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Friday, August 21, 2009

No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, its still a pig

The Obama administration has a huge public relations problem. After months of trying to sell their health care reform, they have announced they are going to “redo” their strategy by bringing in the moral and emotional cards.

I was talking with a friend of mine in DC who works for a far left progressive member. We don’t see eye to eye on much and this topic is no exception. I told him the president lost the debate on health care before it got started. Remember when the Clinton’s wrote a health care bill in 1993 and then sent it up to the hill? Seeing that this strategy didn’t work, this president decided to do the opposite and by doing so has failed to get the country to support him. Of course, this could be because he doesn’t have a plan. President Obama let the left-wing, progressive liberals in both chambers write their “wish-list” bill which was a huge mistake. The message the administration wants to portray -- you can keep your existing insurance, health care will be made more affordable for the uninsured and everyone will have the option to join a government-run insurance – are being overshadowed by the information that is already out there. These statements aren’t included in the current House and Senate bills.

Now trying to regain control of the debate, the president goes on tv and hosts his own so-called “town hall meetings” and repeats the same mantra day after day. Every time he tries to discuss health care legislation, public support of any plan crumbles.

During the campaign, the president advocated for a public option and said he wouldn’t sign a bill without it. However, over the weekend, his Health and Human Secretary said that a “public option isn’t the essential element” of a final health care bill. This didn’t sit well with the far left progressives who are demanding that a public option be in the final bill. This issue is the center point of the liberal’s debate for health care reform. Mr. Obama now must ensure them that he has not abandoned the public option. However, it is clear that all republicans and some conservative democrats are opposed to the idea of a government-run option. The president now walks a fine line between satisfying his far left base and getting something passed. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) stated the Senate doesn’t have the votes for a bill that includes a “public option” and are now going to try and sway some republicans that a co-op is the way to go. Just remember a co-op is another word for “government run.”

On the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has an even bigger problem. About 80 progressive democrats have said they will not vote for a bill unless it contains a public option. Considering they have 256 seats in the House, if the progressives defect, there's no win for them. If they keep the progressives happy, they risk losing all or almost all of the Blue Dogs. They have already lost the 20 pro-life Democrats who want an amendment in the bill that taxpayer money will not fund abortions but all amendments in the House and Senate on this topic have been rejected.

The president says he wants to reach out to Republicans but then slams them for being opposed to his reform. He can’t have it both ways. You can’t want their help and then bash them because we have different ideas. Once again, because he can’t get his party to rally behind him, he turns to blaming the GOP despite the bipartisan meetings going on between some democrats and republicans in the Senate who are trying to reach a compromise. In a recent radio interview, the president had the audacity to say “early on a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, 'Look, let's not give them a victory and maybe we can have a replay of 1993-94 when Clinton came in. He failed on health care, and then we won in the midterm elections, and we got the majority.” Republican leaders didn’t take kindly to his argument and said the president has no plans to engage in bipartisan talks. The last time the republicans were invited to the White Hose to talk about health care was April, 2009. When you hold large majorities in both chambers and control the White House, trying to “blame” to the opposition for not getting things passed isn’t going to fly with the American people.

After meeting with liberal clergy on Wednesday, the president is trying to tell us that this is “about right and wrong and honoring faith.” Telling religious organizations that “the one thing you all share is a moral conviction. You know this debate over health care goes to the heart of who we are in America.” Moral convictions, really? Then why do you Mr. President support the killing of the unborn? I guess your moral obligation is only to those that are already born.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It’s the economy, Mr. President!

Dear Mr. President,
I’ve had just about enough with your “I inherited a trillion dollar deficit” rhetoric. Just because you inherited a deficit doesn’t give you the green light to make it an $11 trillion deficit by 2019 and bankrupt the country. You told us that this was the worst economy since the great depression and yet your own Vice President stated ya’ll misread the economy. With an unemployment rate now at 9.4% (over 10% in some 15 states), Americans want the economy fixed first. Climate change and health care reform (both of which will kill jobs) can wait.

You circle the globe (you’ve traveled so much that your sky miles will actually circle the globe twice) and bash American but you don’t seem to care what we want. To you its more important to you to push through your socialist agenda and get passed in your first year. You know poll numbers indicate that your policies are losing support (slipping faster than syrup on a pancake) and thus you have a very good chance of losing your majority in 2010.

In regard to health care, you like to use your “favorite alarmist claim” that states “if we don’t act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.” Huh? So based on your numbers if we don’t pass socialized health care reform then the number of uninsured will double by 2018 and all health care insurance coverage will be gone by 2041? Remember, no one leaves America to get health care and no one is denied treatment because of no insurance. Presidents and Prime Ministers of other countries come here for medical care. Italy’s Prime Minister Berlusconi traveled to the Cleveland Clinic to have his heart surgery. If his socialized health care, which is free, is so great then why didn’t he stay home?

