Archive

September, 2010

The Emperor’s New Clothes

TARP was supposed to rescue our financial system from total collapse by providing capital to failing financial firms; when the firms had stabilized and then paid back the money borrowed plus interest that returned money would be used to pay down the deficit. Contrary to express language in the bill, the Obama Administration bailed-out a number of imprudent financial and insurance firms, not only by the provision of capital, but also by the purchase of stock in these institutions.

TARP funds were also used for the hostile takeover of most of the nation’s automobile industry by stealing the value of the companies from investors and transferring it to the favored unions as part of a grand wealth redistribution scheme. Money returned by the financial firms has not been used to pay down the deficit, instead, it’s become a massive slush fund for Obama to distribute to his favorite special interests, like SEIU and ACORN.

The DISCLOSE Act was forged in dark, smoke-filled back rooms, behind closed doors, with Obamacrats and a gaggle of Most-Favored Lobbyists nose to nose as the special interests wrote in carve-outs for themselves, and the Obamacrats added language that hamstrings the opposition. They claim their legislation increases transparency and provides a more level playing field for more fair campaign financing. In reality, the Act does nothing to increase transparency and skews the playing field in favor of the Democrats by giving them an unfair advantage.

The Act goes on to provide for warrantless, compulsory submission of sensitive, private donor and member lists to the government, exposing vulnerable opposition supporters to government intimidation and persecution. While 2010 pre-election efforts to pass this legislation have been unsuccessful, the ideas behind the proposal have not been abandoned, and similar legislation is planned for the future.

Attempts by the Obamacrats to limit constitutionally guaranteed rights are not restricted to campaign free speech. Laws and executive orders have been promoted to restrict the free practice of religion, to limit other forms of free speech, and to abridge the right to keep and bear arms. In addition, the government takeover of student loans for higher education is being used to promote student indoctrination by providing financial aid only to students attending schools “approved” by the government. Other Obamacrat measures seek to control what kinds and how much energy Americans use, which energy industries will be permitted to survive, what body-mass index (BMI) is acceptable for Americans, and which foods and condiments Americans will consume.

President Obama touts the new financial reform law as ending any further taxpayer bailouts and as a boon to the consumer. In reality, the financial takeover legislation creates more layers of bureaucracy and red tape that dramatically increases cost to any business offering credit or financial services; this increased cost is passed along to the consumer. Millions of small businesses, including doctors, dentists, and local retailers, are no longer able to offer payment plans to their customers. Credit card companies have already raised interest rates and banks are no longer offering free checking in light of the new rules.

Written into the financial reform bill, the President and Secretary of the Treasury, are obligated to bailout, with taxpayer money, any company that they deem, at their sole discretion, to have serious financial difficulties. Favored companies will be propped up and preserved with taxpayer money. Politically unfavored companies, especially those that actively oppose the government’s agenda, will be placed in receivership, assets will be liquidated and sold at bargain-basement prices to favored companies, and favored companies will benefit from the reduced competition.

Two companies that played a big role in the housing and financial collapse that precipitated the Obama Depression, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, received a blank check from Obama as a perpetual, unlimited and continuous bailout using taxpayer funds, permitting these companies to continue to make the same high-risk, sub-prime loans that triggered this financial collapse. Likewise, the highly-leveraged mortgage-backed derivative market continues unchecked, where high-risk vehicles can produce eye-popping gains that are pocketed, or staggering losses that are bailed-out by Uncle Sam.

These companies were not included in the new financial law, and the business plan and practices that led to the failure of Fannie, Freddie, and Wall Street firms have not been corrected. The continuous drain on the treasury to pump life into the failed Fannie, Freddie, and others, along with the promise of bail-out for Wall Street and other large companies as needed, does nothing to restrict excessive risk-taking and adds daily to skyrocketing government spending and deficits.

