“The key to the progressive ‘ratchet,’ as it is often, correctly, called, is that no step forward may ever be retraced. … The key to the success of Western socialism’s ‘progress’ is not the periodic lurches toward the abyss. It is the art of effective stalling. All of today’s political and moral outrages will be rationalized with a shrug tomorrow: ‘What difference — at this point — does it make?’” – columnist Daren Jonescu
If you missed President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, you didn’t miss much – especially if you watched any of his past four State of the Union addresses.
We heard the same recycled rhetoric, and we heard his Orwellian declaration that the cornucopia of new federal programs he proposed, as well as his intention to eradicate world poverty, wouldn’t “increase our deficit by a single dime.”
Of course, he glossed over the inconvenient facts. He boasted about job creation, but didn’t mention that real unemployment is higher today than when he took office. He touted all those still undiscovered “clean energy” jobs without mentioning the tens of thousands of real jobs the Keystone Pipeline will create if he would simply allow it to be built. He sang of new energy development, but didn’t mention that new offshore leases for oil and natural gas drilling have declined a decimating 61% under his administration.
He talked about “helping” to build “a thriving middle class,” but didn’t address how the middle class is actually faring under his economic stewardship. This is important – his deception must be addressed: under his leadership, middle class families have seen the average price per gallon of gas increase 96%, the average cost of family health care premiums rise 24%, the annual cost per household from federal regulations rise to over $15,000, and real median household income decline $4,520. If this is what happens when he “helps” the middle class, then please, Mr. President, we implore you to stop “helping” us.
He talked about a “balanced approach to deficit reduction” without mentioning that $5.9 trillion has already been added to the debt since he took office. We’re $16.5 trillion in debt and he keeps digging the hole deeper! He didn’t mention his record trillion dollar deficits or the fact that his last proposed budget would add $9.2 trillion to the debt through 2022. His Democrat-controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in four years. That’s obviously not “responsible” or “balanced.” He said, “We can’t cut our way to prosperity.” Well, we definitely can’t get there by borrowing and spending money we don’t have on his “investments” that don’t work. If indiscriminately borrowing and spending money led to prosperity, then bankruptcy would be a sign of economic strength. But it isn’t.
A State of the Union address should give us a true picture of the direction in which we are headed. But we didn’t get the truth last night. And it WAS Orwellian.
What is the true state of our union? Though this may sound harsh, I’ll speak the truth here. We are a country going bankrupt to fund a bloated, distant, and often corrupt federal government led by venal politicians more concerned with paying off their campaign cronies and consolidating their own power than in preserving the constitutional republic that so many have fought and died for (including our brave men and women in uniform who were barely mentioned last night).
We are a country with an economy being stifled under the weight of a bankrupt and voracious federal machine demanding more taxes and burdensome regulations. Job creators are the ones stuck with the bill when Obama calls for “new revenue.” Their businesses bear the brunt of the nearly 87 million paperwork hours imposed by federal regulations in 2012 – annually costing them $1.75 trillion. And I haven’t even mentioned Obamacare yet, which looms like the dark cloud it is over our private sector. Is it any wonder why our economy is stagnant or why job growth is so anemic? President Obama’s “solution” to these problems is to make the federal government more intrusive, bankrupt, and controlling.
If we continue down the path Barack Obama has us on, the long-term forecast of the state of our union is not a pretty picture. Yet he merrily rolls along it, deceiving too many Americans into thinking that these are intelligent, economic, and ethical proposals.
Our President wasn’t candid with Americans about our forecast, but, interestingly, in a Q&A session last week, Paul Krugman, one of President Obama’s economic cheerleaders at the New York Times, was remarkably candid about where we’re headed.
When asked about our federal debt, he admitted that “eventually we do have a problem” especially because “the population is getting older” and “health care costs are rising.” So, what does he see as the solution to pay for all this? He admits that your taxes will rise. And worse:
“Surely in the end it will require some middle class taxes as well. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes, not a huge one, but some increase in taxes on the middle class, maybe a value added tax. And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care – not pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits. So, the snarky version I use, which I shouldn’t even say because it gets me in trouble, is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.” (But wait, I thought there’d be no such thing as “death panels,” liberal liars?)
Mr. Krugman tried to portray this brave new world in the gentlest possible light, but it’s going to take quite a lot of “sales taxes” to meet the payments on the ever-increasing multi-trillion dollar debt we’re burying our kids and grandkids under. And with health care costs rising under Obamacare, obviously a lot of care will be rationed and even flat out denied by panels of faceless bureaucrats making life and death decisions for you and your loved ones. This is the long-term forecast for the state of America under Obama’s failed policies: middle class taxes and death panels.
