WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) this evening issued the following statement:
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
Editorial Commentary – Rockwall Conservative
It was Speaker Boehner’s much publicized “Plan B” that failed: raising taxes without cutting spending.
Across Texas Congressional District 4 my fellow Texans are telling our Congressman Ralph M. Hall to CUT SPENDING.
The imbalance of revenue to expenditures isn’t a matter of too little taxation, it’s a matter of too much spending.
Like a spoiled child that can’t have his way, President Obama sulks off the playing field, signifying he won’t play if he can’t make the rules.
Long ago the Founding Fathers made the rules and their priorities are clearly visible today. In order of importance, Article 1 creates the Legislative Branch, Article 2 the Executive Branch and Article 3 the Judiciary.
Article 1 empowers a simple majority of the Legislature to pass a bill that becomes law, if the President does not veto it. However, underscoring the hierarchy of authority in this country, a two-thirds majority outranks any president.
In our representative form of government, We the People are the ultimate human authority over taxes, spending and debt. House members simply represent our wishes.
Article 1, Section 7 (excerpt)
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Article 1, Section 8 (excerpts)
The Congress shall have PowerTo lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
Continue to call and write your Congressional delegation. Here in Texas, our senators are:
For example, to contact Congressman Ralph Hall, enter zip code 75087 in the box shown. On the following web page, click on the small envelope symbol next to the Congressman’s small photograph. A webform then awaits your comments to the Congressman or Congresswoman.
To the Honorable Ralph M. Hall
U.S. House of Representatives
2405 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515-0001
Apparently, Speaker John Boehner feels the need to “move to the center” and I wish to remind you that a balanced budget IS the center. Yielding to this president’s demands is simply moving farther to the left of center.
This president has a miserable track record that is consistently inconsistent. Consider his words back on March 16, 2006:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.”
Only six years ago raising the debt limit was a sign of failed leadership? How is raising the debt limit not a sign of failed leadership today?
I insist you stay on the right side of this power struggle and oppose any and all tax increases.
Barack Obama was right six years ago, wrong today. Here is my computation of the magnitude of our national debt. As a means to relate its astronomical magnitude, I relate dollars to second of time.
The core problem is unbridled spending by the federal government, spending funded by borrowed money. Let’s cut federal spending and let’s do it now. The entire world is waiting for our leadership.
Under Barack Obama and a Democrat Senate majority, this president has effectively added 177,575 years of indebtedness.
I appreciate your leadership in the House on this matter.
Texas Congressional District-4
“On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters she supports giving Barack Obama the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit to infinity, bypassing Congress in a move that clearly violates the Constitution…”
Well, what saith the Constitution?
The Constitution (the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921) directs the president to submit (accept or yield to a superior force or stronger person) a budget to Congress. “Submit” is the operative term here.
Why does the Constitution, and subsequent law, direct the President to submit a budget to Congress, because Congress is the most powerful branch of government. For those who don’t know, the Judiciary is the weakest. How can you tell? Very simply: the Congress can “fire” presidents and judges, but judges and presidents can’t fire members of Congress, only Congress can fire its own.
Miss Nancy proposes to abrogate her Constitutional and fiduciary duties to the American People.
Your Congressional delegation needs to hear from you today. Congress is responsible for holding the president accountable, but Nancy wants to give her ‘messiah’ unlimited authority to tax and spend.
Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
For my Baptist brethren and other evangelicals who believe the offices of apostle and prophet ended with the death of Jesus, I provide you a word count out of the New Testament:
Pastor – one incidence in Ephesians 4:11
Evangelist – three incidences found in Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11 and 2 Timothy 4:5
Teacher – thirteen incidences from John 3:2 to 2 Peter 2:1
Apostle – eighty incidences from Matthew 10:2 to Revelation 21:14
Prophet – one hundred fifty-seven incidences from Matthew 1:22 to Revelation 22:9
And He [Jesus Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV
Your theology general says prophets and apostle ended with Jesus. Question: Did you talk with Jesus about this? He doesn’t seem to agree. As it is written in the letter to the Ephesians, it was Jesus himself who gave us these five ministries.
If one sole incidence of the word ‘pastor’ satisfies your theology and you can deny 157 incidences of the word ‘prophet’ in the New Testament, as used by Jesus, Apostle Paul and Apostle John, then the rest of what I write will be absolutely of no value to you whatsoever.
Prophet John Paul Jackson boldly expresses warnings of near future events that will affect the lives of every man, woman and child alive on the face of the earth. He calls these imminent events “The Perfect Storm”.
