Category Archives: government reform

Social Security Hitting Kids for Parents’ Debts

This is just hideous:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy…

This is just a desperate ploy from a government which is greedy for every dollar it can lay its hands on – but it also shows (if ObamaCare didn’t clue you in) that no one in government really knows what is happening…its all done behind the scenes with lobbyists and bureaucrats and staffers inserting things into bills and regulations without anyone accountable to the people really knowing what is going on.

This, of course, needs to be repealed – it is un-American to seek to collect debts owed by one person from another.  If the person who owes the money is dead and there’s no estate to collect it from, then the debt is a write-off.  Whether or not anyone in Congress will step up to fix this particular problem remains to be seen – but the ultimate fix to this is to prohibit Congress from passing laws of more than, say, 10 type-written pages…and to prohibit the bureaucracy from implementing new regulations (which also must not be more than 10 type-written pages long) before Congressional approval of each new regulation.

UPDATE – technically unrelated, but check out what is happening with the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.  True, its a dispute over grazing rights which has been going on for decades…but whatever one wishes to think about the particulars of the case, why did Uncle Sam whistle up an army to round of the man’s cattle?  Why make a “free speech” zone?

Given that this is Nevada and we have Harry Reid and the BLM is involved, I’m immediately suspicious that this is just another corrupt land deal – there are stories that this land is to be set aside for a solar plant with a Reid son involved.  I’m not so sure about that – this has been going on too long for that (since 1993).  I’m more thinking that since it is some really nice countryside (and the Virgin river runs year-round through it as it heads towards Lake Mead) that someone has a mind to build some resorts out there – and ol’ Harry has been more than once involved in screwy land dealings where, hey presto!, BLM land is made available to the “public” and Reid cronies make a killing.

A Constitutional Convention of the States

With the movement for a Constitutional Convention of the States picking up steam, in spite of being completely ignored by the MSM, this is a topic that is long overdue for discussion. Amazona asked that I re-post her comment from the previous thread outlining the constitutional amendments suggested by Mark Levin in his recent best-seller, “The Liberty Amendments.

“Mark Levin is proposing ten amendments to the Constitution. Each one is written in thoughtful language so as to preclude any ancillary problems:

1) Term Limits: He proposes limiting service in both the House and Senate to 12 years. Yes, we’ve heard all the arguments about elections being the best limit. But the past 100 year has proven that to be false. As someone who works day and night to throw the bums out, I can tell you that is nearly impossible to throw them out with the amount of money they raise – precisely for their abuses of power. Levin also proves that limiting time in office was a highly regarded proposal during the Constitutional Congress.

2) Repealing the 17th Amendment: Levin proposes repealing the 17th amendment and vesting state legislators with the power to elect senators so that the power of states is not diluted, as originally feared by the framers of the Constitution.

3) Restoring the Judiciary to its proper role: The Judiciary was never meant to be an all-powerful institution in which five men in robes have the final say over every major policy battle in the country. In order to end judicial tyranny, Levin proposes limiting service to one 12-year term, and granting both Congress and the state legislatures the authority to overturn court decisions with the vote of three-fifths of both houses of Congress or state legislative bodies.

4) Limiting Taxation and Spending: Levin proposes a balanced budget amendment, limiting spending to 17.5% of GDP and requiring a three-fifths vote to raise the debt ceiling. He also proposes limiting the power to tax to 15% of an individual’s income, prohibiting other forms of taxation, and placing the deadline to file one’s taxes one day before the next federal election.

5) Limiting bureaucracy: He proposes an amendment to limit and sunset federal regulations and subject the existence of all federal departments to stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years.

6) Defining the Commerce Clause: Levin writes an amendment that, while technically unnecessary, is practically an imperative to restoring the original intent of the Commerce Clause. The amendment would make it clear that the commerce clause grants not power to actively regulate and control activity; rather to prevent states from impeding commerce among other states, as Madison originally intended.

7) Limiting Federal power to take private property

8) Allowing State Legislature to Amend the Constitution: Although the Framers intentionally made it difficult to amend the Constitution, they did so to preserve the Republic they created. However, the progressives have illegally altered our Republic through a silent and gradual coup without using the amendment process. If we are going to successfully push the aforementioned amendments, we will need an easier mechanism to force them through. The proposed amendment allows states to bypass Congress and propose an amendment with support of just two-thirds of the states (instead of three-fourths) and without convening a convention.

