Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS ruling not the end for Obamacare opponents

President Obama finally got some good news today.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, today. In a stunning proof that judicial activism can cross ideological lines, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Court’s liberals in finding that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress’ authority to tax.

There was some good news for those who oppose Obamacare as well according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. The Court decided that the federal government could not expel states from Medicare if they refuse to comply with the law. The Court also limited abuse of Commerce Clause by stating that the Affordable Care Act was not permitted by Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce.

Following the Battle of Bunker Hill, British General Sir Henry Clinton wrote that it was “A dear bought victory, another such would have ruined us." The same is likely true for President Obama of today’s victory.

Obamacare was not popular before it passed. It took parliamentary tricks and bribery to pass the law over strong public opposition, even with large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. The Cornhusker Compromise and the Louisiana Purchase will long be remembered with scorn. The deal that pro-life Democrats won from President Obama to keep federal money from funding abortion has already been forgotten as new mandates force all insurers to cover abortifacient drugs. Many Democrats who voted for the law are no longer in Congress due their violation of the public trust. Next January, there will be even fewer.

Obamacare is still not popular. Immediately after passage 55 percent of Americans favored its repeal according to Rasmussen. Forty-two percent were opposed. Last week, Americans still favored repeal by 54-39 percent. President Obama and the Democrats went to the wall to fight for a law that Americans oppose by a landslide.

In Georgia, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens issued a joint statement on the ruling. Deal said, “Today, the highest court in the country let the American people down.”

Olens agreed, ““I disagree with this decision. Congress explicitly said this was not a tax. I call on Congress to act swiftly, repeal the law and replace it with real reform that respects the Constitution as written.”

Americans don’t like to be told what to do and they don’t like to be lied to. The Democrats have committed both sins. Most Americans know that the law was passed on lies. Americans were told that Obamacare would cut insurance premiums. Since the law was passed, premiums have risen even faster than before according to Forbes. Americans were told that Obamacare would decrease the deficit and be revenue neutral. A new study by the Mercatus Center says that the law will add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit. Americans were told they could keep their insurance and that everyone would have coverage. The Congressional Budget Office says that the law could cause 20 million Americans to lose their insurance. Barack Obama promised that there would be no tax increases for the middle class. In reality, the Heritage Foundation points out that the law includes $500 billion in tax increases, much of which will be borne by the middle and lower classes. While portraying themselves as anti-corporatists, the Democrats were secretly working with the health insurance companies to pass the law according to emails published in the Wall St. Journal.

Most glaringly, Americans were told that the individual mandate was not a tax. President Obama himself told CBS News that “I absolutely reject that notion” [that the individual mandate is a tax] when queried. "What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore," Obama continued. "Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase."

Yet that is how the government presented its case in court. That is how the Court interpreted the law in order to find it constitutional, even though the law itself structured the mandate as a penalty, not a tax. It is obvious that President Obama and the Democrats lied.

Today’s defeat is not the end of the opposition to Obamacare. The law will ultimately be defeated. One effect of the ruling will be to fire up opponents of Obamacare for the November election. Mitt Romney will likely succeed President Obama and the Republicans will likely gain control of the senate. If the Republicans control both Congress and the White House, Obamacare’s days will be numbered.

Even if the Republicans are unable to repeal the law, it will almost certainly collapse under its own weight. Obamacare is too complex and unwieldy to succeed. It ignores market realities in exchange for centralized mandates and does nothing to control costs. The trillions that it adds to the deficit will add to the risk that the United States economy will collapse in the same manner of the European countries. Obamacare will not work any better than the stimulus or Obama’s other economic initiatives if it is allowed to take effect.

Even if repealed, the lasting legacy of Obamacare will be that it fundamentally and irrevocably changed the relationship between the American people and their government. Until today, the government had no power to coerce its citizens into engaging in commerce. Now, with the Supreme Court’s blessing, the federal government has no practical limits on its power as long as it can configure its mandates as a tax. Obamacare has left a gaping hole in America’s constitutional protections.

