As Barack Obama begins his presidency gun enthusiasts are paying close attention to the actions of our new President. People like to dabble in conjecture regarding the ways in which the Obama administration will try to inhibit gun owners. However, we don’t have to guess because our new President and his administration have made their goals clear. We can look at the new White House website and find their proposed policies on gun control; they want to remove the ‘gun show loophole’, make guns ‘child proof’, and make the federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent. The problem, however, is that these things will be ineffective in doing what the lawmakers want, will further trample our Second Amendment rights, and worst of all further thrash the rights of individual states to create laws that best fit their unique citizenry.
It’s been around a year since this was originally published so I thought I’d go back and tell a little of what has happened. Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that our Congress eventually passed this bill and President Obama signed it into law. You may have heard Obama talking since then about how this was necessary and that it saved or created 1.5 million jobs. That sounds great on TV when he’s giving the State of the Union address, but in reality it is a pathetic waste of our taxpayer dollars.
When it was passed they said it would keep unemployment from rising beyond 8%. It is at 10% now. Doing a little math shows you how much they wasted. The cost to the taxpayer was around 862 Billion dollars. That is 862,000,000,000. That is a lot of zeroes. The jobs, not just new jobs but also “saved” jobs, were 1.5 Million by the White House’s own accounting. That means that we spent an average of about 575,000 dollars per job. Mind you most of these jobs are construction or maybe teaching jobs making around 30K a year. This is simply a great example of government waste and not much more.
The real problem is that in Obama’s recently released budget there is 300 Billion more dollars modeled on last years stimulus package. For those that don’t know, the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior expecting different results. I don’t think they are insane though (usually), I just think they are happy with a government stimulus package. They are happy spending more and more of your money because that means power. If they can make you believe that you need them to help, they have accomplished their goal. Just to make it clear, you don’t need the government stimulus package to help you find a job.
Congress currently has a “stimulus package” in the works. Unfortunately the only thing it is really going to stimulate growth in is government. There is so much pork in this bill, the Wall Street Journal said this about it, “This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.” Suffice it to say there is more money in “pet projects” than there is in any sort of economic stimulus. That is why every single Republican representative voted against the stimulus bill. This is apparently the change we can believe in.
Here are some of the, shall we say, not very stimulating proposals in the government stimulus package:
$1 billion to Amtrak who hasn’t made a profit in 4 decades
$2 billion in child-care subsidies
$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$400 million for global-warming research
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$650 million to pay for digital TV conversion coupons
$600 million for the federal government to buy new cars. Their current budget already includes $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles
$252 billion is for income-transfer payments - i.e. Medicare, unemployment, and food stamps
$66 billion for education
As the WSJ put it:
This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living — or dead — Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.” So they did. Republicans should let them take all of the credit.
Thankfully it looks like the Republicans are going to give this joke of a government stimulus package to the Democrats. All but 11 of them voted for this bill. At least a few were smart enough to see this for what it is, a waste of money sending America even further into debt.
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The idea behind the fair tax is to eliminate the federal income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. There are some strong opinions on both sides of the fair tax issue so I thought I’d share a few of the pros and cons. It is not a flat tax, though I think that would be more fair than our current system as well.
1. Pro: The fair tax is much easier to understand than the current convoluted tax income tax system. When an entire industry (tax accountants) has been created to understand paying taxes, there is a problem. The picture below is Representative John Linder holding the 132 page Fair Tax Act in contrast to over 60,000 pages of U.S. tax code.
I’m confused about the current litigation against Richard Fuld and the belief by some that he sold his house to his wife for 100$ to make sure it couldn’t be touched in a lawsuit. It doesn’t make sense for people to believe this man’s personal assets should be seized simply because the company he was running (Lehman Brothers) went under. His poor management costs those shareholders billions of dollars, was probably partly responsible for the current problems we see in the financial sector, and may have been fraud, (Though so many other institutions were engaging in the same behavior this seems unlikely). But, none of these things should impact Fuld’s personal assets.
Ron Paul exceeded my expectations in The Revolution: A Manifesto. In it he covers a wide range of important topics that our country is currently facing including an assault on our Constitution, the foreign policy of our Founding Fathers, civil liberties, monetary policy, and economic freedom.
Ron Paul effectively argues for freedom and liberty throughout the book. In the preface he states:
There is an alternative to national bankruptcy, a bigger police state, trillion-dollar wars, and a government that draws ever more parasitically on the productive energies of the American people. It’s called freedom.
That pretty much sums up the message of the book. He shows that freedom and liberty is not something to be taken lightly, but it is something that we must fight for. Freedoms and liberties are things that the Founding Fathers wanted us to have, but we continue let them be chipped away. With each passing bailout and each new country we send troops to, we get closer to ruining the dollar.
He shows that he isn’t a crazy isolationist as his opponents and many in the media would have had you believe, but rather he is a non-interventionist. He has no desire for us to have our military in so many countries all around the world. It is costing us incredible amounts of money and it is doing very little to increase our national security. He has no problem with the United States responding to genuine threats with military force; he does however have a problem with sacrificing freedom, liberty, and prosperity to expand our vast overseas empire.
