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Debt is what Upsets me Most about Gun Control

“ The oath I have sworn before you today…was an oath to God and country, not party or faction and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.”  The charisma and stature of President Obama rang clear once more at his second inaugural address today. His passion, his fire, and his oratory are among the most impressive in modern time. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing he cannot accomplish. 72% of people say they like him personally. By comparison, only 18% like Congress. But he rarely risks his popularity by throwing his political weight behind a cause. He has now done this with gun control.

Like most of my fellow Kentuckians I enjoy firearms, and oppose gun control; not because I like them, but because the research is clear. Fewer guns do not result in less crime. In fact, when gun control measures are taken, we often see violent crime increase. But what frustrates me most about President Obama’s support of gun control is the lack of risk he takes now that he is taking a stand.

“We were made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together,” he said in his address. But he seems to have little interest in any togetherness. His 23 executive actions on gun control and his Congressional proposals are nothing but a poke in the eye of his opponents. He has thrown his passion against his enemies only. Now, I am not one to blame fast food for making one fat, but I find it very interesting that President Obama did nothing the challenge Hollywood, the entertainment industry, or the violence in our culture when he decided to take on gun control.

It is only going to get worse,

It is only going to get worse,

It does not say much for the character of a man if he uses his power for things that benefit him.  On the other hand, it speaks volumes of his character if he will use his power for things that benefit everyone. President Obama is leaving his allies conspicuously unscathed in gun control and debt. He has not challenged them because they are his breadwinners. Money and influence flooded in by the barge load to his campaign from Hollywood and Liberals that love entitlements, so he has left them alone as he has Democrats when it comes to debt. Instead, he has directly challenged his foes, and done nothing to challenge his allies.

His failure to challenge his allies is a pattern that repeats throughout his presidency. Our debt and deficit are far more threatening to this nation than the 300 deaths per year from rifles. At least twice in his first term Speaker Boehner put $800 billion of revenue on the table—a massive political risk—because he knew our fiscal situation was disastrous. Now we have even seen the Republicans pass more revenue in the fiscal cliff deal, but we have not seen any pressure from President Obama to cut entitlements—about 2/3 of our budget. Instead, he defends them and tells Republicans he will not negotiate.

Entitlements are not bad, but the debt they drive is a time bomb, and time is running out. It is time for Obama to use his influence and show he has character. His friends need to be challenged as he has challenged his foes. If he is as serous about a balanced approach to debt as he publically claims he is then it is time for the cards to be on the table. He must walk the walk. A true leader would fight for a fix, not for his political party.

Republicans have already crossed their red line and agreed to increase taxes. If President Obama has any integrity he will pull his party across their red line and reform entitlements. We need leadership and President Obama might be the most capable man for the job.

“America’s possibilities are endless” he said to a crowd scores of thousands strong. But if you listen to his newly appointed Treasury Secretary that is not true unless we fix our long term debt crisis. In 10 years Medicare and Medicaid spending alone is projected to be 100% of our budget. If we want our children to have possibilities as endless as ours we need to act now. He needs to act now. It has come time to put off the act of a strong leader and walk the walk. Be the man you pretend to be in your speeches. Be the man you are to the opposition on gun control.

Spending and debt are such uncontrollable problems, and such trophies to conservatives that I believe President Obama could kill two birds with one stone. Should he put his weight behind deficit reduction—real deficit reduction that must include entitlement reform—I believe conservatives would concede a compromise of much of what President Obama wants on gun control.

Now is the time for leadership.

Now is the time for leadership.

Here is a deal worth thinking about; entitlement cuts in exchange for defense cuts, more revenue through tax reform, and gun control. And I do not want to hear about how Social Security is not a driver of our debt, we are already paying out more than we are taking in and the nation is getting older, not younger. The trust fund has been raided for decades and workers cannot afford to pay the benefits for those coming up on retirement. So we need to raise the age for Social Security and Medicare; 68 at least, preferably to 70 within a few years. People are still typically very healthy into their 70’s, benefits at 65 are no longer a necessity. Medicaid is also exploding. We have to look into Medicaid savings, particularly with the Obamacare takeover, millions more will be pushed onto Medicaid. Right now is the time to save some money. We need to cut the military budget; we do not need a military budget larger than the next 10 largest in the world combined. Those four programs alone cover close to 85% of our budget, cut them, we cut the deficit.

