Democrats owe Americans an honest budget Reply


By Tom Quiner

Is America heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?

According to poll results at www.RealClearPolitics.com, 61.7 percent of Americans say we’re heading in the wrong direction.  One year ago, the number was 48 percent.

Why is dissatisfaction growing?

Certainly some of the biggest concerns are runaway deficits and the unprecedented expansion of the federal government under President Obama and a Democratic Congress.

Moderate Americans are worried:  how can we possibly afford all the new spending and all of the new unionized government employees the President has added to the government payroll?

What could the President and Congress do to instill some confidence with the American people?  They could submit a balanced budget to the American people.

They could submit a budget that shows new fiscal restraint in government spending.

They could submit a budget that shows Americans we’re on a path back to solvency.

The President and Congress won’t do it.  Even more, they refuse to even submit a budget at all.

Let me put it in perspective.  The Democrats have escalated government spending way beyond the Bush years, way beyond anything America has ever seen.  The only question is whether Obama deficits will triple or quadruple Bush’s deficits from 2008 (although it is only fair to mention that Democrats also controlled Congressional purse strings since 2006).

Now Democrats are totally in charge.  What have they done?  They broke the bank and refuse to even offer up a budget of any sort for 2011.

We’re witnessing a repugnant act of political cowardice.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer excuses their refusal to craft a budget on the grounds that it isn’t possible without the input of a “deficit commission” assembled by the President that won’t offer budget suggestions until, you guessed it, after the midterm elections in November.

My response is simple:  Congress spends the money; they’re ones who got us into this mess with assistance from the President; they owe it to the voters to present a budget now as they have historically done.

Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, says, “It makes it appear that the whole point of the deficit commission from day one was to hide from what Congress is really doing and let Congressman run in the November election claiming to be for some imaginary budget restraint that they’re not actually ready to vote for.”

In other words, the whole thing is a con, once again at taxpayer expense.

Senator Judd Gregg, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, put it this way:  “The majority simply doesn’t want to highlight to the American people how much unpaid-for spending is planned for the next ten years, and how staggering our deficits will be as a result.”

Democrats have controlled government purse strings for three and a half years.  They owe the American people an honest budget for next year.  They need to show us how they plan to undo the structural damage they have done to our nation’s finances.

Their refusal to do so explains why 61.7 percent of Americans believe we’re headed in the wrong direction.

Their refusal explains why a staggering 71 percent of Americans (according to RealClearPolitics.com) disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

Let us reconsider ObamaCare 2


Last March 18th, Richard Foster, chief actuary for the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services, presented with Congress’ 2700 page health care bill. His job was to assess the impact ObamaCare would have on America. Unfortunately, Congress wasn’t interested in waiting for his analysis.

…We’ve been sold a bill of goods. ObamaCare tries to cheat the laws of supply of demand instead of letting supply and demand control costs and increase access to healthcare.

According to Medicare’s actuary, according to the Congressional Budget Office, according to health care benefit professionals, America will be poorer and unhealthier under ObamaCare.
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Is more big government really the answer? Reply


By Tom Quiner

The stock market crashed in October of 1929.  At the time of the crash, the unemployment rate was about 5 percent.  Two months later, it had moved up to nine percent, but dropped back down to 6.3 percent by June of the following year.

File:US Unemployment 1890-2009.gif

Unemployment never hit double digits at anytime the first year after the stock market crashed. And then the rate began to go up, and up, and away.

Obviously the stock market crash didn’t cause double-digit unemployment rates that were to come.  So what was the catalyst?  Government action.

First the Congress imposed high tariffs on imported goods in an attempt to save jobs.  Within a half a year, unemployment had reached double digits.  Then the Roosevelt administration began spending money on jobs programs.  Rather than reducing unemployment, it had the opposite effect.  Government intervention created a decade-long depression with tragic levels of joblessness.  Unemployment exceeded 20 percent alone for nearly two years.

The Roosevelt model failed.  This is the model the Obama administration is using.

The stock market crashed again in 1987.  However, the decades that followed were characterized by prosperity and high employment.  The difference?  Government restraint.  With a conservative President at the helm, the government didn’t intervene as it had 58 years earlier.

Is big government the answer or the problem?

Well, what about this monstrous oil spill in the Gulf?  The screams are loud from the political Left for more government regulation.  But before we pile more knee-jerk regulations on the energy industry, let us consider a recent AP story on May 16th, 2010.

They reported that the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the fed’s agency in charge of inspecting oil rigs to ensure safety, didn’t enforce their own policies, and worse, tried to cover it up. Here’s what AP said:

“Earlier AP investigations have shown that the doomed rig was allowed to operate without safety documentation required by MMS regulations for the exact disaster scenario that occurred; that the cutoff valve which failed has repeatedly broken down at other wells in the years since regulators weakened testing requirements, and that regulation is so lax that some key safety aspects on rigs are decided almost entirely by the companies doing the work.”

