A Conservative Thankful for . . . Government Employees?

Thankful TurkeyYes, I am a conservative, and on this Thanksgiving holiday I’m thankful for government employees.

Now, before you choke on your turkey giblet stuffing – let me explain.  There are many things that government does extremely well.  When I turn the tap at my sink, I get clean, safe water every time.  And the cost of it is pretty darned reasonable.  My garbage gets picked up right on time.  The stop lights work, our streets and highways are pretty good, and if there is an emergency the fire, police and EMS/rescue guys are top notch.

I generally don’t worry about our country being pushed around by other nations because our military is still the biggest, baddest dawg in the junkyard.

We need good government employees and the services they provide that we just can’t do as individuals.  I believe for the most part our local and state governments do what is expected of them and at a cost we can manage.   I just wish the same were true of the federal government.

It’s not that the federal government doesn’t do enough for us.  Quite the contrary, it does way the hell too much.

Most Americans don’t understand that our Constitution limits the authority of the federal government to a fairly short list of “enumerated powers“.   The first item in the list says:

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States

The remaining items on the list mostly refer to national defense, currency, and post offices.  And anything not specifically on that list, according to the Tenth Amendment,  is strictly off-limits to the feds.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

There is nothing in the enumerated powers that allows the federal government to redistribute income or to compensate anyone for financial loss or misfortune.  You won’t find any reference to endangered species, or global warming.  Nothing there about foreign aid.  No mention of education.  The feds aren’t authorized to provide bailouts of private companies, banks, or mortgage-holders.  They aren’t supposed to be buying up private land and property.

In fact, most of what our federal government does is not authorized by the Constitution.  Maybe that’s why our current administration — cheered on by the media, academia, and a good portion of our nation’s under-educated and disengaged citizens — doesn’t feel it should be restricted by Constitutional law.

Sometimes we conservatives are mischaracterized as “anti-government” zealots.  Contrary to liberal claims, we don’t want our children to drink dirty water, our disabled to die in poverty on the streets, or our grandmas to be pushed over a cliff when they pass the age of usefulness.

Just the same, we aren’t pleased when our federal government takes our hard-earned money – our property – by force and gives it to another person, company, or nation for motives we don’t support, and purposes that are not constitutional.  And we wonder how awesome life in America would be if our federal government was the lean, mean machine the framers of our Constitution intended – protecting the borders, providing national defense, and doing only what it is supposed to – without the incredible waste of resources and failed social experimentation that holds us back.

It’s true we are abused by a growing number of (mostly federal) unaccountable bureaucrats who never answer the phone.  But most of our government employees are just out there doing the honorable work of the People, and they deserve a thank-you.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

You didn’t have to love me like you did
But you did, but you did – and I thank you
You didn’t have to hold me like you did
But you did, but you did – and I thank you

The Rattle of Jerking Knees

Hear that noise?  It’s the sound of knees jerking all over the place from the news that the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

I have to admit, I was puzzled too when Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts sided with the transparently liberal judges on this one.  I kept thinking, “there has to be more to this than meets the eye.”  The reaction by many conservative pundits was to lament that Roberts caved in to the evil liberals, for any number of purported reasons.  My knee started to twitch, but failed to fully jerk.

First of all, we want our judges and justices to be apolitical, so don’t go there.  Second, there has never been any indication that Justice Roberts is wishy-washy on the Constitution.  And third, back in 2009 when President Obama was vehemently denying that his “mandate” penalty was not a tax, I was thinking, “Of course it’s a tax.  When you have to pay money to the IRS, for whatever purpose, it sure smells like a tax to me.”

Now that the smoke has cleared the battlefield, we can assess the extent of the damage.  Or of victory.  And I am leaning in the direction of the latter.  By ruling that the ObamaCare mandate is a tax, Chief Justice Roberts took the whole “Commerce Clause” justification off the table.  I was seriously concerned that a constitutional victory for the mandate could open the Pandora’s Box, allowing the government the tool to force citizens into anything.   This would have set a dangerous precedent in Constitutional interpretation, but Roberts threw an extra padlock on the box.

Uncle SamThe proponents of the Act act one time publicly insisted that the mandate is not a tax.  Then the solicitor general insisted to the Supreme Court that it is, in fact, a tax.  No one can know exactly what Roberts’ motivations were, but the result is the same.  By labeling the mandate a tax, Roberts ensured that President Obama is the proud owner of an enormous tax increase, a deceptive one at that, and this will likely cost him a second term.  The frosting on that cake is the fact that tax laws are easily repealed, requiring only 51 votes in the Senate, so ObamaCare will likely be tossed to the ash-heap of history anyway.

An excellent analysis was made by Timothy Dalrymple – he pulled together a number of “silver linings” for conservatives in the wake of the SCOTUS decision.

Still, knee-jerk exercises are in order for conservatives.  We need to be in shape for some serious butt-kicking this fall.

Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
TAX MAN – the Beatles