Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Solution

"A Solution"

(This article is a response to a comment made following the recent CFP article "The Shaft")

I appreciate your response to the article on CFP "The Shaft". If you read the other comments, both before and after you posted your response; you will see, as I am sure you are well aware, that your frustration is felt by many. As I was not sure whether your challenge was issued to me personally or in general, I accepted it as a personal challenge to offer some solutions. I thought about your question, "What can we do about it?"

Last night I sat down and began writing a follow-up article, "The Solution". As the problem has many aspects, so the answer will also need to have many approaches and directions of attack. I began by introducing one problem and then offered what I felt like was a solution to that problem. I have said before that we must be willing to endure short-term pain in order to have long-term gain. The solutions to many of our problems will probably make the economy worse before it gets better; but, in the long run, if we did the hard things now, we would be better off. Be mindful that I am well aware of my shortcomings and limited understanding of these issues, but on the other hand, some of this is just old fashioned, common sense.

As I wrote about several issues I began to notice a trend, which is exactly the opposite of what you are looking for. Our problems are with our government and in order to have fast solutions to some old problems, it would take our government taking action against what it has previously done. Our frustration is largely due to this dilemma. We keep trying to send people to Washington to fix the problems and we continue to see nothing being fixed.

It seems that we the people have two choices; either we can continue to attempt to make change through elections and keeping pressure on those elected, or we can take to the streets.

The first option is peaceable and the widely accepted method of making change. Promote candidates who are conservative and not just Republican. Find some who are not professional politicians and actually want to go get the job done and then come back home. Under normal circumstances, where there is a difference of opinion as to the direction our country should take, this has worked in the past. But, we are not under normal circumstances, in my opinion. This method of change is slow and unsure, based on past history. We have to ask the question; do we, as a nation, even have that much time before much of this mess becomes irreversible. Maybe not!

The other obvious option is for the people to rise up and take the government back, by force, if necessary. This clearly has many drawbacks as it would likely either result in a civil war with extensive bloodshed in the streets of our cities or those who actually take the first steps out of the shadows to rise up would quickly be put back down through force or arrest. Who knows, it may actually take some patriots sacrificing themselves as the first targets of the Leftist government in order to generate a widespread uprising. This option is not only very bloody but also very likely to fail. Our Founding Fathers warned us against such a situation as we find ourselves. They told us that if and when our government ceases to act as our representatives and our servants (our creation) and instead acts as our lords and kings who dictate how we are to behave; that the time would come when the people need to take back the government and establish, once again, a system of the people, by the people and for the people.

The trillion dollar question is whether or not the People have reached the point where they believe the only solution is to retake the headship by force? As the Left has been at war with America much longer than we were awake to their actions, the Right is far behind. The Left has been successful at indoctrination of the youth for decades and establishing a broad base of voters who feel entitled to other people's money. I believe that there is a portion of our population who is willing and able to take up arms against the socialists (and worse) who are quickly destroying our country. But, I also believe that they are in a great minority as far as action and not just words or emotions. Is there a similar minority as there was for the first Revolution, approximately one third of the population? I doubt it because most people are not educated to the point of understanding the harm being done and how it will not be corrected by the next election.

The Left had all their ducks in a row and were ready to hit the water when the perfect storm arrived. This all came about with the election of Obama. That is why they were ready to hit us with multi-thousand page bills that were too urgent to have time to read. These bills were not written after the last presidential election, they were ready to go. The first two years of Obama were like a whirlwind of bills, with the Left intentionally not giving us a chance to see what they were doing or have time to respond or catch our breath.

There are other things that we can do without having to wait for another one or two elections and hoping things improve and also without taking to the streets. If you are not familiar with the articles written by Publius Huldah and posted on Canada Free Press, take the time to read them. They are excellent documents of constitutional education. Especially, take notice of the articles on Nullification. The following link will take you to the archive of her articles:

Maybe option three is, instead of physical warfare or just waiting for elections, we educate the population. We win the battle of ideas and work on our states to each nullify the unconstitutional laws and regulations being dumped on us from Washington. We double-down on the pressure on our Representatives and Senators to actually make progress in reducing the size of government and reign in spending. We take to the streets, not in violence, but in promotion of solid conservative candidates for an election that is just next year. The 2012 election can further strengthen the conservative position in the House, can gain Republican control of the Senate and I pray will dethrone Obama and replace him with a servant of the people who loves the Constitution.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Shaft


One republican politician after another, when asked “Will you vote to raise the debt ceiling?” has the same answer, “I am against raising the debt ceiling, unless we get something major as a concession.”