The Democrats will certainly expect to use that precedent to expand their power if the voters allow them to. After the arrogance, disregard for the law, and blatant lies of the Democrats and the Obama Administration, Americans should think long and hard before ever letting liberals near the levers of power again.

White House treatment of Arizona is election issue

In the wake of this week’s Supreme Court decision striking down parts of the controversial Arizona immigration law, the White House announced President Obama’s decision to unilaterally cancel agreements between the federal government and seven Arizona law enforcement agencies. These “287 (g)” agreements had allowed state officials to request that federal officials pick up illegal immigrants held in state and local jails. Previously, the federal government had also allowed state officials to ask federal agencies to check the immigration status of people who were arrested or stopped for traffic violations.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upheld this cooperation between state and federal agencies, but, according to the Daily Caller, administration officials say that Arizona will not be allowed to transfer illegal aliens to federal custody unless they are felons or are known to have recently crossed the border. The practical effect of the White House announcement is to invalidate Arizona’s ability to check immigration status.

The Supreme Court ruling largely invoked the pre-eminence of federal law, but President Obama is choosing not to enforce those same laws. Essentially, President Obama is ignoring federal immigration law and is preventing the states from taking action to protect their own borders and citizens.

The move is apparently an attempt to punish Arizona for enacting its own immigration law against the Obama Administration’s wishes. Several other states have enacted similar legislation that allows state and local police to check the immigration status of suspects and detain illegal aliens. Georgia passed an immigration bill modeled on the Arizona law in 2011.

The move by the White House, together with its announcement last week that it would not deport illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as children, is an obvious attempt to solidify Obama’s support in the Latino community. The president might be disappointed in the results. A recent Gallup poll shows that only 12 percent of Hispanic registered voters view immigration as the most important issue. Healthcare, unemployment, the economy and the gap between rich and poor all rank higher.

The president’s unilateral policy also states that the Department of Homeland Security would issue work visas to the affected young people. President Obama lacks the authority under the Constitution to issue these visas since only Congress is granted the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” and “establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” In any case, since the policy was established by an executive order and not by act of Congress, it is unlikely to last long past the election.

President Obama’s decision not to take border security seriously is a gamble with national security. According to Customs and Border Patrol data obtained by CNS News, agents apprehended 255 illegal aliens from “special interest countries” along the southwestern border in 2011. These included people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia and Sudan, all countries “that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama’s moves may cost him support in other areas. A Pew poll from June 2012 showed that 70 percent of Americans believe that border security should be the first priority or equal in importance to a pathway to citizenship for illegals. This may explain why the president’s approval index by Rasmussen has dropped by six points over the past week.

Aside from the immigration question, the unilateral move is another in a series of executive power grabs by President Obama. His decision not to enforce constitutional laws that were duly passed by Congress may not play well with Americans who value the objective rule of law over the subjective whims of whoever happens to reside in the Oval Office.

In traditional American government, Congress, the legislative branch, makes the laws and the president, the executive branch, enforces them. Short of a judicial ruling that forces him to carry out the duties of his office, Congress cannot make President Obama do his job. Generally, if a president does not like the law as it is written, he works with his allies in Congress to pass new laws, not simply announce that the law will no longer be enforced.

The ultimate control over the executive branch lies in the hands of the electorate. If voters believe that President Obama is not doing his duty as president, they may well decide that his contract does not deserve to be renewed for another four years.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Obama vs. Bush

In the campaign for his re-election, President Obama often points to the fact that the country was in a deep recession when he took office. Obama’s reasoning is that the country was in such a dreadful state in 2008 that it is taking much longer than he originally thought to restore it to prosperity.

It can be instructive to look at the results of the policies of both President Bush and President Obama and compare them side by side. One common criticism of President Obama is his administration’s spending habits. When he recently claimed that “Federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any president in almost 60 years,” CNS News and many other outlets fact checked the claim and found it to be untrue. In fact, a chart from shows that, as a percentage of GDP, President Obama’s spending is at a higher level than at any other time in our history except World War II. While spending did increase slowly under most of George W. Bush’s tenure, it was only in 2008, when TARP was enacted, that it jumped sharply.

