Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Only one Democrat senator voted to limit future IMF bailouts for Europe

Sen. Jim Demint

Sen. Jim Demint

First, a quick re-cap on Jim Demint’s Amendment 501, which would have prevented the IMF from using $108 billion of American money to bail out foreign nations.

Excerpt:

The Senate on Wednesday defeated an amendment in a 44-55 vote that would have prevented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from using $108 billion in U.S. monies to bail out foreign nations.

The author of the amendment, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), said he is concerned that the IMF is using U.S. funds to rescue irresponsible nations and banks. He said the U.S. can no longer afford to offer such aid.

“There is no excuse for us giving away money around the world when we cannot even keep our promises here in America today, promises we have made to our seniors, promises we have made to our veterans,” said DeMint.

Now, Jim explains in the Wall Street Journal why 55 Democrat senators shouldn’t have voted against it.

Excerpt:

If the United States wants to help Europe find a way out of its current debt crisis, we must be a strong, world economic leader, not merely the lender of last resort.

American taxpayers sent $40 billion to Greece last year, through the International Monetary Fund, to stave off an economic collapse. But the bailout did not prevent Greece’s day of fiscal reckoning. It only delayed it. Austerity measures are still needed throughout Europe’s socialized economy and the debt contagion has not been stopped. Financial chaos has spread from Greece to Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain, and it now threatens the very future of the 17-member euro zone.

Undeterred, President Obama last month told the press after breaking from a closed-door meeting with European leaders, “the United States stands ready to do our part to help them resolve this issue.” He would do better to focus his attention stateside. The most dangerous threat to the U.S. economy is not across the pond. It’s in the swampland of Washington, D.C.

[...]Greece’s economy reached its tipping point and was bailed out when government debt topped 137% of its gross domestic product. Despite all the measures that have been taken to aid it, Greece’s debt-to-GDP-ratio is even higher now, at 160%. Ireland was bailed out at 74% of GDP and is now at 80%. Portugal was bailed out at 94% of GDP and is now expected to top 100%. The bailouts have arguably made the European debt crisis worse, not better.

Total U.S. debt, including entitlement liabilities, reached 100% of GDP when Congress increased the debt ceiling in August. Our $15 trillion debt now rivals the size of the entire U.S. economy.

When he first took office, President Obama promised to cut the federal deficit in half by 2013. But instead he’s increased it by more than $4 trillion. Indeed, under his direction, the U.S. government spent about $1 trillion on a Keynesian-style stimulus that failed to create the jobs promised, will spend trillions more creating a European-style health-care entitlement with ObamaCare, and has more Americans on welfare than ever before.

[...]This year the U.S. sent about $67 billion to the IMF, which represents 17.7% of the IMF’s yearly budget—nearly three times more than any other nation. On top of that, taxpayers provided an additional $108 billion credit line to the IMF in 2009.

In 2010, the IMF sent nearly $40 billion in assistance to Greece, which did nothing to prevent the country’s economic collapse in 2011. On Monday, the IMF approved another $2.95 billion worth of bailout funds for the struggling country.

[...]Earlier this year, I offered an amendment to repeal the IMF’s authority to use the additional $108 billion credit line to provide any more bailouts. It was overwhelmingly rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Forty-four senators voted for it; only one was a Democrat.

This has to stop. We have to stop electing people who don’t believe that people are responsible to create their own wealth, instead of stealing it from others – and impoverishing generations yet unborn. The right way to solve economic problems is to create the conditions that incentivize people to create wealth, not to discourage them by confiscating what they earn. There is a problem in Europe right now – huge numbers of benefits are being taken from those who produce (the private sector) and given to those who don’t (the public sector). The first step is to stop the bailouts.

Donald Sensing posted some thoughts from Abraham Lincoln on his blog that seem appropriate for this post.

Excerpt:

If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Any society that takes away from those most capable and gives to the least will perish.

Few can be induced to labor exclusively for posterity. Posterity has done nothing for us.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other man’s consent.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.

Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws … become the political religion of the nation.

