Federally Funded PBS: Why are Voters Upset how Taxes are Spent?

PBS Town Hall: role of government and how tax dollars are being spent

JUDY WOODRUFF: We came to Tampa, Florida, to throw a spotlight on what Americans think the role of government should be and how their tax dollars are being spent. To that end, we asked our local PBS affiliate, WEDU, to help us round up the people you see behind me, all residents of this area.

There is just so much wrong here, I’m not sure where to start. The painful irony of seeing tax dollars spent to air why the public is frustrated with how tax dollars are spent.

It should come as no surprise that in discussing how tax dollars are spent, PBS fails to mention the 430 million PBS takes from tax payers each year. There was no mention of conflict of interest from the federally funded broadcast network. Any other media organization would be chastised for failing to mention their connection to the organization they are covering.

What you won’t hear in this video: No mention of the original role of the federal government. Nothing about the amount of money spent on two wars. Nothing about federal spending in regards to subsidies, corporatism, or the war on drugs. Watching this PBS spotlight on voter frustrations on how tax dollars are spent is like watching the drunk looking for keys under the streetlight–because the light is better.

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Federally Funded PBS: Why are Voters Upset how Taxes are Spent?

PBS Town Hall: role of government and how tax dollars are being spent

JUDY WOODRUFF: We came to Tampa, Florida, to throw a spotlight on what Americans think the role of government should be and how their tax dollars are being spent. To that end, we asked our local PBS affiliate, WEDU, to help us round up the people you see behind me, all residents of this area.

There is just so much wrong here, I’m not sure where to start. The painful irony of seeing tax dollars spent to air why the public is frustrated with how tax dollars are spent.

It should come as no surprise that in discussing how tax dollars are spent, PBS fails to mention the 430 million PBS takes from tax payers each year. There was no mention of conflict of interest from the federally funded broadcast network. Any other media organization would be chastised for failing to mention their connection to the organization they are covering.

What you won’t hear in this video: No mention of the original role of the federal government. Nothing about the amount of money spent on two wars. Nothing about federal spending in regards to subsidies, corporatism, or the war on drugs. Watching this PBS spotlight on voter frustrations on how tax dollars are spent is like watching the drunk looking for keys under the streetlight–because the light is better.

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Happy Hour for the Pauls, and for Freedom

Congressman Ron Paul on Happy Hour April 14

Happy hour sums up how I feel about Ron Paul today. First there was Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.

Also today, Ron Paul introduced the “End the Mandate Act,” to take out the mandatory portion of the new health care law.

Madam Speaker, today I am introducing the End the Mandate Act. This legislation repeals the sections of the recently-passed health reform bill that forces all Americans to purchase federally-approved health insurance plans.

Forcing every American to obtain health insurance is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Defenders of this provision claim the Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate “interstate commerce” gives Congress the power to mandate every American obtain a federally-approved health insurance plan.

However, as Judge Andrew Napolitano and other distinguished legal scholars and commentators have pointed out, even the broadest definition of “regulating interstate commerce” cannot reasonably encompass forcing Americans to engage in commerce by purchasing health insurance.

And wait-there is more: Retiring Senator Jim Bunning named Rand Paul (Ron Paul’s son) as his chosen successor today.

“Dr. Paul will be his own man in Washington, not beholden to the special interests and beltway insiders who come looking for handouts on a daily basis,” Bunning said. “Instead, Dr. Paul will be a strong voice and advocate for the people and values of Kentucky.

Normally I would complain about media bias for the “I think I love him” comment at the end of the clip. I can tolerate my own bias pretty easily, so I’ll let it go, and just say its happy hour for the Pauls and happy hour for freedom.

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Government Free Fantasy Pledge

This is what happens when you show up at a tea party with a “no medicare” pledge?

This pledge to stop using governmental programs is very popular with big government advocates. Underneath, the argument is quite simple: if you don’t like governmental control in one area, you should forgo governmental control in all areas.