A closer look shows that, according to figures from the Tax Policy Center, President Bush ran a deficit for all but the first year of his administration. As a percentage of GDP, Bush’s average deficit was about 2 percent. In dollars, Bush averaged deficits of about $251 billion per year. In contrast, in President Obama’s three years, he has averaged deficits of more than nine percent. In each year of his administration, the federal deficit has been more than $1 trillion. Obama’s average deficit in dollars was $1.33 trillion.

When viewing the data from the Tax Policy Center, it is easy to see why deficits increased so rapidly under President Obama. Even as President Obama was increasing federal spending with his various attempts at stimulus, tax revenues were falling due to the recession. Since spending increased at the same time that the government was taking in less money, the difference had to be made up in borrowing.

Borrowing leads to an increasing federal debt. It is true that the debt increased dramatically under George W. Bush. On January 1, 2001, just before President Bush took office, the federal debt stood at $5.6 trillion according to U.S. Treasury figures. When he left office on January 20, 2009, the debt stood at $10.6 trillion, an increase of almost five trillion dollars. As of June 1, 2012, the federal debt was at $15.7 trillion, an increase of $5.1 trillion. The federal debt has increased by as much under President Obama in three years as it did under Bush in eight. CNS News noted in October 2011 that President Obama had added more debt than all other presidents from George Washington to George Herbert Walker Bush.

The difference is even more stark if the election of 2006 is considered to be the dividing line. In 2006, Democrats took control of both houses of Congress. At the beginning of 2007, as the new Democrats took office, the debt was at $8.6 trillion, which means that three trillion dollars was amassed by President Bush and congressional Republicans. It also means that a staggering $7.1 trillion was borrowed by the Democrats from 2007 through 2012. A chart from illustrates how radically government spending increased after 2006, when Senator Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi assumed control of Congress.

Democrats argue that deficit spending was needed to combat the 2008 recession, but what did taxpayers get for their money? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment averaged 5.26 percent during the Bush years. The average during the Obama years was 9.26 percent.

Even more telling is the fact that the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate, the percentage of Americans working, has declined from 67.2 percent in January 2001 to 65.7 in January 2009 and to 63.8 percent in May 2012. According to, the U.S. population increased in each of those years, from 285 million in 2001 to 306 million in 2009. The U.S. population now stands at 313 million according to the U.S. Census. This means that fewer total Americans are working now than when President Obama took office even though the population has increased by 7 million. When President Bush left office 20.1 million Americans were working. Today only 19.9 million are in spite of a population growth of seven million.

Even though the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, five months into Obama’s presidency and three years ago, the economy and the job markets have not recovered. By many measures, the economy is worse today than it was three years ago. The Federal Reserve announced last week that American wealth had decreased by 40 percent between 2007 and 2011. Home prices, which crashed in 2008, have not recovered and continue to decline in many markets. The Wall St. Journal reports that economists are “increasingly pessimistic” and more are predicting that the stagnant recovery will turn into another recession.

Foreign policy was an area where President Bush faced intense criticism. The 9/11 attacks, along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were the defining events of his time in office. President Obama campaigned against the wars and Bush policies such as the detention of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Three years later, the prison there remains open. Many leftists decried Bush’s “illegal wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan even though he sought and obtained congressional approval. President Obama did not notify Congress or seek approval before intervening in Libya.

In fact, Obama has quietly adopted a defense policy that is similar to that of President Bush. Perhaps the biggest difference is George W. Bush’s policy of capturing and interrogating terrorists where Obama primarily targets them from afar with drones. Obama’s personal involvement in targeting terrorists is reminiscent of President Lyndon Johnson’s personal involvement in selecting targets – and placing others off limits - during the Vietnam War. Obama did remove all but a token force of U.S. troops from Iraq, but American forces remain in Afghanistan. Perhaps this, along with his reluctance to embrace uprisings in Muslim countries, is why many Arab countries have an even more negative view of the United States under Obama than they did under President Bush according to Pew Global.

