“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” –Thomas Jefferson
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Debt Ceiling Rerun
Congress will return from its August recess to face a $16.7 trillion-dollar debt ceiling that the government is expected to reach by mid-October. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Congress in a letter last week to raise the debt limit “as soon as possible” in order for the government to meet its fiscal obligations. Lew has used a few tricks to hold the debt in place since May, including withholding reinvestment in certain government securities and holding back new pension investment. But those gimmicks have reached the end of their usefulness. Lew and Barack Obama want a “clean” debt limit increase, and they refuse to negotiate on the issue. House Speaker John Boehner says that Republicans will agree to a limit hike only if it is matched by real spending cuts.
We’ve seen this movie before. The last time talks broke down, we ended up with a budget sequester crafted and pushed by Obama. The sequester amounted to a meager 2.4 percent spending cut over the next decade, and Obama then turned around and used it as a political bludgeon to beat Republicans for cutting funds to popular programs. The sequester’s fiscal impact was negligible, but the irrational reaction to it by Obama, congressional Democrats and the Leftmedia demonstrated just how hard it can be to unwind impending fiscal disaster.
Obama has racked up $5 trillion in budget deficits since taking office, complete with wasted fiscal stimulus packages and the budget-smashing ObamaCare law. And he has no plans to change now. Indeed, if he continues to have his way, spending will continue at its present pace as he operates under the assumption that the government can tax its way out of this mess. Fiscal conservatives have to be strong and demand reduced spending, though until this administration is gone, there’s little hope for success.
Around the Nation: Fast-Food Strike
Fast-food workers in 50 cities walked out on the job last Thursday as part of a strike demanding higher wages. Participating workers want $15 an hour — more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. One Detroit worker complained, “It’s a very uncomfortable lifestyle working for $7.40 at McDonald’s when McDonald’s made like $500 billion last year.” Actually, McDonald’s global net income last year was $5.5 billion, but, like, whatever. The effect of the strike wasn’t exactly super-sized, either. While a Detroit McDonald’s closed when all of its workers walked out, many restaurants hardly noticed and continued to operate as normal.
The strike came as Washington politicos are calling for another increase in the minimum wage to $9 an hour, which, oddly enough, is the average hourly wage of a fast-food worker. According to Bloomberg, “Under agreements with the restaurant chains, the franchisees who own and operate most fast-food stores in the U.S. typically are responsible for hiring and wages. While they can raise prices to offset higher costs, they’re already under pressure to pay rent and royalties to the restaurant chains at a time when consumers remain reluctant to eat out.” Restaurants are also already slashing hours thanks to the Unaffordable Health Care Act, and teen employment (the workers typically making minimum wage) is at record lows — arbitrarily and artificially raising wages would exacerbate that problem.
Hasan Sentenced to Death
“Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people in 2009 in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, was sentenced to death Wednesday by a military jury after just two hours of deliberation,” reports Fox News. One of the 13 murder victims was pregnant. Hasan represented himself but offered almost no defense for his actions, other than to say that he was “defending” jihadis abroad by attacking American soldiers at home. He may be hoping for martyrdom and his supposed 72 virgins, but prosecutor Col. Mike Mulligan assured jurors otherwise: “He is not giving his life. We are taking his life. This is not his gift to God, it’s his debt to society. He will not now and will not ever be a martyr.” No, he’s a despicable traitor and a cold-blooded murdering jihadi.
Despite Hasan’s death sentence, it could be years — or even decades — before he is executed. The last death sentence carried out on a military prisoner was Army Pvt. John A. Bennett in 1961. Just five service members are currently on death row, and one of them has been fighting it for 25 years. Justice awaits Hasan’s execution, but a lingering wrong persists: the Obama administration’s stubborn refusal to call his actions a terrorist attack. As far as Barack Obama is concerned, this was simply an act of “workplace violence.”
Faith and Family: New IRS, HHS Rules for Marriage
The Supreme Court recently struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. But Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion left marriage law to the states. Kennedy wrote, “[T]he definition and regulation of marriage has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.” So naturally, the Obama administration has gone further. Obama’s IRS and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that same-sex unions will be treated as marriages, even in states where traditional marriage is still the law — provided couples were “married” in states that legally redefined it. Same-sex couples can even get tax refunds for previous years as if the marriages had been federally recognized all along. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decreed that same-sex couples will also now have access to Medicare Advantage. She called the announcement “the first of many steps” to extend the Court’s ruling.