I challenge you to spend a half hour listening to this warning accompanied by John Paul’s recommendations for preparedness.
Author: Jay Parini
Title: John Steinbeck
Publisher: Henry Holt
Date: Copyright 1995 by Jay Parini
Pages: 148, 198-199
In today’s excerpt – in 1933, thirty-one year old author John Steinbeck newly famous and living near Monterrey, California, with its unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean, began to notice the strange appearance of rundown vehicles from Oklahoma. By 1938, he was watching destitute fathers cooking rats, dogs and cats as food for their children while working on what would become The Grapes of Wrath. Though it became a best-seller, and was almost immediately recognized as an American classic, it was also reviled, accused of being “a lie, a black infernal creation of a twisted, distorted mind” by Oklahoma’s Congressman Lyle Boren, and banned by school boards in New York, Illinois, California, and elsewhere:
“To get away from the desperate scene [of his parent's illness] at home [in 1933], Steinbeck went for long walks around the town and its outlying areas; for the first time he noticed the old jalopies from Oklahoma stacked high with furniture and spilling over with ragged people en route to what they imagined was a new life in the West. This was the first trickle of Dust Bowl refugees to reach California, and Steinbeck immediately saw the glare of disappointment on their faces and was moved. These ‘Okies’ set up a shantytown outside of Salinas that soon was called Little Oklahoma by the locals, and Steinbeck once spent an afternoon visiting them and hearing their stories. ‘There’s a novel here somewhere,’ he said to [his wife] Carol later. Little did he know, then, what an amazing novel it would be and how it would change his life. …
“He was hard at work on The Grapes of Wrath by midwinter [of 1938], taking occasional field trips to the sanitary camps, where conditions seemed only to worsen. In the interior valleys, he noted to [his agent] Elizabeth Otis, ‘five thousand families were starving to death.’ What appalled him was that local bankers and businessmen, the class of people he in a sense came from, did everything they could to thwart the migrants, hoping to drive them back to the Dust Bowl. He decided to write about the crisis in the local papers as a way of getting back at those who were doing the damage. ‘Shame and a hatred of publicity will do the job to the miserable local bankers,’ he told Otis, full of just indignation. ‘The death of children by starvation in our valleys is simply staggering.’ (One article did eventually come out in a local paper.)
“There was a huge flood in the Visalia region, with lightning flickering along the valley and rain falling slantwise for weeks on end. Migrant families found themselves sleeping in wet blankets, with water pouring through the thin cloth of battered tents. Children ran in the rain, got chilled, caught pneumonia, and died for lack of medicine and dry clothes or bedding. Food was scarce, and frantic fathers hunted the dumps for rats, dogs, and cats, which were duly cooked over smoldering fires. Those who still had working automobiles found themselves stranded at the roadsides, their wheels sunk in mud, their carburetors soaked. The Farm Security Administration worked day and night to bring relief in the form of food and medicine to these desperate people, but the small relief that it could offer barely scratched the surface of the problem.
“On February 14, Steinbeck joined [federal camp manager] Tom Collins for two weeks of work at the Weedpatch camp. The old pie truck couldn’t make it through the waterlogged road to the camp, where the ridges were two and three feet deep in places, so he set out with Collins on foot, walking through the night to get to the camp. Once there, though chilled and splattered and racked with a deep cough, Steinbeck worked frantically to help the sick and dying for two days without sleep, often dragging half-starved people under trees for shelter from the rain, which continued unabated. Mud-caked, drenched, and exhausted, Steinbeck continued working day after day, driven to action by the pathetic conditions of the migrants, many of whom were too weak from hunger to walk even a few steps toward a meal.
“He returned to Los Gatos for a few days at the end of the month, then headed straight back to Visalia. This time he went with a photographer and an assignment from Life [magazine]. If he was going to be famous, he might as well put his fame to good use; now people would pay attention to his byline. ‘I break myself every time I go out because the argument that one person’s effort can’t really do anything doesn’t seem to apply when you come to a bunch of starving children and you have a little money,’ he wrote to Elizabeth Otis. But a serious blow came when Life refused to print the article. It was, the editor explained, too ‘liberal’ for the magazine’s taste. It was never kosher, then or now, to suggest that all is not well in America. Our national intentions are always good; our people are generous. The government exists to help the sick and the poor, the lame and the needy. And so forth. Steinbeck ran smack into the self-censorship of editors that has always been a crude fact of American journalism: you can say anything you want, they tell the writer, but you can’t say it here.”
If you use the above link to purchase a book, delanceyplace proceeds from your purchase will benefit a children’s literacy project. All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity.
Footnote to History
Dust Storms left over 500,000 persons homeless. Thousands died of either “dust pneumonia” or starvation.
How many died of starvation? While there are no official records, as one would find today, estimates range between 7,000,000 and 12,000,000 deaths from starvation and/or malnutrition.
Homelessness is an important issue in today’s American economy. Approximately 5,000,000 home mortgages are classified “non-performing”. As a matter of fact, there are people continuing to live in modest homes for which no mortgage payment has been paid since 2005.
At a ratio of 3.5 persons per household, you can readily see that as many as 17,500,000 Americans face imminent peril.
Will you look the other way? John Steinbeck did not.
Another author, Harry Dent, writes a newsletter for investors. His book “The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash that Follows” lays out a compelling forecast of a more disastorous event than the first Great Depression.
City of Rockwall voters will find five bond propositions on their ballots that, if passed, add $59,420,000.00debt to our debt-laden city. Except for Proposition No. 3, all are not without merit. Including estimated additional operating costs, a conservative estimate of property tax increase will be 36.14%.
My opposition arises not against the merits of these propositions, but from the negative economic impact they will probably have on our taxpayers.
In bygone years, we Americans have willingly gone into debt for every worthy thing from paying for road construction to funding world wars, and we have generally been successful in paying off all that debt. We’ve been there, done that and got the Tee-Shirts to prove it.
America is now sailing into uncharted waters. In the last three years, we have accrued more national debt than the sum of all previous administrations from the first George (Washington) to the last George (Bush). National debt now exceeds gross domestic productivity (GDP).
Speaking before the Rockwall County Republican Men’s Club about the state of the city, a former mayor said, “But, we are in the crow’s nest”. As I remember, when the Titanic sank, it took with it the crow’s nest all the way to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. My chart below relates dollars to time to give you an idea of the enormity of our national debt.
After the first of the year, income and capital gains taxes will dramatically rise. If ObamaCare survives the Supreme Court, it adds nineteen (19) NEW taxes.
Facts are facts: We are not in “recovery”. Unemployment and under-employment remain very high. The U.S. dollar continues its downward slide.
Middle East war could drive the cost of oil and gasoline could go as high as $10/gallon. What would your life be like with $10/gallon gasoline, as it presently is in Paris? True, French fuel taxes account for much of the price, yet $10/gallon comes nevertheless a shock to Parisians: “Consumers, who have to absorb the majority of the oil price shock, are reeling”, writes Wolf Richter. You’ll be reeling, too.
Popular Support for Bonds?
No. You see a lot of signs around town, large and small. When the Vote Yes For Rockwall PAC (political action committee) put out the first wave of signs, they advocated for all 5 propositions. Their latest gimmick is a billboard advertisement on at the eastbound I-30 exit to Horizon Road – photo below.
Look closely and you’ll notice they now only want you to vote for Proposition 1 – the ball field. Why? About 80% of the PAC’s funding comes from two businesses that will directly benefit from the ball field, one located in Royse City. Royse City? Yes, Royse City. Open this link to review the PAC’s report to the City of Rockwall.
Professor Robert Shiller publishes the Case-Shiller Index, a study of 20 major metropolitan areas for Standard and Poor’s. Across America, it is considered authoritative by Wall Street stock brokers, real estate investors and bankers.
Income and capital gains taxes dramatically increase January 1, 2013. If ObamaCare survives the Supreme Court, it will add 19 new taxes, including real estate sales taxes.
As I drive up and down our highways I see an unusual quantity of new car dealer tags – Americans are buying cars like crazy and Jerry Reynolds, The Car Guy, confirmed this fact on his Saturday broadcast.
So, how do I see a down economy when all these young people are able to buy new cars? It’s the same thing that has been propelling the stock markets: the Fed has been injecting capital into the banking system. The Federal Reserve is buying long-term bonds sold by the Treasury Department in order to drive down interest rates. The whole process of bond sales, prices and interest rates is very complex. The Fed is buying 61% of government debt, but this effort at propping up the U.S. economy is unsustainable. You can relate to tales of ‘check kiting’ that were going on years ago. Eventually, it catches up to you.
I published a blog this morning you may want to read. In it I discuss the real estate (aka ‘housing market’) from the perspective of real estate investors. The news is very good for investors like me; very bad for young people whose homes are mortgaged.
