Thursday, February 16, 2012

MD-House: Wade Kach Must Go

We have long argued that Republicans in Maryland cannot win by being Democrat-lite.  Aside for the fact that liberal Republicans fail to inspire a following and fail to galvanize voters to their cause, they are automatic losers.  Once we adopt the views of the opposition, we have lost, period.  As such, even if we somehow enjoy electoral success, it is irrelevant because, in essence, we are not winning anything.

Nevertheless, that is the type of party which state Delegate Wade Kach (RINO-Baltimore Co.) wants us to be.  He is advocating that we accept the most extreme positions of the Democrat Party, including the redefining of marriage to include...well, just about anything.

Earlier today, Kach announced that "as a proud member of the party of Lincoln, I believe that we as legislators should be more concerned with relieving the tax burden of families than telling them how to behave in their own homes."

Kach is using the typical illusory parlance that is associated with the pro-gay marriage forces.  He is falsely charging that opponents of gay marriage are telling people how to behave.  That is absolutely false.  The reality is that nobody is regulating the behavior of individuals, no matter how morally licentious it is.  We are merely upholding the basic definition of one of the most fundamental concepts since the dawn of times.

Again, for the millionth time, a homosexual relationship is not a marriage.  Kach and his ilk refuse to address the issue at hand.  Nobody is seeking to govern people's private behavior, although the nation was founded on bedrock values in which homosexuality stands as an anathema to our beliefs.  But let's forget about that for a moment.  This is not an issue of liberty.  It is a matter of honoring a sacrosanct relationship and legal definition that has been so basic to humankind since creation.  You could talk about liberty until you turn blue in the face, but it doesn't change the fact that unicorns don't fly, and a gay relationship is not a marriage.

All Americans, including gays, have the full liberty to get married; nobody is stopping them.  Additionally, nobody is preventing them from acting out their immoral impulses in private.  It is they who want society to change the basic definition of marriage - something that is totally intractable.

It is also preposterous and shameful to intimate that Lincoln would support something like gay marriage. It's very sad that we've descended to such moral decadency that we have Republicans who are advocating for such immorality - the degree to which has never been suggested until this generation.  While homosexuality has existed for a long time, nobody ever had the audacity to suggest that such a relationship constitutes a marriage.  One need not be overtly religious to appreciate that the basic legal definition of marriage is a special bond between one man and one woman.

If we are going to attenuate the meaning of marriage to the extent that it can include two men, why not change the other components of marriage, such as the number of parties involved?  Why not recognize polygamist marriages, or man-dog relationships?  I love my one-year-old son to death; can I marry him?  The concept of marriage is really not an enigma, except to those who are biased by their libertine beliefs.

Moreover, as we have seen all too often, there is no such thing as a social liberal who is a strong fiscal conservative.  If you follow the voting records of the 535 members of Congress, you will find that, with few exceptions, it is an extinct political breed.  When you have a small God, you have a big government; when you have a big God, you have small government.  The vacuum must be filled with something.  Consequently, secular humanists will fill that vacuum of religious values with the "religious values" of big government.

Accordingly, it is no surprise that Kach is a big government statist, along with being a social liberal.  Among many fiscally liberal votes that Kach has cast in the legislature, he voted for Maryland's cap and trade law in 2006.  What happened to intruding on people's personal lives, Mr. Kach?  Or, does your doctrine of freedom only cover a libertine world view -  and not a libertarian one? 

If Kach has such a desire to join those who seek our moral destruction, why not join the Democrat Party?  We already have one party that is engaged in an inexorable battle to reshape the character of this great nation.  We need a choice, not an echo.

Only 30% of the Maryland House is comprised of elected Republicans.  They have absolutely no power.  Is it too much to ask that they all share our core values and basic understanding of fundamental concepts?  There is plenty of room in the Democrat Party for those like Wade Kach.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Can a Nonexistent Congress Issue $1.2 Trillion in Debt?

Pursuant to the Budget Control Act, brought to you by the GOP leadership’s sellout, Obama notified Congress yesterday that the federal debt is approaching the statutory ceiling of $15.194 trillion. [The actual total debt is already $15.237 trillion, but a small amount is not subject to the limit.]  As such, he is calling on Congress to grant him another $1.2 trillion in debt, conveniently enough to last him until after the election, with the possibility of saddling his successor with a tough decision over yet another debt limit increase.  It is really more of a notification than a request.  Obama will automatically receive his $1.2 trillion supercharged credit card unless two-thirds of Congress votes to disapprove of the request within 15 days.

