Our Hardly Working Goverment Hard at Work? + More

Posted on Mon 08/02/2010 by

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Brief

The Foundation

“The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” –Samuel Adams

Re: The Left

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), lounging in the Dominican

“There’s something in the water, if not the Scotch and bourbon, at the House Ways and Means Committee, and a procession of chairmen just couldn’t resist taking deep draughts of whatever it is. It’s entertaining for the rest of us, but expensive. Rep. Charles Rangel, who has been in Congress longer than almost anyone, spent Thursday vainly trying to cut a deal with the House Ethics Committee over his presumed capital indiscretions with the tax man. Charlie is a master craftsman of congressional bonhomie and like most of his colleagues he imagines that rules, most of which Congress writes, apply only to the peasants. Charlie wants most of all to keep his seat in the House. He thinks a public trial, which looks like what he’ll get, would be embarrassing, though it’s hard to imagine how a member of Congress could any longer be humiliated by anything. Mark Twain, who lived in a more innocent age, gilded or not, famously observed that Congress is our only native criminal class. What could he think of several recent chairmen of the once-powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where taxes originate. The most recent miscreants are Democrats, but that’s only because Democrats preside over the House more often than Republicans.” –Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden

Opinion in Brief

“Last week [Australian computer hacker Julian] Assange released [on WikiLeaks] the so-called ‘Afghan Diary,’ a staggering hoard of some 92,000 documents dealing primarily with the war in Afghanistan and the role of Pakistan in that conflict. The alleged source of these documents in an American G.I., Bradley Manning…. The information contained in these 92,000 documents among other things deals with civilian casualties, and the role of Pakistan in assisting the Taliban terrorists. Such allegations are designed to do nothing less than drive a wedge between the U.S. and Pakistan. Summed up, the information is more than a year old, prior to the onset of the surge now underway. The documents are designed to bring unbearable pressure on the U.S. to bug out of Afghanistan much as America shamefully bugged out of Vietnam, leading to the massacre or imprisonment of over a million South Vietnamese U.S. allies. A similar fate would await those Afghan villagers who cooperated with U.S. forces. Only worse — the North Vietnamese didn’t behead their victims. The import of these leaks can be measured if compared to what would have happened had American plans and capabilities been revealed to the enemy in World War II during the Battle of the Bulge or any other key engagement in World War II. And imagine what kind of penalty a leaker would have paid.” –radio talk-show host Michael Reagan

Liberty

“The great irony of those championing the demise of the Electoral College is that they are ostensibly (I say ostensibly because I believe there is nothing pure about the motive here) doing so to promote more freedom, not less. What a load of baloney. Right now a presidential candidate, most of whom come from America’s semi-permanent ‘political class’ with all its elitist trappings, is still forced to ‘sully’ himself and campaign in what is euphemistically referred to as ‘flyover country’ because the Electoral College votes of those states still mean something. … Now do away with the Electoral College. All the same elitist politician has to do now is set up shop at five star hotels in America’s five or ten largest cities by population. … Obviously this is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. They took great pains to ensure the separation of powers at the federal level and equally great pains to ensure that the individual states had a substantial say in how this country was governed. … As for the people who think the elimination of the Electoral College means every vote ‘will count equally,’ try selling that garbage in North Dakota or any other low-population state which would be routinely ignored in every presidential election thereafter. What these ‘do-gooders’ are really advocating is the eventual dissolution of states’ rights altogether, and the permanent entrenchment of all meaningful power in Congress and the Oval Office — or more accurately, in the King and His Court. The United States of America? The United Cities of America would be more like it. No doubt that works for those who believe centralized government is the be-all and end-all. For those who still believe in freedom and representative government, it’s a complete crock.” –columnist Arnold Ahlert

Government

“[Health care] rationing? Oh yes, and it is something the unconfirmed, recess-appointed U.S. health care czar, Donald Berwick, strongly favors. … Here’s what America can look forward to if it follows [Britain’s National Health Service] model, according to an investigation by the Sunday Telegraph: ‘Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.’ Never has ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning’ sounded more callous. Nursing homes for the elderly would be closed, the number of hospital beds for the mentally ill reduced and general practitioners would be discouraged from sending patients to hospitals. Accident and emergency department services would also be cut. Thousands of jobs would be lost at NHS hospitals, reports the Telegraph, ‘including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.’ Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association called the cuts ‘astonishingly brutal.’ She expressed particular concern at attempts to ration (that word again) hip and knee operations. ‘These are not unusual procedures,’ she said. ‘This is a really blatant attempt to save money by leaving people in pain.’ What do politicians care about that? In Britain, as in America, top officials (including Berwick who has lifetime health coverage given to him by the Institute for Health Care Improvement) will always have access to the best care, even while they decide the rest of us cannot.” –columnist Cal Thomas

The Gipper

“‘Trust me’ government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs — in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact.” —Ronald Reagan

