From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:
"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:
Dear fellow Patriot,
Nearly 1 million American rifles.
Banned by a stroke of ’s pen.
In a move unprecedented in American history, the Obama Administration quietly banned the re-importation of nearly one million American made M1 Garand and rifles.
The M1 Garand, developed in the late 1930’s, carried the United States through seeing action in every major battle.
General Patton at the time called the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
The rifle is largely credited with giving American soldiers the advantage and securing victory for the allies.
During the Korean War, nearly one million of these rifles were brought to South Korea and left with the South Korean government afterward.
Now, South Korea wants to give American gun collectors the chance to get their hands on this unique piece of history.
A piece of American history that Barack Obama would like to see go down the memory hole.
That’s why I want as many Americans as possible to put themselves on record opposing this gun ban by signing the Official Firearms Freedom Survey the National Association for Gun Rights has prepared for you.
Will you please join me?
After World War II, the United States government sent millions of these rifles overseas to our allies and friends.
Over the past 50 years, many of the countries we lent them to returned them to America to be bought and sold by firearms collectors.
This is nothing new.
Make no mistake; these rifles were made in America, by Americans, for Americans, to defend freedom on foreign shores.
As a part of our history, they are greatly sought after by American shooters and collectors.
But according to ’s State Department there is a danger they might “fall into the wrong hands.”
That they might, possibly, one day be used in a crime.
No mention of the hundreds of thousands of gun owners deprived of the opportunity to own an integral part of American history.
The State Department’s outrageous claims are nothing more than a thinly veiled ploy to distract from the real issue:
President Obama’s deep seated hatred for gun rights.
While his gun-grabbing base is giddy with praise at this back-door gun ban, law-abiding citizens across the United States are crying foul.
Let me be clear: at no time in U.S. history has the ownership of this firearm -- or any part of this firearm -- been illegal, restricted or banned.
Americans have collected World War II M1 Garand and Carbine rifles for decades.
Now they are sold through the .
You can even purchase a newly manufactured model from Springfield Armory that was made just a month or two ago.
And the M1 Garand’s caliber or capacity is no more dangerous than the millions of modern firearms owned by Americans across the country today.
As you can see, there is absolutely no justification for this unconstitutional gun ban.
This is just the latest in a series of anti-gun schemes from the Obama Administration:
*** New BATFE regulations on , requiring firearms dealers to act as an informant to anti-gun federal bureacrats if someone buys more than one rifle;
*** The Disarming American Citizens Act (H.R. 2159 in the last Congress) letting Attorney General revoke the of ANY American he chooses based on pure suspicion;
*** Notorious anti-gunners appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court and other senior administration positions;That’s why it is essential that Americans like you and I take a stand against the M1 Garand gun ban!
It has been common practice since the end of World War II to re-import these American made rifles from the foreign allies they were lent to during the war.
But the Obama Administration departs radically from the American tradition.
In fact, on top of banning American citizens from owning these historic firearms, Obama’s State Department is arranging for the destruction of nearly one million of them -- ironically, at a time of ballooning federal deficits.
It’s an outrage!
These firearms -- truly pieces of American history -- rightly belong in the hands of U.S. citizens.
That’s why I was glad to hear that the National Association for Gun Rights is helping fight this power grab in the U.S. Senate.
Do you believe the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment are the supreme law of the land?
Do you believe that President Obama banning the re-importation of these historic firearms is an unprecedented and unconstitutional power grab?
Do you support Congress forcing President Obama to reverse his ban and save these American made rifles from destruction?
If you said “Yes” to these questions, please sign the Firearms Freedom Survey the National Association for Gun Rights has prepared for you.
Your survey will put you squarely on the record AGAINST Barack Obama’s Rifle Ban.
And along with your signed survey, I hope you’ll send a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35 to help finance this battle.
With your generous contribution, the National Association for Gun Rights will continue contacting Second Amendment supporters to turn up the heat on targeted U.S. Senators.
Not only that, but they’re preparing a massive program to launch the designed to force President Obama to reverse this ban.
