Category Archives: Legislation

Healthcare ‘Tax’ Constitutional?- The Founders Might Say Otherwise

In today’s completely stunning decision, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal justices, creating a 5-4 majority that declared the individual mandate  a ‘tax’ and therefore constitutional.

Unbelievable though it may be, because of Chief Justice Roberts, the federal government can now essentially force you to do whatever it sees fit through the power of taxation. For example, let’s suppose the federal government institutes a law stating you must maintain a certain healthy weight and have to work out an hour every day to maintain that weight. Don’t want to? Fine, just pay a tax. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, that’s completely constitutional.

This is so obviously not constitutional, you can almost hear James Madison and the rest of the Founders weeping. After all, wasn’t one of the primary reasons the Founders declared independence because of ‘taxation without representation’? The Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, the Tea Act which led to the Boston Tea Party- all of these were heavy taxes imposed on the colonists that vastly affected trade in the Colonies. The Founders maintained it was tyrannical for a distant government to impose such heavy, burdensome taxes on its people.

How is this any different?  The Supreme Court has ruled that the individual mandate is Constitutional as a tax- a tax you have no say in. You must either have health care, or pay a tax. Your objection means nothing to the federal government. How is this not tyranny- the tyranny of a government over a voiceless people, of the same sort the Founders objected to?

It is not constitutional as a tax. The federal government’s taxing power is limited to three specific purposes- paying debts, national defense and guarding the nation’s Welfare (interests). An individual purchase ‘tax’ meets none of these requirements.

But you don’t even have to be familiar with the language of the taxing power to know that the Founders would be inherently opposed to this, and would never have given the federal government this type of absolute power over the people. In fact, they rebelled against it. History is repeating itself. The question is, what are We the People going to do about it? Lie down and let the government seize more power? Or let our voices be heard?

Individual Mandate: It’s a Tax

While everyone digests the Supreme Court ruling a few things come to mind.

Based on what has been reported it seems that if you have a job you will be taxed and those taxes will pay for health care for everyone who needs it. To be sure, there will probably be reduced taxes for those with less income, more dependents, etc.  But who can believe this will not impact the middle class?

Additionally, it was promised that a person could keep his current coverage. Yet, why would businesses, especially small, continue to pay for employee insurance when the the fine to the government would be less? Who would be surprised if businesses look at this in a dollars and cents format and decide to stop offering employee insurance? More people would then go on the government plan and. . .

Third, as the number of enrollees in the government program increase so, necessarily will need to increase. Until they reach a threshold, or breaking point. At that point services will be reduced. Payments to health care providers cut. Delays in service will occur. We will become like Canada and the United Kingdom.

As entitlements grow more will become dependent on them. We can expect to see problems in the future, just as Greece and Spain and the rest of Europe are experiencing.Those dependent on handouts will become the majority and will continue to vote for programs and lawmakers who promise to keep them.

The United States has always been a country filled with people who prided themselves on ingenuity, hard work, and a desire to provide for their families. It is time to put a stop to all the entitlement programs and return to our roots. There is now one thing to do. Vote. If we don’t change the path we are traveling it may soon be too late.

 

 

Supreme Court Rules Obamacare Constitutional

At 10:07 today, the Supreme Court ruled, against all expectations, to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. Chief Justice Roberts joined the left side of the Court, causing a 5-4 ruling, which upheld the individual mandate. Justice Kennedy did join the minority and vote against the ACA. The Court ruled that the individual mandate is a tax and is therefore constitutional.

In the words of the SCOTUS blog:

“The bottom line: the entire ACA [Affordable Care Act] is upheld, with the exception that the federal government‘s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read,”

Details are still emerging, however, this ruling can be read as nothing but an overwhelming defeat for President Obama and his big government policies.

The Delusional Deception of ObamaCare

The repetitive harmonious theme from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 was “hope” and “change”. Two hundred days into the new administration, change had occurred, but there had been little, if any hope at all. It started with a stimulus bill that did very little to revive a frail and sinking economy and a bailout of automobile industry’s that came at the expense of taxpayer’s money. Then came the massive push by the White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress to overhaul the nation’s health care system, at the expense of an angry outcry of many Americans that was heard across our vast country. The simple fact is that people are not thrilled with the government interfering with their lives, especially with their health care.