With respect to Iran, President Obama’s record is mixed. Obama resisted toughening sanctions on Iran until he was mandated by Congress. Obama also continued Bush’s program of cyber attacks against the Iranian nuclear program, but leaks from his administration detailing these and other intelligence matters have hurt U.S. interests. Breaches of security from the administration may have led to the life sentence for treason of Shakil Afridi, a doctor in Pakistan who helped the CIA determine bin Laden’s location.

Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity of the Obama era was the president’s failure to capitalize on the 2009 Green Revolution uprising in Iran. A secret memo obtained by the Washington Examiner reveals that leaders of the dissidents had requested American help in toppling the regime. President Obama failed to act and, as a result, the Iranian government is growing ever closer to becoming a nuclear power.

President Obama’s greatest triumph, foreign policy or domestic, was undoubtedly the killing of Osama bin Laden, yet if Obama had his way the programs that generated much of the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s whereabouts would have been closed down years ago. As Real Clear Politics explains, the enhanced interrogation techniques used during the Bush Administration uncovered much of the intelligence that led to bin Laden. Obama should get credit for issuing the order to attack, but President Bush should also get credit for making the attack possible.

Liberals charge that Bush’s defense and war spending is what led to the massive federal debt. A chart from does show that defense spending in total dollars increased under President Bush, but it has also continued to increase under President Obama. However, between 2002 and 2008, defense spending as a percentage of GDP remained between four and five percent under President Bush. Total defense dollars and defense spending as a percentage of GDP both increased under President Obama. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, defense spending makes up 20 percent of the federal budget and is dwarfed by Social Security, Medicare, other safety net programs and interest on the federal debt, which together account for 60 percent of the budget.

As Americans head to the polls this November, President Obama is unlikely to ask, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” as President Reagan famously did in 1984. Three years after the official end of the Great Recession, President Obama and his policies deserve the blame for the lack of recovery. Obama has yet to offer any new tactic that has not been tried previously without success. On foreign policy, Obama’s position has evolved, but he has displayed little desire to take strong and decisive action, resulting in many missed opportunities.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Walker’s Wisconsin win is another bad omen for Democrats

The victory of Scott Walker over recall forces in Wisconsin should serve as a warning to Democrats prior to the November elections. Despite a very high profile campaign by unions and Democrats to recall Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican senators, the recall efforts fell far short of their goal. The recall had its origin in the 2011 changes to Wisconsin law that eliminated collective bargaining for state employee unions. Republicans claimed that generous union contracts were breaking the state’s budget.

In the final result, Gov. Walker defeated the recall forces by almost seven percent of the vote according to Real Clear Politics. Lt. Gov. Kleefisch was also confirmed by voters. According to the Los Angeles Times, the sole bright spot for Democrats was the senate recall election in Racine County where Democrat John Lehman claimed victory over Republican Van Wanggard, the incumbent. At press time, Wanggard had not conceded and, with a difference of less than 1,000 votes, may challenge the results.

If the Racine results stand, it would give Democrats control of the Wisconsin state senate, but the effect would be minimal. The legislature is not scheduled to meet again until after the general election in November. Since Republicans controlled the redistricting process due their 2010 victories and created districts more favorable to the GOP, the Democratic majority might be very short lived.

The Democratic difficulty in Wisconsin is compounded by the improving state economy under Walker. According to an analysis by ABC News, the state ended 2011 with a greater number of employed workers than had started the year. The state’s unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, well below the national 8.2 percent rate. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has declined one percent since Walker took office. The report also notes that Wisconsin’s average income rose faster than the national average in 2011, 4.8 to 4.3 percent.

Walker’s biggest economic achievement was to turn the state’s $143 million deficit into a $154 million budget surplus according to the La Crosse Tribune. ABC notes that Walker accomplished the feat without raising taxes, although it notes that Walker’s reforms require state workers to make larger contributions to their health insurance and retirement plans.

