Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If They Succeed We Will Be Less

by Aaron Gardner

Today I was reading an article [make sure to read the whole thing] from National Review’s print edition written by Richard Lowry & Ramesh Ponnuru. In this article Ponnoru and Lowry do well in explaining the roots of American exceptionalism, and how the same has become a part of the core of our culture.

Here is the definition of American exceptionalism distilled to a single paragraph.

The late Seymour Martin Lipset defined it as liberty, equality (of opportunity and respect), individualism, populism, and laissez-faire economics. The creed combines with other aspects of the American character — especially our religiousness and our willingness to defend ourselves by force — to form the core of American exceptionalism.

After their brief history, the National Review duo then pivot their focus to the Obama administration’s agenda and it’s discomfort with American exceptionalism.

As is pointed out, this feeling of discomfort is mutual …

The popular revolt against Obama’s policies is a sign that Americans are not prepared to go gentle into that good night. Other factors are of course in play — most important, the weak economy — but the public is saying “No” to a rush to social democracy.

Although the conservatives, libertarians, and independents who oppose Obama’s health-care initiative may not put it in quite these terms, they sense that his project will not just increase insurance premiums but undermine what they cherish about America.

Those Americans who want to keep our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay think it necessary to protect our security — but they also worry, more profoundly, that our leaders are too apologetic to serve our interests.

Americans may want change, even fundamental change, but most of them would rather change our institutions than our national character.

We are engaged in a battle of permanence versus change, in which the object of conquest is nothing less than our national character, the idea of American exceptionalism.

Russell Kirk lays out, in more verbose form than Buckley’s “Standing Athwart History Yelling Stop”, the role of the conservative in this battle.

The intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise.

The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Surely, if we do not take up this battle and challenge this cult of Progress, we will, as Lowry and Ponnoru note, be less.

It is madness to consider President Obama a foreigner. But it is blindness to ignore that American exceptionalism has homegrown enemies — people who misunderstand the sources of American greatness or think them outdated.

If they succeed, we will be less free, less innovative, less rich, less self-governing, and less secure. We will be less.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reading, Writing and Abortion

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

"She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center," she said. "Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion."

Jill says her daughter was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.

"We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus," said Jill. "They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility."

Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students' privacy.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bill to Repeal ObamaCare

Today, U.S. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced legislation to fully repeal the Democrats’ government health care takeover that President Obama signed into law Tuesday morning. 12 Republicans have already cosponsored this bill including Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Kit Bond (R-Missouri), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), George LeMieux (R-Florida), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and David Vitter (R-Louisiana).

“This fight isn’t over yet, Republicans are standing with the American people who are demanding we repeal this intolerable act,” said Senator DeMint. “We must repeal this bill and start over. There are commonsense solutions we can implement to expand health care freedom and choices, lower premiums, and increase quality. But this bill will force taxpayer funding of abortions, raise health costs, hike taxes, cut Medicare, raid Social Security, and put bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.

“In ramming through a bill that forces government into the most personal aspect of our lives, the President and his Democrat Party have revealed themselves as being radically to the left of the American people. They will lose this fight in the end; the American people cherish their freedom and will defend it this November,” said Senator DeMint.

TEXT of Senator DeMint’s bill to Repeal ObamaCare:
To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the amendments made by that Act, are repealed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Three Days in Olympia, Another Teacher

Go home already. That is the sentiment of citizens as they watch Democrats spend another $14,000 per day keeping the Washington State Legislature in session.

Enough! You had an entire sixty day regular session to spend our money and raise our taxes. This special session is ridiculous, and the amount of money it takes everyday to be in Olympia is double ridiculous.

“Every three days they keep us in session equals the cost of a teacher,” said State House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, who is among the lawmakers choosing NOT to collect his daily financial allowance for being in session."

“This is a family quarrel right now among Democrats over which taxes to increase. Once they agree on the tax increases, we can come back to Olympia and wrap up the session in a day or two.”

Taxing us the only option being considered by Democrats, and they hold all the legislative cards to raise them.

“When the time comes to debate these bills, we will do our best to provide a voice for the citizens who cannot afford higher taxes during these tough economic times."

"In the meantime, however, the taxpayers should not be paying the price for the Democrats’ inability to get their work done.”

With one week in to this "not-so-special" session, and no end in sight, we agree with Rep. DeBolt.

Go home already! At least attempt to save taxpayers THAT money.

