Friday, September 30, 2011

Rush on baseline budgeting -- the biggest scam in DC

What we need is reverse baseline budgeting: The budget baseline for all government programs and agencies must decline by at least 10% per year until they are completely phased out -- unless those programs and agencies are specifically and clearly authorized by the US Constitution.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You say you want a revolution

I am amazed at the portion of people -- of all political persuasions -- who are disgusted by government. Yet, they keep sending the same riff raff back to congress, the state legislature, or city hall. After all, the guy who represents me is okay; it's all the others who are bums.

I am amazed at the number of gun owners who say, "they'll have to pry my gun from my cold dead hands" and who are prepared to bury their guns in the event of increased gun control including registration and confiscation. (At that point, haven't they effectively lost their guns anyway?)

I am amazed at the portion of people who say they are willing to join a civil war to throw off a tyrannical government. They are only waiting for the signal.

Then there are those who are resigned to fate or prophecy and believe there is no point in even talking about resistance to the inevitable. They fail to understand that God wants us to make good decisions -- not to bring to pass terrible predictions.

None of these people understand that the Constitution gives us the power of revolution. Every two years, we can replace the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. Every four years, we can throw out the President and his entire administration. In six years, we can have an entirely new government! If that's not revolution, what is? We can foment the same revolution at the state and local levels. We don't.

We need voters who are willing to put aside selfish interests to vote for self-reliance and liberty. We desperately need voters who know at least as much about issues and candidates as they do about Amazing Race American Idol, Survivor, and Dancing with the Stars.

Anyone who isn't part of the revolution is part of the problem.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The high cost of "renewable" energy

Robert J. Michaels, PhD is a professor of economics at California State University, Fullerton, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He is also a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.

On 22 Sep 2011, Dr. Michaels testified to Congress regarding the cost of so-called "renewable" energy. The statistics he quotes are astounding.

For example, here is the cost to the taxpayer of federal subsidies for various sources of energy:

Note that the solar bar is not to scale. Imagine how high is would be, compared to the others energy sources, if it were drawn to scale!

Isn't it interesting that when Obamao and other "green" advocates tout green technologies, they never talk about the true cost?

Why doesn't the news media ask hard and meaningful questions about cost and subsidies when they publish "news" articles about alternative energy? Is it ignorance, laziness, collusion, or all three?

What kind of voter, when he at last has some facts, would vote for politicians that advocate such nonsense?

It's incomprehensible that liberals in government love to champion green energy projects as the future of energy production even though, to an educated mind, most are only viable with billions in government subsidies.

There is a reason that private investors have not flocked to alternative energy: The technology has not reached a point where it makes economic sense. Almost nobody is willing to spend his own money on alternative energy without substantial money extracted by government force from the pockets of his neighbors!

Congress must immediately stop subsidizing anything especially "green" anything. In general, products and services are best regulated by a free market. When bureaucrats, politicians, and other central planners try to push technologies into the market, they invariably do so inefficiently and at a much higher cost than necessary.
It's both logically and historically fallacious to conclude that, because something is desirable, government should subsidize it. -- Don Boudreaux
People who favor these "green" scams don't seem to care about science, don't seem to understand economics, won't do the math, and enjoy having the government force other people to pay their bills for them. Few politicians have the sense to take the time to study the issue before committing taxpayer money to these money-pits. It is time for politicians, journalists, environmentalists, and voters to learn something about science and economics and muster the courage to say no!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Black hole

Redistricting time

Here in Cedar City, we have no voice in who represents us in Congress. We are always outvoted by voters in Salt Lake. So, we in southwest Utah have a congressman who votes with Pelosi 93% of the time. I can't see how such a congressman represents Utah, let alone southwest Utah. But, the big-city voters of Salt Lake do that to us.

I don't know that a rural vs urban argument in districting is valid. There is something else going on.

Most of us who live outside Utah's big cities still live in cities, albeit smaller ones. The same can be said of all states. I don't live on a farm. Nobody in my family lives on a farm. Other than needing farm products to live (food, clothing), I am no more or less affected by "rural" issues than is a denizen of Salt Lake. We who don't live in big cities share the same issues such as roads, crime, schools, recreation, high taxes, over-regulation, commerce, immigration, taxes, national defense, civil rights, clean water and air, etc.

Everyone has their differing ideas on how each of those various issues should be solved and who should do it. Differences in "how" and "who" are shown by the colors red and blue on election maps. Since nearly all of us live in cities, there must something other than living in cities per se going on that causes big cities to be red and almost everywhere else to be blue on the election map -- even in Kalifornia.