It’s the updated version of “Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican.” The newer version is The Tea Party Pledge.

The main purpose behind the pledge is to label as “hypocrites” those who would halt the expansion or call for reducing the role of government. The implied argument is that if you think its wrong for the government to be in control of the items listed but do not abstain from using them, you can’t be taken seriously.

In essence, it’s asking people to act as though they live in a world that doesn’t exist. Government is involved with almost every aspect of our lives; it’s impossible to live government-free. The argument is tantamount to telling an environmentalist who complains about air quality to stop breathing.

Those calling for government to stop farm subsidies are not hypocrites for eating. An environmentalist calling for the elimination of fossil fuels isn’t a hypocrite each time they use a fossil fuel, because the fossil fuel free world does not exist. Calling for the reduction of government in a life dominated by government isn’t hypocritical, either.

The hypocrisy here is in ignoring how government has slowly taken away from people the ability to be self-reliant. The money for all the services government supplies comes from the people. A natural consequence of taking  wealth from people is that they become dependent on the entity that now has control of their wealth.

The cruel nature of these attacks is especially clear when asking people to abstain from Social Security. Money taken from paychecks for Social Security throughout the years hinders individuals’ ability to save for their own retirement. These activists then have the nerve to call people hypocrites to accept some of their own money back from the Social Security system in order to survive.

These listed items in this pledge makes a very different point than intended: Government is too big–so big it’s clearly impossible to live without direct involvement in each of our lives.

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38 States Challenge Healthcare; Enough to Amend the Constitution

38 States Looking To Challenge Healthcare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNPCDsqJXFs&feature=player_embedded

38 States? That is enough to change things! That is just enough states needed to amend the Constitution.

Article Five of the United States Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

I hope the states plan on not only resisting health care reform, but taking away some of the Federal government’s power while they are at it. The health care debate might end up doing some good if it rallies the states together enough to remove some Federal power.

38ers anyone?

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Senator Sanders: Single-Payer Could Start in 2017

Senator Bernie Sanders Seeking Public Option Vote “in the Next Few Months”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQWJAeXk6Gw

Bernie Sanders: What we have right now in the bill is language, unfortunately it doesn’t kick until 2017, that would give states a great deal of flexibility to go forward in variety of ways. Including my preferred method, would be a Medicare for all single payer way

I hope very much that we will give states more flexibility, so that they can go forward for a Medicare for all single-payer bill.

Nope…no hidden agenda in the health care bill. Nothing that would lead to a government takeover of healthcare. The goal isn’t a single-payer system where the government takes the place of private insurance companies. That’s just crazy talk.

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10th Amendment: Might Does Not Make Right

Virginia And 34 Other States To Block HealthCare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUYY4RB3YA4

The three cases mentioned in the video from Wikipedia: Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • In United States v. Lopez 514 U.S. 549 (1995), a federal law mandating a “gun-free zone” on and around public school campuses was struck down because, the Supreme Court ruled, there was no clause in the Constitution authorizing it.
  • In New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992) Obliged states to take title to any waste within their borders that was not disposed of prior to January 1, 1996, and made each state liable for all damages directly related to the waste. The Court, in a 6–3 decision, ruled that the imposition of that obligation on the states violated the Tenth Amendment. Justice O’Connor wrote that the federal government can encourage the states to adopt certain regulations through the spending power (i.e., by attaching conditions to the receipt of federal funds, see South Dakota v. Dole), or through the commerce power (by directly pre-empting state law). However, Congress cannot directly compel states to enforce federal regulations.
  • In Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)). The act required state and local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on persons attempting to purchase handguns. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, applied New York v. United States to show that the law violated the Tenth Amendment. Since the act “forced participation of the State’s executive in the actual administration of a federal program,” it was unconstitutional.

What I’ve gathered from this is:

  • When the federal government passes a law, they can’t force states to enforce their laws.
  • The federal government can punish states that refuse to enforce federal laws by withholding federal funds.
  • The federal government can act directly and enforce the law themselves if the state refuses, as in Gonzales v. Raich.