9) State Authority to Override Congress: A proposed amendment to allow states to override federal statutes by majority vote in two-thirds of state legislatures. The last two proposals are rooted in the idea that the states only agreed to the Constitution on condition that their power would not be diluted and that all federal power is derived from the states.

10) Protecting the Vote: A proposal to require photo ID for all federal elections and limit early voting.

Taken as a whole, there is no doubt that these amendments would restore our Republican form of government. Every proposal is backed up by scholarly analysis of the Framers’ view on the proposal, an overview of what has changed since the founding, and the rationale for why the proposal is necessary. You should read the entire book. As someone who is busy reading all the current news every day, this is the only political book I made time to read all year.”

Our Incredible, Static Debt

This report from CNS states that while we were running a $98 billion deficit for the month of July, the national debt – per the Treasury – remained at exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00 during the whole month.  This is $25 million below the legally authorized debt limit.

This is, also, not mathematically possible – the Treasury Secretary did advise Speaker Boehner as of May 17th – when our debt officially hit the number it stayed at all through July, and is still at as of yesterday – that Treasury would be putting in to place “extraordinary” measures to keep the debt below the legal limit.  What are these extraordinary measures?  Not made clear – likely because it is just another word for “lie”.

It is simply not possible that our debt could remain exactly the same over this period of time – it would have to go up or down.  Given the amount of spending we’re doing, “down” is not at all likely, and so it is almost a certainty that it has gone up…and probably vastly more than the $25 million gap between reported figure and legal limit.  So, Treasury is almost certainly lying about how much we owe and borrowing money it cannot legally borrow…and no one in Congress is calling Treasury on it; neither are the financial markets.  A massive lie is being treated as if it didn’t exist by all of the Ruling Class on this country.

Such is the sad state of affairs we live in – a bankrupt country run by cowards, liars and crooks.

And some might wonder, still, why I want a revolution – peaceful, to be sure; at the ballot box, of course (and as our Founders intended); but a revolution, nonetheless.  The entire Ruling Class has to be turned out and new people, new ideas and new laws made to ensure that the truth is what governs our nation.

The Gipper

50 years later, and still no one has articulated the downside to big government better than the Gipper.

Folks, since 1964 this country has spent over $15 trillion dollars on eradicating poverty and today, the poverty statistics are the same if not a little worse. It was reported not too long ago that 4 out of 5 American families are one missed paycheck away from poverty, yet every year and every campaign, big government politicians, particularly Democrats, run on helping the poor – do you believe them anymore? Do you really think more money will cure the problem? Do you honestly believe they want to solve the problem?

The other day Mersault understandably was frustrated over the VA health care administration, to which I remind everyone that is what government health care is – a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy ran by bureaucrats focused more on file organization and lunch breaks than the administration of care, and that is what we are all in for with Obamacare. No one has ever been able to explain to me how adding an additional layer of bureaucracy to an industry can bring down costs.

Welfare, disability, unemployment and labor force measurements are all at alarming levels, so my question to big government advocates is – how is this working out for you?

Can You Guess Who?

I got this idea from a member of the BlogsforVictory Google Group.  I’ve redacted details that would give the answer away.

WITH THE FEDERAL DEBT spiraling out of control, many Americans sense an urgent need to find a political leader who is able to say “no” to spending. Yet they fear that finding such a leader is impossible. Conservatives long for another Ronald Reagan. But is Reagan the right model? He was of course a tax cutter, reducing the top marginal rate from 70 to 28 percent. But his tax cuts—which vindicated supply-side economics by vastly increasing federal revenue—were bought partly through a bargain with Democrats who were eager to spend that revenue. Reagan was no budget cutter—indeed, the federal budget rose by over a third during his administration.