I think the root of that difference is values. Big cities tend to attract those who are dependent on government because big cities have the government offices that provide support for the dependent. Big cities have the government offices (bureaucrats also vote) that provide government services to the dependent. That concentrates society’s parasites and bureaucrats in the big cities. Both groups naturally vote to perpetuate their gravy train. That turns the big-city map red. It disenfranchises those who pay for – not profit from – big government no matter where they live. It is not good.

So, I support a redistricting plan that breaks up the big cities with a goal of reducing the influence of voters who depend on big government. Many redistricting ideas have been proposed for Utah. Of those ideas, it looks to me like the Rep. Sumsion_05 map spreads out the big-government (red) vote best.

Of course this redistricting plan might backfire on us small-government advocates. What if the number of big-city voters out number small-city and rural voters in all districts instead of just one as is the case now?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Feds seek to ban the public from more public land!

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to close to target shooters 486,000 acres which are within the Sonoran Desert National Monument (SDMN). Presently, an estimated 63 sites in the national monument are used by shooters for their recreational activity.

The plan also addresses other issues of importance to shooters and hunters including the designation of roads and trails for motorized vehicles and areas that could be managed as wilderness.

This plan appears to be similar to other federal designs for other states including Utah.

I find it troubling that I must remind the BLM, Congress, and everyone else in the federal government that public land does not belong to radical environmentalists nor to the BLM or any other government entity. Public land belongs to the public. The BLM must respect that ownership. The BLM's only role is as a steward to manage the land for the benefit of the public -- not for a handful of bureaucrats and radical environmentalists!

I support and urge immediately turning over to the applicable states all federally-managed lands not needed and used "for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings" as specified in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution. Pending that act:

I oppose any effort to designate any new area withing the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US as wilderness, wildland, or any other new restriction on public use.

I oppose any new restriction on hunting or on the possession and use of firearms within the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US.

I oppose any new restriction on any other reasonable form of recreation within the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US.

I oppose any new restriction on the reasonable exploitation of natural resources within the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US.

I oppose any new restriction on reasonable grazing within the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US.

I oppose the closure of any roads or trails within the SDMN or any other federally-managed land in the US.

I support and urge permanent removal of all current unreasonable restrictions (including road and trail closures) on public use of the SDMN and all other federally-managed land in the US.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Look what we get from government schools

I'd hate to have anyone like MsMaxy74 working for me. I'd hate to have anyone like her renting an apartment from me. I'd hate to have anyone like her borrow money from me. Why? because she thinks she is entitled to have anything and everything I've worked for -- with no effort on her part.

Now, I'm gonna do some stereotyping:
● Assuming she has enough motivation to vote, my guess is that she voted for Obamao.
● I'm guessing that she is a product of at least 3 generations of government dependency.
● I doubt she knows her biological father and I doubt her mother knows for sure who the biological father is.
● MsMaxy74 complains that she has to pay rent (to a capitalist who worked hard to earn the money to buy, and pay taxes on, the apartment in which she feels entitled to live rent-free). I suspect that her rent is subsidized by the taxpayer.

Politicians whose constituency consists of societal parasites such as what MsMaxy74 appears to be should be ashamed of themselves. But, these politicians seem to be proud of pandering to such parasites.

Now, I am all for voluntarily helping those who genuinely need help. In fact, my own donations to charity in both time and money are well above the national average. But, I reject the idea that politicians would force me to be charitable through taxation and redistribution of my income.

I oppose any government role in charity whatsoever other than a tax deduction or tax credit for those who give. Government aid is nothing more than legalized theft (taxes) from working people to redistribute to society's parasites.

A careful study of the Scriptures shows that Jesus expects individuals -- not governments to care for those in need. When we substitute government for our personal obligation of charity, we forfeit the blessings associated with charity and we fail to be obedient to God's command to serve.

I challenge MsMaxy74 and everyone like her to muster sufficient dignity and self-reliance that they too help those who need help instead of broadcasting their selfishness on YouTube for all the world to see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Obama's jobs (tax) "plan"

As expected, President Obamao's ideas for stimulating taxes -- umm, the economy and jobs are wrong. Equally wrong is the willingness of congressional leaders to work on legislation that build on Obamao's wrongheaded ideas. Why? Because few in Washington know anything about jobs or where they come from. Fewer care to know.

