Beyond the Cusp

November 10, 2014

What the New Republican Majority Congress Must Not Do

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I have seen near countless articles and editorials, is there a difference between the news and editorials any more, making every sort of suggestions for what the Republicans must do to make their majority count for something and be successful. What was a constant for virtually every suggestion of what they must do was how almost none of it would get passed the White House Obama veto. As President Obama once warned that he has a pen and a phone could also imply that he could veto legislation passed by the Republican Congress and then phone them to come pick up their worthless pieces of paper. So, with the veto pen and the insulting phone call in mind I thought suggesting what the Republicans should avoid if they desire to be successful in the ensuing Congress over the remaining two years of the Obama Presidency. Where they should pass certain principled legislation initially which defines their principles but not waste months doing so, they should also repeat this procedure in the summer leading up to the 2016 elections to augment a candidate for President that hopefully can excite the Republican voters across their spectrum and can express the core conservative and constitutional principles in a manner similar to President Reagan but also able to use social media to good advantage.

The Republicans must not fall for the media mantra that what voters demanded from the new Congress was for them to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats and President Obama as a great number of their voters wanted no such thing, something I learned about through personal and close up observation and a listening tour in Oklahoma which ended about one year ago. They should not make attempts to modify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care, and also should not spend great amounts of time repealing it as having President Obama veto one single protest legislation repealing Obama Care should suffice. The electorate did not send their representatives and Senators to Washington to waste time playing political games; they sent them to relay a message, no further damage to their nation and the future in which their children and grandchildren will live. The one message the Republican voters want delivered is no automatic and immediate amnesty by Presidential edict even if it requires cutting funding for the entirety of the Immigrations and Naturalizations Department. The people want the budget to be carefully crafted and the wasteful spending reduced as much as can be accomplished. This means no omnibus spending bills or full budget bills which leave discretional spending by the administration. If that requires passing tens or hundreds of individual pieces of legislation funding each department and even each program individually even if it takes the vast majority of their efforts in order to prevent monies from being diverted to places and programs they were not intended to finance. The people want the spending trimmed down by any means necessary. Do not worry about what the media accuses you of being as their name calling will not affect your voters if you treat their desires with respect and do their bidding.

The people who sent many of you to Congress do not want any compromise immigration reform, especially if it includes amnesty. They do not want another immigration legislation which grants a path to citizenship in the immediate and a future sealing of the border and completing the double fence as such legislation in the past never did build the fence or seal the border. Immigration reform means sealing the border and building the fence the entire length of the borders, northern and southern as either border can be used by those who desire to harm us just as easily as the other. The Democrats will be doing everything in their power to force the amnesty to come first but that must be resisted. Now that you are controlling both houses you can refuse to permit adding riders and amendments to legislation which are unassociated with the subject of the legislation or simply add little treats for the home districts as the people you presumably serve do not benefit or desire these little favors which have become part of business as usual and waste billions upon billions of dollars every year. Whatever you decide to do, do not pass any legislation which is more than two or three pages unless entirely unavoidable due to the complexity of the subject such as a manned mission to Mars or a moon base. Your constituents will be very unforgiving of any legislation which is hundreds of pages, let alone thousands of pages in length and are, as Nancy Pelosi once stated, that we have to pass it to see what is in it. Know that there are many amongst your supporters who will read every last page and then write notes, articles, comments and convers on social media and across many places on the internet and you will hear their disgust loudly when they replace you at their earliest convenience. Ask those Republicans who lost primaries and thus never got to seek reelection, they understand.