Businesses and individual taxpayers shoulder the burden of higher taxes needed to help people who can’t afford a home buy one anyway, and to enable Wall Street’s gambling addiction by allowing them to enjoy their winnings without suffering the negative consequences of their actions in terms of losses that are bailed-out by taxpayers.

The financial legislation also gives the Administration unrestrained power to determine at its arbitrary and sole discretion, if a business should be declared insolvent or about to be insolvent, to take over that business, and distribute assets to cronies. This has sent a chill over the business community, as it is forced to think twice before donating to the opposition, when doing so could lead to very real dissolution of the business, in retaliation, by Obama’s lethal financial weapon. All of this contributes to iron-fisted control by the government of the American economy on an apparently unstoppable march to socialism and totalitarianism.

Obama’s Stimulus Bill is credited by the Administration with “saving or creating” millions of jobs, and breathing new life into a severely injured economy. The Stimulus Bill was advertised as principally funding “shovel ready” infrastructure projects. The truth is less than a third of the Stimulus money spent went towards anything that even slightly resembled infrastructure projects. Instead of saving or creating jobs, since the Stimulus Bill was signed into law, there has been a net extinction of millions of jobs, most of which were losses suffered by the private sector, and unemployment lines have never been longer, outside the Great Depression.

Most of the Stimulus money, which was primarily supposed to help the private sector, hardest hit by the Obama Depression, has been squandered. At a time when the average government worker makes over twice the income of non-government workers, the majority of this taxpayer-funded windfall went to government and union jobs and benefits, cementing organized labor support for the Obamacrats. The remainder was wasted on pork-barrel payback to other cronies to further strengthen the political base.

Obama and his minions have stumped the country proclaiming the “Bush Recession” over and prosperity in view, believing, against hope, that if they ritualistically repeat the words often enough, they will magically come true and naïve Americans will accept them at face value. On their way to imaginary prosperity, Obama and the Democrats swallowed whole, Keynesian economic theory: if the government could just spend enough billions, the consumer-driven economy would turn around. In reality, despite over a trillion dollars of stimulus, growth remains at a dismal 1.6% and true jobless figures remain at a devastating 15% plus.

The Obama-led race to spend money we didn’t have led to an astronomical deficit; these huge deficits imperil the financial and national security of the nation. As deficits rise, interest on the debt rises exponentially. The excesses of today will be paid for by the sweat of our grandchildren in the future. This is not the legacy that Main Street Americans want to leave for their posterity. Part of the American dream is that our children should have a better life than we did. How can this American dream come true when our children and grandchildren will be saddled with the monstrous debt that this generation has accumulated over our lives? The Obamacrats continue to insist that our country is still much better off, even despite the massive deficits.

But the Family on Main Street is still out of work, and is trapped, upside-down in a high-interest mortgage, unable to refinance despite record low mortgage rates because appraisal value is significantly less than the balance owed. The Family is behind on payments or fighting foreclosure, owes $10-15 thousand dollars in credit card debt at recently raised exorbitant interest rates (another benefit of the financial bill), has exhausted savings and tapped into retirement accounts for living expenses, and has put off necessary expenditures for major items like a new roof, furnace replacement, auto repair or an expensive, indicated healthcare procedure. Despite active searching, no prospect of employment is apparent, and discouragement sets in.

The Small Business (SB) on Main Street is not doing much better: SB has been through downsizing and belt-tightening, trying to remain profitable in a marketplace where demand has dropped precipitously. The SB has too much debt, at unfavorable rates, production is down and receipts are too little. Money is tight, and the SB no longer has a standing line-of-credit with its bank, which it had used on occasion to cover cash-flow shortfalls. On some paydays, the SB owners do not draw a paycheck in order to make payroll for others in the company. What assets remain available are horded by the SB and spending on supplies or maintaining large inventories is curtailed.

A tidal wave of new regulations coming from Washington (Obamacare, the Financial Bill, the DISCLOSE Act and other legislation, executive orders and regulatory agency rulings), many yet to be written by their respective agencies, are casting a pall of uncertainty on the Main Street SB. Heavy regulation, such as that seen over the last 18 months and including the financial reform bill and Obamacare, dramatically increases the cost of doing business.

