Tag Archives: federal spending

Overturning Wickard Key to Ending Obamacare, All Other Unconstitutional Uses of the Comm

By Daniel Downs

The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare. In many ways, the Court will decide the future of American liberty. The Justices will determine whether federal bureaucrats can dictate the purchase of consumer services and goods. The Court will also determine whether Congress and the President can continue increasing government programs and ever-increasing debt burden on American workers, business, investors, and families. In a recent program, Glen Beck compared the number of new agencies created by FDR’s New Deal to the astronomical increase of federal agencies created under Obamacare (see Beck’s video). Liberty Legal Foundation is challenging this issue and related tax code and debt escalation that will incur to the American people. More importantly, the Foundation will attempt to convince the Supreme Court to overturn the source of the problem. That problem is Wickard v Filburn that essentially handed Congress unfettered powers to enlarge federal authority over all aspects of our individual and corporate lives under the Commerce Clause as well as to ever increase the national debt.

As you can see in the chart below, the Wickard ruling opened the floodgates to federal regulations, new federal agencies, astronomical increases of new federal tax codes, federal spending, and federal debt.

The options to force Congress to limit its continued bureaucratic growth are few. One is get Congress to pass law regulating its own creation of debt producing regulations. However, the long debated balance budget legislation and tax reform along the lines of the Fair Tax or flat tax proposal have consistently been voted down. Even if Congress forced itself to balance the budget, its unaccountable growth of power and spending would merely be slowed. Congress still would not have to seek the approval of the citizens its members supposedly represent, which leads to the unlikely passage of an amendment to the Constitution to make Congress seek voter approval for debt increasing legislation. The best solution to reigning in Congress’s seemingly uncontrollable efforts to regulate our daily lives and spending too much of our money is to change how the Congress, the Executive branch and the Court has interpreted the Commerce Clause.

Let’s hope and pray that the argument to be presented by Liberty Legal Foundation lawyers convince the Supreme Court to overturn Wickard.

To learn more about Liberty Legal Foundation’s suit against Obamacare, go to http://libertylegalfoundation.org.

Putting a Harness on Washington’s Reckless Spending

By Congressman Steve Austria

Many of you have contacted my office to express your concerns for our nation’s economic future and the reckless spending that’s occurring in Washington. Our nation is facing a debt crisis that threatens our economy, national security and the future of our children. Families in Ohio and across this nation are tightening their own belts and living within their means, and it is time for the federal government to do the same with American’s hard-earned tax dollars.

This year, I co-sponsored and strongly supported two bills that provided a solution for real change to our nation’s spending practices. The Cut, Cap and Balance Act (H.R. 2560) and the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution (H. J. Res. 2) called for cuts in our current federal spending levels and caps for the future spending by Congress. The Balanced Budget Amendment required Congress not to spend more than it receives in revenues while also providing a limited exception in times of war and serious military conflicts.

Yesterday, the House passed the Middle Class Tax and Job Creation Act, which I supported. This bill will help to ease the burden on hardworking families by extending reduced tax rates and creating job incentives without raiding the Social Security Trust Fund, while cutting discretionary spending by over $80 billion in the next ten years.

It is no mystery that Washington must get its fiscal house in order. Spending cuts are essential to helping put our country back on a fiscally-sustainable path that will create jobs in the private sector and strengthen the economy for our children and grandchildren.

Pleased be assured that I am listening to you and share your concerns of an over-reaching government and the increasing surge in federal spending we’ve seen this Congress. I remain committed to principles of smaller, more accountable government; economic freedom; lower taxes; fiscal responsibility; and providing for strong national security.

111th Congress Wrap-Up

By Rep. Steve Austria

As we embark on a new year, it is important to reflect on the many challenges our nation has faced and the lessons we can apply from the past year. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives concluded its legislative business for the year with the passage of a two year extension of the Bush tax cuts and a continuing appropriations resolution to keep the government funded through March.

I continue to have serious concerns about the outrageous amount of government spending and look forward to the new Congress and the opportunity to begin addressing our fiscal and economic challenges. Below is a brief summary of the major legislative and policy issues that came before the 111th Congress.

Spending and Debt

Last year, our nation witnessed the passage of several pieces of sweeping and costly legislation that I opposed, including the $791 stimulus, the second half of the $700 “bailout” bill, and a $400 billion omnibus bill that included over 10,000 earmark projects. The runaway spending we witnessed last year, and that has continued this year with the passage of the $1 trillion government health care reform bill, is simply unsustainable. The national debt is now approaching $14 trillion with each American’s share currently surpassing $44,000. Yet Congress adjourned the 111th legislative session with the passage of yet another nearly $1 trillion appropriations measure to keep the government operating through March of next year.

Jobs and the Economy

Despite exorbitant government spending, we continue to experience unacceptably high levels of unemployment. Just this past month, unemployment rose to 9.8 percent.