The failure of the recalls does not bode well for President Obama. The rejection of the union-backed Democratic candidates in the recall after record-setting spending by both sides cannot be construed as a good sign for the administration. Republicans from across the country, including the Georgia GOP, rallied to support Walker in what was seen as a bellwether race. Likewise, Democrats and union members poured money into the state to support the recall. In what is perhaps a sign that national Democrats sensed the inevitability of defeat, President Obama distanced himself from the effort as Election Day grew near.

According to, Wisconsin has not voted for a Republican president since 1984. Nevertheless, Real Clear Politics polls in Wisconsin show President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney deteriorating. The current average of polls puts Obama ahead by less than five percent, near the margin of error for most polls.

The failing recall and alarming presidential trend led Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to move Wisconsin, a traditional blue state, into the tossup category for the general election. On the day before the recall, Messina released a video (posted on Politico) to supporters that attempts to reassure supporters in the face of Obama’s falling poll numbers.

The video points to the Messina’s belief that Romney trails Obama by 191-243 in electoral votes, but fails to note that many of the 104 undecided electoral votes are in states where public opinion is trending toward Romney. The Republicans made large gains in 2010 in Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, and, of course, Wisconsin, states now considered tossups in the presidential election. Republican victories in most of these states, particularly Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia, would put Romney very close to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. An additional victory in Wisconsin or another small state would make the difference.

The Wisconsin election is one more sign that this year is not favorable to President Obama and the Democrats. The trend toward Romney and the recognition that Wisconsin is now a tossup means that the Obama campaign will need to spend money, time and effort to defend a state that was previously considered safe for Democrats, taking away resources from other swing states.


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Bad omens for Democrats

The end of the primary election season has brought a bevy of bad news for President Obama and the Democrats. The most obvious problem is President Obama’s difficulties in several recent primaries.

President Obama came perilously close to losing three Democratic primaries in May. In West Virginia, Obama lost over 40 percent of the vote and ten counties to a man in a federal prison in Texas. According to Politico, Keith Judd, a perennial candidate won at least one delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In Arkansas, according to Reuters, Democratic voters gave John Wolfe more than 40 percent of the vote. Wolfe, a lawyer, is not in prison. In Kentucky, Reuters reports that 42 percent of Democrats chose “uncommitted” rather than cast their ballots for the president. These results follow the March primary in Oklahoma in which President Obama lost 43 percent of the vote to a slate of five challengers including pro-life activist Randall Terry according to Politico. The results are widely interpreted to be a message of dissatisfaction with President Obama’s performance during his first term.

A comparison of voter turnout in the 2008 and 2012 primaries also reveals that Democratic voter turnout has also sharply decreased. This is likely due in part to the fact that President Obama does not have a competitive primary race this year. In 2008, the heated campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton drew many voters. Nevertheless, a lack of approval and enthusiasm for Obama is almost certain to be partially responsible as well.

A June 3 Rasmussen poll contained more bad news for the president. The new poll showed Republican Mitt Romney leading Obama by a margin of 48-44 percent. Forty percent of voters are certain that they will vote for Romney and 36 percent are certain that they will vote for Obama. President Obama’s approval rating is at 45 percent while 53 percent disapprove.

Because a presidential election is actually composed of 50 separate elections, however, opinion polls can be deceiving. The election in the Electoral College will probably come down to a handful of swing states. The traditional swing states in recent elections include Ohio, Florida, and Colorado. Additional states that might be up for grabs in 2012 include North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Nevada. All of these states were won by Obama in 2008.

A recent Rasmussen poll shows Mitt Romney moving ahead of President Obama in Ohio by a margin of 46-44 percent. In Florida, where the most recent polls are weeks old, the two candidates are in a dead heat. A Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Romney a half point lead. In Colorado, where the polls are also several weeks old, Real Clear Politics gives Obama a slight edge. In North Carolina, Real Clear Politics gives Romney an advantage of 2.5 points. In both Virginia and Nevada, Obama still holds a lead of two points although his lead is eroding. In almost all cases, the movement has been steadily toward Romney over the past few months.

