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Social Security Can Be Saved and with Better Benefits

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

With our national debt growing by $3 billion a day and Congress giving up offering any real solutions, we are a speeding train heading for a cliff. Most pretend the problem is not real or will just go away. Almost no one is ready for the hyperinflation and street crime that could follow if we do not act quickly and responsibly.

The Tea Party Debt Commission was formed some time ago to provide the federal government a solution. Its final report summarized the problem, “Our government is doing too many things it can’t do well, or shouldn’t do at all, with money it doesn’t have. We are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar we spend….” They note that the “Government Accountability Office counted no fewer than 47 job training programs, 56 financial literacy programs, 80 economic development programs, 18 food assistance programs, 20 programs for the homeless, 82 teacher-quality programs spread across 10 agencies, and more than 2,100 data centers. All told, we have nearly 2,200 federal programs.” Government is bloated, inefficient, and wasteful.

A federal diet is long overdue, but what should we keep? The Commission’s assessment criteria hinged on four basic values: fiscal common sense, Constitutional limits, economic freedom, and personal self-reliance. For a program to remain, they reasoned, it needed to pass two questions: is it constitutionally authorized, and is it best carried out by the federal government, as opposed to states or private entities? Much of what the federal government does, the Commission found, unfortunately, does neither.

Boldly they opened the unfunded liabilities door, the door neither party dares to open as potentially it could destroy career politicians and political parties. They concluded that they could make Social Security “sustainable and actually improve benefits by harnessing the power of compound interest.” They noted, “Three decades ago, Chile embarked on a bold transformation of its retirement security system. Today, that system [SMART Accounts] is the envy of the world, giving seniors far better benefits than the old, government-run system ever did.”

Shortly thereafter three counties in Texas adopted the SMART Accounts program in favor of personal accounts and thus those retiring today do so “with much more money and have significantly more generous death and disability supplemental benefits than do Social Security participants.” Moreover, they “face no long term unfunded pension liabilities.” The Commission recommends that, “all state and local governments should have the option of opting into the ‘Galveston model.’ ” Learn more about this aspect of the Tea Party Debt Commission’s recommendations by visiting FreedomWorks.org/the-tea-party-budget.

The Tea Party Debt Commission suggests that “new workers born after 1981… invest one-half of their payroll taxes (7.65%) in a SMART Account, which they can use to fund their retirement and health care costs in retirement. If they prefer, they can give up their account and opt back into traditional Social Security at retirement.” The result of this modern approach to funding retirement embraced by the Commission, is that, among other things, it: “improves benefits, doesn’t increase the retirement age, doesn’t cut benefits for people in or nearing retirement, and doesn’t touch the existing Social Security Disability insurance program.” It also “reduces federal payroll tax receipts by about $500 billion over the ten-year period.”

The Commission also opened Medicare, the second major Pandora’s box of unfunded liabilities, but Tea Party recommendations giving Medicare seniors the right to opt into the privileged Congressional health care plan will require space not permitted here.

So far, neither party has offered other ideas and the Tea Party solution has been virtually ignored. The speeding train does not have to go over the cliff. There are great thinkers and solutions that can save us because they are not forced to do so within the parameters of self-interest and political parties. Fortunately the Tea Party works successfully outside these restrictions. Please tell your Congressman to seriously explore these recommendations especially in light of the fact that their plans have not worked. This train must get off the track that it is now on while there is yet time.

Amazing Story of the Five-Year-Old Tea Party Movement

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Pundits do not agree on the specific origin of the Tea Party Movement but they do agree that it began in the last week of February 2009 and became a powerful sensation over-night with no specific identifiable founder. There were hundreds of founders including myself. It was as though everyone was frightened by the direction of government at the same time—certainly a grassroots movement. Encyclopedia coverage of its origin and early history is foreign to those of us who were there on the front lines. They tie the movement to extreme breakoffs of other movements going back to the sixties seemingly in some bizarre attempt to cast doubt on its legitimacy, but the Tea Party Movement was as American as apple pie. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the televised press, excepting FOX News, has never been friendly toward this movement.