Unfortunately, the past two years there were few legislative accomplishments to improve the lagging economy and high unemployment. Instead, we witnessed the opposite – with the passage of the so-called stimulus bill, unemployment rose from 8 percent to nearly 10 percent. One of the more pervasive shortcomings was Congress’s failure to enact a budget resolution or appropriations measure this year. Legislation was once again focused on short-sighted policies, including only temporary extensions of the Bush tax cuts and Medicare reimbursement for physicians.

In the absence of any meaningful, long-term action on these issues, we continue to perpetuate a climate of uncertainty with negative implications for all Americans from small businesses to farmers to families.

The Local Economy

While the nation’s economy continues to struggle, there has been substantial progress in helping our local area get back on track with the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commission and the creation of new missions at the Springfield Air National Guard Base.

The new missions will help support both the current National Air and Space Intelligence Center mission at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in addition to the Springfield Air National Guard Base.

The Blue Ribbon commission made substantive progress with its release of recommendations on how the community can enhance regional economic opportunities through partnerships with the business community, academia and government in the Dayton area. You can learn more about the commission by visiting my web site.

Health Care

After a year-long debate and a series of backroom deals, in March Democrats were able to garner the support they needed to pass the nearly $1 trillion health care bill into law. While I agree that we must find a way to lower health care costs and improve access to physicians, this new law equates to a massive government intrusion into our health care system. Many in Congress have called for the repeal of the portions of the bill that will limit health care options and increase pressure on financially strapped states.

What Lies Ahead

The conclusion of the 111th Congress, brings with it a new opportunity to curb the unprecedented spending that is endangering the future economic growth and prosperity of our nation. In 2011, we must be focused on less Washington spending, reducing our nation’s debt and most importantly, creating economic growth with new jobs.

As a newly appointed member of the House Appropriations Committee, I understand the difficult spending decisions that will need to be made as we seek to address these important issues. I look forward to addressing the challenges that lie ahead in the New Year.

Why the Stimulus has Failed Ohio

By Mary McCleary

It is a generally accepted fact that the stimulus did not work and the supposed “Summer of Recovery” was anything but that. Since the original stimulus package was passed under President George W. Bush, national unemployment has doubled from 4.8 percent to 9.6 percent while Ohio unemployment has risen from 5.6 percent to 10.1 percent. When Congress passed the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, President Barack Obama promised unemployment would stay below eight percent, yet unemployment continued to rise.

Both the original stimulus and the ARRA have miserably failed, and the big question is why. Why isn’t all this spending leading to a revitalized economy?

Stimulus spending does nothing to create wealth. It is merely a redistribution of already existing wealth. Sound confusing? Frederic Bastiat, a nineteenth century political economist, illustrates this concept well through his Broken Window Fallacy.

In Bastiat’s example, a child carelessly breaks a store window. The shopkeeper, in turn, must spend money to replace the broken window. Therefore, the shopkeeper stimulates the economy through purchasing a new window, right? Not so fast.

While the window company benefits from the broken window, other people and industries are hurt by the destruction of capital. Due to the broken window, the shopkeeper has less disposable income to spend on other goods and services. He has to purchase a new window instead of spending his money on new business equipment or whatever he chooses. Thus, the shopkeeper is poorer than he previously was, and other industries do not benefit from the shopkeeper’s dollars. No real wealth is created.

How does this tie into all the stimulus spending? Pretend you are the shopkeeper and the government is the child that forces you to spend money. To “stimulate” the economy, the government forces you to give $500 to subsidize a window company. You lose $500 of disposable income, as do the establishments where you would have spent that money. No wealth is created – it is merely redistributed.

When the government stimulates the economy, it doesn’t create wealth. Instead, it merely picks the winners and the losers.

Since March 2000, Ohio has lost 588,600 private sector jobs (second only to Michigan). Of these job losses, 137,000 occurred after ARRA went into effect (Ohio has lost 386,800 jobs since Governor Ted Strickland took over). If “stimulus” spending isn’t helping Ohio reach better days, what will?

* Broad-base tax reform. Ohio has the seventh highest state and local tax burden. High taxes hurt economic growth and give companies an incentive to locate to lower tax states.

* Regulatory reform. Regulations increase the cost of doing business. Just recently, Continental Plastics moved to Indiana to avoid an Ohio regulation costing Toledo over 200 jobs. According to the Toledo Blade, since 2000, about 140 factories have closed in northwest Ohio with a majority relocating to the southern United States. In fact, 20 companies over the last ten years have left Ohio for just Atlanta, Georgia.

* Right-to-work reform. Ohio does not protect a worker’s freedom to choose whether or not to join a union to obtain employment. Over the last 20 years, right-to-work states have added and sustained jobs twice as fast as forced unionization states like Ohio – even after large housing-related job losses in Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. The 15 worst states for job growth since January 1990 are all forced unionization states, while 11 of the 15 top states are right-to-work states.

* Budget reform. Ohio currently faces an estimated $8.4 billion budget deficit. In a state already struggling, raising taxes is not a viable option for recovery. The budget must be realigned to fit the economic conditions of the time. To minimize the effect on our vulnerable populations, the compensation of government workers cannot be taken off the table. If state government worker compensation is realigned to match the private sector, the state could save over $2 billion dollars in the next budget.

