How much of your income should the government be able to take? Think about your answer as you read the rest of this post.
The first permanent, broad-based federal income tax went into effect in 1913 and placed a 7% tax on the top 1% of wage-earners in the United States. Within five years it had risen to be a 77% tax on the top 6% of income earners. In 1913, Americans paid between 1% and 7% on income over $20,000. However, in 1918 every American paid the tax, and those making less than $4,000/year paid 6%. Once the door was opened to an income tax, the government abused the privilege. For the record, the top tax bracket reached 94% in the mid-1940s. Imagine having to fork over 94% of your income to the government.
So here we are almost a century later, and the top income tax bracket pays 35% with those earning less than $16,750 pay only 10%. However, with the Earned Income Tax Credit, deductions for children and dependents and the ability to write-off health care costs, real estate taxes, charitable donations and other expenses many Americans earning less than $25,000/year pay no federal income tax. Some Americans who pay no taxes actually receive a refund, meaning the government sends them a check simply for being a low-income earner.
The federal government does need revenue in order to pay for the services it provides, and it certainly doesn’t have the ability to earn money of its own. Therefore, it is up to Americans to cover the costs of these services in the form of taxes. Since it is our hard-earned dollars being used by the federal government, there are obviously disagreements on which services the federal government should provide. Many on the Left believe that the government should be a force for good, and use those dollars to help people whenever possible. Those on the Right believe the Constitution outlines the responsibilities of the federal government, and anything outside of those duties should be handled at the state level or through individual choice.
The position taken by many on the Left isn’t a bad one in theory, but where do you draw the line when it comes to helping people? Does the federal government have an obligation to ensure all Americans have access to food and shelter? The answer is “yes,” as we have Section 8 housing and programs like welfare, food stamps and WIC. But how far should the federal government go in taking care of its people? Should the government be providing homes and cars for those who can’t afford them? How about computers with internet access? This is where opinions begin to divide.
Conservatives tend to believe the U.S. Constitution provides a clear-cut answer on the role of government. When our country was founded, the 13 colonies-turned-states created the federal government to handle matters of national interest. They were clear, however, through the 10th Amendment, that the states reserved the right to handle everything else. Matters of national interest include protecting us from foreign invasion, defending us against foreign threats and maintaining a three-branch government including the Presidency and his cabinet, Congress and the federal court system. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted the right to meddle in education, the environment, health care, automobiles, and many other areas where their presence is very obvious today. Those issues were historically handled at the state level, until such a time when they weren’t.
So back to my original question: How much of your income should the government be able to take?
The appropriate answer to that question depends on how much the government spends, because the more it spends, the more you’ll have to pay. Now both liberals and conservatives have good points when it comes to the role of government. It would be great for the government to be able to take care of everyone, but we must remember that they are paying for that care with the hard-earned dollars of working Americans. It would also be great if government was small so that all Americans were free from government intervention in their lives, and can keep more of the money they earn. But we must also remember that there are programs that are necessary and they must be paid for with our tax dollars. We must find ways to address legitimate problems without unfairly hurting others in the process.
Just like the federal government abused their ability to tax Americans in the first half of the 20th Century, Americans are noticing a disturbing trend today. In addition to paying federal income taxes, most Americans pay a state income tax. They also pay half of a 2.9% Medicare tax, and they pay into Social Security, which may not be around in a decade. We are not only taxed on our income, but we are also taxed every time we move. We pay taxes on our property, a home that we own. We pay taxes every time we pay our bills for electricity, water, gas, cable, internet, phone and other utilities. If we want to leave our house, we get taxed on our car in the form of registration fees, inspection fees and of course the gas we use for fuel. If we go to the supermarket, we are most likely taxed on prepared foods and most non-edible items. If we go to the liquor store we are taxed on all alcohol, from as little as $1.50 per gallon in Maryland to $26.45 in Washington State. For everything else we buy, there is a state sales tax between 2.9% and 8.25%, depending on where you live. We are taxed every time we turn around and usually on goods and services purchased with money we’ve already paid taxes on. Doesn’t that sound oppressive to you?
Here’s a simple exercise to show you how crazy this all is:
You are a single person living in California. You earn $34,000 per year, or $2,833 per month. The federal government takes 25% for income tax, 1.45% for Medicare and 6.2% for Social Security. The state of California takes 6.25%. Let’s say you spend a generous $100/week on groceries, which are tax-free. The rest will be spent on utilities, gas for the car and other small purchases. These purchases are ALL subject to tax, which is a double tax. The state sales tax is 8.25%, so let’s use that as a basis. You still have to pay one month’s share of your yearly property taxes and motor vehicle registration fees (roughly $275), leaving you with $943, plus your $400 in tax-free groceries.
