Expert Testimony Shows Entitlements As Unsustainable

Posted on April 16, 2010. Filed under: General Info | Tags: , , , |

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. She was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and a research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Her research interests include the federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy issues.

Oversight of Federal Financial Management

Testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee

on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement

Veronique de Rugy | Apr 14, 2010

America’s financial situation is unsustainable. In 2009 the federal government spent $3.5 trillion but collected only $2.1 trillion in revenue. The result was a $1.4 trillion deficit, up from $458 billion in 2008. That’s 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a level unseen since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that we will be running large deficits for the foreseeable future. According to its data, the annual deficits could average $1 trillion during the next 10 years.

While these figures are dramatic, they pale in comparison to what the federal government owes to foreign and domestic investors. According to the CBO, in 2009 America’s debt held by the public reached $7.5 trillion, or 53 percent of GDP, the highest it has been in 50 years. In 2010 the debt will cross the 60 percent threshold, a level at which many economists believe a country is putting itself in financial peril.

Maybe more importantly, the financial accounting of our financial troubles can lead us to underestimate the gravity of the situation. For instance, while the Department of Treasury’s Financial Statement of the United States depicts the financial situation of the country much more accurately than the Office of Management and Budget’s Budget of the United States, it leaves out some important elements that could hinder lawmakers’ realization of the urgency to address our financial situation. For instance, it accounts accurately for the IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund, however, fails to account for how the federal government will pay its debt to social security and what it means for our debt levels.

Her testimony, complete with graphs and charts, can be found at:

and includes:

“Medicare spending growth is the primary driver of the explosion in entitlement spending. The President’s FY 2011 Budget estimates $451 billion in Medicare spending in FY 2010, a 6% increase in Medicare outlays over 2009, as a percentage of GDP. In the long-term, CBO’s baseline projects that Medicare spending will grow by 2.6% annually Moreover, under the CBO’s alternative scenario, which includes likely policy changes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and net interest spending combined are projected to exceed total federal revenue by 2028.

As entitlement spending increases, the indebtedness of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds Programs will increase as well. Over the next 75 years, the federal government has promised benefits for these two programs in excess of anticipated payroll tax revenues equal to $7.7 trillion and $38 trillion, respectively.

The Treasury Department estimates Social Security’s deficit at 1% of GDP over the next 75 years and Medicare’s deficit at 4.8%. With federal revenues estimated to be about 19% of GDP in the long run under current law, taxes would have to rise by about one-third to pay all the promises that have been made for just these two programs.

The Office of Management and Budget estimates that in the absence of massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other programs, or an equally massive tax increase, the national debt will rise to 77% of GDP in 2020, 100% of GDP in 2030 and more than twice GDP by 2050.”

Her Conclusion:


As I’ve shown, the fiscal path of this country is simply unsustainable. The less-than transparent ways in which the federal government goes about accounting for its assets and liabilities does not allow policymakers and agency decision-makers to make informed decisions about the nation’s true fiscal position. I thank you again for the opportunity to testify on this most important topic, and look forward to answering your questions.”

Hat tip to David Paquette for the information contained above.

Please also see the column on pensions we did earlier this week : Boomers Beware: Is Your Pension The Next To Go?

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Boomers Beware : Pensions The Next To Go?

Posted on April 14, 2010. Filed under: General Info | Tags: , , , , , |

Is your pension plan endangered?
You can find out if your plan is on the Critical/Endangered list here.
If it is not, consider yourself lucky, for now.
According to Pension Watch, there is a tsunami of trouble coming when it comes to pension plans. It warns boomers that a crisis is about to be unleashed that will endanger all of our retirement plans. They also offer much information anyone 50 or more should look at. Even those in their 40s may want to at minimum be informed and act accordingly to modify their plans while there may still be time. Make sure to check the list of blogs and resources on the right had side of home page.
The Hudson Institute, a nonpartisan research policy institute, issued a paper in 2008, warning of the coming pension crisis, entitled Union vs Private Pension Plans: How Safe Are Members’ Retirements?  From the opening page of the report:
American workers depend on pensions for the bulk of their retirement income. That is why Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor require annual disclosure of the financial status of individual pension plans. A detailed analysis of these data shows that union-negotiated plans are not as actuarially sound as those provided by private companies to their non-union employees.