An alternative model for conservatives is [redacted]. President from [redacted], [Redacted] sustained a budget surplus and left office with a smaller budget than the one he inherited. Over the same period, America experienced a proliferation of jobs, a dramatic increase in the standard of living, higher wages, and three to four percent annual economic growth. And the key to this was [redacted] penchant for saying “no.” If Reagan was the Great Communicator, [redacted] was the Great Refrainer.
Following [redacted], the federal debt stood ten times higher than before the [redacted], and it was widely understood that the debt burden would become unbearable if interest rates rose. At the same time, the top income tax rate was over 70 percent, veterans were having trouble finding work, prices had risen while wages lagged, and workers in Seattle, New York, and Boston were talking revolution and taking to the streets. The [redacted] administration had nationalized the railroads for a time at the end of the [redacted], and had encouraged stock exchanges to shut down for a time, and Progressives were now pushing for state or even federal control of water power and electricity. The business outlook was grim, and one of the biggest underlying problems was the lack of an orderly budgeting process: Congress brought proposals to the White House willy-nilly, and they were customarily approved.

The Republican Party’s response in the [redacted] election was to campaign for smaller government and for a return to what its presidential candidate, [redacted], dubbed “normalcy”—a curtailing of government interference in the economy to create a predictable environment in which business could confidently operate. [Redacted], a Massachusetts governor who had gained a national reputation by facing down a Boston police strike—“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time,” he had declared—was chosen to be [redacted] running mate. And following their victory, [redacted] inaugural address set a different tone from that of the outgoing [redacted] administration (and from that of the Obama administration today): “No altered system,” [redacted] said, “will work a miracle. Any wild experiment will only add to the confusion. Our best assurance lies in efficient administration of our proven system.”

One of [redacted] first steps was to shepherd through Congress the Budget and Accounting Act of [redacted], under which the executive branch gained authority over and took responsibility for the budget, even to the point of being able to impound money after it was budgeted. This legislation also gave the executive branch a special budget bureau—the forerunner to today’s Office of Management and Budget—over which [redacted] named a flamboyant Brigadier General, [redacted], as director. Together they proceeded to summon department staff and their bosses to semiannual meetings at Continental Hall, where [redacted] cajoled and shamed them into making spending cuts. In addition, [redacted] pushed through a tax cut, lowering the top rate to 58 percent; and in a move toward privatization, he proposed to sell off naval petroleum reserves in Wyoming to private companies.

Is there any doubt that history repeats itself?  Read the whole piece here, and pray that another [redacted] comes along soon.

From “Spending Cuts” to “Spending Reform”

Allahpundit points out what is going to be for many conservatives a depressing poll – boiled down, no one wants to cut anything.  At least, that is, when a pollster asks a question like, “do you want to cut aid to the needy in the United States?”.  To that question, 27% want to increase it, 44% want to keep it the same and only 24% want to cut it.  Like I said, rather depressing to most conservatives.  To me?  Its delightful.  Shows we can easily win this debate and get America back to fiscal rationality.

Continue reading

Scare Mongering the Sequester

Twitchy has collected a bit of Democrat scare-mongering regarding the sequester – the best was Rangel’s claim that 2,100 food inspectors would be thrown out of work.  My first question was:  we have more than 2,100 of them?  Rangel wants to know if we want to worry about the food on our table?  My attitude:  meh…properly cooked food is just about zero risk, at all events, and even without the inspectors its not like the food producers will suddenly go, “oh, goody, now we can poison people with food!”.  There is an indisputable fact to place before the American people here:  some how or another, we didn’t all die before food inspectors came along.  Muddling through without the Nanny State, those who provide food for the market managed to divine that their best bet was to provide good, safe food because that meant your customers stayed alive and came back the next day to buy some more.

Now, just why are our Democrats so hyped up about this?  The real reason seems to me that they are fearful that if real cuts are done – and while the sequester is a teeny, tiny little cut which won’t actually reduce our fiscal peril, they are real cuts – then if death and destruction don’t result, the argument for more cuts will become overwhelming.  Democrats are desperately afraid that their license to steal might soon be revoked – that the American people will figure out that about half what we spend is just payoffs to Democrat constituencies.  And so they will keep banging the drum saying that we’re all going to die if the Sequester (Obamaquester – because it was his idea, after all) goes through.