Actually the movement began in opposition to George W. Bush’s $700 billion stimulus bailout package at the end of his term, which received bi-partisan support from President-Elect Barack Obama and the Democrats. Both parties were on the same page and taking us in the wrong direction—bigger government and debt insanity. Tea Party groups began to spring up everywhere in February 2009, each with their own leaders. Three city leaders in the east, learning of the simultaneous rise of sister cites, contacted each other to compare notes. They liked the name Tea Party because they wished, by that name, to emulate our founding philosophy. Even so, they were uncertain what their core values should be so they invited Internet submissions from the thousands who felt similarly. Still, there was no known single leader. My daily submissions encouraged getting back to the Constitution. The three most frequently submitted core values, and the one’s selected, were: limited constitutional government, free market and fiscal responsibility—precisely the collective views of our Founders and believed to be the values supported by most Americans today.

In time prominent names would emerge notably Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, and the now strongest group, the Tea Party Patriots, led by Jenny Beth Martin would come to dominate the movement’s presence on the national level. Still, many groups chose to remain independent and influence only local governments.

In my community the leader of the movement was Julie Demos, a second grade teacher, who had no prior political experience making her the perfect leader. This was the gathering of the people who no longer wished to use political party, but the Founders core values, in promoting good government. Between three and five thousand folks gathered at the Liberty Bell in April 15, 2009, many spoke, including myself. Over 600 cities throughout the nation had similar gatherings. The movement was not party based. We wished to attract those who desired to get back to these neglected core values. Our own Congressman Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner, were denied the podium for that reason. They attended and viewed the proceedings as spectators as did everyone else. This was not a Republican Party rally! Fifteen thousand heard myself and others speak on getting back to the Constitution at the Tulare Ag Center on July 4, 2010, in support of over a million who gathered in Washington DC. Two other times such numbers gathered in the capitol before years end making these gatherings the most assembled since the days of Martin Luther King Jr.

Although not intending to align with either political party, negative press coverage, primarily from the left hostile to its core values, emerged from the outset. The Tea Party, so undermined by a hostile press, never had a chance in the Democratic Party. Establishment Republicans accepted it in the 2010 election because it gave them the House of Representatives but treated it as a wayward child. Trust between them never really developed the following years. The Tea Party views establishment Republicans as but giving lip service to America’s core values. Today the Tea Party appears to be more popular than ever despite the demonizing from both political parties and the establishment press, excepting Fox News.

Happy fifth birthday Tea Party, some of us value movements that actually fight for liberty. We believe that we literally fight for the same principles as our Founding Fathers and invite everyone that loves the Constitution and liberty to stand with us. We believe that our time is just as critical as was theirs. See you at the next Tea Party event.

The Impending Financial Collapse!! Show me I am wrong!!

Harold Pease, Ph. D

Let me be one of the first to put it in print. The nation’s biggest threat is not Al Qaida! It is not Edward Snowden or NSA spying on every citizen in the nation! It is not the IRS targeting of Tea Party and religion groups for extra scrutiny, or even a president replacing Congress as the leading lawmaking branch of government. It is the impending financial collapse if we do not curb our addiction to debt and do it quickly. It grows by an estimated $3 billion a day and is now $17,355,598,800 trillion as I write this column. By the time many of you read it, one week from today, it will have increased by $21 billion.

Two laws passed this year have made this observation more blatantly obvious. The Republican Party’s total collapse on the debt ceiling increase and the recently passed $1 trillion dollar Farm Bill financing corporate and class welfare.