You say Mr. President that we can’t have an economic recovery without health care reform (70% of Americans disagree with you). Let’s remember last fall when the banks were in need of being bailed out. No one said “we have to fix health care in order to fix the economy.” So you use the economic recession to move your socialist agenda forward. Your Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel even said “never let a good crisis go to waste.” If you would just fix the economy, then we might not have to worry about millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage due to layoffs or businesses closing.

As of July, 2009, the recession entered month 19 (the average recession usually last 10 months). Mr. President you told us that if we didn’t pass the stimulus bill we would see unemployment at 8% and that this bill would “create or save” 3 to 4 million jobs (I guess those are government jobs). It’s amazing that you were elected considering you have no history of economics or business. The fact that you recommended a “stimulus” bill that isn’t working and that is simply filling the pockets of your supports, will lead to inflation is mind-boggling. There is nothing in that bill that stimulates the economy or increases incentives for economic growth. The bill was signed into law six months ago and as many GOP lawmakers say “Where are the jobs?” Now you are backtracking and telling us that the stimulus bill was not intended to be “instant” but rather a two year program. Funny this is the first time we’ve heard about that.

You’re borrowing from foreign countries and taking money from the private sector in order to increase government spending and grow the federal government. Your Vice President told us that we have to spend money to keep from going bankrupt. Tell me how does that work? Why don’t we try a new approach? Let’s stop spending billions we don’t have, cut taxes and provide incentives to invest and that will get people back to work. Raising taxes on the rich and small businesses to pay for your deficit and your “health care reform” only kills jobs. Any sane individual (including the late President John F. Kennedy) knows that raising taxes only decreases tax revenue. Combined tax rates in 39 states have the potential to rise above 50% if your health surtax passes. When taxpayers can keep more of their own money, it gives them incentives for investments, perhaps start a small business or expand an existing business which will create jobs and so on and so on. President Reagan did this and we had 25 years of economic growth and job creation. But I guess you would rather just tax and spend. Take a look at a recent poll in which 84% of Americans see the economy as the top priority.

You campaigned to “transform America” and I guess destroying democracy is exactly what you want to do whether we like it or not. Despite your denials, you want to take over the health industry just like you took over the banks and the auto industries. Since you seem to be in denial that this type of action is socialism, here’s Webster’s definition - “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

We held tax day protests because the majority of Americans believe that we are taxed enough. You said no one making less than $250,000/year would see their taxes raised. Well if your health care plan goes through and if an individual doesn’t purchase the government required plan, then they will be taxed at 2.5% of adjusted gross income. You’ve already passed the cigarette tax which we know hits lower income Americans more often and now your liberal Congress is working on new taxes including health surtaxes, national sales tax, and soda taxes. Your plan will implement an excise tax on private health plans paid for by the taxpayer no matter what their income. Our tax rates are most certainly gaining the title as the highest in the world. Higher tax rates will leave America completely uncompetitive. When you increase taxes, you cause higher unemployment, fewer jobs, lower wages and slow economic growth. Just in case you don’t know, here’s some numbers on income taxes. Thirty-nine percent of federal income taxes are paid for by the top 1% of wage earners; sixty-one percent are paid for by the top 5%; seventy-three percent are paid for by the top 10%; and 43% of those earning wages pay no taxes. Your dislike of the rich and your “tax piracy policies” will only cause people to flee the US as they seek more friendly territory. Sad to say but even China offers more “pro-growth economic policies.” Your “cap-n-trade” bill will only result in higher energy costs, a competitive disadvantage for America; and the loss of jobs. Spain lost 2.2 private sector jobs for every 1”green” job created. When we are in a recession, any bill that will cause us to lose jobs must be defeated.

We will see some economic growth over the next year as Americans look to earn today what will be “taxed into oblivion tomorrow.” This growth won’t be enough to bring down unemployment which most see hovering over 10% by the 2010 elections. Interest rates will rise once growth collides with your trillion dollar deficits. If we continue on your path, we could very well be bankrupted by the end of the year. As of July 20, 2009, our fiscal spending for 2009 was at $3.997 trillion. We can not continue on this path of destruction. This is your economy now, deal with it and stop blaming others.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Silent Majority will be silent no more

Since January 20, 2009, I've been wondering if I still live in America. You remember America, land of the free, home of the brave. We are granted by the U.S. Constitution the freedom to voice our opposition. Remember the protests on subjects like the Vietnam War and the War on Terror? You never heard liberals condemn these protesters and call them names. But things have changed and despite their opposition, all Americans have a right to protest…it’s as American as Apple Pie.

Just 3 months into his first term, Americans had had enough of President Obama’s spending orgy and began to let their voices be heard by organizing tea parties protests. The White House responded to these "tea parties" by saying these people were nothing but tea-baggers and the White House Press Secretary informed reporters that the president was unaware of the protest. Now fast forward to August and Americans are protesting the takeover of our health care system much to the shock of the democrats in Congress. Which brings the question - I didn't realize only democrats could protest?