WA to Challenge Democrat Health Care Bill

KING 5 - Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna says Washington will be one of at least ten states that will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform bill.

"The individual insurance mandate is unprecedented in American history in requiring the American people to go out and buy a product in the private market," said McKenna.

The House voted 219-212 late Sunday to approve the overhaul, which would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and make a host of other changes.

No Republicans voted for the bill and 34 Democrats voted no. McKenna is a Republican.

Obama could sign the bill as early as Tuesday.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he planned to file the complaint "the moment Obama signs the bill."

What Didn't Change With Last Night's Vote

59% Of Americans Oppose The Health Bill, 70% Believe The “Budget Deficit Will Go Up”

CNN: “Do You Generally Favor It Or Generally Oppose [Healthcare Legislation]: “Favor 39% Oppose 59%.” “As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are trying to pass final legislation that would make major changes in the country’s health care system. Based on what you have read or heard about that legislation, do you generally favor it or generally oppose it? Favor 39% Oppose 59%.” (“CNN Opinion Research Poll,” 3/19-21/10, P.2)

• “From What You Know Of That Legislation, Do You Think You And Your Family Would, In General, Be Better Off, Worse Off Or About The Same If It Becomes Law? Better off 19% Worse off 47% About the same 33%.” (“CNN Opinion Research Poll,” 3/19-21/10, P.5)

• “From What You Know Of That Legislation, Do You Think Senior Citizens Who Are Currently On Medicare Would, In General, Be Better Off, Worse Off Or About The Same If It Becomes Law? Better off 20% Worse off 45% About the same 34%.” (“CNN Opinion Research Poll,” 3/19-21/10, P.6)

• “From What You Know Of That Legislation, Do You Think The Federal Budget Deficit Will Go Up, Go Down, Or Stay The Same If It Becomes Law? Go up 70% Go down 12% Stay the same 17% No opinion 1%.” (“CNN Opinion Research Poll,” 3/19-21/10, P.6)


Never Despair by NRO

‘Nil desperandum” — never despair. That is a sentiment that conservatives need to take to heart now that Congress has narrowly passed a bill that simultaneously undermines life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It takes some ingenuity to add to the costs, inefficiency, and dysfunctions that government has already bequeathed to our health-care system, but the Democrats have proven themselves up to the challenge.

Almost nothing about this legislation is free of dispute, but we are convinced that it will increase taxes, increase premiums, and increase debt, while decreasing economic growth, job growth, and the quality of health care.

The Democrats had no mandate to take these steps. In 2008, the president campaigned both against forcing people to buy insurance and against taxing their benefits. The legislation runs counter to the campaign on both points.

NRO Editors

The president promised to change Washington. He has made its stench more noisome, winning this vote by using every kind of deceit and (legal) corruption, and over the objection of a bipartisan coalition representing most Americans.

We are now being told that the campaign to repeal this legislation is over before it has even begun, that Americans will come to appreciate the benefits that a bountiful government is giving them, and that the growth of the welfare state can never be reversed.

We understand the odds against repeal. We understand, indeed, that complete repeal of every provision of the bill is impossible. The doughnut hole — a gap in Medicare’s prescription-drug coverage designed to encourage seniors to economize — has been filled, and it is not going to be re-opened.

But the larger thesis seems as superficially plausible, and as ultimately convincing, as were earlier predictions that state socialism or secularization were our inevitable future.

It is quite possible that the majority of America that rejects this legislation will get its way in the next few years — if it is given the right leadership. And it is worth the effort to try.

It is possible, for example, that the results of the legislation will turn out to be unpleasant more quickly than most observers realize.

The bill requires insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions the same as everyone else, and the only reason for people not to game the system — dropping their insurance until they get sick and the insurer has to take them — is because the law requires them to buy insurance or pay a fine.

For many people, the fine will be a cheap price to avoid premiums that could run around $8,000 a year for a family of four. The effect of the legislation could be to cause the number of healthy people with insurance to fall dramatically — and for premiums to rise, which would cause more people to drop their insurance.

If this happens, we can expect liberals to agitate for a single-payer system; but we can also expect the public to blame the Democrats whose health-care system it will now be. A less lopsidedly Democratic Congress is not going to respond to this chaos by enacting single payer or strengthening the fines.

For that matter, the lengthy legislation could turn out to have little time bombs, the nature of which cannot currently be guessed. Nothing about the process that produced the legislation, after all, suggests that it was put together with careful consideration.