Gonzales v. Raich(2005). In this case, a California woman sued the Drug Enforcement Administration after her medical marijuana crop was seized and destroyed by Federal agents. Medical marijuana was explicitly made legal under California state law by Proposition 215; however, marijuana is prohibited at the federal level by the Controlled Substances Act. Even though the woman grew the marijuana strictly for her own consumption and never sold any, the Supreme Court stated that growing one’s own marijuana affects the interstate market of marijuana. The theory was that the marijuana could enter the stream of interstate commerce, even if it clearly wasn’t grown for that purpose and it was unlikely ever to happen (the same reasoning as in the Wickard v. Filburn decision). It therefore ruled that this practice may be regulated by the federal government under the authority of the Commerce Clause.

In my public education, I was never taught about the tenth Amendment. The education I received left me with the impression that Federal law always supersedes state law. I guess they didn’t see the need to teach about something that has, for the most part, been ignored.

I do remember something about the Civil War starting out over some similar issues. The Civil War settled the issues of slavery and which was the most powerful–federal or state government. It left me with the false impression that because the federal government always wins, they must always be right.

In the video, Robert Marshall said “this is a forced contract.” In any other aspect of your life, were someone to force you to sign a contract or go to jail, it would be easy to distinguish that might does not make it right. The forced aspect of the healthcare bill has made it clear to me the federal government is not always in the right, and that’s why there is a tenth amendment.

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10th Amendment: Might Does Not Make Right

Virginia And 34 Other States To Block HealthCare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUYY4RB3YA4

The three cases mentioned in the video from Wikipedia: Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • In United States v. Lopez 514 U.S. 549 (1995), a federal law mandating a “gun-free zone” on and around public school campuses was struck down because, the Supreme Court ruled, there was no clause in the Constitution authorizing it.
  • In New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992) Obliged states to take title to any waste within their borders that was not disposed of prior to January 1, 1996, and made each state liable for all damages directly related to the waste. The Court, in a 6–3 decision, ruled that the imposition of that obligation on the states violated the Tenth Amendment. Justice O’Connor wrote that the federal government can encourage the states to adopt certain regulations through the spending power (i.e., by attaching conditions to the receipt of federal funds, see South Dakota v. Dole), or through the commerce power (by directly pre-empting state law). However, Congress cannot directly compel states to enforce federal regulations.
  • In Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)). The act required state and local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on persons attempting to purchase handguns. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, applied New York v. United States to show that the law violated the Tenth Amendment. Since the act “forced participation of the State’s executive in the actual administration of a federal program,” it was unconstitutional.

What I’ve gathered from this is:

  • When the federal government passes a law, they can’t force states to enforce their laws.
  • The federal government can punish states that refuse to enforce federal laws by withholding federal funds.
  • The federal government can act directly and enforce the law themselves if the state refuses, as in Gonzales v. Raich.

Gonzales v. Raich(2005). In this case, a California woman sued the Drug Enforcement Administration after her medical marijuana crop was seized and destroyed by Federal agents. Medical marijuana was explicitly made legal under California state law by Proposition 215; however, marijuana is prohibited at the federal level by the Controlled Substances Act. Even though the woman grew the marijuana strictly for her own consumption and never sold any, the Supreme Court stated that growing one’s own marijuana affects the interstate market of marijuana. The theory was that the marijuana could enter the stream of interstate commerce, even if it clearly wasn’t grown for that purpose and it was unlikely ever to happen (the same reasoning as in the Wickard v. Filburn decision). It therefore ruled that this practice may be regulated by the federal government under the authority of the Commerce Clause.

In my public education, I was never taught about the tenth Amendment. The education I received left me with the impression that Federal law always supersedes state law. I guess they didn’t see the need to teach about something that has, for the most part, been ignored.