First the debt ceiling surrender wherein the Republican Party leadership, in opposition to there own party, totally capitulated without asking any concessions from the White House and Democrats in return for the borrowing authority. Please note that a debt ceiling raise eventually means higher taxes or debt. Twenty-eight Republicans joined the Democratic Party majority for a yes vote thus passing the raise in the House of Representatives 221-201. Conservatives and constitutionalists felt betrayed. House Speaker John Boehner in his “Boehner Rule,” had promised that increase in the debt ceiling must reflect spending cuts also.

Amazingly the top three Republican Party leaders: Boehner (Speaker), Eric Canter (Majority Leader), and Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip) voted to raise the debt ceiling to March 15, 2015, as did all but two Democrats, virtually abandoning their 206 remaining Republican colleagues voting no to the debt raise. So much for fiscal restraint and holding to often repeated principles. These three voted against their own party. To his credit Paul D. Ryan, former Vice Presidential candidate, voted against. The Democratically controlled Senate easily passed the debt raise legislation along party lines 55-43.

Why is this a sign of an impending fiscal collapse? The debt ceiling has been raised 76 times since March 1962, including 18 times under Ronald Reagan, eight times under Bill Clinton, seven times under George W Bush, and seven times under Barack Obama. This is our 14th debt raise in 13 years. We raise it every year to accommodate our need for a “fix.” My point! Congress sadly never says no! Does anyone really believe that our debt-addicted government will ever stop the addiction on its own?

Second, the recently passed five-year Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, popularly called the Farm Bill, costing nearly one trillion dollars, over ten years—a 50% increase over the last one—certainly leaves no room for faith that they will curb their appetite for debt. The 959-page document included the following items considered pork by critics: “$2 million for sheep production and marketing, $10 million for Christmas tree promotion, $170 million for catfish oversight, $119 million for peanut crop insurance, $100 million for organic food research, $150 million to promote farmers markets, $3.3 billion for a cotton income protection plan, $12 million for a “wool research and promotion” program, and $100 million to promote the maple syrup industry. Ironically the 949-page bill spends about $1 billion dollars per page ($956 Billion Farm Bill Loaded with Pork, Your World Cavuto). The Department of Agriculture will also be establishing new federal standards for “the identity of honey.”

The final vote in the Senate was 68-32, with 44 Democrats, 22 Republicans and both independents supporting the measure. The Farm Bill passed in the House of Representatives 234 to 195. Voting yes were 24 Democrats and 171 Republicans. Again, House of Representative leaders Boehner (Speaker), Eric Canter (Majority Leader), and Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip) voted for the pork filled bill and the 50% increase over the last Farm Bill.

So my friends, how does this pork bestowal to a favored few stop the three billion dollar a day bleed to the national debt, now exceeding $17 trillion? It doesn’t even pretend to try and that is my point, nor does raising the debt ceiling without accompanying cuts. When the bleeding was resisted by at least one political party there was hope. We absolutely must replace our existing House and Senate with those fiscally responsible or there will be a financial collapse. If you are not personally involved in doing so you must begin now. The Tea Party is the only party that gives more than lip service to fiscal responsibility. You may wish be become a part of it.

2013, Year of Resistance

By Harold Pease PH. D

The year has shown monumental efforts by some to get back to the Constitution. An ever-growing portion of the largely distracted public is finally awakening to the fact that they are losing freedom and that both parties are responsible. Let us review those monumental moments of 2013 each of which have been covered extensively by us in previous columns.

We began the year with what was called “successionitis”—a desire of some of the people to leave the Union—not seen in the United States since the Civil War. Fifteen states posted over 25,000 signatures with Texas posting 116,000 by itself. The President closed down his site to further counting. With his refusal to allow further counting and the establishment media’s refusal to continue coverage, the issue was squelched. Discontent with the federal government not following the Constitution and the resultant loss of freedom (especially cited were NDAA and TSA) were said to be the reasons for the backlash by those participating.

