Category Archives: 2012 Election

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

America, a Nation of Legal Immigrants

I am proud to be an immigrant; honored to be American by choice. Legal immigration is part of the DNA of a nation founded and built by immigrants. Unless you are a pure blood Native American, you are the product of immigrants, even if you are a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I embraced the American ideal of achievement based on your ability and hard work as opposed to the neo-socialist nanny state of my native Canada. My path to citizenship involved crafting my career to achieve the skill set needed to immigrate to America. What followed was years of filing forms and dozens of trips to the then Immigration & Naturalization Service and its successor the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Service. This was not easy, convenient or even at times logical but it was the process established by my new home. Forms were diligently completed and the legal system embraced. The day I raised my right hand and took the oath of citizenship was among the proudest of my life, second only to the day I married my wife.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus from “The New Colossus”

 

As an immigrant I truly understand what attracts millions to aspire to not only move to America but to embrace the culture that defines being American, I feel it in my heart. America needs immigrants to sustain growth and to enrich the very fiber of the country. Yet the foundation of any immigration policy must be one of the core elements of America, the rule of law. As an immigrant, there was much of the process I found to be nonsensical, the test of American History so simple and uninspired no idiot with a pulse could fail; the one sentence of monosyllable words test of English competence. But this process was defined by law, American law, and it was the first test of citizenship to be passed. The American People must define our nation’s immigration policy, not those who aspire to join the American family.

While the debate has been dominated by radicals on both sides of the issue, fundamental immigration reform must be affected for both the economic and national security interest of the nation. The core principles below would provide the foundation for sensible and sustainable immigration reform.

  1. Respect for the Rule of Law: At the core of citizenship is respect for the rule of law; any immigrant must fully embrace and respect those laws even if they do not agree with them. If ones first act upon entering the United States is to violate its national laws, that person has disqualified themselves from the privilege of making America their home. Any form of amnesty, direct or back door, is a slap in the face to all of us who have followed the legal path to enter America. Further, those illegal’s who have been in America for years have violated our laws by either working “off the books” or by using falsified or stolen identities to maintain a legal appearance. Those who violate our laws must never be rewarded for their illegal activities and should be deported and barred from reentry into the United States.
  2. The Defense of the Boarder is one of the Fundamental Responsibilities of Government: The current administration has failed in its obligation to secure the nations boarders. To the south illegal migrants pass through the boarders with little difficulty. To the north world’s largest undefended border with Canada is utterly unprotected with little more than warning signs in most places. Given Canada’s open immigration policy, particularly from countries who wish America harm, necessitates securing that border in the same manner as our border with Mexico. If the Department of Homeland Security cannot adequatly secure the nations boarders, then the assistance of the Department of Defense must be sought.
  3. Immigrants must Embrace American Culture & Institutions: A nation is defined by a common culture, language and legal structure. Those who wish to come to America must in their hearts embrace these before seeking to live on our shores. Those who hate America and what it stands for must not be allowed to abuse a welcoming nation to do it harm. Competence in the English language is essential to a successful immigrant experience and must be mastered before arriving at the gates. Political activism and dissent are at the foundation of our fundamental rights, but these must be done within the rule of law and our political system. In short, America, love it or stay home.
  4. All Immigrants Should be on a Path to Citizenship: We want those who come to America to embrace the American experience and seek to be a permanent part of our society. Temporary work permits simply allow American corporations to bring foreign workers to America, often at wages well below paid to American workers and use their temporary status to keep them from complaining. If a legitimate need exists for bring a foreign worker to America, they should be brought in on a single immigrant track and subject to the same requirements and controls. The concept of “Permanent Resident” status, the so called Green Card should be ended. Foreigners should not be allowed to reside in America indefinably without becoming citizens and fully participating in American Society. At the end of a single 10 year residency period (the valid period of a current Green Card) an immigrant has not become a citizen, they should return to their country of origin. A permanent sub class of residents does nothing to elevate the nation as a whole.
  5. Knowledge of American History, Government and the English Language is Required to be a Productive American: All immigrants should be expected to have the same understanding of American History and Government as is expected of an American high school graduate (leave aside what high school graduates actually know). In the same way competence in the English language is essential to take part in the public discourse and succeed economically. Those who cannot, or will not, achieve these should not be welcomed to America.
  6. Multiculturalism and Hyphenated Americanism are a Cancer on the Nation: While it is fine to have pride in one’s heritage and fore fathers, at the core of citizenship is becoming an American in ones heart and soul, not only the color of the passport. One can be an American proud of their heritage, but being American must come first, last and always.
  7. Immigration must be Maintained at Sustainable Levels: Recognizing the danger to the very fabric of the United States, the levels of immigration must never be allowed to exceed the number of immigrants who can be effectively assimilated into American society. We must cherish and protect the melting pot of our society and its ability to bring newly arrived immigrants into our communities. To allow levels of new immigrants to overwhelm American society not only does a disservice to the immigrants themselves, it represents a danger to the future of the nation itself.

