Never let a good crisis go to waste

And if you have run low on crises, then create one. Let’s see how that might happen. Summer of 2010 and into the fall, fail to pass a budget bill for the fiscal year beginning 10/1/2010. In spite of being in control of Congress and the Executive. Even after November 2010 elections, when still in control until the new Congress convenes, let the matter continue to languish. Still no budget.

Fast-forward slowly to spring 2011. Need a crisis (for a host of reasons). Continue reading “Never let a good crisis go to waste”

Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?

Let’s compare it to something we can visualize. First, what is the debt figure?

Click on the thumbnail and get a good look at what $14 trillion looks like written out.  A “14” with TWELVE places after that! And 15 cents. Check the clock for updates.

OK, $14 trillion. Now let’s think of something really, really huge and complicated that we might want to spend some money on. The object is to try to think of a monstrously expensive project. Continue reading “Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?”

I cut my spending, bet you have, now how about “them?”

GAO Chart Forecast Debt % to GDP
Image via Wikipedia

Read “them” as both state and federal legislators, but let’s talk about Congress now. There is much talk presently about reductions in federal spending, and much talk about not being able to get cuts through both houses and past the President’s veto. Read the article excerpted below (and browse the other budget analyses on the Heritage Foundation site) and then call your Congressional reps and senators. Continue reading “I cut my spending, bet you have, now how about “them?””

Making Everett Dirksen proud

Sen. Everett Dirksen, in the 1950’s on the floor of the U.S. Senate during budget debates, is said to have quipped “a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it adds up to real money.” It is now well-accepted that he did not actually make that statement so often attributed to him, but he was well capable of saying such, and likely should have. So what would he think about the current spending spree? Who is at fault? It’s Congress (led by the nose by Pres. Obama) and while the following article (which appears to have the facts) faults more the currently Democrat-led Congress, neither party can claim to have been fiscally responsible in recent decades.

A little-known fact is that federal spending rose by only 2.8% during fiscal 2007 under the final budget passed by a Republican Congress. I know, zero percent would have been preferable, and it was way too little and too late for a bunch that had let spending grow way too quickly during the previous five years.

Then came the Democrats. Spending during the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, the first full budget year under the control of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, increased by 9.1% to almost $3 trillion. That percentage increase was greater than any Republican Congress under George W. Bush.

They were just warming up. Fiscal 2009 brought the beginning of the $787 billion (before interest) “economic stimulus plan.” All but those in serious denial acknowledge that it has failed to revive the economy, which economist David Rosenberg described on August 25 as already being in a depression. Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.  (The above links are mine)

Where does it end? When? What does it take for us (you) to get mad enough to make your voice heard? If the general idea of spending doesn’t get your dander up, focus on the following comment from the above article:

Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.

Charles Krauthammer – Annals of executive overreach

A “must read” article. Krauthammer dissects the willful and ongoing overreaching by the executive branch — federal and state, by both D’s and R’s.  Constitution? What constitution?  Well into the article he makes the point:

This contagion of executive willfulness is not confined to the federal government or to Democrats. In Virginia, the Republican attorney general has just issued a ruling allowing police to ask about one’s immigration status when stopped for some other reason (e.g., a traffic violation). Heretofore, police could inquire only upon arrest and imprisonment.

Whatever your views about the result, the process is suspect. If police latitude regarding the interrogation of possible illegal immigrants is to be expanded, that’s an issue for the legislature, not the executive.

How did we get here? I blame Henry Paulson. (Such a versatile sentence.) The gold standard of executive overreach was achieved the day he summoned the heads of the country’s nine largest banks and informed them that henceforth the federal government was their business partner. The banks were under no legal obligation to obey. But they know the capacity of the federal government, when crossed, to cause you trouble, endless trouble. They complied.

So did BP when the president summoned its top executives to the White House to demand a  $20 billion federally administered escrow fund for damages. Existing law capped damages at $75 million. BP, like the banks, understood the power of the U.S. government. Twenty billion it was.

Again, you can be pleased with the result (I was) and still be troubled by how we got there. Everyone wants energy in the executive (as Alexander Hamilton called it). But not lawlessness. In the modern welfare state, government has the power to regulate your life. That’s bad enough. But at least there is one restraint on this bloated power: the separation of powers. Such constraints on your life must first be approved by both houses of Congress.

via Charles Krauthammer – Annals of executive overreach.

Friends, this is a big deal. The United States Constitution is a remarkable document that implemented the grandest experiment the world had yet known:  a constitutional republic.  One of the most important components was the separation of powers spread among three equal branches of government. At the federal level was (and hopefully still is) the notion of limited, enumerated powers. A simple concept that the feds can only do what’s listed and all else is reserved to the states and the people.

The executive overreaching, whether at the federal or state level and regardless of the responsible political party (both parties are guilty), it violates both the separation of powers and the enumerated powers provisions of the constitution.

And if YOU don’t stand up against it, then THEY are trampling on YOU and thus the end game has become simply:  THEM versus US.  And if you understand no other consequence of this process, it is that THEY are spending YOU and your progeny into fiscal oblivion.