Dear President Obama,
As you are likely well aware, you and I have many fundamental philosophical differences. I have long believed in personal liberty and economic freedom. Despite the rhetoric that you may espouse, your actions imply that you believe government can plan our lives better than we can plan them ourselves. Nearly all of the policies you have championed throughout your political career were designed to destroy individual freedom. With all due respect President, your big government philosophy is the antithesis of everything our Founding Fathers stood for.
Over the past few years, we have seen a spontaneous uprising of citizen activists protesting big government and reckless spending. My organization FreedomWorks (formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy) has never seen so many passionate activists in our 27 year history. As you stated in a September 2010 Rolling Stone interview, “Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, which was one of the first organizational mechanisms to bring Tea Party folks together...” We believe that the Tea Party is a direct response to the out of control spending habits of Former President George W. Bush and you.
FreedomWorks has fought your numerous power grabs at every turn. Our over one million members stood strong against the failed $814 billion “stimulus” package, your 2,801 page healthcare takeover law and the Dodd-Frank Act (also known as the “Federal Reserve Empowerment Act”). We’re exhausted from these grueling battles but we will never give up. As you already know, the Tea Party has begun to change the debate in Washington, D.C. Liberty is always worth fighting for.
The federal government has hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling under your watch. It’s closer to $144 trillion with unfunded liabilities factored in. You often assert that you inherited massive debt from your predecessor. Now I’ll be the first to agree that George W. Bush was a big spending Republican. Both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for our current fiscal mess. When you took office two and a half years ago, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. It’s now over $14.3 trillion. That’s a 35 percent increase, Mr. President.
You remain committed to raising the debt ceiling. It’s unfortunate that you have announced your intentions to veto the Cut, Cap and Balance Act if it landed on your desk. The bill would cut $111 billion from the federal budget, place enforceable caps on spending and require the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment. It’s a step in the right direction to get spending under control. How much further are you willing to raise the debt ceiling, Mr. President? Enough is enough.
We’d like a mature discussion on how to significantly reduce the national debt. So far, you have only offered $2 billion in phony cuts. Let’s put that number into perspective. The federal government borrows $4 billion every single day and our federal budget is a whopping $3.73 trillion. Your so-called solution is to cut 5 hundredths of one percent from the budget. We must do better.
I urge you to stop your scare tactics. “Armageddon” will not occur on August 2nd. The federal government still has plenty of money to ensure that our bond holders are paid in full even if we do not raise the debt ceiling. Your threat to withhold Social Security checks if we don’t raise the ceiling is merely a dirty political trick. Social security checks will still go out as usual. The federal government is predicted to take in between $170 to $200 billion in August (we will spend closer to $300 billion) but Social Security checks only cost $50 billion. The American people deserve to hear the truth.
We need a principled leader. You were opposed to raising the debt ceiling before you were for it. On March 20, 2006, Senator Obama said “the fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure…Leadership means the ‘buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of children and grandchildren.” I agree 100 percent with your statement. Stand by your convictions, Mr. President.
Where’s your plan? A “clean” debt ceiling hike will only make our fiscal mess worse. It’s time to change Washington’s spending habits once and for all. The debt clocking is ticking and we cannot afford to kick the can down the road any longer.
President and CEO
Real quick: if you believe in the FreedomWorks group, then I highly recommend checking out Ron Paul. He's the best shot at getting a liberty-minded candidate in the White House.
However, it seems that FreedomWorks has been blessed by Glenn Beck. Beck is a bit of a warmonger, so you might not like the peaceful views of Ron Paul.
of all out there at this point Ron Paul is the only one i would vote for...I wouldn't say I believe in Freedomworks...
below is the latest from left of center on the president's integrity...
