Fiscal Disaster Ahead

Fiscal Disaster Ahead

     We the People . . . . , in Order to . . . . secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

CBO Report Shows Why Action Needed Now to Avoid Budget Crisis

Justin Bogie

January 24, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office’s budget and economic outlook for the next decade paints a grim picture of the nation’s fiscal situation and shows we continue to be on an unsustainable budget path.

Despite years of warnings by CBO and others that this path will lead to fiscal disaster, Congress continually has failed to make substantive reforms. With Republicans now in control of the White House as well as Congress, they have the opportunity to make much-needed reforms to avert the crisis.

The CBO report, released Tuesday, covers fiscal years 2017 through 2027. Here are four key findings:

1. Spending continues to climb out of control. Over the next 10 years, CBO projects spending will rise from around $3.9 trillion annually to over $6.5 trillion a year. This reflects an increase of almost $2.6 trillion a year by 2027.

Cumulatively, CBO estimates outlays will be $52.5 trillion over the next 10 years. As a percentage of the overall economy, spending is projected to rise from 20.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2017 to 23.4 percent of GDP by 2027. This is 3.2 percentage points higher than average spending over the past 50 years.

As in the past several years, the biggest drivers of the increase in spending continue to be entitlement programs and interest on the national debt. By 2027, CBO projects Congress will spend over $3.8 trillion annually on Social Security and major health care programs, which include Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.

America’s aging population is rapidly adding to our already unsustainable entitlement spending. CBO estimates that the population over age 65 will grow by 39 percent over the next decade, to around 19 percent of the total population:

The effects on the federal budget of the aging population and rapidly growing health care costs are already apparent over the 10-year horizon—especially for Social Security and Medicare—and will grow in size beyond the baseline period.

Although past House budgets have included reforms to health care programs, Congress consistently has failed to follow through and address the problem, which is making it even larger. In 2016, Medicare and Medicaid spending both grew by 5 percent (after accounting for shifts in the timing of certain Medicare payments), adding another $45 billion in federal health spending.

In addition, CBO estimates that the coverage expansion provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will add $119 billion in federal spending in 2017.

President Donald Trump has hinted that Medicaid reforms are on the horizon, but a specific proposal is yet to be seen. Congress is also in the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare, which would help to control some of the rising health care costs.

Interest spending also continues to skyrocket in CBO’s latest projections, going from $270 billion per year in 2017 to $768 billion annually by 2027. At the current pace, spending on interest payments will be about $30 billion higher than spending for national defense programs by the end of the decade. When coupled with entitlements, spending for these activities alone will consume more than 70 percent of the federal budget by 2027.

While the president has pledged not to take on Medicare and Social Security reform, it is clear that spending for these programs is unsustainable and will continue to drive up interest payments and crowd out other important government programs, if left unchanged. In addition, Congress faces a “mini-cliff” for funding going into 2018: Under the Budget Control Act, base discretionary spending is set to decline from $1.070 trillion to $1.064 trillion.

Undoubtedly, some in Congress will press for passage of another budget deal like the one cut by former President Barack Obama and former House Speaker John Boehner, and increase discretionary spending for 2018 and perhaps beyond.

Congress should resist this pressure and abide by the overall discretionary spending levels set by the Budget Control Act, prioritizing national defense and cutting spending on non-defense programs that are wasteful, crony, or within the proper purview of states, localities, and the private sector.

The Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance” identified nearly $100 billion in spending reductions that Congress could make immediately.

2. Deficits soon will be on the rise again. Over the past few years, deficits have been in a period of decline. However, by 2018, CBO projects deficits will reach a low of $487 billion and then take a dramatic upturn, increasing to over $1.4 trillion annually (5 percent of GDP) in 2027.

Cumulatively, over the next decade deficit spending will add an additional $9.4 trillion to the federal debt held by the public. As with increases in spending, the main contributors to rising deficit levels will be entitlement programs and interest payments on the debt. Unless major steps are taken to decrease spending, reform entitlements, and get the federal debt down to a more sustainable level, deficit levels will continue to rise out of control.

3. Debt projections continue to worsen and soon will consume the entire economy. According to CBO historical data, over the past 50 years federal debt held by the public has averaged around 39 percent of GDP. Because of the lack of fiscal responsibility over the past few decades, CBO projects that by the end of 2017 debt will reach 77.5 percent of GDP. By the end of the decade, it will rise to an astounding 88.9 percent of GDP.

Compared to estimates released just last August, the debt level in 2026 is projected to be 1.5 percent of GDP higher in the latest estimates. In July, CBO released its updated long-term budget projections, which projected that by 2033 the debt would reach more than 100 percent of GDP, outpacing the entire U.S. economy.

This is six years sooner than CBO projected only a year earlier. Clearly, the impending debt crisis is continuing to accelerate and soon will be within the budget window.

Congress and the president should act now and not let the burden of debt continue to grow for another year.