In just three years, he has accrued $4.6 trillion in debt, more than Bush amassed during his entire eight-year tenure.  Now he will add another $1.2 trillion by the end of his first term, and, thanks to the horrendous budget deal, which was cheered on by the same outlets that are now fawning over Mitt Romney, there’s nothing we can do about it.

But here’s the question: If Congress is in recess and cannot fulfill its responsibility to advice and consent, as the President has suggested, how can Obama fulfill his obligation of submitting a certification to Congress?

The Budge Control Act requires the following of Obama:
“the President submits a written certification to Congress that the President has determined that the debt subject to limit is within $100,000,000,000 of the limit in section 3101(b) and that further borrowing is required to meet existing commitments, the Secretary of the Treasury may exercise authority to borrow an additional $900,000,000,000, subject to the enactment of a joint resolution of disapproval enacted pursuant to this section. Upon submission of such certification, the limit on debt provided in section 3101(b) (referred to in this section as the ‘debt limit’) is increased by $400,000,000,000.”
Is this submission invalid?  Do we need a new submission to start the 15 days Congress has to disapprove of the increase in debt?  How was the House able to file the resolution of disapproval and set up a vote for next week?   After all, Congress is all but gone, according to Obama.

If Obama wants Congress to issue $1.2 trillion of debt while their gone, imagine what they can do when they’re “in session.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Task Moving Forward: Focus On Congress

Irrespective of the outcome of the presidential primaries, it is highly unlikely that we will nominate a reliable and consistent conservative.  Unfortunately, with the exceptions of Coolidge, Goldwater, and Reagan, we never do.  Not on a presidential level.  This year we might nominate someone who is not a conservative at all.  Perforce, our most important task going forward (aside for defeating Obama) is to win majorities in both houses of Congress.

What is even more essential is that we elect enough reliable conservatives – ones who will keep their campaign pledges – that we will not be relegated to the minority in those majorities.  With the prospect of electing an unpredictable Republican president, in conjunction with tepid leadership in Congress, it is vital that we choose Republicans who will stand on principle, not benchwarmers who will merely serve as yes-men for leadership.

Last year, many of us thought we achieved a historic breakthrough by electing 87 “Tea Party” freshmen.  Undoubtedly, many of them have been stalwart fighters for liberty and the limited government principles that buoyed them into office.  Unfortunately, many of them voted for the debt deal and every single spending bill, in violation of multiple campaign pledges.  Indeed, many of them are anything but Tea Party leaders.
One of the unwavering and indefatigable members of the freshmen class, Mick Mulvaney, had this to say about his fellow rookies:
“I would be embarrassed to tell you how many folks ran saying that they weren’t going to spend a bunch of money, they weren’t going to raise the debt ceiling, and then they went to Washington, D.C., and did exactly that.” My dad told me something long before I was in politics, and when your dad gives you advice every single day, eventually one or two of the things stick in your mind. And he said, don’t believe what people say, believe what they do.”
“We cannot have another experience like we’ve had in my freshman class, of people saying one thing and doing another.”

Thus, despite Republicans winning control of the House, we are still a minority in the majority.
We must internalize this lesson and commit ourselves to harness any opportunity to elect a steadfast conservative.  We have very little time this year because all of the primaries have been moved up for the presidential election.  There are many solid conservative districts with members who supported every solitary sellout of the legislative session.  The disappointment of the presidential election is serving as my inspiration to highlight these races in the coming weeks.  Hopefully, you will share that inspiration as well.

For now, there are some clear winners in the Senate races.  Here is a list to build on:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Multiple Choice Mitt’s Changing Colors on Romneycare

April 12, 2006 is a day that will live on in infamy.  That was the day that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed his signature socialized healthcare bill into law with Ted Kennedy standing over his shoulder.  It was the first time in American history that government of any sort compelled its citizenry to purchase health insurance.  It served as the catalyst for an individual mandate on a federal level, paving the road for Obamacare.

At the time, John Kerry heaped accolades on Romney, ominously suggesting that “we really need to be doing that on the national level.” Ted Kennedy praised it as “just what the doctor ordered,” and observed that we “may well have fired a shot heard round the world.”  It took less than four years for the shot to metastasize into a bombardment – one that will permanently attenuate our free-enterprise economy.

