I'm a Pundit Too

Saturday, February 28, 2009

President Obama, The $4 Trillion Man

Earlier this week, President Obama addressed both chambers of Congress to discuss the economy and his plans for the coming years of his administration. During his speech and throughout his campaign, the President promised to end the era of earmarks and deficit spending. He went as far to promise to go line by line through any spending measure and publicize all earmark spending and which congressman had requested it. Just one month into his administration, we have seen massive pork barrel spending and non-stop “the sky is falling” rhetoric.

The ink from President Obama’s pen had not had time to dry on the $800 billion “stimulus” bill, before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through another $400 billion spending bill. The newest spending bill from Congress contains more than 8000 earmarks. This is on top of the countless earmarks in the “stimulus” bill. The new administration and Congress have signed on to spend more than $1.2 trillion in the first 30 days since the Inauguration. To put that into perspective, that is more than half of the federal budget for 2004, or almost half of what the federal government received in tax revenue for all of 2008. We are more than $1.2 trillion more in debt and we are not even into March yet. Of course, Obama’s breathless supporters in the media would tell us to wait until his budget comes out to see where he has made the cuts to pay for the massive deficit spending, but his budget calls for a more than $1 trillion increase in spending over this years’ budget.

The President has released his budget proposal and it totals over $4 trillion, with about $1.75 trillion in projected deficit spending. This is the largest increase in federal spending in our history. In 2008 the federal budget was a paltry, by comparison, $2.978 trillion with total revenue received at $2.523 trillion. That budget had about $450 billion in deficit spending, but to jump to $1.75 trillion in deficit spending and then claim that you are going to control spending is laughable.

The $4,000,000,000,000.00 budget includes tax increases for those making more than $250,000. My friends in the class envy camp applaud this notion of taxing the rich, but they fail to see that a majority of small businesses will now see tax increases. Allow me to ask one simple question. How will your life improve if some nameless “rich” person is taxed more? The Bill Gates and George Soros’ of the world will not pay any more in taxes; they will simply shift their money around to avoid the taxes. The small business owners are the ones that will bear the brunt of the tax increase. After this plan fails to raise the revenue that the “experts” in Washington project, they will be forced to either raise taxes on the rest of us, after all it is the patriotic thing to do, or hopefully they will see the error of their ways and cut taxes across the board. This budget is equivalent to $11,833 for every American.

President Obama was elected on a platform of hope and change; the first indicators of his administration definition of that campaign slogan are beginning to become clear. They are desperately hoping that the voting public will not notice that the change is the unprecedented spending and power grab in Washington. I believe that the voting public is very aware of what affects their wallets and they have a very long memory when it comes to their own financial well being.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pelosi Returns From The Vatican Wood Shed

Last August, at the height of the political season, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the following statement regarding abortion. “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.” Ms. Pelosi went on to say that she understood that her opinion was at odds with what the Catholic Church teaches, but that she felt her opinion was correct because the church had changed their view over the years.

Immediately following the statements by Pelosi, several leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States issued their rebuttal to the Speaker’s assertions. "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." (Catechism, 2270-2271)

I can hear some of your complaints already; this is old news from last summer. The reason this is news again now because the Speaker has just visited the Vatican and met with Pope Benedict XVI. This papal visit was starkly different than any other visit with dignitaries. There were no pictures taken, and the comments released by the Vatican were short and to the point. The Vatican issued the following statement, “His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Of course, Ms. Pelosi made no mention of the Pope’s comments on the sanctity of life. I believe that she expected the Pope to have ignored her drastic misrepresentations of the Catholic Church’s teaching. She was undoubtedly hoping for a photo opportunity with the Pope so she could gain political capital at home. She surely did not expect to be taken to the wood shed for a quick lesson in the history and beliefs of the Catholic Church. The question moving forward for Pelosi, and all professing Catholic politicians, how does the Pope’s statement affect their political stand on abortion? Will the priests and bishops here in the United States continue to serve Holy Communion to politicians who are consistently at odds with Catholic teaching? My prediction is that the Pope’s statements will have zero effect on the abortion stance of Pelosi and other politicians. After all, for some political power is the most important thing in life.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Unconstitutional Road To Socialism

Since the election in November, there has been a myriad of proposals and statements from a whole host of liberal groups and politicians that if enacted will change our way of life in the United States. The problem being that many of the proposals bear very little resemblance to what the Constitution states is the role of government. The framers of the Constitution made it very clear that the role of the federal government is to be a limited one. They did not envision that the politicians of today would be creating a government that would have a hand in controlling virtually every facet of our lives.