So, what is a major concession, in their eyes? To many it consists of the same prize, a balanced budget amendment (BBA). “If we could attach the vote on raising the debt ceiling to a vote on the BBA, then I would vote in favor.”

Let’s weigh what we give up for what we get. First, what we give up. We will concede that the debt ceiling will be raised. Currently the U.S. debt limit is $14,294,000,000,000 ($14.294 trillion, or $46,000 per citizen). It was last increased from $12.394 trillion effective in February 2010. At the time of this writing (the evening of 4/22/2011), the current national debt, subject to this limit, stands at $14.245+ trillion. During the next few days we will reach the debt limit.

For every $1 trillion added in debt each citizen will owe an additional $3,200. For some additional perspective, our current national debt number, measured in seconds, would equal approximately 450,000 years. If our current debt were dollars laid flat, end-to-end around the equator, it would make a wall twenty feet tall. Yet, Washington does not appear to grasp the severity of the situation.

So, for each of us to assume an additional chunk of national debt, what will we be receiving in return? Our gift will be a “proposed amendment to the Constitution”. That’s right, we would not be unwrapping an actual law prohibiting the government from spending more than the national revenue; no, we would find in our package a proposed amendment being sent to all of the states for possible ratification. Yippee!

In order for a proposed amendment to become part of the Constitution, three fourths of the states (38 of the 50) must vote to ratify. So, even if the legislature were to pass this measure and it be sent to the states, there is a chance that it would not receive the required number of state approvals. Typically, the states are given seven years to complete the debate and voting for ratification.

If at least 38 states ratified the BBA and it took seven years to do so, the new amendment would take effect the beginning of the second fiscal year following its ratification. If it went to the states for consideration this summer and took seven years to ratify. The BBA would take effect in the fall of 2019. If all of the required states ratified the BBA within the first six months, it would still not take effect until the fall of 2017 (according to the wording of the document – House Joint Resolution – HJR).

There are actually multiple versions of a BBA existing as HJR. The two with the most support are HJR-1 (130 cosponsors) and HJR-2 (219 cosponsors). The two are very similar with one major difference; HJR-1 would limit outlays to 20% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product, which is the total market value of all goods and services produced in the country during one year).

Ignoring the potential for 38 states to fail to ratify the BBA and also the fact that it would not take effect for several years, at the very earliest; what would the BBA accomplish if it did become part of the U.S. Constitution? In my opinion, almost nothing!

The BBA is full of loopholes that the government will use to exempt one year after another from falling under its limits. For instance:

Section 1 – the budget must be balanced unless 60% of the legislature votes to exceed revenue,
Section 2 – the debt limit shall not be increased unless 60% of the legislature votes to raise the debt limit,
Section 4 – bills to increase revenue (taxes) require a majority of each house,
Section 5 – Congress may waive the BBA in any year in which we are at war or when the U.S. is engaged in a military conflict causing an imminent and serious military threat to national security,
Section 7 – total receipts used in the BBA do not include amounts from borrowing and total outlays do not include repayment of debt.

In summary, we will be taking the very serious step of changing our Constitution by adding an amendment that will rarely take effect in any given year. If Congress does not vote to increase spending or raise the debt limit in some year, they can exempt that year due to a serious military conflict somewhere in the world. If the President cannot get Congress to vote to authorize increased spending in one year, all he needs to do is send our troops off to fight and get the spending increased through the back door.

We would still need to continue to borrow and increase our debt due to Section 7. Our government will spend what it brings in through revenue and need to borrow money to pay the debt.

We are trading a present increase in national debt for a potential limit in spending years from now. Note that even if the BBA had been in effect for the past ten years, we would have been exempt from its limits each and every year due to military conflict.

Do not be fooled. The BBA is not the solution to our fiscal problems. If our representatives were serious about stopping the out-of-control spending, they could do it without an amendment to the Constitution. Spending bills must originate in the House. If the republicans in the House would draw a line in the sand and refuse to cross it, they could control spending. No increase in the debt limit and no bill to raise taxes and no spending bill can ever become law without republican approval in the House.