If Congress and the President (and his teleprompter) truly want to do anything positive about jobs and the economy, they must think like businessmen and employers -- not like statists, regulators, central planners and attorneys. Those who cannot or will not think like businessmen and employers (or at least respect them and their needs) must be replaced!

The nation desperately needs legislation to:

Permanently eliminate the minimum wage. This will make it feasible for businesses to hire workers whose productivity isn't worth paying the minimum wage.
Permanently eliminate the alphabet soup of other regulations and agencies that increase the cost of labor and production such as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, Davis–Bacon Act, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Economic Development Administration, Energy Policy Conservation Act, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, ObamaCare, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Small Business Administration, etc. None of these have any authority in the Constitution. All these regulations and agencies impede prosperity. Their roles can be better handled at the state and local level. A permanent and substantial cut in the size, power, and cost of government will facilitate a permanent and substantial cut in taxes. With more money left in their paychecks, Americans will spend more resulting in an immediate demand for more business productivity (jobs).
Permanently eliminate the corporate income tax. (Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas has submitted his own "American Jobs Act" which would actually create substantial numbers of jobs by eliminating both all corporate taxes and the alternative minimum tax.) This will enable US businesses to better compete with imported goods. Foreign producers do not pay the US corporate income tax -- a significant reason imported goods are often cheaper than our own. Note that corporations don't really pay taxes anyway -- they simply add that expense to the product or service they sell so that we, the consumers, ultimately pay all taxes imposed on corporations.
Permanently lift all restrictions on development of domestic oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. Open up all natural sources of energy that has been arbitrarily and necessarily locked up such as the coal in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Businesses need affordable and reliable energy to create jobs. So-called "green" energy is not affordable nor is it reliable. It honestly isn't even "green!"
Permanently eliminate all subsidies and focused tax breaks. Subsidies only push inefficient and unwise businesses and technologies into the marketplace. Allowing a free market to pick winners and losers is always better than central planning.
Permanently stop bailing out businesses, unions, nations, and individuals that fail. This only encourages weakness, poor leadership, and failure.
Permanently ban collective bargaining for public-sector unions. This will sharply cut the cost of government, restoring much of the taxpayer's hard-earned income. The fact that public-sector unions have the ability to elect the politicians against whom they bargain for compensation and benefits should inspire great concern in the minds of all voters.
Permanently close the borders and shores to the invasion of illegal immigrants. Abolish anchor-baby citizenship for children of illegals. Make it extremely difficult for illegals to find work. Make it impossible for them to find any taxpayer-funded aid such as education, health care, etc. This will free up the jobs that Americans allegedly won't do.
Permanently eliminate incentives for Americans to not work such as extended unemployment compensation, food stamps, housing assistance, etc. These programs not only violate the Constitution, they violate human dignity and remove the incentive to do the jobs Americans allegedly won't do.
Permanently abandon the student-loan scandal that only enslaves students with unmanageable debt. Without easy student loan money pouring in, colleges would have to lower prices to compete for students. Among things they'd have to cut would be worthless courses and degrees as well as buildings and other structures designed to be monuments rather than places of learning. Without easy student loan money pouring in, students (and parents) would be more conscientious with how they spend their education money. All that would be a very good thing. Whether it's buying a car, a home, or an education, at the time of purchase, people tend to look as loans as free money and pay more than they should. Instead, offer 100% tax credits for education from Kindergarten through graduate school and trade schools. This will make it easier for Americans to prepare for the future.
Permanently abandon taxation (including taxes on capital gains) on all investments whether they be savings accounts, stocks, real estate, etc. Elimination of the ongoing uncertainty of tax law will allow Americans to plan for the future -- especially business growth and job creation.
Permanently return airport security screening to the private sector. Nationalizing this function obliterated an entire sector of the free market. There are few functions that are best done by government. All else must be done in the private sector.
Permanently withdraw from, and condemn, Agenda 21, Law of Sea Treaty, and other UN schemes that adversely affect US sovereignty and prosperity.

The Phoenix Center reports that
Even a small 5% reduction in the regulatory budget (about $2.8 billion) will result in about $75 billion in expanded private-sector GDP each year, with an increase in employment by 1.2 million jobs annually. On average, eliminating the job of a single regulator grows the American economy by $6.2 million and nearly 100 private sector jobs annually. Conversely, each million dollar increase in the regulatory budget costs the economy 420 private sector jobs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, government employs 8% of workers in the United States. -- and many of those bureaucrats are paid twice what their counterparts are paid in the private sector. That is far too much government at far to great a cost. This is an unconscionable burden on the private sector.