On August 6, 2009, the president stated “I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.” I'm sorry, but the last time I checked I had the right to voice my opinion. You would think that our community organizer president would be happy when communities organize? Apparently, he’s only happy when they organize to promote his views. I guess the rest of America isn't supposed to protest the “biggest power grab since FDR” so they simply call us names. If you disagree with the president’s socialist agenda, you are now part of a mob and are a “right-wing extremist.” Remember the impeachment of President Bill Clinton? Then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton referred to anyone who supported the impeachment of her husband as a member of that “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

It appears that support for most of the president’s policies have now dipped below 50 percent. I grant that Americans wanted change back in November but not this kind of change. Americans are against the hijacking of our health care system, wary of government takeovers of industries, fed up with ballooning deficits, and our growing financial dependency on China. Despite these poll numbers, liberals want to ram their legislation through using the president’s charm to do so. And the American people have had enough!

Just like the tea party protests in April and July, the democrats are labeling today’s town hall meetings as “staged”, “manufactured”, and “phony.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the low road and said the Republicans were “acting like babies” simply because they are voicing their opinion. The senator went on to say “You've read about their Astroturf campaign…They want to convince people they're grassroots, and they're not.” Now that’s mature isn't it? Speaker Nancy Pelosi even accused the protesters of “carrying swastikas.” Columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “these people aren't Nazis, they're Americans. Some of them looked like they'd actually spent some time fighting Nazis.”

The more Americans read the House bill on health care (something we would like the politicians to do) the more they disagree with its content. Americans are against any takeover that will result in higher taxes, increased deficits or interruption of their existing coverage. This issue, like so many others, affects each and every one of us. Wouldn't you rather live in a country where one can voice their opinion and question the actions of their government as opposed to one where the police take to the streets and beat anyone who disagree with their government?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fighting within the Democratic Party

What’s the old saying – “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” Well, it appears the Democratic Party is doing just that. They hold majorities in both chambers so technically they shouldn't have any problem passing their socialized legislation. But they are and for that we are grateful.
The House seems to be having the most problems. They hold a 256 seat majority but are apparently divided into four groups.

The first group consists of 52 Conservative Democrats. They are nicknamed “Blue Dog Democrats” and tout themselves as fiscally conservative. They are fighting for small businesses and fiscal responsibility when it comes to the health care bill.

The second group consists of 57 Liberal Democrats. They are also known as progressive democrats. This is your far-left group who see socialized medicine as the only way.

The third group consists of 20 Pro-life Democrats. They are against using taxpayer money to fund abortions. All amendments regarding excluding funding have been voted down.

The fourth group is anyone that’s left.

On the eve of August recess, the Blue Dog democrats on the Energy and Commerce committee, who were hold outs for weeks on health care reform caved. The Blue Dogs were concerned about the cost of the health care plan which currently looks to run about $1.1 trillion as of this writing. The "deal" reached by the liberal committee members and four of the blue dogs included reducing costs (they managed to cut cost by $100 billion), not forcing anyone to go into a government run insurance program, and wait and vote on the bill in September. Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID) said the “deal” doesn’t go far enough and won’t win support upon the remaining blue dogs.

Now let’s look at the Progressive Democrats. Furious that the House reached a deal with the Blue Dogs, Rep. Lynn Woolsey said "We have compromised and we can compromise no more…We do not support this…I think they have no idea how many people are against this. They can't possibly be taking us seriously if they're going to bring this forward." Rep. Jerry Nadler said “[Rep. Henry] Waxman made a deal that is unacceptable…We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn't include a robust public option, and this plan doesn't have a robust public option". In fact they have sent a letter to the Speaker warning her that they will vote against any bill that includes deals with the Blue Dogs.

And now for the smallest of the groups, the pro-life democrats. As of now, there is no provision in the bill that state taxpayer money will not go to fund abortions. In a letter to the Speaker dated June 25, the pro-life democrats expressed their concern stating “we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan…By ensuring that any health care package will not fund or require funding for abortions, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly supported reform package."

Anyone who is opposed to a government run public option will now be a target in the 2010 election. As the left wing liberals will try and get rid of the conservative democrats in favor of the more far left democrats. Rep. Maxine Waters, who criticized Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for recruiting conservative democrats in the past two elections, is now using a phrase by President Obama’s former pastor, “the chickens are coming home to roost.” This same group is also upset with the Senate democrats on the Finance committee who have dropped plans for an employer mandate and public option.

So let’s look at the numbers. The House has 256 democrats. So far they have alienated the 20 pro-life democrats leaving them 236 (still enough to pass a bill). However, since making a “deal” with the blue dogs they have now alienated the 57 progressive democrats. Now they are left with 179 democrats and that’s only if all 52blue dogs agree to the changes and that doesn’t look like it will happen. So if these 77 pro-life and progressive democrats vote with the republicans who will not vote for a government take over of health care then we have a yea vote of 179 and a no vote 255.

Thank goodness for division in the Democratic Party.