Direct mail. Phones. E-mail. Blogs. Guest editorials. Press conferences. Hard-hitting internet, newspaper, radio and even TV ads if funding permits. The whole nine yards.
Of course, a program of this scale is only possible if the National Association for Gun Rights can raise the money.
But that’s not easy.
So please put yourself on record AGAINST Barack Obama’s Rifle Ban by signing NAGR’s Firearms Freedom Survey.
But along with your survey, please agree to make a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35.
And every dollar counts in this fight so even if you can only chip in $10 or $20, your help will still make a difference.
Thank you in advance for your time and money devoted to defending our Second Amendment rights.
United States Senator
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 4:09 PM
Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.
"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," Jessica said. She was concerned how the teacher might react to the eggs after of a meeting earlier in the week where she learned about "their abstract behavior rules."
"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs."
Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to "roll with it." But the third graders had other ideas.
"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.
The Seattle elementary school isn't the only government organization using spring over Easter. The city's parks department has removed Easter from all of its advertised egg hunts.
How long will it be before liberal presidents bow to PC and rename the White House Easter Egg Roll?
[Hat tip: Cam Edwards on Facebook]
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 2:46 PM
The forces of darkness continue their war against Catholics, freedom, and those who actually work for a living. Let us pray the Repansycans grow a spine.
From the Pottstown Mercury:
Amended school choice voucher bill moves forward, but vote delayed
HARRISBURG — A proposal to create a school voucher program for Pennsylvania cleared a major hurdle Monday, but a scheduled Tuesday vote on the bill was delayed until at least April 26 so that the bill could be revised, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the school choice bill Monday afternoon with a vote 15-11.
The committee had amended the measure to address concerns from both sides of the political spectrum about the cost, accountability and eligibility of the voucher program created in S.B. 1.
The major change made by the Appropriations Committee on Monday was expansion of eligibility to allow the parents of middle-class students to take advantage of the proposed voucher program.
Under the new changes to the bill, the state will establish a middle-class scholarship program in the fourth year after S.B. 1 becomes law.
During the first three years of the program, eligibility will be capped at 130 percent of the federal poverty level — equal to $28,665 for a family of four this year. Only students attending the state’s 144 “persistently lowest-achieving schools” would be eligible for the voucher program during the first two years.
With the addition of the middle class scholarship program, eligibility will increase to 300 percent of the federal poverty level — equal to $66,150 for a family of four this year.
The committee also voted to require public schools that choose to participate in the school choice program to accept transfer students by a lottery system, rather than on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Private schools will not be subject to the lottery provision and will be allowed to accept transfer students based on their current enrollment criteria.
“There is nothing in this bill that forces any school, public or private, to participate,” said state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
Without the lottery system, some Democrats argued, the bill would allow schools to “cherry pick” the best students and deny others the opportunity for choice.
“This conversation has always been about parents having a choice, but now there is this emphasis on the school’s having the choice,” said state Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia. “A lottery system seems to be the fairest way to do this.”
Among the other changes made by the committee Monday was placing a $250 million cap on the third year of the voucher program, when the eligibility expands from only poor children in failing schools to all low-income children in the state.
The $250 million cap on the vouchers will apply only to poor students who are already attending private schools and wish to take advantage of the vouchers, and there will be no cap on poor students leaving public schools for other public or non-public schools.
In the fourth year, available funds above and beyond the $250 million cap will be used to fund the middle class scholarship program, said Piccola.
The expanded eligibility for the fourth year and beyond aims to address concerns among some on the right about which students can benefit from the legislation. While the majority of grassroots groups on the right support the legislation, some have been critical of S.B. 1 for being restricted to lower income families.
The amendment also requires participating non-public schools to administer annual tests to voucher students so the state can track the performance of those students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. All public school students are subject to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests in those grades.
The amendment does not require non-public schools to use the PSSA tests, but the schools must administer it or another standardized achievement test and must report aggregate scores to the state and to parents.
