The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hatch's Record: A FCINO "Demon Sheep" Responsible For The Debt Threat

Responsibility Placed For Our National Debt Threat

With the Federal Reserve now monetizing our $14T debt, it is clear we are on the morning of a major economic downtown with high probabilities of hyperinflation, a downgraded of our bond rating, and/or removal of the dollar as being the world's reserve currency. Any one of these three threats would cause a greater financial disaster than the current recession we have; all three are well on their way to becoming reality. This crisis was caused by individual members and leaders of both parties in Congress over decades of undisciplined spending and earmarks, and of recent note includes signatures on bills from both Presidents Bush and Obama.

Spending Cuts: The Only Solution to Our Debt Crisis

No longer is terrorism my foremost concern for the defense of our country: it is instead the defense of our economic system which can ONLY be resolved through massive spending reduction. Democrats might agree on principles that the debt is a threat, but more often than not their solution is to raise taxes. My counter is that the population is already overtaxed and historically governments have been overthrown for less taxation than we are already suffering. Additionally, both Republicans and Democrats have proved time after time that increased taxation is a "green light" for them to increase spending. This would only exacerbate the problem.

So we must cut. We have to cut everything if we are to have any chance late in this fourth quarter of avoiding looming economic disaster. Entitlements including Social Security and Medicare, defense spending, earmarks, and even petty things like Obama's staff and innumerable czars have to take net hits. Fresh-faced Republicans in the 112th Congress get it and have proposed $2.5T in cuts over 10 years. This is a superb start and so much better than the spending spree of the Democrats, yet hardly enough to balance the budget or avert financialgeddon. I support these cuts, but demand more--much more. We must balance the budget within four years like McCain promised during the 2008 debates (NY Times transcript).

While the House is on to the gig, the Senate is way behind. And the finger must be pointed at fiscal liberals who have helped create this disaster--and that includes our current Senator Orrin Hatch. I have already documented that Hatch has contributed to the problem through his prolific earmarking (see "Hatch Opposes His Own Earmarks", "Hatch Proposes UTOPIA Bailout", Dec 2010).

Hatch's FCINO Record

When Hatch was sworn into office in January 1977, our entire national debt was a mere $0.6T (, Wikipedia)--less that the widely-unsuccessful spending aka "stimulus" bill passed in 2009 to defibrillate our economy. Currently the national debt stands over 20 times greater at $14T. By no means is Hatch singlehandedly responsible for this debt, yet the impression of many a Republican in Utah is that Hatch has tried to stem the inevitable tide of Democratic Big Government. If that were true, I'd argue that given 34 years, Hatch has been pretty ineffective in averting economic disaster and we should pass the reigns to another.

Instead of being the chief scissors-operator some GOP Utahns believe he his, Hatch has been hiding his spending ways to his constituency behind his FCINO Demon Sheep clothing (Campaign Ad, Carly Fiorina 2010). Take as evidence the Political Courage Test sponsored by the non-partisan, non-profit Project Vote Smart (PVS): Hatch refuses to participate to let us know where he stands.

"Senator Orrin G. Hatch repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on issues through the 2006 National Political Awareness Test." (PVS, Issues Positions)

If Hatch were a fiscal conservative, then to a Utah electorate he should be unafraid to tout his fiscal conservancy and ideas for cutting the budget to reduce the deficit. Hatch's problem is that he's a fiscal liberal who won't find major areas of the budget to cut. This is evidenced by Hatch's response to the PVS "Presidential Election 2000 National Political Awareness Test" where he did reveal his fiscal preferences.

The 2000 PVS Test1 questioned candidates on 13 areas of the budget asking them to identify on a five-point scale from "greatly decrease" to "greatly increase" where they stood with funding. Hatch's revealing answers to this test precluded a single area of the budget for cuts. (Orrin Hatch, 2000 PVS Test Responses) Indeed, coupled with areas of desired fiscal expansion, Hatch's responses would be indicative of an expansion of the budget, not a retraction. In further support of this claim, the PVS Test gave Hatch an opportunity to list "Other" areas of the budget he could elaborate on response and Hatch declined to do so, thus leaving the foregone conclusion that Hatch wanted to increase the budget, a tenant of fiscal liberalism.

The Balanced Budget Amendment: Hatch's Signature Sheep's Cloth

Hatch's signature sheep's cloth is his longstanding support for a Balanced Budget Amendment. While such is a commendable good start and one I support, as evidenced above Hatch has long ignored his own constitutional budget duties to walk the talk and pass responsible budgets within the current scope of the constitution. If the answer to Congressional spending relies uniquely upon a Balanced Budget Amendment as Hatch's record points to, I predict fiscal failure for our country before we get around to it. Hatch has been trying fairly unabatedly for the past three decades to get it through Congress--including a time when Republicans held majorities in both houses. Were even Congressional passage to occur, 3/4 of the states would still have to pass--a process historically taking years at best.

Hatch's support for the Amendment provides what he thinks is cover for his well-documented spending spree and fiscal liberalism. I believe Hatch's sheepskin is rapidly falling off revealing a FCINO to his Utah constituency rightfully panicked by an inescapable debt.

1 As background, in 2000 our national debt stood at a breathtaking $5T: to any professed fiscal conservative this is a massive, multi-bell alarm to cut spending, a firestorm out of control.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Response to Obama's SOTU Address

My response to Obama's State of the Union speech tonight is brief. Maybe it was the garden-hose-to-wildfire approach to debt of Obama's promise to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."

So here's my official response (h/t GEICO):

Monday, January 24, 2011

McAdams Means to Micromanage Mom (Updated)

Utah State Senator Ben McAdams (D-02) thinks we need more laws to enable us to be good citizens. McAdams is working on ( and has verbally committed to introduce (SL Tribune, Dec 29 2010) a bill short-titled "Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle." The bill seeks to make criminals out of parents who leave their children unattended in a motor vehicle.

While no one is advocating children be left alone in a motor vehicle, these decisions should be left to the parent, not the state. Parents are already charged by law with the safe rearing of their children. If something were to happen to an unattended child, the parent could under existing state law be held accountable. Why do we need more than this?

In the article "More Nanny State" Paul Mero of Utah's Sutherland Institute responds to the proposed McAdams bill by pointing out that leaving a child unattended doesn't necessarily harm the child, or cause a crime:

And then there’s this sentence from the [SL Tribune] article: “McAdams said the problem with using existing child-abuse laws in Utah to prosecute people is a requirement in the law to prove that the child was harmed.” Imagine that – someone has to prove that a crime has been committed to be able to prosecute the crime! (Mero Moment, Jan 4 2011)

In his blog today "Legislating Away Your Liberties", Connor Boyack would have us take a serious look at the incessant cry for expanding legislation:

The constant wave of new laws does not reflect a productive legislature which takes seriously the powers entrusted to it by the people. Rather, it reflects a messy patchwork of legislative “fixes” for a wide variety of ever-present problems that distract and emotionally captivate those who cry out “there ought to be a law!” (Connor's Conundrums, Jan 24, 2011)

Connor continues that the solution is to simplify law and thus liberate the citizenry:

Rather than legislating, start repealing. Instead of focusing inordinate amount of time on generally unimportant statutory tweaks, look for ways to restore lost liberty by removing entire chunks of the Utah Code. In short, we need less laws, not more. (Ibid.)
I couldn't have put it any better than Connor. Perhaps we need a 45-day de-legislation process following our current session to get rid of all the micromanaging laws we have encumbered ourselves with. We certainly don't need a micromanaging Mom bill such as McAdams plans to unleash this session.

++++ Update 1/27: McAdams' bill now has life as S.B. 124

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Crisis Caused by an Ambiguous Map: Utah's District 57 (Update)

For the past fortnight or so, the residents of Utah's House District 57 (a newer portion of Cedar Hills in Utah County) represented by Craig Frank and to a smaller extent the state at large, has been perplexed by an accidental discovery by Frank that he didn't live in his district according to state records: a requirement stipulated by the Utah Constitution.

For me1, there has been a plethora of confusion over this dilemma as reported in the media which seems to have been finally put to rest by the information in the video below, from the District 57 group of voters "Our Vote Counts":

The video highlights that the state was relying on an oxymoronic map showing conflict between the words "city boundary" and the drawn city line whereas the county went with the city boundaries. The city boundaries were certified through several cycles of elections and Lt. Governors (who in Utah serve as Secretaries of State as we haven't that position). These points highlighted in the video and the group's website seem to be rather ignored in the Utah mass media which hasn't helped to alleviate my personal confusion and frustration over the matter.

It seems however, in light of Frank's resignation on Friday (Daily Herald) that there is working another solution as discussed on yesterday's Red Meat Radio (KTKK, 630AM): with a 2/3 supermajority required in both houses, pass SB 113 which would define the boundary for District 57 as the one which everyone has been happily using for the past decade. On the program, Rep. Hughes (R-51) cited concerns about the bill due to lawsuit concerns and appearances of gerrymandering.

Hughes' lawsuit concerns by Democratic operatives were balanced out during the program by the point that the residents of District 57 are threatening a lawsuit to protect their vote. Having been an early outspoken critic on the importance of non-gerrymandered results on upcoming reapportionment (Nacilbupera, Nov 2010) let me say this: declaring (or moving, whichever be your position) the lines for district 57 contains NO FORM of gerrymandering, but rather righting what has been supposed and incontrovertible all along. Indeed, it seems that any alternative other than this could be considered gerrymandering or at minimum deprecating the will of the voters.

