At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate, followed Benjamin Franklin from Independence Hall. He recorded a question asked by a lady, directed at Dr. Franklin.

The lady asked, "Well Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied Dr. Franklin, "if you can keep it."


"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Federal Employee Pay Freeze

Times are hard. Federal Employees are having their cost of living raises, and to many of us who do not lap at the federal trough, it seems more like a public relations stunt than a serious attempt to do something.  To me, personally, it sounds like something David Axelrod came up with to help President Obama crow about how tough he really is. However is the panic gesture being made by Obama worth anything?

The Tea Party asked the Federal Government to devolve power in key areas to the US States. I've never heard anyone call for a reduction of cost of living raises to workers. However, if that's what the US Government plans to do, we should cut any scheduled pay increases to Congress as well. In fact, Congress should lead the way and roll their own pay back to 2008 levels, just to show that their hearts are in the right place. But I haven't seen them moving in that direction.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released the following statement reacting to President Barack Obama's enactment of a two year freeze in civilian pay for federal employees:

"At a time when our nation's seniors have been denied a cost-of-living-increase and private sector hiring is stagnant, it is both necessary and quite frankly, long over-due to institute a pay-freeze for the federal workforce. As Republicans outlined in our Pledge to America there are a number of actions the President and Congress should immediately act on to demonstrate a real commitment to reigning in the excessive growth and spending of the federal government.

"To put this in perspective, the Obama Administration says this two-year pay freeze will save $2 billion, however, just last week, OMB released a report revealing that the federal government's improper payments for FY-2010 totaled $125 billion, $15 billion higher than the previous year. It is unthinkable that we have come to accept having a bureaucracy that has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse to the point where $125 billion in improper payments were made last year. The first place we should look to make progress on higher costs, increased debt and a stagnant economy is look inward at how taxpayer dollars are being spent and doing more to ensure that tens of billions of dollars are no longer erroneously paid out."In their Pledge to America, Republicans proposed a number of actions to put government on a path to a balanced budget and to reign in the deficit:

§ Cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels

§ Establish a hard cap on new discretionary spending

§ Reduce Congress' budget

§ Hold weekly votes on spending cuts

§ End TARP once and for all

§ Address government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

§ Impose a net federal hiring freeze of non-security employees

§ Root out government waste and sunset outdated and duplicative programs

§ Reform the budget process

I believe that Congressman Issa has hit the nail on the head and if the reduction in COLA increases for federal workers is combined by instituting these other measures, it would make sense. However, taken by itself, the Obama plan to single out federal workers will likely cause more harm than good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation (George Washington)

This wasn't mentioned on any of the Media outlets so I thought it should appear here on this day.

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation 

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks -- for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One [capital O] now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York 
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789
George Washington

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why are Americans so stupid?

Ever since the elitist left lost the mid-term elections (by in large), the mainstream media has been asking that question. How could Americans be so stupid? The president himself has expressed that it's his failure to explain his genius to us (the common folk who cling insensibly to God and guns in fly-over states) that led to Republicans gaining 64 seats and a majority in the House of Representatives. 

(graphic, h/t Dale)

American people have a difficult time reconciling themselves to socialism. They don't want nationalized anything because most of them find that the Federal Government can't run ANYTHING efficiently. Giving them control of healthcare (20% of the economy) means that they'll run it at a loss at twice the cost of allowing private enterprise to do it.

They just don't get it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Airport Security & Common Sense

We all want to be safe and in the airport and in the air. Let's face it, fundamentalist Muslim terrorists are no joke. So everyone is subjected to general misery at the hands of TSA because heaven forbid that fundamentalist Muslim terrorists are "profiled".

My 80 year old mother, flying from one California city to another is not a Muslim, and not a terrorist, and they kept her in security for about 30 minutes as they went through her medications and vitamins to insure that she wasn't smuggling ILLEGAL pills. Oh, come on, TSA - I know these screeners are making near minimum wage but REALLY?

TSA Searches (and traumatizes) a 3 year old girl. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

There is a profile of people who present a danger to the public. I don't think anyone explains this to people at TSA. Yes, anyone can be a terrorist - but a modicum of common sense can solve SO many problems.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pelosi for Minority Leader!

The Democrats don't want to change horses in mid-stream. 

At least that's what former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is telling the nation, and it forms the basis for her bid for House Minority Leader. Less than one week ago Republicans piled up the biggest gains in the House in over 70 years, while the Democrats will preside over the lower chamber for the shortest period since the 1950s.

Keeping Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in leadership roles in Congress will tend to reassure the voting public that the Democratic Party did not get the message. Or maybe they did - as Obama put it, he simply hasn't explained himself to the American people enough. He needs to talk more.