Political Futures

“[T]he Republicans, as George W. Bush said, took ‘a thumping’ in 2006. And most signs suggest Democrats will take a thumping this year too. To see why, take a look at the generic ballot question — which party’s candidate will you vote for in elections to the House? The current realclearpolitics.com average shows Republicans ahead by 45 to 41 percent. Ten of this month’s 15 opinion polls asking the question had Republicans ahead; Democrats led in four (twice by 1 percent), and one poll showed a tie. Keep in mind that the generic ballot question historically has tended to underpredict Republican performance in off-year elections. Gallup has been asking the question since 1950 and has shown Republicans leading only in two cycles, 1994 and 2002, and then by less than the 7 and 5 points by which they won the popular vote for the House in those years. So the Republicans’ current lead in the generic ballot question suggests they may be on the brink of doing better than in any election since 1946, when they won a 245-188 margin in the House — larger than any they’ve held ever since.” –political analyst Michael Barone

The Coming Storm Cartoon

Reader Comments

“Re: Mark Alexander’s essay, Taxes Do NOT Create Jobs, President Bush pumped more than a trillion dollars into the pockets of the rich with tax cuts and gave us ‘regulatory relief,’ in that he deregulated wherever possible and refused to enforce existing regulations. The result: The worst recession since the Great Depression, a huge increase in the National Debt and the largest gap between the rich and the middle class since before the Great Depression. How much evidence do you need to be convinced that ‘trickle down’ economics doesn’t work? It is — as George H. W. Bush said — ‘voodoo economics.’ We will never balance the budget if we extend tax breaks for the rich and eliminate the estate tax. Instead, we will become a bloated, hereditary plutocracy — which is where the policies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush are taking America.” –Jim

Editor’s Reply: “Pumped dollars into the pockets of the rich”? Ah, you must believe that all income actually belongs to the government, and they get to decide how much of it to pump into your pocket. That is what Marxists believe. Do you count yourself among their ranks? I don’t care much for some of the “obscenely rich,” folks like Al Gore, George Soros, Bill Clinton and John Kerry, but my dislike for them has nothing to do with greed or avarice, which is the root cause of your objections. As for supply-side economics, here are the FACTS: The biggest economic expansion in U.S. history was set in motion by Ronald Reagan’s “trickle down” policies to cut government spending and taxes. Government spending was NOT cut under Reagan because Democrats controlled Congress, and Congress, as you may recall, sets the budget. Some would suggest that Clinton increased taxes but still had economic expansion. Clinton raised taxes in 1993, when the economy was reheating, and the economy would have certainly grown at a faster clip had Clinton not raised taxes. Of course, Clinton also had a Republican Congress holding the line on expenditures, and massive savings from military cuts after the collapse of the USSR… again, thanks to Ronald Reagan. Republicans cut taxes in 1997, and Clinton signed that tax cut with reluctance, but the economy grew faster in those years than it had after Clinton’s tax increases.

As for the “Bush deficits,” the 9/11 attacks on our nation brought the WTC towers and the U.S. economy crashing down, and consequently, tax revenues plummeted. Had Bush not reduced taxes, the economy might never have begun its recovery. Of course it was the housing collapse and resulting cascading crisis in confidence in the U.S. securities and retail markets, which hammered the nails in the economic coffin. Finally, If you really believe transferring wealth from the private sector to government coffers helps job creation, I recommend you stop drinking Obama’s Kool-Aid, and pick up a copy of our Constitution, which does not authorize any such transfer of wealth.

“In regards to Friday’s Digest story on Arizona’s immigration law, why doesn’t this ruling surprise me with a Clinton Appointed, leftist liberal judge? What ever happen to enforcing the laws, following the constitution, interpreting the law as written? Judges should base decisions on the rule of law, not on their partisan political beliefs and affiliations. Our country is being viciously attacked from within by a severely ruined legal system and because our judges, instead of interpreting the law, interject their own moralities and activist beliefs, good and bad, into legal decisions made. I still say a revolution is needed. Change will obviously never come about through supposed ‘democratic’ processes.” –Bob

The Last Word

“While engaging in astonishing viciousness, vulgarity and violence toward Republicans, liberals accuse cheerful, law-abiding Tea Party activists of being violent racists. Responding to these vile charges, conservative television pundits think it’s a great comeback to say: ‘There is the fringe on both sides.’ Both sides? Really? How about: ‘That’s a complete lie’? … Since Obama became president, the only recorded violence at Tea Parties or Town Halls has been committed by liberals. Last fall, a conservative had his finger bitten off by a man from a MoveOn.org crowd in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Two Service Employees International Union thugs have been charged with beating up an African-American selling anti-Obama bumper stickers at a St. Louis Tea Party in August 2009. Respected elder statesmen of the Democratic Party have referred to Obama’s ‘Negro dialect’ (Harry Reid), said he would be getting them coffee a few years ago (Bill Clinton), and called him ‘clean’ (Joe Biden). And that’s not including the former Ku Klux Klan Democratic senator, the late Bob Byrd. … Liberals explode in rage when we accuse them of being unpatriotic based on 50 years of treasonous behavior. They have zero examples of conservative racism, but the best our spokesmen can think to say when accused of racism is: ‘Man is imperfect.’ Conservatives who prefer to come across on TV as wonderfully moderate than to speak the truth should find another line of work and stop defaming conservatives with their ‘both sides’ pabulum.” –columnist Ann Coulter

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