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Obama Is Remaking America Into Socialism
|VOL. 42, NO. 11||P.O. BOX 618, ALTON, ILLINOIS 62002||JUNE 2009|
Obama Is Remaking America Into Socialism
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Socialism as a system of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned by a centralized government that plans and controls the economy. Both Webster and Random House identify Socialism as a "Marxist theory."
Socialism requires a totalitarian system; that gives the ruling gang the power to distribute the fruits of other people's labor to its political pals. That is what is happening to the United States as President Obama proceeds with his goal of "remaking America."
The Republican National Committee (RNC), which for years had been a stuffy establishment appendage, started to tell the truth on May 20 when it passed a resolution nailing the Obama Administration for "proposing, passing, and implementing Socialist programs through federal legislation" and pushing our country "towards European-style Socialism and government control." Nine Whereases spell out the political indictment in detail.
The RNC charges the Democratic Party with passing "trillions of dollars in new government spending, all with strings attached in order to control nearly every aspect of American life," "plans to nationalize the banking, financial and healthcare industries," "massive government bailouts for the mortgage and auto industries," and "paying states to increase their welfare caseloads" by reducing work requirements and increasing handouts.
Another Whereas accuses the Democratic Party of "direct income redistribution" by taking taxes from one group of people and giving "direct cash transfers to another group of people who pay no federal income taxes." The RNC accurately accuses the Democratic Party of taking us in a "European direction," a path the American people have no desire to travel.
The RNC, which is the governing body of the Republican Party, has helpfully spelled out the differences between the two political parties. The "clear and obvious purpose" of the Democratic majority in Congress is to implement "Socialist programs through federal legislation" and to restructure American society "along Socialist ideals."
Do the Republicans have an alternate vision of America's future? You bet they do. It is to recognize that free markets and free men, hard work and free enterprise, are the bedrock of American success and the only way to restore prosperity.
Unable to defend the march toward Socialism, Treasury Secretary Geithner just told the Washington Post that the RNC resolution is "ridiculous."
Obama's takeover of the American auto industry is so breathtaking in scope and power that it proves all the RNC's accusations about Socialism. The takeover was followed by orders to close 789 local Chrysler dealers, notices to 1,100 General Motors franchises that they will be shut down by next year, and estimates that total dealer shut-downs will rise to 3,000.
Some of these local dealerships have been family-owned for generations. The Chrysler and GM dealership closings are estimated to eliminate 187,000 jobs, which is more than the number of people who work for the two automakers.
Now we can see the icing on the cake for the politicians who use economic dictatorship to punish those who resist Socialist planners. Nearly every one of the closed local dealerships had donated to Republican candidates, almost none was an Obama contributor, and some dealerships owned by Democrats are not getting the ax.
These closings came after Obama's extraordinary cash and stock favoritism to one of his principal campaign supporters, the United Auto Workers union. The Car Czar, Steve Rattner, was a top Democratic fundraiser (surprise, surprise!).
Obama seems to be captivated by the un-American notion of running the country through Russian-style czars empowered to issue czarist-style ukases. He has already named about 20 czars (more than the Russians had over four centuries), and his latest is a Cyber Czar.
President Obama's drive for government health care began in earnest on Saturday, June 6 in thousands of neighborhood House Meetings where his supporters listened to his sales talk via a video on the internet and participated in a live conference call. Those who attended were given their orders to reach out to neighbors, knock on doors, and build a grassroots network to force Congress to pass the legislation "the same way we won the election, building support one block, one neighbor, one conversation at a time."
Obama's promise that government health care will produce "reduced costs, guaranteed choice, and quality care for all" is as phony as a $3 bill. Based on all our experience with government programs, government-managed health care will result in much higher costs, the absence of choice, and inferior care for all.
We're already getting a taste of Obama-style government by czars (who happen to be Obama's financial contributors), and now we are learning about government by stealth. The Obama legislative procedure is to write a massive piece of legislation in secret, without hearings, press coverage, open debate or public comment, and then tell Congress it's essential to hurry up and pass it quickly because "we've got to get it done this year."
Only the broad structure of the bill is shared with Congress, while the details will be filled in after passage by the Department of Health and Human Services or by Tom Daschle, who has re-emerged (without a title) as a key player on health care. The legislative vehicle for this health care deception is planned to be the budget reconciliation bill, which requires only 51 Senate votes for passage instead of the 60 needed to authorize new programs. The Obama team is well aware it was the details that sank Hillary Health Care in 1994. So, goodbye to the transparency that candidate Obama promised.
Although Obama has referred to "my plan," there isn't yet any defined Obama plan. He apparently favors the plan drafted by Senator Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy plan promises that all Americans will have health care, employers will have to contribute to the costs, a government insurance program will subsidize premiums for people with incomes up to 500 percent of the poverty level ($110,000 for a family of four), and private insurers will have to pay out a specified percentage of their premium revenues in benefits.
Kennedy's bill doesn't give a clue as to how this extravagance would be financed. No doubt it would be the same way the Stimulus and the Omnibus are being paid for: by printing money and by tacking more debt on younger generations.
