Sunday, February 06, 2011

Common Sense on Social Security

ObamaCare has been pretty much exposed as a government power grab that will neither improve the people's quality of healthcare or lower costs - absent of course the bureaucratic 'death panels' that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin pointed out. The very fact that ObamaCare has already issued some 700-plus waivers (mostly to their union and corporate friends) simply underscores how bad the attempted government takeover really is.

Although the Democrats and their sycophants in the Pravda-esque 'media' are still trying desperately to force government health-care on the American people, the American people seem to have figured out that this boondoggle is one step down the Socialist road to hell that they do not wish to take. Whether the looming debts that always accompany socialism have frightened them or whether at last we have awoken to the reality of the left's agenda is irrelevant. The facts are that the Republicans - prodded by the Tea Partiers - seem to have realized that this monstrosity must not live.

The Tax Prof today drew my attention to an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal asking whether the 1099 reporting repeal - which passed by huge margins in both Houses - is a controlled burn or a wildfire. The Journal writes:
The 1099 ObamaCare footnote thus received no scrutiny at first because it was so mundane. Everyone in Washington agreed that corporations were stealing billions of dollars every year that rightfully belonged to Congress to spend. (The issue only blew up when the IRS's National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, followed by the GOP and the business lobby, made it a priority last summer.) ...
[T]otal repeal sailed through the Senate on Wednesday, 81 to 17. The mystery is the 17 Democrats who continue to think this is a good idea ,,,
The larger political question is whether voters will be satisfied by this or that "improvement" to ObamaCare. The White House is trying to outflank public opposition with a controlled burn, but wildfires often move in surprising and unmanageable directions.

However, it is apparent that some people are still laboring under misconceptions. One Linda Beale from Wayne State, writes,
I’m more and more convinced that it is not the deficit that the Republicans hollering for “entitlement reform” care about–it is that they just simply want to destroy all of the things that the New Deal did to provide a safety net for ordinary people, while making sure that they reinstate brute-force capitalism like existed in the 1920s, back when Teddy Roosevelt made his famous statement about the corporate titans and malefactors of great wealth.

Ms. Beale seems to have missed that fact that the New Deal did absolutely nothing to 'establish a safety net'. Instead, it took people's private funds, forcibly transferred them to government, who then wasted the money. Every promise made about Social Security during the New Deal has been broken. And the money is long gone - spent by successive Congresses and Administrations. Any honest comparison between the stock market and the government 'trust funds' since Social Security was established shows quite plainly that the private market does a far better job. And there is no doubt that individuals do a better job managing their own money than faceless and unaccountable federal bureaucrats.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Do We Need Lawyers?

Dr. Daniel Mitchell's fascinating blog International Liberty had an article today on the problem of the self-serving legal profession. Among other things, Professor Mitchell writes,
There are also two comments, by 'Mack' and 'Paul' that I believe hit the nail on the head. Lawyers make laws for their own self-interest and the Courts, which are of course composed entirely of lawyers, interpret laws so as to benefit their own profession. I was having lunch today and a friend made the comment that lawyers don't know right from wrong and don't really care either - they only care what the loopholes in the law as regards any given case allow them to do.

I agree that lawyers should not be allowed to serve at any level of government. But I would go one step further. The Supreme Court needs to lose its designated status as the sole arbiter of what the Constitution does or does not mean. In short, if the Court says one thing and the President and Congress disagree, then the Court's opinion is rendered moot. In short, any two branches of government should be able to over-ride the third. The three branches are equal - the Court is not superior to Congress according to the Constitution. And it is also time to stop looking at Supreme Court case law. The only law that matters is what the plain text of the Constitution and those treaties signed (and ratified) by the United States. Case law is made to be overturned - especially when it conflicts with the clear language of the Constitution (yes, I'm talking about Kelo, among many, many other instances of judicial over-reach).

