Weekly Musing 7-14-13
America Needs REAL Tax Reform
Too many “special interest” deals are distorting economic activity.
The I.R.S. can’t be trusted. Special Interest with their lobbyist have turned the tax code into proverbial Christmas tree for big corporations, special interests, the rich and well connected. And don’t forget about the “underground” economy with drug dealers and those who can figure out a way to deal with “cash only” deals. Crony capitalism at its worst.
I’ve long argued for a flat tax with NO or very limited deductions or a national consumption tax…known as the Fair Tax.
Our system is broken. I have little faith that Congress has the political will to buck all the special interest, lobbyist and donors without a proposal that is clear, understandable, transparent and “fair” to ALL involved.
The Fair Tax proposal is the best and most viable solution I have found. Look into it. Study how it works. DO NOT take a typical “knee jerk” reaction against something new without understanding how it really works and what it would mean for taxpayers and the economy.
Get more information here:
There is also a state based proposal for Michigan that is worth considering. You can find more on that here:
The Truth About Gun Control
I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but I do believe history tends to repeat itself. Check out this video and hopefully we can all learn from the past.
Happy Cost of Government Day! – Mad yet???
For 2013, working people were required to devote 194 days out of the year to working for the government before they begin to work for themselves.
This year “Cost of Government Day” falls on Saturday, July 13, the fifth consecutive year it has come on a date in July. According to ATRF, that’s because the total cost of government now “makes up 53 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product.”
Michigan U.S. Senate Seat
This week I met with Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra, who is exploring the possibility of running for the Republican nomination. He joins Terri Land and Dr. Robert Steele in the process.
Mayor Dykstra is a sharp, young “citizen politician” who is a practicing attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd. He has an impressive background and brings a common sense, conservative perspective to his politics. He could be a strong candidate.
And yes…there are still others looking at the race.
You can find more at:
Kill the Bill
We are conservatives who have differed in the past on immigration reform, with Kristol favorably disposed toward it and Lowry skeptical. But the Gang of Eight has brought us into full agreement: Their bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation.
House GOP United in Opposition to Senate Bill, Unsure on Path Forward
House Republicans emerged from a closed-door, open-microphone strategy meeting on immigration reform as if from a therapy session: They had vented, experienced moments of enlightenment — but left still conflicted.
With the Senate’s passage last month of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, the spotlight is on the House GOP to respond. The consensus among the Republicans huddled in the Capitol basement for Wednesday’s 2½-hour session is that the Senate measure is deplorable — they compared it to Obamacare — and that the administration cannot be trusted to enforce border laws anyway.
Botching Immigration Again
The Gang of Eight bill includes some bacon for Majority Leader Harry Reid in the form of taxpayer-funded travel promotion for Las Vegas and declaring Nevada to be a border state; some sausage for Hollywood in the form of free visa applications for aliens with extraordinary ability in the arts; and some ribs for avowed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a $1.5 billion “jobs for youth” scheme, which is another Obama-style stimulus program.
The truth is, many Democrats don’t really care about meaningful reform of our immigration system. They are pushing a pork-laden Big Government power grab and hoping to demonize the Republican party in the process. If it fails, they get to demonize Republicans among Latino voters in the next election; if it passes, they will happily grant amnesty to millions of people without solving the fundamental problems with the current system. They see the Senate bill as a win-win.
We need immigration reform. The status quo is unfair to hardworking immigrants, to the businesses who need them, and to law-abiding Americans. It’s unfair because the Democrats and the unions rigged the game for their own benefit. It’s time to reform immigration in a way that is fair to hardworking Americans — and to hardworking immigrants who seek the American Dream. All it takes is a few simple steps on things everyone can agree on: security for American communities, beginning at the border; respect for American entrepreneurship and its needs; and, most important, policy made with American interests front and center.
How GOP Can Turn Immigration Debate On Its Head
If there is any lesson for the GOP to learn from 2012, it’s that we must do a better job fighting for and connecting with working Americans of all backgrounds — immigrant and native-born alike — whose wages have fallen and whose employment opportunities have increasingly diminished.