Conservatives will be able to capitalize on the discrediting of Obamacare, however it takes place, only if they campaign this fall on a pledge to replace this government-heavy system with true reform.

Republicans running against Democrats who voted for this legislation will have the easiest task. But even Republicans running against Democrats who voted against it can advance the cause by challenging those Democrats either to advocate repeal and replacement themselves or to expose themselves as false opponents of Obamacare.

Nor have pro-lifers lost the war. Pro-lifers should campaign this fall on a pledge to make the Hyde amendment — the partial ban on government funding of abortion, which now applies to portions of federal spending and has to be renewed each year — a permanent feature of law that applies to all federal spending.

The Obama administration and most of liberaldom have pretended over the last year to favor both the principle in general and the Hyde amendment in particular. And the principle is popular. Their posturing, disingenuous though it was, has handed pro-lifers a winning issue.

The Democrats have abused the system, ignoring both the Founders’ design and public opinion. The first step toward undoing that abuse is to make them pay a political price for it.

by NRO Editors

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The Reality of an Executive Order

1. An executive order can be rescinded any time. President Obama could reverse it next week, next month, or next year. Should another pro-abortion president be elected in the future, it could be rescinded on inauguration day.

2. An executive order will not prevent insurance companies that provide abortion from participating in the exchanges.

3. Abortion funding in the health care legislation can be only be removed using the legislative process. An executive order not only doesn’t fix the problem, it isn’t needed to fix the problem, and could not stand a legal challenge. If Democrats are serious about protecting taxpayers from funding abortion in the health care bill, they must use the legislative process to fix the problem.

Marjorie Dannenfelser

Happy Warriors

“This is a historic day, and we are happy warriors. We will be a part of history, joining Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s passage of Social Security, Lyndon Johnson’s passage of Medicare and now Barack Obama’s passage of healthcare.”

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Battle By Phone

Members continued to be inundated with phone calls from constituents and interest groups Friday thanks to an impending vote on health care reform this weekend.

Calls to the House numbered close to 100,000 an hour, creating a bottleneck in a phone system only meant to handle 50,000 calls an hour.

The chamber has been similarly overloaded for four consecutive days, beginning on Tuesday when radio host Rush Limbaugh told viewers to call the Capitol switchboard phone number.

Roll Call

Here are the numbers if you still want to call:

877-762-8762 or
202-224-3121 or

Consequences of the Democrat Health Care

President Barack Obama and members of Congress received a letter on Thursday signed by more than 130 economists predicting the health care legislation they are pushing through will discourage private sector businesses from hiring more workers causing both a reduction in hours and wages for those currently employed.

Caterpillar Inc. is but one real-life example of the consequences which will be brutal to many businesses in the privates sector, and fatal to even more.

They know this legislation will increase their company's health-care costs by more than $100 million in the first year alone. The Peoria-based company said its insurance costs will increase by at least 20 percent, more than $100 million.

Caterpillar also expressed it's concerns in a letter sent directly to House Speaker Pelosi.

"We can ill-afford cost increases that place us at a disadvantage versus our global competitors," said the letter signed by Gregory Folley, vice president and chief human resources officer of Caterpillar.

And why would we purposely put businesses providing good living wage jobs in the position of being unable to compete anyway?

It isn't that this message hasn't been given to legislators, it has...repeatedly! What the message hasn't been is heard.

Both citizens and business owners are discouraged that concerns raise to Democrat legislators have fallen on deaf ears, and it appears that despite harm to the private sector they remain committed to passing their damaging health care reform legislation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Speaking Fluent "Democrat"

In Olympia the majority party has just announced this special session will likely last more than a week. Senator Ed Murray, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, made several comments to the press about this speaking fluent "Democrat". No worries, I'll translate for you:

"We are in an unprecedented economic crisis," .

Translation: We spent way more money than we've taken from you...yet.

"Sixty days and probably 67 days is not going to be enough to solve this problem."

Translation: We're going to need more time to figure out how to take more of your money.

"The thorniest issues really are about revenue. That's sort of, what I would say, the major sticking point."

Translation: The word "revenue" used by any Democrat is always to be translated "taxes" or "other people's money".

Murray said general agreement has been reached on an $800 million revenue package but "there is not agreement over the pieces."

Translation: It's really quite difficult for us to decide what "pieces" of your money to take.

Never forget, YOU are the only "revenue" they have.