I am sure there will be many on the left and the right who will disagree with these views, such is the American way. Yet balancing the conflicting interest will require compromise. What cannot be compromised is maintaining the fundamental qualities of what it is to be an American. Many, such as the current Administration seek to place their political interests in before those of the nation. It is the responsibility of the American people to prevent this from destroying the very character of our nation.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus from “The New Colossus”

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Department of Defence, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration, Politics

On Hypocrisy, Barack Obama and the Buffett Rule

There are few issues in American politics today that I find more hypocritical or concerning than the so called “Buffett Rule”. Based upon the Billionaire of Omaha suddenly realizing late in life that he pays a lower rate of tax than his secretary. For starters let’s leave aside that if he had concern over his secretary’s financial situation, he could simply dip into his piggy bank and give her a well deserved raise. No, that Warren Buffett would suddenly have a concern that he pays lower tax rates than most Americans is laughable. What did Warren think he was paying those tax attorneys for over the decades? Why did he structure his investments in corporate structures aimed to qualify resultant earning as capital gains rather than standing up like a man and simply characterizing it as ordinary income? No, Warren has built his fortune exploiting every tax scheme available. Now Warren wants other Americans who have been successful to pay higher taxes than the now 80 year old Buffett has for decades. Well, I may not be a financial genius like Warren, but I can spot a blue blooded hypocrite when I see one Warren Buffett is in a hypocritical league of his own.

This story becomes more pathetic when President Obama comes along and latches onto “The Buffett Rule” as the salvation to the nation’s economic ills. Unfortunately President Obama is more a political opportunist and liberal who can never let the opportunity to increase taxes pass them by. Instead of applying the Buffet Rule revenue to debt reductions President Obama would simply use it to fund his liberal democrat social agenda. The President Obama & the Do Nothing Democrats in congress have bet their future upon a political class warfare platform. Any political opportunist cannot resist an opportunity to leverage someone else’s reputation for their gain and Warren Buffett is big league butt cover.

America is a nation where the dream of a better life for one’s self and children was always a core value of the people.  American’s aspire to success and work to give their children a better life than they have. Those who have succeeded have been seen as inspirations to be emulated, not objects of scorn and envy to be torn down. Class warfare has never been a cornerstone of our nation’s political discourse. Today we have a president who in seeking a second term to advance an extreme leftist agenda is basing his reelection on class division and envy without regard to the damage it can do to the nation’s character. In and of itself, hypocrisy is usually a benign personality trait which simply diminished the reputation of the hypocrite. Rarely do hypocrites succeed for long as their lack of character is transparent. However when a national leader bases his partisan future on such a hypocritical platform to advance the big lie, then real harm can be done to the nation.

I will leave it to others to demonstrate how little good the Buffett Rule would do for the debt and the damage raising taxes during a recovery could do (for reference see the Heritage Foundation Article). I actually share the president’s view that there are fundamental inequalities in our tax system. Corporate Cronyism has permeated the tax code leaving it littered with the best loop holes money can buy. But the Buffett Rule is not a solution to inequality but rather a syndical revenue grab by a tax & spend liberal administration. The only way to solve the inequality is a revenue neutral fundamental round of tax reform with simplification as its goal. The more flat our tax system becomes with fewer deductions and loop holes, the more fairness we would see. Mr. President, real tax reform does not make for as good a rally speech, but it is good for the country and the honesty may just help your reputation and the nation’s future. Country first, what a novel concept.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Free Markets, National Debt, Politics, Taxes

Mitt Romney: A Conservative’s Dilemma

If one were to be casting a President for a high budget Hollywood thriller, Mitt Romney is the person you would cast. His resume, his look, his family and his political presence are just about perfect. Having taken the time to read his economic policy, even though I take issue with a few points, it is perhaps the most well thought out I have ever seen from any presidential candidate. In interviews and debates it is clear he has a command of the issues and background few non-incumbent candidates have ever had before the first primary. At a time when America faces tremendous economic challenges, his business and economic background appear to be a perfect fit for the times. Sure his time as a private equity job cutter would be fodder for the Obama 2012 attack machine, but all Americans know the real world economy is a tough place. While other candidates have challenged him, and in some cases passed him for the GOP front runner, Mitt just cruses along in the low to mid 20 percent range, almost rock solid. Add to that a campaign financial war chest which is unmatched among the GOP contenders and Mitt Romney would seem to be almost inevitable. Almost.