4. Rising revenues may increase the spending problem. CBO projects that over the next 10 years, revenues will average 18.2 percent of GDP, 0.8 percent higher than the 50-year average. Ever-increasing deficits and debt levels are driven by too much spending, not too little taxation.

Trump has pledged to make tax reform a priority early in his administration, and Congress seems eager to reform our current system as well. Congress and the Trump administration should work together to find a solution that will cut taxes, freeing up valuable resources to robustly grow the economy.

Critical Work Ahead for Trump, Lawmakers

As they have for the past several years, CBO’s latest budget projections reinforce the fact that the country is headed down the wrong fiscal path.

If policymakers don’t make changes in the immediate future, the situation will continue to spiral out of control and cause damages that will take years, if not decades, to recover from. Spending, deficits, and debt are expected to expand significantly over the next decade, while entitlement and interest spending will continue to consume more and more of the budget.

Congress and Trump must take action now to fix the spending and taxation problem and put us back on a path toward economic prosperity and opportunity for future generations.

The Inaugural Address of the 45th President of the United States – Donald J. Trump

The Inaugural Address of the 45th President of the United States – Donald J. Trump

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you! It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day.

This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops RIGHT HERE and stops RIGHT NOW. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again.
We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again…. and Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.

Donald J. Trump
45th President of the United States

A Legacy of Failure

A Legacy of Failure

 

Ignorance of truth does not prevent or circumvent the consequences of failure and error. Worse, once aware of truth, rejection of it indelibly engraves the responsibility for failed initiative and defeat on the guilty. Intentionally, the Constitution is grounded on the truths revealed in science and history. Politically ignoring or rejecting the ideological foundation embedded in it always will result in a legacy of failure.

 

This past election found America at a crossroads. One road was paved in Constitutional intention, and the other with the lies and deceptions of humanism and the recurrent various multitude of false ideologies / religions repeatedly consumed in the past by the crucible of time. Rejecting true science and valid history, motivated by what they want or choose to believe, the enemies of freedom and justice for all prosecuted the attack on America in the forum of the American political tradition.

 

Calling to the economic “special interests” alluded to in the Federalist and Antifederalist papers, those representing untruth sought support in the jurisdictions populated by criminals and the undeserving. Sustained by the Framers’ wisdom and foresight reflecting their fear of the popular majority, the Electoral College protected America from the same forces that have consumed and defeated past governments throughout history. Those forces feed on and are energized by ignorance, lies, and deceptions spewing untruth from the seething caldrons of greed, avarice, and injustice.

 

With executive orders knowingly violating the Constitution; Congress failing to rein in judicial activism; the tyranny and gross injustice of the administrative state as public enemy number one; unbridled capitalism decimating the middle class and robbing American jobs; political correctness dividing and polarizing; sin, corruption, and evil replacing common sense and decency; murder of the innocent and vulnerable upheld; and the list continues; the legacy of failure was supported by the false propaganda of a media undeserving of First Amendment protection. Raising the question of, “Does any enemy seeking to overthrow the original intention of the Constitution deserve its protection?”, seems to be appropriate. In the not too distant past, some would call such political acts treason, regardless of motives and unexcused by the rationalizations of humanism, other false ideologies or religions, or situation or statistical ethics.

 

Witnessing a political miracle, not unlike the multiple repetitive military, political, and personal miracles displayed in the Revolutionary War, America was granted a reprieve by the grace of “divine Providence“. This past election, at every level – local, state, and Federal, proclaimed a moral imperative. President Washington in his Farewell Address said very clearly “Religion and morality are indispensible supports for our form of government.”. In contrast to recent departing sentiments attempting to ignore and excuse a nearly complete legacy of failure in two terms in the Oval Office, our First President spoke of truth and reality. It remains to be seen whether we as a people, one Nation under God, will protect and defend the original intention of the Constitution by electing and holding those we elect accountable to the original intention of the Constitution.

 

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency… We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. – Washington’s Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

CftC

Healthcare in America – Drain the Swamp

Healthcare in America – Drain the Swamp

 

Some prominent political voices of the medical community representing, perhaps, a minority of American physicians have sent letters to politicians in Washington suggesting that there will be a crisis created in the provision of healthcare in America, if the, so called, Affordable Care Act is repealed without a suitable replacement in place. More accurately, the only crisis resides in the payment for the provision of healthcare in America. Prior to the politicization of healthcare resulting in government programs and interference in the healthcare system, healthcare in America was the best in the world, and accessible to all to varying and limited degrees. Moving forward to the brokenness of the current money driven, politicized system, the foundational resources found in healthcare providers – the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, technicians, etc.; the technology; pharmaceuticals; and all that constitute actual healthcare are still at the ready and have advanced magnitudes beyond what they were even just in a prior year. Allocation or provision of those resources to provide cost effective, quality, accessible healthcare to all regardless of the ability to pay is what is in question and needs correction. Whatever the course, simple charity and caring can stand in the gap.