Without knowing exactly how these regulations will affect it, the Main Street SB knows it’s going to take a major hit. However, it has no way of determining the magnitude of the damage to be done, or to plan for the anticipated increase in costs, restrictions, reporting requirements and red tape. In this overburdened, uncertain and anti-business climate, the SB is paralyzed. Hunkering down, the SB is cutting personnel and other expenses to the bone, is struggling to get out of debt, is conserving capital and deferring any plans for hiring or expansion. Waiting on the sidelines for months and years for the business climate to improve, hope for the promised economic recovery has begun to fade and the SB contemplates permanently closing its doors.

Obama has promised on multiple occasions, that those with an income of $250,000 or less would not be subject to any tax increases. New Obama initiatives, astronomical government spending and deficits, and refusal to renew the Bush tax cuts have crushed that promise by imposing higher taxes on all Americans at a time when Americans can least afford it.

With Obamacare, the President promised “If you like your health insurance and your doctor, you can keep your health insurance and your doctor”. Obama promised that government would not get between the doctor and patient, and that there would not be rationing of healthcare or any “death panels” deciding who will live and who will die on a cost-benefit basis. Obama promised that public funds would not pay for abortion, that government healthcare spending would be contained, that healthcare and insurance expenses for the consumer would be reduced, and that actual savings from Obamacare would help pay down the deficit.

Estimates of the true cost of Obamacare have recently been dramatically revised upward, and this is now shown to be adding significantly to the deficit instead of reducing it. The cost of healthcare and insurance to the consumer has also increased because of Obamacare. Avoiding congressional and public scrutiny, Obama recess appointed “Dr. Rationing and Death Panel” as the director of CMS, the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, and this Director, with Obama’s approval, is planning on limiting the healthcare anyone can receive, making healthcare decisions previously made between the physician and patient, and withholding care when the government determines that the value of the individual to society is not worth the cost.

Public funds provided through Obamacare may be used to pay for abortions depending on the individual states. Also, most people will not be able to keep their same doctor or health insurance. During the Obamacare debate, a majority of the people recognized Obama’s dishonesty and fought passage of the bill. A smaller but not insignificant percentage of the people, took Obama at his word, and passively accepted passage of the bill, patiently awaiting Obama’s promises to be fulfilled. It is rapidly becoming apparent, even to this smaller, more passive group of Americans, that Obama was not being truthful and is not to be trusted.

President Obama and his Administration have been braying loud and proud about all of the good things Obama has done for the country, the economy, small business and the little people across the nation. However, this self-congratulatory trumpeting rings hollow on Main Street where the lack of any positive Obama accomplishment is glaringly apparent.

The Emperor’s procession moved slowly down the central road of town, lined with peasants cheering the Emperor. The Emperor’s advisors motioned for the peasants to come close to admire the Emperor’s new suit of clothes, handmade of the finest silk by the most skilled tailors in the land. “Only the most intelligent among us can truly appreciate the excellence of the Emperor’s new clothes”, they said, and the peasants clucked approvingly. As the procession neared the center of town, a small boy on the side of the road tugged at his father’s sleeve, “The Emperor has no clothes” he said. On hearing this, all the peasants looked again at the Emperor, and realized the boy was right, The Emperor Has No Clothes!

Amnesty (Is) For Dummies

Amnesty is defined as the action of governments by which persons or groups who have committed a criminal offense of a political nature that threatens the sovereignty of a country, are granted total or partial, conditional or unconditional, immunity from prosecution for that crime. Amnesty law, the core of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, is not the solution to our illegal alien crisis, despite misguided claims from the Left. Indeed, past amnesty law dramatically increased illegal immigration, and any suggestion of new amnesty law only encourages more of the same, with illegals crowding into the country to get in under the wire at the prospect.

