Government Spending Cuts: A Triumph Of FICTION Over FACT

As we listen to our government officials at all levels, we hear many talking about spending cuts.  But, are they really cuts?

For example, in Maryland, if I add-up all of the so-called spending cuts made during the past 7 years, taxes should have decreased by $3 Billion, and individual tax bills should have decreased more than a thousand dollars a year per taxpayer.

Of course, that is not what has happened.  Taxes increased:  Income taxes, property taxes, flush taxes, rain taxes, fuel taxes, toll taxes, sales taxes, vehicle taxes, food and beverage taxes, bottle taxes, bag taxes, title taxes, death taxes, healthcare taxes.  You name it.

This raises an interesting question.  If government is making all of these “Spending Cuts”, why is government continuing to grow? And why are taxes continuing to increase?

The answer will anger you.  The average salt-of-the-earth common-sense citizen knows what a “CUT” is.    If this year I spend $100, but next year I spend only $99, it’s a “CUT”.

So what’s happening?

Government deliberately uses illegitimate definitions of a “CUT,” but depends on you to subconsciously apply a correct definition of a “CUT”.

Here’s how:

The first is something I refer to as the fallacy of buying bananas versus oranges.  If government decides to buy fewer bananas, but more oranges, it issues a press release saying it has cut spending on bananas, while failing to mention it is now spending more on oranges. Of course, in this so-called cut, net spending usually goes up.

The second definition is one I refer to as the fallacy of a reduced wish list.  Government creates its own wish list to grow its budget $10M next year.   When it only get $6M of the planned increase, they announce they’ve cut spending $4 million.  Again, this so-called cut translates into more spending and expansion of government.

So what is a real cut?  A real cut must meet one of the following three criteria:

1)      Next year’s total spending must be less than this year’s total spending.  If it’s lower, it’s a cut; or

2)    Next year’s total funding plan must be fewer total dollars than this year’s total funding plan. If it is, it’s a cut; or

3)    If next year’s planned spending per person is less than this year’s planned spending per person, it might be a cut.  The key word is “might” because you have to pay close attention to the details. If government reduces the amount of spending funded by each individual taxpayer, it may reasonably be considered a cut in spending-per-taxpayer.  This could happen when the population of a jurisdiction is increasing, but expenses are fixed.    On the other hand, if government reduces benefits for each recipient of a social program by 1%, but addicts 50% more people to the same social service, it’s not a cut.  It is an expansion of government.

So there you have it.  Three definition of a real cut in spending.    Everything else is fiction.

Understanding the games played by government officials will help citizens decode “government budget speak” and determine whether so-called cuts are fiction or fact.

 

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Multiculturalism: A More Critical Look





Photo credit: AsianMedia (Creative Commons)

I raised two children through high school and college, and I’ve found that a disturbing anti-American bias is apparent in their multicultural studies.

America’s history is presented as a series of racist, ethnocentric, and colonialist abuses. Perhaps a partial undercurrent of truth exists for some of these criticisms. However, every major civilization on earth has been guilty of the same charges at one time or another. To America’s credit, we evolved and are arguably the most tolerant nation on the planet.

Recently, a friend of mine who is a professor at a Maryland university confided that white males have a rocky trek at her school.  It seems whites have now become the target of choice for endless attacks and derogatory comments by university intelligentsia. All of this appears to be a byproduct of multiculturalism run amuck.

Multiculturalism can be a good thing, especially when used to teach tolerance for individuals who are different than us. However, it is no different than medicine or chocolate … too much of it taken indiscriminately can make you sick. There is a fine line between tolerance and endorsement. What happens when we endorse cultures that do not share our beliefs relating to human rights, respect for law, and the pursuit of happiness for all people?

Ironically, multiculturalism embraces museumized versions of cultures that are incompatible with America’s Constitution.  An example includes fundamentalist Islam, wherein there is no distinction between church and state.  The Koran prescribes Islam; but it also prescribes a body politic, known as Sharia law, wherein women, Christians, Jews, and minorities are denied rights that are taken for granted in America.  My point is this: before embracing any culture, it would be wise to know exactly what we are embracing in the name of multiculturalism.

How do we reconcile Dhimmitude, a form of apartheid, that commands treatment of Christians and Jews as second-class citizens, under condition they subjugate to Sharia law? Women are required to wear veils. Is oppressing women acceptable?

An editor of a liberal northeast newspaper was dismissive, stating, “we won’t accept the most extreme versions of Islamism. That won’t happen.”  It is happening.  Under the guise of multiculturalism, Sharia tribunal courts hostile to women’s rights have already gained a foothold in Canada’s Provinces. Should America embrace Sharia courts?

Illegal immigration is another area of concern. Multiculturalism overtly discourages today’s immigrants from assimilating. The ACLU and other pro-multiculturalism organizations appear to aid and abet illegal immigrants who have no interest in assimilating.  Now, American college graduates living in places like Grand Island, Nebraska, or Greeley, Colorado have difficulty obtaining employment unless they speak Spanish.

A few years ago, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Marsha Garst, Virginia commonwealth’s attorney in rural Rockingham County, described the crime and gang violence perpetrated by illegal aliens in her rural Virginia community. Garst urged lawmakers to address the illegal-alien gang problem “before our way of life is lost forever.” She went on to detail the involvement of gangs like the Salvadoran MS-13 and the Surenos 13, a gang comprised of citizens of Mexico, in drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping, and robbery.

America is under de-facto attack from those who do not embrace our values, and would destroy America’s way of life if empowered.

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Non cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good.” Has multiculturalism become the battle cry of the complacent and self loathing who refuse to recognize the current geopolitical and geo-cultural threats to America’s heritage? Should we endorse those who threaten our national security, break our laws, and show contempt for America’s constitution, culture, and way of life?