The bad news for Democrats is not limited to President Obama’s poll numbers. In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker, who was elected in 2010, has been the target of a recall election prompted by his legislation that stripped public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. The high profile recall election is a bellwether for the fight to rein in the public sector unions whose pay and benefits are breaking many state budgets. Yahoo reports that two new polls both show Gov. Walker keeping his job. Although President Obama currently leads Romney in Wisconsin’s presidential polls according to the RCP average, Mitt Romney may ride Walker’s coattails to victory.

In solidly blue Massachusetts President Obama is almost certain to beat Mitt Romney, he currently has a 20 point lead according to the RCP average, and Elizabeth Warren should be a heavy favorite to unseat one-term senator Scott Brown. Over the last few weeks, however, Warren has been embarrassed by charges that she claimed to be a Native American in order to benefit from minority status at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. Warren admits making the claim, but, according to National Journal, has offered no evidence beyond family lore to back it up. To make matters worse for Warren, it was also discovered that she plagiarized several recipes that she submitted to a Native American cookbook.

Other Democratic elected officials seem worried about their associations with Obama. Two prominent Democrats from West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, have refused to endorse President Obama for re-election according to Examiner. The most recent polling in West Virginia, a Public Policy Poll that is eight months old, favored Mitt Romney by 21 points.

More recently, Artur Davis, an Alabama congressman once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, decided to completely leave the party completely and become a Republican. Davis, who is black, wrote on his website that he is cutting ties with the Democratic Party and moving to Virginia. Davis says that he may run for Congress in Virginia or for a seat in the Virginia legislature as a Republican.

In changing parties, Davis cites a laundry list of grievances common to conservative Democrats. On his blog he writes, “I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again.” He continues, “… Faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too.” On immigration, Davis says he winces “at the Obama Administration’s efforts to tell states they can’t say the word immigration in their state laws, and [I] find it foolish when I hear their lawyers say that a local cop can’t determine the legal status of a suspect….”  On Obamacare, he says, “… We have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.” As a summary, he writes that “… The symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country.”

Rank and file Democrats are leaving the party as well. Gallup reports that Democratic party identification has fallen from a high of 36 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2011. Republican party identification is statistically unchanged, but a record high of 40 percent of Americans now identify as independents.

Perhaps the worst news for Democrats is in the form of economic reports released over the past few days. On June 1, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy had added only 69,000 jobs in May, causing an uptick in the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent. The same report put the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate at 63.8 percent.

In contrast, BLS historical data shows that the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate was 65.7 percent in January 2009 when President Obama took office. In the three years of the Obama Administration, the number of employed Americans has dropped by almost two percent, even as the total population of the country has increased.

To make matters worse, Market Watch reports that the Commerce Department has revised U.S. economic growth in the first quarter of 2012 down to 1.9 percent. The previous estimate was 2.2 percent. Both estimates were sharply lower than the three percent growth in fourth quarter of 2011, indicating that the economy is slowing once again.

The bad economic news will be a confirmation to many voters that President Obama’s economic policies have not solved the financial crisis or ended the recession. Although the Great Recession officially ended years ago, the current recovery is the slowest of any since the Great Depression according to the Wall Street Journal. Voters realize that the economy is not doing well and it will likely affect how they vote. That is not an encouraging sign for the party in power.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nine myths about same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage is once again in the news. Three weeks ago, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The next day, President Obama reversed his support for traditional marriage and returned to a previously stated position that same-sex couples should be granted the right to marry. Now a decision by a federal appeals court in Boston has thrust the issue into the headlines once again.

The ruling by the First Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals found Section Three of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage in federal law as between a man and a woman, to be unconstitutional. The Court did not address Section Two, which stipulates that states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Court stayed its own ruling pending appeal which will almost certainly reach the Supreme Court.