Pensions come in two broad categories: defined benefit pensions and defined contribution pensions. A defined benefit pension promises a specific monthly stipend for a retiree’s lifetime, calculated using the number of years worked and some measure of the worker’s earnings over that time. A de fined contribution pension sets up personal investment accounts; typically, the employee can make some choices about how the money in his account is invested.

A large part of the difference between union plans and employer plans appears to be a tendency towards low contributions among union plans. In 2005, the latest full year of data available, collectively bargained pension plans were more poorly funded than their non-union counterparts. Large plans, those with 100 or more participants, strongly showed this pattern. While 36.5 percent of nonunion plans were fully funded,1 only 19 percent of union plans met this criterion. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 considers funds underfunded, but not “at-risk,” if they are at least 80 percent fund ed.

While nearly 90 percent of non-union plans met the funding threshold of 80 percent, only about 60 percent of union plans were not “at-risk.” Among collectively bargained pensions, around 11 percent were only 65 percent funded, low enough to put the larger national plans in the heavily-penalized “critical” category. Only two percent of non-union plans were in this condition.

Among small plans, similar patterns emerged. Of non-union plans, 57 percent were fully funded as com pared to 28 percent of union plans. While 43 percent of non-fully funded non-union plans failed to pay their annual costs, 71 percent of union plans that were not fully funded were behind on payments. However, as compared to large union plans, small union plans were 37 percent more likely to be less than 80 percent funded, and 16 percent more likely to be in “critical” condition.

Our analysis finds that pension plans for the officers and staffs of unions were much better funded than those for the rank-and-file. On average, the 21 largest union pension plans had less than 70 percent of the funds that they would need to cover their total obligations, and none were fully funded. Seven were less than 65 percent funded. Yet 23 officer and staff funds from the same unions had 88.2 percent of the funding they would need to pay promised pensions, including seven fully funded plans and another 13 with at least 80 percent of their required funds. Excluding the seven plans strictly for union office employees, staff funds had 98.4 percent of their required funds.

Unions have also been caught using their funds to achieve their political ends. In 2005, the Department of Labor wrote the AFL-CIO a letter telling it to reconsider such practices. Theoretically, pension funds are not permitted to make investment decisions based on politics or public policy. Using pensions as a political tool hurts union members because it may push their retirement funds into lower yielding investments. That diminishes investment returns and thus reduces resources available to pay promised benefits.

We all know the impending doom of the Social Security program. According to AARP :

Social Security must be put on a sound financial footing, and soon. We need to strengthen the system to achieve long-term solvency while also guaranteeing a benefit that can’t be outlived, with adequate cost-of-living adjustments that maintain the value of the benefit. Social Security has been, and must continue to be, the bedrock of retirement security, especially as defined benefit plans dwindle.

Second, we must encourage employers to continue to support existing defined benefit plans in ways that treat both newer and longer-service workers fairly. Congress is working to reconcile House and Senate pension reform bills that would shore up such plans. The key is to strike the right balance by tightening contribution rules enough to ensure that companies set aside adequate funds to keep pension promises, but not enough to impel healthy companies to drop their coverage.

Finally, employers, government and individuals must take a hard look at how well the 401(k) system is working. Only about half our work force has access to such plans today, but more plans are coming. Simple changes in their design—such as automatically enrolling workers but leaving them the option to drop out, or automatically investing workers in age-appropriate “lifestyle” funds—can dramatically increase retirement savings. And employees should have easy-to-use savings options, clear information and independent, appropriate advice to help them make decisions.

Canada is toying with the idea of increasing immigration in order to create solvency in their pension plans, according to Is that why the borders are being left open here in the US? However, in a 2008 report, it was estimated only $9Billion was paid into Social Security by illegals. That contrasts to 2008 cost to American taxpayers for illegals of a whopping $346Billion. They must be using the “government math” if that’s their reasoning for not sealing our borders.

If you are in your mid 40s or older, this issue should be front and center in your mind. If you are 55 or older, you must have a plan A,B,C in mind. Please use these resource links to obtain needed information to make sound decisions for your future. That would include demanding from our politicians dedicated solid plans going forward.

Those on the left who say if we want limited government, we should give up our social security benefits are idiots. That is our money. We PAID that money. Those of us who own businesses have paid it double. To suggest we don’t deserve our money back, with interest at least, are pulling the old liberal methodology.. Free speech, but only if your a liberal; Liberty is for liberals only; and now Social Security is only for those who believe in big government and the nanny state.

I don’t think so.