 

Many years ago, I wrote an article published by the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society entitled “Justice For All“. Its premise was that healthcare was not a right, but rather a responsibility. It is not a right any more than health itself is a right. How that responsibility is assumed and distributed has taken on its political character. This was a time that the provision of healthcare began to change. In attempting to constructively address the inevitable change brought by the politicization of healthcare, I also tried to organize doctors to provide guidance and insight to the politicians and bureaucracies with each; in the words of Madison, other Framers, and Founders, as warned of in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers; having and advancing their own “special interests”. Failing to give voice to the real providers of healthcare, the injustice, greed, avarice, and quest for political power and control emanating from those “special interests”, unchecked by righteous legislative oversight and authority, has resulted in the crisis of paying for healthcare in America.

 

Insidiously and persistently, healthcare systems and enterprises comprised of most “non-profit” and for profit hospital organizations, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, medical technology companies, insurance companies, and even academic institutions housing the medical schools have promoted and brought about the current broken healthcare system enabled by legislative failure in failing to protect and defend the original intention of the Constitution. The Preamble‘s words “promote the general welfare” have been politically corrupted and perverted to give license to the political agendas offering to provide healthcare.

 

Solutions to the failed provision of healthcare can be found in adhering to the Framers’ intention to “promote the general welfare”. Prior to Medicare, hospitals, medical schools, doctors, and other healthcare providers made the best medical care in the world available to all in need with the exceptions and failures again brought by greed and lack of true caring and compassion. I can never forget the tragedies of coat hanger abortions; the inexcusable delays in critical care encountered as “non-profit” hospitals dumped patients to public and/or truly charitable hospitals; or affluent doctors refusing to treat even a few indigent or working poor patients. Rather than accepting timed payment of what could be afforded; scheduling at the end of regular patients in private offices; or serving as adjunct faculty staffing and teaching in medical school clinics; the past failures distributed across the healthcare system prior to government involvement only displayed what needed to be corrected and addressed. True caring cannot by legislated. Greed and human failure and inadequacy cannot be remedied by laws. According to the Framers’ undisturbed intention; those rich and famous, the Hollywood elite, the liberal progressive millionaires and billionaires, not forgetting the “non-profit” executives with undeserved and unwarranted compensations; could contribute up to 50% of their income to provide healthcare to the unfortunate. Income that should be taxed can be given to the working poor and the deserving avoiding taxation funding the undeserving. Where the Framers’ intention failed, government inadequately stepped in.

 

Looking to constructive solutions to repeal past injustices in healthcare, proven positive successful efforts must not be abandoned or ignored. Preventing exclusion for preexisting conditions, portability, privacy, etc. need to be retained and incorporated. Several years ago, I wrote a paper entitled “The Politicization of Healthcare“ published by this Committee for the Constitution. With approximately 70% of the healthcare dollar costs generated by those covered by Medicare, the Federal government could promote cost-effective quality healthcare by mandating the healthcare database advocated in that article.

 

There are many other just and unburdening alternatives already in place to make the patient responsible for healthcare. Before Medicare, medical schools and various teaching hospital free clinics were statistically shown to to provide the best state of science medical care. The actual provider of that optimal care was the senior resident in the relevant specialty. Now medical schools and faculties divert those residents’ time to higher income generating activities. Governments could mandate that all medical schools and teaching institutions or entities receiving Federal funds in any form be required by law to make free clinic services and all hospital services and facilities available to all those requesting them. Most certainly, profits and administrators’ and maybe  even some doctors’ salaries would have to decline. Patients of every economic condition and circumstance would have access to the best quality cost-effective healthcare.

 

I remember, as a medical student on my obstetrics rotation, going with a senior resident and nurses to deliver a baby to a principal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their Gold Coast home on Lake Shore Drive. By choice, this man and his wife simply wanted a natural childbirth in their home. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

 

In addition to unbridled capitalism uncontrollably raising the costs of healthcare while at the same time deceasing the quality and access to healthcare, government bears a significant responsibility for the economic disaster encountered in the provision of healthcare. As one example, I have developed a proven, 100% successful in human volunteers, device to regrow the anterior cruciate ligament. Reported and published in peer reviewed forums, the synthetic scaffold allows a person’s own adult mesenchymal stem cells to grow and differentiate replacing the damaged tissue. It has never achieved commercial development because of the financial constraints imposed by the FDA. Another example is seen in a 100% safe material able to aid in the healing of skin wounds such as seen in diabetes and trauma. Without a two million dollar waiver by the FDA and FDA approval, it will never be available to those in dire need. More egregious is the fact that it is so safe and efficacious that it should have been available over the counter at a mere fraction of the cost of anything currently available or in the research pipeline. Perhaps, it should also be mentioned that a doctor can use any FDA approved material, which this material is, with an over forty year clinical history, off-label. But, because it is not paid for or reimbursed, it is denied to patients even in medical school and free clinics. Money and greed have contaminated and infected American healthcare.

 

“Draining the swamp” could alter the provision of healthcare in America.

 

Editors note: This article by the author of The Attack On America and Beyond Reason calls to an experience and expertise held by many members of The Committee for the Constitution. Many of them are academics with doctorates in all areas of science, history, law, political science, etc. Some have chosen to remain anonymous because of the discrimination experienced in their professional activities when addressing the truths confirmed and validated by science and history but rejected in the guise of political correctness and the religion of humanism. Best described in Ben Stein’s film Expelled, they have authored seminal works on such topics as global warming, political science, law, etc.

CftC

More On “Drain the Swamp”

Here’s What the Founders Thought About Term Limits

   The true “permanent political class” . . . . exists in the federal agencies.

Jarrett Stepman / December 16, 2016

            With the sudden dominance of Republicans in Congress, state legislatures, and, of course, the White House, conservatives have an incredible opportunity to restore constitutional principles to government.

            Several lawmakers have brought back the old idea of congressional term limits to “drain the swamp” on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post suggesting they will endorse a constitutional amendment to limit the number of times a legislator can run for re-election to the same office, an idea that was also popularized by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign.

Cruz and DeSantis argued, “Though our Founding Fathers declined to include term limits in the Constitution, they feared the creation of a permanent political class that existed parallel to, rather than enmeshed within, American society.”

It is worth examining what the Founders believed about term limits and what, fundamentally, has gone wrong with our modern government that has expanded far beyond its originally intended bounds. That most Americans believe their government to be dysfunctional and corrupt should be a tip-off that there are deep problems at the heart of our institutions.

‘Rotation in Office’

The idea of term limits, connected to the notion of “rotation in office,” was popular during the early days of the American republic.

Founding-era citizens viewed term limits as a means to prevent corruption and distant, entrenched interests staying permanently in power. They worried that a lack of change in higher office could be destructive to republican government.

Under the Articles of Confederation, term limits kept representatives to three terms in any six-year period. However, after considerable debate, the idea was abandoned during the construction of the Constitution because many Founders were skeptical of forced rotation’s usefulness—though there were certainly strong advocates in its favor.

For instance, a 1788 pseudonymous essay likely penned by noted anti-federalist Melancton Smith suggested that while limiting terms in local elections was probably unnecessary, limits would provide a useful check on the power of federal legislators, who were “elected for long periods, and far removed from the observation of the people.”

The essay’s author worried that without a mechanism to push national legislators out of office from time to time, lawmakers would become “inattentive to the public good, callous, selfish, and the fountain of corruption.”

Trump Vows to Back Term Limits. So Do These 48 Lawmakers.

He continued to warn readers that “Even good men in office, in time, imperceptibly lose sight of the people, and gradually fall into measures prejudicial to them.”

Thomas Jefferson was also wary of abandoning rotation, and wrote to his friend Edward Rutledge in 1788, “I apprehend that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of president and senator will end in abuse. But my confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue and good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses.”

But some of the Constitution’s strongest advocates rejected the notion that sweeping out legislators by law would reduce corruption.

James Madison wrote that term limits might actually lead to government dysfunction. He wrote that frequent elections were a better check on power than forcing legislators out of office by law.

Those who stood against term limits argued that regular elections by the people could be a better check on corruption than constitutional limits and that such restrictions would create their own problems.

Madison wrote in Federalist 53 that the higher proportion of new representatives swept into office due to term limits could lead to poor decisions and corruption from a wave of inexperienced legislators.

Madison surmised that the “greater the proportion of new members, and the less the information of the bulk of the members, the more apt will they be to fall into the snares that may be laid for them.”

Ultimately, the anti-term limits forces won out and the Constitution was ratified without them.

A Return to Term Limits

Even though the framers of the Constitution ultimately dropped term limits, the debate over rotation for federal officials continued into future generations.

Through the 19th century, a regular rotation in office was common as citizens and politicians believed by creed and custom that periodic changes in public office were healthy for the republic. There were also practical limits on time in office, like shorter life spans. In the 20th century, long-term incumbency increased substantially.

Growth in governmental scope produced less turnover and more careerism than previous eras. This led to a movement to curtail the power of near-permanent stays in office.

Anti-Establishment Mood Could Spur Revival of Term Limits

As Americans tried to curb the power of their government, proposals were adopted to circumscribe the executive, legislative, and even the judicial branch with term limits.

Term limits on the chief executive were introduced after the four concurrent elections of President Franklin Roosevelt.

While earlier presidents had served no more than the two-term precedent set by George Washington, FDR stayed in office nearly 13 years, prompting fears of a calcified presidency. So, in 1951, the United States ratified the 22nd Amendment to strictly limit the president to two terms.

Reformers set their sights on legislative incumbency too. A wave of states passed term limit restrictions on their legislators in the mid-1990s, and the reforms attracted broad and bipartisan support.