You earn $2,833 per month, but you actually receive $1,343 in tax-free profit, a whopping 47% of your income. That means your $34,000 per year only amounts to just over $16,000 per year in your pocket, with which to pay bills. It should be noted, that even with tax rates at this level, the federal government is $13 trillion in debt and our example state of California is bankrupt.
How have we arrived at a point in our lives where we only get to keep 47% of the money we earn, and our state and federal governments are in debt? These numbers are disturbing, and it only gets worse the more money you make! If you earned $82,400 you’d pay an additional 8% in taxes, taking home only 39% of your income.
So is it unreasonable for conservatives to feel there needs to be a limit on how much money the government can take in taxes? Can we really keep creating more programs that rely on our tax dollars?
Today, our national debt sits at $13.4 Trillion. That comes out to be $43,173 per citizen – every man, woman and child in America. That figure does not include our unfunded liabilities including Social Security and Medicare, which totals another $110 Trillion ($355,296 per citizen). Good thing that’s not due yet! It also doesn’t include state debt, which is as high as $16,296 per citizen (New York).
The current administration, and the Democrat-controlled Congress, passed a trillion-dollar health care reform bill which doesn’t go into full effect until 2014, a $26 billion bailout to the states, and a failed $878 billion stimulus bill. They still have plans to pass Cap & Trade ($200 billion/year), a bailout for Fannie & Freddie ($148 billion), and a potential second stimulus bill ($50-$80 billion). Citizens Against Government Waste also identified $16.5 billion in pork in 2010 (and $19.6 billion in 2009), from an administration that promised to reform the earmark profess and cut wasteful spending.
So, how much of your income should the government be able to take? Maybe the better question is: How much should the government be able to spend?
Either way, it’s currently too much. And sometimes the “Party of No” is saying the right thing.
The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.
“How can health care for everyone be a bad thing?”
Several months ago, one of my friends uttered this quote in an attempt to combat the negative press surrounding President Obama’s health care bill as it was being considered by Congress. The answer to that question, of course, is that health care for everyone is not a bad thing, it is a great thing. Sadly my friend missed the point, and so did many Americans: How do you pay for it when we’re $13 trillion in debt? Health Care Reform gripped the nation as yet another non-partisan issue was politicized for the sole purpose of damaging political opponents. In the end there was no winner; only losers: The American People.
Every issue has an upside and a downside. In 1986, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act required hospital emergency rooms to treat anyone in need of care, regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. The upside was that patients were not turned away from needed health care. The downside is that “about half of all emergency services go uncompensated.” The best intentions of government resulted in a huge unfunded mandate to emergency departments nationwide and a loss of $4.2 billion in revenue in 2001 according to the American Medical Association. Nobody wants to see patients denied much-needed care, but how can the government pass laws that help some people and completely destroy others?
Health care reform divided the nation along lines defined by views of big government versus small, and compassion versus fiscal responsibility. At a time when the economy was the top concern for Americans, not health care, Congress unveiled a $940 billion bill which was passed into law on March 23, 2010. Republicans were once again labeled “obstructionists,” even though they didn’t have enough votes to stop the Democrats from passing the bill. Democrats called Republicans the usual names, accusing them of being racists, hating the poor and defending the rich.
Today, 60% of Americans favor repeal.
It seems as if every issue where Democrats and Republicans disagree ends with more Americans believing that the GOP is racist, anti-poor and pro-rich. Why are Democrats so good at convincing Americans of these stereotypes? I believe it is because Democrats tend to politicize with emotional buzzwords and headlines, while Republicans do it with logic. So, are Republicans heartless to oppose a bill that would extend health care benefits to 32 million Americans? Well, let’s consider some of the objections.
The government is notoriously inefficient. In a previous post I went over the resume of the U.S. Government in detail, including the tremendous successes (read: failures) of Amtrak, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the U.S. Postal Service, the Ryan White CARE Act, and Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Even recipients of government funding like Planned Parenthood operate without oversight, as they apparently can’t account for $1.8 billion in taxpayer dollars received over the last decade. This isn’t a partisan problem. The government is inefficient under EVERY administration, which is why a majority of Americans prefer a smaller government. As it is, the bill is already estimated to cost $115 billion more than anticipated, and it hasn’t yet gone into effect.
It is simply a bad law. The health care law is designed to increase access to health care and lower costs so more Americans can afford to purchase health insurance. Correct? Does taxing the manufacturers of medical devices and brand-name prescription drugs help lower the cost of health care? Those increased costs will undoubtedly be passed on to the consumer, who is now forced to carry health insurance because of the mandates in the health care law – no matter what the cost! In fact, nothing in the new law controls the rising costs of health care. It does, however, force businesses to file a 1099 form for every vendor transaction of $600 or more, which creates a pile of paperwork for even the smallest businesses. What purpose does this serve in a health care bill? None! It has nothing to do with health care.
Going forward, individuals will no longer be able to claim medical expenses on their taxes that exceed 7.5% of their income. The new number is 10%, resulting in roughly $800 less in deductions for someone earning $25,000/year. President Obama said those earning under $250k/year wouldn’t see their taxes increase by a “single dime,” but if you can’t claim an additional $800 in medical expenses on your tax return, I think you’re out more than a dime. Medicare payroll taxes are also going up 2.35% for those earning more than $200k, and revenue from the increase in Medicare taxes will not be going to help save or fix Medicare. Medicare, in fact, is being cut by $500,000,000,000.00!
Then there are the mandates. Individuals will now be required to carry health insurance, whether they can afford it or not. Your coverage must also meet minimum government standards to “qualify” as an acceptable health care plan. The penalty for not complying will be as much as $750 per year for an individual, $2,250 for a family, or 2% of your income – whichever is higher. The employer mandates could cause some series damage. Employers who cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees will pay fines, which could amount to $3,000 per employee, per year. This will unquestionably cause jobs to be cut and businesses to close. That’s a fact that cannot be ignored.
Of course we can’t forget luxury health care plans, called “Cadillac Plans.” These are plans that cost more than $8,500 per year for an individual. They’re great plans, but there will now be a 40% excise tax on them. Yes, that’s right – 40%. It is designed to go after the rich, but it is not indexed for inflation, which means in 10 years when all plans cost $8,500/year or more, everyone will be paying the 40% tax. Many union-negotiated plans are considered “Cadillac Plans,” but if you’re in a union you don’t have to worry about it. President Obama exempted unions from this 40% tax. For the record, only 8% of Americans are in unions.
The new law also allows the Department of Health and Human Services to create “qualified non-profit health insurance issuers” to offer health insurance, with federal grants, and exempt from federal taxes. It requires health care coverage information to be reported to the IRS, and provides funding to hire 16,000 additional IRS agents to ensure compliance with the individual and employer mandates.
What’s not in the bill? Tort reform for starters. We live in a lawsuit-happy society, and doctors must carry expensive insurance policies to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits and mega-million dollar settlements. Those costs get passed on to patients, contributing to the high costs of health care. Republicans wanted tort reform included. Democrats argued it would not result in a significant savings, however it should be noted that trial lawyers donate almost exclusively to the Democratic Party. Another provision not included in the bill was the ability to purchase health care plans across state lines. This would increase competition and help lower costs, as we’ve seen happen in the auto insurance industry. Again, Democrats refused to include it after it was proposed by Republicans.
The House of Representatives requires 218 votes to pass a bill into law, and when the health care law was passed 253 were Democrats. The Senate requires 51 votes to pass a bill into law, and when the health care law was passed 57 were Democrats. Once again, I need someone to tell me how Republicans were being “obstructionists.” In reality, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi didn’t get to pass the law they wanted because conservative Democrats were pressured to oppose the bill. That’s why the far-left liberals today feel as though the law doesn’t go far enough. Republicans, who opposed the bill almost unanimously through the entire process, didn’t even have to show up for the final votes.
In the end, not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted to pass what is now referred to as ObamaCare. After the Senate passed the health care law, the San Francisco Chronicle stated, “The passage of Health Care Reform means the death of the Republican Party. Can you imagine any Republican effectively explaining to an electorate why they voted against help for the uninsured?” Help for the uninsured, at the expense of the remaining 90% of Americans? This issue is not as black and white as the Chronicle would have us believe.
Nine months later, a clear majority of Americans favor repeal and Democrats face the possibility of losing the House of Representatives. When you politicize a non-political issue like health care, emotions get in the way and eventually you have to start looking at the facts. Almost everyone agrees that our health care system is in need of reform, but if Congress is going to spend years and trillions of taxpayer dollars reforming it, shouldn’t we do it right? “It’s better than nothing,” is simply not good enough.
The simple truth is that President Obama and Democrats in Washington thought health care reform would be their golden moment, ensuring victories in 2010 and 2012. They completely underestimated the political cost of going against the majority of Americans, and I’m happy to see our nation waking up and paying attention to important issues again.
Someday we may even see Americans paying attention to the details of those issues. I welcome it.
The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.
New unemployment numbers are in, and the national rate held firm at 9.5% while the state with the worst rate broke its own record. Nevada, the hardest hit state in the nation when it comes to foreclosures and per capita bankruptcies, has led the nation in unemployment since it overtook Michigan in May. Unemployment in Nevada rose to 14.3% in July, while unemployment in Nevada’s largest city, Las Vegas, rose to 14.8%. July marks the 16th consecutive month Nevada’s unemployment rate has increased. Ignored in all of this is underemployment, which includes those who are working part-time due to a lack of full-time jobs, and is estimated at 18.4% nationally, and 21.5% in Nevada. Unemployment among teens is at 26.1%, while underemployment for African-Americans is estimated at 25% and unemployment for Black teens hit 40.6% in July.
In light of these facts, different people have different views on how to solve the problem. Democrats in Washington, along with President Obama, are committed to a strategy that includes stimulus packages and federal spending to boost the economy. Republicans in Washington disagree, and prefer options that include keeping taxes low and creating incentives for businesses to hire. These differences have turned into an ideological battle where Republicans call Democrats “socialists,” and “Marxists,” while Democrats call Republicans “obstructionists,” and “for the rich.” Name-calling may be an effective way to damage your opponent politically, but it doesn’t do much to educate Americans on the issues, or explain why there is such disagreement.
One of those points of disagreement is the extension of unemployment benefits. Every time Democrats try to pass bills to extend unemployment benefits, Republicans say “No.” And every time Republicans say “No,” they are labeled “insensitive,” “cold-hearted,” etc. So what’s wrong with Republicans? Why do they “hate the unemployed,” as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow claims?
Two things are important to consider here. First, Democrats passed H.R. 2920, the Pay-As-You-Go-Act of 2010 (PAYGO), in February. Under PAYGO, any new spending or tax cuts must be budget-neutral, or offset by cuts elsewhere (Read: New spending must be paid for before it is passed). Democrats in the House passed the unemployment extension without paying for it with an equivalent amount of cuts, ignoring their own statute, and blaming Republicans for wanting to follow it.
Second, many Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits today are doing so based on wages they were earning when the economy was much better. The result is that their unemployment earnings are often higher than jobs are currently paying. As an example, let’s say Mary was laid off in Nevada while making $700/week. She is currently receiving roughly $350 per week in unemployment benefits, just under the $362/week cap. Looking for work today, Mary may not accept a job unless it comes with a paycheck higher than her unemployment check. Currently in Nevada, minimum wage is $8.25/hr. for jobs that do not offer health insurance, and $7.25 for those that do. This means Mary needs to find a job that pays $8.75 in order to make more than unemployment pays her to stay home. That doesn’t factor in the cost to get to work, like gas for the car. Employers simply aren’t able to pay employees today the same wages as they did one or two years ago, and unemployed workers have no real incentive to take a job that doesn’t pay more than unemployment.
Now, when Democrats extend unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 99 weeks, which they have done, it enables people to remain on unemployment for close to two years. There’s no doubt that unemployment is needed, especially at a time when jobs are hard to find. However, I’ve seen many examples of people turning down jobs because they don’t pay as much as their unemployment benefits. To make matters worse, all you need to do to collect unemployment here in Nevada is visit a website weekly to file your claim. You have to answer some questions, but you never have to meet with anyone to prove you’re actually out looking for a job, let alone not turning them down. Nevada is practically bankrupt, and there’s virtually no accountability in the unemployment system.
So do Republicans “hate the unemployed,” as Rachel Maddow suggests? Or rather, do Republicans see the financial strain caused by indefinite unemployment benefits? Perhaps Republicans understand that revenues won’t return to state governments and profits won’t return to businesses until people start returning to work – and a 99-week safety net isn’t exactly motivation. Now unemployment is hardly a vacation. It’s demoralizing, and extremely challenging to make ends meet on such a meager income. However, there are jobs out there, and we need to make sure we are not rewarding people who pass them up to remain on unemployment. That part is not cold-hearted. It’s fiscally responsible.
Republicans are often hit hardest for favoring tax cuts and incentives for businesses. Democrats have convinced people that any benefits for businesses, small or large, only help rich people. However, the opposite is true. Small businesses in America represent 99.7% of all employers, and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs over the last decade. If these businesses are not hiring today, it is because they are afraid to spend the money, not knowing what the future holds. Every tax we add to the shoulders of job creators in this country will result in more lay-offs, less new jobs, and higher costs passed on to consumers, all at the worst possible time.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the unemployment issue is how Democrats have politicized it. Let’s be clear: Democrats have a super-majority in the House of Representatives. They can pass ANYTHING they want, as the Republicans do not have the votes to stop them. That means if Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats wanted to pass Polish as the official language of America, they COULD! PERIOD! In fact, the only reasons Democrats CAN’T pass everything they want is that conservative Democrats who won in the 2008 Obama wave now represent traditionally Republican districts, and don’t want to lose in November. So let’s get off this narrative that Republicans are obstructionists. The truth is that Democrats prefer to have Republicans support their unpopular bills like Health Care Reform, Cap and Trade, and others, so they’re not alone in receiving heat from voters come November. If listening to the American people is considered obstructionism, we have a problem.
I talked to a voter today who told me the Republican Party was “The Party of ‘No’,” and that they oppose everything President Obama tries to do because he’s black. Earlier this week, the following statistics were featured in a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad:
– 57% think Democrat Agenda is “extreme.” (Rasmussen Poll, 8/11/10)
– 60% favor repeal of ObamaCare. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
– 56% disapprove of Obama’s job performance. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
– 61% favor Arizona-like law in their state. (Rasmussen Poll, 7/8/10)
– 68% oppose Ground Zero Mosque. (CNN Poll, 8/11/10)
– 65% angry at Federal Government policies. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
– 65% say America is on the wrong track. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/11/10)
With these numbers, why shouldn’t Republicans be “The Party of ‘No’?” This clearly illustrates that President Obama and the Democrats currently controlling Washington are in direct opposition to the American people, regardless of skin color.
But it’s not this voter’s fault she feels that way. It’s what the media has been telling her for two years, every chance they get. It’s the standard attack from the Democrat Party. Whether it’s the Mosque at Ground Zero, unemployment benefit extensions, terrorism, immigration, gay marriage, health care, energy issues, education issues – if a Republican has an opinion on it, he or she is labeled a:
Choose One: [racist, homophobe, xenophobe, elitist, bigot, Islamophobe, fearmonger, hatemonger, warmonger]
Choose One: [Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Muslims, the poor, children, women, the elderly, the middle-class]
Pay attention next time, and you’ll see it for yourself. The attack is always the same, and it is never based on the actual issue. That needs to change. We have to talk about the issues and work together to do what is best for our country. We need to educate voters on the issues, so Americans can make the right decisions based on accurate information. And we must start using logic, and not emotion, to determine the direction our country takes as we move forward.
As for unemployment, remember: The government has no money. The only money it has comes from taxpayers. When a private company creates a job it is paid for with profits. When the government creates one, it is paid for by YOU.
The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.
I can still remember walking up on September 11, 2001, and being told to turn on my TV. As I put the news on, I saw chilling images of a single plane, which had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. It would be another 10 minutes or so until the entire country witnessed the second plane hit the South Tower. There was little doubt at that point that our nation was under attack.
I tell you this as a reminder. September 11, 2001 was a day that every American, and many around the world, will never forget. A defining moment, when we will all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. It was the most deadly terrorist attack against Americans anywhere in the world, and certainly on our own soil.
Enter, the Cordoba House. This $100 million Islamic cultural center will be built a mere 600 feet from where the Twin Towers stood. Included in this 15-story monument to Islam are a mosque, a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, restaurant, and bookstore. The Imam behind the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was quoted on March 24, 2010 as saying “I do not believe in religious dialogue,” insists on the Park 51 location despite uproar from many organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. These aren’t exactly right-wing organizations. Less than three weeks after the September 11th attacks, Imam Rauf went on 60 Minutes and said, “United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened,” and that we have been “an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world.” He went on to say that “Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.” He would not answer a question about whether Hamas is a terror organization, and he made it clear that “The U.S. must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end.”
Funding for the “Mosque at Ground Zero” will come from Arab and Muslim nations around the world, according to Imam Rauf. Which Arab and Muslim nations? It doesn’t matter according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who believes it is not the government’s concern.
These are the facts. There are no emotions, no buzzwords – just facts.
An Imam who blames America for 9/11 and refuses to classify Hamas as a terror organization, will raise $100 million from Arab and Muslim nations, to build a 15-story Islamic cultural center which contains a mosque, 600 feet from Ground Zero where 3,000 died at the hands of Islamic extremists less than 9 years ago. It’s called the Cordoba House, a reference to the great mosque at Cordoba, which was built on the foundation of a Christian cathedral after Muslims conquered what is now Spain. Is the name symbolic of triumph? Perhaps. At the very least, it is one of the worst marketing concepts of all time in light of the circumstances surrounding the location. It certainly does not reassure opponents of the mosque that there are no hidden motives.
Enter New York Governor David Patterson, who offered to help find an alternative site for the mosque, on state-owned property further away from Ground Zero. The Cordoba organizers declined the offer. At the time of this writing, there was renewed hope that an arrangement could be made between the parties to give up on the Park 51 site. Only time will tell.
Last week, Greg Gutfeld, host of Red Eye on Fox News Channel, announced that he was planning to build a gay bar next to the proposed mosque location. The bar, potentially known as “Dialog” (Gutfeld is building ‘Dialog’), would cater to Islamic young men, and help “reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world,” through dialog. After refusing comment, the organizers of the mosque issued a comment via Gutfeld’s Twitter page: “You’re free to open whatever you like. If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog.” If those behind the Cordoba House won’t consider the sensibilities of Americans, New Yorkers and the families and victims of 9/11, why should Greg Gutfeld consider the sensibilities of Muslims? Doesn’t this approach hypocrisy?
So should the Islamic Community Center (and mosque) be built at the Park 51 location? While this is not a political issue, like everything else in our country it has become one. Republicans are largely opposed to it, and Democrats are mostly supportive. Polling shows that 68% of Americans oppose the mosque, while only 29% are in favor, clearly illustrating which political party is more in-line with mainstream America. Given the insensitive nature of the location, only 600 feet from Ground Zero, I believe it would be better if those behind the Cordoba House project chose a different location.
So is this issue about religious freedom, as many on the Left maintain it is?
Do Christians have the religious freedom to oppose same-sex marriage? Not if you ask those on the Left. Were the Prop 8 opponents who protested outside Mormon temples in California in 2008 adhering to the freedom of religion clause? Or those who refuse to allow prayer in schools, including a moment of silence set aside for that purpose? Let’s face it, modern-day liberals have been trying to remove God from our currency, our Pledge of Allegiance, our schools, government buildings, the presidential oath of office, and just about everything else they can think of. Why now, is freedom of religion so important to them?
Could it be that yet another issue, like gay marriage, health care reform and so many others, has become more about winning than doing the right thing?
Conservatives and Republicans who have weighed in on the issue in opposition of the mosque have been accused of racism, xenophobia, and even hypocrisy for dismissing the freedom of religion clause in our Constitution. Most of these charges have been levied by those on the Left (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here are just a few examples) who believe this mosque is anything but an affront to American culture and sensitivities surrounding the 9/11 attacks. How can 68% of Americans all be xenophobic bigots?
This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and New York Representatives Michael Arcuri (NY-24), Mike McMahon (NY-13), Steve Israel (NY-2) and Tim Bishop (NY-1) – ALL DEMOCRATS – came out against the proposed mosque. Are they also xenophobic bigots? And what about Islam? Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East who practice Islam and subscribe to Sharia Law routinely condone honor killings, the abuse and oppression of women, and the murder of those suspected of being homosexuals. Does that also fall under religious freedom? Are mosque supporters homophobes?
Once again, those on the Right are painted as racists, bigots and other unflattering terms by those on the Left, simply because of a disagreement in ideology. The views of most conservatives, and 68% of Americans, are not rooted in hatred, but in common sense and decency. Because many on the Left can rarely win over mainstream America with facts, they resort to name-calling and emotions to win the war of messaging. Unfortunately, they win that war far too often.
A grandiose Islamic community center (with mosque) built 600 feet from the spot where 3,000 died on 9-11-01 is simply offensive to many people. Even if the goal is to build dialog, it won’t happen if it is built at the Park 51 location. Proponents of the mosque will continue to claim that this is an issue of religious freedom obstructed by the fear of Islam, but the reality is much simpler. Rational people are not questioning the legal right to build a mosque, only the location. The fact that those behind the Cordoba House project are thus far unwilling to accept an alternate location shows their true level of desire to build dialog and foster a good relationship with the community.
The Left has glommed on to this issue as a vehicle to further label the GOP as racist and bigoted. But this time, they will fail, because Americans rightfully don’t see this as a partisan political issue. For some reason, these newfound fans of religious freedom in America cannot understand why people wouldn’t want something built in the neighborhood around Ground Zero.
Maybe they’d understand if it was a Wal-Mart.
For a variety of different reasons, many Americans believe that the 2010 mid-term election is one of the most important in our country’s history. Republicans and Democrats are engaged in an ideological war of words, spinning their versions of reality for the entire nation to witness. For those who are not news junkies or political fans, most election cycles can be frustrating experiences as they navigate a sea of information trying to make the right decision in November.
As someone who is involved in politics, I have noticed a disturbing trend develop over the past decade. Politicians have seemingly stopped talking about the actual issues and how they affect us as Americans, and instead choose to solely focus on winning. Candidates now spend millions nationally, tens of thousands locally, on consultants to shape their campaigns. Their goal is to find the right strategy, the perfect messaging, to turn out voters and outsmart their opponents. Winning is important, but it’s difficult to get anyone to follow you if you can’t explain why they should. This is true in both parties, but how does this help the average American understand what is going on?
As a conservative Republican, I have seen my party take for granted that people understand what they’re talking about. When we refer to “free market solutions,” or “small government,” we expect the average voter will know exactly what we mean, when many simply do not. Many Republicans act as though conservative values are “common sense,” and that people will “come around” when they realize it. Unfortunately this laissez-faire attitude, combined with poor messaging, has left us playing right into the hands of crafty Democrats.
If we oppose the unfunded extension of unemployment, we are labeled “insensitive.” If we oppose illegal immigration, we are called “racists.” If we believe marriage is a rite instead of a right, we are labeled “bigots.” If we support tax cuts, we’re accused of being “for the rich.” This happens because we continually lose the battle when it comes to messaging, at a time when many Americans don’t read past the headlines.
The rift between the Left and Right in this country is wide, but it pales in comparison to the chasm between the political class and the average voter. Most Independents, Non-Partisans, Libertarians and other third-party or unaffiliated voters have walked away from the major parties because they no longer engage the average American in civil discourse.
For example, calling President Obama a “socialist” may rile up a crowd of conservatives, but that’s preaching to the choir. Meanwhile, many people who aren’t as knowledgeable when it comes to government and politics will be immediately turned off to any message that follows, and take their votes with them. Sadly, there is rarely a message that follows. Instead, we need to detail exactly what we feel is wrong with a policy position, piece of legislation or new law – and present it well.
Americans, despite their growing apathy toward government and politics, tend to have good judgment when acting as a group. They want to do what’s right, even if some of us don’t agree with their decision. But they need the facts, not the rhetoric. Politicians today spend so much time scaring their base in an attempt to mobilize them that they are immobilizing so many others who want nothing to do with those tactics. It’s a losing strategy long-term.
“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” – Thomas Jefferson
It is for these reasons that I have decided to write a series of posts on the issues affecting us – as Americans – from a common-sense conservative point of view. I will explain how many on the Left routinely mischaracterize the GOP position to paint us as radicals and racists, instead of simply disagreeing on logic and methodology – and how the Right continues to fail at messaging.
Stay tuned for Part I: The Mosque at Ground Zero!
Those who know me know how much I despise it when someone has a victim mentality. It annoys me to no end. Those who know this about me also know that I believe that government should not be in the marriage business, as I believe that marriage is a religious institution and that gay and straight couples should both be allowed to have civil unions as opposed to marriage.
With that said, I think that it is ridiculous that so many gays love to hold up banners and scream “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE” but in the next breath, ask the government to sanction marriage, a religious institution. This is a clear contradiction, and, in my personal opinion, an uneducated and hypocritical statement.
100% of the legislative process in the United States Congress has been controlled by Democrats since 2007. The Democrats have had a monopoly on both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government since 2009.
During this time, the Democrats who are considered by many gays to be the sole defenders and tireless advocates of their rights, failed to pass a marriage equality bill or repeal of Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, despite having a supermajority in the United States Senate.
In California, From 1999 to 2003, Democrats controlled the state legislature and there was a Democrat governor, Gray Davis. During this time, marriage equality legislation was not made law and upheld in California.
To the present time, many gay rights activists are comfortable dumping millions of dollars into the campaign war chests of Democrats running for office, Equality California, the Human Rights Campaign and other so-called non partisan gay organizations…and they have nothing to show for it! Talk about a bad, fraudulent investment.
Pro-gay groups organize gays and lesbians (of which many are not even registered to vote) at events and other platforms for action to vilify Republicans, who are the minority party in Sacramento and Washington, DC and have no meaningful control over the legislative process.
These organizations, their affiliates and members have exercised relentless business boycotts during this long economic recession. They have punished many Americans directly and indirectly who simply exercised their freedom to vote, a universal right which many of these vigilantes refuse to use themselves. Instead, they prefer others to carry their water for them so-to-speak.
While I cautiously cast my vote in 2008 against Proposition 8 based on my Constitutional and Jeffersonian principles, I have still been attacked simply because I am a proud Republican and refuse to apologize for my pro-American values. I would hope that Barney Frank and Jared Polis are enraged by this baseless hatred and discrimination as they have both gone on the record stating that equality will never be achieved without Republican support.
Gays need to wake up! Republicans have lead the way in equality and diversity for most of our nation’s life. Republican Accomplishments
It was Republican Congresswoman Ileans Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who first introduced a bill to repeal Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Democrats refused to bring her bill up for a vote.
It is the Log Cabin Republicans who are challenging Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in court.
It was President George W. Bush who appointed, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who swore in, an openly gay AIDS Czar.
It was President George W. Bush who passed and signed into law record funding for AIDS research.
It was Alaska Governor Sarah Palin whose first veto as governor allowed same-sex couples working for the state to receive benefits equal to those of married couples.
It was President Ronald Reagan who originally nominated Vaughn Walker to the federal Bench in 1987. It was Democrat Congresswoman (now Speaker) Nancy Pelosi who lead a group of two dozen House Democrats to oppose his nomination because they claimed that Judge Walker harbored “insensitivity” toward gays and poor people. It was President George H.W. Bush who appointed Judge Vaughn Walker to his current position on the federal bench where he serves as one of only two openly gay federal judges.
Republican appointed and Democrat opposed Judge Walker today overturned California’s Proposition 8 today after Democrats failed to protect the Republican Dominated California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage was constitutional in California.
To those who have been a part of this counterproductive counterculture lead by Obama, Pelosi, Reid & Jerry Brown: My only hope is that you finally exercise accountability and acceptance of reality when you exercise your reinstated Constitutional Rights.
Stop the reverse discrimination.
Stop the hatred.
Promote Businesses, NOT Boycotts.
Stop the Hypocrisy.
Two wrongs do not make a right, so get over yourselves and stop trying to justify your erratic behavior.
Let us all now join together as Californians and focus on what really matters in this next election: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! … and, like equality, only ONE person and only ONE party has a specific plan to make this happen. It is the party that made today’s victory possible. Now that we have our future set ahead of us, let’s do something that really matters and build A New California!
This past weekend I took a drive from my home in Las Vegas to San Diego for GOProud’s “Don’t Tread On Us” Reception, featuring conservative lesbian radio icon Tammy Bruce. The event was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, a beautiful property with gorgeous ocean views, just a few blocks from the Gaslamp District. The event was a great success, complete with outdoor patio setting, tasty hors d’oeuvres and an exceptional featured speaker.
About 30 minutes before the event was set to begin, several protesters showed up on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. There were no more than a dozen at their zenith, and they were shouting “Boycott the Hyatt!” There had been a lot of buzz on the interwebs about “THE BOYCOTT” by the gay community, resulting from owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 donation in favor of Prop 8. In addition, the first friend I contacted regarding my weekend in San Diego said, “Don’t you know about ‘THE BOYCOTT’?” Nobody consulted me before starting “THE BOYCOTT,” so I was clearly not bound to honor it.
At first I thought these 12 people, who devoted at least an hour of their time on a gorgeous Southern California day to screaming while nobody listened, were protesting the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) – which was having their convention at the Manchester Grand this same weekend. Didn’t they know about “THE BOYCOTT?”
They weren’t protesting the 1,600 black journalists who held their convention at the hotel, after 70% of the black community in California voted to support Prop. 8. They weren’t protesting the numerous Hispanic hotel guests and employees, after 53% of Hispanics voted against gay marriage in California. They weren’t protesting the 1,000 Red Hat Ladies who descended on the hotel this past weekend. They were protesting the 40 gay conservatives who chose to meet on a patio for a few hours of camaraderie and appetizers, while listening to Tammy Bruce explain why she no longer identifies with liberals.
Now there’s no doubt that Hyatt owner Doug Manchester gave $125,000 in support of Prop 8. However since then, and possibly because of “THE BOYCOTT,” he apologized and offered to donate the same amount to various gay organizations as a way of righting his wrong. GOProud was the first recipient of those funds, which helped defray the cost of this weekend’s reception. Apparently that didn’t sit well with the 12 members of the Gay Left Gestapo, who were outside waving signs like “Gay Republicans are like Vegetarian Butchers,” and “GOProud = GOShame” – very creative.
The hypocrisy is staggering.
The Gay Left demands rights and freedoms, yet punishes Doug Manchester for exerting his. “THE BOYCOTT” is designed to hurt the Hyatt financially. However, it also negatively impacts the hotel’s 1,000 employees – a significant portion of which are gay and had nothing to do with Manchester’s decision to donate to Prop 8. The Gay Left has chosen to continue their assault on Doug Manchester, even after he has seen the error of his ways and made genuine attempts to make amends. Activists should be rewarding people who change their views based on new information, even if that information has to do with declining profits. Doesn’t that mean “THE BOYCOTT” worked? Instead, these protesters make it clear that there is no upside for people to publicly admit they made a mistake, and try to make things right. That’s a self-defeating exercise.
As an aside, the fact that the San Diego chapter of Log Cabin Republicans are honoring “THE BOYCOTT” just goes to prove earlier statements made by this author that LCR has completely abandoned those it claims to represent.
The bottom line is that the Gay Left is nothing more than an activist arm of the Democratic Party. They have aligned with union thugs to boycott the Manchester Grand Hyatt – not because of marriage, but because of its non-union policy. The organizers of the boycott and subsequent protesters make it clear when they say, “The solidarity between the labor movement and the LGBT movement is a powerful coalition.” They continue, “Together, we have signed up over 3,000 people at Pride events onto pledges to ‘Sleep With The Right People’–that is, patronize union hotels whenever possible and steer clear of hotels with active boycotts.” Human Rights Campaign also supports “THE BOYCOTT,” proving that they believe in equal rights for everyone – except the rights to oppose gay marriage, not join a union, or earn a living at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
I never got the memo that stated being gay requires being pro-union. Maybe we need to add another letter to our alphabet soup acronym. LGBTTQQIA… U?
So why is the Gay Left in cahoots with unions in California? Could it be that the largest donor against Prop. 8 was a union? Mr. Manchester may have topped the financial contribution list in favor of Prop 8 with $125,000, but the California Teachers Association contributed ten times that amount against the measure, with a staggering $1.25 million. The CTA’s parent organization is the NEA.
Remember… “The solidarity between the labor movement and the LGBT movement is a powerful coalition.”