I do remember something about the Civil War starting out over some similar issues. The Civil War settled the issues of slavery and which was the most powerful–federal or state government. It left me with the false impression that because the federal government always wins, they must always be right.

In the video, Robert Marshall said “this is a forced contract.” In any other aspect of your life, were someone to force you to sign a contract or go to jail, it would be easy to distinguish that might does not make it right. The forced aspect of the healthcare bill has made it clear to me the federal government is not always in the right, and that’s why there is a tenth amendment.

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HealthCare Reform: Going into Details, People Would Support Slavery

Jake Tapper of This Week interview David Axelrod about the healthcare bill.

This bill is important to the American people, Jake, and when you get underneath the numbers and you ask people, do you support giving people more leverage against insurance companies so that they — if they have preexisting conditions, they can get coverage, so if they get sick, they don’t get thrown off, so they don’t have these huge premium increases of the sort we’ve just seen announced in states around the country, they say yes.

But again, when you go underneath, they support the elements of the plan. When you ask them, does the health care system need reform, three quarters of them say yes. When you ask them, do you want Congress to move forward and deal with this issue, three quarters of them say yes. So we’re not going to walk away from this issue.

David Axelrod’s arguement is most people are in favor of the details in the bill, therefore it is a good idea. One detail Axelrod left out–the majority of people are opposed to making health insurance mandatory. Leaving out the “mandatory” part is no small detail to be ignored, and here is why:

If polled most Americans would probably answer yes to all these question.

  • Would you like the cost of food and clothing to go down?
  • Would you like the cost of your housing to never go up?
  • Do you want to prevent people from ever going homeless?
  • Would you like not having to struggle to make ends meet?
  • Would you like to live in a country that was more organized?
  • Do you want congress to take action to make your life simpler?
  • Are you in favor of the federal government regulating work place rules?

Using the same rational as David Axelrod: If you leave out the detail of losing your freedom, we can conclude most people are really in favor of slavery.

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Better HeathCare Analogies: Coal Miners and Salt

In the health care debate one of the most common analogies has been to compare mandatory health insurance with auto insurance. I want to throw in a couple more analogies to mandatory health care debate as food for thought. Coal miners forced to purchase from company stores and French citizens forced to buy salt.

Where the health insurance to auto insurance analogy matches up:

  • Its insurance.
  • Its mandatory.

Where mandatory auto and health insurance analogy do not match:

  • Not everyone is required to have auto insurance.
  • States mandate auto insurance, not the federal government.
  • Auto insurance is there to protect harm done to individuals.
  • Mandatory health insurance protects profits of the health care industry.

Another analogy to mandatory health insurance can be found in the early days of coal mining, where miners were forced to purchase from the company store.

Coal Miners analogy matches the health care proposal in:

  • Mandatory purchasing from selected stores and products.
  • Mandatory purchasing increases corporate profits.

Where Coal Miners analogy doesn’t match:

  • Everything miners needed to sustain themselves–food, medicine, clothing and shelter–was a mandatory purchase from the company, with the exception of health insurance.
  • The miners had the option of leaving the company town and seeking employment elsewhere.

A better analogy can be made between mandatory health insurance and Gabelle: the French Salt Tax. Prior to the French Revolution, the government mandated everyone above the age of eight years to purchase a weekly minimum amount of salt at a fixed price.

From The History News Network: Will a 2nd American Revolution be French?

There were a slew of other taxes as well, some of them quite creative. For example, there was a salt monopoly tax by which everyone over the age of 7 (as I remember) was required to purchase several lbs of highly-inferior government salt each and every year. The law also proscribed how the salt could be used and imposed heavy fines for misuse, such as in preservation of meat.

French Salt Tax matches mandatory healthcare:

  • Everyone required to purchase.
  • Mandatory amount to purchase.
  • Doesn’t matter if you can afford to buy either.
  • Protects profits of the industry.

Where the Salt Tax analogy doesn’t match mandatory healthcare insurance:

    It’s salt!

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