Monday, September 30, 2013

SHUT IT DOWN!



House Republicans and a handful of Senate Republicans led by Ted Cruz (after his 21-hour marathon speech on the floor of the Senate) drew a line in the sand to defund ObamaCare while keeping the government funded under a temporary funding bill or continuing resolution as it’s known on the Hill.  Congress has until midnight on Monday to get it together or risk the federal government shutting down for the first time in 17 years.

The Republican message is that the unpopular legislation will not make coverage more affordable or cover all uninsured or underinsured as promised and therefore should be defunded.  The GOP argues that ObamaCare is being forced on Americans while the president exempts (or delays) big business and Congress from the healthcare exchange mandates associated with the new law set to begin on October 1.  For the first time since I can remember, Republicans and union bosses find themselves on the same side arguing to delay the exchange mandate for everyone – not just friends of Obama. That should give anyone pause to see those two groups on the same side.  Arguing for fairness for the American worker is a good thing.  The Republicans have made several proposals to keep the government funded.

“The latest House measure, passed early Sunday by a near party-line vote of 231-192, sent back to the Senate two key changes: a one-year delay of key provisions of the health insurance law and repeal of a new tax on medical devices that partially funds it.”[1]

Dems will never say that the Republican proposal retains coverage for pre-existing conditions and allows dependents to remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26. These are the two most popular provisions of the law.   If they admitted those provisions remain under the GOP’s proposal, their argument would be lost.  They must fight for the president’s signature accomplishment by any means necessary and argue that Republicans are terrorists and even anarchists for leveraging the unpopular legislation against keeping the government funded.  Certainly nothing they would do if the shoe were on the other foot.  Hypocrisy at its finest. 

So now we are down to the wire. If they miss the deadline, about 800,000 government workers could be furloughed. Some critical services such as patrolling the borders and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security benefits would be sent, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and poor would continue to pay doctors and hospitals.[2]

Given the rancor between conservative and old guard Republicans and the hubris of the Democrats to suspend certain provisions of the bad bill to better serve themselves and their special interest groups, while serving the pain of ObamaCare to the rest of us, I can only wish for a partial shutdown of the federal government.  Since 1977, there have been 17 shutdowns.[3]  We’re still here and the world did not come to an end.  As far as I’m concerned, the whole system stinks and should be broken so that sober people may pick up the pieces and get back to the business of the American people.

If Republicans take a similar stand on raising the national debt ceiling in a few weeks the country has a chance to create its ever expanding appetite for spending.  I'm holding my breath.


[1] /              http://townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2013/09/29/shutdown-showdown-intensifies-over-obamacare-delay-n1712496
[2] /              http://townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2013/09/29/shutdown-showdown-intensifies-over-obamacare-delay-n1712496

[3] /              http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/29/questions-and-answers-about-the-shutdown/2888419/

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Wacky West


The State of California just cannot get enough of leading the country with its unique brand of absurdity.  Just recently, a federal court judge in California overturned the will of the California voters who amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional now stands after the recent United States Supreme Court ruling.  Although Judge Walker’s ruling was objectively limited to Los Angeles and Alameda counties (2 out of 58 counties in California) and four plaintiffs only, the state’s Attorney General Kamala Harris applied the ruling to all 58 counties-the entire state.  Now homosexual marriage is sweeping the state against the will of the majority of voters.

Just this year, the Democrat-led California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1266 which allows any student to participate in public school programs and to access facilities like bathrooms in public schools based on the student’s sexual orientation.  In other words, if a young high school boy identifies as a girl, as of January 1, 2014, he can use the girl’s restroom.   Who cares what the little girls in the neighboring bathroom stalls think; who cares that those little girls may be mortified, scared or even attacked. The state legislature has turned tolerance on its ear and lost its mind.

Now, on September 13, 2013, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 60 by a vote of 55-19 and the State Senate passed it 28-8 giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.  It is expected to be signed by Gov. Gerry Brown with dispatch.  He declared, “This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally.”[1] California is estimated to have nearly 2.8 million illegal immigrants, the largest in the country.