In pushing for this bill, the Left has abandoned and taken for granted the struggling worker. By doing the right thing on immigration, the GOP can distance our party from the corporate titans who believe the immigration policy for our entire country should be modeled to pad their bottom line.
The rise of Mike Rogers – Serving Michigan & our country!
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers has become a frequent guest on Sunday national television shows, expounding on pressing security issues from Benghazi to the Boston terrorist attacks and most recently defending the U.S. phone and Internet surveillance programs.
The Howell Republican and House Intelligence Committee chairman is in demand because he is one of just eight members of Congress with access to national security secrets at a time when foreign policy and security issues are grabbing headlines.
But Rogers’ ascent to the national stage from rural Livingston County almost didn’t happen. In the nation’s tightest congressional race in 2000, then state-Sen. Rogers conceded defeat to his close supporters on election night only to prevail later in a recount against Democrat Dianne Byrum.
The Economic Recovery is a Joke – “The Born-Again Jobs Scam”
THE BORN AGAIN JOBS SCAM AND THE FED’S TERMINAL INCOHERENCE
No, last week’s jobs report was not “strong”. It was just another edition of the “born again” jobs scam that has been fueling the illusion of recovery during the entire post-crisis Bernanke Bubble. In fact, 120,000 or 62 percent of the June payroll gain consisted of part-time jobs in restaurants, bars, hotels, retail and temp agencies. The average pay check in this segment amounts to barely $20,000 per year, which is a sub-poverty level income for a family of four, and compares to upwards of $50,000 per year for goods producing jobs in the BLS survey.
Altogether, the government has reported 2.8 million of these part-time job gains since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, accounting for a predominant share of the ballyhooed pick-up of 5.3 million total jobs. It goes without saying, however, that the principal of one-job-one-vote does not apply in economics. What matters are aggregate dollar earnings. On that front, the Commerce Department figures for total private wage and salary income are just plain punk. Nearly six years on from the December 2007 peak, real payroll disbursements are still down by nearly 1 percent. What kind of “recovery” is that about?
So what is happening at bottom is that Bernanke is printing money so that Uncle Sam can keep massively borrowing, and thereby fund a simulacrum of job growth in the HES Complex. Call it the Bed Pan Economy.
When it finally crashes, Ben Bernanke will be more reviled than Herbert Hoover. And deservedly so.
Another IRS Scandal Waiting to Happen
The Obama administration claims it wants to ensure that the rank political abuse perpetrated by the Internal Revenue Service is never repeated. Ask Donald McGahn how that’s going.
Mr. McGahn is a Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, an agency with every bit as much potential for partisan meddling as the IRS. Due to leave the agency soon, Mr. McGahn’s parting gift is a campaign to rein in an out-of-control FEC bureaucracy. But the left is fighting that oversight and is determined to keep power in the hands of unaccountable staff.
… the only question is who will make the decisions: “The presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed commissioners who answer to the public, or an unaccountable staff?”
The left wants the latter, since it provides more latitude to use the FEC to their political ends. This has worked to their benefit at agencies like the (currently illegitimate) National Labor Relations Board, where (Acting) General Counsel Lafe Solomon is single-handedly running U.S. labor policy, much to their liking.
But Americans, and the FEC commissioners, need only recall our recent experience of letting federal employees meddle in politics. Mr. McGahn deserves great credit for trying to avoid the potential for another IRS scandal. Let’s see if the Obama team is just as serious.
President Obama: Flounderer-in-chief?
Six months into his new term, President Obama should be feeling pretty good. After all, the economy is looking up and Americans are more confident about their prospects. The job market is healing and housing prices are up double-digits over the past year. New cars are rolling out of showrooms at the fastest pace in nearly six years. There’s nothing like that new car smell.
Yet to many folks in Washington and around the country, a different odor is discernible: It’s one of panic, they say, the smell of a president who is floundering. He seems to know it himself.