Clearly, multiculturalism has its virtues; but it also has limitations. A lack of unified values threatens the cohesion of our society. The secular nature of multiculturalism is perceived as hypocritical by many Americans. Why does multiculturalism embrace the value of other cultures while simultaneously denigrating the accomplishments and values of America’s great Judeo-Christian heritage?  And, why do multiculturalists appear to embrace the value systems and agendas of various fringe special interest groups, while simultaneously seeking to expunge Judeo-Christian values from our culture?

Multiculturalism rarely focuses on the goodness and benevolence of America and rejects assimilation as a racist concept. Yet, multiculturalism ignores the fact that immigrants leave their birth nations and come to America for a reason. They can retain their rich ethnicity, while sharing America’s culture. They want to be Americans.

Perhaps a better solution is to strive for a single, unified American culture that is simply multi-ethnic.

Ultimately, indiscriminate multiculturalism may prove to be the Trojan horse that destroys a free America. Hostile cultures, if empowered, may dismantle the hard-won rights enjoyed by women and minorities; freedom of religion; freedom from religion; and freedom from social disorder, crime, and tyranny.

It is a fact that America’s great Christian-Judeo culture laid the bedrock for the most open and diverse society in the world.  Ironically, multiculturalism taken to extremes may kill the proverbial Judeo-Christian goose that laid the golden egg.

 

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Photo credit: AsianMedia (Creative Commons)





Why Good Politicians Go Bad





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A few months ago, a crew from New Jersey was recording a college campus video in my office.  I am a Constitutionally Conservative Republican; so when the interviewer asked me a question that seemed like it would have a self-evident answer, she was surprised when I threw her a curveball.

She asked, “Commissioner Rothschild, would you encourage young college Republicans to consider running for public office?”

No, I responded, unless they answer the following questions correctly:

First, are they committed to upholding the Constitution?

Second, can they handle not being liked?

“What do you mean?” she asked.

Well…   People who are amiable and have a strong need to be liked do not necessarily make good conservative elected officials.

You see, everyone who comes before a governing body inevitably wants money for something that they deem important:  Money for social programs; Money for infrastructure; Money for Public Safety; Money for Veterans; Money for Libraries; Money for Schools, etc.

Furthermore, in the world of government, special interests judge you based on whether or not you “support” their mission.   And, unfortunately, “support” is not measured by principles; nor is it measured by empathy.  In the stark world of government, it is measured in dollars.

Akin to rats in a cage that learn to push a lever for a pellet of food, most newly elected officials quickly learn they can buy accolades from members of various groups or unions simply by giving them what they want:  Money.

They also learn they can buy support from the liberal media by supporting the same liberal causes embraced by the liberal media.

In my three short years in office, I’ve witnessed this anomaly in action.  “Commissioner John Doe cares about education…[he gives us money].  “Commissioner John Doe cares about our hard working employees… [he gives us money].

Never mind the fact that increased spending levels today could force us to layoff fifty people next year if revenues fall short.

Never mind the fact that salary increases we give today could force us to raise taxes on struggling taxpayers next year.

So here’s the rub… People with a compulsive need to be liked do not know how to say “NO.”  They inevitably allow spending and the size of government to trend upward.

Here’s another rub.  The media is overwhelmingly liberal.   People with a compulsive need to be admired inevitably start fine-tuning their decisions in an effort to be praised by the liberal media.  Once this happens, the official is no longer leading with principles. Instead, he/she is being led by an unprincipled liberal editor.

I’ve asked my wife, “I wonder how long a principled man or woman can stay in office before they are eventually corrupted by political pressures?”

After months of reflecting on this, I’ve come to realize that, like most difficult issues, the answer is readily available within the bible.

Matthew 6:24:  “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

This same principle applies in politics to both politicians and constituents.

No elected official can serve two masters.  The decisions almost always boil down to Politics vs. Principles.  I’ve watched good officials go bad, and have concluded it is impossible to uphold conservative convictions over the long run unless you hold yourself accountable to both the Constitution and Christ-like principles during decision making processes.

Of course, it would be unfair to place all of the blame on elected officials.  The same pernicious problem affects constituents.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”  The implications of his pronouncement are profound.   Expedient citizens evaluate their officials by what they give them. Good and moral citizens evaluate their elected officials based on their adherence to sound principles.

With every policy and every decision, each elected official and each constituent must decide what they value most…  Politics or Principles.

Last year, during a debate on funding, I received a revealing email from a teacher.  It threatened, “Commissioner Rothschild… If you want to do what’s best for your political career, you’ll give us the extra funding we demand.”

I walked up to the podium in front of hundreds of jeering government employees, read the email aloud, and told the audience, “I am now ready to respond to this email.  You see, my job is NOT to do what is best for my political career.  My job is to uphold the constitution and manage this county in a fiscally responsible manner.  And, suffice it to say, the reason our country is buried in $16 Trillion in debt, and the reason this county is buried in $300 million of debt is because politicians before me made GREAT CAREER DECISIONS.”

The crowd jeered again, and an unidentifiable voice in the audience, yelled “WHAT’S DEBT?” …apparently reflecting the liberal perspective that debt is just an artificial concept of no real concern.

It’s been nearly a year since that fitful evening. However, God willing, I pray I will never regret the way I handled myself.   But, it does highlight the pressures that cause too many elected officials to go bad.  It would have been so much more politically expedient to simply say, “I agree,” to the audience.

People get the government they demand and deserve.

In his first inaugural address, George Washington said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Now, more than ever, I am convinced the only way to ensure Principles will trump Politics is to return to the timeless question: What would Jesus do?

 

 

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