We here at Why Not Nashville? like to look at proposed legislation and ask “why?” Too often our leaders propose legislation simply to say they did something and hope their constituents are satisfied, even if said legislation will have virtually no positive impact. For example, the whole thing about banning assault rifles. Why? What’s the benefit? It isn’t going to do anything about the rifles that are already out there, it probably wouldn’t have stopped the Connecticut shooting from happening, and it isn’t going to do anything about the primary weapon used for shootings, the semi-automatic handgun (which we have a Constitutional Right to own). Moreover, gun laws don’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals anyway. In other words, banning assault rifles would have no impact, other than to advance the agenda of the anti-gun left. Not much of a reason if you ask me.
The fiscal cliff debate is another such example, although its assumed outcome will have a far more practical effect than simply lessening our liberties. It should be rather obvious to everyone that Barry wants us to go over the proverbial fiscal cliff. How do we know this? House Speaker John Boehner was actually going to give Barry what he allegedly wanted: a bill that would permanently fix tax rates for the overwhelming majority of Americans, while ultimately allowing the rates on rich people to go up on January 1. The conservatives in the House shot this possibility down last night, but Barry had already stated he was going to veto such a bill. Why would he want to do that? Because he wants to raise taxes on the top 2%, while Boehner’s bill would only have raised taxes on approximately the top .9%. But why does Barry want so desperately to raise taxes on the top 2%? Even the left agrees raising taxes on the top 2% will negatively impact small business. They also agree it would retard the already tepid economic growth we’re experiencing. Crap, Barry’s even asking for stimulus money to try and offset the negative impact of the tax hike. Finally, the tax hike will do virtually nothing to our long term debt and deficits. In other words, it’s being pushed only to advance the left’s “pro-middle-class” agenda. It has nothing to do with improving anything, however, which is why I’m glad the “Tea Party” members of the House shot Boehner’s proposal down.
Poorly thought-out, agenda-driven legislation is a bad idea. Want proof? Let’s look at budgetary black-hole California, where major cities are going bankrupt, and the Dems running the state have absolutely no idea what they’re doing because their ideology doesn’t match up with reality. As you may or may not know, Californians voted to raise the state sales tax and to raise state income taxes on “wealthy” people. The presumed purpose of the proposition was to reduce California’s massive debt. Contrary to popular belief, however, raising taxes doesn’t always result in raising revenues, especially when the people you’re raising taxes on are already paying more than they should be, and have the resources to flee to greener pastures.
According to the report, personal income tax revenues were ‘$827 million below the month’s forecast of $4.387 billion.’ Sales and use tax receipts ‘were $9 million below the month’s forecast of $1.601 billion’ and the year-to-date sales tax revenue was $8 million below forecast.
Not surprisingly, corporate tax revenues were also down, $175 million below the month’s estimate and year-to-date corporate tax revenues were $441 below estimate.
It’s examples like this that convince me we won’t actually begin solving our fiscal problems until we hit rock bottom. After all, it wasn’t the California state govt. that voted to raise taxes; it was the friggin’ people. In other words, there is a large group of people out there who believe we should be raising taxes, despite the ample evidence that doing so will actually make things worse. Maybe it will take another round of massive lay-offs and a recession to wake people up. Maybe even that won’t be enough. The older I get the more convinced I am that there are huge swaths of unemployed people that, despite their protestations to the contrary, are perfectly happy living in card board boxes as long as they have cable, cigarettes, and Wild Turkey. I don’t get it, but it’s clear that I’m in the minority. At least there’s still a few House Republicans who refuse to vote for legislation that they know won’t work.
We celebrated a birthday in the office today. During the cake-eating, someone brought up Friday’s shooting (it wasn’t me). Everyone was talking about banning this and regulating that, and I said, in a joking manner, that the government will have to take my guns from my cold dead hands. People laughed, because I’m funny. One of my co-workers said something along the lines of “Nash, you don’t have any assault rifles though.” While he is correct, I don’t have one, I thought it would be fun to say that I did. So I said, “Sure I do.” Silence. Awkward silence. Later my secretary, a gun-owning conservative herself, asked me why I needed such an item.
Make no mistake: the government is coming for assault rifles. And since they’re now bringing the majority of Americans with them, it’s unlikely that many of you out there care. I’ll say one thing about Americans: We’re quick to give up freedom for perceived safety. After all, we were all ok with letting the feds do whatever they wanted after 9/11. Many had a problem with pouring water on a terrorist’s face, but tapping our phones without a warrant? No problem. And don’t forget about the whole shooting a missile at an American citizen without due process thing. But hey, it’s all in the name of safety.
