Our Next Speaker

A lot of people have been speculating as to who will be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to yesterday’s election.  Now that the Republicans have taken control of the House, most eyes have turned to House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.  Although his positions are quite good on a number of issues such as abortion and gun rights, I believe there are better choices out there.

We need a Speaker who will ardently and consistently stand up against big government and support fiscal conservatism.  Toward that end, might I suggest that we start by examining the following candidates:  Rep. Paul Broun (GA), Rep. Randy Forbes (VA), Rep. Ed Royce (CA), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX), Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA), Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Rep John Duncan Jr. (TN), Rep Louie Gohmert (TX), Rep. Ted Poe (TX), Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ), Rep. Jack Kingston (GA), or Rep. Tom Price (GA).  Now you may be asking, what do all these House of Representatives members have in common?  Each of them steadfastly voted against every bailout proposal in 2008 and 2009.  Although there were seventeen folks in all who were originally on this list, several have retired or moved on to other offices.  Even though the House has the option to elect a Speaker outside their ranks, I don’t consider such a move likely, as it has never happened up to this point.

Now, unfortunately some of these choices I don’t really know.  It is quite possible that they hold very objectionable voting records in regard to other issues.  Nevertheless, I believe that the Republican Party should set some sort of principled standard as to who the next Speaker will be.  Standing firm against the bailouts sounds like an excellent way to begin to weed out potential choices.

The American people have once again given the Republicans a chance to at least share in the leadership of our national government.  Electing a proven and principled Speaker to the House of Representatives will help make sure they don’t screw up this opportunity by 2012.   Otherwise prepare yourself for another term of President Obama.

The Platform and the Bailout

As Brutus from the blog, “The Oath” points out in his recent post, the position taken in the 2008 Republican Party Platform directly contradicts the bailout.

Check it out.

Good to see our Republican champion John McCain adheres so closely to the Republican platform. It is absolutely crazy.

Hurrah for the Welfare State

Well folks, the bailout is now a fact of life. Rather than the nasty $700 billion version first suggested, we now have a version that is loaded with so much pork and special projects that it turns our federal government into a corporate Santa Claus. Goody. Although a majority of the house members voted against the first package, a number of congressmen were quite willing to support a revised bill that gives gifts to their districts and pet interests, at the expense of the taxpayers of course. Fortunately, some constitutionally minded members of the House were able to retain their sanity like my own Representative Bob Goodlatte, such as Ron Paul and Scott Garrett. I don’t know who are worse, members like Eric Cantor who twice blatantly disregarded the constitution in favor of corporate greed, or congressional prostitutes who only will sellout their principles for an agreed upon price. Normally I would take the opportunity to rail against the votes of liberal Virginia Republicans like Rep. Tom Davis and Sen. John Warner, but fortunately neither will misrepresent Virginia values for much longer. While I’m on the topic, how can some Republicans claim personal welfare is a terrible thing and yet ardently support corporate welfare? Welfare, in either form, is the government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth from one person or group to another. I do not believe that either is constitutional and therefore both are tantamount to “legalized” theft. Despite what some politicians say, remember that just because something is made legal, it is not necessarily moral. Although a Democrat (therefore I hold you to a different standard), please know that I am still disappointed in you Sen. Jim Webb. Didn’t you campaign as a fairly conservative Democrat? Where are those conservative principles now? Will both parties drag us kicking and screaming into a new and glorious government welfare paradise? Must all Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, be forced shout “Hurrah for the Welfare State”?

In response to the bailout bill, Congressman Goodlatte (6th-VA) responded with the following statement:

“Today the U.S. House of Representatives considered legislation, the Financial Stabilization Package, aimed at stabilizing the growing financial crisis currently facing our country. Nothing is more important to me than ensuring the future growth of our economy and we can all agree that Congress has a responsibility to act to ensure that credit, the lifeline of our economy, remains available to individuals, families, students, and small businesses all across this country.

Inaction has never been an option. However, after much deliberation, I reached the conclusion that this legislation, which I voted against, is not the solution to our long-term financial problems or our short term credit liquidity crisis. While improvements have been made to the legislation, at its core it is the same as the revised Paulson plan which the House defeated earlier this week.

The Financial Stabilization Package represents the largest corporate bailout in American history by taking 700 billion dollars of taxpayers’ hard-earned money and handing it over to the very companies that made the bad decisions which led us into this mess in the first place. We literally reward those financial institutions who engaged in risky behavior to the tune of up to $8,000 for every family of four in the U.S. Since the federal government has to get this money from somewhere, it will borrow it, increasing the national debt. Not only will the government be paying $700 billion to bailout these reckless Wall Street companies, but also the billions of dollars in interest to pay off the debt. The bill requires the federal government to evaluate and purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of complex securities. Then the government will have to manage and ultimately sell these assets in an effort to recoup the taxpayers’ money. This is a responsibility for which it has no expertise and is a major intrusion in the financial markets with untold unintended consequences. This will directly affect every American by weakening the dollar and raising the cost of goods and services.