Administration Removes American Flag

You might want to sit down for this story. USA Today reported this week that the Obama Administration has ordered U.S. military personnel in Haiti not to fly the American flag.

Here’s the official explanation for this outrageous decision, “We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery.”

That’s the most absurd statement I’ve heard in a long time. Everyone knows why we are there, what we are doing there and why the United States of America is shouldering the overwhelming majority of the burden. By the end of January, the United States had given $180 million in aid to Haiti.

And what about our “international partners”? Well, they’re all still proudly flying their flags. Apparently, the French, British and the Croatians aren’t worried about being perceived as occupiers.

Gary Bauer

90 Seconds to Government Run Health Care


Fellow Patriots, Stand Firm For Liberty

Pulling the Plug on our Constitution

By Mark Alexander

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people ... must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify." --Federalist No. 331

Our Constitution is on life support2, and House Democrats are about to pull the plug.

Leaders of the Democrat Party ("Progressives" as they call themselves, Leftists as we call them) have been unable to garner popular or even Democrat Party support for their plan to socialize our health care system. Fortunately, Republicans are united in their opposition to this one issue.

Barack Obama3, titular head of the Demos, proclaimed, "I want some courage. I want us to do the right thing."

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concludes, "Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill."

She is proposing to overtly circumvent our Constitution by way of the "Slaughter Solution." Rep. Louise Slaughter, chairman of the House Rules Committee, proposes to pass legislation using the "self-executing rule," which will allow the House to accept the already-passed Senate health care bill by presumption alone, thus negating a formal up-or-down vote by House members.

Pelosi confessed, "I like it because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."

Unfortunately, there is precedent in invoking the "self-executing rule" -- by Republicans, no less -- concerning "mundane" legislation agreed to by House leaders of both parties. Unconstitutional as these precedents are, there is nothing "mundane" about ObamaCare.

"Slaughter" and "self-executing" may describe both the process and the electoral future of many Democrats in the House.

Most of the Leftist-controlled political and popular debate about the Democrat proposal to turn over to the central government control of more than 17 percent of the U.S. economy, is focused on one question or another -- what will it cost or save, who will pay and who won't, who will be covered and for what, will there be enough physicians to support this in 10 years, will federal funds be used for abortion, can our economy afford another trillion dollar boondoggle, does it really address the entitlement cost tsunami we're facing, ad infinitum.

These might be interesting topics for debate, but none are germane.

The only relevant debate must begin with First Principles4, our Constitution and Rule of Law.

Does our Constitution allow the Executive and Legislative branches to collaborate to confer authority upon the federal government over, in this case, so-called "health care reform"?

Those who laid the Foundation of our Constitution were crystal clear about its enumeration of both the authority and limits upon the central government.

James Madison, our Constitution's primary author, wrote, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined [and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce."

Madison continued, "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."

To that point, Thomas Jefferson asserted: "[G]iving [Congress] a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole [Constitution] to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them. [The Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect."

Clearly, our Constitution, does not authorize Congress to nationalize health care, anymore than it authorizes Congress to do most of what it does today.

That notwithstanding, Obama and his Leftist cadres in the House and Senate are moving forward with their endeavor to inflict socialized medicine upon the United States.

They have again, one and all, abandoned their oaths to "support and defend5" our Constitution.

Democrat "leaders" have all been questioned about constitutional authority, and have uniformly asserted6 that the question is irrelevant.

Typical of their non-responses was this indignant question from Speaker Pelosi: "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

Such utter contempt for our Constitution explains why Democrats refuse to support any measure to cite constitutional authority for legislation. For example, the Enumerated Powers Act (HR 1359) would require that "Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act," but for years, insurmountable obstacles have prevented passage of HR 1359 -- and you know who they are.

As for the Slaughter Solution, Article 1 Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution stipulates, "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, and that in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively."

Typical of Republican protests about this effort to evade the Constitution's prescription for passage of legislation, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) called the ruse "the acme of arrogance" and the "shredding the U.S. Constitution."

Unfortunately, more than a few Republicans have dabbled in such unconstitutional chicanery. Thus, I am reminded of the admonition regarding hypocrisy in Matthew 7:4-5. In contemporary terms, Republicans must first demonstrably abide by First Principles before calling on Democrats to do the same.

The only silver lining to this cloud: If Democrats pass ObamaCare, every medical complaint by a Democrat constituent will be hung around their necks.

