Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Are House Republicans doing anything wrong by refusing to fund Obamacare?

Economist Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell explains separation of powers.

Excerpt:

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its Constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

[...]When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.

Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown, and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt.

Even if the debt ceiling is not lifted, that only means that government is not allowed to run up new debt. But that does not mean that it is unable to pay the interest on existing debt.

The House Republicans have been passing bill after bill in order to fund essential responsibilities of government. It’s their decision to fund whatever they want, because that’s what the House does. But the Senate has been rejecting most of these bills. If parts of the government are “shut down” it’s the fault of the Senate Democrats. But then again, they are no more obligated to approve whatever the House wants than the House is obligated to approve what the Senate wants. Or what the President wants. That’s why there is a separation of powers: checks and balances.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

Woman shoots man who broke into her house and tried to stab her

Oh, here’s a story from the Philadelphia Daily News that won’t get national media attention and crocodile tears from Obama.

Excerpt:

A 17-year-old learned the hard way that breaking into houses is a pretty bad idea after police say a woman he attempted to stab during a home-invasion in Northeast Philadelphia shot him early Saturday morning.

Cops said the teen was one of about 10 men who kicked in the door of a house on Greenmount Road near Millbrook shortly after midnight Saturday and started fighting with two men, ages 26 and 42, who were inside. During that fight, one of the thugs threw a 40-ounce beer bottle and hit a 49-year-old woman who was also in the house at the time in the stomach.

Police said the 17-year-old who was shot during the melee went after that woman with a knife, so she pulled out a gun and shot him in the stomach. A private car dropped him off at Aria Health’s Torresdale hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

Cops said the rest of the pack who broke into the house took off in a gold vehicle. The 26-year-old man who’d been in the house at the time of the incident was bitten several times on his back and suffered lacerations to his face and body, cops said. Police did not report injuries to the woman or the other man who were attacked.

The woman will not be charged in the incident, as she acted in self-defense, authorities said. The 17-year-old is expected to face charges of aggravated assault and related offenses, according to police.

It’s very important to balance the number of times that guns are used to prevent or thwart a crime against the number of times that crazy people with crazy mothers go on a rampage. Some people drive without licenses, and some people shouldn’t be driving. That doesn’t mean that we should ban cars when unqualified and/or drunk drivers get innocent people killed in car accidents.

An important question to ask people who want restrictions on firearms is this: what would happen to this law-abiding woman if she did not have a weapon to protect herself with? The answer is that she would be assaulted and/or raped and/or murdered. And that is just fine with Democrats on the secular left, because they think that criminals are morally good, and law-abiding people are morally bad. They would have nothing to offer this woman, and that is a point that needs to be emphasized.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Keith Hennessey explains one strategy for undoing Obamacare

In the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled ObamaCare’s individual mandate constitutional, the direction of American health policy is in the hands of voters. So how do we get from here to “repeal and replace”?

Step one is electing Mitt Romney as president, along with Republican House and Senate majorities. Without a Republican sweep, the law will remain in place.

But a President Romney does not need 60 Republican senators to repeal core elements of ObamaCare. Democrats lost their 60th senate vote in early 2010 after Scott Brown took Edward Kennedy’s seat. To bypass a Senate GOP filibuster and enact portions of ObamaCare, they used a special legislative procedure called reconciliation.

Reconciliation allows a bill to pass the Senate in a limited time period, with limited amendments, and with only 51 votes; filibusters are not permitted. In 2010, Democrats split their health-policy changes into two bills, one of which they enacted through this fast-track process. In 2013, a Republican majority could use the same reconciliation process to repeal those changes.

The reconciliation process, however, applies only to legislative changes to taxes, spending and debt, or the change must be a “necessary term or condition” of another provision that affects taxes or spending.

Crucial parts of ObamaCare meet this test. Thus, if a President Romney has cohesive and coordinated majorities in the House and Senate, a reconciliation bill could repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, insurance premium and drug subsidies, tax increases (all 21 or them), Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts, its long-term care insurance program known as the Class Act, and its Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member central committee with vast powers to control health-care and health markets.

Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the financial penalty enforcing the individual mandate is within Congress’s constitutional power to “lay and collect Taxes,” and that the mandate and penalty are inextricably linked. This should suffice to enable repeal, through reconciliation, of both the individual and employer mandates, and their respective penalty taxes.