But it's not fear for fear's sake. The White House is employing the same cynical, irresponsible political strategy to force Congress' hand that it started in January, using Wall Street as its foil. This morning, NPR—as usual and unsurprisingly—had the zeitgeist of the Obama White House just right. Cokie Roberts, its long-time commentator, said:
[T]here's a certain element of waiting for the markets to weigh in and show Congress that they have to get serious here...You see the Administration almost kind of, almost daring the markets to respond, yesterday saying that the Congress had to act by 4:00 yesterday afternoon before the Asian markets started to open.
How true, and how irresponsible. The Obama Administration spent all weekend trying to talk down markets, hoping to make use of any artificial drop for political purposes.
Never mind that the financial security of hundreds of millions of Americans and others would be injured in the process. The Administration needs what it has already dubbed "the Boehner drop"—named after Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner—to try to get its way in the debt ceiling negotiations.
The attempt by senior members of the Administration, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to make markets even more nervous than they are was noticed by other journalists. Veteran financial journalist Charles Gasparino vented his frustration on ABC's This Week with Christian Amanpour by saying "it's irresponsible for Geithner to go out there to talk about default. If he's worried about the Asian markets tonight, why does he mention default? We are not going to default. We have cash on hand to pay bond holders."
But that is the political game the White House is playing—and it's a dangerous one. Investment adviser James Rickards wrote to Politico's Playbook, "Geithner and Obama are foolish to try to 'scare' markets over the debt ceiling. Markets are already scared. They're looking for reassurance and a more mature dialogue."
Instead, we have the President and his legion of foot soldiers running amok, hoping to threaten the markets to achieve their political ends.
Looking at your post's Evan, I had become curious as to Paul and his reasoning. I am begining to think...possible, yes
Jon in Nashville
Paul, in head to head polls against Obama, came out
Rasmussen: 4% under Obama
Harris: Split evenly with Obama.
He's a viable candidate.
Americans tuning in last night to watch President Barack Obama's primetime address from the East Room of the White House might have thought they stumbled upon yet another re-run from the networks. Instead of hearing news that Washington finally broke the debt ceiling stalemate, viewers were treated to more of the same from their President. He still had no plan for dealing with government overspending and overborrowing, and he repeated his never-ending call for tax hikes. Unfortunately, the plans proposed by House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) don't get the job done, either.
The President's speech came as America stands at a fiscal precipice, with just a week to go before the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Though the credit rating agencies see America's risk of default as small (though increasing), there remains the other, more serious risk--the failure to do enough to bring down debt in order to avoid a downgraded credit rating. Standard and Poor's warns that Congress and the Administration:
[Might] agree to a plan that, while avoiding a near-term default, might not, in our view, materially improve our base case expectation for the future path of the net general government debt-to-GDP ratio.”
Boehner and Reid have both offered proposals to raise the debt limit in order to avoid default, but their plans leave too much undone. Of the Boehner plan, Heritage's Alison Fraser writes that though the proposal would cut $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending, there's no guarantee that those cuts will occur, its results would offer only modest reductions in publicly held debt under the best scenarios, and the plan would do nothing to reform entitlements—the real driver of our deficits in the future. Meanwhile, the Reid plan falls short of Boehner's by $800 billion. In short, neither plan does enough to reduce America's debt, and neither would address the concerns raised by the credit rating agencies. Fraser explains:
Neither of this week’s dueling debt ceiling proposals would pass the test from Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s for a credible, firm and actionable plan that would turn the tide of our deficits to put our debt on a manageable track. And if that holds true, then a downgrade by the rating agencies could occur smack in the very election year the President is trying to scoot through.
Because spending is set to grow so significantly over the decade, the kind of onesie-twosie approach to cutting spending and increasing the debt limit is simply not adequate. Net interest payments are projected to more than triple over the next decade. The longer Congress waits to seriously control spending, the more it will have to cut just to offset bourgeoning interest costs. And if interest rates suddenly rise? Well, we have an even bigger problem on our hands.
Last night, when President Obama attempted to explain the nation's debt problems, he said that every family knows that "a little credit card debt is manageable." With $14.294 trillion in debt, the President grossly understates the problem—and he forgets that Americans are well aware of Washington's spending addiction.