On that note- don’t forget to join us on the picket lines Thursday! Nearly every area is having a Tax Day Protest. See you on the front lines, fellow boomers. 🙂 

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Literal Translation – What Reich Really Said

Posted on October 15, 2009. Filed under: Enemies of The State, General Info, Soapbox | Tags: , , , , , , |

Remember during the campaign when Joe Biden said it was patriotic to pay your taxes? Well, apparently they want more than money now, they want your life. I showed you a video a few days ago from Council for Foreign Relations member , former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, and advisor to Barack Obama Robert Reich in which he said about government run health care, “If your very old we’re not gonna give you all that technology.. we’re gonna let you die.” Here’s the video again, if you have not seen it yet:

This is very disturbing. Allow me to translate, if you will:
Like a carrot on a stick, when you were young enough to still be gullible, we lured you on with the promise of The Great Society. As a reward for your good citizenship, you were promised social security, Medicare and the ability to save for retirement – tax free. That plan worked pretty good for us. You, well, not so much.  Now that we’re in the last phase of sucking your 401k accounts dry and successfully taken the equity you had in your homes, we’ve come up with the final nail in your coffin. This health care thing sounds great, huh? Thing is, we couldn’t possibly afford to pay for everyone’s medical needs. We’ve taken great care to indoctrinate your children into thinking “doing the right thing” means giving to their government and being a good “world citizen”. We’ve told them what they need to know, so there’s no need for them to ask many questions. Family and church, well, they don’t really have time for that. With those big student loans to pay off, they’re going to have to work long hours to make ends meet. That’s good, they’ll be used to working hard and having nothing to show for it. You baby boomers though, well, that’s an issue. You still think the government works for you. Some of you still believe all that crap about the founding fathers, the constitution, freedom of speech, and actual science – you know, like weather has always been cyclical and we have plenty of “energy resources” here at home. Well, there’s just no place for that in American now. Once this health care “reform” passes, it’ll be pretty much in the bag. Biden almost gave it away, as usual. See, once you retire, well, you’re really of no use to us. You can no longer do your “patriotic duty”. Instead you’ll be leaching off us and giving us nothing in return. So, of course we’re going to limit your medical care. That will in turn limit what we pay out in social security, too. It’s a win / win… and really, why would we spend our money on you? You still believe in traditional values, like clinging to your guns and your bible. Once you have free time, you become a danger to us. You start paying attention to everything we say, reading legislation we are attempting to pass, bothering your Representatives and Senators with those constant nasty phone calls.. and those tea parties, give me a break! Your children and grandchildren now clearly understand how selfish it is of you to expect them to pay more in taxes to keep you alive. They’ll have all they can do just to feed their families when we’re done. So see, we’ve got it all figured out. To fight us now is useless. We’ve worked long and hard for decades on this. Sit down, shut up, cash your $250 check, and take it like a good “world citizen”.
And on the subject of indoctrination, Michelle Obama had a post yesterday in US News and World Report:

..My girls are now making new friends, tackling challenging new subjects, and moving closer to becoming the strong, confident women I know they can be. But when I see them come home, bursting with excitement about something they have learned or someone they have met, I can’t help but think that some of the most influential people in my daughters’ lives won’t be the ones they socialize with on the playground or read about in the pages of a book—they will be the people who stand up every day in front of their classrooms. We all remember the impact a special teacher had on us—a teacher who refused to let us fall through the cracks; who pushed us and believed in us when we doubted ourselves; who sparked in us a lifelong curiosity and passion for learning. Decades later, we remember the way they made us feel and the things they inspired us to do—how they challenged us and changed our lives. So it’s not surprising that studies show that the single most important factor affecting students’ achievement is the caliber of their teachers. And when we think about the qualities that make an outstanding teacher—boundless energy and endless patience; vision and a sense of purpose; the creativity to help us see the world in a different way; commitment to helping us discover and fulfill our potential—we realize: These are also the qualities of a great leader. Today, more than ever before, we need precisely this kind of leadership in our classrooms. As the president has frequently said, in a 21st-century global economy where jobs can be shipped to any place with an Internet connection and children here in America will be competing with children around the world for the same jobs, a good education is no longer just one road to opportunity—it is the only road. And good teachers aren’t just critical for the success of our students. They are the key to the success of our economy….

(Obama’s Socialist Economy anyway)

For those who haven’t heard The President asked Congress Wednesday to issue seniors a $250 check – generous, huh?
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Special Report: Next Step: Single Payer Retirement Plans?