But Obama will ultimately be measured by his accomplishments, not how he stacks up against his enemies. Presidents are the ones who set the tone and set the agenda for the nation. This, when done right, is leadership. Americans always look to their president to provide it. Obama’s fed up with Republican obstructionism? Fine: Go on TV and call them out. Challenge John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to debate immigration, climate change, and spending in a townhall-style setting. If they refuse, use it against them. Obama, aloof and insular — and convinced he’s smarter than everyone else — would never get his hands dirty like this. But a change in tactics, in demeanor — something — is needed because whatever it is he’s doing now doesn’t seem to be working.
Is Obama’s biggest problem … Obama?
That’s Obama’s second term in one quote. In a matter of months, he went from stomping the Republican Party in the 2012 election to “I understand why you’re upset and how you might feel this way.” Ouch. The worst part for White House staff is that Menendez is right — and they know it.
This is perhaps the most important and least understood fact in today’s Washington: Presidents polarize. As the effective leader of one of two political parties, the president is inevitably a polarizing figure. And Obama himself is a special case. Last year, a Gallup poll found a difference of 76 percentage points in how Republicans and Democrats assessed his administration. That tied the gap measured in the fourth year of George W. Bush’s term as the most polarizing on record.
Is Doubling Down on White Voters a Viable Strategy for the Republican Party?
Perhaps the key question in American presidential politics is how the growing and overwhelmingly Democratic nonwhite vote will affect future elections. If Republicans can’t capture a bigger share of that vote, are they doomed to minority status in presidential elections? Or can Republicans find other paths to victory? In a series of articles for RealClearPolitics.com, Sean Trende — a shrewd analyst and contributor to our book that analyzed the 2012 election, Barack Obama and the New America — suggested that Republicans may be able to make up for deficits among nonwhite voters by improving their share of the white vote. In response, Crystal Ball Senior Columnist Alan Abramowitz and Ruy Teixeira, an expert on American political demographics, present a powerful counterpoint, arguing that Republicans will find it harder and harder to win national elections without better performance among nonwhite voters. Their persuasive take on the great American political demographic argument follows.
Winning More White Voters Won’t Save the GOP
The GOP will have to compensate with gains elsewhere if it forfeits marginal but meaningful opportunities among Hispanics. Demographic changes are turning the Bush coalition—which combined white conservatives with a few targeted inroads among sympathetic groups—into a coffin. Every four years, the non-white share of eligible voters increases by 2 points, requiring Republicans to do a little better to compensate for demographic change. Plugging the 2004 results into 2016 demographics, for instance, would yield a Democratic victory. And to counter demographic changes by 2016, the GOP will need broader appeal than it’s had since 1984—a high burden. And that burden becomes even greater, even if only marginally, without inroads among Hispanics.
How the GOP stopped worrying about Latinos and learned to love the base
The Latino share of the electorate was 8.4% in 2012. What’s worrisome to the GOP is that the Latino share of the population in 2012 was 17.2% and growing. The reason for the disparity has much less to do with illegal immigration than it does with the relative youth of the Latino community, where the median age is 27 versus 42 for whites. According to Pew, there are about 7.1 million undocumented Latino adults who could become citizens under the Senate bill–and only some of them would do so, let alone vote. That group is dwarfed by the 17.6 million Latinos under-18, the overwhelming majority of whom (93%) are US-born citizens. Every election cycle, more of them will become eligible to vote, while the oldest, whitest and most Republican generations age out of the electorate on the other end. (“Age out of the electorate” is a euphemism for “die.”)
It actually gets worse for the GOP. Hispanic turnout is extremely low–48% in 2012–in part because their eligible voters are so young. By comparison, white turnout was 64% and black turnout was 66%. That gives Democrats room to grow their Latino base through registration and voting drives–an area where they’ve been incredibly successful with black voters already–while Republicans may be operating near their ceiling with whites.
The white vote also looks so GOP-friendly because the Deep South backs Republicans by huge margins: Obama won 51% of the white vote in Iowa, for example, but just 10% in Mississippi. And according to Trende’s analysis, a lot of the “missing” white vote is concentrated in rural portions of the Northeast. So even if Republicans boost white turnout, a bunch of the gains will go to running up the score in Southern states they already win or to improving their margin in Northern states they don’t contest.