Piccola said the law did not include the PSSA tests specifically because that would require regulating the curriculum of the non-public schools.
The bill was voted out of committee mostly along party lines, with Republican state Sens. Lisa Baker, of Luzerne, Stewart Greenleaf, of Montgomery, and Patricia Vance, of Cumberland, voting against the bill.
Farnese and fellow Democratic state Sen. Lisa Boscola, Northampton, supported it.
Earlier Friday, a coalition of more than 20 interest groups unified their opposition to the voucher program. Led by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, the group presented the results of a poll showing 61 percent of Pennsylvanians oppose the voucher idea.
They claimed the voucher bill would cost state taxpayers up to $1 billion and would drain poor and struggling public schools of students and tax dollars while forcing property tax increases to make up the difference.
Piccola said the bill would not cost taxpayers additional funds, since the money used for the voucher program would come from the state’s basic education subsidy, which already exists. Instead of spending more funds, the bill would redirect funds that already are appropriated on an annual basis.
In the proposal passed to the Senate, the state’s portion of the per-student funding for school districts would follow the student to the new school. All local tax revenues still would go to the local school district.
State Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19th Dist., supported the bill when it was first voted out of the education committee, mostly, he said, because he was promised concerns he has about it would get a hearing.
Early last month, Dinniman said he supports the purpose of the bill for the first two years of its three-year phase-in period
“I have no problem with the first two years. Those schools are at the bottom of the pile and no one really knows what to do about them,” Dinniman said at the time. “We’ve given them more state money and still, no change, so vouchers make some sense there because we’ve had decades of poor performance and it is immoral and unethical to allow it to continue.”
However, in the third year after the bill is enacted, it would apply statewide for students whose households are at 130 percent of the poverty line and that is not something Dinniman said he can support without some caveats.
“I’ve seen estimates that say this is going to pull $84 million to $1 billion out of public school budgets and no one can tell me where that money is going to come from if the state does not provide alternative funding,” said Dinniman.
Attempts to reach Dinniman Tuesday to find out if he still supports the bill as it stands now were unsuccessful.
He had supported one funding method proposed, the expansion of a tax credit which would allow businesses to donate to schools — public and private — in exchange for a tax break.
State Rep. Tom Quigley, R-146th Dist., said a bill in the House Education Committee would expand that tax break and is likely to be incorporated into the final version.
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, was among those protesting the bill during the press conference.
He called the bill an “open ended entitlement” in the third year and beyond, when it opens up to more than the poorest students in the state.
“This bill not only does an injustice to our students and schools by leaving the unluckiest of the lot out to dry, but it also hurts Pennsylvania’s school system by exacerbating the pain dealt by Corbett’s proposed budgetary cuts,” Leach said. “Incorporating vouchers into the mix would only deepen the financial wounds for many schools across the state.”
State Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango, said the bill was not perfect but created a better opportunity for students across the state.
“I am an opponent of failing public schools, not of public education,” White said. “I cannot sit back and watch us fail these kids again.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review offers an opinion on the corruption inherent in the Government Indoctrination System:
Shafting taxpayers: Stop this perversion
Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts funneled more than $59 million of taxpayer money in 2009-10 to groups whose lobbying against taxpayer interests and those of underserved children belies their innocuous names.
That's the finding of a preliminary analysis by the Commonwealth Foundation of data obtained via open-records requests from 380 districts (120 have yet to respond). The figure includes dues and other payments to teachers unions and state associations for gifted children, curriculum development, principals, administrators, business officials, middle schools, boards and counselors.
That $59 million-plus could have boosted education but didn't. Instead, it went to groups whose common interest is maintaining the union-friendly, tax-and-spend status quo.
Most lobby for ever more state education funding. And most are in a coalition that just protested in Harrisburg against state Senate Bill 1's proposed vouchers for low-income students, according to the foundation's Nate Benefield. He says those members fight for unionized employees, not students.
That school districts enable such groups with tax dollars is one more thing about Pennsylvania's educratic status quo that cannot stand.