Even the potential for amnesty rewards lawlessness, penalizes legal immigrants & lawful citizens, leads to a dramatic increase in illegal alien immigration, contributes to the deterioration of American sovereignty, culture & language, undermines our socio-economic stability & growth, and promotes unchecked, single-party dominance, destabilizing our two-party political system. No Amnesty should be offered and no illegal aliens should ever be allowed to vote.

One of the key components of the current illegal immigration crisis is “birthright citizenship”, based on misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 1, where it says:
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“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”
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Based on this “Citizenship Clause”, even children born in the U.S. to illegal alien parents are currently considered citizens. This definition of birthright citizenship has led to the practice of foreign women crossing the border into the country illegally, for the sole purpose of giving birth to a child in an American hospital, so that baby would be a citizen of the U.S. and serve as an “anchor baby”, facilitating the legal immigration of the entire extended family, and, in turn, the extended families of each individual of the original extended family, and so on. Recent reports have found that, while illegal aliens comprise only 4% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 8% of babies born in the United States.1

Considering this rate of birth of anchor babies, the subsequent family members that will immigrate based on these births, and the current and projected rates of illegal immigration, the sheer numbers of illegal aliens constantly breeching our borders are overwhelming. There is a huge toll to be paid for this; the cost to American taxpayers and culture vastly outweighs any benefit from work done and taxes paid by illegals.2,3,4 Illegal aliens must not receive welfare, medical coverage, Social Security, or any other services at the expense of taxpayers, as this costs the public millions of local and federal dollars, and voraciously consumes local and national resources.

This clause of the 14th Amendment was intended to assure citizenship to the children of African-American, former slaves, in anticipation of Southern challenges to black citizenship rights. Many have the erroneous belief that birthright citizenship applies to all children born on U.S. soil. In fact, children of foreign diplomats born in this country are not U.S. citizens.5 Furthermore, the 14th Amendment was never intended to extend birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens. U.S. Senator Jacob M. Howard was the author of the 14th Amendment “Citizenship Clause”. During debate over this clause, Senator Howard confirmed that children born in the U.S. to foreign or alien parents were not birthright citizens. This was recorded in the Congressional Record of the time: 
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“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the family of ambassadors, or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”6
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Congressional debate at the time also established that “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. meant that children born in the U.S. to parents who owed any allegiance to a country other than the U.S. (i.e. a foreign citizen), would not automatically be citizens. Congress was referring, in the 14th Amendment, to those who were completely subject to U.S. jurisdiction, those who would enjoy the full rights and shoulder the full responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, including being subject to military draft, voting and holding office, and being capable of being charged with treason. Illegal aliens simply do not meet this qualification.7

To fix the anchor baby portion of the illegal immigration crisis, it is not necessary to repeal the 14th Amendment, as some have proposed. Rather, congressional legislation could reaffirm the original intent of the “Citizenship Clause” and all children subsequently born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant mothers would retain their foreign citizenship, would no longer be birthright U.S. citizens and would no longer be able to serve as anchor babies.8 

Immigration law mirroring federal statute was passed in Arizona in 2010, in response to a virtual invasion of illegals, with thousands of people crossing the border from Mexico each day. Other States have also noted an influx of illegals and are planning similar legislation. State immigration laws like Arizona’s are necessary when the government fails to uphold, and continues to delay, fulfilling federal obligations to provide border security and protection from violent illegals and foreign drug cartels.9,10 While Arizona went to great lengths to assure there would be no racial profiling and the law would meet constitutional muster, many, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, criticized the Arizona law as racist and unconstitutional, before admitting they had not yet read the law.