Restoring plain and civil speech to politics
Breaking speech taboos reinforces the power of persuasion
Proponents of political correctness say it is a way that we can be kind and courteous to everyone, but they need to recognize that it is quite possible to be respectful without imposing an unspoken law that is antithetical to one of the founding principles of our nation — namely, freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Political correctness, which is vigorously enforced by much of the news media and many of our educational institutions, imposes a code of silence that prevents discussion of game-changing alterations of our fundamental social pillars. I was amused and saddened recently by the way the PC police intentionally took something I said out of context and distorted it in order to deviate the conversation away from what I was talking about and try to turn it into a conversation about me and whether or not I was a homophobe. This is a classical example of how this group works. I was asked whether I favor same-sex marriage. I said that I did not think that any group had the right to change the definition of a fundamental pillar of society.
John Boehner raises big bucks for GOP
Boehner, for years a familiar face on the cash-raising circuit, has raised more than $30 million this year, according to figures his political office provided to POLITICO. The sum narrowly outpaces the amount he had raised at this point in the 2012 election cycle, when he was in the early days of his speakership.
His haul will power GOP efforts to maintain control of the House in the 2014 midterm elections. Since January, Boehner has held more than 100 fundraising events across the country. He has given more than $5 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $350,000 to House members and candidates and $250,000 to the Republican National Committee.
Obama Suspends the Law – Like King James II, the president decides not to enforce laws he doesn’t like. That’s an abuse of power.
President Obama’s decision last week to suspend the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act may be welcome relief to businesses affected by this provision, but it raises grave concerns about his understanding of the role of the executive in our system of government.
Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.
This matter—the limits of executive power—has deep historical roots. During the period of royal absolutism, English monarchs asserted a right to dispense with parliamentary statutes they disliked. King James II’s use of the prerogative was a key grievance that lead to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The very first provision of the English Bill of Rights of 1689—the most important precursor to the U.S. Constitution—declared that “the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal.”
Obamacare a lemon: The ObamaCare Spin Machine Revs Up
Political problems still loom. Though ObamaCare provides generous subsidies to the uninsured, they still have to pay something each month. How many uninsured believe their insurance will be free? An analysis published earlier this year in Contingencies, the American Academy of Actuaries magazine, concluded that Americans earning as little as $25,000 can expect to pay higher premiums under ObamaCare—even with the law’s subsidies.
Nevertheless ads are less important than the quality of the product they tout—and ObamaCare is a lemon. There’s little the president can do to spin his way out of that.
A New Anti-American Axis?
THE flight of the leaker Edward J. Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow last month would not have been possible without the cooperation of Russia and China. The two countries’ behavior in the Snowden affair demonstrates their growing assertiveness and their willingness to take action at America’s expense.
Beyond their protection of Mr. Snowden, Chinese-Russian policies toward Syria have paralyzed the United Nations Security Council for two years, preventing joint international action. Chinese hacking of American companies and Russia’s cyberattacks against its neighbors have also caused concern in Washington. While Moscow and Beijing have generally supported international efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, they clearly were not prepared to go as far as Washington was, and any coordinated shift in their approach could instantly gut America’s policy on the issue and endanger its security and energy interests. To punctuate the new potential for cooperation, China is now carrying out its largest ever joint naval exercises — with Russia.
White House Impotence Transparently Exposed in China/ Russia Hide And Seek Gaming With Snowden
history”, it must be the way it is being gamed as a diplomatic amateur by stealthy nation opponents. A salient example, among many, witnesses hapless attempts to persuade China and Russia to return National Security Agency secret information thief Edward Snowden despite numerous top-level requests. Given that most likely China and Russia have already accessed all secret information in Snowden’s possession, these denials appear to be guided by one primary intent…namely to chronicle the spectacle of their superior cat-and-mouse prowess in dealing with a feckless nemesis on the world stage.
This latest embarrassing debacle is made all the more painful to countenance at a time when America’s international leadership stakes have never been higher: when both China and Russia are openly, blatantly, arming rogue countries bent upon spreading terrorism, are developing and demonstrating advanced new intercontinental nuclear missile capabilities, and are expanding their military naval and air assets.
The re-emergence of George W. Bush
He was the invisible man of the 2012 campaign, not to mention most of President Barack Obama’s first term.