If ever this free people, if this Government itself is ever utterly demoralized, it will come from this incessant human wriggle and struggle for office, which is but a way to live without work.

We have to distrust each other. It’s our only defense against betrayal.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus, by example, assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

It has ever been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.

I understand that stealing money from working people and their employers and giving it to lazy people is an important goal for Democrat politicians, because it builds up their self-esteem and it makes them feel admired and popular. But it’s not their money. They need to stop. Obama’s desire to “spread the wealth around” is not a moral policy, it’s an immoral policy – because it’s not his wealth. He didn’t produce it.

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

Obama’s $1.5 trillion in taxes on the rich will hurt the middle class most

Sen. Jim Demint

Sen. Jim Demint

Consider this editorial from senator Jim DeMint.

Excerpt:

Here are the facts.

Americans who make $200,000 or more a year make up about 3 percent of the country. Those 3 percent earn roughly 30 percent of our national income and pay 52 percent of all income taxes.

Raising taxes on these top brackets would mean that nearly 40 percent of all new tax revenue would be taken from hundreds of thousands of small businesses. About half of the top 3 percent, around 750,000 Americans, report business income on their personal returns.

The president talks about Warren Buffett, but his planned tax hikes would hit Mom & Pop businesses that employ your friends and family.

It boils down to simple economics. If we want the millions of jobs that small businesses create, then we cannot confiscate an even greater share of the incomes that generate those jobs.

When politicians talk about “the rich,” they want to conjure an image in your mind of an idle, entitled elite somehow exploiting the rest of us.  (That actually sounds more like the U.S. Senate.)

But the real picture is more like that of a man or woman who owns a small, local business, who started with little but has done well, and who now has a handful of employees with decent incomes and health insurance.

The fiction behind the “tax the rich” ideology is that these folks have extra money just lying around, and that the government can take a big chunk of it without harming anyone.

What the liberals fail to recognize is that the money isn’t just lying around, stuffed in a mattress.  It’s out in the world, growing the economy.  Rich people, like everyone else, put their money to productive use.

The top 5 percent of American earners account for 37 percent of all consumer spending, about as much as the bottom 80 percent put together.

The top 10 percent of families hold 64 percent of all major investment assets. Those making over $200,000 give 36 percent of all charitable contributions.

This is the heart of the liberals’ misunderstanding.  Raising taxes on America’s job creators who spend, invest and donate will punish  the middle class, not the rich.  It will hurt the local businesses they patronize, the companies they invest in, and the charities they support.

Money that used to create jobs, wealth, and opportunity will instead be sucked into the economic black hole of the federal bureaucracy, never to return.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that it costs businesses about $63,000 to create one job.  Put another way, every $63,000 in new taxes risks an American job.  And every $100 billion in tax increases – on the rich or anyone else – could threaten nearly 1.6 million jobs.

Now, who do you think loses those jobs?  Will it be “the rich,” or will it be the clerk at their grocery store, the mechanic at their gas station, and the receptionist at their dentist’s office?

Make no mistake: When the taxman aims at “the rich,” he ends up hitting everyone else instead.

Obama keeps talking about making people pay “their fair share”, so he has plenty of money to hand out hundreds of millions of bailout dollars to solar power companies linked to his Democrat fundraisers. But nearly half the people in this country don’t pay federal taxes. Are they paying their fair share? Why isn’t Obama going after them? Well, if what DeMint says is true, he will be going after them – but most of them don’t realize it.

There’s a reason why companies are not hiring domestically, but are instead expanding operations abroad, where corporate taxes are lower and regulations are less of a burden. Companies create jobs where they can make a profit. If the Obama administration attacks their profit-making ability, they will stop creating jobs here and move their production and capital elsewhere. Obama’s rhetoric isn’t going to change the way the world works.

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Video of Republican debate at the South Carolina Palmetto Freedom Forum

Michele Bachmann: On the Issues

Michele Bachmann: On the Issues

Here’s the video of Republican debate at the South Carolina Palmetto Freedom Forum! In eight parts. Famous Princeton philosopher Robert George is the moderator.

All 8 parts:

Below is some news coverage for those who don’t have broadband.

Here’s a story from ABC News.

Excerpt:

On a day usually marked by end-of-summer barbecues, five presidential candidates came here on Labor Day for a grilling of a different kind.

Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain spent the afternoon in front of a panel of three conservative inquisitors, including Tea Party icon, Sen. Jim DeMint. They peppered each candidate with a detailed series of questions on everything from gay marriage to their view of the 14 Amendment to whether the United States was still the “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan famously envisioned.

And when they weren’t explaining the depth of their commitment to conservative principles, each used Monday’s Palmetto Freedom Forum to take a few swipes at President Obama.

When asked what he would do differently in the area of foreign policy, Romney replied, “A lot. First, I’d have one.”

Gingrich dismissed the jobs speech President Obama plans to deliver this week, predicting that it would be a “collection of minor ideas surrounded by big rhetoric.”

Michele Bachmann said that Obama has failed in his responsibility “to act under the Constitution and not place oneself over the Constitution.”

The candidates did not engage with each other face-to-face as they will two days from now at a debate in California and notably, the current Republican front-runner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a no-show at the forum.  Though Perry took part in another campaign event across the state Monday morning he cancelled on event organizers at the last-minute in order to return to Texas to deal with the wildfires there.

Bloomberg reports on Bachmann’s performance.

Excerpt:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said President Barack Obama has skirted the U.S. Constitution on several fronts, as she and rivals in the race to challenge him next year courted support from Tea Party activists at a forum yesterday in South Carolina.

Bachmann criticized Obama for the health-care overhaul he helped shepherd into law last year, saying it paves the way for “socialized medicine.” She also attacked his hiring of high- level advisers — sometimes called “czars” — who aren’t vetted by Congress, and his refusal to defend federal marriage and immigration laws, as she billed herself the “constitutional conservative” in the Republican race.

“The current United States government and its framework is acting outside of the bounds of the Constitution,” Bachmann, 55, a Minnesota congresswoman, said at the gathering in the state that holds one of the nomination contest’s earliest primaries.

[...]Bachmann, who helped start a charter school in Minnesota before winning her House seat in 2006, pinpointed education as an area where the federal government has overreached. “The Constitution does not specifically enumerate, nor does it give to the federal government, the role and duty to superintend over education,” she said. “That historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state government.”

And from USA Today.

Excerpt:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann threw a jab at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, saying state laws that require residents to obtain health care coverage are unconstitutional — such as the one Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts.Romney tried to turn political lemon into lemonade, saying the state health care plan differed in fundamental ways from the federal health care law that followed. The contrast would make the issue “one of my best assets if I’m able to debate President Obama,” Romney said, saying the Bay State version didn’t raise taxes or cut Medicare.

“It’s simply unconstitutional; it’s bad law; it’s bad medicine,” Romney said of the federal version. “It has got to be stopped, and I know it better than most.”

[...]In a speech Tuesday, Romney plans to unveil a 59-point plan, including 10 “concrete actions” he said he would take on his first day in the Oval Office. He endorses several conservative prescriptions: curbing taxes; requiring agencies to cut old regulations to “offset” any new ones; creating “Reagan Economic Zones” with foreign partners to encourage free trade; taking a tougher line against China; cutting spending and passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution; encouraging more oil and gas drilling and nuclear power.

Here’s an article about Mitt Romney’s 10-point plan.

You might remember that I had recommended to Michele Bachmann that she adopt the Canadian prime minister’s strategy of creating 5-point plans and 6-point plans clearly listing her priorities in order to avoid being accused of having a hidden agenda. So far, she hasn’t taken my advice, and her campaign appears to be suffering some difficulties. But Romney seems to have adopted it. I think Mitt Romney is actually a Democrat in Republican clothing, but you have to admire his 10-point plan. I looked it over briefly and it is exactly what I wanted Michele Bachmann to do. Still backing Bachmann, because I don’t trust Romney at all.