So how did Romney feel about his signature accomplishment of an otherwise uninspiring one-term tenure as governor?

At the time of its passage, Romney dubbed it as a “once in a generation” achievement.  He referred to his magnum opus, which created subsidies for government run exchanges (larger than those created under Obamacare), as a “landmark” achievement “to get all of our citizens insurance without some new government-mandated takeover.”

From Romney’s perspective, did he consider final passage of MassCare a meritorious ideal or a mediocre compromise watered down by the Democrat legislature?

Well, immediately after he signed the bill into law, he told Newsweek reporter Jennifer Barrett that “the final legislation incorporates about 95 percent of my original proposal.”

At the time, did Romney feel that the framework for his healthcare plan was a virtuous policy endeavor for the rest of the nation?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romneycare, Bain Capital, 2012, and the Lost Opportunity to Assail Obamacare

“Romney’s career as a venture socialist governor is what should concern us; not his career as a venture capitalist in the private sector.”
At this point, residents of South Carolina are already getting tired of those TV ads and documentaries detailing the destruction wrought by Romneycare.  They are jaded by the flashing screens of middle class sob stories from respectable Massachusetts taxpayers – taxpayers who never requested handouts – being forced to struggle with skyrocketing health insurance costs as a result of the market-distortions engendered by Romneycare.

Every South Carolina resident can recite the now infamous closing line of the anti-Romney ads by heart: “shall we nominate the grandfather of Obamacare to run against its father?”

Oh, wait.  Those ads never ran.

Amidst this week’s contretemps over Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, for some reason, we are obscuring the real albatross around Romney’s neck; the issue of healthcare.  While Romney’s record at Bain might provide Obama with his biggest campaign weapon, Romneycare will disarm Romney, and by extension, all Republicans, of our biggest campaign weapon, namely, Obamacare.  And while Bain might provide Romney’s Republican opponents with a useful political argument (Romney’s electability problems in the general election), it does not provide them with a prudent and virtuous ideological argument.  Romneycare, on the other hand, provides the Mitt-alternatives with inviolable ideological arguments as well as political ones.

Romneycare is the antecedent to Obamacare.  It dramatically distorted the free-market of private insurance; it dumped a few hundred thousand people onto federally funded Medicaid; it set up gov’t-run exchanges that disincentivize success and offer larger subsidies than those proposed in Obamacare; it placed unreasonable mandates on employers to fund their employee’s healthcare.  The net result of Romneycare was the archetypical outcome of every statist policy; the price of a vital service was purposely distorted as a means of enticing more people to become dependent upon government.

Yes, it was all orchestrated by state government, not the federal government.  Such a rationalization, according to Mitt, will ameliorate all of Romneycare’s vices – vices that are identical to those inherent in Obamacare.  Somehow, regressive statism is desirable simply because Romney had the “right” to implement it as governor of a state.

Oh Yes, It’s in Article 1

At the beginning of the 112th Congress, as part of an effort to inject more transparency into the legislative process, the House adopted a rule requiring that each bill be accompanied by a Constitutional Authority Statement.  The purpose of the rule was to expose the cavalier attitude of those members who desire to legislate ‘just because they can.’

Well, after a year of legislating under this rule, it appears that we are in serious need of accountability measures to provide some clarity and specificity to the authority statement.  Otherwise, the rule will be regarded as yet another “transparency” gimmick of Congress.

Republican congressional staffers combed through almost 3800 bills and joint resolutions that have been introduced this year, in an effort to gauge the clarity and specificity of the Constitutional Authority Statements.  For the most part, the results are pretty pathetic.  Here are some of their key findings:
  • Overall, 945 bills contained authority statements which do not reference a specific power granted by the Constitution.  Many of these merely cited “Article 1” or “Article 1 Section 1” “Article 1 Section 8.” In other words, they just cited the fact that Congress has the power to legislate, but failed to divulge which constitutional power or specific clause is supporting their legislation.
  • There were 732 bills which only referenced the commerce clause, 660 which only referenced the general welfare clause, and 321 which mentioned the necessary and proper clause without reference to a previous Constitutional clause to which the necessary and proper clause might apply.
  • In total, there were 2658 Constitutional Authority Statements that were either questionable or vague.  That represents roughly 69% of all bills and resolutions introduced in the 1st Session of the 112th Congress.
  • While more of the vague citations are attributable to Democrat bill sponsors, many Republicans were lax in offering meaningful authority statements.  Almost as many Republicans used the inexplicit commerce clause as Democrats.
After the first year of the Constitutional Authority rule, it is clear that it has failed to dissuade members from proposing frivolous legislation.  At a minimum, every authority statement should detail the specific clause and power that authorizes the legislation.  Moreover, the statement should be accompanied by a brief explanation describing the reason why there is a constitutional mandate for that particular bill.  Without further improvements, this rule is just a waste of ink and paper.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Anatomy of a Keynesian Recovery