The most unpopular features of the Obama and Kennedy plans are being kept under wraps, but here are some of the bad ideas being floated. Modified community rating is a euphemism for forcing young, healthy people to pay more for their insurance in order to subsidize older, less healthy people.
The liberals plan to impose fines on employers who don't provide health care for their employees. This will incentivize employers to terminate their current health-benefits and simply pay the fine, which is sure to be less expensive.
This will force at least 100 million employees (who are happy with their current health care) into the government plan, as well as create a new bureaucracy to impose and enforce the fines. The millions of workers who now have employer-paid health insurance will be very unhappy when they realize that nationalized health care makes them the losers.
Another very controversial and unpopular method of dealing with current employer-based health insurance is to make employees pay income tax on this benefit (which is now tax-exempt). Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Finance Committee chairman, said this proposal is "on the table."
Obama promises cost savings by putting all Americans' health records on a uniform computer system so it can be accessed anywhere and avoid treatment duplication. In addition to requiring totalitarian controls to force all doctors to conform, this will terminate all medical privacy.
The final way to deal with escalating health care costs is hiding under another euphemism: "comparative effectiveness research." This means that government bureaucrats will assess all health treatments to determine whether or not they are cost-effective and can be approved for payment.
The not-so-polite word for this is rationing. Life or death decisions will be made by bureaucrats on the basis of treatment cost and patient age, rather than by medical diagnosis.
That's the way health care works in Socialist Canada and England, but it's not the American way. Free-market competition, health savings accounts, and letting individuals spend or save their own money are the best ways to cut health care costs.
Does Barack Obama really want to make Americans subject to foreign law and courts? That is the question Senators should ask when they vote on his nomination of Harold Hongju Koh, former dean of the Yale Law School, to be the top lawyer at the State Department.
Koh is encumbered by a long paper trail that proves he is eager to use foreign and international law to interpret American law. He calls himself a transnationalist, which means wanting U.S. courts to "domesticate" foreign and international law, i.e., integrate it into U.S. domestic law binding on U.S. citizens.
Koh wants to put the United States under a global legal system that would diminish our "distinctive rights culture" such as our broad speech and religion rights, due process and trial by jury. Koh complains that our First Amendment gives "protections for speech and religion . . . far greater emphasis and judicial protection in America than in Europe or Asia."
Yes, our Constitution does give individuals more rights and freedom than any other country, and we Americans like those rights and freedoms. But Koh thinks we should bow to foreign rules and court decisions, and to United Nations treaties whether or not we have ratified them.
The State Department's chief lawyer is not just any lawyer. He becomes the voice of the United States on international legal issues such as the negotiation and U.S. interpretation of treaties and UN pronouncements.
Importing treaties and foreign law into American law could impose lots of rulings that the American people don't want, such as approval of same-sex marriage, unlimited abortion, legalized prostitution, and abolition of the death penalty. This would be a broadside assault on American sovereignty.
Foreign law is fundamentally different from American law. Whereas our Constitution sets forth limited governmental powers and recognizes broad individual rights against government (such as freedom of religion and speech), European constitutions proclaim entitlements to government services such as education, health care, maternity leave, housing and environmental protection.
As Judge Robert Bork has written, international law is really not law as Americans understand the term; it is just international politics. Not passed by any legislature, international law is often written ex post facto and administered by foreign or UN bureaucrats pretending to be judges.
We certainly don't want to import law from foreign countries that recognize polygamy, arranged marriages between cousins, so-called honor killings of women who reject such arrangements, cutting off hands as punishment for theft, stoning women to death as punishment for adultery, and prohibiting the private ownership of guns.
Unfortunately, Harold Koh's views are not unique among leftwing lawyers or even among Supreme Court justices, and it's long past time for us to rise up and put an end to this un-American nonsense. The confirmation of Koh would give legal support to the Supreme Court justices who have already said they favor using foreign law.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who calls himself a "comparativist," suggested in a dissent in Knight v. Florida that it was "useful" to consider court decisions in India, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe on allowable delays of execution. Zimbabwe may have much experience with executions, but we don't need its guidance about due process.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been making speeches advising lawyers that "your perspective on constitutional law should encompass the world. . . . Our island or lone ranger mentality is beginning to change." While still on the High Court, Sandra Day O'Connor told a Georgetown University audience that international law "is vital if judges are to faithfully discharge their duties. . . . International law is a help in our search for a more peaceful world."
Even Justice Anthony Kennedy invoked foreign "authorities" when he couldn't find any language in the U.S. Constitution to justify overturning the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). His decision cited non-American sources including a committee advising the British Parliament, decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, a brief filed by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and "other nations, too." Kennedy emphasized the "values we share with a wider civilization." In fact, most other countries do not share American values, and we certainly do not want to share theirs.
During his confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John G. Roberts pointed out a particular danger of using foreign law. He said that reliance on foreign law wrongly "expands the discretion of the judge" and substitutes a judge's "personal preferences" for the U.S. Constitution.
Citing foreign law gives a veneer of respectability to liberals who espouse the "living Constitution" heresy and want to change it without obtaining the approval of the American people through the amendment or legislative processes.