Philly Professor Accused of Hiring Campus Strippers
A Philadelphia professor is the subject of an investigation following allegations he hired strippers to take part in a symposium where he and students received lap dances, MyFoxPhilly.com reports.
Three strippers allegedly performed lap dances during a business symposium at LaSalle University's Plymouth Meeting satellite campus in March. Attendees reportedly had to pay $150 for the business class conducted by Jack Rappaport, an assistant professor of management.
The university confirmed in a statement Monday that it is investigating the incident, the station reports.
"La Salle University is very concerned about reports regarding an incident that occurred on March 21. Upon learning of the incident, the university immediately launched a full-scale investigation into what took place and who was responsible," the school said. "Until the investigation has been completed, it would be unfair to those involved to disclose any further information, let alone suspicions or allegations. While the university is proceeding as quickly as possible, we recognize the importance of guarding against a rush to judgment in this situation."
The university has not confirmed reports that Rappaport also serves on a university committee on academic integrity.
Barry The Blackish Bedbug steps to the vomitodium and attempts to whip all free men with his tiny genitalia.
Behold the third-best Joseph Goebbels impression ever. [Let us pray his daughters escape the bunker of Barry and his hideous harpie/wife before January 20, 2017. I doubt this pervert will go quietly - the Constitution be damned.]
Obama's full remarks on fiscal policy
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
WASHINGTON — THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please have a seat. Please have a seat, everyone.
It is wonderful to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and Republicans to keep the government open was so that I could show up here today. I wanted to make sure that all of you had one more excuse to skip class. You’re welcome.
I want to give a special thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of GW. I just saw him -- where is he? There he is right there.
We've got a lot of distinguished guests here -- a couple of people I want to acknowledge. First of all, my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, is here. Our Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, is in the house. Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Mangement and Budget. Gene Sperling, Chair of the National Economic Council, is here. Members of our bipartisan Fiscal Commission are here, including the two outstanding chairs -- Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson -- are here.
And we have a number of members of Congress here today. I'm grateful for all of you taking the time to attend.
What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want. It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.
From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.
But there’s always been another thread running through our history -– a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.
And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We’ve supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire new industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we’re a more prosperous country as a result.
Part of this American belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves. And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.
Now, for much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well -– we rightly celebrate their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more. Moreover, this belief hasn’t hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and better with each passing year.
Now, at certain times -– particularly during war or recession -– our nation has had to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand, a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt if it’s temporary.
But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.
To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit -- three times. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush, then made by President Clinton, by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. But they largely protected the middle class; they largely protected our commitment to seniors; they protected our key investments in our future.
As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.
But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.
But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.
In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.
So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created. That’s how we got here. And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and helps us win the future.
Now, before I get into how we can achieve this goal, some of you, particularly the younger people here -- you don't qualify, Joe. Some of you might be wondering, “Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?”
Well, here’s why. Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China. That means more of your tax dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest on all the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That's the interest -- just the interest payments.
Then, as the Baby Boomers start to retire in greater numbers and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse. By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority -– education, transportation, even our national security -– will have to be paid for with borrowed money.
Now, ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads -– all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money -– making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage.
Here’s the good news: That doesn’t have to be our future. That doesn’t have to be the country that we leave our children. We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats and Republicans to meet this challenge before; we can do it again.
But that starts by being honest about what’s causing our deficit. You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys. Most of us, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we should have a strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare. And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes.
So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse. You’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse.” The implication is that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. Or politicians suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up about 1 percent of our entire federal budget.
So here’s the truth. Around two-thirds of our budget -- two-thirds -- is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security. Two-thirds. Programs like unemployment
insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and tax credits for working families take up another 20 percent. What’s left, after interest on the debt, is just 12 percent for everything else. That’s 12 percent for all of our national priorities -- education, clean energy, medical research, transportation, our national parks, food safety, keeping our air and water clean -- you name it -- all of that accounts for 12 percent of our budget.
Now, up till now, the debate here in Washington, the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington, have focused exclusively on that 12 percent. But cuts to that 12 percent alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.
