"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins

America, a Debtor Nation, Part One: The Reality of What We've Become,
The Effect on What We Do

Friday, March 18, 2011, 2:40 pm, Central

Archive: Publications, Weekly Wrap


The Weekly Wrap

"America, a Debtor Nation:

The Reality of What We've Become;

The Effect on What We Do"


Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins.


Our program tonight, "America, a Debtor Nation: The Reality of What We've Become," is an attempt to put the shape of our economy into perspective. We're broke. Every family in America that faces a financial crisis sits down at the kitchen table and lists priorities. Things get cut. Sometimes things that are good and worthwhile are set aside in order to meet those that are mandatory. In order for a family to keep it's good name in the community it pays its debts. Sometimes a family member refuses to face reality. It's the old, "I must have money... I still have checks" syndrome. Your only choice in this situation may be to take the checkbook away. But, what if your spouse is unreasonable, prints more checks, and uses them anyway?


That's where we are tonight. The House and Senate have passed the sixth "continuing resolution" to keep the federal government running three more weeks through April 8th. This is because the Democrats during the 111th Congress failed to pass a FY 2011 federal budget when they had control of the House, Senate, and Presidency; and the Left continues to refuse to address significant spending cuts in current negotiations. The latest resolution eliminates $6 billion from current federal spending and is on track with the reductions Republicans laid out at the beginning of the 112th Congress. However, Conservatives are becoming uneasy with the "thousand cuts" process and the inability to attach riders that defund programs like Planned Parenthood and Obama Care. So, Speaker Boehner will have his hands full if he intends to meet the April 8th deadline with an actual "rest of year" FY 2011 budget. Not only must he contend with Conservative discontent but a Congress in recess for one week and an "absentee" President whose schedule has him out of Washington, DC for two weeks. I'd say were looking at yet another temporary resolution.


In addition, the Left is increasing the noise volume on the "draconian cuts to spending" mantra, signaling they may not be as willing this go-round to allow the Republicans to keep pace with the rate of spending cuts outlined in the House passed HR 1. (That bill cut $61B from the FY2011 budget but stalled in the Senate.) Beyond that, it appears the Left is opining as in its "glory days" of the 111th. This was exemplified by Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) calling for Speaker Boehner to "abandon the Tea Party and compromise." This stiff arm tactic smacks of Nancy Pelosi. Obama may be looking to Pelosi to quietly take the lead in setting the Democrat tone and approach to future negotiations. His natural state is to lean to the strong maternal. As the Republican / Conservative coalition hangs together it may be time to deliver some "tough love" of our own to the Left as they continue to act like a spoiled spouse whose spending is leading the family into bankruptcy. But, it's going to take everything we ever learned about negotiating and working with difficult people to pull it off.


So what does that look like... "tough love?" Does it require a shut down of the government? Will we vote not to increase the debt ceiling? In order to answer that we must start with a shared goal. That goal must be love of country, the stability of the Republic of the United States of America, and our return to the world stage as a major player. This is the idea of nationhood versus the "one world" concept where we consider ourselves just another cog in the wheel turning to other nations for consensus of opinion before acting. Secondly, in order to bring people to the negotiating table you must show you understand what is important to them and why, even if you don't agree with their reasoning. You may be saying to yourself the Obama administration is effecting a "one world" order... You're right. The why of it is tied up in Obama's progressive view of being a "world citizen" as well as his political alliances, but what's important is why it won't work and how to defeat it.


We are facing a financial crisis that has the ability to destroy our country. As history teaches us, crisis demands immediacy and immediacy requires a leader. Leaders make decisions. Obama consistently abdicates. This is strategic. It will be Pelosi who marshals the troops on the next round of negotiations with Harry Reid acting as her lieutenant. Remember, vestiges of the far Left representative of their districts returned to Congress while many moderate Democrats lost seats to Republicans. This battle is the "left-over" far Left versus the rest of us. We must break down Pelosi's alliances. How? The facts. Nullify the voice by showing the devastating effects of "Pelosi policy" on the American economy. This saves face for Obama who will resurface his "moderate" stance; and begins to divide the alliance. If we know anything about this President it is this. He runs for cover and he dumps allies that become political liabilities. Obama is a "left-over" and a far Left ideologue but he understands you must maintain power in order to govern. He will gravitate to the position that wins votes.


Check this character analysis against recent events involving our budget and debt crisis. Once again, as in health care reform Obama abdicated authority by making insignificant budget cuts and not taking the lead in reforming non-discretionary spending with regard to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. More interested in his political ambitions and the upcoming 2012 election, he punted. Appearances rather than substance seem important. This administration intentionally misleads the public by quoting facts and figures and attributing itself with undue success. An example occurred this week when President Obama touted the "increase in oil and gas production" during his tenure, however, he failed to mention the programs that brought about that increase had nothing to do with the actions of his administration. In fact, the policies of this administration seek to do the exact opposite in order to support the "green energy" mantra. It has been said that Obama is more in love with the "idea of being President" than the responsibility of the job. How can a responsible President not call for austerity measures that, yes, cut some of the "feel good programs" from the budget the collective result of which meet his political agenda to "redistribute wealth" but contribute to the financial ruin of the country? If Obama is a reasonable man he will see this. But, there is danger in that assumption. An ideologue is an unreasonable man with an irreconcilable political philosophy who will turn "tough love" into anarchy. Don't forget the battle cry of the Left, "Never waste a crisis." In most situations, Obama will play to the winning hand. It is his survival mode that allows him to "fight another day." But, back to the wall with no way out, he will escalate crisis. Need I remind you of Wisconsin?