Almost two and a half years since the recession officially ended, we are finally observing a modest recovery in the job market.  Even if we discount the 42,000 new holiday season jobs for “couriers and messengers,” there is clearly some jobs growth in key sectors of the economy.  Unfortunately, aside for the fact that the recovery is languid and underwhelming by historical standards, it is also unwholesome.  Our economic recovery is similar to a computer that is repaired from a serious virus; it functions adequately but is never the same.  In other words, we are reaping the benefits of a government-managed Keynesian recovery.

During 2008-2009, instead of letting the economy settle and enjoy a robust recovery through the perennial business cycle, the Bush and Obama administrations engaged in fiscal stimulus, monetary stimulus, housing stimulus, bailouts, and takeovers of major industries.  Perforce, our economy, as much is it will inevitably recover, will be fundamentally weaker than it was prior to the recession.  Historically, we have always come out of recessions in a stronger position than prior to the economic downturn, but not this time.

Nothing is more emblematic of our permanently damaged economy than the interminable shrinkage of our labor force.  Our labor force is roughly 850,000 smaller than it was when the recession ended in middle of 2009, even though the civilian population of working age people has increased by roughly 4 million.  At this point in the Reagan recovery, the labor force had expanded by 4 million.

The labor force participation rate has steadily declined from 65.7% in mid-2009 to 64.0%, even as unemployment has eased.  During that same period, almost another 200,000 people gave up looking for work.  If the participation rate were back to its recent average, the U3 unemployment rate would be well over 11%.  This is not even accounting for the U6 number of underemployed and part-time workers, which is still astronomically high (15.2%).  Overall, 23.7 million are either out of work or underemployed.

Oh, and what about the fact that the Black unemployment rate has climbed another 0.8% to 15.8% over the past three months?  Is this good news?  Or is it more soft bigotry of low expectations?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Biggest Mistake of the Worst Debate

Let’s face it: the ABC News New Hampshire debate was the worst debate of the entire election cycle.  And that is saying something, considering the sheer volume of debates.  How many years and election cycles will it take before Republicans learn to turn to conservatives as moderators for presidential debates, instead of washed up Democrat hacks disguised as journalists?

Now, to the extent that such a pathetic debate is worthy of any analysis, the clear winner was Mitt Romney.  Watching the debate, you’d think Ron Paul was the frontrunner.  All of the verbal altercations played out between Ron Paul and one of the other candidates.  Romney was able to sit pretty throughout the entire debate, except for one monologue from Santorum at the end of the debate.  Undoubtedly, the platform for the debate, along with the inane questions, wasn’t exactly conducive to attacking Romney’s liberal record as governor.  However, they all had an opportunity during the opening salvo of the debate.  They failed miserably.

The candidates were given an opportunity to assail Romney’s business record at Bain Capital as a job killer.  Gingrich and Santorum should have parried the question and gone after Romney on his record in politics.  They should have praised Romney’s record as a businessman while ticking off his liberal vices and his terrible record as Governor, most prominently, his record on healthcare.  They should have decried the fact that we are on the precipice of nominating Obama’s inspiration for Obamacare as his successor.  Instead, they chose an awkward position – one that placed them to Romney’s left on free-market entrepreneurship.  Why attack his record as a CEO when you can destroy him on his liberal record as governor?  This was the biggest mistake on the part of those who are seeking to derail Romney.

To be sure, it was refreshing to hear Santorum finally take Romney to task for his class system rhetoric; however, he obviated his argument by making “blue collar worker” a prominent part of his lexicon.  Santorum should have also used that response as an opportunity to attack Romneycare for its inherent class warfare.  Romneycare disincentivizes success and upward mobility by offering greater subsidies for lower income earners.

I still can’t get over the fact that we are about to nominate the godfather of market-distorting government-run healthcare in an election against government-run healthcare.  This is insane.