Congress' escalating penchant for central planing and social engineering over the past 100 years has come to a head. A primary cause of the current economic and employment crisis is the uncertainty in the economy created by fickle fiscal policies of the legislative and executive branches of the central government. Businessmen are unwilling to invest in the future because nobody in the private sector can forecast what congressmen and bureaucrats will do next to make life even more difficult for businesses and consumers.

Three-fourths (74%) of Americans in a recent poll recognize that businesses and consumers are over-regulated. 73% see that "every time the federal government mandates a new regulation on America’s large and small business, the prices of American made good and services like gasoline and food go up." The only way that Congress and bureaucrats know to deal with such over-regulation is, you guessed it, more regulation! (One recently imposed regulation covers the proper disposal of lip balm at farms. That regulation is written in three parts to cover coastal-state farms, inland farms, and midwest farms! Lip balm! We're outta control!)

I recently met a businessman who said he needs to expand and he needs to hire new employees. But he dares not. He has no idea how much each new employee will cost him due to additional costs of mandatory benefits (ObamaoCare) and regulations.

Businessmen must have a stable, predictable, and favorable regulatory and tax environment if they are to thrive. Instead, Congress and the bureaucracies it has created are hostile to the free market. No amount of government spending (AKA "stimulus") can possibly fix that. The only fix is for Congress and bureaucrats to get out of the way! Now!

Obamao's entire "new" proposal to create jobs by spending more money confiscated from the productive sector of the economy must be rejected. His proposal of temporary tax cuts paid for with permanent tax increases is an assault on the economy and the businesses and consumers that drive it -- not to mention common sense. Once again, Obamao reveals his profound disrespect for, and understanding of, basic economics. At a cost of $447 billion, America can ill afford another half trillion dollars of deficit spending on a program that isn’t going to work.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ron Paul interview in 1988

Twenty-three years and he still makes a lot of sense! How many other politicians have held true to their ideals for so long (especially Mitt Romney)?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Davy Crockett - Not yours to give

How in the world did we arrive at the point where we self-described Christians believe that charity originates from the tax collector?

The text below is from The Life of Colonel David Crockett, by Edward Sylvester Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)

Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"


"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa vs me

I am a 25-year union member (Teamsters). Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. is at the head of my union. I have long acknowledged that when it comes to politics, Hoffa does not speak for me!

Yesterday, in a Labor Day speech, he was was openly hostile to me and my First Amendment "freedom of speech, [my] right [to] peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Why? Because I am a small part of a grassroots movement that opposes runaway government which includes runaway compensation for public-sector union workers. He says that because I want the people to wrest control of the government from professional politicians and unions, I am anti-worker. Hoffa is wrong. He is hungry for the perpetuation of the power he and other union leaders have over, and through, big government.

I, on the other hand, support leaders like Captain Moroni who said,
I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. -- Book of Mormon, Alma 60:36
In contrast to Captain Moroni's moral strength, here's a sample of what Hoffa had to say yesterday:
We gotta keep an eye on the battle that we face, a war on workers, and you see it everywhere in the TEA Party. And, there's only one way to win that war, the one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know, what, they got a war, they got a war with us and there's only going to be one winner, it's going to be the workers up in Michigan and America. We're going to win that war....Let's take these son of bitches out [TEA Party] and give America back to an America where we [politically powerful unions] belong.
Hoffa seems to believe that the only people who count are union workers -- especially public-sector union workers. Public sector union workers have the unique ability to elect the politicians who will negotiate "against" the unions. Hence, the bloated compensation packages that public-sector workers enjoy and which are bankrupting local, state, and federal budgets.

Hoffa ignores that simple fact that most workers in this nation are non-union -- by choice. Most workers in this nation are private-sector workers, not the public-sector workers Hoffa was addressing. He ignores the simple fact that most workers are also taxpayers who are forced to support Hoffa's overpaid public-sector union workers. And we are tired of it. Hence the TEA Party movement. (By the way, TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. Aren't you?)

Politics today is not a struggle between Republicans and Democrats or between Liberals and Conservatives. It is a struggle between good and evil. Hoffa's words are a sample of that struggle. His is one of a legion of demons railing against liberty, self-responsibility, and goodness.

Thanks to Hoffa's profane comments, I am on the edge of resigning from my union.

Rand Paul Speaks at Cato University 2011