Wednesday, September 25, 2013

GOP Can Avoid Obama Shutdown With a Simple Plan - Void the ACA Waivers

The US Congress is struggling over a continuing resolution (CR) this week.  The GOP  members in the US House want to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while the Democrats are calling that DOA.  The result if no one gives an inch is the the federal government will technically be broke - no money to spend, when the fiscal year ends on September 30th, 2013.

Well, t heard someone called into the Bill Bennett Radio Show this morning and suggest that congress ought amend the CR by voiding the President's ACA waivers


So I let my congressional representative in on the idea and sent an email.  I suggest that anyone reading this do the same.

Here is how it went.

Dear Representative Buchanan,

The current budget continuing resolution (CR) is having difficulties being passed with the defunding of the ACA (ObamaCare).  I believe there is a better way to prevent President Obama and the Democrats in congress from shutting down the government while cracking the ACA's armor.

Add an amendment/rider to the CR that voids all of the President's ACA waivers.

Voiding the waivers would force all of those with waivers to immediately comply with ACA's requirements.  This plan has the additional benefit of putting President Obama and Senator Reid in a position where they would have to defend the waivers.  Waivers they gave their supporters, but would not give to average Americans struggling to make ends meet. 

Those who have waivers know it's bad for people and bad for creating jobs.  When they lose the waivers, it is very likely they will no longer support the ACA , so we may find even more support for repealing it altogether.  

I believe the President's waivers are contrary to the equal treatment requirements the US Constitution and are a violation of his oath of office. So eliminating them is only the right thing to do.  We know that politicians who support the waivers are merely providing cover for the ACA’s failings and are probably in violation of their oath of office as well.

I urge you to use this idea to help the American people get away from the looming specter of ACA ruining our health care system.

Thank you for your support

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Public School Education - Standardized Testing: FAIL

Skimming through Failblog, I see a teacher's conversation with a 4th grader, apparently posted to Facebook. It makes the case to stop making schools perform like trained monkeys to satisfy some federal level politician's grandiose plan to "fix" the education system.

I'd say it's time to get the federal out of state and local education and allow localities to manage their own school systems.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Would Mohammed Do?

OK, so, you want to learn, or teach, multiculturalism   Is it appropriate to disparage someone's religion in a government run university?

A local CBS news outlet in Miami is reporting that a student was suspended for refusing to disparage Jesus.  Apparently the worldly professor instructed students to write the name Jesus and a piece of paper and then stepping on it.  Ryan Rotella, described as a "a deeply religious Mormon", refused to play, claiming:
"Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value,” *
CBS reports that FAU responded, saying:
"Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate.” *
 OK, but this "exercise" doesn't demonstrate a complete lack of respect for someone's religious beliefs?  Did he follow on with the exercise writing "Buddha" on it?  "Mohammed"?   I will bet the answer is "no", as in "no freakin' way". Because, you know, it's OK to stomp on Christian icons, but not others. Everyone knows the Christians will not declare a Jihad against you and hunt you and your family down and then torture and murder you all for slighting their icon.

It just makes you wonder how cowardly and mushbrained you'd have to be to become a professor at a government sponsored college in America.  Just sayin'.

*from CBS news online in Miami 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fixing the Ecomony

This government has been doing things wrong.  They are keeping with political considerations that tend to exclude the needs of the people while ensuring their own power and standing... along with their friends with deep pockets.  If they really wanted to re-start the US (and world) economy they would have done some very different things.

My best guess to fix the recession problem in 2009 would include:

1. Breaking up the "too big to fail" banks as they did with Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph (ATT).
2. Re-write the mortgages of families to the new lower value: with credit for principle paid.
3. Instituted a flat tax rate with no loopholes beginning at an income of $40K per family.
4. Cut corporate taxes to 20% with only legitimate expense deductions.
5. Keep dividend taxes at 20%.

Here's why.

Too big to fail

The "too big to fail" scenario doesn't allow for failure without costing the American people too too much.  Simply look at what did happen when the too big to fail corporations failed.  Here is a short list of what happened.

1. Many families lost their homes, their jobs, their savings, their equity in their homes and had their credit rating smashed.

2. The banks received taxpayer dollars, real and borrowed, to bail them out.  They did not loose their jobs, savings, homes or even their credit rating. And, to add insult to injury, the grab the real estate for resale and return none of the money families paid to them.  It was and is a win win for bankers.

