a hostile federal government. And to increase investment in the private sector the government needs to stop sucking every last available cent out of the markets to fund its profligate deficit spending.

In short, we need tax cuts and an iron clad spending freeze. Government needs to shrink, not grow bigger.

Oh Yes It Does.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Nero At His Worst"

"This is Nero at his worst. As for the Constitution, it does not seem too much to say that it is gone. "

Justice James McReynolds
in his opinion on the Roosevelt Administration's Gold Policy

Justice McReynolds' indictment against Roosevelt rings true today. Every time we turn around government grows bigger and we lose a little more liberty. The Constitution was painstakingly crafted to protect "we the people" from the government. But somewhere along the line, something went seriously awry. And, based on my read of history, a good deal of it began with FDR.

Return with me for a moment to Amity Shlaes' remarkable history of the Great Depression: The Forgotten Man.

Frances Perkins of Labor was worried that the Supreme Court would reject the social insurance system she working to put in place--what we know today as Social Security. She stated her concern to Justice Harlan Stone who advised: "The taxing power of the federal government, my dear; the taxing power is sufficient for everything you want and need" (Shlaes229). His words were meant to assure. If the Social Security Act was formulated as a tax rather than a government insurance program it would clear the Constitutional hurdle (229).
Fast forward: This is now one of the tact's the Obama Administration is taking in response to the many lawsuits against ObamaCare. Flimsy at best. But, more importantly, right out of the playbook.
In the famous Schechter Brothers case, where the justices ruled unanimously in favor of the Schechter Poultry Corporation and against the constitutionality of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), Justice Hughes read the opinion: "Extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary remedies. But the argument necessarily stops short of an attempt to justify action which lies outside the sphere of constitutional authority. Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power" (emphasis mine, 242).

The corruption of the Constitution had gone far enough. Too far.

Justice Brandeis sent the message to FDR via two of the New Dealers' lawyers: "This is the end of this business of centralization, and I want you to go back and tell the president that we're not going to let this government centralize everything. It's come to an end" (243).

Roosevelt's response? To "castigate the press and the court" (244). Sound eerily familiar?

If congressional Republicans do not understand they are enjoying a tidal wave of support in their direction because the population overwhelmingly desires repeal of ObamaCare and the government's sudden lurch to the left, they will squander the greatest opportunity to preserve what's left of the Constitution in the history of this country. According to yesterday's Rasmussen polling 57% of Americans disapprove of the President's performance. 47% strongly disapprove. The numbers are remarkable to be sure. Additionally, 56% of likely voters favor repeal of ObamaCare though only 39% believe repeal is likely.

Republicans need to muster up the courage to do the right thing. They need to send the message that the American people are fed up. That "we're not going to let this government centralize everything."


Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Nation in Need of Repentance

Lest you think this is another "bash America" diatribe from the Left, hold tight. It is nothing of the sort.

A number of years back, I briefly substitute taught at the Christian school my children had attended. One day when I was filling in for the third grade teacher I was asked to administer a science test. I scanned the tests as they came in. A fill in the blank test on the subject of electric charges. One entry caught my eye and made me grin. In answer to the question "opposite charges attract and like charges ________" one student filled in the word: repent instead of repel. Like charges-- repent. Only at a Christian school, I thought. When in doubt? Repent.

Then I considered the meaning of the word. Repent, in essence, means to turn and go in another direction. My third grader wasn't so far off the mark after all. Like charges do indeed...repent.

And that brings me to America. If ever a nation needed to turn and go in another direction it is us and it is now. We elected a President and a Congress that does not have the wishes of the people and the limitations of the Constitution in their cross hairs. We have elected a yee-haw group of political elites hell-bent on wresting control of every aspect of our lives away from us and under the scrutiny and control of the government they head. They speak platitudes and engage in thievery. Of our liberties. One by one.