The voters who elected you are sick of deficit spending and expect that you will not spend more than the government takes in from taxes and other various fees, licenses, fines and whatever. Even if this means that there must be some cuts in services or programs, then so be it. They want jobs, economic growth and fewer regulations which strangle economic growth. Many may not understand the mechanics of the interactions between the government actions and economic matters but they do understand unemployment, low growth and the other effects such things have on their lives and that they can detect whenever they balance their checkbook account. They really do not want excuses for why you had to enact certain legislation in order to make compromises with the Democrats and get other items passed with Democratic help. They remember how the Democrats acted completely unilaterally and passed Obama Care without a single Republican vote and see no reason for compromise now that the Republicans control Congress. Do not repeal the nuclear option that Harry Reid put in place so that any Presidential appointment could be ratified by simply majority in order to freeze out any Republican dissent, turnabout is fair play. You were not sent to Washington to be invited to all the Georgetown parties and other social functions, nor were you sent to get along with the other side, you were sent to Washington to ruin President Obama’s last two years and ending his reign of terror over the United States as well as its people and allies. You were sent to Washington to send a message and prove that the Republicans have finally learned from their past mistakes and are prepared to return to their roots and basics and are able to resist any influences and pressures from the Democrats, the media or the lobbyists and NGOs who are paid to persuade you to forfeit the trust of your constituents and instead serve their moneyed interests. Feel free to also not do any of these things and ignore all the warnings if you choose and enjoy your one term for as long as it lasts. The new face of the most active elements of the Republican Party are done with business as usual or go along to get along politicking and will continue to seek new faces until they get the representation they desire. The choices are yours to make for now but eventually the final decision over whether you are returned to Washington is that of your constituents and the one disadvantage you have is as a Republican you must win the minds more so than the hearts of your constituency and that constituency are high information voters, a phrase used by talk radio personalities to describe their listeners and these are also your voters. If your get nothing more from this article than those who sent you to Washington are awake, politically savvy and watching your every vote and will hold you to account for every vote should you betray their trust and cross their red lines, and they will use the nuclear option on your candidacy should you cross their red lines as they are not like the President, they mean what they say and vote what they believe. You have been warned and if you are aware, then it should be easy for you to understand the situation and act accordingly or else it has been nice knowing you and hope you enjoy your next day job.

Beyond the Cusp

March 5, 2013

Solution for United States, Back to Basics, the Constitution

The United States has managed since the turn of the century to take a budgetary surplus and strong economy and turn the economy on its head while having two Presidents, one from each the Democrats and the Republicans, spend the nation into depths of deficit spending and rising national debt rivaling that of the worst of Europe. With the spiraling increases in the debt of the United States reaching levels that have required a number of increases in the established debt ceiling simply to make interest payments and meet salaries and other budget necessities, the United States has found itself in the position of having to monetize its own debt as China and much of the rest of the world refuse to invest in what is seen as a lost cause driving headlong into financial oblivion. Despite predictions from leading economists, the public does not appear to hold much trepidation towards the financial catastrophe which is looming if something is not done to address the ever bulging deficit spending and the massive amounts being added to the national debt. The manufactured crisis at the end of last year labeled the Fiscal Cliff turned into more of a showcase for pontificating politicians and gasping talking heads all attempting to work up some concern with the public mostly to no avail. Then, even when the politicians simply kicked the can down the road for a few months, there was no eruption of shock or anger but simply a collective shrug of indifference. The neglect shown towards fiscal responsibility by the Washington elite has been a perfect representation of indifference and replete with total disregard to any consequences or warning which predicted the potential doom that would eventually result if spending was continued with such disregard.

 

The one semi-amusing side effect of the fiscal mismanagement has been the many disparate solutions, warnings, predictions, and long winded prognostications given from all fronts and political orientations which managed to cover almost every angle one could imagine. There have been those who claim that the government was executing the correct fiscal plan by applying increased government spending which would boost the economy resulting in collected taxes covering the increased spending and then some thus solving the problems. Others have called for austerity measures and universal spending cuts across the board as the only way to address the deficit problems. There have been calls to increase taxes, decrease taxes, end many tax deductions, go to a flat tax, and just about any other tax program ever invented, all of them come replete with graphs, spread sheets, and pages of justifications which show that each and every solution should produce the desired results. Perhaps the complete idiocy existing in the economic and fiscal debate where every possible solution can be shown to work despite many being polar opposites, it is no wonder that the public has simply disowned the problem and just walked away. How can anybody care when everything is claimed to be the solution and everything that is done simply makes the problem that much worse.