This was followed by the 2013 Sheriffs’ Rebellion wherein by mid-February, 336 elected county sheriffs had signed pledges that they will not enforce any unconstitutional gun control laws or executive orders—seventeen of them in California. Nine states refused to comply. The Utah Sheriff’s Association made the strongest statement aimed directly at the President. “We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.” Wyoming’s new “Firearm Protection Act,” threatened federal officials with up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines if convicted of attempting to enforce unconstitutional statutes or decrees infringing on the gun rights of Wyoming citizens. Kentucky has enacted something similar and reportedly, Missouri and Texas have similar legislation pending.

Also in February thousands gathered from California to New York and from Florida to Alaska, on February 23, to remind the federal government that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” They were saying, in effect, “Back off Mr. President with your executive orders and Congress with your proposed new laws, you are on sacred Constitutional soil.” The establishment press was weak, almost non-existent, in its coverage. The 124 cities participating largely had to enter their own pictures of their event on the Internet to get coverage—so weak was press response. Seventeen such rallies were held in California alone, a state already sensitive to the loss of gun right freedoms and threatened with more of the same by a largely hostile democratically controlled State Legislature.

On March 6, 2013, one man stood on the Senate floor arguing for 13 hours, even against his own party, to prevent the President’s use of drone strikes to kill Americans on U.S. soil. Without Tea Party support Rand Paul would have been alone. The phrase, Stand With Rand” became popular overnight. Senator Paul wanted assurance from the President that he would never do this to us as he had Americans in other lands. The assurance finally came the next day from Eric Holder but it was far from convincing.

Summer brought the “Gang of Eight” and immigration reform that had every appearance of just another amnesty. S. 744 did nothing to improve border security or immigration enforcement and the House, resisting the pressure to be railroaded, has chosen not to act upon the Senate’s favorable vote until 2014. The Tea Party Patriot movement played an important role in revealing it’s numerous defects.

The year brought an outbreak of media coverage of the National Security Administration’s, NSA, spying on over 100 million Americans, recording their telephone conversations, emails, and other electronic messages for the last seven years. Attention turned to, “Whatever happened to congressional or judicial oversight?” Included in the revelations was the 35 years of FISA court’s special surveillance requests on 34,000 citizens, with virtually no denials. This has caused many to look to the Constitution for protection from their own government. They asked, “Is government spying on its own citizens constitutional?” Edward Snowden said no and intentionally shared with the world that which our government was doing to us and everybody else. He helped give us focus on our government’s serious violations of Amendments I, IV, V and even VI. To millions he was a hero.

In the Fall of the year, Barack Obama, by himself, in total defiance of the Constitution Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 11, almost took us into war by his intention to, send a “missile across the bow of a Syrian ship.” He was supported in his doing so by Secretary of State, John Kerry and Republican power Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. At least 60% of Americans did not support another no-win war and the President backed down.

In November Senator Ted Cruz stood for 21 hours and 19 minutes, once again mostly by himself with but Tea Party support. Our national debt at 17 trillion dollars, the highest in our history, with Obama responsible for seven trillion of that number in the last five years, was central to his stand. The Republicans had not shut down the government as the media said. Instead they fully funded the government with the exception of Obamacare. More and more people are realizing that the U.S. is going to experience a fiscal collapse unless we return to fiscal responsibility—a core principle of the Tea Party movement. Senator Cruz opposed the debt-ceiling rise as another always follows.

More than half of the states showed their resistance to Obamacare by opting out of exchanges. Resistance to it mounted exponentially when the government website did not work as promised and when the people realized that the President knowingly sold his forced care plan under the false premise that they could keep their doctor and their existing healthcare plan. Most Americans now oppose it.

Seemingly those who damage the Constitution always win. But this year, 2013, had many victories. Let us remember with gratitude those who did stand for freedom and remove from power those who did not. Happy New Year my liberty loving friends!!

Is the Trans Pacific Partnership transforming us into an international government?