For all of this I have no doubts Republicans would agree to at least another $300-$400 billion in revenue. On top of the $620 billion from the fiscal cliff that puts us roughly at $1 trillion. Through in another $1 trillion from Overseas Contingency Operations (the closing of the Afghan war in 2014) and we have $2.5 trillion in revenue—more than Obama has asked for. These cuts would be such an achievement for right wingers that I think you could get this compromise on gun control: universal background checks, registration of all assault rifles, possibly permits for assault rifles similar to the permits we have currently for concealed weapons, a ban on body armor (by the way, why is nobody talking about these last two?), and a limit on magazine size at 30 or possibly even 20. I do not think 10 is a realistic agreement, and I do not think a total ban on assault weapons is a realistic agreement either, but this gives President Obama almost everything he wanted from gun control.

But all this would take a true leader. Someone the public likes and admires not afraid of a fight—not afraid of his own allies. If President Obama would put the energy and passion for gun control behind deficit reduction he might end up with both, and become one of the greatest Presidents of all time along the way. But taking on your allies requires the type of character we just have not yet seen from Barack Obama. This term will be the test of that character.

–Matt Young

21 January 2013

Taking Congress Back From Wall Street

$1,331 per minute. No, that is not Mitt Romney’s average earned income; that number is much smaller. Nor is it the rate of growth of the federal deficit; that number is much bigger. In fact this number is nearly as frightening as the federal deficit when one considers the implications. So what would you do with $1,331every minute? If you said throw it away lobbying government and forking out campaign contributions, well, that would make you crazy. Unfortunately, that would also make you Wall Street.

According to Global Exchange’s Elect Democracy effort, the Financial Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector has given $4.2 Billion combined in lobbying and campaign contributions in just the last 5 1/2 years. $879 million alone has gone directly into campaigns to re-elect the same cronies who allowed Wall Street to hold the economy for ransom, then negotiated with these capitalism terrorists using your money and my money to pay the ransom. Now we should unshackle Wall Street? Before FDR put in banking regulations the financial sector had a collapse an average of every six years. Guess how many years it took for this collapse after Congress deregulated the financial sector? Apparently our esteemed representatives on Capitol Hill are not intelligent enough to connect the dots. If you said six, you are smarter than your Congressman. Read the rest of this entry

Why Immigration Reform Will not Happen

Turn on your TV, over and over you will hear about immigration reform. Time after time every political candidate, from every political party and sphere of thought will tell you exactly what they think; few poll punches on immigration. The media frames the debate in two polar opposites, as we can always count on our beloved media to do, despite the fact that there is so much more to the immigration problem than can be depicted in two ideas. Nonetheless, many in this nation are falsely led to believe there are only two policies; absolute deportation, and absolute amnesty. This is still being peddled by cable news propaganda stations despite the fact that very few people in very few places actually believe either of these ideas are beneficial. The fact is both universal deportation and amnesty would hurt our nation for many reasons, the two largest of which would be an interpreted invitation for more illegal immigration, while on the other side it would be a huge economic hit.