3.  With all of the real estate being readied for re-sale, the housing market took a steep plunge.  New homes in my area stopped being built for at least 2 years.  No need.  Real estate agents had thousands of empty homes in their areas just sitting and waiting for buyers.

4.  The bankers then saw, by their own standards  that the economic conditions were not very good for investment, so they curtailed their investments.  Look around.  Are they wrong? (no)

Re-writing mortgages of families

It would be only fair, in my mind, if the mortgages were rewritten to reflect the actual current value of the home and insist that the buyers continue to own their homes.  The mortgage holders had already claimed they lost on third to on half of their investments.  So why not adjust the mortgage itself?  I would add a moratorium on home payments until people were receiving paychecks again.  The mortgage holders had already wrote off one third to one half of the value of those investments, so how would keeping the homeowners in the home with the prospect of receiving their mortgage payments at some time soon. This most likely would have the following affects.

1. There would not be a flood of empty homes on the market that would depress the housing market. home values would have stabilized much quicker.

2.  Homes would not stand empty; furthering their loss of value.

3. People would not be homeless and dependent on government for housing, along with food and other necessities.

4.  People who work hard to achieve some success, including the dream of home ownership would not have had the rug pulled out from under them by their government and lean holders.

5.  The economy would have picked up much faster without a depressed housing market.

6.  People would be motivated to find a job in order to continue to keep their homes. The 99 weeks of unemployment benefits would not be necessary.

The current income tax situation

The government, under plans that were demanded by DC politicians started debating the expiration of Bush era tax rates and taking the country to the brink of shutting down the government in 2010 and 2012 (election years), and keeping an air of uncertainty in corporate, along with personal, financial planning.  It was and is yet another good reason for bankers not to loan money to business or to individuals who are able to buy homes or invest in their companies.

Politicians insist on raising the taxes on the wealthier Americans to make up for their overspending and borrowing. As bad as it is, they would continue using their progressive tax system.  

Frankly, I see nothing progressive about it other than the progressively higher rates that punish success and reward mediocrity and failure.  Why do we punish success?  That makes no sense to me.  The successful took nothing from me or my family, so why should I care how much they earn?

Here is why I would dump the entire income tax system and replace it with a Flat and Fair Income Tax

1. It is unfair and unconstitutional.  Equal treatment under the law is one of the concepts and practices that makes this country greater than all the rest.  A people cannot be free when the government picks life's winners and  The idea of equal treatment under the law and that was made clear when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. The current tax system classifies Americans by level of earnings and then taxes us at a different rate depending on what class our earnings place us in.  These classes are entirely arbitrary: decided on through compromise by people who exclude themselves from many laws they impose on us. It is unfair and therefore unconstitutional.

2. Our politicians use the tax code, not only to fund their pet projects, but to influence how we act as individuals.  The income tax code gives a monetary break if you conform.  Save for retirement: Discount. Get married: discount, have children: discount. Buy a home: discount. Have more children than you can afford, Refund!

Don't get me wrong, if the government were lawfully permitted to categorize individuals and treat them differently, then these rewards for doing something you were probably going to do anyway would be a wonderful thing (we could all use more of our own money).  But, as it is now, these are just misguided talking points the politicians use to sell themselves to you during election time.  The proof is this: Knowing what I think about the tax code, would elect me to be your representative in congress?  Probably not, so don't get any ideas about that!

Recently, we've had an emphasis on procuring health care insurance   So why is it such a non-priority in the tax codes discount and exemption scheme?  I do not have the answer to that question.  But it just seems a little fishy that we are only allowed to deduct the amount we spend on health care that is over 7.5% of our taxable income.  And the Affordable Health Care Act will raise the cut off to 10% in a few years. (Forbes- Tax Breaks For Medical Expenses Under ObamaCare, 11/26/2012)

Flat and Fair Tax

1.  A Flat and Fair Income Tax would still extract much more from "the rich" than it takes from Middle Class and poorer Americans.  if a flat tax were set at 15% it would work like this.

Earnings                    tax

$50,000.00             $7500.00
$500,000.00          $75,000.00
$1,000,000.00       $150,000.00
$500,000,000.00 $750,000.00

2.  While the comparison above is made to be easier to understand, I believe that people who do not earn enough to support themselves and their families should not have the additional financial burden of paying income taxes to the government.  An equitable number, say $40,000.00 for a family of three (two parents and a child) , would be the lower limit on taxable income. Of course the starting point would be negotiable.