We need to repent. We need to go in another direction this next election. If you are in doubt, if your memory is fuzzy (as mine is) because you are busy living your life, raising your family, making a living, just trying to get by, well then get a copy of David Limbaugh's new book, Crimes Against Liberty. In the first 50 pages there are a hundred reminders of the audacious lies and power grabs we have witnessed these past few years. So many they will make your head spin.

So many, you will want to will become energized to make sure you do all you can to ensure this nation turns and goes in another direction. And quick.

November is closer than you think.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Answering the Wrong Question

The Democrats and their profligate spending indicate clearly that they are motivated by the question: How much money can we spend?

Not how many jobs can we create.

And their spending, rather than slowing, is gaining momentum like a snowball rolling down a hill. Faster, more furious, unstoppable. Trillion after trillion after billions zoom by to the point of eyes glazing, minds numbing. A giant blur of dollar signs. Expansive, exploding, multiplying like a deadly virus, unreal in its magnitude and potential for calamity.

Yet despite the spending, the unemployed remain so, in fact their numbers have ballooned. The job creators are punished by irresponsible, class-warfare rhetoric of this Administration and the looming threat of higher taxes in 2011. Still, the worse things get, the more they spend. Despite the breathtaking ignorance of the current ruling class, they are unrepentant and unresponsive to the will of the people. Their Keynsian model only prolonged the suffering during the Great Depression but that doesn't stop them, in fact, it seems to embolden them. Today's spending, is a puffed up version of FDR's, like a cream puff on steroids.

In today's Wall Street Journal we read that for the 22nd straight month the government spent more than they took in. A deficit of $165 billion. The second highest monthly deficit since last July. Another historic achievement for President Obama--the two highest deficits in the history of our country. Impressively historic. Don't you think?

The cumulative deficit is even grimmer. Again from the WSJ, "For all of fiscal 2009, the U.S. ran a record $1.42 trillion deficit. Fiscal 2010 might run a little higher—the Obama administration sees $1.47 trillion. " And this is before health care is funded.

Yet they spend more. At almost breakneck speed. Nancy Pelosi hauled the House members back to DC to pass ever more spending this week; wearing her ignorance like a crown. Christina Romer, of the stimulus bill fame told us that by spending we would keep unemployment from rising above 8%. Bye bye Ms. Romer. Adios to $787 billion in "stimulus"spending. And hello to almost 10% unemployment and another 7% of out of work Americans who have simply given up looking.

The democrats think if the $787 billion didn't do the trick it is because we didn't spend enough. Follow their logic. If one or two Vicodin don't halt the pain, three or four, five or six, seven even, just might.

Or they just might kill you.

The hope and change we were promised didn't materialize. Instead we got more of the same. Much more and much worse. Unprecedented corruption has infected this White House and Congress. Leadership is no where to be found and the Constitution has been shredded in the interest of self-interest and brazen power grabs unlike any we have seen in our history. I still believe in the ingenuity and the determination of the American people to succeed "in spite of." But we will be digging ourselves out from under this Everest of debt for generations.

Frankly, I won't be happy until those who voted for these failed and damaging policies apologize to all of us. Publicly and sincerely.

But that's just me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Problem--In a Nutshell

You'd have to be nuts to think that we, that is--us, that is--the United States of America, can continue along this path: public employee retirees that collect north of $100,000 per year in pension benefits. In perpetuity.

Indulge me for just a moment: In the small little county in which I live we have an exclusive club. It is a rather small club at the moment--535 members. Though it is growing rapidly, adding over 100 new members in the last year alone. That's almost 25% growth. In a sluggish, no growth economy. This particular club doesn't actually DO anything. Rather, it is a club where the members are rewarded just because.

Because they are part of the cabal that makes all the rules.

The club of which I speak is a subset of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association (CCCERA) and includes those public employees who have retired with pension benefits in excess of $100,000.00 per year. $100K! Guaranteed. No matter what.

I don't know a business that provides a defined benefit plan any longer. That is not to say they don't exist. But, it is to say they are rare. Because defined benefit plans are expensive and businesses (you know, the entities that must match revenues with expenses, that can only spend what they take in, based on the value they provide to their clients rather than government which holds the arbitrary ability to increase revenues via tax increases totally disconnected from any value added and not in the least voluntarily paid by those who provide the revenue ) must manage their affairs responsibly. They will not be around for long if they continually spend more than they take in. That's just the way it is.

