Friday, January 18, 2013

nFocus: January 18, 2013

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Fixing Our Debt Requires Fixing Our Bills

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the Defense of Freedom Blog on December 22, 2011.

Every doctor knows that in order to effectively treat a patient, the doctor must find the root cause instead of treating the symptoms. For example, if a patient comes into the office complaining of diarrhea, any qualified doctor would try to find the cause of it instead of sending the patient home with prescription-grade version of Imodium. The same is true in psychology: a wise psychologist will attempt to go back through a person's life until that person comes to terms with other issues that are causing the depression or other psychological problems the patient is facing. In fact, we could go through a long list of examples in just about any field of work where an employee must get past the simple list of symptoms and find the root cause.

This is the issue currently facing the United States. Our leaders are focused on trying to solve the symptom of high debt, but both parties are wrong about the root cause. One party says that we can solve the debt problem by raising taxes. However, there are not too many Warren Buffetts in the world who feel they are not paying enough in taxes. The other party says that we can solve the debt problem by cutting spending. While there are certainly areas where spending needs to be cut, this is also not the real root of the problem. Now you are probably thinking, "If the problem is not taxes and it is not spending, what else can it be?" The answer is simple: bills.

Consider this plausible family scenario. A family of four finds that their income has dropped significantly because everyone at the husband's workplace has been forced to take a salary reduction in order to avoid layoffs. The husband comes home, calls the family together, and tells them that they will have to cut back on their spending. The family does significantly cut back their spending: family trips are kept to a minimum, they eat out once per month instead of once per week, they cut out the cable and internet, husband and wife agree to share one cell phone instead of paying for two phones, and instead of making trips to museums and zoos, they rent educational videos that teach similar topics. However, despite making cuts in just about every area possible, the family finds that it is still a struggle to make ends meet because some of their biggest expenditures just cannot be cut. Their mortgage payment or rent continues to stay at the same rate, the electric bill can be cut a little by conserving energy, but that may only reduce the bill by five or ten percent, and their credit card bills only drop significantly when they are able to make significant payments on the principle, which they have not done for some time. Finally, the family comes to the conclusion that they cannot afford to simply cut spending; they must make a major restructuring of their lives and move to a smaller house in order to reduce their bills.

Similar to our fictional family, the government has areas where it can cut back on spending. We can debate the ups and downs of where to cut spending, but the truth is that the so-called discretionary spending amounts to less than one-third of the government's total outlays. The remaining amount comes in the form of bills which must be paid by the government. Some of these bills include the interest on our debt, Social Security payments, Medicare payments, and the public welfare programs the government has established. While an act of Congress could reduce most of these payments (excluding the interest on the debt), we must also honor the commitments we have made to those who are depending on programs such as Social Security. Furthermore, it is unlikely that any leader in government would have the courage to propose something like a 10% reduction in Social Security payments, and anyone who did propose such a plan would likely be demonized in the media to such an extent that he or she would never be reelected.

In order to fix our debt problem, we must begin a major restructuring of these bills. America's entitlement programs are on a path toward bankruptcy. The Social Security program is already paying out more than it brings in, and Medicare will soon reach that point, as well. Other programs are seeing more people added to the rolls, and they are already "underwater" since they do not have a tax that directly supports them. The only way that our nation can deal with its bills is to restructure these programs to guarantee solvency.

However, this restructuring is not a popular idea in Washington. Any time someone proposes changing the way one of the entitlement programs operates, America becomes inundated with ads attacking the proposal and its supporters. Furthermore, the "solution" proposed to halt Medicare spending was to cut payments to doctors, a plan that will only serve to reduce the number of doctors accepting Medicare. Instead of implementing measures that hurt Americans, we must face the truth and implement real reform.

Without entitlement reform, America will not be able to survive financially. 40% of our spending is already financed through debt instead of taxes, and cutting discretionary spending will do little to solve the debt problem. Mandatory spending (entitlements and interest) almost results in spending all of America's revenue before discretionary spending is even considered, and without reform, this is only going to increase. While America certainly needs to control its discretionary spending, the debt problem will not be solved until America takes the necessary steps to reduce its mandatory bills.

Morning Media: January 18, 2013

Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the yesterday's best media.


First, Lisa Benson depicts Uncle Sam being held hostage by the debt bomb. View at Townhall

Next, Steve Kelly describes Obama's "fair shot" hypocrisy. It applies to taxes, but not guns. View at Townhall

And finally, here is the story of a law-abiding citizen who was killed by magazine limits. View at YouTube

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Morning Media: January 17, 2013

Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the yesterday's best media.


First, we have Glenn Foden showing us exactly how Obama and Biden are upholding the second amendment. View at Townhall

Next, Michael Ramirez has a photo of the latest shooting victim: the Constitution. View at Townhall

The NRA put out this ad showing the hypocrisy on the left regarding the NRA's call for more armed guards in schools. View at YouTube

And finally, I found this video on Monday, and I have held onto it until now because I was unsure about whether or not I should post it. I generally shun conspiracy theories (even when I believe they may be correct) unless there is enough evidence to back up the theory. However, in this case, I believe that there is enough evidence presented (and backed up) to make us question whether the media is telling the whole story on the Sandy Hook shooting. I am not saying that I think the shooting did not happen; nor am I saying that I think the shooting was a government conspiracy. However, if you watch this video with an open mind, you are forced to ask yourself the question, "Would the people in charge of this country allow this to happen in order to push gun control?" The answer is up to you. View at YouTube

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 16, 2013

Editor's Note: Since both houses of Congress will not be conducting business until next week, the D.C. Daily will not be published on Thursday and Friday.