But the Supreme Court struck down these laws in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, in which they were struck down over conflict with Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution.

Many states passed term limits for their state legislators too, but according to some research, the results were mixed.

The term limits movement has been essentially dormant for over a decade.

A System Neither Constitutional, Nor Democratic

Unfortunately, over time, the American system of government has changed. The original checks and balances that the Founders incorporated into the Constitution have been twisted and undermined.

A surge of populism that goes hand-in-hand with the idea that the American people need to reassert their authority to “throw the bums out” of Congress will undoubtedly fuel the increase in popularity for term limits.

Yet it’s unclear what the ultimate effect of a term limit law would be. It will certainly solve the problem of Americans hating Congress, but re-electing their own congressmen. And it is also encouraging that Americans are starting to look at structural government dysfunction, rather than just focusing on elections and specific policies.

However, term limits will not address the larger problem of persistent big-government incursions of the unelected “fourth” branch of government: the vast federal bureaucracy.

The true “permanent political class” that Cruz and DeSantis warn of exists in the federal agencies.

A combination of the Civil Service Act of 1883, which, over time, has made it impossible to fire or remove career bureaucrats once they are hired, and the Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. Supreme Court case, which ensures judicial deference to the bureaucracy in regard to regulation, has made the fourth branch vastly more powerful and less accountable than anything the Founders conceived.

Progressive Era reformers successfully created a system that left long-term power in the hands of the technocratic agencies that would handle most of the business of government.

As Heritage Foundation legal fellow Elizabeth Slattery noted, the result has been the creation of unchecked agencies that “pok[e] into every nook and cranny of daily life.”

Unfortunately, it’s possible that term limits may further reduce the power of the legislative branch vis-à-vis the agencies, as inexperienced legislators may lack the bill drafting skills to tightly circumscribe agency action.

Term limits may add “rotation in office” to the legislative branch, only to cede additional power to a permanent class of bureaucratic staffers who do not even stand for election.

Additionally, studies on state-level legislative term limits have demonstrated mixed results. The kinds of people holding office generally change very little and the balance of power generally tips toward the executive branch and bureaucracy. Yet the power of party leaders typically declines as well.

How Trump Can Curb the Power of Unelected Regulators

As American political theorist James Burnham wrote:

            The bureaucracy … not merely wields its own share of the sovereign power but begins to challenge the older branches for supremacy. This emergence of the bureaucracy is a creeping growth, expressed most tellingly in the day to day, unpublicized activities of the governmental colossus …

            Perhaps limits on this system—which is neither constitutional, nor democratic—should be the next step for those who want to return to the Constitution and a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

 

Tolerance – The Enemy Of Justice and The Revenge of Sarah Palin, Voth

Tolerance – The Enemy Of Justice

 

    Most of the liberal and “progressive” left are very good at calling for tolerance of their blatant lies and deceptions. Yet, they are intolerant of truth. Be it the adherence to untruths rejecting science holding to the scientific method, or the reality imposed on repetitive human behavior by valid history, those attacking the original intention of the Constitution transmit their prejudice and bigotry to all who challenge their false propaganda. Holding to a guise of political correctness, the enemies of freedom and justice for all have been allowed to heap their vitriol and angst on the undeserving made vulnerable by a Congress failing in its oath of office.

 

No more poignant example of their injustice being tolerated is available than what was generated impacting Sarah Palin. The following article puts their injustice in perspective.

 

CftC

 

December 12, 2016

The Revenge of Sarah Palin

Ben Voth

    Twenty-sixteen may turn out to be the year of the woman after all.  The woman of the year is Sarah Palin, who eight years ago was crucified by assorted media and elites in order to usher in the new transformation of America promised by Senator Obama.  Obama upset the heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, in a bruising Democratic primary fight, where establishment party politics succumbed to the youthful populism of Barack Obama.  His old-guard rival, John McCain, appeared an easy mark until the rogue upstart from Alaska electrified the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2008.  Palin’s feminist populism recharged the Republican connection with populism, even in the political headwinds of an economy heading south with each passing week.

    Tina Fey, Katie Couric, and a punditry arrayed in the classic left-wing formation acted to annihilate the once popular Alaska governor and seared into the popular imagination something Palin never said: “I can see Russia from my house.”  The sexist trashing of Palin is a hallmark of America’s arrogant ideological culture that puts women, African-Americans, gays, and all identity communities in their proper marginalized social place when they fail to adhere to the left’s ideological doctrines.