Now I guess I am just crazy and unable to appreciate the legality of ignoring that those who do not have documentation to be in the country are breaking the law. We are facilitating the legal driving of an illegal resident.  Our response: we overlook the illegal status and hand out a driving privilege. It’s insanity.  We give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants so that when they are stopped for violating yet another law their cars won’t be impounded all in the name of paving their way to gainful employment.  Really? 

The driver’s license, available by proof of residency only (as opposed to a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship as required by federal law) will state that it is only an ID for driving and that it does not establish eligibility for employment, voting or seeking public benefits. This would be laughable if it weren’t so blatantly absurd. Of course the ID will be used to vote along with many other things.

California, and Los Angeles in particular, is a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. That’s no secret. There is very little rule of law that applies to those who do the work no one else wants to do. They are a new protected class in California in my opinion.

This, along with the nonsensical arguments made by Republicans and Democrats in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, is a rouse.  This is exploitation of the vulnerable among us for votes and cheap labor by any means necessary and is a slap in the face to those immigrants who migrated lawfully.

We have allowed our elected officials to make a political issue (for their own personal gain) out of what is a legal and humanitarian crisis.  Making a special class of those who are in this country illegally is reverse discrimination to those who obey the laws. 


California is not leading the country with AB 60 but is making a mockery of law abiding Californians by piecemealing its own immigration reform one bad bill at a time.


Law abiding immigrants built this great country; they are standard bearers in our communities and should be applauded for respecting the rule of law; we disrespect their legacy of following the rules by making the laws meaningless our country once forced them to respect.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Minimum Wage Suicide


On a drive from the airport I had the pleasure of having an in-depth conversation with my host.  I learned that he actually believes there should be some magic number that says an entrepreneur has made enough money.  He said, “At some point, the wealthy have enough.”  Even though it was amusing to hear such insanity, I queried him and said, “And where does that “excess” wealth go, and who decides?”    He told me that the wealthy business owner should share his profits with his employees. He argued the wealth should be redistributed down to the employees. He couldn’t say who or what would be responsible for carrying out this redistributive task but the California legislature agreed with his idea just last week when they passed Assembly Bill 10 raising the California minimum wage.

Called a “moral imperative” by Sen. Bill Monning (D)-Carmel, Gov. Jerry Brown will sign AB 10 which passed the California Assembly 51-25 and the California Senate 26 – 11 along party lines to provide one of the largest minimum wage hikes in the country from $8.00 to $10.00 by 2016. (The federal minimum wage is 7.25.[1])

This insanity is not isolated to AB 10.  Our lawmakers can also be thanked for recently making California the state to have the highest combined federal and state income tax rate in the United States.  It was 43.6% in 2012 and has gone up to 47.6% this year on income over $400,000, according to Tax Policy Center Fellow James Nunns[2] making California among the most undesirable states to live for many high income earners.

However, passing legislation like AB10 makes it harder to grow businesses and create the jobs disadvantaged adult workers need to sustain their families. Raising the minimum wage is a job killer and requires small business owners to hire less or even fire workers to survive.  But the California legislature ignores this practical business reality and continues to lead with fiscal irresponsibility.  

These lawmakers are the very ones who oversee California’s unfunded pension liabilities of $328.6 billion.[3]

Raising the minimum wage hurts the most vulnerable among us. Specifically, when the price of something rises – consumers and employers -purchase less of it.[4]  In other words, as employees become more expensive because of the government-mandated increase in wages, fewer of them will be hired.

Proponents of the law are applauded because it sounds good to pay workers more.  It sounds like they care.  However, they fail to tell the true story that it actually hurts the most vulnerable adult workers.   

Proponents of raising the minimum wage paint the picture that employees are being trapped in low-paying jobs. The popular belief that minimum wage workers are poor adults (25 years old or older), working full time and trying to raise a family is largely untrue. Just 4.7 percent match that description. Indeed, many minimum wage workers live in families with incomes well above the poverty level.[5] “Minimum wage jobs do not trap low-income workers in poverty. They are the first step on a career path of upward mobility.”[6]  The majority of minimum wage earners are between 16 and 24 years old.  They are teenagers and college students working part-time.  Incidentally, they are secondary earnings with average family incomes of $65,000.[7]

Studies show that when minimum wage is increased, companies hire more teenagers and many fewer adults.  Teenagers need to gain entry-level skills far less than disadvantaged adults; the net effect of teenage hiring crowds out adult applicants from the entry-level jobs needed to acquire the skills and discipline to advance. These are the workers who need to take care of their families.