UPI has more on Romney’s liberalism.

UPDATE: This Human Events article has more detail on what Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Mitt Romney said.

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Jim Demint introduces bill to halt funding for European bailouts

Senator Jim Demint

The Wall Street Journal reports on the Republican effort to halt taxpayer-funded bailouts for socialist European nations.

Excerpt:

A group of Republican senators plan to renew their attempts at stopping the U.S. from funding International Monetary Fund loans to Greece and other countries after the Senate failed to vote on their proposal last week.

A spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), who is leading the effort, said the GOP senators plan to soon introduce stand-alone legislation that would direct the U.S. Treasury to vote against any IMF assistance to European Union nations for the foreseeable future. If enacted into law, it could halt U.S. participation in any future IMF attempts to stabilize the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

The proposal comes as finance ministers work towards a political agreement committing to provide financing to meet a growing gap in Greece’s funding needs beyond the current EUR110 billion, which in turn would allow the IMF to release a delayed tranche of cash in early July.

[...]Attempts by GOP lawmakers to block IMF loans failed to gain traction in Congress last year. And President Barack Obama has asserted in a signing statement after a House vote on an IMF provision that he doesn’t recognize Congress’ ability to tell the administration how to vote at the IMF.

Greece embraced socialism, and now they have to face the music.

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Republicans introduce national right-to-work legislation

Sen. James Demint

From the Hill.

Excerpt:

Eight Republican Senators introduced a bill Tuesday giving workers a choice as to whether to join labor unions, which they argue will boost the nation’s economy and provide an increase in wages.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), introduced the National Right to Work Act to “reduce workplace discrimination by protecting the free choice of individuals to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities,” according to a statement.

Seven other Republicans signed onto the effort: Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and David Vitter (La.).

“Facing a steady decline in membership, unions have turned to strong-arm political tactics to make forced unionization the default position of every American worker, even if they don’t want it,” Hatch said. “This is simply unacceptable. At the very least, it should be the policy of the U.S. government to ensure that no employee will be forced to join a union in order to get or keep their job.

“Republicans cited a recent poll they said shows that 80 percent of union members support having their policy and that “Right to Work” states outperform “forced-union” states in factors that affect worker well being.

From 2000 to 2008, about 4.7 million Americans moved from forced-union to right to work states and a recent study found that there is “a very strong and highly statistically significant relationship between right-to-work laws and economic growth,” and that from 1977 to 2007, right-to-work states experienced a 23 percent faster growth in per capita income than states with forced unionization.

“To see the negative impacts of forced unionization, look no further than the struggling businesses in states whose laws allow it,” Vitter said. “It can’t be a coincidence that right-to-work states have on balance grown in population over the last 10 years, arguably at the expense of heavy union-favoring states.”

DeMint blamed the problems faced by U.S. automakers on the unions.

“Forced-unionism helped lead to GM and Chrysler’s near bankruptcy and their requests for government bailouts as they struggled to compete in a global marketplace,” he said. “When American businesses suffer because of these anti-worker laws, jobs and investment are driven overseas.”

If you want to attract businesses, then you need to have pro-business laws. That’s where jobs come from – businesses.

Here’s an article about states who are trying to pass these laws to attract more employers.

Excerpt:

Currently 14 states beyond Indiana and Wisconsin are considering legislation that would limit union benefits and/or collective bargaining power. They are: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington (state) and West Virginia. In any number of these states, supporters have planned or held rallies against the measures. But public support might be less than deep. According to a Rasmussen Poll conducted late last week and released Monday, 48 percent of likely U.S. voters sided with Wisconsin Governor Walker whereas only 38 percent sided with his union opponents; the other 14 percent were undecided. And 50 percent of the respondents favored reducing their home state’s government payroll by one percent a year for 10 years either by reducing the work force or reducing their pay. Only 28 percent opposed such action.

This is how we are going to turn the recession around. Cut off the spending on left-wing special interests – NPR, PBS, ACORN, Planned Parenthood, Unions. They all will have to pay their own way, just like the grown-ups do.

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