GOP Frontrunner in Waiting, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

So why is it that the GOP, and particularly its conservative base, has not rallied around Romney? Even more puzzling is that in 2008 when John McCain appeared to be on the verge of taking the nomination, conservatives and conservative media personalities tried to rally around Romney in the Stop McCain movement. What a difference 4 years makes. The cliché answer is the similarities between Obamacare and Romneycare. The fundamental difference between 2008 and 2012 is the enactment of the single most unpopular act of social engendering in American Political history. The democrats and President Obama drank their own Kool-Aid and passed their central government focused healthcare reform on the belief that once passed the American people would like what they saw. Instead the people shocked them and the more they saw, the more they disliked the Democrat healthcare plan. The result was one of the biggest midterm butt slappings in the last century. Now even a casual observer would have known Mitt Romney had some explaining to do. Indeed there are some major differences not the least of which is that the Massachusetts plan was a state plan, not federal and as such no unconstitutional. We conservatives have always believed in the 10th Amendment and Romney care may well have been appropriate for Massachusetts which had a solidly democratic legislature.

Yet this spring when Mitt Romney gave his much anticipated speech on healthcare reform, it was like watching a bad PowerPoint presentation by a Chief Financial Officer trying to explain away a bad quarter with double talk. I must admit watching it with great anticipation and figuring that day I would fall in behind team Romney and support his candidacy. Instead I saw a technocrat trying to explain away the similarities of the two programs without distancing himself from his signature achievement as Governor of Massachusetts. As George Will recently said, the GOP had found itself a Massachusetts Technocrat Governor; in Mitt Romney we have our Michael Dukakis. Now I have been reading George Will since I was in High School (that would be before Reagan was President) and even I was taken aback by that characterization. Mitt Romney is far more charismatic and I believe honestly passionate about his candidacy than that other Governor. Yet in that article was the core issue with Mitt Romney; the more I see him the more I feel he is a designer candidate. Created by committee and focus group tested.

Recently a quote of Winston Churchill struck me as relevant to considering Mitt Romney, “I shall not be deterred from doing what I am convinced is right by the fact that I have thought differently about it in some distant past”. That Mitt Romney has seen his positions evolve over time does not in and of itself bother me. I have struggled over the question of the rights of the unborn for a year until ultimately concluding life begins at conception as much on scientific grounds as moral (a discussion for another time). Yet when you look at Mitt Romney’s positions over the years you just come away with the feeling changing polls had as much to do with this evolution as did intellectual consideration. I wish Mitt would just sit down and truly speak from his heart, less polished, and explain why he has changed over time. For gosh sakes, Ronald Reagan voted for FDR, more than once!. Most conservative not only would understand his changing views as many of us have changed over times (OK, most to a lesser extent).

Mitt Romney’s candidacy is not without significant strengths from a conservative perspective. The Romney family seems genuinely loving and well grounded as does his marriage, a fact not lost on many conservatives in comparison to others in this campaign. Romney is by far the best campaigner in the race, with only Rick Santorum as comfortable in front of the camera during debates. One can almost smell the fear from Team Obama 2012 at the prospect of facing Romney in the fall of 2012. As one who believes the defeat of President Obama is crucial to the future of America, electability is no small consideration. My fear is some of my conservative friends have been drinking our own flavor of Kool Aid and believe anyone can will next year. While I think 2012 is now a Republican year to loose, it can be lost.

So what does Mitt Romney have to do to convince me, and I think many conservatives, that he has earned the privilege of being the nominee of the party of Lincoln and Reagan? Mitt Romney has to show me that what he says he believes in his heart. That he shares the same conservative vision of the Future of America that we do, and is not just regurgitating campaign slogans. I would tell Governor Romney to go face to face with your conservative critics and leave the private equity sales pitch behind. Show us the values that helped raise a great family. Governor Romney, it is as much the vision thing as anything. The real vision thing. Conservatives have been sold a bill of goods before by fast talking back slapping wanna-be conservatives more than once. The question is, are you the real deal.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, The Grand Old Party, The White House

The Republican No New Taxes Pledge and the Vilification of Grover Norquist

As the Congressional so called “Super Committee” is on the verge of its most predictable failure, Obama administration representatives and congressional democrats are abuzz with their claims that its failure to achieve results is because Republicans will not agree to new taxes. Additionally they have begun to personally vilify the creator of the modern Taxpayer Protection Pledge and leader of American’s for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. All of this has been adopted as a basis the narrative of the day by the Democrat’s tools in the media and blasted across the airwaves. Yet lost in the liberal diatribe is the base question, are the American people truly under taxed or has government expanded beyond the levels the American people desire. Additionally all Americans should be outraged when the state adopts a coordinated attempt to impugn the character and reputation of a single private citizen in the way the Obama administration and their supporters in congress have.