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

The Washington Post recently disclosed the coming to fruition, after nearly a decade and 19 secret meetings, of a huge trade agreement known as the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP, “which when finished, will govern 40 percent of U.S. imports and exports” and “26 percent of the world’s trade.” It will be the law of the land for the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region without the input of a single U.S. member of Congress. This in violation of Article I, Section I of the U.S. Constitution that mandates that all legislative powers reside in the House and Senate and in no other body. In fact, members of Congress have not been allowed to even see the treaty whereas privileged corporations have no problem with access.

Critics, mostly Democrats and Tea Party proponents, resent the secretive nature of the agreement’s origin. Those feeling especially threatened include: global health advocates, environmentalists, Internet activists and trade unions. “The treaty has 29 chapters, dealing with everything from financial services to telecommunications to sanitary standards for food” demonstrating the wide variety of areas believed to be affected by it, but again, it is the secretive nature of it that is most offensive. Apparently TPP participants signed “a confidentiality agreement requiring them to share proposals only with ‘government officials and individuals who are part of the government’s domestic trade advisory process’.” That excludes you, me, the media, and Congress.

The Post acknowledges that the agreement “encompass a broad range of regulatory and legal issues, making them a much more central part of foreign policy and even domestic lawmaking.” Such is curious. The Constitution requires the approval of your two U. S. Senators and your House member for every regulation upon you. There exists no language that any other individual or body—especially an international body—can perform this function. And, international law should not affect “domestic lawmaking.” You have the right to know that these three have read every rule emanating from the federal government upon you. The admission that the TPP will influence foreign policy is interesting as only the U.S. Senate may influence foreign policy as per Article II, Section II. Giving a “more central part of foreign policy” to an international agency virtually voids the Constitution in this area and would have been thought treasonous by our Founders.

The Post identified “60 senators (who) have asked for the final agreement to address currency manipulation.” Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, have been especially vocal about the Obama “Administration’s refusal to make draft text available.” Were it not for unintended leaks, notably that of Wikileaks in early November, who published the chapter on intellectual property, this and so much more would still be off limits to the media and everyone else. This chapter alone raised many questions about copyright protections and obviously this treaty, while billed as just a trade agreement, included music, film, books, the Internet and appeared to be potentially, as one critic called it, the treaty to “restrict access to knowledge.” And this is but one of 29 chapters.

The implementation procedure of the internationalists was to gain consensus among the countries signing it, then present it to both branches of Congress for a simple, without debate, up or down vote. Again, this procedure flies in the face of the Constitution. Treaty making, an agreement between two or more countries, is a shared power with the Executive Branch. The President “shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” President Barack Obama has not sought advice, indeed he has not even allowed the Senate to read his treaty until finished, even then he will accept no changes in it. Then he will present it to both houses for a simple majority instead of only to the Senate for a two-thirds vote as constitutionally mandated. All this blatant deception was to wrap up in Singapore in early December to be presented “fast tract” to Congress before Christmas as a done deal.

Law by a single man excluding Congress nullifies the latter and should be an impeachable offense. International law imposed by an army of unelected bureaucrats is not freedom. The Trans Pacific Partnership siphons decision-making power from the elected to the non-elected in a foreign land and will affect every American. Any Congressman who supports such violates his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” as has the President.

Tea Party concerns with Gang of Eight “Amnesty” Immigration Bill

By Dr. Harold Pease

Citing the thorough documentation provided by The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Tea Party Patriots has officially expressed strong reservation with respect to what they now dub the Gang of Eight Amnesty Immigration Bill. They warn that S.744 “dramatically increases legal immigration, while doing virtually nothing to improve border security or immigration enforcement.” It essentially legalizes that which used to be illegal and goes far to legitimizing open borders. If the establishment press shared with Americans what we share below it would have no chance of passage. Unfortunately they do not.

