February 22, 2011

Page Five Jumps says that union influence on government must be curtailed.



February 22, 2011

The Democrats’ main talking point for the spending cuts debate in Congress is that the Republicans would rather shut down the government than compromise on cuts. The objectives in this talking point are to paint the Republicans as heartless scoundrels who want to hurt people by cutting government funding, and to make the Democrats seem like conscientious and reasonable politicians who are defending us against those who would take away our means of existence (the largess of the national government, of course), but who, as reasonable people, are more than willing to compromise (read, get their way) with the Republicans.

The Republicans, on the other hand, want us to think that they have our pocketbooks at heart by saving us from Democrat profligate spending, while proposing spending cuts in programs that make up a small part of the budget (what about oil or agricultural subsidies, GOP?).

But we should remember this: The reason we must have spending cuts in the first place is because of the profligate spending of both Democrats and Republicans. During the Bush 43 administration–when the Republicans had control of the House 2001-2002, and control of Congress 2003-2006–the national debt increased from $5.7 trillion in September, 2000, to $10 trillion in September, 2008, a lot of that due to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Obama administration, following Democrat control of the Congress in the last two years of the Bush administration, and with total control of Congress in 2009 and 2010, kicked it up to $13.6 trillion in just those two years.

So, listen up, Americans! Don’t believe the Democrats when they spread the compromise crap, because they don’t really mean it. And don’t believe the Republicans when they talk about major spending cuts and limited government, because they don’t really mean it. Unless something unforeseen happens, the national government will continue to print the money it wants to spend while the nation goes down the economic tubes. The president and Congress will be fiddling while Washington burns.



February 18, 2011

In a post related to the preceding post, Page Five Jumps asserts that nullification is right and proper.


February 18, 2011

The Congress and presidents have spent many years–since 1789, actually–ignoring the Constitution’s federal system and drawing power to the national government, and look where it’s gotten us: We are ruinously in debt and facing the greatest crisis in our history.

The federal system set out by the Constitution limits the powers of the national government and grants much power and authority to the states; however, the national government’s three branches–the legislative, judicial and executive–have been complicit in usurping the powers reserved to the states by using loopholes–most notably the interstate commerce clause–to claim powers not specifically granted by the Constitution.  But that is a consideration for other posts.

The point is that, even though weakened almost to the point of non-existence, it is the federal system envisioned in the Constitution that can save us in the fiscal crisis we face. Glimmers of hope abound lately. Governors and state legislatures are beginning to propose solutions for their problems that do not involve the national government, and in some instances asserting their state powers in opposition to the national government.

In Arizona, the governor and state legislature crafted a solution to the problem of illegal immigration that threatens its fiscal and social well-being and threw down the gauntlet to the national government, which has failed to enforce its own laws.

Over 20 states have challenged a provision in the Affordable Health Care Law (Obamacare) that requires citizens to purchase health insurance, and some are vowing to ignore that clearly unconstitutional law regardless of whether the federal courts affirm its unconstitutionality.

States also are beginning to resist other onerous laws passed by Congress, including many of the unfunded mandates, and those such as the Real ID law.

But, due largely to programs of the national government that have hurt the states, many states essentially are bankrupt, and all are in financial trouble, mirroring the fiscal problems of the national government, which has run up $14 trillion in debt to fund unnecessary and unconstitutional programs and wars.

Governors and legislators in New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin are tackling the fiscal problems head-on, taking on union intransigence, something Congress and the president are loathe to do.

It is with great satisfaction that I read Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal today in which she writes about speeches by two governors–Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Chris Christie of New Jersey–in which they lay out honestly and clearly the problems that their states–and by extension, the nation–face and what to do about them. Real honest leadership. How refreshing. As Ms. Noonan puts it,

It can be a great relief to turn away from Washington and look at the states, where the rubber meets the road. Real leadership is happening there—the kind that can inspire real followership.

Both Governors Daniels and Christie are saying that, in the face of fiscal crisis, those in both parties have to honestly acknowledge the problem, tell the truth to the people, and trade in partisanship politics for cooperative, consensus politics.

Through the leadership of governors and state legislatures, their states’ fiscal problems could be solved; and perhaps the American people, seeing that the states have taken the lead, may demand the same of its national government. Ironic, isn’t it, that a system the national government has been trying to obliterate for 200 years may be the only way to save it from fiscal collapse?


February 3, 2011

The new post at Page Five Jumps says “Defense” and its partners are a danger to the republic.


February 1, 2011

It seems that the only answer government (local, state or national) in the U.S. has to any problem is to pass a law, institute a new program or agency, and thus spend more of the taxpayer’s money. Perhaps it would not be so vexing if the alleged solution actually was one. But it’s rare (actually, I can’t think of a single example) that government spending solves a problem, rights a wrong, or in any way changes the status quo in a positive way.

In my lifetime, the federal government has created the Departments of Health, Education and Welfare, 1953 (now the Department of Health and Human Services, 1980, 65,000 employees); Housing and Urban Development, 1965, 9,000 employees; Transportation, 1966, 55,000 employees; Energy, 1977, over 100,000 federal and contract employees; Education, 1979, 4,200 employees; Veteran’s Affairs, 1989, 235,000 employees; and Homeland Security, 2002, 216,000 employees (establishment dates from United States History website; employment figures from the White House).

The cost of health care in the U.S. skyrocketed from around 5.0% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1960 to about 15% on 2005. What have those 65,000 employees of DHHS been up to?

Did HUD (or the federal-government-sponsored Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) have anything to do with the root causes of the housing disaster?

U.S. highways and the interstate system are crumbling under years of neglect due to the inability of local, state and federal governments to sufficiently fund repairs, not to mention needed new road construction. Whereas the private freight rail systems, including CSX and Norfolk Southern, are doing well, the federal AMTRAK passenger rail system, while serving few passengers, is hemorrhaging money. What has DOT done for us?

What does the Dept. of Energy do? Since its creation, we’ve suffered energy black-outs and brown-outs, no new refineries have been constructed, the price of gasoline has gone up, drilling for oil that could augment our supply has been restricted, and no alternative fuels to replace gasoline have been developed. But taxes on all fuels have gone up.

Education in this country is a disaster. Standards have declined, many college students are functionally illiterate, American students cannot compete with many other countries in the fields of math and science, school discipline is an oxymoron. These results are inversely related to steadily increasing government spending per student. Dept. of Education gets a failing grade.

A variety of sources document the low quality of care in VA hospitals. That is something that was supposed to have been corrected by making the old Veterans Administration a cabinet-level Dept. of Veterans Affairs in 1989.

Homeland Security: Where shall I start–with TSA? Perhaps border security? Maybe immigration. DHS is a massive bureaucracy that has drawn in many agencies from other departments and created new ones. What kind of bang are we getting for our bucks there?

I’m not suggesting that all these departments should be doing better–I’m suggesting that we don’t need these horrendous bureaucracies. We did quite well without them (much better, in fact, is my impression). Nor am I suggesting that they are the only executive departments that are unnecessary–they just happen to be the most recent ones added. Overall, there are about 2 million federal government employees, over 650,000 of which are civilian employees of the Dept. of Defense.  Why? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Are we better off now than we were 1.5 million government employees ago?

Clearly, our lives do not get better as government agencies and employees are added, and they will not be worse if the size of government is reduced; if anything, reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy will have a greatly positive impact on the quality of our lives and the size of our bank accounts.