I believe there are other ways to turn this credit crisis around and stabilize our economy without penalizing taxpayers for the sins of those on Wall Street. The fundamental problem we face today is that no one knows how much the risky mortgage-backed securities are worth, and thus no private buyers are willing to purchase them. I am supportive of alternative initiatives to mandate that financial institutions purchase insurance from the federal government on these risky assets which places the burden on financial institutions to pay premiums for the insurance. The guarantee by the federal government would help unlock the liquidity of these assets by placing a minimum value on them. This would also limit the negative effects on taxpayers.

Other proposals worthy of consideration include funding assistance through a guaranteed bond program, which would be purchased by private investors, or a guarantee initiative similar to the net worth certificate program of the 1980s. These initiatives deserved scrutiny and consideration. Each of these would involve some financial participation by those who caused the problem. None were debated or voted on in this process.

I am pleased that after much urging from many Members of Congress, including myself, the mark-to-market accounting rules, which allows all financial institutions including local banks, to fairly value their assets and help to ease the credit crisis facing the country, were eased.

Our economy faces historic and unprecedented challenges. Most importantly Congress must not view the passage of the Financial Stabilization Package as the lone solution to the troubles in our national economy. It is critical that Congress continue to examine the root cause of this crisis, including fiscal irresponsibility and a lack of resolve to rebuild our domestic economy, including energy production.

I remain committed to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure that businesses are held accountable for their actions, which should help restore long term confidence in our financial markets and set our economy back on the right track.”

As the stock market continues to slide downward, like water circling a drain, I could not help but think of the song “Stay Together for the Kids” by Blink-182 and how appropriately it applies to not only this bailout, but also the federal government in general. As the lyrics say, they rarely find solutions, create many more problems, and are routinely generous with the possessions of others.

I’m pleased to say that there is some good news friends. Fortunately for constitutional conservatives like myself, on the issue of welfare, we are offered a clear choice for president in this election. On the one hand, we have a candidate who vigorously supports a version of the welfare state and voted for the largest corporate welfare bailout in history. On the other hand, we have…hmm…well…another candidate who vigorously supports a version of the welfare state and voted for the largest corporate welfare bailout in history.

Uh oh.

A Victory for Freedom

Yesterday, as I’m sure you heard, the House defeated the $700 billion bailout. Although the stock market suffered quite a hit, I think we will recover in time. That seems to be the trend. Some days we go up and some days we go down. Admittedly, every now and then the bumpy nature of the ride with huge rises and falls can send people scrambling to the sidelines, but, I believe as long as we trust the free market, we will continue to prosper in the long run. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this viewpoint. They wring their hands and clamor for a short-term fix. Why is it these days that whenever a problem emerges, so many people run to the federal government looking for solutions? Even more depressing is the fact that so many politicians are chomping at the bit to usurp more power at the expense of the free market, liberty, and the Constitution. Congress and the President call for more oversight of the financial markets, but then the greater question is, who reigns in the government? Do we allow this watchdog to roam free, tearing up someone else’s property and rooting around where he doesn’t belong, all in the wistful hope of financial security? As you can rarely trust the government to stay within it’s proscribed powers, the job has fallen primarily to the people themselves and too many of us have fallen down on our responsibility. As you know, I, for one, will not remain quiet. Looking over the list of members of the House of Representatives, let us see who voted correctly. For Virginia, my Congressman, Bob Goodlatte voted no. So did the 5th’s Virgil Goode, the 2nd’s Thelma Drake, the 1st’s Rob Wittman, the 4th’s Randy Forbes, and even the 3rd’s Democrat Robert Scott. In support of the unconstitutional measure were Democrats Moran and Boucher (no surprise there), but also Republicans Cantor, Wolf, and Davis. If you happen to live in 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th districts and disagree with your Congressman’s position, I strongly encourage you to hold your Congressman’s feet to the fire and call him today. For your convenience, Eric Cantor’s number is 202-225-2815, James Moran is 202-225-4376, Rick Boucher is 202-225-3861, Frank Wolf is 202-225-5136, and Tom Davis is 202-225-1492. I warn you that if we do not hold them accountable, they will try again.

We must stand strong. Sure we have financial troubles today, but the only viable solutions lie in our free economy, not a soviet style bailout. No amount of wealth is worth enslaving our future to the federal government. Think that the government is responsible with our money? Just look at the deficit and the failure of social security. As I write these closing words, I think back to a quote from Ben Franklin. Although twisted slightly, I’m sure that he would agree, “Those who give up liberty for a little temporary financial security deserve neither and will lose both.”