So here are the ugly facts of the CCCERA Club from an article written by Bill Gram-Reefer on Halfway to Concord:

  • The club represents 7.3% of all county retirees but they receive 23.8% of the benefits.
  • The Club costs the public $5,766,927 each and every month. Guaranteed. No matter what.
  • The number one position in the club is held by a retiree who receives an annual retirement benefit of $291,000. And, it should be noted, despite the budget shortfalls in our county and our state and our country, his benefits rose last year.
It should not be lost on any of us that while the rest of the population suffers (i.e., the private sector) the public sector is thriving. Since the private sector funds the public sector through the production of goods and services--that people actually want--there is something terribly wrong with this equation. The public sector cannot continue to grow while the private sector shrinks.

And that's the problem. In a nutshell.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Let Them Eat Cake Regime

I can’t help it.

I think about taxes all the time. Income, sales, and property taxes. Energy. Excise. And estate. The social security tax, disability insurance tax--an alphabet soup of taxes--FICA, SDA SSI--and somewhere in the mix, a tax for Medicare. Escrow tax when I sell real estate. Food and liquor and cigarette taxes.

A myriad of government fees. The security fee when I fly, the registration fee for my car, license fee for my dog, building permit fee for a remodel, park usage fee when I want to hike, a driver’s license fee; the telephone usage fees for my home and cell phones. Hunting license fees. Fishing, too. Fees to register a new business. Fees for tanning. A permit fee to dig a well in my own backyard.

Not to mention bridge and road tolls. And a whopper of a fee for speeding down a (almost) deserted road.

When I am not thinking about taxes, I am talking about them. To my family, friends, to myself. And when I’ve exhausted my listeners, I write about the evils of, the history of, the effects of. Taxes.

We hear from the ruling aristocracy that we must pay our fair share. We are told there are needs government must meet and to do so government needs more revenue, which means higher taxes. We are asked to suspend our good judgment and believe that government is as good a steward with our money as we are, or at the very least, as good as our favorite charity. And yet...

In the midst of the "worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Michelle Obama rents 60 rooms at a five star resort in Spain for yet another vacation, at who knows what expense to the American people. Mrs. Obama's office has refused to release the cost of the trip to the media according to the Los Angeles Times, but room rates at the resort range from $400-$6,500 per night and initial estimates (so far) are upwards of $250,000. The good news? CBS assures us that Mrs. Obama's many guests will be picking up their own expenses for incidentals, like "shopping in boutiques." Finally, according to the UK Mail Online the First Lady "will have enjoyed eight holidays by the end of the summer."

(Read the whole article:

And then there is Senator John Kerry, who according to the Boston Herald has "repeatedly voted to increase taxes for Americans," berthed his new 76 foot, New Zealand built $7 million yacht in Newport Rhode Island, effectively avoiding $435,700 in Massachusetts sales tax and $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

There is a pattern here. Do as we say. Not as we do. It is the kind of ruling class, let them eat cake mentality that has sparked revolutions, not to mention good, old-fashioned anger.

Quietly, out of the limelight we learn that it is possible to govern responsibly. We can see from the example set by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Republican Governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey that budget deficits can be eliminated while cutting taxes. But to do may require less spending. I don't know about you, but I am GOOD with that.

From an editorial written by Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal: "Already, the GOP victors in last year's gubernatorial contests are providing powerful contrasts to Mr. Obama's policies. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell erased his state's nearly $2 billion deficit without raising taxes. Facing a $13 billion shortfall, a hostile Democratic legislature and more than $7 million in negative ads launched against him by labor unions, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie nonetheless balanced the budget while cutting taxes."

With courage and determination, responsible leaders can correct the disastrous mistakes facing us. Without reaching further into our pockets with fingers sticky with cake frosting.