The truth is that liberal lawmakers just don’t get it.  “[They] appear to believe that low-income workers will not get a raise unless the government steps in to help them. But most minimum wage jobs are entry-level positions, and as workers gain skills and experience on the job they move up the career ladder and earn substantial raises.  The most productive workers will earn the largest raises. The market works and rewards those who work to get ahead; the government does not need to step in for minimum wage earners to get a raise.”[8]

Granted, more than 15 million American workers earn the national minimum wage, which calculated over a 40-hour, 52-week working year, equals $15,080 which sits $50 below the federal poverty line for a family of two.[9]  However, the evidence shows that two-thirds of these minimum wage earning families receive a raise in their wages within a year as their skills, education and production increase.[10] That’s free enterprise and it works; government intervention in wages has proven to hurt the labor force and not help it.

Once again, the liberal California legislature behaves like amateurs who know nothing about growing an economy and only keep the working poor in poverty.  The attempt to lift disadvantaged worker’s wages will only render more of them unemployed.  Letting worker productivity, skills, and education raise wages is the smarter approach.  It works.





[1] /              http://www.dol.gov/whd/minimumwage.htm
[2] /              http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/01/pf/taxes/top-income-tax/index.html
[3] /              http://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2013/06/11/california-on-brink-pension-crisis/#ixzz2f1FC01D7; Moody’s new credit standards for public pensions would nearly double the unfunded liabilities for state and local pension plans in California to $328.6 billion from $128.3 billion, says the California Public Policy Center, based on state data.
[4] /              http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/12/raising-the-minimum-wage-to-9-would-harm-most-vulnerable-job-seekers/
[5] /              http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/labor/negative-effects-minimum-wage-laws#sthash.csASlnCw.dpuf
[6] /              http://abcnews.go.com/Business/california-raise-minimum-wage-10-2016/story?id=20258394
[7] /              http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/12/raising-the-minimum-wage-to-9-would-harm-most-vulnerable-job-seekers/
[8] /              http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/07/minimum-wage-workers-incomes-rise-when-the-minimum-wage-does-not
[9] /              http://abcnews.go.com/Business/california-raise-minimum-wage-10-2016/story?id=20258394
[10] /            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/07/minimum-wage-workers-incomes-rise-when-the-minimum-wage-does-not

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blackmail on a Moral Issue



With our current record of 54 months of unemployment greater than 7.5% since the Great Depression,[1] the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor ($110,729 net worth for whites, $4,995 for blacks in 2010),[2] the Obama administration's assault on religious freedom and free enterprise, the implementation “train wreck”[3] of ObamaCare, the allegations that the National Security Administration (“NSA”) is spying on Americans (ala Mr. Snowden), the revelation that the IRS is unfairly targeting conservatives and Jewish groups who have applied for non-exempt status, the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) “Fast and Furious” debacle, its assault on states for not towing the party line on education or immigration, and its targeting of journalists, the State Department’s failure to respond to its own embassy’s need for security in Benghazi, Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three brave Americans for whom justice is fleeting, the overall fatigue of war and now with the quagmire of Syria, who has time to keep up with the Obama administration's global agenda at the United Nations?


While many groups fight to preserve religious liberties, fight to save the lives of the unborn and fight to preserve the definition of  traditional marriage as between one man and one woman in the U.S., western nations push a global agenda through the United Nations on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (" LGBT")  rights in exchange for foreign aid. Sharon Slater of Family Watch International calls it “Cultural Imperialism.”

While developed countries attempt to force western ideology on developing nations, namely in Africa, in exchange for foreign aid, which is commonly called bribery, most Americans are wholly unaware. I received a wake-up call when I watched “Cultural Imperialism” a presentation by Family Watch International.  

