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Written by Ann Shibler on Tuesday, January 12 2010 12:54.

credit cardOne of the very last items to be voted on by both the House and the Senate before the Christmas break was the raising of the debt limit in the short term as a stop-gap measure to ensure that the government could continue borrowing and paying bills. The House vote of 218 to 214 for H.R. 4314 passed the measure, raising the national debt ceiling by $290 billion with 39 Democrats and 175 Republicans voting against the increase. No House Republicans voted for the debt limit increase. The Senate passed the same measure by a 60 to 39 margin on Christmas Eve, the vote divided almost perfectly down party lines -- Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) being the only Democrat to vote no.

One of the very first items to be tackled by the Senate upon its January 20, 2010 return to session, with the House scheduled to take up the same issue a little bit later, is the raising of the debt limit by another $1.8 trillion or so.

Congress has raised the debt ceiling three times in the past two years. Currently the national debt, which reached $6 trillion in 2002, stands at $12.3 trillion. This national debt increases by $4 billion per day, with each citizen’s share now at an estimated $40,000 and climbing quickly.

During the House floor debate on December 16, 2009, Democrats and Republicans attempted to blame one another for this sorry state of financial affairs.The air was thick with new-found fiscally responsible-sounding rhetoric, mainly from Republicans, who did in the end all vote against raising the debt limit.

Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) rose to say, “Madam Speaker, never in history have so few acted so fast to indebt so many.” Truer words would be hard to find on the House floor these days.  Speaking of the Democrats’ willingness to allow a $1.4 trillion deficit, a first for the nation, Hensarling said, “They passed a budget that will triple the national debt in just 10 years, and they are causing us to borrow 40 cents on the dollar from the Chinese and send the bill to our children and grandchildren.”

David Camp (R-Mich.) stated, “The bill before us is a candid admission by the majority that their tax, borrow, and spend ways have driven America deeper and deeper into debt.” He repeated a 2006 quote from then-Senator Obama:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means “that the buck stops here.” Instead Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. America deserves better.

Camp noted that the government had indeed maxed out its credit cards, but that the legislation to raise the debt ceiling doesn’t pay the bill, “It doesn’t even make the minimum monthly payment. It simply asks for more credit.”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) had the good grace to admit that the Republicans doubled the national debt with 8 years of overspending. He credited the American people with making the necessary sacrifices within their small businesses and families to cut back and rein in spending to keep within budgets. According to Pence, the reason Americans have a right to be frustrated with the tax-and-spend like there’s no tomorrow government policies “is because they see a national government that is completely out of step with the character and the values and the sacrifice that the American people are practicing every day -- not that it’s anything new.”

The prize for the most charming but disingenuous rhetoric belonged to a Democrat. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) painted his reasons for wanting to continue the teen-age style spending spree in the most patriotic terms. Rangel said that because Congress has the “full faith and credit of the United States of America” in its hands, in order to keep that faith and credit the United States must pay its debt. He urged his confreres to “be with your country,” and vote yes.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) echoed Rangel’s ultranationalist approach saying, “What matters is that America pays its bills,” as it’s the “only option for a responsible country.”

This is what can be expected then, when the House and Senate have another go at raising the debt ceiling, with perhaps a few new angles thrown in.

Already mentioned during the floor debate for H.R. 4314 were some new steps that might be taken to address the debt issue; PAYGO and a Safe commission, or some other similar commission, are being proposed as “safeguards” to the budget appropriation process.

PAYGO is supposed to be a tool to help congress remain fiscally responsible by making sure any spending is balanced by equal savings or cutbacks in other places. President Obama proposed his own version of PAYGO in June. He wanted the Office of Management and budget to maintain a ledger that showed a 10-year average of the effects of budget expenses and baseline tax levels.  Then, any costs that lacked payment authorization by Congress would have to be specifically budgeted for; any tax cuts would require an increase in tax revenue.

Because there are a multitude of exceptions -- PAYGO only applies to new or expanded entitlements, and never to Medicare payments to doctors, estate and gift taxes, or tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2002 -- the Wall Street Journal called Obama’s proposal a “coverup” and a “budget gimmick":

The real game here is that the President is trying to give Democrats in Congress political cover for the health-care blowout and tax-increase votes that he knows are coming... the paygo ruse gives blue Dog Democrats cover to say they voted for “fiscal discipline,” even as they vote to pass the greatest entitlement expansion in modern history.

The Journal also noted that PAYGO would make it easier to raise taxes in 2011 and make impossible any tax cuts for years and years after that. PAYGO also doesn’t apply to any discretionary spending, so Congress can easily reclassify certain entitlements as “discretionary spending,” circumventing any supposed PAYGO “safeguards.”

While a pay as you go system works fine for cell phone companies whose customers deal in reality and cold hard cash, it doesn’t with an unrestrained, debt-happy federal government that has a penchant for bending and twisting all rules and regulations, no matter how sacred. Besides, instituting PAYGO after running up trillions in debt is a bit like closing the barn door after the horses are already out, and makes it just another political cover term.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D) and Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) have already written legislation to create a "Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action" commission to review government debt, fiscal policies, and make recommendations. Just as with the current PAYGO rule, it wouldn’t hold the force of law but will be used as an attempt at pacifying the taxpayers.