The state exchanges and insurance rules—”guaranteed issue,” which forces an insurer to sell a policy to someone who is already sick, and “community rating,” which severely limits the insurer’s right to charge that person a higher premium—are procedurally more difficult. Yet both are linked to the individual mandate, which increases taxes. Whether they can be repealed in a reconciliation bill will ultimately be decided by the Senate Parliamentarian.

Once the individual mandate is repealed, these popular insurance changes cannot stand by themselves. Without the mandate, people have every incentive to save on premiums and not buy insurance until they fall ill. This will send premiums through the roof for healthy people and, if the government clamps down on increased premiums, destroy private insurance companies. Those Republicans who say they favor legislated guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements but oppose the mandate will be forced to acknowledge that all three must go.

So, for those who are concerned about repealing Obamacare, this is the way forward. We have a tough battle to get it it done, but it is possible.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Seven of the ten richest congressman are Democrats

From the PJ Tatler. (H/T ECM and The Conscience of Young Conservative)

Excerpt:

Yes America, there is a wealth gap. Seven of the top ten wealthiest members in Congress are Democrats.

The results are based on a new study released today by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. The Center did an analysis of the financial statements filed by members of Congress for 2010 income and net worth.

This revelation of extreme wealth by Democratic politicians is completely contrary to the public image of the Democratic Party. President Obama has castigated “millionaires and billionaires,” suggesting they are evil people, largely Republican or conservative. The issue of the Democratic Party as the millionaire party has not yet made it into the mainstream media. But the facts are indisputable. Democratic members of Congress tend to be wealthier than their Republican counterparts.

According to the Center, 36 Senate Democrats and 30 Senate Republicans reported an average net worth in excess of $1 million in 2010. The median estimated net worth among members of the Senate Democrats was $2.58 million. Senate Republican median net worth was $2.43 million.

And, the wealthy Democrats tend to inherit their money.  Republicans tend to earn it.

Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all came by their fortunes through marriage or inheritance.  Senator Kerry, who was born into wealth, has listed his net worth as high as $281 million, while his wife Teresa is estimated to be worth $1 billion.  Ms. Heinz did not earn her wealth either. She inherited the money from her husband Senator John Heinz, who died in an airplane crash.

Senator Rockefeller, representing dirt poor West Virginia,  inherited his fortune from his family. He is reported to be worth $136 million.

While the economy continued to tank in 2010, Rep. Pelosi reported her own wealth to grow by 62%. Pelosi’s husband, Paul, is a financier.  They own a multi-million dollar vineyard and a number of million dollar homes. They have a net worth of $196 million.

[...]Among those who actually got their money by earning it, Republicans were in the slight majority. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a self-made millionaire earned his wealth by creating the Viper car security system. He is estimated to be worth more than $700 million.  Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) started as a rancher and attorney.  His wealth is cited as $88 million.

Rep. Vernon Buchanan (R-FL), one of only three Republicans to make the top ten earned his money through real estate and car dealerships.  He is estimated to be worth over $323 million.

Much has been made about Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) being the wealthiest Republican in the U.S. Senate. But he is ranked only number 14 because there are so many wealthier Democrats ahead of him. He doesn’t make the Top Ten. He worked as a construction superintendent.  Then started his own company. Today he is worth $107 million.

[...]The issue of politics and money has been a complicated one.  President Barack Obama brought in far more money from Wall Street in his 2008 campaign than his Republican opponent Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).  Obama raked in $1 million from Goldman Sachs employees that year.  While his numbers are lower this year, the President has attracted $15.2 million from the financial services industry that he attacks so frequently.

Many Democrats run institutions on Wall Street.  Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan has been a long-time Democratic supporter. So too has Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein.

Who are the real millionaires and billionaires?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

We can’t wait: the do-nothing Democrat Senate is blocking 15 bipartisan jobs bills

Have you heard about “The Forgotten 15“? Here’s a news article by the Washington Times that explains it.

Excerpt:

Last week, the House passed a strongly bipartisan bill which would prevent a job-killing 3 percent withholding tax on all government contractors from going into effect. Even though the White House supports the measure, Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has chosen instead to bring another “small bite” from the president’s failed American Jobs Act to the floor. He wants to hike taxes on business owners so he can blow $60 billion in more stimulus for bike paths, choo-choo trains and bus stops.

Mr. Reid can’t even round up all the Democrats behind his partisan plan, but he continues to drag his feet on items that could pass because the last thing he wants to do is adopt legislation that gives the GOP the chance to take some credit with the public.

