The mainstream media is fawning over President Barack Obama’s striking a deal with Iran to allegedly ban their development of nuclear weapons. And FOX News and the talk radio hosts are equally dyspeptic over Mr. Obama creating a pathway for Iran’s nuclear ambitions and jeopardizing our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. Given the difference between what Mr. Obama claims and the Farsi version published in Iran with approval of the ayatollahs, coupled with Mr. Obama’s propensity to lie about everything, I’m inclined to rely more on FOX, talk radio and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than Mr. Obama and the mainstream media.
But Mr. Obama’s announcement is really a reminder of the big talk and little action by Congressional Republicans. Let me reiterate.
During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would stop Mr. Obama from unilaterally striking a deal with Iran and releasing the economic and trade sanctions previously imposed against Iran and the ayatollahs. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would stop Mr. Obama from unilaterally granting amnesty from deportation to more than 5 Million illegal immigrants currently in America. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would repeal and replace Obamacare. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
During the 2014 congressional campaigns the Republicans told us that if we would give them a working majority in both Houses of Congress, they would enact meaningful tax reform. We gave the Republicans a landslide victory in both houses of Congress and the result to date has been NOTHING.
The Republican majorities have failed at every turn to block the unilateral assumption and exercise of power by Mr. Obama. In fact, the only meaningful thing that the Republican majorities in Congress have accomplished is to add to an all too long of list of Republicans who believe they are qualified to be President. (Given that Mr. Obama has established the low mark for qualification one must conclude that all of these Republicans are “qualified” but few are capable.)
Let’s be realistic. The majority of Americans are not particularly fond of the Republican Party. They have bought the Big Lie perpetuated by Democrats and their handmaidens in the mainstream media that “Republicans only represent the rich” and “care nothing for the working man.” All of this despite the fact that the rich and powerful provide at least as much support for Democrats as they do for Republicans and that Mr. Obama’s friends on Wall Street have, for over six years now, feasted on the unemployment of the working class and the low interest rates mandated by the federal government. While Wall Street bankers, investors and moneychangers have seen their portfolios double under Mr. Obama, real employment as measured by the Labor Force Participation Rate is at a thirty-six year low. Main Street reported Monday:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its March jobs report on Friday, and the results are pretty depressing. The good news, such as it is, came from an unemployment rate which held steady at 5.5%. Unfortunately given the disproportionate share of service and retail sector job creation, the unemployment rate remains a marginal measure of prosperity.
“The other numbers are profoundly troubling, and may indicate that the economy is beginning to slow down. Job creation was far below expectations. The economy added 126,000 new positions, far below the 245,000 that economists predicted. This was less than half of February’s growth. (By way of context, the Hamilton Project estimates that if the U.S. added 208,000 jobs per month it would take until 2020 to return to full employment.) The BLS has also adjusted its growth estimates down for January and February, putting the recent quarter at an average growth of 197,000 jobs per month.
“This report ends 12 straight months of job growth above 200,000.
“Which brings us to the labor force participation rate. This is the measure of how many people work or actively seek it. At its most benign this statistic measures our retirees, students, stay-at-home parents and lottery winners. It also, however, captures the percent of discouraged workers who wait in the wings for the economy to improve before returning to an active job search.
“Labor force participation is back down, returning to the 36-year low that it reached late last year.”
And the Republican message of hard work, sacrifice and delayed gratification are a hard sale to the “me generation” and its offspring who demand instant gratification and are content with the false promises of the “nanny state.” Republicans are not elected because they are loved, or that they have promised (like Mr. Obama to the Iranians) a “rose garden.” They are elected to fix the problems created by the reckless pandering of Democrats. If they are unwilling to fix the problems, unwilling to make the hard choices, and unwilling to withstand the criticism that will attend realistic solutions, then there is no good reason to elect them.
But thus far, ninety days into the landslide majority given the Republicans in the 2014 election, Congressional Republicans appear to me mirroring the Democrats – acquiring power for power’s sake; more interested in the sanctity of their institutions and their return to them than they are in exercising their considerable power to remedy six years of abuse by Mr. Obama and his lockstep Democrats.
Let me suggest five things that Congressional Republicans need to do.
- The Senate Republicans need to change the rules of the Senate by denying the use of the filibuster to budget and appropriation measures. Unless they do that they will be denied the singular constitutional power that restrains a reckless President – the power of the purse.
- The Senate Republicans need to tell Mr. Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that no additional executive or judicial appointments will be allowed to come to the floor of the Senate until the minority Democrats permit substantive legislation to similarly come to the floor.
- The House Republicans need to produce a comprehensive immigration bill that:
- Physically secures our southern border
- Restructures the preference for immigrants from a quota based on country of origin to a preference based on education and demonstrated skills.
- Denies citizenship to children born in the United States by parents who are here illegally.
- Recognizes that it is impossible to deport the fifteen million or more illegal immigrants already here and provides a status to them that permits residency but denies citizenship, including the right to vote, unless and until they return to their country of origin and commence the immigration process like others already waiting.
- Requires the immediate deportation of illegal immigrants entering after January 1, 2015.
- Stages the implementation based on completion of securing the border as noted above.
- The House Republicans need to produce a tax reform measure which eliminates all tax preferences, deductions, and credits that provide competitive advantages or disadvantages for businesses and a two or three tier tax system for individuals which eliminates all tax deductions and credits with the exception of taxes and fees to paid to federal, state and local jurisdictions.
- The House and Senate Republicans need to produce a measure that will repeal and replace Obamacare – one that emphasizes competitive alternatives. Premiums should not be increased to finance coverage to low income and sick people as are required under Obamacare. Rather, there should be a program that provides block grants to the states to assist those who cannot afford the premiums for service – those numbers should be tracked and accurately reported so that taxpayers understand the true cost of mandatory insurance program. The federal government should be restrained from imposing insurance or healthcare standards or conditions. And finally, the program should sunset after five years unless reauthorized by Congress – that should give sufficient time for taxpayers to understand and respond to the true costs of such programs.
Regardless of whether Congressional Republicans embrace such suggestions or not, unless they move decisively to remedy the abuses of Mr. Obama, they will return to the minority in the 2016 election and ensure the election of another Democrat as President who will continue the reckless pandering of Mr. Obama.