We had regulations in place.  The government was lax in enforcing them.  Is more big government really the solution?

Well, what about immigration?  We need the federal government to police against illegal immigration and enforce our borders.  Right?

This is a legitimate role of the federal government.  But they’re not getting the job done.  Even worse, they’re politicizing this critical issue, according to Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl.  Here is what Kyl alleges the President said to him:  “The problem is, if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.”

I do believe there are honorable positions on both sides of the immigration debate.  But to hijack law enforcement for political leverage is unconscionable.  Regardless of what you think of Arizona’s new immigration law, you can understand their motivation when the big federal government is either unable or unwilling to do its constitutional duty.

Let us recap.

When it comes to the economy and job creation, big government has made things worse.

When it comes to their regulatory function, they have failed us repeatedly.

When it comes to protecting our borders, they are failing us.

Our government is bigger than ever.  Is more big government really the answer?

Does the President have common sense? 4


By Tom Quiner

An earnest Obama supporter looked me in the eyes shortly after the last election and said, “Obama, he’s just smarter than the rest of us.”

End of story.  In other words, there’s no further debate necessary.  If one disagrees with President Obama, they’re wrong, because Mr. Obama is smarter than the rest of us.

Candidate Obama immodestly promoted this kind of fawning fanship with his own grandiose rhetoric.  He characterized his nomination at the Democratic Convention as the historic moment when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Reality has sunk in with a vengeance.

Not only can he not control the depth of the ocean, he can’t control its color.  Oil is the new color of the ocean near America’s gulf coast.  The President is not responsible for this disaster.  However, the government’s response is certainly problematic.

Photo: Coast Guard Orders Oil Sucking Barges Stopped, Against Gov. Bobby Jindal's Wishes: 59 Days into BP oil crisis, it's still difficult to figure out who's in charge.

ABC News reported on Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal’s, frustration with the federal government.  “It’s the most frustrating thing,” Mr. Jindal told ABC News.  “Literally, Wednesday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

The barges were stationed in Louisiana waters to suck out oil.  According to ABC, the Coast Guard halted efforts because they needed to confirm that barges had fire extinguishers and life vests on board.

Bureaucratic red tape halted efforts to clean the Gulf.  The President is boss of the federal bureaucracy.  A man of his intelligence must be heeded even if it means more severe ecological damage.  Even though we’re two months into the oil spill, that’s a worthy price to pay, don’t you think?  Bureaucratic regulations must always supercede a hasty response to an oil spill.  Regulations are more important than the ecology.

I have no doubt that the President is an intelligent man.  I have to admit, though, that I’m beginning to doubt his common sense.

Be Kind 1


By Tom Quiner

I’d like to talk about two persons, both nameless.

Before I talk about them, let me share two things, or rather two ideas.  The first idea comes from the man who help to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.  His name is Plato.  As you know, he is the famous classical Greek philosopher who died in 347 BC.  Here is what he said:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

The second idea flows from a story that’s been around.  I don’t know to whom to attribute this story, or short sermon,  but it is wonderful.  Thank-you who ever you are:

***

THE CRACKED WATER POT

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.

But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

The moral of this story is:

Each of us has our own unique flaws.

We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.

There is a lot of good out there.

***

So who are the two persons I’d like to introduce you to?  The first is a pregnant woman who shall remain nameless.  She is unhappy she is pregnant.  She is not sure if she wants to keep the daughter in her womb.  She faces rejection from the most important people in her life if they find out she is pregnant.  She doesn’t know if she can afford this baby.  Her life will be more difficult if her daughter is born.

She is fighting a hard battle.

I suspect she is a “cracked pot” herself, much like I am.  Probably much like you, too.

This flawed creature is in need of something important right now:  love.

The second person to whom I’d like to introduce you is truly nameless, because she hasn’t been born yet.  It is the woman’s daughter.

Like her mother, she is fighting a hard battle.  She is fighting for her life.

Like her mother, like you and me, she too is a cracked pot.  She simply hasn’t had the time to show us her flaws like the rest of us have done time and time again.  However,  we know something about this girl in her mother’s womb:  she is happy she is alive.  She doesn’t know anything else.  Life is beautiful once you take your first sniff of its intoxicating bouquet.  She desires life, although she doesn’t yet realize its challenges.  She only knows its beauty.

To the nameless mother, yes, you are a cracked pot.  But what a beautiful pot.  You have a lovely flower in you that the world desperately needs.

We love you.  We love your daughter.  And you’re not alone.

If you feel you’re alone, there is an organization called BirthRight that can give you practical help and encouragement.  In Des Moines, call 515-633-2133.  Or call their national crisis hotline now:  1-800-550-4900.

You are not alone.

To the rest of us, be kind.  The woman you meet may be fighting a hard battle.