So, what's the plan? As Conservatives we must understand we are not working in a static situation. We are a nation state that does not exist in isolation. World events further complicate existing national crises. Putting America back on track will necessarily come in phases. Our plan must reduce the size and cost of government while reflecting the nationhood philosophy. As Americas, we can't help others if we do not ensure our own stability. Cut waste, fraud and duplicative programs ($100B outlined by GOA is a good start as is the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission Report); address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid thoughtfully and properly making adjustments that can benefit all; develop domestic energy resources that reduce costs, create jobs, end foreign oil dependence and increase national security; eliminate the Department of Education and return control of public schools to local government and parents; repeal and replace Obama Care returning health care to the private sector with necessary reforms; reduce the corporate tax rate and encourage businesses to return production to the United States; maintain a highly trained, equipped and effective military. Call for social change of our own... strengthen the family unit in society. As we cut the cost of government in areas of waste, fraud and abuse while reforming our social programs, we will be able to support policies that actually rebuild the American dream.


It's comprehensive. Be patient, but stalwart. Do not invite anarchy. Eating the elephant one bite at a time may be what's necessary in this arena of extremely divergent political views. Be truthful, specific, and relentless in your policy attacks. Keep it in front of the American people at all times. Make transparency and access to Congressional committees a priority. Encourage the public to engage.


The activities of this past week play into this scenario and signify progress. Republican governors in the Mid-West made tough decisions required to balance budgets some of which included reducing aspects of collective bargaining within public sector unions. Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) signed such a bill into law on Monday. Union bosses staged media-event protests, but the governors and state legislatures prevailed amid high drama. As previously mentioned, in Washington, DC the House addressed and passed the sixth "continuing resolution" funding the federal government through April 8th while cutting another $6B from current federal spending. In addition, House Republicans defeated H. Con. Res. 28 sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D- OH) calling for President Obama to remove our troops from Afghanistan; while passing H.R. 1076 which defunds National Public Radio (NPR) and bans the use of federal funds to acquire radio content. The Senate passed the "continuing resolution" sent to them by the House and forwarded the legislation to President Obama for his signature. Also in the Senate this week, Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-LA) presented S.493, bi-partisan legislation which would amend the Small Business Act to include innovative research and protect intellectual property rights.


However, most of the action in Washington, DC took place in House congressional committees on the Hill this week. We took special note of the following. In a hearing of the Energy & Power and Environment & Economy Subcommittees, Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu testified regarding the FY 2012 Energy Budget and the future of nuclear energy in America in the aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis which followed the 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami. In that same vein, a panel of experts was called to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee regarding domestic energy resources and the effect of increasing domestic production on the economy. H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which restricts the EPA from pursuing its "runaway regulatory agenda" with regard to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases was presented for markup by Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Fred Upton. The House Financial Services Committee called Elizabeth Warren to testify regarding her role in the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) established by the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act . Warren was tapped by President Obama to develop the CFPA creating concerns that she is acting as an unconfirmed head of a federal agency with little oversight. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, were called to testify before a House oversight panel as to the invasive and potentially unconstitutional procedures being conducted at airports via scanners and enhanced pat downs. The discussion included a request for the details surrounding the contracting for and purchasing of said scanners. Interestingly, the witness panel had to be divided into two parts as TSA officials initially declined to appear alongside individuals currently suing the TSA for invasive procedures. In a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing, oversight of the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) was conducted regarding returns on taxpayers investments. The Republicans are being tough and relentless. When you look at the whole picture it begins to sink in.


Concurrently, the global stage saw unimaginable crisis. March 11th, as mentioned Japan was hit with a 9.0 earthquake in the north-east which triggered a massive tsunami. The crisis deepened this week as nuclear reactors in Japan threatened failure and potential meltdown. Meanwhile, Libya erupted adding to the Middle East chaos with Gaddafi vowing to "cleanse" Libya of rebel forces. President Obama called for the ousting of Gaddafi but stopped short of taking action, deferring to the UN Security Council then heading out to play golf. Friday, the Security Council voted and passed a resolution calling for a "no fly zone" over Libya as well as "any other necessary actions." The vote was 10 to 0 with five abstentions including China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Germany. But, has Gaddafi already accomplished his goal? Is it a moot point made at the cost of innumerable lives? Were we constrained by those who hold our debt from taking action earlier? Complicating international matters further Bahrain officials cracked down arresting six dissenters after weeks of democracy protests. Sunni and the Saudi Arabia ruling class versus Shi'ite tensions are escalating.


The economic effects of these world events saw gas prices fluctuate daily as speculators tried to predict future supply taking into consideration Middle East conflict as well as Japan's destruction and future rebuilding of their infrastructure. And where will the money come from to rebuild Japan? Will they cash in United States treasury securities? Energy concerns regarding the ongoing development of nuclear power in our country were voiced and President Obama called for safety inspections of 104 plants in 31 states even as Germany closed several aging reactors. Will the world rethink nuclear power? How will that effect a looming energy crisis? Fears of another World War percolate as the atrocities of Gadhafi draw our humanitarian senses... but danger lurks. History has shown economic interests play on humanitarian concerns. They become the point of entry... the cover for a larger agenda.


So what do we do now? Focus, concentrate on stabilizing our economy, and pray. We have come to an unimaginable time in our history when our decisions have led us to a place where choice has been removed. We must take care of America's debt, or risk losing our legacy to the dictates of those who own us. It's that serious.


See you next week.




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