This coming Thursday, the Supreme Court is set to make a ruling on whether ObamaCare, especially the individual mandate that is at the heart and center of it, is unconstitutional. Let’s take a look back previously at the thoughts of the Americans concerning this before the bill was passed.

In July of 2009, a Time magazine poll found that 55 percent of Americans rated their health care system as “only fair” or “poor.” Six-in-ten had a negative view of private health insurance companies’ job performance. But 86 percent of Americans still said, when asked, that they were satisfied with their own health care plan. One month earlier, an ABC News/Washington Post health care poll found that six-in-ten respondents backed reform and even the creation of a government-funded entity that would offer health insurance to the uninsured.

But the same poll also found that about eight-in-ten Americans are, again, satisfied with the quality of their care and their insurance. Fifty-five percent of Americans even expressed satisfaction with the personal costs related to health care (including 61 percent of the insured). Kaiser Family Foundation polls in 2008 and 2006 echoed the same perspective. Because Americans do not want government dictating the decisions they make, they were highly determined to make their petition known to President Obama and Congress.

This was evident through recent town hall meetings and other venues that contributed to the dialogue of the health care overhaul. There were some individuals like then Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) who called people that stood in opposition of the President’s policies “not representative of America” and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who claimed that “well dressed protestors are out to harm our President.” Government’s ignorance and incompetence has left them disconnected with the American people. They have failed to realize that the only supporting voices for this socialistic overhaul are the liberal comrades that abide in Congress and the White House.

Let’s take a look at a few of the delusional ways this health care reform is being portrayed.

1.) President Obama Promises Americans Can Keep Their Current Health Care Coverage. “You know, the interesting thing is we’ve actually been very clear on what we want. I’ve said I want to make sure if you have health care you are going to keep it…” (PBS’s “The Newshour With Jim Lehrer,” 7/20/09)

FACT: Analysis Shows Over 88 Million People To Lose Current Insurance Under Government Health Care Takeover. “Under current law, there will be about 158.1 million people who are covered under an employer plan as workers, dependents or early retirees in 2011. If the act were fully implemented in that year, about 88.1 million workers would shift from private employer insurance to the public plan.” (John Shelis, Vice President, Lewin Group, “Analysis Of The July 15 Draft Of The American Affordable Health Choices Act Of 2009,” 7/17/09)

2.) President Obama Pledges Americans Can Keep Their Doctor. “If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won’t have to do a thing. You keep your plan. You keep your doctor…We’re not going to mess with it.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At White House Press Conference, The White House, 6/23/09)

FACT: Mayo Clinic Says Government-Run Health Care Will Force Doctors To Drop Patients. Lawmakers are on track to approve across-the-board federal payment reductions of $155 billion over 10 years for hospitals … Mayo and similar health systems object to the sweeping cuts. ‘Across-the-board cuts will be harmful to everyone and we think it is particularly bad to penalize the high-value organizations,’ said Jeff Korsmo, executive director of the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. ‘We will have to violate our values in order to stay in business and reduce our access to government patients.’” (Phil Galewitz, “‘Model’ Health Systems Press Case For Medicare Fix In Reform,” Kaiser Health News, 7/20/09)

3.) President Obama Promises No Additional Taxes On Middle Class. “What I’ve said is, and I have stuck to this point, I don’t want to see additional tax burdens on people making $250,000 a year or less.” (NBC’s “Today Show,” 7/21/09)

FACT: Democrats’ Plan Imposes 2.5% Tax On Uninsured Individuals. “The penalty assessed on people who would be subject to the mandate but did not obtain insurance would equal 2.5 percent of the difference between their adjusted gross income (modified to include tax-exempt interest and certain other sources of income) and the tax filing threshold …” (Douglas W. Elmendorf, “Preliminary Analysis Of The Insurance Coverage Specifications Provided By The House Tri-Committee Group,” Letter To Chairman Rangel, 7/17/09)

The outrage had continued when the White House emailed its supporters telling them to report anyone who is advertising “fishy” tales about health care reform. That was obviously code language to report anyone who disagrees with their stance. . The health care reform passed the Senate by a vote of 60-39 and the house by a vote of 219-212. Many states and individuals have filed lawsuits against this monstrosity challenging the constitutionality of it and claiming that it infringes on individual liberties and freedoms. . With an almost bankrupt economy, high unemployment rates, lack of job growth, and soaring deficits, this administration has added to this mountain of government intrusion and carelessness with this bill.