     One month after Obama’s victory against McCain and Palin, Palin’s Wasilla church was burned around its entire perimeter with women and children inside and temperatures outside at 20 below zero.  It was a political hate crime that got little media coverage.  December 12 is the anniversary of that crime.  Not too long after, Palin quit her position as governor and was roundly mocked as a quitter after being besieged by politicized allegations.  On July 3 of 2009, she explained:

    “In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life – my children (where the count was unanimous… well, in response to asking: ‘Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children’s future from OUTSIDE the Governor’s office?’ It was four “yes’s” and one “hell yeah!” The “hell yeah” sealed it – and someday I’ll talk about the details of that… I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig – I know he needs me, but I need him even more… what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT — that time is precious… the world needs more ‘Trigs’, not fewer.”

    Since that time, Palin has played the kingmaker in political races across the American landscape.  The gradual erosion of Democratic Party power in local politics is in large part orchestrated by the political campaign fought by Palin since she stepped down from her post in Alaska.  The decision to endorse Donald Trump over a strong field of conservative Republican presidential candidates in 2016 – one year before his inauguration – may have been one of the most risky yet decisive actions taken by Palin.  At that point, the field was not clearly committed, and many thought she might endorse Carson, Cruz, or some other better known conservative.  Palin was among Trump’s first and most major endorsements that paved a path almost all pundits denied was possible – all the way to election eve.

     In many ways, a woman made Donald Trump.  Palin took the arrows and bullying of an elite class.  Her church was destroyed.  Her family was attacked.  She never stepped out of the spotlight or refused to speak up for her populist vision of America.  Had Palin’s endorsement gone another way, Trump might not have taken flight in the broad field of 19 candidates deployed by the RNC.

     There has never been any sense of remorse or apology from the left about what happened to Palin.  There has been no celebration of the feminism embodied in the female leaders of Trump today such as Ivanka Trump, Hope Hicks, and Kellyanne Conway.  Palin was a forerunner of the kind of countercultural resistance to identity-based politics played by American Jacobins.  The inauguration of Donald Trump will be Sarah Palin’s revenge, and it will pose a long-term threat to identity politics as we have long known it.

Ben Voth is an associate professor of corporate communication and public affairs and director of debate at Southern Methodist University.  He is the Calvin Coolidge Debate fellow and an adviser to the Bush Institute.

To Drain the Swamp, Here’s Where To Start

To Drain the Swamp, Here’s Where To Start

Bryan Fischer

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The starting point isn’t muddled at all: taxpayers want smaller, leaner, more efficient government – but federal government bureaucrats want a bigger and more bloated government.

 

    According to an exposé published in The Hill, federal bureaucrats donate to Democrats at a 90%-100% clip. The problem here is these federal bureaucrats are entirely dependent on taxpayers for their salaries, which creates a massive conflict of interest.

    Their donations to Hillary Clinton represented, if nothing else, a vote for their own job security. These employees, every dollar of whose salaries comes out of the wallets of working Americans, have a vested interest in supporting candidates who are actively working against the interests of those same taxpaying Americans.

David Schultz, a Hamline University professor of political science, said “self-preservation” likely motivates their campaign giving. “This means support for their jobs,” because federal employees are likely “more willing to give to somebody who would be more predictable in terms of supporting their livelihood, their jobs, as opposed to somebody who might be less predictable.”

Taxpayers want smaller, leaner, more efficient government. Federal government bureaucrats, on the other hand, want a bigger and more bloated government which already pays them more than the average American worker and makes it virtually impossible for them to get fired, regardless of job performance (you can ask veterans who try to use the VA about that).

According to The Hill (emphasis mine),

Of the roughly $2 million that federal workers from 14 agencies spent on presidential politics by the end of September, about $1.9 million, or 95 percent, went to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, according to an analysis by The Hill.

Employees at all the agencies analyzed, without exception, are sending their campaign contributions overwhelmingly to Clinton over her Republican counterpart. Several agencies, such as the State Department, which Clinton once led, saw more than 99 percent of contributions going to Clinton.

Employees of the Department of Justice, which investigated Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, gave Clinton 97 percent of their donations. Trump received $8,756 from DOJ employees compared with $286,797 for Clinton. From IRS employees, Clinton received 94 percent of donations.

    This is quite obviously a pernicious and unacceptable state of affairs. The bias in what should be the utterly impartial Department of Justice is particularly odious (this is the outfit that let Hillary off the hook completely), as is the bias in the IRS. It is no wonder that the political efforts of ordinary Americans to get tax-exempt status for their Tea Party groups was spiked and frustrated at every turn.

The American people have a quite evident interest in seeing that government functionaries are limited in their ability to game the system against the fundamental interests of the American people.

When I served as chaplain of the Idaho Senate, one of the rules I voluntarily agreed to observe was that employees of the state government, even part-time ones, were not allowed to lobby for legislation. Period. This was something I had been accustomed to doing, and the left was ecstatic that I would be on ice for an entire legislative session (some of them wanted me to get a lifetime appointment for that reason).

The point is, the exercise of my freedom of speech and my freedom to petition the government for the redress of grievances was temporarily suspended during my term of service as a government worker.

Why? Because it was considered unseemly for someone being paid by taxpayers to directly influence legislation that would affect their own employ. The conflict of interest was obvious.