Senate

Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


House of Representatives

During business yesterday, the House took the following actions:
  • Completed a reading of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Passed >H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013", by a vote of 241 yeas to 180 nays.

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House is a pro forma session scheduled for 3:00 PM on Friday, January 18.

Morning Media: January 16, 2013

Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the yesterday's best media.


First, Michael Ramirez shows Al Gore's "green" hypocrisy. View at Townhall

Second, Chip Bok describes Obama's plan to deal with the debt problem. View at Townhall Next, we have a Senator who calls raising the debt limit a "sad state of affairs." It just happens to be Senator Obama from 2006. Listen now at RightScoop

And finally, Project Veritas (the organization behind the dead voter videos during the election) put out this video of Journal News reporters (and a few others) declining to put up a "gun free zone" sign on their property. View at YouTube

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

nFocus: January 15, 2013

Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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Demand a Different Plan

“Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. Aurora. Fort Hood. Oak Creek. Newtown. Newtown. Newtown. Newtown. How many more? How many more? How many more colleges? How many more classrooms? How many more movie theaters? How many more houses of faith? How many more street corners?”

In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, a group of celebrities created a video Public Service Announcement to call for more gun control. Starting with the script above, the emotional video brings to mind some of the worst mass shootings in recent history. However, their conclusion—the need for more gun laws—is incorrect. Perhaps it is time for a new PSA, starting with this list:

Oklahoma City. Colorado Springs. San Antonio. Grundy, Virginia. The shootings in these towns failed to garner as much attention because they were stopped by citizens carrying legal weapons.”

In every mass shooting, there are two categories of people: the victims and the killer(s). The victims obey the law and simply want to go about their business without interference. The killer or killers, however, have a disregard for human life and the laws that protect that life.

Those in the second category are not harmed by gun laws. If we confiscate guns or implement stricter measures of control, which of those two groups will be most likely to obey the new gun laws? Will a person already willing to commit the illegal act of murder be stopped by a law outlawing a gun? Or will the person simply look to other sources for guns (the black market) or find another means to perpetrate the act (knives, hammers, etc.)? In fact, excepting only the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Tucson, every mass shooting in America in the past 20 years has occurred in a place where guns were already illegal. If these killers will not obey our gun laws already on the books, why will they obey stricter gun laws?

However, those in the first category are harmed by gun laws. Without the ability to carry a weapon, Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung and teacher Victoria Soto had no means to defend themselves and their students. Without a weapon, Jon Blunk, a five-year veteran of the navy who was reenlisting in the hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL, could only jump on top of his girlfriend to protect her while his body absorbed the fatal bullets during the Aurora shooting. In each shooting, the problem is not that the law-breaking murderer had access to a gun; it is that the law-abiding victims did not have access to one.

In his speech two days after the Newtown shooting, President Obama stated, ”If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.” He is right, and there is a step we can take: we can restore the rights of our law-abiding citizens to carry their guns everywhere. We will never stop people from taking up a firearm and attempting an act of violence, but with the right laws, we can allow citizens to stop that violence before it hurts more victims.

D.C. Daily: January 15, 2013

Senate

Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


House of Representatives

During business yesterday, the House took the following actions:
  • Passed H.R. 219, the "Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013", by a vote of 403 yeas to 0 nays.
  • Agreed to H. Res. 21, to provide for the attendance of the House at the Inaugural Ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States, by unanimous consent.
  • Agreed to H. Res. 22, electing electing Members to certain standing committees of the House of Representatives, by unanimous consent.

The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider the following bill:
  • H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013", subject to a rule.

Morning Media: January 15, 2013

Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the yesterday's best media.


First, Steve Breen takes a look at what is in the target of the national gun debate. View at Townhall

Second, Michael Ramirez gives Hollywood an Oscar for promoting violence. View at Townhall

Next, a Toby Toons cartoon explains the source of Obama's Second Amendment views. View at Breitbart

Moving to audio, Mark Levin interviewed Ted Cruz, and the subject of "Washington Monument games" came up. Listen now at RightScoop

And finally, Rush Limbaugh explains why matching payroll taxes serves to reduce your salary. Listen now at RightScoop

Monday, January 14, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 14, 2013

Senate

Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


House

The House will meet today at 2:00 PM. The House is expected to consider one bill under suspension of the rules:
  • The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (The bill will be introduced during today's session, so the bill number and text are not available at this time.)

Morning Media: January 14, 2013

Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the best media from this weekend.


First, Michael Ramirez provides a depiction of the "trillion dollar coin". View at Townhall

Next up, Nate Beeler takes a look at some proposals to avoid the debt ceiling. View at Townhall

And finally, Australians have a warning for us about gun control. View at YouTube