Fellow Patriots, stand firm for Essential Liberty7 for we still hold these Truths8.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Code Red on Health Care

Contact Your Rep, Tell Them To Vote NO On Obamacare

Capitol Switchboard: 877-762-8762 or 202-224-3121


40,000 Calls an Hour

House Getting 40,000 Calls an Hour

House administrators estimate that Capitol switchboard operators are fielding roughly 40,000 calls per hour from constituents and that perhaps just as many callers are experiencing busy signals a full day after radio host Rush Limbaugh gave his listening audience the Capitol switchboard phone number and encouraged them to call it.

That means that in an eight-hour window, the Capitol is being deluged with more than 300,000 phone calls, said Jeff Ventura, spokesman for the Chief Administrator’s Office. The barrage is about 10 times what the switchboard usually receives, he added.

“This doesn’t surprise me. It’s going to be that way all week, until they vote [on health care reform]. No doubt about it,” he said. “For everyone who doesn’t get through, they’ll just say to themselves, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’”

Limbaugh continued his efforts to encourage constituents to call Congress, posting an article to his Web site called, “Pedal to the Medal: It’s Time to Flood Congress with Calls, E-mails.” The article includes the switchboard number and a link to a National Republican Congressional Committee list of Congressmen that should be targeted as potential swing votes on the health care reform bill.

The telecommunications onslaught comes as the House prepares to vote on a health care reform bill as early as this weekend.

By Daniel Newhauser

The Very Real Pain of Progressive Rule

Yesterday our community was greeted with one more consequence of Progressive majority rule - the pain of unemployment as reported by Dave Gallagher of the Bellingham Herald:

Whatcom County's unemployment rate reached 10 percent for the first time in more than 20 years as private sector industries reported job losses across the board.

The rate has risen significantly the past two months.

In January the unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. In December, it was 8.3 percent. Since 1990, when the ESD started using the current method for tracking unemployment, Whatcom County has not had double-digit unemployment.

In February 10,540 people were actively seeking work locally, up more than 2,000 compared to February 2009. There are also a number of discouraged workers - those that have given up looking - whom the ESD doesn't track at the county level.

Jim Vleming, regional labor economist for the state, reiterated what many economists across the country have been predicting: Jobs will be one of the last areas of the economy to recover.

"This is going to be a recovery that will happen one job at a time; there won't be a sudden rise," Vleming said. "It's going to start with a small-business owner becoming confident enough to hire one or two more employees because sales have picked up, not from big companies significantly adding jobs."

While all Whatcom County private industries had decreases, Vleming was particularly concerned about the local leisure and hospitality sector. He expected at least some ramping up for the Winter Olympics last month, but instead the industry employed 8,600 people, down by 700 compared to February 2009.

Construction continues to be one of the hardest-hit sectors. In February the industry employed 5,500 people in Whatcom County, matching the January total, which was the lowest monthly total in eight years...

Nearby counties continued to be hit hard. Skagit County's unemployment rate rose to 12.4 percent in February, while Snohomish was at 10.5 percent.

Meanwhile across Washington State similar headlines reveal the depth of the pain. Here are a few more headlines:

• Kitsap County unemployment at highest rate in two decades (Kitsap Sun)
• Thurston jobless rate hits 9% (The Olympian)
• Lewis County jobless rate hits 15 percent in February (The Chronicle)
• Washington state unemployment rate rises to 9.5 percent (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Special Session? Hasn't Legislature Done Enough Damage?

Excerpted from the Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial

Lawmakers are in the process of spending more money than they did last year. That's not a misprint. It's thanks to an expected windfall of $500 million from the federal government and a laundry list of tax increases, from a possible sales tax boost to taxes on bottled water and cigarettes.

Instead of making systemic reforms to how this state is run and pays for its priorities, the Legislature, led by the Democratic majority, has stuck to spending models that have remained unaltered despite coming into this session with a $2.8 billion shortfall.

And guess what? If Congress fails to come forward with yet another bailout for states, and if the economy keeps slogging along in first gear, the state could face a $2 billion shortfall when lawmakers return to Olympia next year to craft another budget. We wonder how many more times lawmakers will slap a $1 tax on a pack of cigarettes to balance the budget.

The majority also seems intent on keeping state employees happy regardless of the economic realities. While private employment in Washington has dropped by 7.5 percent, the decrease in the total number of state workers, outside of higher education, amounted to just 0.7 percent, according to The Seattle Times.