Has anyone speculated if Matheson would still be in office if the lines that the state now upholds were enforced? In 2002, liberal Democrat Matheson won a squeaker against John Swallow and District 57 is staunch and loudspoken conservative. Surely numerous dilemmas such as this could be posed. Without diminishing the plausibility of other solutions, I wholeheartedly support SB 113 and with the state legislature convening tomorrow, urge its passage.

A Time to Reconsider the Residency Requirement

An interesting related issue to all this is to note that while federal Congressional leaders can live outside their boundaries, according to the Utah State Constitution Utah state lawmakers cannot. Last October, I blogged about my opposition to Utah Constitutional Amendment B because it put increased requirements for state legislative office:

If the citizens feel like someone is being a carpetbagger, then let the citizens have freedom through our competitive caucus system to elect someone else.

Although Amendment B passed by nearly 85%--a larger margin than any of the four proposed Amendments--it was widely dismissed as a positive which should be passed. In fact the voter information pamphlet even lacked a "Argument Against" to give voters a pause to think about the consequences of extending residency requirements. Perhaps the crisis surrounding Frank's eligibility may help to demonstrate that there can be unforeseen and unwanted consequences to having a residency requirement for legislators as part of our state's Constitution.

++++ Update: 6pm:

Found today's Daily Herald Editorial (h/t Joel Wright) "Honor in Resignation" which helps clarify that Frank resigned specifically for the passage of SB113. The editorial also links the Laura Cabanilla issue here in Provo to which as a resident I concur: Cabanilla definitely should step down. To quote the Herald: "Elective office is not a right or a personal possession."

1 As some setting disclosures, while I am not a resident of District 57, in a few months my son will be a registered voter of the District. I like Craig Frank as a legislator and agree with him on most political issues and would most likely vote for him were I to live in the District. Conversely, I am not a Frank partisan whereby I feel it my duty to uphold Frank over law because of my regard for him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hatch's Support for a Liberal Senator Proves Decisive

During a 1975 Barbara Walters interview, President Ford's Photographer David Kennerly was confronted about rumors of dating first daughter Susan. Responding to the rumors Kennerly turned the tables:
"Well, Barbara, I put those stories in the same category as those about you and Ed Brooke, they are rumors and gossip." Kennerly added that Walters lightened up pronto. (NY Post, 2008)
Walters kept her multi-year affair with liberal Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA) under raps until the release of her 2008 autobiography "Audition."1 Although the Walters/Brooke affair wasn't public in 1978 when two-term Sen. Brooke was running in the GOP primary against conservative Avi Nelson, Brooke's public divorce and liberal voting record--including pro-ERA and pro-abortion, two highly unpopular Utah political positions--were well documented. Although Brooke would win his primary election, Brooke would lose in the general to Democrat Paul Tsongas. Reflecting on the loss Lynette Clemetson claimed Brooke's lackluster image at the time:
Mr. Brooke lost his seat in 1978 after a bitter, public divorce and charges of financial impropriety had tarnished his reputation.2 (NT Times, 2007)
During the GOP primary Avi Nelson,3 a conservative TV talk show host, seemed to be a clear-cut alternative to the liberal incumbent. Former campaign worker, Bostonian-raised columnist Frank McGuire mused on Nelson's credentials:
[Avi Nelson] was in the Tea Party Vanguard long before the current movement began. In 1978, Avi ran in a primary campaign as a Constitutionalist Republican against the Massachusetts mugwump Senator Ed Brooke, whose mug was on one side of the fence while his "wump" was on the other. With the odds and big-bucks against him, Avi, the son of a rabbi, and the graduate of MIT and Yale missed by a whisker of knocking-off Brooke. (, Dec 2010)
It would seem then that for a first-term, self-labeled "Conservative" Senator from Utah if one were to throw support to a GOP candidate in a MA primary given a choice between supporting a waning, pro-ERA candidate4 who voted to expand FICA benefits with the alternative a Constitutionalist Republican, Hatch would have an easy time tapping Avi Nelson. Nevertheless in a telegram shortly before the primary Hatch would join with others in opining:
Dear Ed: We want you to know that you have our strongest, most enthusiastic support in the primary election on Tuesday. (Roderick, Leading the Charge, 1994 p. 119; emphasis mine)
Brooke's post-primary response to the Hatch telegram pointed to the impact Hatch had in defeating Brooke's conservative primary opponent:
Your endorsement was perfectly timed and politically potent...I'll always be grateful. (Ibid.)
One of the reasons Hatch gave as his reasoning for his support for Brooke over Nelson was Brooke's skin color. Brooke had on his own achieved the distinction of becoming the first black U.S. Senator since reconstruction and was the only black at the time. Privately, Hatch revealed:
Besides, Ed Brooke is the only black in the U.S. Senate, and a friend, and I would hate to have him lose. (Ibid.)
In expressing the desire to vote for Brooke because of his skin color, perhaps Hatch was fulfilling an inner need to publicly show tolerance admist previous national racial divides. Yet Hatch's decision to support the liberal Brooke based partly on race seems to have clouded what blacks have fought for, to--as Dr. King famously said--one day live in a nation where we would not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

