New Taxes in ObamaCare
by JBS President John F. McManus
There are plenty of sound reasons why Congress and the Supreme Court should never have saddled the American people with ObamaCare. Beyond the simple fact that the federal government has no authorization to meddle in the fields of health and medicine, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) has provided several more reasons to detest the law.
He deliberately chose the widely dreaded Tax Day of April 15 to send a letter to his constituents about new taxes contained within President Obama’s invasion into the field of medical care. The Louisiana senator stated his awareness that April 15th “is always one of the most painful days of the year.” But he wanted to let fellow Louisianans know that ObamaCare has “20 new taxes.”
Pointing to what he termed “the more egregious” levies contained in ObamaCare,” Vitter listed only four of the twenty. These are:
- The Medicine Cabinet Tax. ObamaCare does away with a citizen’s use of pre-tax dollars in a health savings account, a flexible spending account, or a health reimbursement account to purchase over-the-counter medicines.
- The “Special Needs Kids” Tax. Many parents of special needs children have relied on allowable flexible spending accounts to pay for special needs education. The amount a family can use for this purpose has been cut significantly.
- The Employee Mandate Tax. Employers who do not offer health care coverage must now pay $2,000 or more for each full-time employee.
- The Individual Mandate Tax. Any person who does not have health insurance and doesn’t participate in ObamaCare will be taxed.
As painful as it may be to learn of these new taxes, Vitter then pointed to the outrageous arrangement whereby members of Congress have exempted themselves and their staffs from participating in the new healthcare program. Instead, as he noted, each of these federal employees receives a “lucrative health care subsidy” with which to purchase his own healthcare program. Obviously, these privileged government personnel don’t have to live under the provisions of ObamaCare. Vitter notes in his message that he has personally refused the subsidy.
The Vitter letter contains his no-holds-barred assertion that there’s a need to “repeal” ObamaCare. It’s comforting to know that a U.S. senator holds such a view because that’s precisely what is needed. But expecting the current Congress to take such a step is unrealistic. Perhaps membership of the new Congress scheduled for election in November will contain enough Vitter-like individuals who will, indeed, cancel one of the most dangerous, costly, and unconstitutional programs ever created.
Go to our “Choose Freedom — STOP ObamaCare” action project page to learn more about stopping ObamaCare and how your state legislature can nullify the ObamaCare law in your state.
Destroying Wealth and Curtailing Freedom: Time to Reclaim America
by JBS President John F. McManus
How often have you heard someone claim, “America is a wealthy nation”? Such a declaration is usually followed by demands that our nation solve the entire world’s problems, bail out a host of other nations whose leaders are known miscreants, and even police the world while the hidden beneficiary of lost American blood and treasure turns out to be the United Nations.
The insistence that America is wealthy omits both a definition of “wealth” and any correct awareness of how the American people succeeded where so many others haven’t. So let’s correct these deficiencies by first insisting that America became wealthy, not because of what government did but because of what government was prevented from doing by the limitations on it imposed in the U.S. Constitution. Also, add the system that has states in peaceful competition to be the best state, the one where people would want to raise a family, create a business, and produce wealth. There you have the two extremely beneficial foundations propelling America to become the envy of mankind.
Next, let’s offer wealth’s definition. It doesn’t consist of a pile of documents (stocks, bonds, titles of ownership, etc.). Wealth results from productivity, the taking of the raw materials of the earth and fashioning them into goods. This means creation of wealth relies on manufacturing, farming, and mining. Whatever impedes these tasks impedes the nation’s wealth.
Both of these foundations of America’s unparalleled success are under severe attack. The national government, supposedly restrained by the Constitution to “few and defined” powers according to James Madison, now constrains wealth production with an array of costly, unnecessary and unconstitutional regulations, edicts, and dictates. Then, of course, there are taxes to pay for the growing bureaucracy and the foreign adventures. All of this has led to what is called “outsourcing” that sees closed factories and loss of jobs. How many jobs have disappeared? Since the passage of NAFTA in 1994, estimates vary from one million (cited by the Public Citizen organization) to five million (attributed to the Congressional Research Service). And increasingly, the general public has been steered toward a belief that the remaining producers of wealth are thieves, enslavers of workers, and mere money-grubbing cretins.