And what happened to taking a tough stand on state employee contracts and asking them to share some of the pain? That never happened. State employees contribute only a 12 percent share of their health care premiums. By raising the level to 20 percent -- still below the national average in the private sector -- the state could have saved $50 million over the next two years.

Instead, we get lawmakers telling voters that after cutting education funding by siphoning off money for smaller classrooms, they will allow cash-strapped school districts to raise their levy lids and get more revenue through local property taxes.
That may look good on paper, but in reality it's a pipe dream. Rural districts like those in Central Washington can't ask property owners to pay more. The levy lids have peaked. Richer districts, though, have much lower rates and could benefit from the legislation.

The end result is that rich school districts will get richer and poorer districts will be left behind -- as they too often seem to be.
Don't expect lawmakers to suddenly mend their ways during this special session. Taxes will rise, spending will increase and the next budget shortfall will be set in motion.

May the gavel finally drop on the Legislature and end this tortured process. We can't afford lawmakers to be in session one minute longer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tipping Point Ahead for the Republic

Tipping Point Ahead for the Republic

Here are two data trends that should concern all Americans. First, from The Heritage Foundation’s recent Index of Dependence on Government, we see the long-term rise in dependency on government programs. Note that the data used by the Index runs only through 2008 (and thus does not measure the impact of the federal government’s 2009 spending binge on dependency). The Index reached its highpoint in 2006, but the long-term upward trend is clear.

Meanwhile, the Tax Foundation reports that in 2008 more Americans than ever earned an income without paying any income taxes at all: 51.6 million—36 percent of all filers.

If these trends continue, it won’t be too long before the better part of the population can simply vote itself more and more benefits at the expense of a wealth-creating minority. That is not a formula for self-government that can last.

by Alex Adrianson

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Majority Party Keeps Spending Your Money

March 05 2010

‘We’ve been down this road before and it leads to budget deficits, unsustainable spending and broken promises,’ says Alexander

The Washington State House of Representatives passed its 2010 supplemental operating budget this evening by a vote of 55-43. Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, released the following statements:

Rep. Gary Alexander

“Instead of being driven by courage to do what’s right, we’re being driven by fear to do what’s convenient.

I can’t support a state budget that cuts only one percent of spending when our families and employers across the state have cut so much deeper.

“Democrat budget writers propose using a combination of one-time federal money, budget transfers, selected cuts to government, and the largest tax increase in state history, to prop up a state government that has become too large, too fast.

We’ve been down this road before and it leads to budget deficits, unsustainable spending and broken promises.

“The tax increases this budget assumes are not what we need to give taxpayers and employers confidence and help bring our state out of this economic recession.

I can see no upside for struggling families and employers who will have more money taken out of their pockets by a government that seems to disregard them.

“This is a tone-deaf budget considering what the taxpayers and the public have been saying.”

Rep. Richard DeBolt

“This budget ignores the plight of working families who are facing double-digit unemployment and trying make ends meet within their household budgets. The Legislature has failed to address the real problems citizens are facing. They want jobs and the chance to take care of their families without the interference of government.

Instead, with this budget, they get business as usual and a billion-dollar tax increase. House Republicans believe in balancing the budget without raising taxes by establishing the priorities of government. This budget says government is the priority.”

Quick Budget Facts

• The operating budget is on a two-year cycle, with midcourse adjustments made in even-numbered years through a supplemental version. It is facing a $2.7 billion shortfall for one year.

• The operating budget is the largest of the state’s three main budgets, along with the capital and transportation budgets, and pays for K-12 schools, corrections and public safety programs, government and judicial operations, higher education, and health and human services.

• The $30.678 billion House supplemental operating budget seeks to close the $2.7 billion budget shortfall through:

• new tax increases ($900 million);
• federal funds ($641 million);
• state fund transfers ($236 million);
• spending cuts ($653 million); and
• the state rainy day fund ($229 million).

• With the recent suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act (Initiative 960) through Senate Bill 6130, only a simple majority in the Legislature (50 state representatives and 25 state senators) is needed to increase taxes. Not one Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Senate Bill 6130.

• The state had a $1.8 billion surplus in the 2005-07 budget cycle, driven by extraordinary real estate excise tax revenue. State spending grew by 40 percent, or more than $8 billion, from 2005 to 2009 and created the shortfall that now requires a billion dollars in new taxes.

Washingtonton House Republicans