Now, I could drop a line from Benjamin Franklin about those who give up liberty for security have neither, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say that banning assault rifles won’t result in less crime, or fewer shooting sprees, or safer schools. Kids are being killed in Chicago everyday, and it’s not happening with expensive assault rifles obtained legally. It’s happening with semi-automatic pistols obtained illegally.
When I mentioned Americans giving up their freedom earlier in this post, I wasn’t necessarily referring to a Constitutional Right. We certainly have a right to bear arms. Included are semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The Supreme Court hasn’t had a case dealing specifically with assault weapons though, so I don’t know if we have a Constitutional Right to them (but I think we’ll be finding out). That doesn’t mean we’re not giving up our freedom though.
Everybody is understandably sad and angry over what happened. But before we go banning something, shouldn’t we at least figure out if it will make a difference? For example, would the shootings on Friday have happened if the shooter didn’t have the assault rifle? Probably. He brought two handguns as well, and being that there was no one available to stop him until the police arrived several minutes later, it’s unlikely he would have been held up in any meaningful way. Also, let’s not forget that assault weapons were banned two decades ago, and there was no appreciable decline in shootings. Moreover, when the assault weapons ban expired, there was no appreciable upswing in gun violence.
There are two groups of people who are pushing the ban. First, there are the politicians, consisting almost entirely of libs from California and the Northeast who have likely never been friends with someone who owned a gun, let alone owned one themselves. Dianne Feinstein of California, pictured above, is such an example. Then there is the large group of people who are so angry over what happened, and a little scared to oppose the conventional wisdom, that they are willing to simply go along with it.
Newsflash: the aforementioned politicians don’t care about those killed with assault rifles, by the way. They have an agenda, and are taking advantage of everyone’s fear and sorrow to push that agenda. Don’t believe me? Then, while we’re at it, why don’t we ban tobacco, cars, and alcohol? How about rationing ground beef and bacon because of their cholesterol and fat content? Maybe we should have a government mandate whereby every single person who ever enters the water needs to have at least twenty hours of swimming lessons to lessen the likelihood of them drowning? Or limiting the number of television channels that someone can have or the amount of t.v. that they can watch because being a couch potato is dangerous to one’s health? You’re far more likely to die from any of the aforementioned than from someone killing you with a gun. Oh, and we don’t “need” any of them.
I said it yesterday, and I’m saying it again today: freedom costs. And regardless of whether you own a gun or are scared to death of them, banning a product or activity that is perfectly safe when used responsibly is an affront to our freedom. It also conveniently avoids the more obvious issues of why the ACLU found it appropriate to help strike down a Connecticut bill that would allow for involuntary institutionalization of adults, like the shooter? Or why the government is utterly failing to enforce the gun laws we already have on the books? It also avoids the issue of the cultural dumpster fire that we’ve created in this country.
Hey, if you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s an article written by the smartest man in the world, Thomas Sowell. It’s so simple, even a progressive from San Francisco can understand it.
As you know, we have Barry for another four years. A majority of the voting majority did something I didn’t expect: they combined their general dislike for Mitt Romney with their genuine liking of Obama, and on these bases alone, decided to completely ignore the last four years. This selective amnesia is especially pertinent with respect to the economy. We know it was terrible before the election, and not surprisingly, it remains terrible today. Now that we have the election behind us, we can scan the landscape and evaluate the aftermath.
70.4 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid for fiscal year 2011. That’s about 20% of the total population, or 1 out of 5 people. That’s an incredible number when you consider Medicaid exists only for the poor. Obamacare, which becomes fully dysfunctional in 2014, will add even more people to the roll because it expands the po0l of people who qualify. The left will argue these figures support its call for more government. I’m here to tell you that more people on Medicaid is bad, and the only way to get people off of it is to improve the economy, and get them working again. So far, the response to Barry’s re-election by the private sector has not been good, although it has been expected.
Obama’s environmental regulations are certainly having an effect on the coal industry, which should surprise no one, since Barry himself said four years ago that his goal was to make coal-created energy so expensive that no one would/could use it. Well, elections have consequences:
EAST CARBON, Carbon County — A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.
The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.
Other segments of the economy are also cutting workers. More consequences:
OWATONNA, Minn. – Some unwelcome economic news hit Owatonna Thursday with word that Caterpillar Inc. will close its plant in Owatonna, a move that will cost the community about 100 jobs.
Caterpillar Inc. notified employees Thursday it is closing the plant and consolidating operations within its forestry business. Production will end at the Owatonna facility by March 1, 2013. Caterpillar is offering employees at Owatonna a severance package and will work with appropriate agencies on finding those workers new opportunities.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — TE Connectivity will close its Greensboro plant by the end of next year, resulting in 620 layoffs.
Glenn Beck has a list of job losses announced since America rolled the dice on four more years of Barry here. A second list, which includes the companies planning layoffs specifically because of Obamacare is found here.
Maybe all of this is just coincidence. I suppose it’s possible. On the other hand, maybe we actually are just a nation of takers. For example, Illinois, a state that has currently $28 billion in general-obligation debt, with an additional $84 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, just decided to not only re-elect the Dems who set off the debt bomb, but actually increased the size of the Democratic majority in the legislature so that it is now veto-proof, thanks largely to re-districting. And then there’s California, with its own $617 billion in unfunded liabilities. Instead of cutting spending, Californians decided to raise taxes on high wage earners. It seems many are satisfied with the status quo.
All of this seems very confusing to some people. How could anyone re-elect Obama? Look at the economy. Look at the unemployed. Look at the number of people who are on food stamps. It’s like pinch-hitting a guy who bats .078 against lefties in the bottom of the ninth against the other team’s closer…who’s a southpaw. You can make a pretty good guess about the result based upon prior occurrences.
The thing is, it’s not confusing if you understand human nature (re-electing Obama, not the baseball analogy). Obama’s an affable guy who gives good speeches. People also trust him for reasons I have yet to comprehend. But people are also lazy. And if someone is given the opportunity to not work, while still being able to live a satisfactory life, that person is probably not going to work. We’re making it too easy for people to not work. It’s one thing to not have a job. It’s another thing to not have one for years. It’s another thing entirely to not even be looking for one. And there are jobs out there…I see help wanted signs all over the place. They’re for cashier positions and the like, but they’re jobs all the same. We shouldn’t be paying people to sit at home when they could be working, but we are.
Government assistance is beneficial right up until the point that it isn’t. Large segments of the population don’t recognize the dividing line, and as a result, re-elected a guy who doesn’t think such a line exists. Companies can’t create jobs when the government is openly attacking their ability to thrive. People won’t work if they don’t have to. These two facts will hamstring any recovery over the next four years if our government continues to institute policies like those of the last four. A closing quote from a guy at a Chicago job fair (who unquestionably voted for Barry):
Rodney Booker said, ‘I stood in line for four hours. They better give me a Wal-Mart gift card, or something.’
Sobering, isn’t it?
With today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, I have yet another reason to be thankful for leaving California. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ordered the release of 33,000 inmates in California, due to continued violations of “inmates’ rights to adequate care for their mental and physical health.” In other words, the prisons are overcrowded.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to analyze the decision, or give my opinion on whether the Court made the correct ruling. I’m not going to go into the ideological breakdown of the judges, or the nitty-gritty details of the law at issue. Finally, I’m not going to respond to the pot-heads who will inevitably argue that there wouldn’t be overcrowding if drugs were legalized. Instead, I’m going to address this:
California Gov. Jerry Brown said he ‘will take all necessary steps to protect public safety.’
(…Except build a new prison so we aren’t forced to release 33,000 felons). It goes without saying that “public safety” is certainly a purpose of any government. In fact, I would imagine everyone would agree that it’s a primary purpose of government. Unfortunately, this purpose has been diluted in many states because public safety has to increasingly compete with unnecessary human interest projects that are forced down our collective throats by do-gooders and/or liberals. In other words, California can’t pay to house its criminals because it spends too much friggin’ money on crap.
Gigantic example of the crap: public education. California is $15.4 billion in debt, and an astonishing one out of every four dollars spent goes to the education system. Who can forget the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles? The Los Angeles Unified School District spends $11,357.00 per pupil! Keep this cost in your head as you read this statement made by Doug Nielson, a government and economics teacher at Coalinga High School:
‘If we stick to our ideologies, our children are going to suffer. When somebody says well, extending these taxes is a tax increase, you’ve got a mindset there that says the dollars are more important than the kids. And they can’t be. We can’t afford to do that. You can’t have first-class teaching on a Third World budget.’
This is the complete lunacy that we face with the public education system. “Third World budget?” The United States spends more per pupil than any other nation in the world. And for what? Is there any question that private schools can do a better job, at less cost? While saving money for the government to keep felons off the streets?
It’s in this way that liberals have won. People no longer seriously question why the government is spending $11,000.00 per student. Heck, most of the people complaining about the 33,000 inmates being released won’t even remember that $578 million of tax-payer money was used to build a school.