Tax hikes are another sure bet as Congress pretends to balance the budge. In fact, the Pew Charitable Trust has created the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) to work in partnership with the White House and Congress specifically to:

  • Negotiate a specific package of spending reductions and tax increases [Emphasis ours] that are gradually phased in to protect the recovering economy; and
  • Create an automatic enforcement mechanism to keep revenues and spending on target.

Some members of the CRFB are the exact same players who helped create the ticking economic time-bomb they now claim to have a serious interest and duty in solving -- Alan Greenspan, Paul Volcker, Leon Panetta, Larry Summers, Nancy Kassenbaum Baker, John W. Snow and Peter G. Peterson, just to name a few.

This committee cares not a whit about America’s devaluing dollar and long-term economic debtor consequences, nor do they have the American taxpayers’ interests at heart. They are instead happy to oversee, according to their own literature, merely a stabilization of the debt because “creditors need to see that the United States is serious about stabilizing the federal debt over a reasonable timeframe.”

There will probably be some contentious debate on this subject as both House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Madame Speaker Pelosi are in favor of the PAYGO fraud, while the Blue Dog Democrats are more favorably inclined toward the special "Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action" commission route.

Many of our representatives seem to be on board with Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trust who said, “The federal budgeting process lays the foundation and should establish the rules of the game for all policy decisions.”

They should, instead, adhere to their oath of office and uphold the Constitution by limiting government size and spending; it is the prescriptions of the Constitution which should be the measuring stick, not the grotesquely inflated and misshapen federal budget process that has evolved over time.

Let’s help straighten them out on the matter by voicing opposition to any increase in the debt limit unless it is accompanied by immediate cuts in unconstitutional spending either to balance the budget or, better yet, to create a budget suplus that can be applied to reducing the national debt.

Written by Larry Greenley on Thursday, December 10 2009 15:47.

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech today, President Obama asserted (click on image at right for 1-minute video clip):
 
[T]he world must come together to confront climate change.
 
President Obama will be attending the Copenhagen UN climate change conference on December 18 where he will be an active participant "as [in the words of 'The White House Blog' for Dec. 10] the global community, with the United States in a leading role, works towards securing the strongest possible outcome in Copenhagen."

 
Lisa Jackson, United States EPA Administrator, is already in Copenhagen making promises to work with Congress to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see video clip above):
 
We will work closely with our Congress to pass comprehensive clean energy reform through the U.S. Congress ... and lowering U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% below current levels by 2050.
 
For more information about the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference see the numerous, recent, excellent articles on JBS.org and TheNewAmerican.com. For example, "Climategate, 'Scientific Fascism,' and Copenhagen" by James Heiser was posted on JBS.org today. And, "Lord Monckton, the Copenhagen Treaty, and the Constitution" by William F. Jasper was posted on TheNewAmerican.com yesterday.
 
If you oppose U.S. participation in a new UN climate change agreement which would lead to a loss of U.S. sovereignty, costly "climate debt" payments to developing nations, economy-destroying caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and further empowerment of the United Nations as a world government, then contact your representative and senators and tell them to oppose any Copenhagen UN climate change agreement.

Written by JBS Staff on Monday, December 07 2009 09:11.

Obama Financial ServicesOn June 17 President Obama introduced his far-reaching plan to overhaul financial services regulations in a speech at the White House (video of speech).

For commentary regarding how unconstitutional and wrongheaded the President’s proposal is take a look at these two videos featuring Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Judge Andrew Napolitano:

 



Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) were both on hand for President Obama’s speech of June 17 and have taken the lead in the House and Senate respectively in crafting legislation to implement Obama’s proposal. The full House will begin debate on December 9 of a whole package of bills which collectively embody the President’s financial industry overhaul proposal. Meanwhile Senator Dodd’s senate banking committee is working on keeping its version of Obama’s proposal alive and moving forward in the Senate; however, they are lagging far behind the House on this issue.

According to CQ Today Online News for December 2, an omnibus financial services overhaul bill incorporating seven or so interrelated bills will be debated for three days on the floor of the House beginning December 9. Among the bills to be included in this legislative package are: H.R. 3126, a measure to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency; H.R. 3795, which would bring the financial derivatives market under federal regulation; H.R. 3269, which would impose standards for executive compensation; H.R. 1728, which would set mortgage standards and curb some lending practices; and H.R. 3996, which would set stricter standards for financial institutions that pose a risk to economic stability.

The Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009, H.R. 3996, was introduced by the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and is a manifestation of Frank’s opposition to Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, H.R. 1207. While H.R. 1207 has 317 cosponsors, Frank’s H.R. 3996 has none.

Frank’s bill is simply another expansion of federal power in the private financial sector. Section 1109 of H.R. 3996 states that the FDIC can, with the approval of the Federal Reserve and the President, “extend credit or guarantee obligations of depository institutions or other solvent companies that are predominantly engaged in activities that are financial in nature, if necessary to prevent financial instability during times of severe economic distress....”