3. It would remove all of the document hoarding, jumping through hoops to find deductions, credits and loopholes in the tax code, that currently have Americans scrambling to act and spend in a way approved by the political class and their bureaucrats.  There would be no one paying zero income taxes, except those who do not make enough to support their families.  Off shore accounts to hide earnings would be largely unnecessary.

Cut corporate taxes

Let's fact the facts of the modern economic playing field: US Corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world at 35%.  President Obama has said he would lower it to 28%, but has yet to implement that reduction.

US companies are moving overseas, according to the Wall Street Journal  These companies have an obligation to their stockholders and owners to Stay in business and to be profitable.

When the government burdens them with higher taxes (among other inhibitors) they will rightfully find a way to minimize the impact.

Keep dividend taxes at 20%

When new businesses start up they need capital to operate long enough to become profitable and self sustaining... or fail.  This capital comes from investors.  Investors invest to make a profit on their loans.  The more money they have to invest, then more capital is available to invest. The companies and businesses that have access to those investors the more jobs are created.  More jobs equals more income taxes being paid and fewer people needing assistance from the taxpayers.

For those who are concerned that a relatively low tax rate would reduce tax revenue, it's rather simple.  The revenue will be made up from more jobs and less spending.  That's how Reagan, Clinton and Bush did it. Before the crash, President Bush added over 7 million jobs to the economy.

Too Bad

Too bad these kinds of ideas weren't implemented in 2008 when the economy came crashing down.  If they had, I believe that by this time (2013), the economy would be buzzing along at double or triple the current anemic growth rate of around one percent. The unemployment rate would back down to around 5% (without numbers games the government plays on this), wages would be up, deficits would be down and there would have been no fiscal cliff drama, no Bush tax cuts battles (twice) and no manufactured "sequestration" crisis.

It could still be implemented... some of it anyway.  But, even though I am an optimist in most things, this one doesn't look so good.  Too many are enjoying the receiving better then the giving and too many are are looking out for number one.  And I do not mean the people.  The people are too busy scrambling to to keep their heads above water to pay much attention to Washington DC's machinations and that's too bad. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CA Proposition 8 Declared Unconstitutional by Gay Judge.

After a 13-day hearing California's Proposition 8, the Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, has been struck down again by "a federal appeals court panel". 
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage licence," he said. "Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples".

The citizen's amendment, passed by California voters in 2008, was struck down by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in 2010 

This decision is particularly disturbing because it misinterpreted the CA Constitution's provisions for referendums brought by the people, as this one was. Judge Walker struck it down saying that the state legislature has an obligation to judge its rationality and citing a rationality requirement and then getting that wrong.*  

What some people fail to understand, or choose to ignore (such as judge Walker and this panel did) is that the US Constitution limits government involvement in the personal decisions made by individuals. The only constitutional concern involve violations of the rights of other individuals.  Enshrining the definition of marriage violates no one's rights. 

The US Constitution is a binding contract between people that establishes a government with  limited government powers (1). To that end it lays out very specific limitations on the ability of government officials to wield the power that is allowed to them by the people. The 10th Amendment (2), part of the Bill of Rights, spells this out. Additionally, there is no mention of marriage anywhere in the US constitution, including the amendments. Common sense would conclude that, by law, marriage is excluded from federal control (3).  While marriage is a natural right, it is not a "right" protected by the US Constitution.

On the other hand, states have no such limitation. State laws must comply with federal law, but beyond that, it is the people who decide what powers the state and local governments have and enforce.

If the a state wants to promote gay marriage, or not, it is within their contractual power. The people out rank state and federal judges, legislatures and executive branches.  We exercise our power at the ballot box.  Californians did so in a lawful and rational way.

The people sponsored and agreed to amend California's Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. A federal judge has no jurisdiction and no power to strike down or set aside the voice of the people on issues "not delegated to the United States by the Constitution" in California or any other state.

California is suffering under an overbearing and uncontrolled federal judiciary that is intent on reforming the social contract that was meant to be left to Americans who should be adjusting as the people see fit.  One judge should not have the power to thwart the known position of the people. With any luck, Proposition 8's supporters will take this all the way to the US Supreme Court.  But then, even that court has been a little iffy lately.


1. Preamble to the US Constitution
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
2. Amendment X 
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

3. Interstate Commerce 
"The US Constitution does empower the federal government to regulate instate commerce in Article 1, Section 8, paragraph 3.  Marriage has legal and economical implications that cross state lines."