Posted on August 27, 2009. Filed under: Enemies of The State, General Info, Soapbox | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Inch by inch, program by program, citizen by citizen the government is hell bent on controlling every aspect of our life. The next example was given sunlight by CNS News:
The Government Accountability Office – the investigative arm of Congress – has laid some of the groundwork for pension reform by publishing a study of the “retirement risks” posed by private pension plans in the United States. “Many experts agree reforms are needed to make the U.S. private pension system more effective in protecting workers from risks to accumulating and preserving adequate savings for retirement,” says the GAO report. “If no action is taken, a considerable number of Americans face the prospect of a reduced standard of living in retirement.” The July 2009 report is addressed to Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. Miller is an advocate of “retirement security.” As part of its study, the GAO examined the pension systems of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and found that private pensions in those countries “represent alternative approaches” that could “yield useful lessons for the U.S. experience.” The GAO also examined four “key” domestic proposals to reform the U.S. private pension system – including a government-sponsored, mandatory system called the Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRA) plan. Under this plan, the federal government (Social Security Administration) would establish and administer a system of retirement savings accounts – guaranteeing a specified rate of return on those accounts. Currently, pension plans offered by private employers in the United States are voluntary and include tax incentives to encourage participation. 

READ THE REPORT YOURSELF:  Released August 24, 2009
Private Pensions: Alternative Approaches Could Address Retirement Risks Faced by Workers but Pose Trade-offs GAO-09-642, July 24, 2009
Commentary for the report was given by Dept of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Dept of Treausury Secretary Timothy Geitner. The report was done for the Education and Labor Dept headed by Democratic Congressman George Miller of California. It is estimated Congressman Miller votes with his party 98% of the time. Miller is a far-left Democrat according to GovTrack’s own analysis of bill sponsorship.  Key legislation he has sponsored is Employee Free Choice Act (card check), and co-sponsored HR 3200 as well as HR 2483 to permanently increase the conforming loan limits for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and the Federal National Mortgage Association and the FHA maximum mortgage amount limitations. For other legislation he sponsored or co-sponsored, or to see how he voted on other issues:
According to the report:
This report addresses the following questions: (1) What are key risks faced by U.S. workers in accumulating and preserving pension benefits? (2) What approaches are used in other countries that could address these risks and what trade-offs do they present? (3) What approaches do key proposals for alternative plan designs in the U.S. suggest to mitigate risks faced by workers and what trade-offs do they entail? To complete this work, we reviewed research on defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and interviewed pension consulting firms, industry experts, academics, and other relevant organizations in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, we used a microsimulation model to assess the impact of certain strategies to increase pension coverage on accumulated benefits. The Department of Labor and Department of Treasury provided technical comments on this report.

The report also states:

Key legal and administrative changes required by this plan include establishing and administering a system of retirement accounts by the federal government, information sharing by state and local governments, and reducing the current preferential tax treatment of DC plans, such as 401(k) plans (see app. III). Two additional proposals focus specifically on addressing risks associated with retirees’ drawdown of lump-sum benefits by presenting options for increasing the use of annuities as a way to pay out benefits accumulated in DC plans.

Table 11 on page 44 of the 77 page document, illustrates the GRA Plan’s Approaches to Coverage, Contributions, Investments and the Drawdown of Beneifits in Retirement.  For instance, under the Worker column it shows that that those who are not covered by an equal or better employered sponsored plan MUST participate. Workers who are self employed, indepedent contractors, or not covered by their employers also MUST enroll.

Table 15 on page 69 of the report, illustrates a Summary of Administrative Legal Changes Associated with Key Domestic Proposals. It details the role the Federal Government will play in all this. Notice in Universal 401(k) Plan the Feds establish a federally chartered clearinghouse structure that sets up and manages workers accounts as well as facilitates annuity purchases. Under the Guaranteed Retirement Accounts Plan, the Federal Government, under the Social Security Administration, establishes and administers a system of retirement savings accounts and manages and invests plan assets for you with a guaranteed return.