Will you believe the delusional deceptions of Obamacare or will you hold the government accountable? The Supreme Court has heard the voices of the American people. As of today, over half the United States opposes this. President Obama may hail this as a domestic accomplishment but the majority of Americans view this as a jobs-killer and a threat to freedom.

This thursday, we will see if freedom prevails or if government bureaucracy will be the victor.

All Hail President Obama, the Benevolent Dictator

We’re all sitting and holding our collective breath waiting to hear the decision from the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the health care law. But we shouldn’t worry too much, we’ve been assured by the Obama administration that they have a contingency plan if it is struck down. Mind you, we don’t know exactly what the plan is – but I think that we can assume that an Executive Order is what Obama has in mind.

Why not? The Dream Act is the perfect example. When President Obama was unable to pass it through Congress, and when he thought the polls supported it, he bypassed Congress and made it into law by writing a memo asking Janet Napalitano to use “prosecutorial discretion”. I’m so glad to see how as a Constitutional “scholar” how clearly he understands the separation of powers concept.

It’s a scary thought, an Executive branch that can write and pass legislation without the input of Congress. This is exactly the opposite of what a “republic” is. A republic is where the citizens of the country send a legislator to represent them in Congress to write laws for all of us. Instead of respecting the legislative process, President Obama would rather play the part of a benevolent dictator. When he feels it’s the “right thing to do” he goes out on his own and writes his own laws. We’ve seen it recently with the Dream Act, why not with the health care law? And let’s think back, is there anything else he wasn’t able to get through Congress over the last three and a half years?

Weak Senate Votes Down Minimal Food Stamp Cuts

Americans are speaking out demanding that the excessive spending be stopped. But is Congress hearing?

Under the Obama administration the Food Stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) has skyrocketed with 44 million now receiving assistance. A proposed amendment by Senator Jeff Sessions giving a modest cut to the program was voted down by the Democratic Senate. The amendment was hoped to add financial eligibility to the program (28 states currently have no limit on financial assets for those receiving assistance) and to stop the bonuses paid by some states used to increase enrollment. Watch Senator Ron Johnson as he explains the challenges of making even small changes to this program.

 

Chris Christie: Vampire Hunter

Gov. Chris Christie

As a former resident of New Jersey, I’m ecstatic to see what current Governor Chris Christie is doing for the state.  New Jersey residents finally have a Governor with chutzpah and fights for taxpayers interests.  However, in an effort to continue measure to return the Garden State’s economic vigor, the dreaded Corzine Democrats has re-established themselves and are threatening to shutdown the government, which still hasn’t agreed on a budget due July 1st.  Gov. Christie has rightly called them vampires, but as we all know, Mr. Christie doesn’t go down without a fight.

For over ten years my family paid $20,000 a year in just property taxes, so when we moved to Pennsylvania, let’s just say we were relieved.  Across the river we saw the good work this governor was doing.  He signed in sweeping pension reform, which would save $122 billion dollars over the next thirty years.  New Jersey’s pension fund has a $54 billion dollar unfunded liability and the system, without reform, would have gone broke by 2018.  Now dealing with a Democratic legislature in a blue state, Mr. Christie needed to compromise, but it’s a move in the right direction for the Garden State.  The deal Gov. Christie and Democrats signed off on

 would raise the retirement age for new workers to 65 from 62, and increase pension contributions to 7.5% from 5.5% for state workers and to 10% from 8.5% for public safety officers. The legislation would also suspend annual cost of living adjustments until the fund reaches a more healthy status. This provision alone could reduce retirees’ pension value by 30% over the next decade.