 

What is needed is a vision which has a historic record of proven fiscal success which cannot be dismissed. Oddly enough, the United States has what might be the best guide to fiscal and economic success and productivity. The really strange thing about this guide is that even though it has never been followed to the letter, simply making a concerted and honest effort to run the government by its dictates and restrictions have resulted in nearly one-hundred-fifty years of economic stability and low, often no, taxes. This guideline is what may eventually be proven to be the greatest single document providing a blueprint for responsible governance. The document, of course, is the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution was not followed to the letter from the very start but it did act as a restraint for over a century. The initial serious onslaught on the United States Constitution was in the 1860’s with the onset of the American Civil War.  President Lincoln suspended many provisions of the Constitution and placed unrivaled power in the hands of the President and neutralized the power of the other two branches. Unsurprisingly, by the end of the Civil War the United States had run up a healthy deficit. Despite that deficit, the return to Constitutionally guided and limited government following the Civil War the United States rebuilt and even spread her territories and soon had paid off all of the debt. The final daggers into the heart of the Constitution came in 1913 with the enactment of two Amendments, Amendment XVI and Amendment XVII. The Sixteenth Amendment established the personal Income Tax Amendment which was supposed to never rise above a paltry three percent nor be applied to anyone below the top ten percent of earners. All of these guarantees soon proved to be completely false. The Seventeenth Amendment provided for the direct election of Senators which removed the last vestiges of power which the Constitution had allocated solely for the States. This was the final nail which would lead directly to the over-centralization of power being stolen by the central Federal Government in Washington. Even with this death knell the Constitution still retained sufficient restraining power to beat back the onslaughts against its original intents that it would take another fifty years before the final assault destroyed any restraint on Federal spending. It was these ideals and ideas which began with Franklin Delano Roosevelt with Social Security and Unemployment Insurance that brought on the end. With Lyndon Baines Johnson and his Great Society, the Constitution gave out its last gasp and the financial difficulties that accompany unrestrained, undisciplined, expansive spending slowly led to the financial difficulties currently plaguing the United States. Perhaps a return to the ideals and ideas first instituted with the original Constitution could forge the necessary restraint that would lead the United States back to fiscal solvency and responsibility. By showing such restraint and self-discipline the Americans would be rewarded with a growing economy and a positive and promising outlook for the future. That is the power of the United States Constitution and the promise the writers left to their countrymen into the future.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 1, 2013

Our Sequestration Outage

Over the past few days all of our schedules here at BTC have been disrupted by a series of high intensity meetings and brain storming sessions all having to do with how we might be able to adjust to the state of things post sequestration with the serious cuts being made in all government programs, especially those which will affect the most numbers of Americans not part of the higher echelons of government, you know, Congrescriters, their staffers, the President, members of his family, and all attached to the Administration.  There had been numerous warning, actually more like threats, of how the sequestration cuts would be the end of life as we know it with the government forced to make draconian cuts to so many vital programs and this was the concern we addressed in our meetings. We went over our budget numerous times, it took so little time we thought we should do it repeatedly until it seemed larger than life, we never attained such levels. Then we reviewed the funding we receive from the government and that caused us great distress. Hard as it may believe, but our government subsidy was less of our budget than anyone could imagine. We checked and rechecked and even double-rechecked and to our complete surprise we were unable to track down one red cent we receive from the government at any level. We even contacted others we know who might be facing difficulties resulting from the sequestration budget cuts and all our fellow private enterprises also were having little problems with these cuts as they, surprise, surprise, also do not receive any funding from government sources. Empowered with this information we decided to review some of the warnings, or threats, your choice, as to which services would likely be curtailed or cut back due to sequestration. The results were nothing short of amazing.

 

Some of the services we found that were to be cut were absolutely astonishing. The TSA might not have sufficient numbers of screeners and security personnel on all shifts to facilitate safe travel conditions. The concierge services at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport who provide services for Congressional and Presidential staffers and high government officials would remain at full staffing, after all, only the best for our best, or something like that. Another small inconvenience for travelers by air would be a possible deficiency in the number of Air Traffic Controllers to handle the full load of flights. There were some reports that as some locations receive Federal funding for some of their Police, Fire and Rescue personnel that in such areas there may be a reduction in force in order to meet the cuts. Don’t get too worried, security personnel and the Federal and Capital police will remain at their fully funded levels providing nothing but the best for our elected officials and their staff members.