Will this be handled like everything else the government touches? It starts out sounding benevolent, then turns into a vehicle for corruption, abuse, fraud, mismanagement and theft upon the American people. Remember Social Security? That was a guarantee against poverty among the elderly too, when it was introduced in 1935. According to

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt supported temporary emergency relief with enthusiasm but at first opposed a permanent federal role. By late 1934, however, the deepening depression led the president to appoint a Committee on Economic Security to draft a bill. Its staff headed by Edwin Witte and his colleagues from Wisconsin’s state government and the University of Wisconsin, the committee was dominated by proponents of social insurance. Their vision, derived from private life‐insurance plans, called for government funds to replace wages lost through illness, injury, unemployment, or retirement. Its advocates sought to serve the prosperous as well as the poor, thereby avoiding the stigma of “poor relief,” and to prevent, not simply alleviate, poverty. The committee adapted social insurance principles in designing three programs—unemployment compensation, old‐age pensions, and medical insurance, the last of which died owing to opposition from the organized medical profession.
We all know how well that worked out. Ah, but this will entail private accounts, will it not? Well, that is how the original idea is starting out. As anyone who has been a citizen of this country for any length of time can plainly see, our government will find a way to morph that into anything they want at any time of their choosing. 

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News for 08/28/2009- FCC Czar, Regulatory Czar, We the People Have the Power

Posted on August 27, 2009. Filed under: Enemies of The State, General Info, Soapbox | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Check Out This New Citizen Tool

Touted as “Transparency’s Sidekick”…. cool site! LegiStorm helps bring trans- parency to the U.S. Congress by disseminating public docu- ments and non-partisan infor- mation over the web.
How America Voices Their Democracy- FAX YOUR REPS FOR FREE– check out this site


Michael Badnarik On The Constitution: We The People Have the Power 5 min video

Another Story of Government Insulting Concerned Americans from American Liberty Alliance We at the American Liberty Alliance, an organization that is deeply involved in the Tea Party Movement, find this incredibly offensive. Our group demands that the Rules Committee immediately apologize and ensure the person responsible for sending this message is reprimanded for insulting the hundreds of thousands of American Patriots who consider themselves “Tea Partiers.” Anyone wishing to contact the Rules Committee can call the number they provide in their email. Call (916) 319-2800 and tell them how you feel!

This would suggest that someone working on taxpayer time, in a taxpayer funded office, using taxpayer funded email servers to contact taxpayer employees, deliberately chose to use the phrase “tea baggers” instead of “Tea Partiers.” (“tea baggers” is an explicit sexual term whose definition can be found at

FCC Diversity Chief Asked Liberals to Copy FDR, Take on Limbaugh, Murdoch, Supreme Court
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd called on fellow liberals to follow the model of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and challenge conservative media moguls and station owners, particularly figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, and “a pro-big business Supreme Court aligned” with them. Lloyd made the call in a 2007 article for the liberal Center for American Progress while he was a senior fellow there.  Entitled “Media Maneuvers: Why the Rush to Waive Cross-Ownership Bans,” the article ostensibly talks about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to allow Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell to purchase the then-failing Chicago Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune newspaper.  Lloyd, however, uses the Zell case, in which Zell ultimately prevailed, to make a broader argument that liberals should look to the tactics employed by FDR to combat his conservative critics in the media, saying that liberals must challenge outspoken conservatives who own media outlets. “Progressives should take a page from FDR’s media diversity playbook,” Lloyd wrote. “[A]t the end of a second FDR administration [in 1940] when the New Dealers were still battling a conservative print media and a conservative Supreme Court to fix the great debacle of American capitalism – the Great Depression. “FDR’s fireside chats and his ready access to radio allowed him to speak directly to Americans and continue to push a progressive agenda,” said Lloyd. “But FDR was becoming increasingly concerned about the purchase of radio operations by the newspaper publishers.”



President Obama said: “If you want to know what my views are, look who I surround myself with”
Ok, that’s fair… so let’s look:
Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein
Sunstein was named head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration if confirmed – in other words, he will be the new Regulatory Czar.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), within the Office of Management and Budget, was created by Congress with the enactment of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (PRA). Under this and other authorities, OIRA develops and oversees several critical functions, including:
  • The implementation of government-wide policies and standards with respect to Federal regulations and guidance documents;
  • The quality, utility, and analytic rigor of information used to support public policy;
  • Dissemination of and access to government information;
  • Privacy and confidentiality;
  • Electronic records; and
  • Federal statistics.
OIRA reviews significant proposed and final rules as well as information collection requests prior to publication in the Federal Register. Coordinated review of agency rulemaking is necessary to ensure that regulatory actions do not conflict with the policies or actions taken or planned by another agency, are consistent with applicable law, the President’s priorities, and the principles set forth in Executive Order 12866. The office is headed by a Presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Administrator.
 Sunstein is a proponent of the ‘nudge’ philosophy – Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness:

By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it’s time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gentling nudging them in directions that will make their lives better.