I was fine with that policy. My role changed from lobbyist to pastor for that session of the legislature, and I understood the privileges I would relinquish during that time. When my service as chaplain was completed, I put my lobbyist hat back on and went to work to help get a marriage amendment through that same legislature.

So what should be done at the federal level to curb this unseemly and unwise tilting of the political scales by bureaucrats? I floated the idea on my radio program this week – an idea I immediately shot down the next day – that we ask federal bureaucrats to temporarily yield the franchise as long as they are on the taxpayer dole, just as I yielded my constitutional right to freedom of speech and petition while drawing an income from taxpayers.

The right to vote is not absolute. It is reserved for those who are citizens, meet the age requirements, and aren’t convicted felons. But that possible solution is unworkable and unenforceable and would face legitimate constitutional challenges, which is why I scrapped it.

There are perhaps two other possibilities. The Hatch Act was passed to limit the ability of government employees to put their thumb on the political scale. It prohibits government workers from engaging in political activities, including making campaign contributions, while on the taxpayers’ clock.

Perhaps the Hatch Act could be amended in another way, to limit the size of the contributions federal bureaucrats are permitted make to candidates for federal office.

Limiting the size of donations to candidates is an already well-established principle, to keep the uber-wealthy from buying elections. Individuals are limited to contributing no more than $2,700 to one candidate in any election cycle, and even political action committees (PACs) are not allowed to directly donate more than $5,000 to any one candidate. There is no logical reason why that number cannot be reduced for federal bureaucrats, even to zero.

And it would have the advantage of being enforceable. You can ask conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza all about that. He pled guilty to violating federal campaign limits by using a straw donor, and was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house, five years’ probation, and a hefty $30,000 fine.

The other long-term alternative is to reduce the size of the federal behemoth by putting it in the hands of elected officials who truly believe in smaller government. They will be inclined to hire public servants who, if they donate to political campaigns at all, will be inclined to donate to candidates who will work on behalf of ordinary taxpayers rather than against them.

It’s worth noting again that the workers in 14 federal agencies gave 95% of their donations to a candidate committed to an ever larger and more bloated federal government. Donald Trump was elected to drain the swamp. It looks like the federal bureaucracy is the place to start.

Bryan Fischer hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

The Electoral College

Take a Seat — History Class Is In Session

Darrell Huckaby    dhuck008@gmail.com

Nov 15, 2016

 

    Never in the past four years have I wanted so badly to have a class of people to teach. Teenagers or adults or senior citizens — it wouldn’t have mattered. I have seen so much appalling ignorance about our country, its history and its Constitution that I have just wanted to grab the populace and shake them until they understood.

    For starters, I am tired of hearing about our democracy and the popular vote. We are not a democracy, and a whole lot of people should be really glad about that, too, because in a democracy, mob rule applies. The majority is the boss of everybody, and if we had been a democracy in 1865 slavery would have never been abolished. If we had been a democracy in 1920, the women would have never gotten the vote. If we had been a democracy in 1964 and 1965, those historic pieces of civil rights legislation would never have been approved. In fact, if we had been a democracy in 1776, the Declaration of Independence would never have been adopted because the majority of the colonists were afraid to pursue independence, just like a majority of Americans opposed women’s suffrage and abolition and sweeping civil rights reform.

For the record, Abraham Lincoln did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1860, and Bill Clinton did not get a majority of the popular vote in 1992 or 1996.

Most means plurality, y’all. A majority is 50 percent plus one. And while we are on the subject, we are not a democratic republic, either, no matter what the revisionist history books might claim. That’s just a term Andrew Jackson coined for political purposes in the 1820s and it stuck with some people. We are a republic. We have a federalist form of government where the power is supposed to be divided between the states and the central government and neither is subservient to the other. Both are supposed to get their powers directly from the people.

And by the way, the U.S. Constitution does not give any of us the right to have a say so in who becomes president of the United States. Oh, no, it doesn’t. That power is vested entirely in the Electoral College, and under the Constitution states still have the authority to decided how those electors are chosen. It wasn’t until 1842 that the last state started allowing the people to vote for those electors.

If we eliminated the Electoral College people in two-thirds of the states would be virtually disenfranchised when it came to presidential elections. All the time, money and effort would be spent wooing voters in California, New York and Florida.

Now about the transition of power. Political parties are not mentioned in the Constitution and were thought to be a dangerous thing by our founders. But parties arose almost immediately because people have always had differences of opinions about political issues. The first 12 years under the Constitution found the government in the hands of the Federalist Party. But in the election of 1800 — also called the Revolution of 1800 — Thomas Jefferson, leader of the Republican Party, was chosen to be president. When John Adams, his Federalist opponent, stepped down on inauguration day in 1801, it marked the first time in the history of the world that a group in power had relinquished power without violence or threat of violence, simply because the people said that’s what they wanted. It has worked that way ever since.