 

Fortunately we did some further research and things will be far less dire than the predictions from the let’s shock the life out of the public newscasters and press personnel releasing these reports to the newswires in order to paint a picture of apocalyptic events being just on the horizon if the sequestration was allowed to befall the United States. Most of the cuts would amount to a small percentage of the Federal workforce having to take one day a week or even every two weeks furlough. This means they may use their personal leave and still be paid or they may simply forgo that one day of pay in the immediate future until a budget is finally formed. After a budget is approved, if these furloughs are treated as every previous furlough, these employees who were forced to take time off will receive back pay to cover every hour they missed of work. Yes, that’s right, at the end the furloughed employees will receive pay for the time they stayed home and did absolutely no work and may have even received pay as they took leave. So, if a furloughed Federal employee chooses to use leave time to receive pay for the furlough days, once the budget is passed they will be paid for those days a second time and still not have worked those hours. So, at a minimum, any Federal worker who does not receive any furlough days has to work those extra days while their coworkers stay home and in the end the ones who got to stay home will get as much if not more pay for the same period. The ones who take leave to cover furloughed days will be paid both leave and regular pay for taking a day off. Who wouldn’t want that deal? But there is a small catch.

 

That might be a problem as there has never been a budget passed since President Obama was first sworn in January of 2009. That year they finished out on the final budget approved and signed by President Bush but since then President Obama has never signed a single budget. Even during his first two years he did not sign an annual budget by only signing continuing resolutions and partial budgets for certain departments or programs. The theory behind this ploy was the President was able to push through numerous budgetary increases by using numerous continuing resolutions and including increases with each and every one leading to an annual increase larger than had one yearly budget been passed. The end result was by the end of eighteen months, a year and a half; President Obama had increased the baseline budget for numerous of his favored entitlement programs allotting significant new funds in order to greatly expand their benefit roles. One of the more notorious of these was the Food Stamp Program which has seen the most massive increase in enrollees in its history. Should the sequestration force spending cuts, it still will not force President Obama to actually sign a real budget. Of course when the President or his spokespeople are questioned as to why he has not signed any budget for a full year, they all answer with he has not received a budget from the Congress for him to sign.

 

Needless to point out, but the usual reason is he has never received a budget from the Republican Congress. This little bit of information is almost universally reported verbatim as if it were the gospel truth. The honest truth is that the Democrat controlled Senate, half of the Congress but who’s counting, has refused to even schedule the numerous House of Representatives passed budgets for committee hearings or a floor vote or debate. Senate Majority Leader Reid has announced from day one after the 2010 elections that no budget the House of Representatives would send to the Senate deserved even a minute of debate and were dead on arrival. This refusal to even debate and to never, ever, ever allow a vote on a full budget is actually a service provided by the Democrat Party to their Democrat President to relieve him of ever being held responsible for the budget and to have a ready-made excuse to beat like a drum whenever he is questioned by the press or anyone else. With Senate Majority Leader Reid following the President’s actual words given in countless speeches where he has said what amounted to the denial that President Obama was standing ready to sign any bipartisan and proper budget that the Congress could agree upon and send to his desk, oh, and he is waiting anxiously. Then comes the whispers from the White House into Senator Reid’s ear, no budget must ever pass the Senate without White House giving prior approval. Then the only budgets approved and sent to the President are kick the can down the road continuing resolutions. But why let such a trifling matter spoil a good thing. Eventually a budget or possibly one of the myriad of continuing resolutions that gets passed will include the back-pay for the furloughed workers and it will be excused as necessary as the unfortunate Federal workers who were furloughed cannot be made to suffer because the Republican Congress would not do their job and send a responsible budget to the President in time to avoid the sequestration. Also, you do realize that the whole idea for sequestration was a Republican one and the President had nothing to do with the idea, well, other than proposing it, defining it, demanding it, and then complaining how the Republicans forced it on the country. Oh to have an echo chamber anywhere as faithful and loyal as the fifth estate is to their leader, President Obama.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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