Once the plan is 80% funded, new employee-employer pension governing boards would be authorized to modify contribution rates and pension formulas based on the recommendation of actuaries. This would theoretically take pensions off the bargaining table, and these boards could hardly do any worse by taxpayers than the current unholy alliance of lawmakers and the public unions that finance their re-election

However, these Corzine-ites want to stop progress at all costs.  At a recent town hall meeting, Gov. Christie warned the attendees of their resurgence and their ineffective economic policies that resulted in New Jersey residents’ taxes and fees being raised every twenty-five days for eight years.  The types of Democrats who think you’re not worthy of your hard earned money and who tax, tax, and tax some more to increase the government and regulatory apparatus in Trenton. They’re back. Mr. Christie warned of their promises of putting money away for a tax cut in January, in which Christie responded, would lead to perpetual waiting at one’s mailbox because “it ain’t coming.”

Sadly, it looks like Mr. Christie will have to take another “wooden stake and put it through this type of Democrat’s heart” in the coming weeks in order to get a budget passed and maintain New Jersey’s path to fiscal health.  A path that generated 17,600 new jobs in May, which was the largest gain in seven years.

Beginning to Crack, Yet Eric Holder Remains Defiant

Attorney General Eric Holder was back in front of lawmakers yesterday, and for the first time ever displayed a crack in the battlements of his arrogance.

In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when questioned by Sen. Grassley about the release of an e-mail Holder responded, “Well, the tradition has always been by members of the Justice Department whether led by Republicans or Democrats to withhold deliberative material, but in spite of that, I want to make it very clear that I am offering to sit down by myself, I am offering to sit down with the Chairman, with the speaker, with you, whoever to work our way through this in attempt to avoid a constitutional crisis and come up with ways, creative ways perhaps, in which we can make this material available, but I’ve got to have a willing partner. I extended my hand and I’m waiting to hear back.”

Prior to the very real threat of an affirmative vote to hold him in contempt of congress, Mr. Holder has been steadfast in his refusal to even discuss the possibility of releasing any documents created after February 4th 2011 that relate to Fast and Furious.

Later in the hearing Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) dressed down Attorney General Holder in a blistering call for his resignation. “Let me talk about your record, you misled congress in February 2011 and claimed that their never had been a gun walking program and then had to retract that in November of 2011. You misled representative Issa in May 2011 saying you did not learn about the Fast and Furious program until the spring of 2011 and then you had to admit to senator Grassley that you learned about those tactics in January of 2011. You claimed in a press conference in September 2011 you had no knowledge of the Fast and Furious gun walking program, while it is clear your inner circle your high level department of justice employees received briefings and memos on Fast and Furious gun walking including Lanny Breuer, Department AG Grindler and others in early 2010. You claimed that the Fast and Furious wire tap applications did not detail gun walking tactics. I’ve read them senator Sessions has read them and senator Grassley obviously has read them, yet they do raise plenty of details to raise a red flag about this tactic. You have defied lawful and legitimate oversight responsibilities of the House of Representatives and of the Senate. You’ve ah resisted producing documents. You have produced about 7600 documents out of a pool of at least 80000 documents that would be responsive and you have failed to respond to my letter of August of 2011 where I asked you about gun walking tactics that occurred in my state. So 16 months after Fast and Furious was has been uncovered and Brian Terry lost his life in the service to his country at the hands of a drug cartel member who shot him using a weapon that was allowed to walk under this program, there has been zero accountability at the Department of Justice. You won’t appoint a special prosecutor in the face of a potential conflict of interest. You won’t tell the truth about what you know and when you knew it on Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation. You won’t answer my questions about gun walking in Texas. You won’t take any responsibility for the failures of your inner circle and you won’t acknowledge what your top aids knowingly misled congress about over eight months and your won’t hold anyone accountable. So Mr. Attorney General, I’m afraid we have come to an impasse. The leaking of classified information represents a major threat to our national security and your office faces a clear conflict of interest, yet you won’t appoint a special counsel. You won’t support a truly independent investigation and you won’t take the threat seriously. Meanwhile you still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you knew it with regard to operation Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation and you won’t hold anyone, including yourself accountable. Your department blocks States from implementing attempts to combat voter fraud. In short you’ve violated the public trust in my view by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office. So, Mr. Attorney General it is with more sorrow than with regret and anger that I would say you leave me with no alternative but to join those that call on you to resign your office. Americans deserve an attorney general that will be honest with them, they deserve an attorney general who will uphold the basic standards of political independence and accountability. You’ve proven time and time again, sadly, that you’re unwilling to do so.”