A serious plan doesn’t require us to balance our budget overnight –- in fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again, we need a phased-in approach –- but it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.
Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.
These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.
A 70 percent cut in clean energy. A 25 percent cut in education. A 30 percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.
I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.
Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how they put more money into education. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the American people, the United States of America -– the greatest nation on Earth -– can’t afford any of this.
It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck -– you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.
It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.
And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that.
In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That’s who needs to pay less taxes?
They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.
This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don't think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That's not a vision of the America I know.
The America I know is generous and compassionate. It’s a land of opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other; for the country we want and the future that we share. We’re a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives. That’s who we are. This is the America that I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.
To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.
So today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table -- but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.
The first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week. That step alone will save us about $750 billion over 12 years. We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs that I care deeply about, but I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we need to do to compete, and we will win the future.
The second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget. Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and I will never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s interests around the world. But as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt. So just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. And we can do that while still keeping ourselves safe.
Over the last two years, Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world. I intend to work with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.
The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Now, here, the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer. Their plan essentially lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.
Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.
We will change the way we pay for health care -– not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.
Now, we believe the reforms we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that. But if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, then this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.
But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that’s growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees, or the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done.
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.
Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize. So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans -- a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.
But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple -- so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.
I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the fiscal commission’s model of reducing tax expenditures so that there’s enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.
So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures -- spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors, and protecting our investments in the future.
Now, in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I’ve pledged here. But just to hold Washington -- and to hold me --- accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy -– if we haven’t hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act -– then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.
So this is our vision for America -– this is my vision for America -- a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children.
There will be those who vigorously disagree with my approach. I can guarantee that as well. (Laughter.) Some will argue we should not even consider ever -- ever -- raising taxes, even if only on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article of faith to them. I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids from Head Start. Or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without and that some of you would not be here without.
And here’s the thing: I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them. It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.
Others will say that we shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. These are mostly folks in my party. I’m sympathetic to this view -- which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit, so that we can keep making the investments that create jobs. But doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order.
Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, out of fear that any talk of change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of steps that the House Republicans have proposed. And I understand those fears. But I guarantee that if we don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer and will face higher health care costs than those who came before.
Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works -– by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.
Of course, there are those who simply say there’s no way we can come together at all and agree on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of this city are just too broken; the choices are just too hard; the parties are just too far apart. And after a few years on this job, I have some sympathy for this view. (Laughter.)
But I also know that we’ve come together before and met big challenges. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously, disagreed on just about everything, but they still found a way to balance the budget. And in the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts.
And I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction. And even those Republicans I disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions, but I truly believe they want to do the right thing.
So I believe we can, and must, come together again. This morning, I met with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the approach that I laid out today. And in early May, the Vice President will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of June.
I don’t expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach I laid out today. This a democracy; that’s not how things work. I’m eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum. And though I’m sure the criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all make an effort to bridge our differences and find common ground.
This larger debate that we’re having -- this larger debate about the size and the role of government -- it has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.
But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.
This sense of responsibility -- to each other and to our country -- this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.
The other day I received a letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried about our economy and the state of our politics -- here’s what he said -- he said, “I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the ‘American Dream’ is still alive…We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain… We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.”
“I still believe.” I still believe as well. And I know that if we can come together and uphold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep the dream of our founding alive -- in our time; and we will pass it on to our children. We will pass on to our children a country that we believe in.
Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.Thanks to the Anderson [SC] Independent-Mail for the link.
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 1:24 PM
The next time you Repansycan cowards wonder why real conservatives refuse to vote for your candidates, consider the fact that your "men" sold the lives helpless babies to the cannibalistic ghouls of the Party of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion for a paltry $352 million and then lied to the American people by claiming to have saved them tens of billions.
May God have mercy on their black, bloody souls.
From Washington's other newspaper:
Budget deal: CBO analysis shows initial spending cuts less than expected
Posted by TheChurchMilitant at 1:09 PM
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