The Senate should reject the nomination of Harold Koh. Then, the Senate should require all judicial nominees to proclaim their adherence to the U.S. Constitution as written, and their rejection of the use of foreign or international law to interpret American law.
The truth of the matter is that Obama will raise taxes on practically all middle-class Americans. But that's not all; in addition to new taxes on all those necessities (just think of all the appliances in your home that use electricity), he will drastically reduce our standard of living.
Obama warned during his campaign in Oregon that we can no longer keep our homes set at 72 degrees (warmed in the winter and cooled in the summer), eat whatever foods we want (if, like meat and milk products, they come from cows that have to be fed), and drive SUVs (to accommodate our family and friends). He said we cannot continue to consume 25 percent of the world's resources when we have only 4 percent of the world's population.
But why not? Americans have built a free-enterprise, private-property, rule-of-law, respect-for-contracts, innovation-receptive society that has enabled us to enjoy the highest standard of living in the world. We designed it by adoption of our unique and long-lasting U.S. Constitution, we worked for it and we paid for it, so why can't we enjoy the fruits of our labor?
This increase in our taxes and decrease in our standard of living is being sold under the slogan "cap and trade," which means giving the government the power to put a cap on the amount of carbon emissions (CO2) produced by the production of electricity, gasoline, and heating oil, and forcing businesses to buy permits for the emissions they are allowed. The process should be called "cap and tax": a cap in our standard of living, and a tax (an increase in cost) on our use of products whose manufacture emits CO2.
The Obama administration hopes that increased energy costs will force us to shift away from the use of fossil fuels to various alternatives. To nuclear plants? The left won't tolerate that. To windmills and solar panels to capture wind and sun? They now provide less than 1 percent of our energy, so the gain won't be much even if we double or triple the output. To "clean coal technology"? More likely, cap and trade would just kill the coal industry.
So, what's behind these anti-middle-class plans? The announced purpose is that the use of carbon-based fuels (oil, gas and coal) is increasing CO2, which is trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing the earth's temperature to rise to catastrophic levels. A cap-and-trade system to curb CO2 emissions is supposed to be more politically attractive than a direct carbon tax.
But it's not any cheaper. It's just a different way of levying the tax. A new report by the respected Tax Foundation found that cap and trade would impose an annual burden of $144.8 billion per year on U.S. households. Depending on how the process is structured, cap and trade could reduce household earnings by $37.8 billion, reduce U.S. employment by 965,000 jobs, and reduce economic output by $136 billion per year or roughly $1,145 per household.
Furthermore, cap and trade would be a regressive tax. The burden would be disproportionately borne by low-income households. The Tax Foundation estimates that the bottom 20% of income earners would have an annual cap-and-trade burden equal to 6.2% of their household cash income.
Fortunately, the American people are waking up to the high cost of cap and trade. For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say the priority should be economic growth "even if the environment suffers."
The Copenhagen Climate Conference, which is scheduled to convene in December, is supposed to produce a replacement for the Kyoto agreement that the U.S. Senate rejected. The globalists are already planning how to lock in the United States.
The Brookings Institution published a paper in January calling on President Obama to negotiate a "cap and trade" agreement with other countries and bypass the U.S. Constitution's requirement that treaties need a two-thirds vote in our Senate to be ratified. This was corroborated by a Council on Foreign Relations report complaining that "the separation of powers enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress a critical voice in the ratification of treaties and endorsement of global institutions, complicates U.S. assumptions of new international obligations."
Cap and tax would be a betrayal of Obama's no-new-taxes promise, plus a blatant attempt by the globalists to override our U.S. Constitution by treaty. Americans must be on guard; our freedom depends on it.
Americans should loudly demand that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, be cut off from all further handouts of taxpayers' money. After all, didn't Barack Obama promise us an ethical administration?
ACORN is one of the most successful lobbyists for taxpayers' money, which ACORN uses for very partisan special-interest activities. ACORN and its affiliated organizations (estimated at 270 related corporations and so-called non-profits) are under investigation in more than a dozen states for voter registration fraud, and there's no question about which party and which candidate ACORN supports.
Nevada charged ACORN groups with submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms in 2008, and illegally setting quotas for its canvassers and paying them bonuses for signing up more than 21 new voters a day. The Las Vegas registrar of voters believes 48% of registrations turned in by ACORN were fraudulent. Nevada's Democratic Attorney General said that ACORN's training manuals "clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts" such as requiring workers to meet voter-registration targets to keep their jobs. Pennsylvania authorities charged seven ACORN workers with falsifying voter registration forms. The voter registrar said that ACORN submitted at least 1,500 fraudulent registrations during last year's presidential campaign. Washington State fined ACORN $25,000 after several employees were convicted of voter registration fraud in 2007.
Nevertheless, ACORN and its affiliated organizations (disguised as nongovernmental "neighborhood stabilization" organizations) could receive $3 billion (with a B) from Obama's stimulus package and another $5.5 billion from his 2010 federal budget. That is after receiving $53 million of taxpayers' money over the last 15 years.