October 31, 2011 | Commentary on Political Thought
The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to push a list of wild demands: the end of capitalism, no more wars, and free college tuition. This movement seems like one of those out-of-control monsters in a bad Halloween movie.
President Obama threw his arms around these left-wing activists last week by promising an executive order to force student loan companies to cap annual loan repayments at 10% of what students make after they are done with school. Expect a bailout of these companies to soon follow. Hello pandering and election-year politics.
Middle-income Americans will end up footing the bill to pay the bloated salaries of Ivy League professors. Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.) is correct when he argues that every proposal that increases a government program is a hidden tax on the American people. Every expensive idea proposed by the Obama administration is a tax on our kids and grandkids.
Programs that allow government loans to cover tuition without students ever having to pay back the full cost of the loans will also cause even more inflation in the price of higher education.
Occupy Wall Street can declare a small victory in that the Redistributor-of-Wealth in Chief has struck again.
Super-Secret Super Committee
Republicans and Democrats have leaked details of the super committee's debt-reduction plans. The super committee was set up pursuant to legislation raising the debt ceiling and is charged with producing a report by Thanksgiving containing $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in debt reduction. If the committee can’t come to an agreement, automatic cuts to defense spending and some other domestic spending programs will be triggered.
The super committee has met sometimes in public, but most of the important work is being done behind closed doors. The Democrats have leaked a plan containing $3 trillion in debt reduction over the next 10 years, with massive tax increases to the tune of at least $1.2 trillion. According to Congressional Quarterly, the Republicans have a plan similar in scope that relies 75% on debt reductions produced by spending cuts, with the remainder coming from increased revenues.
Conservatives need to makes sure that legislators don’t use accounting gimmicks and tax increases to shift the pain from politicians to the American people. These politicians define the word “cuts” as reductions to increases in projected spending. They will probably use the long-expected savings from the predictable ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an accounting gimmick to count toward debt reduction. They also will try to pass on hidden revenue increases to the American taxpayer in the form of higher fees.
Gay Marriage Scheme
The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a hearing this week on a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) to repeal the statute that prevents one state from imposing gay marriage on another state. Liberals are using the courts and a Senate controlled by Democrats to attack the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). All of the Democrats on the committee support this proposal. Senate Democrats are trying to move this proposal to the Senate floor for consideration later this year.
Repeal would allow states such as Massachusetts and New York to mass-produce gay marriage certificates for export to states that would never approve gay marriage, e.g., Alabama and Virginia. The House of Representatives feels so strongly about this issue that Republican leaders authorized lawyers to represent them in court to fight liberals’ legal attacks on DOMA, because the Obama administration won’t do so.
The Senate Appropriations Committee released a draft of its appropriations bill for the Interior Department earlier this month. Section 420 contains a provision allowing the secretary of the Interior Department to recognize "Native Hawaiians" as a federally recognized Indian tribe. This is a version of the “Akaka Bill,” and an effort to create a race-based government for individuals classified as native Hawaiians.
This is a radical measure that would force even more separation on the American people into different ethnic groups. This is also a measure that many native Hawaiians oppose, because they feel that the people claiming to represent their interests are enriching themselves at the expense of the true interests of those of Hawaiian heritage as wells as traditional fishing rights.
Last week, the House moved a bill out of committee to allow the holders of conceal-carry permits to carry guns across state lines. The Senate voted on a similar proposal by Sen. John Thune (R.-S.D.) in 2009. Don’t expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) to allow a debate on pro-2nd Amendment legislation this year or next, because he won’t want to put his liberal Democratic members in a tough spot with liberal anti-gun activist members.
Brian Darling is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in Human Events