I voted this morning (April 30). If you live in the City of Rockwall and registered to vote, please take a few moments to go by the Elections Office at 107 East Kaufman Street across from the Historic County Courthouse and vote to oppose all five bond propositions.
I recently saw an explanation, in the most simplistic form, of why our country continues to spiral deeper and deeper into debt.
In this Fiscal year, October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012, the budget proposed by President Obama totals $3.8 Trillion dollars. Our total forecasted revenue for this same period is $2.469 Trillion; a deficit between expenses and revenue of a little over $1.3 Trillion. This is bad enough, but unfortunately it gets much worse.
The budget is composed of three main components: Interest Payments for money we continue to borrow ($225 Billion yearly), Mandated Programs, called non-discretionary spending, (Social Security $773 Billion, Medicare $478 Billion, Medicaid $255 Billion, TARP $35 Billion, and other mandated programs of $711 Billion, for a total of $2.252 Trillion) and Federal Government, or discretionary spending, (Security $868 Billion and non security spending such as education, energy etc., $450 Billion, which totals to $1.319 Trillion).
Looking at these numbers, it is clear our budget cannot be balanced. Even if we eliminated ALL Security and ALL other government at the national level our revenue would still be exceeded by our expenses!
Our total national debt is now approaching $16 Trillion. Four years ago it was $10 Trillion. By the year 2021, it is projected to be $26 Trillion. Our debt today of $16 Trillion equates to 25% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. Our debt totals more than 32 times the debt of Greece, and the world has already seen what happens when a country’s debt rating is reduced to the lowest level, social programs are dramatically cut, and bail out programs are required. Riots in the streets result and the world’s financial markets go into a spin.
Unfortunately our Congress, rather than addressing and fixing the problem, continue to push the issue down the road by raising the debt ceiling and refusing to address the cause and solutions.
There are no easy solutions. We have allowed our country to get into this financial deficit position by continuing to add program after program to our national list of “things that will help our citizens”, take action after action that will “better position us in the world to show what democracy is all about”, and continue in our endeavors of insuring “political correctness” in every action we take. Now, unfortunately, we are arriving at that position where actions must be taken or we face financial disaster.
Our credit rating, for the first time ever, was recently downgraded. Our budget projections continue to show significant deficit spending. No plans are forthcoming from the Congress or the current Administration. Rather than talking about Student Loan rates or why tax rates should be raised for the wealthy, where are the bold programs and plans to address this financial crisis? Where are the leaders who are willing to go to Washington to fix the problem rather than to talk about what they are going to do once they arrive? Where are the leaders who are willing to lead? Where are the representatives who are willing to put aside their plans for continued terms in the Congress or the Administration in return for telling the American people what the problem is and what we are going to have to do to fix the problem?
Frankly, the track record of someone doing this is not very good; in fact it is almost non-existent. What a shame.
How do you fix this problem? You have two choices; increase revenue or cut costs. To increase revenue you must 1. get a viable tax policy in place that makes business want to invest and 2. get the uncertainty out of what “Washington” is going to do. This will drive the economy which will result in market growth which will drive down unemployment which will drive revenue up by more taxes being paid, etc. If this does not happen, estimates of an increase in taxes of 50% will be needed to drive the revenue to where it will allow balancing of the budget.
Cutting costs will be very difficult as programs that have continued to be added to our roll of funded programs have a life of their own and refuse to go away. They usually do have a purpose and they usually do help some group of citizens, so getting rid of them or cutting back could introduce the same type resistance that we saw in Greece when some of their programs were cut. Bold and aggressive actions will be needed here. Fear of not getting reelected should not be the determining factor on programs proposed or voted upon.
We do not yet have this problem of spiraling debt and unbalanced budgets at the County level. Our debt rating continues to be AA; our debt service, primarily for new road construction, is not excessive, and our debt forecasts result in well programmed issuance of debt for programs voted upon by the citizens.
Our operating budget is a balanced budget. Personal costs are closely watched and controlled. New proposed programs are examined to insure both need and affordability before being introduced into the budget. And this is where extra vigilance is always needed. No proposal ever presented to the Commissioners Court is described based upon its non-need or non-applicability; according to the presenters, all programs have worth and merit and should be immediately adopted because of the good it creates.
My comment on these proposals is simple. If you can’t justify the program with off-setting cost savings, then the program is probably not really that good. Witness the mess our country is in with the introduction of all those “good” programs now locked into the non-discretionary spending side of our budget!
Jerry Hogan is the County Judge of Rockwall County Texas.