The Senate has not been this inactive in at least a quarter-century. As of Tuesday, the Senate had held 194 votes for the year, 54 fewer than at this time last year.

The intransigence has real-world implications. In March, the House passed a strongly bipartisan bill which would have stopped a court order from imposing duplicate and expensive regulations on farmers and ranchers. The Senate never brought the bill up for a vote, and on Monday a key deadline passed, allowing new regulations on pesticide applications to go into effect. That’s bad for jobs.

House Republican leaders want the public to know that they aren’t to blame for the stalemate on Capitol Hill. Speaker John A. Boehner produced a card listing the “forgotten 15” jobs bills that have passed the House but not the Senate. The Ohio Republican gave the card to members, telling them to carry it with them, hold it up at events at home, and flash it during interviews to remind Americans that Republicans are doing everything they can to address the employment situation.

The Democratic strategy is to set up Republicans as a foil for their 2012 re-election bids. Even though the congressional approval rating is down in the single-digits, Mr. Reid wants to draw a distinction between his party and the GOP by only bringing up bills that Republicans will oppose so his caucus can send out accusatory press releases.

The messaging is carefully crafted to fit with Mr. Obama’s latest campaign trail slogans about how “we can’t wait” for Congress to act. He showed his true motives on Tuesday when the president invited congressional Democrats to the White House to ostensibly talk about the jobs agenda. He has no plans to invite Republicans over to chat.

You can print a PDF of the The Forgotten 15 card right here.

Remember, Democrats are great at spending money – not so good at creating jobs.

Projected vs Actual Unemployment With Stimulus 2011

Projected vs Actual Unemployment With Stimulus 2011

Back in 2007, when the Republicans controlled the House and Senate, the unemployment rate was near 4%. FOUR PERCENT. And we had a deficit of $160 billion – NOT 1.6 TRILLION.

Let’s take a closer look at the Forgotten 15 from an article on John Boehner’s web site.

Excerpt:

Campaigning for another failed stimulus and more job destroying taxes, President Obama has repeatedly—and falsely—asserted that “Congress isn’t willing to move” legislation to facilitate job growth. While the president plays politics, House Republicans have been working and approving legislation to promote economic growth and job creation. The House has approved more than 15 bills that, if enacted, would immediately help to grow the economy without more failed stimulus spending. These bills are currently stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate and the president has not encouraged the Senate to act.

Here is a sample:

4)  H.R. 1230—Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill would help to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.

6) H.R. 1231—Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act:  H.R. 1231 would require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.  The bill would essentially lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas estimated to contain the most oil and natural gas resources.

7) H.R. 2021—The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011:  H.R. 2021 would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.  The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between the EPA and its Environmental Appeals Board.  Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit—within six months.

10) H.R. 1938— North American-Made Energy Security Act:  H.R. 1938 would direct the President, acting through the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate with all federal agencies responsible for an aspect of the President’s National Interest Determination and Presidential Permit decision regarding construction and operation of Keystone XL, to ensure that all necessary actions are taken on an expedited schedule.  The bill would promote job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

11) H.R. 2587—Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act:  H.R. 2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

16)  H.R. 2433—Veterans Opportunity to Work Act:  H.R. 2433 would create or modify programs that provide employment and training services to veterans and service members separating from active duty.  The bill would also make changes to programs that offer home loan guarantees, ambulance services, and pension payments to qualifying individuals. Among other things, the bill would provide up to 12 months of Veterans Retraining Assistance to no more than 100,000 unemployed veterans that enter education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools to prepare them for employment in an occupational field that is determined by Department of Labor to have significant employment opportunities.

17) H.R. 674—To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities:   H.R. 674 would permanently repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities. Currently, the imposition of the 3 percent withholding is set to take effect on January 1, 2013. If the 3 percent withholding tax were implemented as scheduled, government entities would be required to withhold 3 percent of payments to persons providing property or services to the government.  For example, on an invoice for $20,000 the government would pay the business $19,400 and withhold $600 as a preemptive tax.  These added costs would almost certainly translate into fewer private-sector jobs and higher costs for the government and taxpayers.

They are actually up to 17 jobs bills now.

And finally, I have to post this funny John Boehner clip:

We need more of that Mr. Boehner. I think that was a good opportunity to say “freaking” as well. Because he should be pissed off with this Solyndra-bailout President.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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