Now that President Obama will never face re-election again, it is time for the campaigning to end. Perpetual political rhetoric and promises do not matter any more. Action—and leadership—are sorely needed on pressing issues that threaten the United States. America’s people are under threats to their livelihoods, their protection, and their freedom. For some of these, deadlines for action have already come and gone, making them more dire than ever.
Here are the top five problems that require the President’s immediate attention.
1. Massive Tax Increases Scheduled
When the chairman of the Federal Reserve says the nation is headed over a cliff, the President should take notice. A total of nearly $500 billion in tax increases—old tax policies expiring and new ones taking effect—is scheduled to hit on January 1. This “Taxmageddon” fiscal-end-of-days scenario will hit individuals and their families, struggling small businesses and investors alike. So much for creating jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, which does not normally forecast recessions, has said that without some action to change our direction, the country is heading straight for another recession in 2013. As Heritage’s J.D. Foster wrote, “If a slowdown or even a recession unfolds as CBO predicts, the blame will lie with President Obama.”
2. Cuts to the U.S. Military
Through a legislative process called sequestration, the President and his allies in Congress thought they could secure tax increases by holding America’s military hostage. So they programmed massive cuts to our defenses to take effect in January. Using the military as a political weapon is wrong, and nothing has been done to prevent these harmful cuts. While our enemies build up their weapons programs and terrorists target Americans around the globe, the U.S. is preparing to radically downsize the military—all because the President and liberals in Congress want to raise taxes.
So far, the President hasn’t achieved his tax hike goal. If the military cuts are allowed to go forward, it will devastate our defenses. Contrary to the political rhetoric, Washington leaders could fix this without raising taxes.
3. The Middle East
It’s easy in a campaign to say you’d rather focus on “nation building here at home.” But the Middle East is ablaze with conflict, and that is not going to be put on hold for the President to focus on other issues. According to some reports, Iran could be able to arm a nuclear bomb within the next few months.
Heritage’s James Carafano writes today: “Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, protests in the Gulf States, an increasingly unsteady Egypt, terrorists in the Sahel—these are all distinct problems, yet each has the potential to cascade throughout the region and beyond.”
To begin, the President needs to come clean about the intelligence regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and others.
There is more than enough evidence that the President’s counterterrorism strategy, though less than two years old, has come to the end of its life. That strategy focused on “decapitating” al-Qaeda. It didn’t work because al-Qaeda is really just a piece of a global Islamist insurgency. Unlike a drug cartel, it can’t be taken down by just taking out the leadership. Unless the President changes course soon, terrorists will have more sanctuaries by 2016 than they had in 2010.
5. Obamacare’s Mandate Threatening Religious Liberty
Just a few days ago, a second federal district court issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of a family-owned business against the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate under Obamacare. The HHS mandate forces nearly all employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives in their employee health coverage, regardless of religious objections. It disregards conscience and steamrolls religious freedom: Religious charities and family-owned businesses that object are forced to pay massive fines for non-compliant plans—up to $100 per day per employee. For a company like Hobby Lobby with more than 500 stores, that fine would amount to $1.3 million per day.
No wonder more than 100 plaintiffs have joined legal challenges to the mandate, which went into effect on August 1. As employers reach their health plan annual renewal date, they’ll be forced to comply. This is only one of the many obtrusive parts of Obamacare, but it is an immediate problem for employers—costly, demoralizing, and a direct attack on religious freedom.
Time to get to work, Mr. President.
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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