Does that sound good to you? It doesn’t to me. So, we better get motivated to do something about it. We’d better get out of our post-election funk and wake up to the radicals’ reality being created as America gets “fundamentally transformed.”
Here’s the good news: President Obama is in many ways a lame duck president. None of his ridiculous ideas will come to pass via the legislative process. Of course, he may try to force them down America’s throat by imposing them through other means. But they can be undone if the right people are in position to undo them. He is very bold right now – some would say cocky – because of his November win, but there is another election around the corner, and we can check his boldness at the ballot box by electing constitutional conservatives. We must continue to affirm the fact that growing our bankrupt federal government is NOT the solution. Most of what the federal government does could be handled better on the individual, local, and state levels.
Our country didn’t weather a Revolution, two World Wars, a Civil War, a Great Depression, and countless other political and economic storms, just to be sunk by the dangerous policies of this current administration. We’re stronger than this. As President Reagan said, “I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.”
So, do something. 2014 is just around the corner. Get motivated! Get organized. America, don’t retreat. In the words of yet another White House program, “Let’s move.”
History shows that the destruction of affluent societies is often self-induced.
Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?
Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, when historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs, and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure — and who gets the most of both — more often than poverty and exhaustion, cause civilization to implode.
One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city’s takeover by Macedon: social squabbling over slicing up a shrinking pie. Athenian speeches from that era make frequent reference to lawsuits over property and inheritance, evading taxes, and fudging eligibility for the dole. After the end of the Roman Republic, reactionary Latin literature — from the likes of Juvenal, Petronius, Suetonius, and Tacitus — pointed to “bread and circuses,” as well as excessive wealth, corruption, and top-heavy government.
Presidents’ State of the Union addresses are delivered in the chamber of the House of Representatives in the Capitol. The classical majesty of this building where laws are made symbolizes the idea that we live under the rule of law.
Unfortunately, the 44th president is running an administration that too often seems to ignore the rule of law.
“We can’t wait,” Barack Obama took to saying after the Republicans captured a majority in the House and refused to pass laws he wanted. He would act to get what he wanted regardless of law.
One example: his recess appointments in January 2012 of three members of the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that the NLRB recess appointments were unconstitutional.
The decision, written by Judge David Sentelle, noted that the Constitution speaks of “the recess,” not “a recess,” and reasoned that it could only be referring to the recess between annual sessions of Congress.
Obama, like many presidents before him, interpreted the phrase as referring to any recess during which Congress is not in session. But he went one step further.
Small-town Americans are losing the right to govern themselves and their own communities.
Anyone who pays even passing attention to American politics is familiar with the map (Figure 1) of the United States showing states in which a majority of voters favored President Obama (colored blue) and those where Romney garnered the most votes (in red). This map conveys three dominant messages: first, that states can be meaningfully described as either red or blue; second, that the West Coast, the upper Midwest, and the Northeast are solidly blue, and the rest of the country is mostly red; and third, that, geographically speaking, more of the country is red than blue.
Those concerned about how Romney lost in what appears to be a mostly red country should refer themselves to Figure 2, in which the states are distorted to reflect their populations. More populous states have more votes in the Electoral College than do sparsely populated states.
But a third map (Figure 3) showing the nation’s 3,035 counties in the same color scheme reveals that portraying states as either blue or red obscures much of what we might want to know about the states and the voters who inhabit them. On this map, we see that most of the blue states are in fact mostly red. The reality of vast expanses of red in some of the bluest of states should concern us if we truly care about self-governance.
The Fate of Self-Governance
With each passing election, rural and small town Americans have ever less influence on their state and national governments and ever declining control over the governance of their own communities. Their lives are increasingly controlled from distant state capitals and from the even more distant Washington, D.C., by politicians with little incentive to pay attention to their country cousins. To some extent, their disenfranchisement is the inevitable result of a century of urbanization and economic centralization. But the erosion of self-governance in rural America is also the result of a generally well intentioned but simplistic understanding of democracy and the associated elimination of institutional protections of local democratic governance.
Two ideas have been central to this effective disenfranchisement of rural America. First, that one person/one vote is an inviolable principle of democratic government under the United States Constitution. Second, that the winners of elections owe allegiance only to those who voted for them, no matter how close the margin of victory.
Consider the claim made by supporters of President Obama’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy in response to those wishing to preserve all of the tax rates enacted under President Bush. “The people have spoken. We won the election. You lost. Case closed.” Had Mitt Romney won the election, Republicans would have offered a similar response to opponents of spending cuts and entitlement reform.