Half measures, though, won't solve America's debt crisis. They won't fool the credit ratings agencies, and they won't satisfy the American people. Heritage's David Addington writes, "Forget the McConnell, McConnell–Reid, Coburn, Gang-of-Six, Boehner, and Reid plans. Go with the American plan — cut government spending, deeply and right now, for the good of the country." That's good advice for our leaders in Washington, no matter which side of the aisle they fall on.
FACTS...? or not
Tangled Up in Washington's Red Tape
For months, Washington has focused on solving its uncontrolled addiction to spending. But while Congress and the White House use one hand to reach into your back pocket to take and spend your hard-earned dollars, they're using another hand to wreak a different kind of nefarious harm—the proliferation of regulations, rules, and red tape, all of which impose heavy costs on America.
In the just-released "Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report," The Heritage Foundation's James Gattuso and Diane Katz explain the pervasiveness of government's intrusive regulatory hand (that oftentimes goes go well beyond ensuring product safety) and how it controls nearly every facet of your daily life.
Do you heat your home? Light your rooms? Buy and cook food? Watch TV? If the answer is "yes," then you've fallen under federal regulation. And you're paying for it, too. Gattuso and Katz explain how every product imaginable costs more because of regulations:
The costs of regulation are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and limited product choices. Basic items, such as toilets, showerheads, light bulbs, mattresses, washing machines, dryers, cars, ovens, refrigerators, television sets, and bicycles all cost significantly more because of government decrees on energy use, product labeling, and performance standards that go well beyond safety—as well as hundreds of millions of hours of testing and paperwork to document compliance.
The annual cost of regulation—$1.75 trillion by one frequently cited estimate—represents twice the amount of individual income taxes collected last year. Overall, from the beginning of the Obama Administration to mid-fiscal year (FY) 2011, regulators have imposed $38 billion in new costs on the American people, more than any comparable period on record. Consider Washington's red tape to be a hidden tax.
The mountain of regulations didn't begin under the Obama Administration. Under the Administration of George W. Bush, for example, $60 billion in additional annual regulatory costs were imposed on Americans. But as Katz and Gattuso write, the rate at which burdens are growing has accelerated under the Obama Administration:
During its first 26 months—from taking office to mid-FY 2011—the Obama Administration has imposed 75 new major regulations with reported costs to the private sector exceeding $40 billion. During the same period, six major rulemaking proceedings reduced regulatory burdens by an estimated $1.5 billion, still leaving a net increase of more than $38 billion.
The actual cost of the new regulations is almost certainly higher due to under-estimation, agencies' failures to analyze costs, and the fact that "non-major" rules aren't even calculated. Amid the overwhelming weight of the evidence that government regulations are weighing down the American economy (consider how the economic recovery stalled after Obamacare was enacted), President Obama issued an executive order calling for an agency-by-agency review of existing regulations.
But Gattuso and Katz say it's too early for Americans to rest easy. The changes the Obama Administration has identified, if implemented, could reduce regulatory costs by about $1 billion per year—just a fraction of the new costs imposed every year.
Meanwhile, American businesses and the American people continue to suffer under the regulatory burden, all while the government workforce keeps expanding and the number of regulations keep growing, with 2,785 rules in the pipeline.
There are things Congress can do to protect Americans and the economy against the regulatory tide: require congressional approval of new major rules promulgated by agencies, create a Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis to review proposed and existing rules independently, and establish a sunset date for federal regulations.
Despite Obama's pledge to eliminate burdensome regulation, his Administration has in the first half of FY 2011 created 15 new major regulations imposing $5.8 billion in additional annual costs and $6.5 billion in one-time implementation costs. All the while, the U.S. economy continues to drag forward with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, adding only 18,000 new jobs in June. Perhaps Washington should stop growing the size of government and regulations and allow the U.S. economy to grow instead.
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