Thus, the government would once again authorize itself to bail out financial institutions.  And with that bailout comes a greater burden on the taxpayers, and the inevitable increase in regulation and outright takeover of the institutions by the federal government.

The continued increase in centralization of power vested in the Federal Reserve by H.R. 3996 is duly noted in other sections of the bill. In Sec. 1104, the Federal Reserve is granted the power to require a financial holding company to “sell or otherwise transfer assets or off-balance sheet items to unaffiliated firms, to terminate one or more activities, or to impose conditions on the manner in which the identified financial holding company conducts one or more activities.”

The very broad terminology lends itself to a similarly broad interpretation at the will of an economic central planning council formalized in the bill that would consist of the treasury secretary, the FED chairman, FDIC chairman, the comptroller of the currency, the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Directory of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the SEC chairman, the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) chairman, and the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) chairman. The group would be known as the Financial Services Oversight Council, and many a financial institution would find themselves at the mercy of this panel.

The provisions  of H.R. 3996 offer absolutely no economic or financial stability, but instead plenty of government regulation, centralization of power, and legalized plunder of the private sector. Contact your Congressman today and urge them to oppose H.R. 3996 and the whole package of financial services bills that are being bundled with it. And while you’re at it, you might want to mention that you would like to see Ron Paul’s H.R. 1207 to audit the Fed voted on as a standalone bill.

Written by Larry Greenley on Friday, November 20 2009 15:02.

A 4-minute video of Lord Christopher Monckton's stern warning to Americans on October 14 about the dangers of a Copenhagen Treaty on Climate Change has gone viral with millions of views on YouTube over the past month. Click on the embedded video below to see for yourself Monckton's powerful warning. For further information about Monckton's warning and what it means, read "Lord Monckton Warns UN Copenhagen Treaty Would Impose World Government."

In brief, Lord Monckton is warning us that a new UN climate change agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol is very likely to result from the UN Climate Change Conference that will be held in Copenhagen December 7-18. Monckton is concerned that the new agreement will be a massive cap-and-trade global warming treaty that would destroy our national sovereignty by superseding our U.S. Constitution, require us to make massive "climate-debt" payments to third-world nations, and lead to the creation of a world government. Although constitutionally speaking treaties don't override our Constitution, our government leaders stopped adhering to the Constitution a long time ago. So, yes, we should pay attention to Monckton's warning.

Even though many commentators have been saying that nothing will be decided on in Copenhagen, as recently as November 19 the UN's environmental chief, Yvo de Boer, was bullish on prospects for a successful summit and expects a legally binding agreement to be finished within six months after the conference. De Boer also said that in 10 or 20 years hundreds of billions of dollars would be needed annually from rich countries to help mitigate the effects of climate change on developing countries.

As evidence of how completely committed President Obama is to a legally-binding Copenhagen agreement, here's a statement at a White House press briefing on November 17 by Deputy National Security Advisor Mike Froman describing the common view of Presidents Obama and Hu (China) earlier that day "that even as the negotiations towards a final legal agreement continue, the Copenhagen conference should aim to reach an accord that includes all the issues being dealt with in the negotiations, and those included mitigation commitments by both developed and developing countries...."

Click here to send a prewritten, editable email to your representative and senators stating that you are strongly opposed to any Copenhagen UN climate change agreement because you are strongly opposed to: (1) ceding any U.S. sovereignty to the UN; (2) committing to make "climate debt" payments to developing nations; and (3) empowering a UN world government. Our representatives and senators should work to prevent President Obama from signing any agreement in Copenhagen and to defeat any Copenhagen UN climate change agreement in the House and Senate or, in case the Copenhagen agreement is a treaty, prevent ratification by the Senate.

Update, November 23, 2009: Read "IPCC Researchers Admit Global Warming Fraud" to learn how "Global warming alarmists are scrambling to save face after hackers stole hundreds of incriminating e-mails from a British university and published them on the Internet."

Written by Larry Greenley on Wednesday, November 11 2009 12:59.

If you were upset by House passage of its health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, by 220-215 on November 7th, then contact your Senators immediately and tell them to vote NO on any version of health care being offered by Senate leadership. The Senate is expected to vote on its health care bill sometime between late November and mid-December. If the Senate passes its version of health care reform, then both House and Senate will need to vote still another time on a final conference committee version.

We know what's at stake -- an eventual complete government takeover of our health care system. Although it seems like we're destined to lose our health care freedom, remember how an extraordinary grassroots firestorm stopped the Senate dead in its tracks and forced it to abandon the Bush-Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill in 2007. We need just such a firestorm of opposition again!

Bottom line, if the Senate leadership's version of health care reform passes, then how each Senator votes on it will be a top issue in the congressional election campaigns of 2010 and 2012. This is a good time to let your Senators know what impact their votes on health care reform will have on your participation in the campaigns of 2010 and 2012. This is ultimately the only leverage you have on your Senators. Use it!

Contact your Senators in opposition to the Senate leadership's health care reform bill via their DC and district offices by means of personal visits, phone calls, faxes, and emails. Click here to take immediate action to send an email to both of your Senators.
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