Exit question:  will all this Democrat whining megaphoned by the by-lined Democrats in the MSM cause the GOP to cave?  So far, it doesn’t appear it will – but never underestimate the Congressional GOP’s ability to wilt under pressure…we shall have to see.

UPDATE:  The article has it as a growing alliance between the RINOs and the Democrats.  Me?  Nope; its just the Ruling Class taking the mask off.  It is an us vs them fight – the people vs the powerful, with our biggest problem is that a large number of the people don’t realize how badly they are being screwed.  Yet.  Matters are being clarified and once we start campaigning in the “blue” areas, the lines will be drawn.

Dystopia–In His Own Words.

Just prior to the 2008 elections, Barack Obama boldly stated,

“We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America” (October 30, 2008)

Many among my conservative friends took that to be so much fluff; pretty much liberal boilerplate consistent with his whole “Hope and Change” campaign message.  Given, however, Obama’s background, cutting his teeth with the radical leftists/communists of his day (i.e., Frank Marshall Davis, Bernadine Dorn, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright) I believe I was one of the relative few that took him at his word.  Unlike most of America, conservatives such as myself and others who actually took the time to vet Obama, knew that background and worldview mattered, and that Obama’s past gave more than a glimpse of how he intended to govern in the present.

When Obama uttered those words, “.. fundamentally transform AmericaI knew he meant it. It was Obama himself who stated (emphases added),

“As radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.  It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least, as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative libertiesSays what the States can’t do to you; says what the Federal Government can’t do to you, but doesn’t state what the Federal government or State Government must do on your behalf.”  (Barack Obama, June 18, 2001).

There is no question that Barack Obama was unhappy with his perception of unequal distribution of wealth that America so unfairly championed, and that he wanted to transform this nation into something more ‘equitable’ in his eyes.  The question was how, and to what extent.  Just how does one “fundamentally”  transform a nation whose very basis for existence is freedom, itself?  The only feasible answer is to transform that already-free nation, into a nation with fewer freedoms.  Given Dinesh D’Souza’s brilliant insights as to Obama’s worldview engendered by his past, one knew that Obama’s absolute contempt for what he saw as America’s unequal distribution of wealth would result in his promoting policies that would necessarily stifle economic growth.   Obama’s America would no longer be one of unbridled economic opportunity; rather, America would be a nation of egalitarian outcomes, regardless of effort; to coin a phrase, to each, according to his needs; from each, according to his means.  

As a means of bringing about this transformation, America could no longer be a free nation.  No where as free, at least, as it was at the time of he assumed his presidency.  Liberties would need to be forsaken to bring about his vision of utopia.  The free market system would need to be reined in, and done so in no small measure.   Obama would have four years, eight at most, to make this happen.  This transformation would need to be done quickly, and in a big way.

Enter Obamacare, America’s first stop on its train ride to Utopia. Against the wishes of 60-70 percent of Americans, and without the vetting of congressional legislators who rammed through the legislation, the United States Federal Government took control of a full one-seventh of the American economy, which had the net effect of driving up the cost of health care for all involved,  taking away freedom of choice, relegating freedom of conscience incompatible with the party line to irrelevancy, while at the same time having the no-doubt intended effect of casting a chilling pall on America’s ability to sustain economic growth and prosperity.  For those who wish to argue regarding this latter point, how better to right the wrongs of the perceived injustice of unequally-distributed wealth than to stifle the engine that creates such wealth?

As I’ve said, Obamacare is but stop one on America’s train ride to Obama’s Dystopia.  Obama’s seeming assault on everything traditional America has held dear for centuries appears to have taken on epidemic proportions.  Remember- Obama only has three and three-quarter years left.  Those who haven’t yet felt the pinch of his “transformations,” most likely have not yet realized that they, too, have been pinched.   Obama’s willing media accomplices can only cover for him for so long before a critical mass of Americans, admittedly as dull as many of them are, will start to put two-and-two together and finally determine that the hopey-changey unicorn jockey they voted for may actually have had something to do with the plight in which they suddenly find themselves.

Then what?