Backing up this mandate, on December 6, 2011, President Obama issued a directive to all U.S. government agencies that engage in international activities to make LGBT rights a priority. (See Presidential Memorandum- International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons).[5]

Standing up for their own values are a few African nations and other smaller countries, like Jamaica, who refuse to compromise their faith and traditional values, but the carrot of foreign aid pushes the limits of their stamina.  Take Uganda as an example.

The African Voting Bloc representative before the UN stated, “Family stands at the heart of all we do. We live for the family. The UN African Voting Bloc stands on its values not to accept homosexual marriage as a right while agreeing that discrimination, sexual or otherwise, is not good for anybody. This concept of LGBT rights stands against everything we stand for in Africa.”

Do developing African nations have a right to live freely, to set their own standards of living, to maintain their own definition of the traditional family and still receive aid from the developed countries free from coercion or did we vote that they must too bow to the almighty LGBT agenda?


Western ideology, through the United Nations (See UNAIDS HIV/AIDS Human Rights International Guidelines),[4] attempts to force developing nations to legalize homosexual marriage, prostitution and sexual education for kids as a way to prevent HIV/AIDS and also integrates sexual orientation into the definition of human rights that demand protection.  In exchange for accepting these tenets, developing nations may receive foreign aid.

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni led the fight against HIV/AIDS in his country with the principle of A B C, (Abstinence, Be Faithful and use a Condom if you can’t do A and B).  In response to this policy, infection rates fell from 15% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2011.  Edward Green, former director, AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard and writer of "Broken Promises" agrees that more monogamy, fidelity, and abstinence brings down infection rates while the sexual rights approach to Aids prevention by the UN and western donor countries may actually be increasing the rate of infections instead of bringing them down, he said. After constant pressure from the UN, Uganda has all but abandoned its policy of ABC education, which was effective. 

Senegal and Kenya are other examples where infection rates were stable if not declining because of their Uganda-like approach to the pandemic. It should be noted that the developed countries have higher rates of infection than the developing nations.  The U.S. in particular, has two percent of its population that is “men having sex with men” or MSM but account for 60% of all new infections; these so-called developed countries have the nerve to tell countries like Uganda how to combat HIV/AIDS, while their condom-only policy gives an illusion that the sexually active can forget about abstinence and faithfulness. South Africa and Zimbabwe with higher rates of infection are examples of that failed condom-only policy.

While western donor nations and the U.S. in particular force itself on developing nations with failing HIV/AIDS prevention policies in exchange for foreign aid, many developing nations say no to the blackmail.

It is best summed up by a Nigerian Delegate to the UN who said, "There is a great divide between the developed countries and the developing nations. Many of us are still not even food secure, we can barely feed ourselves; the poverty rate is sky high. You tell me how funding to educate people on “men having sex with men” ... is going to be beneficial to my people. It's not."

What these developing nations are witnessing is a godless western ideology willing to cut off funding to countries that refuse to change their laws and accept LGBT rights; these nations are attempting to change the world based on sexual orientation.  Since the United States is the single largest contributor to the United Nation’s annual budget at 22%,[6] this imperialist effort is even more shameful to me as an American. Is it our place to force a standard of  behavior  accepted by only a small percentage of our own population on the entire world by yielding our purse strings?

“Really what they are saying is what [they] told [us] about Christianity or Islam is not true. Now [we] must change the Bible [they] gave [us],” said an African official under anonymity.

I watched “Cultural Imperialism” as presented by Family Watch International from which the above information was largely taken.  

View it here for more information.   http://www.standforfamiliesworldwide.org/sffww/

________________________________________________________________


[1] /              http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/02/16/cbo-longest-period-of-high-unemployment-since-great-depression
[2] /              http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/21/news/economy/wealth-gap-race/index.htm
[3] /              Obama Care architect and Democrat Max Baucus calls the implementation of the Affordable Care Act a coming “train wreck.”  http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2013/aug/06/context-obamacare-train-wreck/

[4] /              https://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/dataimport/publications/irc-pub02/jc905-guideline6_en.pdf
[5] /              http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/06/presidential-memorandum-international-initiatives-advance-human-rights-l

[6] /              http://globalsolutions.org/united-nations/funding