Yet in recent weeks, former President George W. Bush is having a resurgence: He’s speaking out on immigration reform and AIDS in Africa and gingerly addressing the gay marriage debate. And in a twist few would have predicted even six months ago, Bush’s public approval rating recently eclipsed Obama’s.
Who Is Racist?
Perhaps most disturbing of all, just 29 percent of Americans as a whole think race relations are getting better, while 32 percent think race relations are getting worse. The difference is too close to call, but the fact that it is so close is itself painful — and perhaps a warning sign for where we are heading.
Is this what so many Americans, both black and white, struggled for, over the decades and generations, to try to put the curse of racism behind us — only to reach a point where retrogression in race relations now seems at least equally likely as progress?
Groups that rose from poverty to prosperity seldom did so by having racial or ethnic leaders. While most Americans can easily name a number of black leaders, current or past, how many can name Asian American ethnic leaders or Jewish ethnic leaders?
The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country.
40 Minutes In Benghazi
When U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed in a flash of hatred in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, the political finger-pointing began. But few knew exactly what had happened that night. With the ticktock narrative of the desperate fight to save Stevens, Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz provide answers.
Excellence in Public Service Educational Series – ATTENTION MI POLITICOS
This weekend seminar will bring you together with other REPUBLICANS who have an interest in running for office, or managing a political campaign. We have invited nationally acclaimed speakers from our past programs with a proven track record of success in their field. If you are even thinking about running for political office in the future, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
The presentations will give you the knowledge and material needed to run for office or manage a campaign. Want to learn how to fundraise? We have a presenter who has raised money for some of Michigan’s who’s who in politics.
Revolutionary Tribunals – Our courts have too often become expressions of the popular will. – VERY DANGEROUS
We in the United States are in jeopardy of turning our own criminal-justice system into revolutionary tribunals — fanned by the popular media and public opinion and directed against so-called enemies of the people.
The American court system is insidiously focusing on social transformation rather than individual justice. If Neanderthal reactionaries in California twice voted to reiterate that marriage is between a man and a woman, then leave it to judges and courts to find them bigoted and politically incorrect. In the present revolutionary environment, the degree of the Obama administration’s enforcement of federal laws concerning gay marriage, or illegal immigration, or the new health-care law has hinged on politics and perceptions about social justice — and the courts increasingly predicate their own decision-making on these same considerations. The street can brand a court either an esteemed ally or a reactionary enemy of the people, and so the courts make the necessary adjustments.
MI SECRETARY OF state – Check out ExpressSOS.com at libraries
Thanks to a partnership between the Michigan Secretary of State’s office and local libraries, computer users at libraries can access Secretary of State services, including license tab and driver’s license or ID card renewals, submit address changes, obtain copies of vehicle title and/or registration, and even sign up to be an organ donor. All they have to do is visit ExpressSOS.com.
Congratulations to Jack Hoogendyk – moved to Wisconsin
GONGWERS News Service Reported: After running in six consecutive elections, former Rep. Jack Hoogendyk is off the ballot in Michigan for 2014.
Mr. Hoogendyk, who served as a Republican in the House from 2003-2009, ran and lost against U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Detroit) in what has become Mr. Levin’s last election, then ran twice and lost in 2010 and 2012 against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), has relocated to Wausau, Wisconsin.
There he will be the executive director of the Hope Pregnancy Resource Center, a non-profit group that, according to its website, provides “options education” for pregnant women, along with sexual health and sexual integrity counseling (sexual integrity is a way, the website said, of helping women learn how to have relationships without having sex), and provides an abortion recovery support center.
In recent months, Mr. Hoogendyk has run a conservative group called Core Principles, which has helped lead opposition to the effort to expand Medicaid among other things.
In an interview with MLive, Mr. Hoogendyk said he intends to stay active in Michigan through Core Principles and the Madison Project of Michigan which looks for “full-spectrum” conservatives to run for office.
Mr. Hoogendyk said in the interview he did not intend to run for office in Wisconsin.
Thanks for all your work for conservatives in Michigan….our loss is Wisconsin’s gain. Best of luck!
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