At some point, every community needs to answer a basic question: What is the role of government? Do you want more cops on the the street and criminals in prison…or do you want your government to spend $11,000.00 per pupil at the public schools? The government can’t afford to do everything, and if you don’t decide on what our taxes are paying for, somebody else will. Today in California, the Supreme Court made the decision.
What is marriage? That’s the question of utmost importance that was completely ignored by the District Court of Northern California judge when he ruled on whether Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Quick recap: Prop 8 was passed in California as an amendment to the California constitution. The essence of it was to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, thereby not allowing gays to marry. The California Supreme Court found it to comply with the California constitution because, well, it was a part of the California constitution. So, some gay people who wanted to get married filed suit in federal court, arguing that the amendment violated the federal Constitution. Got it? Good.
In a 132 page opinion, the judge ruled that the amendment violated the federal Constitution because it denied gay people the fundamental right to get married without a good reason. For many, this was a “no duh” ruling. It apparently was for the presiding judge as well. The problem with the judge’s ruling, which ultimately will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, is that he utterly failed to determine what constitutes “marriage. ” In fact, he didn’t even give it the old college try.
Why does this matter? Well, everyone agrees that marriage is a fundamental right. Thus, the proponents of Prop 8 will need to make some factual showing that the government of California has a compelling state interest in keeping gays from getting hitched, which will never happen. However, what is marriage? Does any two people wanting to get married constitute marriage? What if I want to marry my sister? We’re both consenting adults. What if I want to have multiple wives? We’re all consenting adults. Using the court’s reasoning, the government would need to have a compelling reason to keep me from doing either of the above. And since the District Court expressly stated procreation doesn’t have any impact on who can marry, the possibility of having a baby that looks like Chunk’s friend in the Goonies shouldn’t stop me from making my sister the ol’ ball n chain.
The fact is, “marriage” actually has a definition in the history of both this nation and others, and it isn’t just two people who want to get “married.” I have to imagine the Supreme Court will want to determine what marriage is, before determining whether it’s unconstitutional to keep two homosexuals from walking down the aisle.
Well, what comes next? The case will be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which will most certainly affirm the District Court’s ruling. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit is without question the most liberal circuit in the country, and it would probably allow me to marry my cat while lighting up a joint next to the church I accidentally lit on fire because my lighter wasn’t sufficiently cat-proof. After that, it will go the Supreme Court, where I expect it will likely be affirmed again. Then I will file my lawsuit asking the court to recognize my right to marry a mail order bride from every country in eastern europe.
Another day, another artificially manufactured racial issue. Brief replay of facts: Johannes Mehserle, a former transit cop, shot Oscar Grant in the back while trying to subdue him during a confrontation early on New Years Day 2009. He was charged with murder. During the trial, Officer Mehserle testified that when he went to grab his taser, he accidentally grabbed his handgun instead, and ended up shooting and killing Grant. Grant was allegedly resisting arrest at the time.
Present day: the Los Angeles jury convicted Officer Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter, thereby finding that he did not intend to kill Grant. He was convicted of killing him though, and will spend time in jail because of it. The real story here, as it is too often, is a community rioting because of perceived injustice due to racism. See, Officer Mehserle was white and Grant was black. Therefore, in the eyes of a small minority of people in Oakland, CA, rioting is warranted. And of course, the race-baiters aren’t far away,
‘We are outraged that the jury did not find guilty of murder in a case that is so egregiously excessive and mishandled,’ said Benjamin Todd Jealous, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Well, thanks for the objective analysis Ben.
‘It’s unbelievable this guy is getting less jail time than someone who wrote a bad check,’ said Barbara Plantiko, a 41-year-old immigration lawyer at the protest. ‘I just don’t buy he got confused. I don’t think that it was an accident.’
Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I wonder if Mr. Jealous or Ms. Plantiko think destroying one’s own community is a good way to deal with events like this? What is Officer Mehserle had been found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death? What would their response be if I started rioting?
Simply put, this country will never get beyond race if people like Mr. Jealous continue searching for “racism” under every rock. Of course, the riots themselves are only half about racism. Many of those people who were looting would be looting anyway. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they’re bored. Maybe because they think they’re entitled to the cell phone they just stole.
Oh, and where’s our post-racial president in all of this? I don’t know…probably golfing. But his DOJ has announced that it will review the shooting to determine whether it warrants federal prosecution. Keep in mind, this is coming from the same group that decided to drop its investigation of a black panther group allegedly violating voting laws with intimidation for no particular reason. I have to ask again: Where the Hell is Kanye?!