As Bastiat and the stimulus have proven, redistributive spending is no way to dig out of an economic hole. While Ohioans have relatively little sway over federal government spending, Ohioans do have an important say in how this state is run. It is time for our leaders to make the tough choices and for the people to hold them accountable when they don’t.

Mary McCleary is a policy analyst at the Buckeye Institute.

Obama’s State of the Union Address: Economic Plans Only Problem Causers Believe In

Last Tuesday, Obama presented his “let’s get the party agenda done” speech. Like his campaign rhetoric, it was long on feel good sales hype and short real substance.

While blaming all of the nation’s economic woes on Wall Street, he proclaimed our economic salvation is to be found in spending more money. The core of his spending plan was focused on three areas: The first is developing clean energy because it will save us from the impending catastrophe of climate change. The second is spending more money on health care because it will supposedly save us all money. The third is spending more money on education so that the next generation will be able to afford more loans in the global economy. Before Obama can increase spending on those three areas, money must be spent on getting banks to lend more money because credit (meaning more debt) is the lifeblood of the American [corporate] economy.

Ramussen recently published the results of its national survey of American opinions about government spending and the economy. The results make it clear that Obama and congressional Democrats are out of touch with the nation, which is to say Obama only hears the cheering choir of the elite liberal and socialist Left.

About 53 percent of Americans told Ramussen reduced government spending would help the economy. Sixty-one percent (61%) said cutting taxes is a better way of helping the economy than increased spending. One of Obama’s save the nation initiatives, heath care reform, is opposed by 61 percent of the nation. Americans want it dropped. Apparently, American fail to believe the presidential sales hype that health care reform will save money or do much to create good paying jobs.

Will Obama’s federal spending freeze help the economy? If temporarily halting the rate of spending 17 percent after increasing it by 20 percent in a single year, then yes it will help. Financial advisors like John Mauldin also say such a gesture is laughable. It’s laughable because the freeze covers only a small part of the federal budget and consequently maintains the 20 percent increase in discretionary, social security, military, stimulus, health care spending, according to the Independent Institute.

Obama’s statement that he is not for big government is as laughable as the spending freeze, but his placing the sole blame for the economic crisis on Wall Street and banks is not.

Remember, the economic crisis began with the collapse of the housing market. The mortgage industry bubble burst because Washington lawmakers made it possible for cheap loans to unqualified buyers continued unabated. Big banks held very large portfolios in those types of loans. We should not forget that the SEC is the federal regulator of Wall Street as Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve is of the banking system. The Bush administration appealed to the various oversight committee of Congress to correct the mortgage problems evident at Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the Democrats refused, and it gets even better. The legal counsel of ACORN who was the main player in forcing banks to lend to the unqualified home buyers was none other than Barak Obama, whose Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is a federal reserve insider, a previous Fannie Mae executive, and a reputed bailout king of Wall Street. It is Obama who selected Geithner and fought for Bernanke’s return the Fed to continue wrecking our national economy. As the old saying goes, point one finger and three are pointing back at you, Mr. Obama.

In a May 2009 article, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland points out the practices of the Federal Reserve that produced the housing bubble and financial industry meltdown. To soothe Wall Street jitters after 9/11, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal fund rate, printed huge sums of new money, flooded the credit market making easy loans the norm, which led to overly inflated housing values, inflated costs of consumer goods, and decreased spending.

Those are a few likely reasons why 72 percent of Americans surveyed by Ramussen expect Obama and congressional Democrats to increase spending and the national debt. In other words, most Americans realize elected and unelected bureaucrats are expected to continue the same policies of spending our way out of debt. Those who have suffered bankruptcy know it will not work.

Okay, but, what about energy and education? Surely, spending more on developing new forms of energy and related technologies as well as improving education will surely create more jobs. According to the Ramussen survey, about 60 percent of Americans believe government spending less will result in the creation of more jobs.

The issue is who should pay for the development and marketing of new energy and related technologies? Loaning taxpayer money to businesses developing new types of energy or new related technologies would benefit society. However, investors and banks exist for that purpose–not government. Increasing taxes or taxpayer debt to spur profitable businesses is a misuse of taxpayer money. Let the private sector invest in and profit from new forms of energy and related technologies. That is how capitalism works. Government’s job is to ensure it benefits all citizens, consumers, groups, industries, businesses, and employees.

Obama’s rhetoric about spending more taxpayer dollars to make all of America’s children globally competitive is the same old sales baloney regurgitated since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The poor still are dropping out of school in alarming numbers, students still to not do as well as others in the world, the gaps between poor and non-poor student still (and is not actually expected to cease to) exist, and more money is being spent to solve the problem they do not solve. Why spend more on failed policy and practice? In her book Dependent on DC, Economic professor and lawyer Charolette Twight explains how ESEA spending was never meant to solve the problems of education. The purpose of ESEA (now, NCLB) is to expand federal power over state and local education. Federal spending on education means more dependency of local school for funding on unaccountable elites in Washington D.C.