Holder responded by calling Cornyn’s list of allegations “almost breathtaking in its inaccuracy” and said: “I don’t have any intention of resigning.”

So while his resolve has perhaps softened a bit in the face of contempt charges, Eric Holder remains unwavering in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that his powers exceed those of our elected representatives.

Eric Holder Demonstrates His Contempt for Congress!

Contempt is defined as: An act of deliberate disobedience or disregard for the laws, regulations, or decorum of a public authority, such as a court or legislative body.

It is no wonder that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will consider holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on June 20 relating to the ongoing Fast and Furious ATF gun trafficking scandal.

During the House Judiciary Justice Department Oversight committee hearing on June 7th, it became abundantly clear that Attorney General Eric Holder has complete contempt for congress.

Setting aside for a moment the topic of Fast and Furious – a disastrous ATF operation to allow guns to cross the border into Mexico, and then determine at which crime scene they re-surfaced thereby tracking their purchasers – Mr. Holder’s contempt became clear as congressperson after congressperson asked Mr. Holder why they had not received an answer to a prior inquiry. Mr. Holder made it clear from his answers that he had made little or no effort to follow-up on congressional inquiries, whether they came from republicans or democrats.

In his efforts to obfuscate, delay, or outright refuse to answer questions, Mr. Holder made it clear that he holds himself beyond the reach of congressional oversight, and possibly even believes that the law is whatever Mr. Holder thinks it is at any given moment.

Ms. Lofgren (D-CA) began her questioning by saying “When you were last before us in December, I asked you about a case involving the seizure of a domain name called Jazzone.com for alleged copyright infringement. In December, you said you were unfamiliar with the case, but that you would look into it. Since that time, not only have not heard from you, but new details have surfaced.” It was clear from his answer that Mr. Holder had not looked into the case.

Chairman Lamar Smith then asked Mr. Holder, “Mr. Attorney general a number of members today have made requests from you of information. When can they expect those requests to be responded to, two weeks or so? To which the Attorney General replied, “We will do the best that we can as quickly as we can, I’m a little surprised that we have not responded to at least some of the things in connection with the last time I was here.” Indicating that he had not followed up on any of them.

Mr. King (R-IA) said “Just in picking up on the chairman’s remarks, I point out that I had a series of questions that I asked on December 8th here, and although we haven’t pressed relentlessly for those responses, I haven’t seen them and so I’m going to be submitting a new request from December 8th and additionally for this today.”

Mr Franks (R-AZ) quizzed, “Mr. Holder on April 27, 2011 members of this committee asked you to give us information surrounding the decision by justice to forgo prosecution of the un-indited co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case. This is the largest terrorism financing case in US history. You refused to comply with this request and you still have not prosecuted despite there being what many consider to be a mountain of evidence against these jihadist groups, at least one of which now says it is working inside your agency to help advise on the purge of counter terrorism training materials. We are told that this mountain of evidence which outlines the jihadist network within the United States amounts to 80 bankers boxes full of documents. This evidence was turned over to the court and much of it was given to the jihadist’s defense lawyers. Members of this committee and other committees would like to review this evidence, whether it has to be on a classified basis or not. Would you commit today to give us provide us with those documents which comprise the government’s case in the Holy Land Foundation trial?”

Eric Holder replied, “It’s hard for me to answer that question.”

Mr. Franks responded, “No it’s not, it’s just will you or will you not?”

Holder: “I will take a look at your request and see if it is appropriate or not….”

Franks: “Well we made the request on April 27th of last year and ah so far it hasn’t happened”

Louie Gohmert (R-TX) also asked Mr. Holder if they would get the documents the government provided to the defendants in the Holy Land Foundation trial, and again Holder evaded. Gohmert then asked if Holder ever demanded to know who authorized Fast and Furious. Holder replied that he asked the Inspector General to look into it.

Mr. Chaffetz (R-UT) asked if Mr. Holder would make himself available to four members of the committee to sit down and answer some questions about what they have seen in the Fast and Furious evidence.

“I’m not sure there is a lot more I can say,” was Holder’s response.

Chaffetz then asked, “did you personally read the letter Speaker Boehner sent to you?” Holder replied, “Yes I got that letter.” Chaffetz asked again, “Did you read it?” “Yes.” Then Chaffetz followed up “Did you respond to it?” Holder replied, “The deputy attorney general replied to it.”

It is evident from his evasionary tactics that the Attorney General of the United States has no intention of being straightforward or forthcoming in providing any detailed information to congress about the activities of his office, and that they ought to just leave him alone to do what he sees as his job.

Congress has no choice but to vote on contempt charges. We will see what the oversight committee decides on June 20th.

Republicans and Democrats Join Forces to Rein In EPA

EPA! EPA!

As the EPA continues to run amok, especially in their stance towards coal, three congressmen have formed a bi-partisan alliance to rein in this leviathan of regulation.  According to Audrey Hanson of Human Events, the EPA is trying to stretch the Clean Water Act to absurd limits by seeking to “control land alongside ditches, gullies and other ephemeral spots by claiming the sources are part of navigable waterways. These temporary water sources are often created by rain or snowmelt, and would make it harder for private property owners to build in their own backyards, grow crops, raise livestock and conduct other activities on their own land, lawmakers say:”

Never in the history of the CWA has federal regulation defined ditches and other upland features as ‘waters of the United States,’” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the ranking committee member, and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

This is without a doubt an expansion of federal jurisdiction,” the lawmakers said in a May 31 letter to House colleagues.

The unusual alliance of the powerful House Republicans and Democrat to jointly sponsor legislation to overturn the new guidelines signals a willingness on Capitol Hill to rein in the formidable agency.

The Obama administration is doing everything in its power to increase costs and regulatory burdens for American businesses, farmers and individual property owners,” Mica said in a statement to Human Events. “This federal jurisdiction grab has been opposed by Congress for years, and now the administration and its agencies are ignoring law and rulemaking procedures in order to tighten their regulatory grip over every water body in the country.

Twenty-six Republican senators have drafted legislation to curb the new CWA regulations.  In addition, sixty-four Republican AND Democratic members of the House have sponsored similar proposal. Hanson quoted Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming),  who captured how most conservatives feel about the EPA, declaring that “President Obama’s EPA continues to act as if it is above the law. It is using this overreaching guidance to pre-empt state and local governments, farmers and ranchers, small business owners and homeowners from making local land and water use decisions…our bill will stop this unprecedented Washington power grab and restore Americans’ property rights. It’s time to get EPA lawyers out of Americans’ backyards.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer Ignores Liberal Hypocrisy on PFA

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California)

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer’s interview with Chuck Todd on The Daily Rundown was the typical liberal jargon that is commonly seen on MSNBC.  However, this time the political opportunism amongst Senate Democrats was palpable, especially with this “fair pay” business.  We’ve all heard the statistics that women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, but when this so-called Paycheck Fairness Act failed was pushed added to the agenda, I was floored.

First of all, as Chuck Todd reiterated this morning, the bill was never going to get the sixty votes needed to proceed to a vote for approval.  Therefore, this willful campaign of self-martydom by liberals was a ploy to make Republicans look evil and continue the war on “women narrative.”  However, what is fascinating is the fact that Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s female staffers earn 27.6% less than their male counterparts.  According to the Washington Free Beacon:

Pelosi’s female employees earned an average annual salary of $96,394 in fiscal year 2011. Male employees earned $123,000 on average, a difference of 27.6 percent.

The gap is even larger if calculated using the median salaries for men and women. For Pelosi’s female employees, the median annual salary was $93,320 in 2011, compared to $130,455 for male employees—a difference of $37,135, or 40 percent.

Pelosi’s entire staff—men and women—earned an average annual salary of $108,150 and a median salary of $114,662. By both measures, women made considerably less.

 In the Senate:

Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.

Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war a women,” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent.

That is well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide. The figure is based on a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, and is technically accurate. However, as CNN’s Lisa Sylvester has reported, when factors such as area of employment, hours of work, and time in the workplace are taken into account, the gap shrinks to about 5 percent.

A significant “gender gap” exists in Feinstein’s office, where women also made about $21,000 less than men in 2011, but the percentage difference—41 percent—was even higher than Murray’s.

Barbara Boxer stated on the senate floor that “Senator Mikulski’s bill says you can’t be reprimanded or punished because you’re trying to find out if you’re being paid fairly. That’s why we have to pass this law and anyone voting against it– is taking a stand against women, is taking a stand against fairness, is taking a stand against justice — is taking a stand against our families.”  Yet, her female staffers made $5,000 less than male staffers last year.

California’s High Speed Folly

Your Tax Dollars!

More news of the stimulus’s failure emerged this week with CBO’s report citing how it may have cost $4.1 million per job, but the story that should be on everyone’s minds concerning the Obama’s agenda is California’s high speed rail project.  Calls for a high speed rail system by the Obama administration have been enhanced given China’s successful completion of their system last summer.  However, if you look at the current California project, the scale of failure is epical and our tax dollars are being poured into it.

In a rare instance, CNN gave a rather insightful report on how this proposed high speed rail is actually three times more than its estimated cost. The railroad project itself seemed sound.  A line from Los Angeles to San Francisco spanning 2oo miles was a palatable initiative for Californians, which is why they voted for a $10 billion dollar bond measure back in 2008.  However, the original estimate was in the ball park of about $34 billion dollars. It is now  projected to cost a monstrous $198 billion dollars.  Additionally, Drew Griffin, CNN Investigative Correspondent, reported that not a single rail has been laid in the four years since the initiative was passed.

This marks another stinging failure of the domestic agenda of the Obama administration.  First clean energy, now high speed rail networks.  It fits nicely into the description George Will aptly made about American liberalism on Charlie Rose last August as”an amalgamation of appetites of parochial interests.”   The project is now revised under the new Chairman of California’s Railway Authority, Dan Richard, but it’s very different original high speed blueprint. Griffin stated:

It turns out, the latest plan could be for a much slower train, not actually the high- speed futuristic cartoon California voters approved four years ago. More of a hybrid that goes slower, makes a few more stops and doesn’t quite deliver the L.A. to San Francisco promise of just a few hours.

And that’s not the half of it. This is about to become really political. California’s high-speed rail has one huge backer — President Barack Obama — and that is where you come in. The administration has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

That’s not the worst of it.  Apparently, Barack Obama, who continues to be a staunch proponent of this project:

 has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

However, even with the inflated costs and objections by local farmers, Dan Richard and the rest at the Railroad Authority aren’t giving up.  After all, as Griffin reported, “they’ve already got the promised $3 billion of your tax dollars in federal stimulus. California may not get another dime from President Obama, but it has no intention of giving back the $3 billion already promised or the billions more from California voters.”  This Rube Goldberg project is expected to take ten years to finish.  Who’s lining up to get their first ticket?

House of Representatives Fails to Pass Bill Banning Sex-Selective Abortion

This afternoon, the House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would make sex-selective abortions a federal crime. This vote comes shortly after pro-life group Live Action released two undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood workers encouraging sex-selective abortions.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Trent Franks R-Ariz., would have made aborting a baby based on its sex or coercing a woman into an abortion based on the baby’s gender a federal crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Bringing a woman into the United States for the purpose of a sex-selective abortion also would be a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill would not have punished the woman seeking the abortion.

246 representatives voted for the bill and 168 voted against, but the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass and fell short by 30 votes.

Republican supporters of the bill argue that there is clear evidence in the US of women aborting their baby due to its female gender, especially amongst women who come from cultures where having a male is preferable. This practice is well known in countries such as India and China, although sex-selective abortions have been banned due to the imbalance in the gender ratio it causes. In the wake of Live Action’s video showing employees telling customers how to get a sex-selective abortion, US abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, has refused to ban the practice of sex-selective abortions.

Democrats opposed the bill because they say the evidence of sex-selective abortions is limited. They also voiced fears that doctors would be policing their patients. Earlier, White House spokesperson Jay Carney spoke about the sex-selective abortion debate, stating that President Obama did not support a ban because he believes the vote to be purely ideological. Carney also expressed the president’s reluctance to insert federal law into private and personal decisions.

