Posts Tagged freedom

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: State Spending During Budget Impasse


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 12, 2015 – December 18, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with State Representative Chris Dush co-author of a Report on State Spending During the Budget Impasse
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on demise of the proposed severance tax on Marcellus shale drillers
  • Beth Anne Mumford has a guide to dealing with that progressive who comes home for the holidays

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about abolishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the federal budget stalemate
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on a Wisconsin prosecutor run afoul of campaign finance laws
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on President Obama’s ISIS speech

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Thomas J. Smith: An American Life


From the minutemen of the American Revolution to the settlers of the old West to the housewives who poured into the factories during World War II to the Tea party movement of recent years our nation began and thrives when ordinary Americans step up and do extraordinary things.

Since the beginning of our Republic the concept of a “citizen legislator” has been the ideal.  Our founding fathers realized that professional politicians are more concerned about their careers than “we the people” posed a threat to our liberty.  Four score and seven years later, President Abraham Lincoln eloquently called it a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Now special interests and professional politicians dominate both Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg while the interests of working families, small businesses and senior citizens take a back seat.  But there are those who are willing to leave the comfort of their private lives and fight to preserve, protect and defend the God-given rights upon which our nation was established.

Thomas J. Smith was one who has answered his nation’s call.

Tom Smith, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 67, was an American success story.  At the age of nineteen, when his father became ill, Tom decided to postpone college and run the family’s Armstrong County farm.  He mortgaged his existing property to purchase a coal mine and – by risking capital and his financial security – successfully expanded his business operations over a 20 year period eventually mining more than a million tons of coal per year and employing over 100 people.

Along the way, Tom and his wife Saundra had three biological children. Then, the Smith’s adopted a family of four children from Texas allowing the siblings to be raised together.

After selling his mining interests in 2010 and becoming alarmed over rapidly expanding federal intrusion into our lives, Tom was in the vanguard of the Tea party movement and helped to found the Indiana/Armstrong County Patriots.

But that level of activism was not enough for Tom Smith.  In 2012 he decided to run for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania.  The sitting governor and state GOP endorsed another candidate, but Tom persevered dealing the party a rare defeat and besting five other candidates to win the nomination.  Despite his best efforts, the headwinds against the GOP in Pennsylvania that November resulted in the re-election of the incumbent.

This is the point where most people give up.  But not Tom Smith.  He was only getting started.  Tom became involved in a wide range of state and national policy battles serving on the boards and financially contributing to a wide range of organizations fighting for individual liberty and personal freedom.

In the summer of 2015 Tom was again planning to enter the political fray as a candidate for congress when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  That cut short his political career, but Tom remained involved fighting for the issues about which he cared deeply until his final days.

Ronald Reagan once said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Thomas J. Smith did his part to ensure that freedom endures for the next generation.  His life and career will continue to serve as both an example of what citizen activism should be and as an inspiration to the rest of us to step up and continue the cause which he has “thusfar so nobly advanced.”

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Wolf Loses Big


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 10, 2015 – October 16, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Kevin Shivers from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation are joined by State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) for a Capitol Watch look at House rejection of Governor Wolf’s tax plan
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on ending corporate welfare

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Heben about Russian aggression in Syria
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on chaos in the race for U.S. House Speaker
  • Eric Boehm talks with Arif Panju of the Institute for Justice about a food truck controversy in San Antonio on this week’s Watchdog Radio Report
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on Carly Fiorina and those Planned Parenthood videos

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Why is the Party of Free Enterprise Afraid of Competition?


An early, but unofficial, entry into the 2016 Presidential race by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush jump started the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.  National party leaders are working hard to see that it also ends early. This in the mistaken belief that a battle lasting deep into the primary season harmed Mitt Romney in 2012 and would likewise handicap the party’s 2016 nominee.

The theory is hold the intra-party skirmishing to a minimum, identify the nominee early, give the new standard bearer more time to organize and prepare for the General Election campaign.   The problem with that reasoning is that it cuts voters in most states out of the candidate selection process depriving the ultimate nominee of a solid base of support.  It also puts an early bullseye on the nominee giving Democrats more time to attack – which is precisely what Barack Obama did in the spring and early summer of 2012.

