The Upside to Gridlock

November 7, 2010

With the House of Representatives soon to be under Republican control, the government will be divided. The two parties, divergent as they are on ideological grounds, will likely not compromise on much. Such leads to a situation often derided as “gridlock.”

Those on the left, right and in the middle opposed to such gridlock say it is not good for our country. They argue that it means nothing will get done. But given the amount of things done over the years that have added to our massive debt, there may be something to be said for government not doing anything.

Republicans may argue that this gridlock is not acceptable. Their argument is that they must gain the Senate and the presidency in 2012. Then, they can go through with their agenda. It’s an agenda they claim, as they have done before with no significant results, will mean an end to wasteful government spending and a reduction in both the size of our government and its debt. But many of those same Republicans, when asked over the last week since the elections, have been hard pressed to spell out what they specifically would cut to make a significant dent in the debt. All too often they have resorted to the old “cut discretionary spending” mantra. The problem with that is, discretionary spending only makes up a small portion of overall federal spending.

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Flawed Bill Passed Through a Flawed Process

March 21, 2010

It’s official. The Senate’s health-care “reform” bill has passed in the House and will go to President Obama to sign into law.

It’s a flawed bill pushed through with a flawed process:


Census Fine

March 19, 2010

Here’s a seldom discussed point about the U.S. Census:

… persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.

Since filling out the form is legally “mandatory,” the government saw the need to back it up with a penalty for not filling it out. The federal government can fine you for not filling out a form that essentially makes it possible for politicians to determine how much money to take from one community or state and give it to another.

The U.S. Constitution calls for an “enumeration” of the individuals living in the country, something the current Census does but goes well beyond. Not only is it used to apportion House seats properly, but it is also used to dole out money to the states and communities.


Olbermann’s Facts

February 10, 2010

Last night, Keith Olbermann insulted his MSNBC audience’s intelligence by claiming that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was wrong in saying that the health-care reform legislation can’t be passed. Olbermann indignantly corrected Boehner by saying, “Uhh, the bill passed in your chamber, Mr. Boehner. Maybe you were in tanning bed number four at the time.” Here is a clip of that segment.

The problem is that the House and Senate passed two different bills; neither has passed a final (reconciled) bill. No bill is enacted into law without both the Senate and House approving it (and the president signing it). Olbermann failed to either acknowledge or remember that fact. Boehner was clearly referring to a final, conference bill not being able to pass.

Olbermann tends to make it a point on his program to one-up those he disagrees with by pointing out their occasional factual errors or hypocrisy. Maybe he should have thought a little longer before attempting this one. For him to think that his audience wouldn’t notice this misstatement of the facts is hard to swallow.


Does Obamacare Cover Abortion?

August 25, 2009

There’s been some controversy over whether or not Obamacare would fund abortions. Those on the right claim it will undoubtedly be the case, while those on the left (including President Obama) deny this claim as hyperbole.

In an effort to clear up the record, FactCheck.org recently took a look at this issue. Among the site’s findings was this point concerning an approved amendment (in the House Energy and Commerce Committee) to H.R. 3200:

The Capps amendment does contain a statement – as we noted in an earlier article– that prohibits the use of public money to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. That would still allow the public plan to cover all abortions, so long as the plans took in enough private money in the form of premiums paid by individuals or their employers. The Capps language also would allow private plans purchased with federal subsidies (“affordability credits” for low-income families and workers) to cover abortion.

In sum, the site states that:

As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a “public plan” and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.

This is something to keep in mind when listening to the debates.

* In a related “fact check,” the site also notes that the claim that a person can keep their health insurance if they like it is not necessarily true!


Congress Controlling Pay

August 1, 2009

If you thought plans to limit bonuses and cap salaries for top-tier employees working for companies receiving TARP funds were worrisome enough, now the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow the government to control pay for all financial companies with assets greater than $1 billion. Two reports on the bill, aimed at preventing “perverse incentives in the compensation practices of financial institutions,” can be read here and here.

Politico summed up the bill this way:

Banks, financial advisers and other financial firms would have to disclose their bonus plans to federal regulators, who would have the power to ban compensation packages they believe would encourage “inappropriate risks” by firms or employees.

Naturally, private industry is concerned that this an overstep on the part of government:

“The legislation represents a giant step toward the U.S. government controlling private entities,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs for the Financial Services Roundtable, an industry trade association.

Dismissing concerns over such an obvious overreach by government into the private economy, one member of Congress clearly twisted the effect of this controversial legislation:

“This is not the government taking over the corporate sector,” Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C, said of the House action. “It is a statement by the American people that it is time for us to straighten up the ship.”

The last six-plus months of Obama and “progressives” controlling both the executive and legislative branches of our government, not to mention the last few months of the previous Bush administration, have led to perhaps one of the most rapid expansions of government power over the private sector in our country’s history. No matter what you call the various actions in the last months (“bailouts,” “overhauls,” “reforms,” etc.), they all represent an ever-steady encroachment on freedom.

The march toward change is in full swing — and in a hurry. Although it’s more like a stampede … a stampede that is trampling over our liberties.


Obamacare and Abortion

July 31, 2009

Amid all the concern over the damage to costs and quality that the various health-care “reform” proposals could bring about, there is also the issue of potential government funding of controversial procedures. The chief among these is abortion.

An amendment that would limit the funding of abortions was struck down by the House of Representatives recently. A OneNewsNow story describes the amendment as follows:

The amendment said the healthcare bill may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except in limited cases.

Add taxpayer funding of abortion to the list of problems with the various health-care overhaul proposals making their way through Congress. Make that one more reason to oppose what some have dubbed “Obamacare.”