And now the people have spoken and the message is loud and clear, under the Constitution, that the people want this country to go in a new direction. And no matter how much they hated to do so, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and President Obama did and said all the right things this week to propel us toward that smooth transition.

And yet in many of our nation’s cities, ignorant young people who have no knowledge of how this Republic is supposed to work, paid for by traitors, are dying to get attention by marching in the streets and generally acting the fool — and, no, these are not the peaceful protests guaranteed by the First Amendment. You must have a grievance to protest. These are spoiled brats and attention-seekers and they should be ashamed.

Electoral College and other links added by the CftC

The Rule and Order of Law

The Rule and Order of Law

 

In the Preamble, the Framers spelled out their intentions for or purposes of the Constitution. Two of the several purposes are to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility. Justice is requisite for all successful human relationships of any size and composition. It is defined by immutable Law and applicable to every society and circumstance. Superimposed on, but subservient to, immutable Law are those laws instituted by mankind. Seeking security, humanity relies on the order of law for domestic tranquility.

 

After the presidential election, protesters or rioters, if you will, violated the order of law. Robbing law abiding citizens of the fundamental civil rights associated with freedom in “pursuit of happiness”, they blocked streets and damaged property. Tolerated by failed government, those violating the rule and order of law illegally stole domestic tranquility. Just as occurred in Ferguson, Baltimore, and across our nation beginning over two years ago, the civil rights of law abiding citizens were relegated to the trash heap of unlawful political activism. Ignoring the Constitutional demand to assemble peaceably, the enemies of justice for all repeat the long train of abuses that many patriots’ sacrifices paid the price to remove. This immediately past presidential election authorized and requires that those we elected to represent us restore the rule and order of law.

 

CftC

Term Limits

Washington Should Be More Concerned About the Next Generation Than the Next Election

Sen. David Perdue

October 26, 2016

The Framers never meant elected office to be a career, nor was it meant to be a vessel for the centralization and maintenance of federal power.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who has vowed to serve only two terms, says career politicians have focused more on advancing their own careers than helping the people they were elected to serve. (Photo: Gage Skidmore /Zuma Press/Newscom)

    It’s no secret that Americans are fed up with Washington’s lack of results. Less than 20 percent of respondents in a recent Gallup survey said they trust the federal government to do its job.

You know what, they’re right.

Somebody has to be responsible for the mess in Washington. For too long, career politicians have focused more on advancing their own careers than helping the people they were elected to serve. The Washington bubble and an unending cycle of gridlock stand in the way of real results at a time when our country is facing both a national debt crisis and a global security crisis.

Now, more than ever, we should usher in the return of the citizen legislator. It is finally time that we impose term limits on members of Congress.

Politicians should go to Washington, do their best, and then come home to live under the laws they’ve passed. It’s just that simple. Our Founding Fathers never imagined the rise of the career politician. They envisioned citizen legislators. Elected office was never meant to be a career, nor was it meant to be a vessel for the centralization and maintenance of federal power.

Yet right now, 60 members of the U.S. Senate have held elected office for more than 20 years and 36 have held office for more than 30 years.

The broken seniority system in Congress rewards years in power, not results produced. Because of that, Washington has no sense of urgency or focus on results. Too little is being done to deal with our national debt, restore our standing in the world, and roll back the regulations crippling our free enterprise system.

    When I ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014, I promised Georgians I would fight to pass term limits for members of Congress. Immediately after being sworn in last year, I co-sponsored a constitutional amendment doing just that: two six-year terms in the Senate and six two-year terms in the House. I personally have pledged to serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate.

For too long, career politicians have focused more on advancing their own careers than helping the people they were elected to serve.

    Imagine citizen legislators coming to Washington — from all walks of life — fighting for the priorities that truly represent the interests of folks back home. They would bring fresh ideas and a new sense of urgency to finally begin to deal with the crises jeopardizing our country’s future.

    Citizen legislators could work outside the political establishment to bring a fresh perspective to how burdensome government policies negatively affect people’s everyday lives.

They could apply their practical experience to solving our nation’s toughest problems, and because they would only serve a short time, citizen legislators could approach solving problems with a sense of urgency instead of kicking the can down the road for the sake of political security.

Support for term limits is bipartisan. Another Gallup survey showed that 75 percent of voters — Republicans and Democrats alike — back legislation limiting the time people can serve at the highest levels of government. Given the polarizing climate crippling Washington today, there is something to be said about an idea that overwhelmingly unites both parties.

Enacting term limits will be an uphill battle because those currently in power thrive on the status quo. There is growing support in Congress, however, for term limits and many members on both sides are committed to going forward, no matter how long it takes.

Career politicians created this moment of crisis America faces today. They aren’t the ones who are going to solve it.

Term limits will help break this vicious cycle of gridlock that is stopping Congress from getting things done. It’s time to finally make sure Washington is more concerned about the next generation than the next election.