In fact, President Obama indicated to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona that he is holding border security hostage until he gets the necessary political cooperation to pass Amnesty law.11 In addition, rather than provide assistance to this embattled State, the Obama Administration, acting through the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, filed against the State of Arizona in federal court and was granted a stay of several key portions of the law. The injunction was reported to have been issued based on the Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause”, where, if there is overlap, federal statutes supersede those of the States. This temporarily halted meaningful implementation of the Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070, pending appeal.12

Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution grants power to the Congress to uniformly regulate “naturalization”, which is the process involved in a foreigner obtaining citizenship. However, since the power to regulate “immigration”, the relocation of foreigners into the U.S., is not granted to the federal government, this power, by default, belongs to the States. As such, Arizona and all other States in the Union, have the right and obligation to establish and enforce their own immigration laws.

Article 1, Section 10, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution clearly gives Arizona the right to wage a defensive “war” based on the imminent danger of the illegal immigrant invasion of Arizona and President Obama’s persistent delay in providing assistance:
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No State shall, without the Consent of Congress…engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
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Article 3, Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution organizes the judicial system, and determines that where a legal action involves a State, the Supreme Court is the only court where such actions can be tried:

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In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
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Having filed an invalid action in federal court and obtained an invalid ruling from a federal judge in regard to the State of Arizona, Mr. Holder finds himself in another awkward situation. Any action the federal government wants to take against Arizona, must be correctly tried only by the Supreme Court. Whether the federal or State government, in the end, takes responsibility for the border, it is essential that it be secured without delay. The imperative of border security is a key part of National Security and is heightened by the ease with which known terrorists can illegally traverse the border without detection, to infiltrate American society with murderous intent.

Some have proposed, as a solution to our illegal immigration crisis, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, which is Washington-speak for Amnesty. However, we have seen that Amnesty is no solution and would only worsen the problem. The key to a real solution is strengthening and enforcing current immigration law. If proper enforcement prevents U.S. employers from hiring illegal aliens, these jobs will “dry up” and illegal aliens, most of who came here to work, will pack up and go home without further incentive.

Those choosing to commit the crime of illegal immigration understand that family separation is an integral part of this choice. However, families should not be torn apart, if at all avoidable. Rather, as unemployed illegal aliens repatriate themselves, they are encouraged to keep their families intact by taking them along with. Serious consideration should also be given to advancing the legal immigration and naturalization of more highly-educated and skilled workers, if demand exists.

References

1.  Jordan M. Illegal Immigrants Estimated to Account for 1 in 12 U.S. Births. The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, August 12, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/2cmgbp2

3.  McNeill JB. Amnesty as an Economic Stimulus: Not the Answer to the Illegal Immigration Problem. May 18, 2009, The Heritage Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/25nyobo

4.  Smith L. Immigration: Many Questions, A Few Answers. October 3, 2007, The Heritage Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/2gyz7rj

5.  Gordon R. The Diane Rehm Show: The Debate Over Immigration and Birthright Citizenship. Case Western Reserve University School of Law News. http://law.case.edu/Home/News.aspx?id=807&content_id=57

6.  Howard JM. The Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, Senate, 1st Session, May 30, 1866, p. 2890. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcg.html

7.  Feere J. Backgrounder: Birthright Citizenship in the United States, A Global Comparison. Center for Immigration Studies, August 2010. http://www.cis.org/birthright-citizenship.

8.  Lee M. More Key Issues: Illegal Immigration. Mike Lee for U.S. Senate 2010. http://www.mikelee2010.com/

9.  Archibald RC, Cooper H, Hulse C. Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration. April 23, 2010, New York Times. http://tinyurl.com/22q2h4b

10. Brewer J. Arizona Border Security Information: Brewer Letter to President Barack Obama on Immigration. April 6, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer’s website. http://azgovernor.gov/AZBorderSecurity.asp

11. FOXNews.com. Kyl: Obama Won’t Secure Border Until Lawmakers Move on Immigration Package. June 21, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/358m6au

12. Markon J, McCrummen S, Shear MD. Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 – Judge Blocks Some Sections. July 29, 2010, The Washington Post. http://tinyurl.com/28ry299
2.  Wagner PF, Amato D. The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures and Statistics on Illegal Immigration. http://tinyurl.com/ybtwl8s