Leading Democrat on the Deficit Super Committee, Senator John Kerry

While many throw around the “No New Taxes Pledge” in interviews and writings, few seem to have read the actual Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In the 112th Congress, 238 Representatives (including 2 Democrats) and 41 Senators (including 1 Democrat) signed the pledge BEFORE the 2010 election. The pledge itself is relatively simple and straightforward stating:

“I, (candidate’s name) pledge to the taxpayers of the (insert district) district of the state of (insert state) and to the American People that I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The pledge is signed before the election and far from being hidden or part of any back room deal; virtually all who take it proudly feature it as a key part of their election campaigns. This is not a pledge to some special interest group; it is a pledge to the American people and specifically those voters who send the member in question to Washington. What is really shocking is the way in which the Democrat establishment and their media friends seem shocked when elected representatives actually keep their promises to their electors. One can only assume that keeping ones word to voters is a concept which President Obama and the majority of congressional democrats are not in any way familiar.

Levels of Federal Government Spending and Taxation since 1960 projected to 2021 (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The real question, the ones the Democrats seem unwilling to really address, is the unprecedented increase in federal government spending under the administration of President Obama. While they stand in front of the television cameras claiming to support expenditure cuts, President Obama runs around the country demanding support for his “Stimulus 2 Jobs Bill” which would be funded with additional tax hikes. America is in the midst of the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression and the Democrat solution is tax increases, which flies in the face of almost ever accepted economic theory. Additionally, if the is second stimulus works as well as the first, the American people may want dig a hole in the back yard and hide because the economic consequences may be catastrophic.

The Leftist Class Warfare Myth that "Taxing the Rich" solves Deficits (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The democrats hold to the myth that they can tax only the “rich” to solve the deficit problem. But the reality is there simply are not enough rich tax payers to tax away the problem and the middle class will have to be taxed to balance the books if Democrats are given their way. We will leave aside that increased taxation on the upper income levels has often produced lower revenues due to capital flight and reduced investment (a story for another day). What the Obama Democrats are doing is attempting to make permanent the record level of peace time spending they have established by putting in place new taxes to sustain it. The only way to get America out of the current economic mess is to fire up the private sector which has always been the true engine of economic growth in this country. One need only look to the current economic turmoil in Europe to see that higher taxation is not a solution to government overspending; it simply feeds the beast of government excess.

This brings us to the unprecedented attacks by the Obama White House and his congressional Democrats on Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. It seems whenever the left wants something they need to create a villain of the day, and to give them cover for the failure of the “Super Committee” they have found Norquist. To be clear, I do not know Grover Norquist, have only met him in person in passing at CPAC meetings and have never contributed to Americans for Tax Reform (something I may have to reconsider). It is outrageous that the full power of the federal government, as controlled by its chief executive, the President would target the destruction of the character and reputation of a private citizen. One is drawn back to the late 90’s when operatives of then President Clinton tried to discredit a certain former intern as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” until a blue dress emerged with Clinton’s DNA making that a dead line of attack. Now Norquist is the target because the leftist Democrats know attacking the Republicans directly for keeping their word to their electors by honoring the Taxpayer Protection Pledge has never worked in the end.

It’s time the media who so often lament politicians who come to Washington and forget the promises they made to voters, point out that those rejecting new taxes today are simply keeping their word. Elections matter, a fact conservatives and Republicans had to accept after the 2006 and 2008 elections. Unfortunately the Democrats failed to show the American people their way worked and in 2010 the people revoked their mandate. Republicans were elected overwhelmingly with open support of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. For Republicans to accept higher levels of taxation for Americans now would not only be bad policy, it would be a breach of their commitments to their voters. If the Democrats want higher overall taxation in America to support their expansion of the Federal Government, they should run on that platform in 2012. Maybe Walter Mondale’s campaign manager is available to help them.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Budget, Congress, Conservative, Grover Norquist, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, United States House of Representatives, US Senate