This non-interventionist thinking is not new. Paul shows that many of our Founding Fathers had very similar views. Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address said, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” John Quincy Adams said that “[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Henry Clay added, “Thus we should strive to lead by example rather than force, and provide a model for the world that other peoples will wish to follow. We do no one any good by bankrupting ourselves.” Very prophetic if you ask me.
Our empire around the world costs about a trillion dollars a year to maintain. It seems to me we could use that here on some of the 10 trillion dollars in debt we have. America is currently spending 1.4 billion dollars a day on interest on that debt. That is where many of your tax dollars are going.
Ron Paul also discusses the massive debt and entitlement programs that weigh down our country. He notes, “With a $9 trillion debt, perhaps $50 trillion in entitlement liabilities, and the dollar in free fall, how much longer can we afford this unnecessary and counterproductive extravagance” in reference to our current military spending. Note that the national debt has passed $10 trillion since the book was published. Really though, $50 trillion dollars on the Ponzi schemes that are social security and medicare. They were not designed as such, but that is basically what they have turned into at this point.
Congressman Paul also spends a lot of time discussing the Constitution and how it applies today, even if our leaders don’t want it to. He gives many specific examples of our government ignoring and violating the constitution. From military conscription, to abortion, to foreign policy, to state’s rights, Dr. Paul eloquently argues in defense of the Constitution. Many problems we have today have been caused because we ignored the Constitution and it’s core principles for too long.
As he concluded his section on the Constitution, he added this:
If our government were scrupulously faithful to the Constitution, we would not need to be especially concerned when a person who represents a philosophy different from our own takes political office. Our Constitution delegates relatively few tasks to the federal government, so it should almost be a matter of indifference who is elected.
Unfortunately that is not the case. Paul goes on to say that the Constitution, while not perfect, is a good definition of the limits and scope of government. Bending and interpreting it in such a way as to allow the government to do as it pleases is something that is done with a high cost. We are paying it in many different ways.
Ron Paul also exposes much of the joke that is our current economic policy. He gives a great argument against the way our government has recently (the last 80 years or so) been causing rampant inflation, completely devaluing the dollar. Our Founding Fathers never intended for the government to issues “bills of credit” but for us to have a dollar that was actually worth something, i.e. gold and silver. Lately, our government has been particularly guilty of simply printing money. Each time they print more money it devalues the money in your wallet.
Paul finishes with a blueprint for “The Revolution.” He lays the groundwork for things that we can do to get our freedom and liberties back. He shows what needs to be done, and what could be accomplished if we work together to take back our nation.
I must say that I really enjoyed this book. As a student of history, I really liked the way he brought together knowledge from the Founding Fathers and the Constitution to show how to fix the real problems we are facing today. He also tells a lot of secrets that many people probably wish were left untold. All in all, this is a great book for any student of history, anybody who is interested in Ron Paul and his ideas, and anybody who wants to keep the freedoms and liberties we have and take back the ones we’ve lost. I hope that you enjoy The Revolution: A Manifesto(aff) as much as I did.
For other great books check out the rest of the must read conservative book list.
It’s that time of the year again. The time of year where all of our hearts can be warmed by the knowledge that some of our hard earned dollars must be sacrificed to support the people who spend absurd amounts of that money on everything from lavish lavatories to bailouts for industries that are mismanaged and under performing. Thats right, it’s Tax Season!
Representative Kirsten Gillibrand was chosen by Governor Paterson to replace Hilary Clinton in the Senate. I have to say, I like this choice for a few reasons. I am very pleased that Paterson choose Ms. Gillibrand because he thought she was the best person for the job, not because her last name was Kennedy. Though, I feel like that is mostly luck due to Caroline Kennedy dropping out of the race. She had a good chance of being selected if she stayed in the race, but I guess I will give Paterson the benefit of the doubt.
Even if there were some sort of ulterior motive like gaining upstate votes for his upcoming re-election, this pick certainly makes it look like he actually did his job. This is someone who at least has a little bit of experience that qualifies her for the job as opposed to simply a last name. He certainly at least did a much better job than Blagojevich. Though it is not like that was difficult.
The New York Times said this about Gillibrand:
Ms. Gillibrand, who is considered a centrist and is known for her bold political moves, also expressed support for investing in high-tech industries, health care, transportation infrastructure and small businesses, and said she would call for tax cuts for middle-class families and lower property taxes.
As far as a democrat being chosen for Congress, she is definitely not as liberal as many of the selections could have been. That is good news in my eyes. The Times added, “Ms. Gillibrand, who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, is controversial among some of the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more liberal leaders downstate.” A girl who likes guns and makes liberals angry sounds good to me. Maybe we can turn her into a conservative. Doubt it, but Paterson certainly could have made worse choices.
I have 5 books to give away thanks to the generosity of Hachette Book Group. They gave me a copy of The Revolution to review and also 5 copies to offer in a giveaway. The contest is going to be a random draw from the entries. To enter simply answer the following question in the comments below.
What is the most important issue facing conservatives and/or libertarians in 2009?
The contest will run through the end of January. At that point I will do a random drawing for 5 winners out of the comments below. Limit one entry per person. Subscribe to our feed to stay tuned for my review of the book for our conservative book list and for the announcement of the winners. I will email the winners to get their addresses, and Hachette will mail the book directly to them.