There are many myths and much misinformation surrounding the same-sex marriage issue:

Myth #1: Defense of marriage laws are “gay marriage bans.”

While the media and homosexual activists often refer to these laws as “gay marriage bans,” in reality they do often do not ban anything. The laws simply create a definition of marriage according to the government. The heart of the federal DOMA simply states, “… the word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.''

Similarly, the North Carolina amendment reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

In other words, most state laws do not prevent same-sex couples from entering into private contracts or holding private religious marriage ceremonies. Likewise, nothing prohibits private companies from offering benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. Definition of marriage laws only mean that the government will not recognize, sponsor or encourage the union of same-sex couples.

The marriage amendment to the Georgia Constitution is more ambiguous on the issue of private ceremonies. Article I Section IV Paragraph I (a) reads, “This state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state.” In reality, however, Georgia does not persecute same-sex couples. Georgia would not be likely to object to a private religious ceremony and does not penalize companies who choose to offer benefits to same-sex partners.

Myth #2: Marriage laws violate the Equal Protection Clause.

In reality, rights are held by individuals, not by couples. This means that people of homosexual orientation have exactly the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. No one, not even a heterosexual, has the right to marry anyone they choose or whoever (or whatever) they happen to love.

According to, all 50 states have laws against bigamy, marrying more than one person at a time. All 50 states also have laws establishing a minimum age of consent to marry. In Georgia, the minimum age is 18, but 16-year-olds can marry with the consent of their parents or a judge according to Some states recognize common law marriages. Georgia is among the states that do not. Some states don’t allow cousins to marry. Georgia is among the 26 that do.

Definition of marriage laws are simply one more example of states legislating how their citizens want marriage to be treated. The laws apply equally to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Myth #3: The ruling will require states to recognize same-sex marriage under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Proponents of same-sex marriage argue that the Constitution requires traditional marriage states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in same-sex marriage states because the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution requires that states recognize “the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State….” In their view, this means that if a state like Massachusetts issues a marriage certificate to a same-sex couple, every other state is constitutionally required to recognize it. Section Two of the DOMA specifically states that federal law should not be interpreted this way.

In this case, the ruling by the First Circuit does not address Section Two. Subsequent lawsuits probably will. The Supreme Court could also choose to invalidate the entire DOMA when it hears this or other cases on the issue, but the question of the Full Faith and Credit Clause has not yet been addressed by the courts. In the future, Georgia might be forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states even though Georgia law prohibits such marriages.

Myth #4: The DOMA is inconsistent with state’s rights and federalism.

Proponents present the DOMA as a case of the federal government usurping the state power to define marriage. In reality, the DOMA defines marriage only for the federal government. Section Two of the DOMA protects state rights by stipulating that traditional marriage states cannot be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage from states that have chosen to recognize same-sex marriages. Lawsuits to mandate same-sex marriages and invalidate state definition of marriage laws usurp the will of the people and their elected representatives.

Myth #5: Only religious nuts oppose same-sex marriage.

Proponents of same-sex marriage portray supporters of traditional marriage as bigots and religious fanatics, while arguing that the U.S. is not a theocracy and that the separation of church and state prohibits the government from taking a religious view of marriage. In reality, much of the support for traditional marriage can be traced to secular arguments.

It is in the vital national interest of the state to ensure that children, the next generation of taxpayers, have a stable family unit. There is strong evidence that children need both a mother and a father. It seems that the absence of fathers is particularly damaging to children. In the book “Life Without Father,” David Popenoe noted that the absence of fathers was strongly linked to many societal ills. Sixty percent of rapists come from fatherless homes, as do 72 percent of young murderers and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates. When viewed in these terms, there is a compelling government interest to encourage marriage relationships between men and women as a stable unit for childrearing. The burden of proof should be on those who seek to overturn thousands of years of history, tradition, and law that point to both a mother and a father as the best unit for raising children.

