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The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

The One That Got Away: The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

A study of the National debt over the last thirty years proves that our Representatives are not responsible enough to continuing governing without the rules of the game being changed. Though much belabored, it bears repeating that the National Debt did not break the one trillion dollar threshold until the year 1982 and not until the fiscal year 2002 did it break six trillion. From 2002 to 2010 it more than doubled from $6.25 trillion to over $13 trillion dollars. Changing the rules of the game in this case means the passing of some form of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. This is far from a new idea and most people, especially newcomers to the world of politics, would be shocked at how close we have come, even recently, to achieving it. In the 90s alone constitutional amendments involving balancing the budget came to serious Congressional votes at least once in six different years—1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. In ‘92, ‘94, and ‘97 the Balanced Budget Amendment came up only a handful of votes short of achieving the two-thirds majority needed in both Houses. Without getting too much into the weeds it is significant to note that the amendment in 1992 was sponsored by a Democrat—Charles Stenholm of Texas. In the House it [...]
The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

OppurtuniTEA to RealiTEA

In a lot of ways you wouldn't need much of a crystal ball to see this coming: A Country over 13 trillion dollars in debt with a government either completely ineffectual or damaging in nearly all spheres except military, enacting massive expenditures passed against the majority opinion of its citizens, which gives rise to a movement that wants to stop spending money it doesn't have and return their government to its Constitutionally relegated space. These people have been branded with a name: the Tea Party, which is weird because I have never been to a party where everyone is this mad. Much has been said about this newly minted surge and much is known. Though you may not have needed it to see it coming, that crystal ball sure could come in handy when trying to envision how the Tea Party will attempt to pivot from being a movement to achieving movement. Being that mine seems to be broken about half the time I'll just tell you that if I could write the script it would look something like this. Never minding how sad it is a movement is needed for this, the beauty of this uprising is the underlying confidence that is implied by the movement. The confidence of the people in saying we can take care of ourselves. We, as Americans, can make decisions on a personal level to better ourselves and our Country while weathering the results. Let us keep the vast majority of our own money and we will be the stewards of our own future. The next step is to have the fortitude to extend this confidence into the political proposals that will be forthcoming after the mid-term elections, when at a minimum Republicans will control the House, if not the Senate as well. Here is what I mean by this-- the process for passing legislation in Washington is to argue for it by making grand proclamations for how some bill's passage will control costs, provide this or that, or stop this or that. Once passed the game turns into one of managing expectations. When a bill is written never is there included benchmarks that need to be met for it to be continued, no rip-cord provisions stating that if certain measurable effects that have been promised do not materialize in a certain amount of time the bill is nullified or re-opened for debate. The reasons for this are obvious. First, when you pass bills upwards of 1,500 pages for a country of over 350 million people nobody knows what will really happen. Second, it flies in the face of political self-preservation by opening the door to, god forbid, being proven wrong. A perfect example of this is [...]
The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

It Pays To Be A Pelican

As the BP oil spill unfolds in the Gulf and in our living rooms through our television screens, the coverage has focused on two major problems that it has created. One is the flat-out brutal images of oil soaked pelicans; the other is the crisis of the Gulf fishermen who have been forced out of work. One thing is clear, if you had to choose between being a pelican or a fish your choice is an easy one. At the same time everyone is rightfully heartbroken about the pelicans, we can’t wait for the fishermen to get back in the water and cast their nets to catch and kill as many fish as possible. While I am not by any stretch a PETA guy and I grant the fact that this is largely because we don’t eat pelicans, the point it makes is that we constantly draw large subliminal differences between things. In this case, though both are “wildlife,” we subconsciously dismiss the plight of the fish while granting a level of sympathy to the pelicans that compels some of us to set about capturing them and hand rubbing them with Dawn dish detergent. The same point could be made by asking the questions: Why do we eat turkeys and chickens but not pelicans; why cows and not horses? Why are mice disgusting but gerbils and hamsters cute? In large part the answer is: that’s just the way it is. I suppose you might be asking yourself a question right about now—how does this relate to politics? While I’m quite certain that indeed everything relates to politics, the specific answer is the power of the mentally presumed. The United States is now and has always been a relatively conservative country. Our Constitution, laws, and values, as well as every poll ever taken on the subject, prove this. The problem for Liberals is that well . . . they are not. This presents a huge political task for them. In order to get the [...]
The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

Hitting A Moving Target

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.

—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The two major forms of Republicanism each have a doctrine that is tied to actual documents. Religious social conservatives have The Bible, while fiscal and Constitutional conservatives have the Constitution. It is safe to say that the vast majority of Republicans have their political tenants supplied by one, if not both, of these documents. This type of textual anchor is a positive philosophically and morally but in a strictly political sense can be a liability. The resulting positives are what tend to be deep, time-tested convictions, stability, certainty and, when used, an effective measuring stick for candidates in primaries. However, in our current event driven and largely politically uninformed society the negative is that this rigidness makes it nearly impossible to adapt positions to individual situations and use current events for maximum political gain. This is a problem that the modern day liberal Democrat will not have anytime soon. They indeed stand in the starkest of contrast. Having left the Constitution behind decades ago, they move forward with no defined doctrine. No set of black and white documents that create, inform, or guide their ideology (and don’t even try to give me the party platform). This creates a situation in which changing party leadership sets an evolving standard as to what defines a Democrat. This not only allows them to easily tailor their political message to what they perceive to be popular at the moment, but grants them the option of playing the role of “lifeguard” and coming to the citizenry's rescue with politically crafted legislation. This, in tandem with the current perception that this is indeed the role of government, is extremely effective but thankfully also comes with disadvantages. First, the [...]
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