However, illegal immigration is a problem for our nation. Illegal immigrants are a strain on our resources, and contribute to the crime rate. This is not to say all illegal immigrants are bad; in fact, far from it. Most are great people, and illegal immigration gives them a bad stigma because of those who do come solely to take advantage of our systems and make money illegally. Most illegal immigrants even believe immigration reform is needed. Coyote running, below minimum wage pay, multi-family housing, and discrimination are not the American dream. The reason this has not happened can be stated in one word: power. Read the rest of this entry

The Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

You heard it here first. Patriotslog reporting live from the Supreme Court on the decision finally made regarding the Obesity Initiative for Nutrition and Care act of 2048, commonly referred to as OINK. After being tied up in the court system for six years we finally have the verdict. According to the 8 to 7 split decision on the Supreme Court, the government can in fact create mandatory diet plans for all residents (both citizens and illegal immigrants via the Immigration compromise of 2023) of the United States. It is expected that former First Lady Michelle Obama will be delivering an address on her lifelong initiative from her home any minute now. After her many years of hard work and dedication to “save Americans from themselves”, we may finally see the national obesity rate drop below 96%. Former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is refusing to comment on the ruling, and in an apparent attempt to starve herself to death in protest has barricaded herself in her nursing home room, refusing to speak to anyone. Her only correspondence is a hand written sign taped to the outside of her door which states: “They can tell me what to eat, but the sure can’t force me to eat it.” Not yet, anyway. However, one has to wonder how long it will be until legislation is passed which states they can. Read the rest of this entry

All Signs Point to more Gridlock

Sen. Dick LugarThis past week marked a telltale sign of the state of affairs in congress; and unfortunately that sign leads to gridlock junction. Patriotslog has already written about how voters are causing much of the problems in D.C. The problem is how predictable the events that have taken place since then really were. Long time Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar was defeated in the Indiana primary this week; his greatest sin–actually doing his job. His opponent, Richard Murdock, leveled accusations against him time and time again that he worked with President Obama, as if that is a crime the jury of primary elections needed to convict him of. Sen. Lugar accomplished so much for this nation, mostly in the way of national security and foreign relations. He was instrumental in helping to end the Cold War, and in helping to disarm the planet’s vast supply of nuclear weapons. In his career Sen. Lugar has overseen 7,619 nuclear bombs disarmed, 498 missile silos decommissioned, and 902 intercontinental ballistic missiles destroyed. Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus are nuclear weapon free. The list can continue, but the point is clear; making the world a better place does not matter to voters any longer. Read the rest of this entry

What if Trayvon Martin was White?

Trayvon Martin

For weeks Pariotslog has been refraining from comment on the shooting of Trayvon Martin because there simply are not enough facts. All the evidence in the case is circumstantial at best, and the sum of the legal argument has essentially been limited to a contest of honesty. The press and defense both knew this, which is why we witnessed the mudslinging through media releases that Trayvon had been suspended three separate times, and had been found with marijuana; likewise, we heard that Zimmerman had a violent arrest record, and used his neighborhood watch status to elevate his ego because he could not be a law enforcement official. The fact is that when there is such an absence of evidence in a case such as this, arrests and prosecutions take time. This week, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder. Many believe the Florida “stand your ground” law will lead to his acquittal because of the lack of evidence in the case. However, for all the attention the law is receiving it is interesting to note that it may not even apply in this case. There are two stories in this incident; the first, Zimmerman’s, is that he was attacked and being beaten by Trayvon Martin, and had to pull the trigger out of self-defense. The second, that of Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend–whom he was talking to on the phone just before the altercation–is that Zimmerman followed Trayvon and initiated the confrontation, shooting him for no reason. The stand your ground law is not applicable to either situation because either it was unjustified murder, or Zimmerman was assaulted and had to defend himself. The stand your ground law applies only in situations where one is threatened; in both sides of this story nobody was threatened, they were attacked. If Zimmerman is telling the truth, and he had not had a gun, it would have been him, not Martin who would have died. Read the rest of this entry

The Supreme Court Hearing on Obamacare

Paging Dr. ObamaThis coming week the Supreme Court will hear three days of oral arguments; the length of the arguments indicates what a monumental case this is. The last time the court designated 6 hours of arguments was in 1966. As patriotslog has previously written, the universal health care system is not a good idea. On paper and in theory it works out splendidly; however, in practice, it never produces the results envisioned by the creators. It is expected that the issue at the forefront of the case in the Supreme Court is the issue of the individual mandate for health insurance coverage the law created. Does the government have the power to force each citizen to purchase health insurance, whether they feel a need for it or not? This issue has largely defined the Obamacare argument, though it is only a small part of the effect carried by the legislation. To be fair, the Affordable Care Act legislation does provide some needed reforms to health care which largely benefit the American people. Among these are the legislation to make illegal the practice of denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition; premium hikes being subject to review; a mandated percentage of revenue for health insurance providers being spent on care, as opposed to advertising or management; premiums cannot be higher for women than for men, as they have been in recent history; and premiums cannot be raised for individuals who develop a disability such as asthma or diabetes. One can debate the fairness of these provisions as well as the need for them; but with the price of health care continuing to rise it is almost unanimous that something must be done. President Obama feels these provisions are the answer the public needs. Read the rest of this entry

Reforming American Public Education

In the middle of all the political tantrums and petulant partisan battles in Washington, one issue has been mutually agreed upon by all sides; improving our education system. President Obama, in last year’s State of the Union address illustrated perfectly the need for a better education system:

“Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education.  And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school.  The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.  America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.  And so the question is whether all of us –- as citizens, and as parents –- are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed…When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance.  But too many schools don’t meet this test.” Read the rest of this entry

Obama Sets New Precedent: Making Recess Appointments with the Senate in Session

When the founding fathers structured our constitution, historians agree their fear was that Congress could become too powerful, and shut the legislative and executive branches out of the governing system, essentially becoming the government. This fear stemmed from the amount of power given to Congress in the constitution, which was done in order to prevent one man from becoming a ruler or monarch. Presidential power has been a centuries long experiment, revolving around how much a president can and should be able to do alone. When Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus many thought that outside the president’s abilities; likewise, many thought the president had no right to issue an emancipation proclamation. Since then many controversial executive orders have been issued; from the great depression “new deal” era, to President Bush after 9/11, presidential power has always been a fluid concept. So the unprecedented move by President Obama in bypassing the Senate to appoint a head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau no doubt struck controversy. The constitution clearly states that a president must have all department heads approved by the Senate unless the Senate is in recess. Yesterday President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as the head of the CFPB as well as three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) even though the Senate was not technically in recess. At first glance this seems clearly unconstitutional; however, the Obama team is arguing it is not, and their case is complicated. The Senate never officially recessed, meaning that President Obama has no constitutional grounds with which to appoint bureaucrats; however, the Senate has not been in on Capitol Hill as a body in weeks. In order to avoid these recess appointments the senators have been holding “pro-forma” sessions, where one of the closest republican senators comes in to the Senate chambers, bangs the gavel to signal the start of a session, then bangs it again to end the session. Thus the Senate is still technically in session, though in reality they are on a recess. Read the rest of this entry

Dysfunctional Congress

Slavery and secession. Though I know of nobody who supports slavery, the two words still bring up passionate feelings and discussions among all races in my home state of Kentucky and throughout the South. Are debt and taxes just as pivotal? Are they such hot button issues that we will continue to argue or avoid the super committee topic even 150 years down the road? This is highly unlikely, but you would not know it if you looked at our Congress; at least that is the conclusion of the book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. The book was written by two prestigious historians, Thomas Mann, the senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and draws some harsh conclusions toward the 112th Congress. According to their book, the last time Congress was this dysfunctional was in the years leading up to the civil war. Many polls have the approval rating of Congress in the single digits, and none above 15%; eyes can be seen glazed over whenever anyone so much as mentions Congress in a public discussion. It is clear that slavery and secession are far more drastic issues than those facing us today; nonetheless, Congress has manufactured one crisis after another this year, and the tension rivals that of the civil war era Congress. Despite all the troubles facing a nation literally torn apart in the 1850’s, U.S. history professor Daniel Feller, at the University of Tennessee said that “none of those involved the level of conflict within Congress itself that we see today.” Feller, who specializes in early to mid-1800’s American history also said “I think you’d have to go back to the 1850s to find a period of congressional dysfunction like the one we’re in today.” Read the rest of this entry

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