Hatch's motives in supporting a losing liberal Republican over a Conservative seem rather inconsequential at this point as he gears up for re-election. Of relevance is that this liberal-supporting incident early on in Hatch's career would hardly stand out as an anomaly. Hatch has continually supported liberal candidates and judges over his tenure--with a recent example being his support for ex-Sen. Bennett. Conservatives were furious with Hatch's support of Brooke in 1978, and a new generation of conservatives are resurrecting those frustrations, coupling them with present ones.

1 Were these 1975 rumors to ever be proved valid, then both Brooke and Walters would have both been married during the time of their affair as Walters did not divorce until 1976 and Brooke until 1978.

2 Black Americans in Congress cites the same issues in their Brooke bio. See especially footnote 44 for further reading.

3 Avi Nelson is still around the political arena in the Bay State. He currently has a Saturday radio show at WRKO in Boston.

4 I'm re-emphasizing this issue because its importance to the context of this discussion. To equivocate ERA in 1978 in terms for modern readers, think of the 2008 California Prop 8 issue. In both cases the LDS church took strong and active stances and was highlighted in the national media. Also if the name Sonia Johnson means anything to anyone, 1978 was the apex of her notoriety culminating her her excommunication from the church the following year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally! An Awesome Bill Passes the House...and Utah's Matheson Opposes

Today the House voted to repeal Obamacare 245-189 -- a larger margin than the passage of the behemoth a year ago -- with three southern Democrats joining all the Republicans in passing (also reflecting more bipartisanship than the original bill vote).

Contrasting to the 2,000 page quagmire, H.R. 2 was a simple 3 page bill. It fulfilled campaign promises made by the GOP and points to the seriousness the House--led by a promising new Speaker, John Boehner--is taking in their Pledge to America made prior to the November elections. It's a welcome fresh change to the unconstitutional tyranny of the old Pelosi-led Congress.

Yet with the perfect opportunity for Utah's Rep. Jim Matheson to put teeth into his dying so-called "blue dog" moderate coalition and kill the bill he proudly claims he didn't vote for (for further analysis read my post "The Untold Story of Matheson's Vote for Obamacare"), Matheson voted today against repeal.

In this past fall's Bruce Lindsey's Sunday Edition KSL televised debate with challenger Morgan Philpot, Matheson claimed their were "good parts" about Obamacare that should be preserved such as the prohibitions against denial for preexisting conditions:
I think we ought to keep the good parts and get rid of the bad parts....if you had a pre-existing condition before this became law, insurance companies could deny you coverage, to have health insurance coverage....If you repeal the whole law you're saying, "You know what, if you have a pre-existing condition, too bad."
While on its face pre-existing conditions sounds very simple and utopic for the insurance companies to cover, the mandate on insurance companies is a horrible portion of Obamacare, not at all good like Matheson asserts. Indeed the mandate is a severe overreach of the Federal government and destroys the very concept of insurance.

Insurance is designed for a group of citizens to pool collective risk of negative future events. Life insurance pools risk against future death, car insurance against future accidents, and earthquake insurance against the event that an earthquake would destroy a home. Furthermore, the pools are specialized allowing different rate payments based on higher risks. A septuagenarian pays higher life insurance premiums than a mid-lifer because risk is greater, while a driver with a clean driving record reaps better premiums than the driver with three moving violations.

By the Federal government reaching in and mandating insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, in a single swath they have destroyed both the specialized pools of low risk health insureds vs. high risk and the risk of insuring future negative events since anyone can obtain insurance at any time. Thus, health insurance is destroyed. Coupled with the Individual Mandate portion of the bill, the pre-existing conditions portions Obamacare causes us to now share collective healthcare costs in a Socialisitic system with disregard to lifestyle choices.

Why would Matheson and the liberal Democrats want to destroy Health Insurance through this pre-existing conditions clause? Health insurance premiums have continued to skyrocket post-Obamacare passage as companies seek to brace against the wave of uninsureds with pre-existing conditions who will be added to their rolls at the whim of the uninsured. Eventually the healthy will seek escape from so-called "health insurance" because it will be many times cheaper for them to self-insure rather than be pooled with people with actual, rather than risk of future, catastrophic medical costs.

By exacerbating health insurance woes by adding a requirement for pre-existing conditions, Matheson masks his Socialistic tendencies as help for the needy. Matheson clearly has to be voted out of office in 2o12. And a new Utah Policy poll this week shows just this: a hypothetical matchup of Gov. Herbert vs. Matheson has Herbert winning 50%-40% (h/t Political Cornflakes).