"We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back," Pelosi, 70, said in a letter to her colleagues. One has to pause for a moment and ask if "our great achievements" means Pelosi's perceived achievements or America's achievements. Having the Democratic Party soundly repudiated in the election last week has not deterred Pelosi! Not one bit.

Pelosi's bid presumably will keep her atop the Democratic caucus, which will number about 190 members next year. Many Republicans are secretly (and some not-so-secretly) hoping that she turns out to be the anointed Minority Leader. Her unpopularity combined with the reptilian Harry Reid (retained as Senate Majority Leader) puts Republicans in a spectacular position to take the White House in 2012.

If conventional Democratic Party wisdom holds, Reid, Pelosi and Obama will join hands to get Obama another four year stretch as commander-in-chief. How will that play in Peoria?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cutting Spending

Nobody seems to want their particular government entitlement to be cut. I understand that. It's common wisdom that one is committing political suicide to suggesting a cut in government benefits.

I'm not a politician - so I'm going to offer a place to start.

1. Increase the age at which people can collect Social Security benefits to 70. (increase of 5 years) SAVINGS estd. $120 billion per year (politicians like to discuss how much it will save over ten years and I don't know what it will be in ten years but 10x$120 billion = $1.2 trillion.

2. Transition new workers into a tier 2 SSI system that is a restricted fund, immune from Congressional/Presidential raiding. No, I don't know what sort of system that should be. I'm not an annuities expert. Anything should be better than the present system -- that's going broke.

3. Medicare increased at 6.6% this year. The costs have gone up between 4% and 8% each year. Freeze what the government will pay at 2008 levels (a savings of over $50 billion per year).  ObamaCare effectively eliminates Medicare so unless this is repealed or found unconstitutional by the court, freezing it won't do much. The ObamaCare Gordion Knot must be cut and resolved before this can be managed.

4. Medicaid should not be offered to illegal aliens. That provides an annual savings of something on the order of $10 billion each year. I don't know if that number is completely defensible but it's going to be in that range. ($100 billion over ten years)

5. No federal unemployment benefit payments by 2012. Employees pay into the state fund. If they want to have the insurance, perhaps they need to pay higher premiums. It's becoming WELFARE these days since people no longer have to look for work to collect. I paid into private salary continuance insurance (private, not government) for 30 years and never collected. The premiums were high, but I felt it was worth it. Maybe others will agree? ($80 billion per year - and if the job situation improves, there need be no spending at all so the cost is indeterminate)

6. Department of Education. Education is a state problem. States and localities need to decide what they will teach and how they will teach it. Additionally, they can decide how much they want to spend. The Federal Budget is $46.7 billion per year. Reduce funding to 50% of present levels and continue to reduce funding by 10% per year until the states assume full control of education. Savings $23 billion this year, ultimately about $50 billion per year. ($500 billion over ten years)

We're at $1.8 trillion over ten years - but we're freezing Medicare and when you plug all that in, the savings will be about $2 trillion.

7. Health and Human services - Well over half of the money goes to federal welfare. While I have no problem with the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health research, the welfare component should be eliminated. If the states want to dole out welfare, they can decide how much they want to pay. So cut the budget by 60% to $30 billion (saving $48 billion per year or $480 billion over ten years)

8. Housing and Urban Development - What a money pit! Eliminate the agency. If the states want to pick up the cost, they're welcome to. (saving $48 billion per year, or another $480 billion over ten years)

We're up to almost $3 trillion in savings now -- over ten years.

9. National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, etc. -- adios. It's not the savings to the public so much as it is the absolute waste.

Taking these steps reduce the present national spending by 10%.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting Results

I wanted to make a few comments on the election. I don't know that my observations are any more or less valid than anyone else's.

I live in California and voters in the Golden State simply amaze me. I'm ashamed of them -- Boxer and Brown? Ok, I thought that both Fiorina and Whitman were unappealing, lame RINO candidates and didn't do much to support them except for reluctantly voting for them as the lesser of two evils. Jerry Brown's speech included the revelation that he married -- a woman. That's just a bit shocking. There wasn't much else from the Brown speech except that things in California will get a whole lot worse before they get better. Brown feels that renewable energy will turn the corner in California...Governor Moonbeam returns. He's every bit as much a space cat as he was when Californians ran him from office years ago.

Florida did well. Marco Rubio was an excellent choice for the US Senate. Allen West will be a great Congressman and Alan Grayson was sent packing back to the rock he crawled out from under.

John Kasich won the governor's race in Ohio. Ohio won. The Obama seat in the US Senate has gone to Mark Kirk (a Republican), which is a pleasant message, sent to the Chief Executive on the eve of his trip to India where he will bow and scrape, begging the Indians for forgiveness for whatever (since that's sort of what Obama does). 

The House of Representatives will have the ability to investigate irregularities in the Obama regime nobody knows how the chips will fall with that. Pop some corn, watch and wait. 
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