Maybe I should amend my home page about why I became a conservative. See, I was born and raised in Michigan, and its economy has been in the toilet even when the rest of the country was doing well. Then I moved to California, which is now practically bankrupt. Now I live in Illinois, which is even worse than California when it comes to fiscal discipline. All three of these states are democratic hell-holes, and, not coincidentally, entitlement black-holes. Spending on every human interest story and after-school special that held out its hand was able to be ignored when the economy was good. Now that the economy continues to lag, the lunacy of the left is revealed.
A New York Times article today provides a revealing look at just how dependent we have apparently become on those government entitlements. Illinois is currently $5.01 billion in the red. Comptroller Dan Hynes states,
‘This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,’ he says. ‘That is obscene.’
Hynes is right–it is obscene. But not because we aren’t paying for “essential services.” The amount of money this state has committed to paying for practically everything is what’s obscene. A goal of government has never been to become a major part of the economy. Many complain about companies being “too big to fail,” but few complain about the government being too big to fail. In addition to its own budgetary boondoggle, Illinois is also a microcosm of the federal government spending too much on too many so-called “essential services.” Make no mistake, there are legitimate governmental functions out there that should be receiving tax dollars…but we’ve moved far past them.
Someone needs to run for office and actually take a stand against run-away government spending, instead of just saying it. Someone needs to say no to the human interest stories. Someone needs to remind this country of what it is, not what it has become. Essential services don’t include public education. They don’t include endless unemployment benefits. They don’t include corporate subsidies. They don’t include housing subsidies. They don’t include this:
The Community Counseling Centers of Chicago is another of those workaday groups that are like the stitches on a baseball, holding together poor and working-class neighborhoods. With an annual budget of $16 million, the agency tends to families torn by crime and violence as well as people who are psychologically stressed and abusing drugs.
‘Two weeks ago, I had days to meet my $420,000 payroll and all I was looking at was a $200,000 line of credit from a bank,’ recalled [Chief Administrative Officer John] Troy.
$16 million a year? For community center? You don’t think that’s being mismanaged at all? There are entire cities that run on that budget. $420,000 in payroll? Again, for a community center? Now I know why our president was a community organizer. Instead of implementing some sort of fiscal restraint years ago on programs like this, Illinois citizens in towns like Carbondale, many of whom have never even been to Chicago, are now having money taken out of their pockets for this $16 million per year monstrosity. Why? Because no one has the guts to stand up to those who spit out the “these people need help” meme.
Legislators this year raised the retirement age and slashed benefits. Though changes apply only to future employees, the legislature claimed immediate savings.
“Savings upfront and reforms down the road,” said Mr. Hynes, the state comptroller. “It’s just bad habits and bad practices.”
I’m not exactly sure what Hynes is trying to say here, but Illinois’ problems go well beyond “bad habits and bad practices.” Illinois, like California and Michigan, has placed an overwhelmingly heavy burden on the majority of the population for the benefit of the “those in need of help” minority. Of course, since no one actually attempts to define who those people are, and what constitutes “need,” the government just throws more and more money at them. Illinois’ budget disaster is largely the result of arbitrary determinations of need, made by those running for office. That’s the exact opposite of good government.
More broadly, Illinois is caught between blue state convictions about social safety nets and a red state aversion to taxes. For years, the Democratic-controlled legislature has passed budgets that are, in effect, in deficit. Lawmakers routinely skip around the state’s balanced-budget law, with few consequences. (Republicans are near monolithic in voting against any tax increases and borrowings. When one broke ranks to try to keep the pension solvent, he was stripped of a committee position, reducing his pay and pension.)
This is where the New York Times goes from reporting the news to offering its opinions. Illinois isn’t “caught between blue state convictions about safety social safety nets and a red state aversion to taxes.” It’s caught between the corrupt political machine in Chicago, which is driven entirely by a small group of liberals, and the rest of the state. And those monolithic Republicans? The article fails to mention that they are in the perpetual minority in the Illinois legislature. The implication that Republicans have some hand in the budget crisis is laughable.
Of course, the response of Mr. Hynes, as it is with all liberals, isn’t to cut spending…it’s to raise taxes.
‘Only the most delusional people think you can solve this without raising taxes,’ he said.
Well Mr. Hynes, and by extension, Mr. Obama, you’re delusional to think that raising taxes will improve anything. We would still have government full of corrupt politicians who vote themselves raises and refuse to cut spending because it might cost them votes. How much in governmental salary are you making Mr. Hynes? How about Mayor Daley? Governor Quinn? Before government employees, who are paid with my taxes, stick their hands in my pockets again, why don’t they do their part?
On this Fourth of July, remember that we don’t depend on the government, but it does depend on us. Even better, remember it in November. In the meantime, I will continue to pressure my wife into a new move…to South Dakota.