In the end, lawyers are simply another special interest group. Are they a necessary evil? I'm actually not convinced of that. I think that if laws were written by people with common sense, then a lot of the difficulty in the law would vanish and the need for lawyers would lessen as well. Lawyers exist to make the law difficult to understand. if it were in plain English, as the Constitution is, then why would we need lawyers at all? The answer is, we probably wouldn't. And this is a state of affairs much to be desired.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Citizen Verbally Assails Reid - Left Promptly Complains

G.M. Heller's excellent Berkshire Blog had a wonderful story today. It seems that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D - NV) was out shopping (at an upscale market, naturally) when he was recognized by a citizen who proceeded to ask his vocally and repeatedly why he was holding up the repeal vote on ObamaCare. Reid refused to answer and literally ran away from the encounter, leaving in a fleet of black SUVs. An interesting discussion has developed in the comments between those who (like myself) see this as a good thing and those who seem to thin that now the Democrats run the country, dissent should no longer be allowed. A typical comment from this side of the aisle is the 7:19 PM comment from 'Anonymous' re-posted below:

That's what you would expect from a stupid Republican. Thank God he did not have a gun and shoot Harry. Republicans love to RELOAD their guns. Normal people don't act like those Tea Bagger wackos. Where are the Death Pannels Consevative Republicans lied about for months. Oh yeah - Death Pannels are where the Iraq missles of mass destruction are. I guess with my statement I'm being an ass just like the person that annoyed Harry.What goes arround comes arround.

This is sadly typical of so many on the political left. They cannot argue; they can only post vile epithets and baseless accusations. In response to the thread, I posted the following comment:
Senators, Representatives and the President himself are all elected representatives of The People. This is a point we would do well to remember. They work for we the people. We are not their servants, their subjects or any other position less prestigious.

If said representatives actually held regular meetings with their constituents (as opposed to the reality we witnessed during the run-up to ObamaCare when most of them ducked and ran) this sort of behavior would not be necessary. Unfortunately, most if not all of these self-important hypocrites do their utmost to restrict their actual meetings with their constituents to stage-managed affairs where as many attendees as possible are hand-picked from their special-interest supporters.

In light of that reality, this citizen was not out of line, from what I can discover. I do not see any indication that profanity, violent rhetoric (unlike that seen constantly among the Democrats and their tools in leftist media) or any threatening behavior was used in this encounter. The citizen appears to have been merely verbally forceful. And the security forces present did not see any need to interfere, which would seem to indicate that they did not see any threat either.

As for the argument about 'harassment', it was only two short years ago that the media and Democrats were claiming that 'dissent is the highest form of partiotism'. And throwing shoes at a sitting President was hailed in that same media as being 'heroic'. Very well. This citizen was dissenting. Why then the disapproval from the left side of the political divide? Isn't dissent patriotic anymore? Or is it that those who made that claim only want free speech for their side, not for their opponents? if so, I find that attitude both reprehensible and entirely unwelcome in this country.

Our elected (and appointed) representatives need to be reminded frequently that they serve at the pleasure of We The People. They are our servants not our rulers - a distinction that too many of both parties tend to forget. Therefore, when they do things like ObamaCare that are against the interests of those same People, they should expect to be called to account for their behavior. Which this citizen did. And which the rest of us should do as well. We should be be polite. We should be courteous. But we should be forceful in expressing our opinions. Remember - they serve us, not the other way around.

I do not think that Senators, Representatives, Presidents or judges for that matter should enjoy any superiority over the rest of us. All of the branches of government can and often do, get things wrong. The Supreme Court authored the horrible Roe decision in a blatant example of judicial over-reach and has stretched the Commerce Clause out of all recognition. In addition, it has invented new 'rights' for prisoners-or-war as well as those explicitly denied POW rights under the Geneva Conventions as laid out in the blatantly unfounded Boumediene decision), ignored Constitutional language (the 10th Amendment, the 4th Amendment and the 2nd Amendment) that is plain and unambiguous. Not to mention the blatant re-creation involved in the Kelo decision that allowed government to redistribute private property against the plain intent of the Founders.

Congress meanwhile has acquiesced as the courts have legislated wildly from the bench and has itself tried to make a mockery of the Constitution with laws dating back to the New Deal. ObamaCare is only the latest statist power grab. And the Executive has itself a sorry record of abusing its powers as well. So why should any of these so-called 'betters' be treated with any respect?

To my mind, they have not earned it and they should be required to answer to their fellow Americans often. Forcing someone to defend their mistakes is a far better way of forcing those mistakes to be rectified than pretending that somehow a mistake is 'settled case law'. In any event, I applaud this citizen. I only wish that more of us would do the same.