Republican legislators have noted that this fight comes in the middle of Democratic claims of the so-called Republican war on women, yet given the opportunity to protect unborn women, Democrats have refused to do so.

Kansas Gov. Signs Measure Blocking Foreign Law

Muslim groups are in a frenzy over the measure signed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback which is meant to stop the state’s courts and government agencies from making decisions based on foreign legal codes. Even though Islamic Sharia Law would most likely fall under the definition of the measure, it is not specifically aimed at it. It instead states that no rulings from administrative agencies or state tribunals can be based on any legal system or foreign law that contradicts the rights of states and the U.S. Constitution.

“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.” According to the Associated Press. However,  the alliance website does state that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.”

Muslims organizations including the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claim they will most likely challenge the law in court because supporters of the law often speak concern about Sharia law specifically. They argue the law could cause discrimination. “If he claims it has nothing to do with Shariah or Islamic law or Muslims, then he wasn’t paying attention.” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said of Governor Brownback.

Although there are no known cases of Kansas courts deferring to Sharia law, it would appear they don’t want it to become an issue.  There is a pending case were a man is attempting to divorce his wife and seeing the property be divided in accordance with Sharia law.

House Substitute for SENATE BILL No. 79 will take effect July 1st.

 

 

 

Over-Regulation Nation

Liberals love to cite how tax rates are at their lowest in recent memory, ballooning corporate profits, and how Bush era policies caused the financial meltdown.  They seem to think these are ample reasons to argue why we shouldn’t deregulate our over-regulated economy.  However, it is becoming harder for the political left to argue this point  since we are witnessing the worst recovery in American history.

The depth of the 2008 meltdown was shocking, but to lust to curb “reckless” capitalism from the political left was not only irresponsible, but also detrimental to America’s long-term economic health.  We are an over-regulated nation.  Florida requires its residents to file reports if a vending machine label is missing.  The Federal Railroad Administration mandates that a letter “F” be painted on the front of a locomotive to indicate which end of the train you are on. Bethesda officials closed a lemonade stand run by children because they lacked a trading license.

If markets are over-regulated, capitalism cannot flourish, entrepreneurship stalls, and the innovative cream that is inherent in the fabric of this nation cannot rise.  Free market enterprise is the only system that has achieved remarkable benchmarks in society.  Take China for example.  When Deng Xiaoping took over following Mao’s death, he gravitated more market-oriented reforms, especially in the rural parts of the country to help farmers.  The loosening of regulations on private business allowed them to flourished and outpace state-run enterprises.  He instituted Special Economic Zones, which allowed capitalism to flourish and attract foreign direct investment.  In short, China is an economic tiger  today because of Mr. Xiaoping.  I remember my East Asia Studies Professor, David Strand, stating in lecture that in this period the middle class of china grew from 5-15 million to nearly 300 million during this economic restructuring.

By loosening regulation, China was allowed to grow.  America’s political left should consider this.  Instead, we roll out disastrous financial regulations, like Dodd-Frank, which is a monstrous 848 pages long!  It contains 400 new mandates, of which only 93 are law and intelligible enough to follow.   The new law is a mess, whose difficulty has been cited by firms. The regulatory leviathan is worse when you look at health care.

On average, one hour spent on a patient is equivalent to thirty minutes of paperwork.  The number of federally mandated reimbursements for hospitals for various ailments will increase from 18,000 to 140,000 that range from parrots, burns, and flaming water skis.  In the Obama’s administrations huge power grab with Obamacare, it only adds more red tape, paperwork, and headaches.  It is the wonder of socialized medicine. In all, the cost of these regulations is staggering.  A study from the Small Businesses Administration found that our over-regulated economy costs an employer $10,585 dollars.

America’s overregulation derives from big government.  President Obama’s desire to increase the welfare state has proven to be expensive and killing America’s potential to have robust economic growth.  His reforms and new mandates costs employers capital that could be used for investment to grow their businesses.  These aren’t fat cat bankers.  Small businesses employ the most workers in America and make less than $250,000 a year, but suffer at the behest of President Obama’s intransigent liberalism.   Government involvement, and the resulting ineptitude that is killing America’s middle class, can best be summarized in the words of Milton Friedman, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

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