When the critical mass of Americans finally wake up one morning, to find that they have been played as chumps, they are liable to get a bit–shall we say, testy. When this inevitability finally does come home to roost, The TEA party protests that grew out of Rick Santelli’s historic February, 2009 rant will no doubt look like a series of school pep assemblies.   Such civil unrest would certainly be difficult to quell, and will no doubt be yet another bump in the tracks on the way to Obama’s Dystopian dream.

What to do, what do do? You can’t just sick the military after the troublemakers. Well, you could, I suppose, but then you risk pissing off your fellow travelers who have had a history of contempt for men and women in uniform.

What to do??

Since, at least philosophy- and policy-wise, one can take Obama at his word, one may get a clue as to Obama’s plans by again, studying his own non-TelePrompter inspired rhetoric:

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”   -Barack Obama, July, 2008.

Yeah- remember that phrase?  Neither did a lot of other people.  Like the rest of Obama’s sordid past and rhetoric that if brought to the light of day would have rendered his election impossible, The media (true to their sycophantic nature) pretty much glossed over that little tidbit.  A powerful Civilian security force. Remind you of anyone?

So when you see articles like this, or like this, or like this, and then think, aww–Leo–take off that tinfoil hat!  You’re just blowing smoke.  That would never really happen here.  There’s no way.

Just remember.  I didn’t put those words into Barack Obama’s mouth.

He did.

Federal Legislative Criteria

This is a idea I’ve been kicking around for a while. Has anyone here ever asked his or her Congressman or Senators what criteria they rely on when they write a bill, co-sponsor a bill or vote on a bill? If you’ve ever read a House or Senate bill, particularly one of the uber-long and complicated ones like The Affordable Care Act or Dodd-Frank, you’ve probably wondered if there are any criteria at all, other than to make it so long and complicated that no one will or can read it. I’ll bet, without a great deal of effort, we here at B4V can come up with a comprehensive list of criteria that we could forward to Congress in the form of an open letter.

Number one, IMO, would be, what is the goal of the legislation, and is the means to achieve that goal allowed by the Constitution?

Second: do the projected benefits outweigh the projected costs? (ie. can we afford it?)

Third: Has the issue been addressed before, and, if so, what was faulty about previous legislation that prevented it from solving the problem? IOW, is it a new idea, or has it been tried before?

Fourth: will the proposed legislation duplicate any existing program/s (think the dozens of federal jobs and job training programs currently in existence)?

Fifth: is there a sunset provision in the bill in the event that (a) it doesn’t achieve the stated goal, or (b) it does achieve the stated goal?

Well, I think you get the idea. Everyone feel free to chip in. I have a feeling we can come up with a very long list, most of which will come as a complete and utter surprise to our lawmakers.

A Couple Months Too Late, But People are Waking Up…

From Pew via Hot Air:

As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree…

Perhaps it took the way Obama has become increasingly arrogant since re-election to get people to understand what is going on?  I don’t know of a re-elected President who went with more of a “my way or the highway” attitude upon being re-elected.  The general run of things is at least some sort of attempt to bridge the partisan divide and extend some sort of olive branch to the defeated…all we’ve got from Obama is demands that GOPers cave in, and, also, accept blame for everything that is going wrong.  Not exactly the way to appeal to us…

For the longer term, this poll encourages me greatly in thinking that our future battles should be fought out over personal liberty – even if it means we have to engage in tactical retreats on some issues.  If our strategy is to restore America then key must be re-energizing the spirit of ’76…that one-time ardent American desire to just live free or die.  It is the basis for reducing the size of government, creating a genuinely free economic market and, of course, allow us in our localities to run our own affairs without let or hindrance from the federal government.  This is not necessarily the time to emphasize what we are against but, instead, to emphasize our commitment to personal liberty…after all, if we believe that freedom is best and that our ideas are true (and I answer “yes” to both) then we must believe that if given a genuinely free and fair debate – impossible under current, tyrannical conditions – people will come over to our side.  That is, people will come to understand that freedom really is the freedom to choose to do the right thing – and that, in the end, wins for us all down the line.

But, meanwhile, we’ve got a government more and more out of control – remember, we have a Raisin Administrative Committee – and ever more determined to curtail our rights.  Unless all of us who believe in freedom unite – and that includes uniting with people who have widely divergent views – then we’re doomed.