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Dr. Coburn and Senator Paul Introduce Legislation to Restore Constitutional Limitations on Congressional Power

July 31, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Enumerated Powers Act of 2013. This bill gives members of Congress the procedural tools necessary to stop unconstitutional legislation. Dr. Coburn and Sen. Paul introduced the bill along with 34 cosponsors.
‘Many of our nation’s fiscal woes can be linked to Congress’s ignorance of, and refusal to follow, the clear Constitutional limitations on our power to legislate,’ Dr. Coburn said. ‘Our founders recognized the need for the federal government’s powers to be strictly limited – not only to ensure effective governance but to prevent unrestrained federal overreach. Limiting government is important because it liberates people and expands freedom and opportunity. Today, Americans have more government but less liberty, less economic mobility, and less disposable income. I am hopeful this legislation will correct this trend by reconnecting Congress with the enumerated powers outlined in the Constitution and codifying Congressional accountability to the Constitution.’
‘When I ran for the Senate, one of my promises was to fight to pass an Enumerated Powers Act,’ Senator Paul said. ‘Politicians in Washington should abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution by only legislating within the powers it gives to the federal government. I am proud to be the lead co-sponsor of Sen. Coburn’s bill to make this a reality.’
The Enumerated Powers Act of 2013 does the following:
1) Requires each Act of Congress, bill, resolution, conference report and amendment to ‘contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution’ that is the basis for its enactment.
2) States any legislation that abolishes a Federal activity, spending or overall power may cite the 9th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
3) Prohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for ‘the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes…’
4) Allows a point of order to be raised in either House of Congress for bills that fail to cite constitutional authority.
5) Cites the constitutional authority to enact the Enumerated Powers Act, which falls under Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution, allowing each House to determine the rules of its proceedings.
The bill is …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Senate Votes on Paul Egypt Aid Amendment

July 31, 2013 in Politics & Elections

The U.S. Senate today voted on Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment to S. 1243, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. Amendment No. 1739 stops military foreign assistance to Egypt by enforcing current law that the Obama Administration is violating, which prohibits the United States from providing foreign assistance to nations that experience a military coups d’état. That money would be redirected to the ‘Bridges in Critical Corridors’ fund in S.1243. Click HERE to read Amendment No. 1739 in its entirety.

The amendment was tabled, with a vote of 13-86.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor to discuss his amendment. Below is video and transcript of his speech.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL DISCUSS HIS AMENDMENT

TRANSCRIPT:

A once-great city, Detroit, lies in ruins. 50,000 feral dogs roam the city. Abandoned houses litter the landscape. It is a bleak and forlorn future that awaits Detroit. Creditors clamor for nearly $20 billion in debt. City employees wonder if they will be paid. There is not enough money to even replace the streetlights in Detroit. God forbid that a major fire break out.

At some level, I think The President does care about Detroit, but today all I can see is the billions of dollars, the billions of American tax dollars that he chooses to send overseas. I see the shiny new technology, America’s best going to arm people who are indifferent to us and at worst hate us.

The President sends billions of dollars to Egypt in the form of advanced fighter planes and tanks. Meanwhile, Detroit crumbles. Chicago is a war zone. More people die in Chicago this year than in Afghanistan. Yet, the President insists on building a $34 million forth — fort in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton insists on spending $80 million on a consulate in Afghanistan that will never be used.

As Detroit decays, Chicago’s a maelstrom of violence, and yet no one questions sending billions of your dollars to Egypt, to despots, to dictators in foreign countries. Our nation’s bridges are crumbling, and few politicians from either party will question billions of dollars are being sent overseas while our nation’s infrastructures crumbling.

The law is very clear. Everyone here in Congress can read. They recognize, they recognize that the law says when there is a military coup, the aid must end. Today we will vote …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Defunding Obamacare: Worth a Try

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

After a summer of relative quiet on the fiscal front, Congress is approaching two deadlines that will be vital not just in terms of the U.S. economy, but for the future of the Republican party as well.

Sometime in late October, the federal government will once again reach its statutory debt limit, meaning that, without congressional action, the government will not be able to borrow any more money. That would require an immediate 25 percent cut in government spending — the sequester on steroids.

But before that, on September 30, the continuing resolution (CR) currently funding the federal government will expire. Unless a new CR is approved by then, the federal government will “shut down.”

Republicans have some fiscal opportunities — and should seize them.”

The government does not actually shut down, of course. Military operations and homeland security, and also such things as air-traffic control, health care at Veterans Administration hospitals, law enforcement and criminal investigations, oversight of food and drug safety, nuclear safety, and so forth, will all continue. And programs that are not subject to annual appropriations, such as Social Security and Medicare, would also continue. But the optics of closed national parks, the complaints of those inconvenienced by delayed public services, and the president’s bully pulpit mean that Republicans will take the blame for whatever hardships do develop.