In other words, you institute change by constantly tweaking the law, etc. until it becomes what you want it to be. Fascist baby steps if you will. From Wikipedia:

Sunstein (along with his coauthor Richard Thaler) has elaborated the theory of libertarian paternalism. In arguing for this theory, he counsels thinkers/academics/politicians to embrace the findings of behavioral economics as applied to law, maintaining freedom of choice while also steering people’s decisions in directions that will make their lives go better. With Thaler, he coined the term “choice architect.”

He also has views on a ‘New Deal’ for speech and he seeks to tweak the Constitution so to speak (actually, more like rewriting it) in this area as well as others…

1st Amendment

In his book Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech Sunstein says there is a need to reformulate First Amendment law. He thinks that the current formulation, based on Justice Holmes’ conception of free speech as a marketplace “disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America’s founding document.” The purpose of this reformulation would be to “reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views.” He is concerned by the present “situation in which like-minded people speak or listen mostly to one another,” and thinks that in “light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals.” He proposes a “New Deal for speech [that] would draw on Justice Brandeis’ insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship.”

Here are some Sunstein gems:

  • “Much of the time, the United States seems to have embraced a confused and pernicious form of individualism. This approach endorses rights of private property and freedom of contract, and respects political liberty, but claims to distrust ‘government intervention’ and insists that people must fend for themselves. This form of so-called individualism is incoherent, a tangle of confusions.”
    – Cass R. Sunstein, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More Than Ever, Basic Books, New York, 2004, p. 3
  • “A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.”
    –Cass Sunstein, arguing for a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet in his book, 2.0, p.137
  • “In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?… Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public fisc. … There is no liberty without dependency. That is why we should celebrate tax day …”
    – Cass R. Sunstein, “Why We Should Celebrate Paying Taxes,” The Chicago Tribune, April 14, 1999 
Leftist False Flag Operation in Colorado? from Canada Free Press

Colorado Citizens’ Coalition, a 527 pressure group, may have been behind an attack on a Democratic Party office in Denver calculated to depict opponents of ObamaCare as violent. Maurice Schwenkler, reportedly an anarchist who goes by the name Ariel Attack and whose sex is a subject of debate, was arrested for vandalizing the Denver office. One available photograph shows a shattered window that bears two signs on the inside reading “Want Health Care Reform? Come Inside” and “Today 100 Coloradans will lose their health insurance.” The damage may cost $10,000 to repair. Colorado Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Waak blamed opponents of President Obama’s healthcare nationalization scheme for the vandalism. “Clearly there’s been an effort on the other side to stir up hate,” she said. “I think this is the consequence of it.” … {As it turns out, that was not the case.] Waak has not yet apologized.  Video: 

New “Lingo” in the news:
What’s black bloc activity

A black bloc is a group of protesters dressed in black, who often cooperate in small, autonomous affinity groups to resist police. There may be several black blocs within a particular protest, with different aims and tactics. Black blocs tend to be anarchist-themed, and may include members of union flying squads, anarchists, situationists, pagans, communists and other anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and anti-fascist groups. What defines a black bloc is not ideology but action in self-defense of the larger group of protesters. They are named for the typical black garb they wear for uniformity. Many also wear masks and scarves over their faces, to avoid identification, to protect their faces against tear gas and pepper spray, and for symbolic purposes. Typical actions of a black bloc are distracting police, misleading police about protester motions, ‘unarresting’ people already arrested by police, administering first aid to persons affected by tear gas in areas where protestors are barred from entering, building barricades, attacking/disarming police, and unmasking police who pose as black blockers (easily identified as they attack protestors). Some black blockers also engage in vandalism and rioting. Although black blocking is usually connected with some form of direct action, black blocs also participate in wholly symbolic action, as well as action that falls entirely within traditional definitions of nonviolence. Property destruction carried out by black blocs tends to have symbolic significance: favorite targets include banks, institutional buildings, outlets for multinational corporations, pornography and sex shops, gasoline stations, and videosurveillance cameras. Groups such as the WOMBLES and Wild Greens advocate participating in black bloc activity, and have similar mandates. Groups that have engaged in similar forms of action include Radical Anti-Capitalist Blocs, Anti-Racist Action, and Anti-Fascist Action


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