Any honest surveyor of these developments has to conclude that NAFTA (the pact involving Canada, Mexico and the U.S.) has been a disaster for our country. So what have our leaders proposed? Even larger and surely more harmful trade agreements, one with the 28 formerly independent nations now entangled in the European Union (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP) and the other with a dozen Pacific nations (the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP). If Congress approves these pacts, expect even more outsourcing, job losses, and declining wealth production. Click here to communicate this to Congress.
Is this sheer stupidity? It is madness? Or is it sinister planning? Since our leaders are neither stupid nor deranged, the undeniable results should be credited with wanting to see America’s decline. Why? To build a world government more commonly known as the New World Order.
No world government can exist if once-free nations aren’t similarly brought to heel and once-free people become forced downward economically. Nothing else makes sense.
America still has its Constitution. And Americans, despite government interference in so many ways, are still producing some wealth. But the goose that laid the golden egg has been scheduled for the guillotine. Will still free Americans resist and reclaim their hard-won legacy? That’s the big question.
The John Birch Society provides such an outlet for concerned Americans to organize, educate, and reclaim its founding principles. Join today to get started!
Why No Condemnations of Soviet Criminals?
by JBS President John F. McManus
Twenty years ago, more than 800,000 members of Rwanda’s Tutsi tribe were systematically murdered during a mere 100 days by members of the dominant Hutus. In the years since that hard-to-believe massacre, there have been several thousand trials and convictions – as there should have been. Amazingly, Hutus and Tutsis now live side-by-side in relative calm.
In Spain, claims by some left-leaning individuals who insist that they were tortured by government police during the 1970s are being investigated by today’s authorities. But not much attention is being directed at the murders committed by the communist left during the 1936-9 Spanish Civil War.
Both in Europe and America, headline-grabbing attention has been directed to apprehensions and prosecutions of 90-year-old German ex-corporals who served during World War II. These individuals face being tracked down and tried for their roles in the horrors perpetrated in Nazi concentration camps.
Justice, however late, seems to be winning. But what about the many other criminals who enslaved millions and ruled with incredible brutality during most of the 20th century? What about those responsible for undeniable atrocities committed by communists?
After the Soviet Union imploded and after the Chinese Communist leaders diverted their attention to out-producing the West, why wasn’t attention given to those communist leaders who were responsible for mass murders, widespread imprisonment in gulags and worse, and across-the-board denial of fundamental rights? The answer is that communist designs for mankind – under whatever name now covering their deeds – are still triumphing.
Consider some of the history of Mikhail Gorbachev. A life-long Communist Party functionary who has never renounced his oft-stated devotion to communism, he rose steadily in the Party to become its leader in 1985. He and his many colleagues should have been held accountable for the crimes perpetrated on the people in many Soviet bloc nations of Europe and Asia. As a member of the ruling Politburo and then absolute leader of the USSR, he shares much of the blame for the decade-long rape of Afghanistan (1979-1989) that led to the deaths of more than one million Afghans and the uprooting of more than six million more. Among the many crimes committed by the Soviet forces under Gorbachev, perhaps the worst was the spreading of booby-trapped toys that exploded when picked up by innocent children who were immediately maimed or killed.
Gorbachev, however, was converted into a humanitarian, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, given the distinct honor of speaking before assembled members of the U.S. Congress, and feted worldwide. Converted into a champion of environmental causes, this arch-criminal should have at the very least been shunned by honorable people everywhere.
Gorbachev isn’t alone among Soviet-era criminals deserving of ostracism or prosecution. Sadly, hardly any have been held accountable. We live in a world where establishment thinking has made heroes out of criminals and criminals out of heroes. It’s not difficult to conclude that the wrong side is winning and that evil is triumphing.
Making the Case for Higher Inflation? Krugman’s Cockamamie Economics
by JBS President John F. McManus
A correct definition of inflation, something increasingly hard to find, appeared in “Webster’s New 20th Century Unabridged Dictionary (1957)”. It said that inflation is “an increase in the amount of currency in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices.” Note that what is inflated is the amount of currency. The effect of inflating the amount of currency is a rise in how much more of the less-valuable currency is needed to purchase anything.
In 1920, in a burst of youthful honesty, British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote a book entitled “Economic Consequences of the Peace.” In it, he correctly identified inflation as an increase in the amount of currency and then summarized, “By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens …. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.” Here we see that inflation constitutes thievery by government. Keynes, however, didn’t stand firmly by his correct 1920 attitude. His later twisted thinking greatly influenced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the socialistic New Deal of the 1930s.
Jump ahead to 1946 and the publication of economist Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson.” It presents the absolutely correct definition of inflation. A prominent columnist whose work appeared regularly in Newsweek and other publications, Hazlitt minced no words when he wrote that inflation “tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. Its inexcusable injustices drive men toward desperate remedies. It plants the seeds of fascism and communism. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls.” The correctness of his dire forecasts was demonstrated in recent years as inflation ravaged Zimbabwe, Argentina and elsewhere. Hazlitt’s warnings should have been heeded in our country but they haven’t been listened to by most Americans. In our nation, inflation (courtesy of the Federal Reserve and a compliant Congress) continues to erode the value of everyone’s dollars.
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman writes about economic matters for the New York Times. On April 7th, without ever defining inflation, he told readers that more inflation is needed. He proposed a “compelling case for raising inflation targets above 2 percent.” In presenting “the case for higher inflation” he stated that “moderate inflation turns out to serve several useful purposes.” Not only did he rely on the false notion that inflation’s definition is rising prices, he proposed that America needs those prices to rise even higher.
No, Mr. Krugman. America needs honest money whose value can’t be manipulated by government, the Federal Reserve, or even by Nobel Prize winners. Americans also need a correct definition of inflation, not a confusing mishmash of highbrow economic verbiage that cloaks the real truth about thievery, solves no problems, and destroys the people’s wealth – in their paychecks, savings, pensions, insurance policies, investments, etc. The value of all dollars continues to sink, something every supermarket shopper experiences week to week and wonders why. The cause is inflation and its continuing toleration by a government that allows the Federal Reserve to produce a continuous stream of freshly created cash.
Could the people of our nation become desperate and “demand totalitarian controls” as Henry Hazlitt soberly suggested? The answer is obvious. But Paul Krugman doesn’t tell Americans what they need to know. Without the truth about inflation, the people will continue to worry about their future, maybe even begin to “demand totalitarian controls.”
Mr. McManus has written “Dollars & $ense,” a booklet explaining solutions to the economic meltdown.
Building the Case for Nonintervention: What’s NATO?
by JBS President John F. McManus
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was sold to the American people and the U.S. Congress in 1949 as an alliance needed to prevent the Soviet Union from gobbling up more nations to its West. With such an attitude prevailing, NATO won ratification in the Senate with only 13 negative votes. Opponents of entangling the U.S. in additional international pacts claimed correctly that membership in NATO would require U.S. involvement in disputes all over the world. Only a few knew that NATO was created as a “Regional Arrangement” authorized by Articles 51-54 of the United Nations Charter. Then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson didn’t attempt to hide this relationship and, in his March 19, 1949 speech to the U.S. Senate, he confidently proclaimed, “… it is designed to fit precisely into the framework of the United Nations” and is “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.”
The text of the very brief NATO Treaty, only 14 brief articles, actually mentions “the United Nations” five times. The treaty’s Article 5 pledges all signers to consider an attack on any member nation as an attack on all that must be met by all with a military response. In 1950, membership in NATO was cited by President Truman as his authority to send American forces into Korea to counter North Korea’s invasion of its southern neighbor. Later, the precedents established by NATO led to creation of a virtually identical treaty known as the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). President Lyndon Johnson pointed to it for authority to commit hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces to Vietnam. The two wars were the first waged by the United States without victory. And NATO is now the overall leader of the military action in Afghanistan where victory is seemingly impossible.