The arguments for the nanny style government range from, “The framers couldn’t understand what our world is like today, so certain aspects of the Constitution are not relevant any longer”; to “The government should provide everything for us, because their job is to protect and provide for us”. The founders of our great nation realized that they were fallible men and could not possibly realize all of the trials that would face us as a nation in the future. That is precisely why they included a process to amend the Constitution to account for the changing times.

As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the written Word of God and as such is not susceptible to being rewritten. Some professing Christians say that portions of the Bible are not relevant today, because our world is a much different place than it was during the time of Jesus. These Christians want to pick and choose what to believe out of the Bible, but completely ignore the parts that seem to hard for them to live in their everyday lives. The principles taught in the Bible are just as applicable in today’s world as it was 2000 years ago.

The logic of those who want to “cherry pick” what is applicable from the Bible is the same logic of those who want to reshape our country into something vastly different from what was intended. Once you start down the road of silencing your critics on the radio, or nationalizing our nation’s health care system, or our banking system, it becomes even more difficult to turn the process around. How do we decide which parts of the Constitution are no longer applicable today? Do we say that freedom of speech is not applicable on talk radio but is fine in the newspapers? At what point do we say that critical speech in the newspapers is no longer legal? The same holds true for the Bible, if the biblical prohibition of adultery is not applicable in our times, then what about stealing? Or murder? Of course a cursory look at the headlines will reveal that many politicians are knee-deep in scandal and corruption, which line their pockets with someone else’s money.

Our Constitution was a written more than 200 years ago with the idea that our government would be as silent as possible. The founders allowed future generations to legally change the Constitution to keep up with the changing of the times. Unfortunately, those in power have decided that they can circumvent the process and strip certain freedoms from all of us. If they truly believe that these changes need to be made, they should follow the constitutionally mandated process of amending the Constitution. For those that want to change the Bible, you can try to rewrite the Bible, but the absolute truth of the Bible and it’s Author will be the final judge.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Return Of The Politics Of Fear

As the debate over the massive spending bill heats up in the Senate, the outrageous rhetoric has stooped to new lows. The $800 billion “stimulus” package that the Democrats pushed through the House of Representatives has continued to expand to more than $900 billion. Instead of fulfilling the promise of “trimming the fat” from government, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has overseen the addition of even more pork to already bloated spending bill.

A Rasmussen poll taken this week showed that public support for the bill has shifted dramatically over the past 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago 45% of the public favored the plan compared to 34% opposed to the plan. Now a mere 37% support the measure with 43% firmly opposed to spending billions of taxpayer money on frivolous pet projects that will do nothing to stimulate the economy.

Talk radio and Internet bloggers have combed through the proposal and highlighted numerous line items that the politicians have had much difficulty trying to justify the billions pledged. The American public clogged the phone lines at the Capitol this week voicing their displeasure over the enormity of the spending bill. The reaction to this measure is reminiscent of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of the summer of 2007. As you may recall, the Senate attempted to just push the bill through with very little debate or public scrutiny. The public outcry over the immigration bill doomed it to an early grave.

As public opinion over the “stimulus” plan has soured, the administration and congressional leaders have come out to try to scare the populace into supporting it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed this week that for every month that they do not pass their “stimulus” package, 500 million Americans would lose their jobs. That number is staggering, especially considering that the U.S. Census bureau projected the U.S. population on New Years Day to be about 305 million. I know that she misspoke, but she said it at least 3 separate times. Surely someone on the Speaker’s staff could have corrected her after the first gaffe. President Obama made the rounds to the network news shows to try to sell the need to pass the proposal now. He even claimed that if the Congress did not pass the bill now, “we may never recover”. The proponents of the massive waste of taxpayer money claim that this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. The trouble is that they are obviously lying. The economy during the Jimmy Carter presidency was by leaps and bounds much worse than it is now. We had double-digit national unemployment and interest rates. Of course, if we continue down this foolish road of frivolous spending we will surely see the return of malaise.

A stimulus bill is needed to turn our sluggish economy around, but it needs to be a measure that will put more of our own money back in our pockets. It should not be a bill that steals more of our money to fund the pet projects of politicians. Action just for the sake of action is folly. I believe that this current bill should be defeated in it’s entirety and Congress should start over with more focus on actual economic stimulus vice more unnecessary spending.

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