Even though not all heterosexual couples bear children, the potential is always there. Even couples who cannot have or do not want to have children have the biological possibility of procreating, whether purposely or by accident. Additionally, the same need for a stable, nurturing family unit with parents of both genders applies to adopted children as well.

Further, there is the argument that recognizing same-sex marriages would be expensive for cash-strapped governments. The First Circuit ruling estimates that more than 100,000 couples are affected by the federal DOMA. Recognizing these marriages would generate untold billions of dollars of costs that were not planned for by government actuaries. Likewise, extending marriage tax credits to same-sex couples would mean millions or billions in lost tax revenues. With governments already paying out more in benefits than they take in, they simply cannot afford to pay out more in benefits.

Other rights that are specifically enumerated in the Constitution have limitations as well. The First Amendment does not permit a person to yell “fire” in a crowded theater or protect a slanderer. The Second Amendment does not mean that a person can manufacture pipe bombs in their home and permits states and cities to enact reasonable regulations on guns.

If marriage is merely a statement of love without a societal consequence, then why limit it to only two people? Why not allow polygamy as well? Why limit it to people at all? Recent news stories have detailed how different women have shown their love by marrying the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, a dog, and a dolphin, One woman even married herself.

Myth #6: Definition of marriage laws are similar to interracial marriage bans.

Same-sex marriage proponents point to older state laws against interracial marriage as a similarly unjust regulation. In reality, interracial marriage was very different from same-sex marriage. Where same-sex couples are biologically incompatible and infertile, interracial couples were of the male and female genders and created a fertile couple.

Bans on interracial marriage did violate the Equal Protection Clause because they treated people differently based on race. Under these laws, two men, one black and the other white, did not have an equal chance to marry a given woman. Definition of marriage laws are different in that they hold that the state will not recognize the marriage of any person to any other person of the same gender, treating everyone equally.

Myth #7: Same-sex couples need marriage so they can visit in the hospital.

The need to be able to visit partners in the hospital has long been a justification for same-sex marriage, but Nancy Polikoff, an American University law professor and gay rights activist, wrote as far back as 2008 that, “Hospital accreditation standards include those who play a significant role in a patient's life, even if not legally related, within the definition of family. Neither gay nor straight couples should have to marry to visit each other in the hospital.”

Myth #8: Same-sex marriage is growing in acceptance.

There is some polling support for this idea, but it is far from proven. For example, polls in North Carolina seemed to indicate that the marriage amendment there might be defeated or that the vote would be close. In reality, the amendment passed by a margin of more than 20 percent.

One theory is that people are not being honest with pollsters because of the heavy-handed rhetoric used by the media and the left on the issue. For whatever reason, a majority of voters has never endorsed same-sex marriage, even in blue states like California and Oregon. In most cases, when the issue went to the voters it wasn’t even close. Georgia’s marriage amendment passed with 76 percent in favor according to CNN. To date, 38 states do not recognize same-sex marriage. Only 12 do.

Myth #9: Conservatives are using same-sex marriage as a wedge issue and attempting to force their morality on others.

The reality is that no conservative wants to spend this election season talking about same-sex marriage. The central issue to the 2012 election is the economy and whether President Obama’s handling of it merits extending his contract for another four years.

When same-sex marriage is in the news, most often it is because the left has made it an issue. As the ruling itself notes, the federal DOMA was a response to a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit filed by homosexual activists. Hawaii’s legislature then defined marriage in 1994 and Congress passed the DOMA, introduced by Georgia congressman Bob Barr, with broad bipartisan support in 1996. President Bill Clinton signed the DOMA into law. When judges in Massachusetts ruled in 2003 that the state could not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, other states started enacting defense of marriage laws to prevent judicial activists from issuing edicts redefining their own marriage laws.

In reality, as Ryan Anderson wrote in National Review, the question is not whether same-sex couples will be allowed to express their love for each other; “the question is whether the rest of society will have the freedom to choose which type of relationship to honor as marriage” and whether a minority can force their view of morality on the nation at large.


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