As a result, Republicans are already starting to twist themselves into knots trying to decide what they should do.

Some, such as would-be presidential candidate Representative Peter King of New York, are already running up the white flag. “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances,” King told CNN, saying that refusing to approve a new continuing resolution wouldn’t be only bad politics but also “wrong” as a matter of policy.

Meanwhile, defense hawks such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have suggested they’re willing to go along with the Obama administration’s attempts to use the CR to undo the sequester. McCain, Graham, and their allies may even be willing to accept tax increases in order to roll back the sequester’s defense cuts.

But a much bigger split seems to be developing over what to do about defunding Obamacare.

The key to implementing Obamacare is not the now-delayed employer mandate or the wildly unpopular individual mandate. It is not the nearly $1.2 trillion in new taxes or the exchanges that may or may not be operational …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obamanomics — Chattanooga Visit Features Warmed over Proposals

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

As part of his latest pivot to the economy, President Obama visited Chattanooga to … well, I’m not sure what he hoped to accomplish. Perhaps he wanted to demonstrate that he cared about the economy. Maybe he wanted to divert attention from the various scandals plaguing his Administration.

The problem is that he didn’t say anything new or different. His audience was treated to the same tax-spend-and-regulate boilerplate that the President has been dispensing ever since he entered political life. So even if he actually does care about the economy, there’s no reason to expect good results.

The President’s speech shows that he wants to step on the gas rather than turn the car in the right direction.”

Unfortunately, with Obamanomics, not only has America failed to enjoy the traditional period of four-to-five percent growth at the start of a recovery, the economy hasn’t even gotten close to the long-run average of 3 percent.

That’s a damning indictment.

But it gets worse. The data on employment is downright depressing. A look at the numbers reveals that the nation is suffering from the worst period of job creation since the Great Depression. Most startling, we still haven’t recovered the jobs we lost during the recession.

As recently as 2006, more than 63 percent of working-age adults in America were gainfully employed. But for the last three-plus years, that number has dropped to below 59 percent.

Needless to say, if more of our population is living off the government and fewer people are producing, that doesn’t bode well for our long-run prosperity.

To be fair, all of these problems started before President Obama ever got to the White House. President Bush also was guilty of too much spending and excessive regulation, and his policies helped push the economy into a ditch.

Unfortunately, even though he promised “change,” President Obama has been adding to Bush’s mistakes — and also raising taxes. That’s not exactly a recipe for prosperity.

So let’s now look specifically at what the President proposed at his campaign stop in Chattanooga.

He re-packaged some existing ideas and says he wants them enacted as part of a “grand bargain.” The good news is that he says he wants a lower corporate tax rate, which is a laudable goal since the United States now has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

But the bad news is that he wants to raise a bunch …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Electing for Real Growth in Zimbabwe

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

On Wednesday, Zimbabweans head to the polls. Standing against each other in the contest for the presidency are, for the third time, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Their respective political parties, the ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change, will battle for the control of the country’s Parliament.

None can be sure about the outcome, but smart money must be on the 89-year-old dictator, who seems determined to extend his 33-year hold on power. Mr. Mugabe has managed to hang on to the presidency in more difficult circumstances, murdering his way to electoral “victory” in the midst of hyperinflation and economic meltdown in 2008. Wednesday’s balloting will take place under slightly more stable and somewhat more prosperous circumstances brought about, paradoxically, by the efforts of Mr. Mugabe’s opponent.

The combination of foreign aid, government borrowing and spending, and high commodity prices is unsustainable.”

Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai have been sharing power since 2008. Back then, Zimbabwe was in the midst of a man-made disaster. In the late 1990s, Mr. Mugabe started attacking a small but economically vital group of white farmers. Invasion and confiscation of white-owned commercial land followed in 2000. Banks, which used land titles as collateral when extending loans to farmers, found themselves in the red and the financial system collapsed. Most of the new occupants of the farmland were subsistence, not commercial, farmers and agricultural production dwindled. Companies that processed, packaged and exported agricultural produce went out of business.

From 1998 to 2008, Zimbabwe’s economy contracted at a rate of 6 percent per year. In contrast, the economy of neighboring Mozambique grew at a rate of 4.9 percent annually. Zimbabwe’s per-capita annual income fell from $1,640 to $661 — the lowest level since the late 1940s. In Mozambique, average income rose from $1,428 to $2,400. The United Nations‘ Human Development Index, which is an approximate measure of a standard of living that is calculated on a scale from 0 to 1, saw Zimbabwe decline from 0.376 in 2000 to 0.345 in 2008. Over the same period, Mozambique’s index rose from 0.202 to 0.327.