Dissecting the over 800-page bill section-by-section, four concerns are readily apparent. First, the bill “does not secure the border or strengthen national security.” Instead, it “rewards law-breaking and encourages more illegal immigration.” Twelve provisions documenting the above are noted, complete with section and page numbers. Among them are: the granting of legal status by the Department of Homeland Security “before any measure to secure the border has been taken.” It does not “require a biometric exit system “ to “track aliens who enter and leave the U.S., per current law.” It does not “require any additional border fencing or completion of current border fence requirements.” It does not require illegals “to pay back taxes before getting legal status…it only requires … applicants to pay back taxes ‘assessed’ at the time of application.” The new bill “does not require illegal aliens to learn English before receiving amnesty or even a green card.” It does not “prevent future illegal immigration, ensure fiscal sustainability of the influx of immigrants to the United States,” nor does it “end abuse of prosecutorial discretion or administrative amnesty by the Obama administration.
It does, however, increase access for illegal immigrants to the scarce jobs of U.S. workers. Moreover, it does allow “states to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens—not the aliens who received amnesty, but all illegal aliens who arrive in the future.”

Second, the bill “does not improve immigration enforcement or public safety. Instead, it undermines immigration enforcement and is riddled with waivers and loopholes:” DHS is allowed to wave—three or more times—“multiple misdemeanor convictions when granting amnesty.” These include: “gang-related crimes and gang membership; three or more drunk driving offenses; domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, and violation of protective orders; committing crimes of moral turpitude; violating federal or state drug laws; trafficking in passports; providing fraudulent immigration services; trafficking immigration documents, including document fraud; prostitution; misrepresenting a material fact to procure visas or other immigration benefits; violating student visas; falsely claiming citizenship; and illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation (which is a felony).”

The proposed new law “delays implementation of E-Verify to prevent illegals from being employed and voids state and local E-Verify laws. Amazingly it even creates “criminal penalties and a $10,000 fine for any federal official who discloses information found in RPI applications in violation of the law.” And it does not “require the deportation of a single illegal alien” whose “application is denied—for any reason.” The bill authorizes “illegal aliens to bring class action lawsuits against the government” and “allows the Department of Homeland Security to appoint counsel to illegal aliens fighting deportation at taxpayer expense.”

The third major concern is that the “Gang of Eight” Amnesty Immigration Bill, according to the report, “does not prioritize the American worker at a time when 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Instead, S.744 hurts the American worker:” It does this by tripling immigration within a decade. In addition it “increases the number of guest workers by 50 percent over the decade after enactment.” It enlarges the admission of additional unskilled workers each year to 200,000 and triples the number of skilled workers who may enter. “S.744 creates a new bureaucracy, the Office of Legal Access Programs, to provide illegal aliens with ‘legal orientation programs’ that help fight deportation. The bill requires DHS to make these programs available to the aliens within 5 days of being taken into custody. Section 3503 also authorizes the Office of Legal Access Programs to provide services, including legal services, to aliens in deportation hearings.” All this, of course, dramatically increases “competition for Americans entering or working in those fields.”

Finally, fourth, S.744 “does not prevent American taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration. In fact, it makes the current problem worse:” When permanent resident status is given “the alien need only demonstrate income or resources equal to 125 percent of the federal poverty level” to get assistance so our welfare system will be flooded. The bill also “creates a ‘slush fund’ for nonprofits that help implement the amnesty. Section 2537 authorizes DHS to award newly created ‘Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance’ (IEACA) grants to nonprofit organizations that help illegal aliens navigate the amnesty process. The bill appropriates $100 million for IEACA grants for the first five years and ‘such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019 and subsequent fiscal years’.”

Who was it that said, “We have met the enemy and he is us?” The Tea Party Patriots have good reason to oppose this bill. It impacts all three of its core values: limited constitutional government, the free market, and fiscal responsibility. No piece of legislation could erase our southern border more effectively. A foreign power could not do more damage to our homeland security than our own U.S. Senate does in this one bill which now goes to a, hopefully, more responsible House of Representatives.