Those unwilling to admit the party nominated a deeply flawed candidate in 2012 point to the supposed “lengthy” primary battle as a reason for his defeat.  The fact is Mitt Romney essentially wrapped up the nomination by mid-April before primary voters in some of the more populous states, including Pennsylvania and California, went to the polls.  Four years earlier, John McCain closed the door on Romney and a large field of candidates by mid-February.  Despite the early end to that primary season McCain also went down to defeat.

There is an argument to be made that contests lasting deep into the primary season better prepares the candidate for the fall campaign.  In 2008 it was June before Hillary Clinton conceded defeat to Barack Obama.  Obama, of course, beat McCain who had the luxury of having wrapped up his nomination months earlier.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush battled until late May before Bush ended his quest for the nomination.  In fact, Reagan lost many early primaries that year before finding his footing, emerging victorious and eventually defeating incumbent President Jimmy Carter in November.

The real reason the establishment wants to truncate the nomination race is so that it can exert more control over the ultimate nominee.  A shorter primary and caucus season makes it more difficult for a grassroots candidate to emerge and plays to the advantage of those with the party machinery behind them.  This, of course, makes it far less likely a candidate from the conservative wing of the party claims the nomination.

To push for such a scenario ignores the central lesson of the 2012 nomination process.  Voters four years ago made it abundantly clear they did not want Mitt Romney as their nominee.  Romney was not a front-runner until very late in the process.  As alternatives to Romney emerged his campaign destroyed them one by one in an electoral version of whack-a-mole.  Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, each surged to the top of the polls only to be destroyed by Romney.  Even after all of that, the movement of just a few thousand voters in the Michigan and Ohio primaries would have given the nomination to Santorum.

Voters wanted anybody but Romney, but the establishment prevailed, ended the contest halfway through the primary calendar and anointed a candidate who went on lose an eminently winnable general election.  The GOP lost the presidency in 2012 not because the primary season went on too long; it lost because it ignored the message being sent by voters.

Headed into 2016 the national GOP hopes to arrive at a nominee early in the year.  With a large field of highly qualified candidates that would be yet another big mistake.  It is important that voters all across America get the opportunity to participate in the process.  The goal should be to nominate a candidate who can win, not to nominate a candidate quickly.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org).

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Tampering with Transparency


Transparency has become a buzzword, one of those principles that politicians of all stripes pledge fealty to, but often in practice fall short.  For those who value the ability of We the People to know what is happening in our government, the past couple of weeks in Penn’s Woods have been bad ones.

For starters, the grand jury investigating whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaked confidential court information recommended the state’s Shield Law, upholding the right of journalists to keep confidential sources confidential, be changed to remove that protection when it relates to grand juries.

In a misguided effort to preserve the secrecy of such proceedings, the jurors placed blame for the leaks on the reporters writing the stories rather than on the individuals – including possibly the Attorney General – who actually leaked the information. Weakening a critical protection of journalistic freedoms is akin to blaming the escaped horse for the farmer having left the barn door open.

Shield laws are important because officials – elected, appointed and hired – who see to hide information from the public generally are willing to use the power of their position to harass, punish or otherwise frustrate the news media to prevent transparency from occurring.  Simply put, the ability to protect the confidentiality of sources makes it possible for journalists to do their job precisely at the time it is most important for them to do so.

The other hit to transparency came just days after Governor Tom Wolf took office when he attempted to fire the director of the state’s open records office.  Since its inception over six years ago, the Office of Open Records has become a vital tool for the media, watchdog groups, citizen activists and concerned voters to obtain information from governments at all levels that seek to deny access.

Although the state’s Open Records Law can and should be strengthened, it has brought about a higher level of transparency to government.  It is critically important for the independence of that office to be maintained, free from interference by both the executive and legislative branches of state government. That independence was honored by governors, Democrat and Republican, until now.

Former Governor Ed Rendell appointed Terry Mutchler as the first director of the Office of Open Records. The law states that executive directors shall be appointed for a six year term.  So, when Republican Governor Tom Corbett took office she continued in her job – actually past the six year mark as Corbett did not act immediately to name a replacement when her term expired.  That move came in early January during the waning days of his administration when Mutchler resigned and Corbett named Erik Arneson as the new executive director.  Arneson, a former state senate aide, played a key role in crafting the Open Records law making him eminently qualified for the job.

Within days of his inauguration, Governor Wolf, objecting to the timing of his predecessor’s action, fired Arneson.  Arneson’s dismissal triggered a firestorm of protest from senate Republican leaders who have correctly asserted that the job is not an “at will” position, but rather an appointment to a fixed term.  Arneson, claiming he could not be fired, showed up for work the next day as did the acting director appointed by Wolf.  A court battle now looms.

Setting aside the political stupidity of starting a turf war his first week in office, a lot more than a battle between a Democrat Governor and Republican Senate hangs in the balance.  If Governor Wolf succeeds in turning the Office of Open Records into a political fiefdom it will become impossible for it to fulfill its mission.  Above all, the Office of Open Records must remain free from political pressure.  How willing would an executive director who serves at the will of the governor be to grant open records requests which the administration wants to keep information hidden?

Candidate Tom Wolf ran for office promising a “fresh start.”  But by seeking to politicize the Office of Open Records, Governor Tom Wolf has fully embraced the worst aspects old fashioned politics.  There are many ways for a governor to confront a legislature, but tampering with transparency is a foolish way to begin.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 15, 2014 – November 21, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with veteran Al Bienstock about his recent visit to a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on finances of the state system of higher education
  • Anna McCauslin of Americans for Prosperity has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on policy priorities for state government

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Francis Rooney, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See about dealing with radical Islam
  • Barney Keller of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the GOP U.S. Senate win in Alaska
  • Eric Boehm and Jason Hart have a Watchdog Radio Report on labor union election spending
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the anniversary of the fight for freedom in Poland

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Moving the Goal Posts


A football field is 100 yard long.  That makes the 50-yard line the center of the field.  Suppose we were to change the rules and make the football field 120 yards long.  That would make the center of the field the 60-yard line.  Despite changing the center, the 50-yard line is still 50 yards from the goal line even though it is now ten yards away from the middle of the field.

Simply put, we moved the goal posts.

That is what has happened to American politics.  Policies and positions that at one time were considered moderate, are now denounced as extreme.  This is because the field was not lengthened ten yards on each side; rather all 20 yards were added to the Left side of the field making formerly centrist positions seem further to the Right.

Conservatives who espouse low taxes, personal freedom and a strong national defense are now portrayed as the “radical Right,” despite the fact such positions occupied the nation’s mainstream for generations.  The Democratic Party, establishment Republicans and a liberal dominated news media all view it in their best interests to claim the center is now the extreme.

But voters are not buying the argument.

The upset of this year’s primary season was the defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th congressional district.  It was the first time in history a sitting Republican majority leader lost his own party’s primary.  Many factors contributed to Cantor’s defeat, but the fact is a TEA party conservative put together a message that resonated with voters and despite being massively outspent won the election.

Another incumbent is on the verge of being ousted in Mississippi where long-time U.S. Senator Thad Cochran has been forced into a run-off election by TEA party conservative Chris McDaniel who actually received more votes than Cochran in the first round of balloting. McDaniel has been ahead in polls leading up to the run-off election.

For his part, Cochran has laid waste to establishment claims that TEA party candidates must be defeated in primaries because they suffer from foot-in-mouth disease causing them to lose winnable general elections.  At a recent campaign appearance Cochran claimed he grew up “doing all kinds of indecent things with animals.”  His claims of barnyard exploits proved candidates from all parts of the political spectrum can say stupid things.

Here in Penn’s Woods even Democrats are not buying the progressive spin. In what one Left wing blog termed “the worst Primary night for PA progressives in recent memory,” Democrats nominated a wealthy “one percenter” over more Leftist candidates for governor.  Self-described liberal lion state Senator Daylin Leach finished third in a congressional primary in which the most centrist candidate on the ballot prevailed.  Progressive rising, now fallen star State Representative Erin Molchany lost to an old-line Democrat and State Representative Margo Davidson, a pro-life Democrat defeated her progressive challenger.

The bottom line is this: although the progressive/mainstream Republican/news media echo chamber would have you believe conservative positions are now extreme voters in both parties are, at the ballot box, proving otherwise.  Essentially, both political parties have become disconnected from their grassroots.  Thus the political division in America today is more between those who govern and those who are governed than it is between Republicans and Democrats.

For Republicans this is an opportunity to appeal to Democrats turned-off by their party’s ultra-progressive wing much as Ronald Reagan did in assembling a winning coalition back in the 1980s.  The war establishment Republicans are waging against the GOP’s TEA party base provides a division that can be exploited by Democrats.

With internal strife abundant in both parties, the one which does the best job of minimizing their internal divisions will prevail at the ballot box both in this November’s race for Governor of Pennsylvania and in the 2016 Presidential campaign now getting underway.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Employee Freedom Week


Radio Program Schedule for the Week of July 13, 2013 – July 19, 2013

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Chris Jacobs of the Heritage Foundation about the mounting failures of Obamacare
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the cyber recruitment of a congressional challenger
  • Eric Boehm has a Watchdog Radio look at fiscal mismanagement of federal housing dollars in Texas
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on President Obama’s narcissism

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Melissa Daniels have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Matthew Wagner of Pennsylvanians for Right to Work about Employee Freedom Week
  • Joe Geiger of the First Nonprofit Foundation has Tish Mogan from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations in the Community Benefit Spotlight to talk about community EMS groups and financial accountability
  • Jennifer Stefano from the PA Chapter of Americans for Prosperity has a Stefano Speaks! commentary on food stamps and the entitlement mentality

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Firewall Against Tyranny


By Lowman S. Henry

When considering whether or not to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States of America a number of the former colonies expressed concern that the proposed new national charter failed to provide enough of a safeguard against the federal government developing into a tyrannical regime trampling the rights of the people in much the same manner as did Great Britain, from whom independence had just been won at a great cost in lives and treasure. Thus was born the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments clearly defining what no future government could take away from We the People and placing strict limits on its power.

After first securing our religious freedom, right to free speech, freedom to assembly and the right to petition government, the framers of the Bill of Rights added an enforcement mechanism: the Second Amendment which states in plain, straight forward language that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”   The new nation was born out of armed conflict with what had been the preeminent military power of the age. Our Founding Fathers were keenly aware of the fact that the greatest protection against tyranny was an armed populace.

Today we are engaged in a great battle over whether or not this firewall against tyranny will stand. At all levels of government: international, federal and state, an historic and epic struggle is taking place over whether or not this most basic American right will survive for another generation. The stakes could not be higher, for if this right is abridged, the ability of the people to defend itself against its own government will be gone and it won’t be long before the entire Bill of Rights is consigned to the dust bin of history.

You don’t have to dig too deeply into the history books for examples of what happens when a people are disarmed and government becomes all powerful. From Stalin’s Russia to Mao’s China to the killing fields of Cambodia, the pages of history are replete with the tragic misdeeds of dictators. The one factor tying together the massacres, genocides, and “cleansings” throughout the ages is that the victims were unarmed and defenseless against their own government.

In today’s America such a repeat of history seems remote and far-fetched. It is. And that is because of our Constitutional protections. But, absent those protections, the course of both human nature and the history of mankind suggests a predictable path. That is why the multi-level battle to protect our rights is so vitally important. At the moment, the outcome of that battle is hopeful, but continues to hang in the balance.

The United Nations recently approved an Arms Trade Treaty. This gun ban, were it to be ratified, would effectively nullify the Second Amendment. Fortunately, there is virtually no chance the U.S. Senate will ratify the pact. Ratification requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, and – if public pressure continues to be exerted – even a simple majority will not be possible.

It is at the national and state levels where our rights face their greatest threat. Acting upon former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s dictum that no good crisis should be allowed to go to waste, President Obama has shamelessly played upon the victims of the Connecticut school shooting to advance his gun control measures. It would appear the more restrictive of those measures lack the votes for passage. But, rights are more often lost by a continual chipping away rather than by outright taking. Thus more “reasonable” sounding, but equally damaging measures such as universal background checks gain traction. The debate continues as if the perpetrators of gun violence are going to follow such laws and gun violence will cease once they are passed. Americans need to ask themselves do we really want the federal government maintaining a data base on each and every one of us, accessible by millions for purposes both noble and nefarious?   Such a move tramples freedom on many levels.

Meanwhile, a number of states – Connecticut, New York and Colorado most noticeably, have passed restrictive and likely unconstitutional gun control measures. Federal litigation is sure to follow, and many of these provisions will be struck down. Here in Pennsylvania – where we are known for clinging to our guns – new laws are not only unlikely, but would violate Article I Section 21 of the state constitution which says the right of the people to keep and bear arms “shall not be questioned.” It would be a violation of a legislator’s oath of office – and an impeachable offense – to even introduce gun control measures.