By 2008, Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate stood at 94 percent. With the tax revenue in free fall, the cash-strapped government started printing money. Professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University estimates that Zimbabwe’s inflation reached 90 sextillion percent in 2008. Prices doubled every 24 hours. In the end, the public refused to use the Zimbabwe dollar, which was abolished and replaced by the South African rand and American dollar.

Since 2008, Zimbabwe has experienced relative stability and high …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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What ObamaCare Can Do to You — Not for You

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Dr. Tom Delbanco, a professor of general medicine and primary care at Harvard Medical School, approves of certain sections of Obamacare, but raises a critical matter that has been largely unreported about primary care doctors, whom he describes as “the pediatricians, family doctors and internists who constitute the foundation of our medical system” (“Will Obamacare help primary care?” Delbanco, cnn.com, July 23).

He worries that “as the new health care exchanges offer affordable insurance to more and more Americans, there is risk that a flood of new patients may overwhelm the already-besieged primary care workforce.”

Since Obamacare’s health care cost-cutting rules do not focus on the differences among individual patients, Dr. Delbanco makes a point that We The People must keep in mind as Obamacare takes over many of our lives:

“Numbers such as blood pressures, sugar or lipid levels tell only part of the story for individuals whose genes, cultural habits, psyches and social circumstances vary widely.”

Gathering this information will be a waste of time and costs in the Obamacare system.

But as I can demonstrate from my own experience with my longtime primary care physician, his focus on the individuality of his patients keeps strengthening the quality of my life.

So I was not surprised to see this report from Tom Howell Jr. in The Washington Times: “The United States needs 16,000 more primary care physicians to meet its current health needs, a problem that will only get worse if nothing is done to accommodate millions of newly insured residents under President Obama’s health care law in the coming decade, according to a Senate report …

“Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging that released the findings, said one in five sick Americans visits an emergency room for care that should have been rendered by a primary care physician, an unfortunate trend that results in higher health care costs and poorer outcomes for patients” (“U.S. facing shortage of 16,000 doctors as health care act kicks in,” Howell, The Washington Times, Jan. 29).

Sanders added that “the lack of primary care offices hits rural regions and low-income urban areas the hardest, and will turn into a crisis if lawmakers and the industry do not address the problem before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands coverage to 30 million more Americans.”

This health care expense problem and the vanishing of primary care doctors do not, of course, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Libertarians to Christie: Bring It On

July 31, 2013 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

In what could be called the first volley of the 2016 Republican primary, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the strain of libertarianism concerned with recent NSA civil-liberties violations a “very dangerous thought.” He also accused Republican lawmakers such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) of forgetting the lessons of September 11.

Christie’s comments underscore a growing rift in the Republican Party between the more libertarian minded and those who adhere to more traditional Republican stances of social conservatism and strong foreign policy. It’s high time for the Republican Party to have this fight and to see which faction voters will favor. My bet is on the libertarians.

Governor Christie came to prominence by forcibly, and laudably, attacking recalcitrant teachers’ unions. He has been an effective proponent of limited government in some areas, but, like so many Republicans, his support has been piecemeal, which undermines other parts of his message. The fight for limited government needs fewer fair-weather fans. Enter the libertarians.

It’s high time for the Republican Party to have this fight and to see which faction voters will favor. My bet is on the libertarians.”

Libertarianism’s ascendency is not surprising. In the face of endless wars, endless debt, endless spending, and endless violations of our civil liberties, most politicians are giving us endless prattle assuring us to go about our business and to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” The man behind the curtain, unfortunately, is an increasingly unified political class that is becoming more divorced from average Americans.

As the warfare/welfare state grows, it becomes more likely that libertarianism can happen to you. It’s easy to ignore government when it is small, but when it storms your business with armed SWAT officers to make sure your barbers are properly licensed, libertarianism can happen to you. People are increasingly encountering obstructionist, if not oppressive, government in their everyday lives. It’s not surprising that more people are adopting libertarian stances on a variety of issues.

New revelations about massive NSA domestic-spying programs (revelations that libertarians warned us about) are just the latest example of libertarianism “happening” to more people. Staying away from a massive government dragnet of its own citizens may be impossible, and unsurprisingly, 56 percent of Americans now believe that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on NSA surveillance.

Those Americans have not “forgotten 9/11,” as Governor Christie says. They’ve simply realized …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Christianity, Liberty, and the Transgender Community

July 30, 2013 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster