Capt Bob, Fighting for Freedom
Upholding Our Constitution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Captain Bob   
Monday, 21 October 2013 10:31

Upholding Our Constitution

 

Millions serving in the military, elected and appointed government officials and others routinely take an oath as part of their duties to uphold and defend our Constitution, but what is the practical effect of this oath? How many of these individuals have actually read our Constitution and know what it says? How many are really committed to our Constitution and its Bill of Rights (the First 10 Amendments)? Are our schools teaching the Constitution? How many of those taking the oath to uphold and defend our Constitution could pass a very basic quiz about the contents of our Constitution?

What happened to September 17? It is apparently a forgotten date now that is missing in action, a former holiday not being observed or honored at all in our current “politically correct” climate. But why is this? Throughout most of our history as a nation, our first 2 patriotic holidays were Independence Day (July 4, 1776) and Constitution Day (September 17, 1787). July 4 is important because it establishes our freedom, and September 17 is important because our Constitution was unanimously released by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia for ratification by the States on September 17, 1787.

When the Constitutional Convention finished its work and was disbanding, some spectators gathered outside. As Benjamin Franklin, the grand old man of the Constitutional Convention, was leaving, someone yelled out, “Mr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” Old Ben answered cryptically but conclusively, “a republic, Sir, if you can keep it!”

George Washington was the President of the Constitutional Convention, and every delegate from each state signed it for submission to the States. Our Constitution secures our rights and freedoms and provides a permanent written structure to preserve our self-government through a system of checks and balances that also protects us against excesses by current and future governments and politicians.

It is baffling that groups that want to uphold and defend our Constitution including Tea Party organizations are now abusively attacked by “politically correct” officials and media as “radical” or worse. King George III in 1776 also felt that American patriots were radical. He was outraged that American patriots thought they could be independent of the British government and actually govern themselves. Why is the spirit of 1776 under attack again today? Why is our Constitution being circumvented by politically correct officials?

Winning elections is not a blank check to rule by decree or executive whim. Winning elections confers the privilege to serve within the confines of our constitutional framework, respecting our system of checks and balances and seeking a cooperative consensus wherever possible. Money must not be spent that has not been appropriated. Laws must be passed by Congress.

There are two steps in spending the taxpayers’ money. First, there is authorization legislation. Then a budget is adopted periodically or a special appropriation is passed by Congress. Previous authorization legislation by itself does not allocate continuing funds. The requirement for periodic funding legislation allows oversight by Congress as part of our constitutional checks and balances. It is not extortion if Congress withdraws or fails to provide continuing funding. It is an exercise by Congress of its constitutional responsibility, based on current circumstances, to either fund or not fund what was earlier authorized. Congress is not bound to stick to its past mistakes when there is an opportunity for correction in the appropriation process.

Our Constitutional system of checks and balances protects the public interest, relying on wisdom in a multitude of counselors, rather than letting one man make costly mistakes at the expense of everyone. When our Constitution is ignored or its supporters are abused, America suffers and loses its double barrel advantage, our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution that safeguards and secures our freedoms.

 

Capt. Bob

Fighting for Freedom

On Guard for You

 
Work, Work, Work! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Capt Bob   
Monday, 16 September 2013 10:59

Work, Work, Work!


The bond between work and reward in America is unusually strong going back to Captain John Smith at the first colony of Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600’s. Captain Smith said, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”, and he cut off the daily food ration for those who were not working. After that, America was like a lightening locomotive on the fast track to economic development and personal prosperity on a seismic scale and at a streaking speed never before seen in all of human history. How does this basic bond between work and reward still show up today?

(1) To receive Social Security benefits, either you or someone in your family must work and pay for these benefits with paycheck deductions from earnings. This is not welfare or an entitlement. Although sponsored and guaranteed by the federal government, this is a type of insurance plan that is bought and paid for by work.

(2) To receive Medicare benefits, either you or someone in your family must work and pay for these benefits the same as with Social Security even though Medicare is also sponsored and guaranteed by the federal government.

(3) To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must have lost a job covered by this type of insurance plan that is guaranteed by the federal government in conjunction with the states. Although your employer pays for these benefits, this cost is taken into account when employers establish compensation levels. It is another directly connected work related benefit.

(4) Retirement plans result from many years of work. Even though many retirement plans are fully funded or guaranteed by an employer, those plans that are not fully funded or guaranteed usually involve sponsorship and participation by an employer such as 401(k) plans where employers match contributions from their employees, deducting the workers’ contributions from their paychecks. It is all based upon work. If an employee stops working, the retirement benefits stop accumulating.

(5) Other fringe benefits are also based upon work performance, and there are many possible such as life or disability insurance, dental plans, vision plans and medical savings accounts that are gained or made available through work.

(6) Then there is health insurance. Until now the most typical way to obtain health insurance was by getting a job. The employer would either pay for the health insurance coverage or part of the cost or at least make a plan available based upon a lower group rate, but it was all based upon continuing work. Now all of that has changed. Through legislation ironically named the Affordable Care Act, health insurance is not only being made unaffordable but also unavailable. The federal government has perversely provided employers with a huge incentive to stop providing or assisting with health insurance coverage by exempting part-time employees from its required coverage, taking away not only the health insurance coverage but the 8-hour work day and the 40-hour workweek as legions of workers are reclassified as part-time. Now our workers must subsist on less than 30 hours of paid work per week with no health insurance coverage. This is not government providing more or better health insurance coverage. It is government destroying workers’ and others’ existing health insurance coverage and wrecking the existing health insurance industry with no gains in sight.

On Labor Day we should have apologized to American workers for loss of work-related health insurance benefits, loss of full-time employment compensation including massive job losses caused by incompetent government policies that do not work and political interference with our free enterprise system. We should not be surprised. Congress did not even read the so-called “Affordable Care Act” before voting on it and imposing it like a ton of bricks on the American people and our free enterprise economy to drag us down. Now Congress wants to exempt itself from the law it passed apparently while in a politically induced stupor. They obviously did not know or care what they were doing.

During the ensuing years, the House of Representatives in Washington repeatedly voted time and again to repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act, knowing that the repeal will not pass the Senate or be signed by the President. However, the House of Representatives has not even once voted to defund the Affordable Care Act or any part of it even though they know the overwhelming majority of the American people do not want the so-called Affordable Care Act. This is in spite of the fact that our Constitution confers the power of the purse on the House of Representatives, stating that all revenue, spending and taxing legislation must originate in the House of Representatives. The fact that there is legislation authorizing a program does not mean that it will be funded. There must be separate annual budget legislation or a congressional continuing budget resolution to provide funding. Voting to fund a program is voting for that program, and it is self-defeating and idiotic to vote to fund a program while screaming opposition to it. A rational approach would be to vote against funding a program that is opposed. Who votes for funding something they are against? This occurs only in Congress! The American people apparently have much more sanity than their elected representatives.

There seems to be some confusion about who would be shutting down the government and what is actually involved. Essential functions continue even during a “government shutdown”. The shutdown is not complete. It is partial, and it is the Senate and the President who would be “shutting down the government” based upon petty partisan politics because they cannot get their way on legislation that is destroying America.

Even more permanently damaging to America is the destruction of the connection between work and reward as government benefits balloon with no work component or requirement. The welfare/work reform of the Clinton Administration is now being swept away by huge governmental gift programs. As overall jobs, work and productivity decline in America, the nation also steadily declines. Will no one revive the patient before it is too late, or just lay our nation to rest, buried under an avalanche of government gifts and rewards without any work connection at all?  Perhaps, as we pass off the stage of history, we will erect one last monument in Washington to the vanishing America worker, on the endangered species list and headed for extinction.

 

Capt. Bob

Fighting for Freedom,

On Guard for You,

I have just begun to write!

 


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