In related news, a federal judge ruled last Thursday that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can’t refuse to provide full benefits to a California veteran who is “married” to another woman. The VA argues that the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t apply, and it’s just following current regulations. The judge, however, decided that those regulations needed updating. Now.
Though only 3.4 percent of Americans self-identify as “gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered,” the pernicious advancement of the homosexual agenda is very well funded, coordinated and executed. Consequently, almost half of adult Americans believe that 20-25 percent of Americans are LGBT, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rule changes such as those at the IRS, HHS and VA are inevitable and will keep coming.
Columnist David Limbaugh: “The assumption is that unless [conservatives] offer liberal solutions — catering and pandering specifically to blacks — we have nothing to offer. Republicans do offer solutions for blacks, just as they offer solutions for all other people. The conservative solution is not to increase government transfer payments to able-bodied people but to pursue policies that will lead to economic growth and opportunity. Though many liberals would have you believe that efforts to reduce government assistance and dependency programs and to encourage self-sufficiency are heartless, they are in fact more compassionate. … In the long run, it is irresponsible and, yes, cruel to promote policies that result in greater dependency on government for those who don’t need to be dependent. … We believe that the greatest good for the greatest number of people, including minorities, will be achieved by ensuring liberty, equality and opportunity for all.”
“The crisis we are facing today … [requires] … our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.” —Ronald Reagan
For the Record
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Last year Obama told us repeatedly that the tide of war is receding. This year, he grandly declared that the entire war on terror ‘must end.’ If he wants Tomahawks to fly [in Syria], he’d better have a good reason, tell it to the American people and get the support of their representatives in Congress, the way George W. Bush did for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. It’s rather shameful that while the British prime minister has recalled Parliament to debate possible airstrikes, Obama has made not a gesture in that direction. If you are going to do this, Mr. President, do it constitutionally. And seriously. This is not about you and your conscience. It’s about applying American power to do precisely what you now deny this is about — helping Assad go, as you told the world he must. Otherwise, just send Assad a text message. You might incur a roaming charge, but it’s still cheaper than a three-day, highly telegraphed, perfectly useless demonstration strike.”
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “If our attitude is that Obama screwed up, but that now the least-screwed-up remedy is to attack Syria, then we are indeed in bad shape. Of the bad and worse alternatives, the worse is attacking without specifying our aims, means, and desired results. … In short, we have no Middle East model for a successful intervention, the president has no track record of resolute leadership in the region, and a go-it-alone attack, without the U.S. Congress, allies, or even an effort at the U.N., is antithetical to the entire liberal critique of prior American foreign policy.”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
Columnist Michael Walsh: “We appear to have lost — at every level of the command structure, starting with the commander-in-chief — the ability to think strategically, with a clear objective in sight. We enter conflicts insouciantly, while already pondering an exit strategy, when the only exit strategy should be and must be the total defeat and unconditional surrender of the foe.”
Martin Luther King Jr.: “What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends: Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures! Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well!’ If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill, be a scrub in the valley, but be the best little scrub on the side of the rill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. It isn’t by size that you win or you fail; be the best at whatever that you are!”
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez on immigration reform: “What we need to understand is, today, someone’s going to die in that desert, trying to return to their families. … There’s a woman that’s going to be raped in a field somewhere in America today because she has no rights in this country, and we need to end that. There are children who are going to cry and there are marriages that are going to be destroyed because someone is going to be deported today, and there are going to be children that are going to be left orphaned in this country.”
MSNBC’s Krystal Ball: “Fifty years ago, the March on Washington focused on ending Jim Crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes and sometimes their lives. Fifty years later, we have no Jim Crow and without a villain to focus on, it’s hard to get people fired up. Congratulations, Republicans. You have taken the place of Jim Crow. You are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting.”
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File
Slate’s Allison Benedikt: “You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad — but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.”
The Last Word
Columnist Peggy Noonan: “God made us as many things, including as workers. When you work you serve and take part. To work is to be integrated into the daily life of the nation. There is pride and satisfaction in doing work well, in working with others and learning a discipline or a craft or an art. To work is to grow and to find out who you are. … Work gives us purpose, stability, integration, shared mission. And so to be unable to work — unable to find or hold a job — is a kind of catastrophe for a human being. There are an estimated 11.5 million unemployed people in America now, and those who do not have sufficient work or who’ve left the workforce altogether inflate that number further. This is the real reason jobs and employment are the No. 1 issue in America’s domestic life. And what I have been thinking in the weeks leading up to this weekend is very simple: ‘Thank you, God, that I have a job.’ May more of us be able to say those words on Labor Day 2014.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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