NATO has recently raised its voice in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean area of Ukraine, and to the further stationing by Russia of tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine-Russia border. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that the Russian actions have “undermined the very foundations” of the relationship that NATO has been building with Russia. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined with officials of other NATO member nations in planning to build up air, sea and land forces for possible use in reversing Russia’s moves. Should force be employed against Russia, one can be certain that its main ingredient will consist of U.S. military might. But such a development is extremely unlikely inasmuch as it would have to stem from authorization supplied by the UN Security Council where Russia possesses a veto.
Seemingly lost in all of this headline-grabbing activity is the fact that the people in Crimea have already approved being annexed by Russia. At most, the situation involves only the two neighbors, Ukraine and Russia. In years gone by, such a low-level problem would involve only those affected by it. Now, thanks to the United Nations and its NATO subsidiary, any such dispute seems poised to become a regional or even a world conflagration. UN and NATO leaders seem desirous of injecting their organizations and their forces. And, if they succeed, existing treaty obligations will require the U.S. to participate, even lead the response.
All of which points to reasons why the United States should withdraw from NATO and its parent, the United Nations. Doing so would terminate the ongoing U.S. policy that has American forces acting as the policemen of the world. And respect for the United States would begin to rise again to heights previously enjoyed when our nation minded its own business.
Perspective on Race – Today and Yesteryear
by JBS President John F. McManus
As reported recently in the Chicago Tribune, Pastor James Meeks of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church had something important to state to fellow black Americans. He summed up the local situation and then asked a question that many others throughout the nation ought to be asking. He said: “African-Americans have been taken for granted by Democrats for years and years. Our people are stuck in terrible schools; our streets are full of crime; there is blood in the streets; and there are no jobs. So what did we get exactly from the Democrats for all our years of loyalty?” Evidently, Rev. Meeks believes Democrats have been benefitting from overwhelming black American support while ignoring what they really need.
The evident clear-thinking in the pastor’s assessment reminded us of the unique statement given by a man named Leonard Patterson more than 50 years ago. As a young man in the 1930s, Patterson joined the US Communist Party (CPUSA). Recognition of his devotion to the Party along with his eagerness to follow its programs propelled him to steady advancement within the movement. Eventually, communist leaders brought Patterson to Russia for two years of schooling in their strategy and tactics. While there, he shared living quarters with future CPUSA Chairman Gus Hall.
But Mr. Patterson eventually saw through the plans of communism, especially its constant insistence that black Americans had no choice but to look to it as the answer to their grievances. Disillusioned, he abandoned the CPUSA in 1937 and eventually provided testimony about his knowledge of the entire communist movement to an appropriate congressional panel in the 1950s. The following portion of his statement ought to be better-known today by all Americans:
With all the shortcomings that we have in the United States, if you want to put it on a racial basis, or a Negro Basis, we American Negroes are better off, not only than the minorities in Russia, but the so-called Great Russians themselves. I wouldn’t say there wasn’t room for improvement. But if you take it as a whole, we have the highest standard of living, we are better educated, we have more wealth distributed among us, and I defy anyone to deny it.
For several years, Mr. Patterson traveled throughout our nation delivering speeches for local chapters and committees of The John Birch Society. His experience and his forthrightness are well-remembered by many audiences. Listen to one of his speeches posted below on YouTube.
Today, of course, there are famous race hucksters who refuse to accept the progress in race relations that Mr. Patterson pointed to more than half a century ago.
There would even be more progress if all Americans, working together, would contemplate the words of these gentlemen and support the American system of individual and civic responsibility coupled with the freedom to seek out the means to advance their individual, family, and business opportunities.
For further reading, check out “Do Progressive Policies Hurt Black Americans?” published by The New American.