Thomas Jefferson observed that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” While always true, the need for vigilance, and citizen involvement in defense of our liberty has seldom been as necessary and as crucial to the survival of a free nation as it is today.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cites.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Debt Ceiling Deal: GOP Win or Loss?


By Colin Hanna

Let Freedom Ring, USA

What actually happened last week on the debt ceiling?  Did John Boehner and the Republicans cave to President Obama and the Democrats?  Or did they wisely re-sequence the whole fiscal debate?

There are three big deadlines that face the nation’s fiscal health in the next five months or so.  In order, they are first, the debt ceiling, second the postponed sequester and third, the expiration of the Continuing Resolution. These terms are not familiar to many, in part because they’re complicated and in part because the policymakers prefer to be the only parties who understand them, and the more the public is confused and in the dark, the more latitude they have in making policy.

Hitting the debt ceiling means that the federal government has borrowed as much as it is permitted by Congress to borrow.  That amount has skyrocketed during the Obama years, although it began its sharp rise during the Bush years.  In George W. Bush’s eight years, it went from just under 6 trillion to about 10 trillion.  In Barack Obama’s four years, it has gone from about 10 trillion to over 16 trillion.  That’s an obviously unsustainable path of increase – and more than double George Bush’s rate.  No wonder that the increase that Congress approved in 2011 was reached so quickly.

When will the debt ceiling be reached?  That depends on statistics from the US Treasury Department, and Treasury Secretary Geithner says that the limit was reached about December 31, and conveniently just after the Presidential election.  But because money comes into the federal government at a faster rate at this time of year, there’s still enough to cover interest and other expenses as they become due.  That will no longer be the case in another four weeks or so, and if nothing were done about it, some bills would need to be left unpaid, at least temporarily.  Who gets to decide which bills get paid and which ones get deferred?  Why the Executive branch, meaning the President and his cabinet departments.  Would they possibly play politics with which ones get paid and which ones don’t?  You can count on it – just like a school board facing a budget shortfall .  They always threaten the most popular programs, so that taxpayers  accept a tax increase as the inevitable cost of continuing those programs.  You can count on the same kind of demagoguery from the Obama administration.  It already started with their saying that not raising the debt ceiling risks default on our sovereign debt, putting the full faith and credit of the United States in play.  That’s nonsense, and the President and his treasury secretary know it – but it’s useful rhetoric with which to frighten the American people into supporting higher taxes, which of course Democrats like to euphemize as revenue.

As it stood at the beginning of last week, the debt ceiling would have been the first deadline reached – and probably the hardest to negotiate.

The sequester is the set of harsh cuts imposed as result of the inability of the foolishly-named Super Committee last summer to reach a deal.  They were thought to be such heavy-handed and arbitrary cuts that the Super Committee would work out fairer and better cuts, but it didn’t turn out that way.  Those cuts come into play on March 1.  There’s some advantage in letting them happen.  First, the worst effects they produce don’t occur immediately.

Second, they truly do lower spending, which absolutely must be the number one goal of all of these measures.  Once those lower levels of spending are set, they constitute current law.  A new and higher budget would be required for even partial restoration – thus forcing the hand of Harry Reid’s irresponsible Senate finally to enact a budget.  The threat to escrow Senators’ salaries if a budget is not passed just adds a little common sense pressure, since merely obeying the law doesn’t seem to be a sufficient incentive for the Senate to do its work. A budget is one of the clear requirements to return us to fiscal sanity.

The continuing resolution’s expiration on March 27th means that, in the absence of a new budget, the government will need to start a partial shutdown or slowdown in spending.  And this adds to the pressure on the Senate to pass a budget.

This week’s House vote to extend the debt ceiling limit to a date in May rather than to a new dollar level takes the debt ceiling debate out of the first position in the time sequence and puts it in the last – which is where it logically should be.  Now the House and Senate can work out a budget first, which then eliminates the need for a Continuing Resolution extension, and once a budget is in place attention can properly turn to the debt limit.  It’s not the political loss for Republicans that some pundits have posited.  Many of my best friends in the conservative movement have harshly criticized it.  But it’s actually a win for fiscal sanity.

(Colin Hanna is President of Let Freedom Ring, USA and a regular commentator on American Radio Journal.  Find him on the web at www.letfreedomringusa.com.)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment