Terminology…and a Solution

Two questions sit before Congress over the coming year, as posed (correctly IMNSHO) by The Wall Street Journal in its headline and lede:

Republicans’ $4 Trillion Question: Should They Pay for Extending Trump Tax Cuts?


Republicans want to extend the Trump-era tax cuts that lapse after 2025. A big point of debate now: should they cover any or all of the $4 trillion cost—and how?

The terminology confusion is illustrated by the WSJ‘s change in wording from “pay for” in its headline to “cover” in its lede.

It’s long been my contention that it doesn’t cost the government anything to not get what doesn’t belong to it in the first place; there’s nothing for which government need pay. On the other hand, there’s the real world imbalance between tax collections and spending when the latter exceeds the former, as any grade schooler understands when he wants to spend more than his allowance will cover, whether he’s saved fractions of his allowance against an upcoming large expenditure or he’s spending as he gets. And, yes, the analogy is that direct.

There’s also the real world, empirically demonstrated, fact that within broad limits, the more money left in the hands of us average Americans and our businesses—the nation’s private economy—the more economic activity, now including government spending, there is overall, and from that increase, revenues to government, those tax collections, increase even in the face of reduced tax rates. The broad limit is the minimum of tax collections—the allowances we grant the government—needed to cover the constitutionally mandated spending requirements of paying the government’s debts, providing for an adequate national defense, and paying for the constitutionally defined items constituting the general Welfare.

Given the government’s current spending levels, that increased economic activity-driven increase in revenues to government won’t cover all of the government’s spending. That spending includes vast amounts of welfare spending. In the early days of our republic, we couldn’t afford any welfare spending, to the point that then-Congressman James Madison made a constitutional argument against helping Haitian refugees in the aftermath of an earthquake. From the Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session:

Mr Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity.  He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

The inability to identify the Article remains today, but that notwithstanding, our republic’s weal has improved to the point that we can, as a nation, afford a measure of welfare for our citizens (and for other nations, but that’s for another discussion). But not too much. The external threats to our nation have grown immensely, and so has the cost of our defending ourselves against them. Profligacy in spending, especially after WWII, has so far exceeded tax collections that our national debt has exploded, and the need to pay that down and then off, also has grown commensurately.

Spending outside those three constitutional mandates needs to be greatly cut back. There are three types of that extra spending that come to mind out of the myriad of them. These are Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and infrastructure.

I’ve written before about those first two; I’ll only summarize here: privatize Social Security and Medicare, which will be deucedly expensive in the transition, but that cost will only get worse with delay—and doing nothing will itself result in a 25% cut in Social Security payout, anyway, within the next 10 years, and an even more severe cut in Medicaid, if after a longer delay. Medicaid transfers to each of the several States should be converted to block transfers on an annually declining basis until the block grants have bee eliminated altogether. Medicaid is after all, and as it should be, a State-run program.

Regarding infrastructure, all Federal transfers to the States should be on a matching basis, with the States required to make the first and then sustained moves: no money should flow from Federal coffers to a State until the State has let contracts with the builders; ground has been broken; and concrete, publicly measurable and assessable progress has been made in the building. The match itself should be no more than 50% of what the State has spent and subsequently spends in accordance with its contracted schedule, and those subsequent Federal transfers should flow only after the State has spent its own citizens’ tax remittances on the State’s contracted schedule.

None of that is possible, though, without clearing up that terminology confusion. As long as politicians think tax monies remitted to government are owed to and are the property of government, they’ll spend and tax without limit.

To Hell with Bipartisanship

Arizona Progressive-Democrat Senator Mark Kelly has made Party’s disdain for us average Americans clear (as if it isn’t already, for some time). He said in an NBC News interview,

that he favors overriding the Senate filibuster to pass national abortion protections.


two years ago he [Kelly] argued for passing progressive “voting rights legislation” with 51 votes.

This position jammed my irony meter needle hard against the stop. Progressive voting rights are “rights” of non-citizens to vote in our elections. It’s hard to get more undemocratic than that. Indeed, that’s tautologically completely un-American.

Of course, Party won’t stop there. They’ll always have a Very Good Reason® for carving out Just One More® exception to the filibuster rule.

Just shut up and do things our way. That’s not just Kelly’s purpose—it’s the Progressive-Democratic Party that’s pushing to eliminate the Senate’s filibuster. Outliers like Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema will soon be gone.

The WSJ thinks the Senate filibuster is on the ballot this fall. The news outlet is correct, but only in a limited way. The filibuster matter has put our free-market economy on the ballot, along with the concept of limited government with limited regulation of our lives.

Our two-party system of governance is on the ballot.

Yet Another Example…

…of Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden’s disregard for our Constitution. This one comes from the supposedly independent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of Biden’s Executive Branch (we know what the statute says; we also know who appoints EEOC commissioners). The EEOC’s latest rule

elevates gender identity as a protected class under discrimination laws like race, sex, and religion.
Prohibited harassment includes “repeated and intentional use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s known gender identity (misgendering) or the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity,” the new regulatory document declared.

This is the Federal government attempting to dictate to Americans operating private enterprises what they must say. This is a direct contradiction of our Constitution’s 1st Amendment requirement that Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…. Of course, this limit applies to the Executive Branch, also.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R, NY) emphasized the Biden administration’s hypocrisy in her own response to this…overreach:

They can’t tell you [that] you have to say the Pledge of Allegiance or stand for the flag. And so forcing someone to actually use pronouns that they don’t choose to use, and then holding your employer liable, to me, is going to have First Amendment problems.

It’s also a contradiction of our Constitution’s 10th Amendment which is even clearer:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In our Constitution there are no powers conferred on the Federal government authorizing it to compel particular speech. Indeed, compelling speech is the same as abridging speech, since forced words take the place of barred words.

And none of this even begins to approach the idiocy of setting gender ideology above the facts of biology.

Trusting the Department of Justice

The level of trust is such that several States are explicitly barring DoJ personnel from those States’ polling places in the November general elections.

When the DOJ announced that it was sending election monitors to polling sites in multiple states for the 2022 midterm elections, Florida and Missouri said that the department employees would not be permitted to observe the polls. Now, eight other states have said that they will also not allow DOJ election monitors to enter polling sites during the election this November, with some saying that banning them prevents federal interference in elections.

Unfortunately, those States are entirely justified in barring officials of a “Justice” Department that accuses traditional Catholics of being right-wing extremists and treats mothers objecting to wokeism in their children’s schools as domestic terrorists, and that routinely lies to the FISA court in its pursuit of surveillance warrants against American citizens, that pursues cases in Article III courts seeking to overturn voter-protection laws, and that has run guns to Mexican drug cartels.

It’s also the case that today’s Progressive-Democrat nominated and populated DoJ is substantially the same as the post-2008 elections Progressive-Democrat nominated and populated DoJ (the names are different, but the bias and the ideology are the same) that refused to prosecute two members of the New Black Panther Party who were engaged in armed voter intimidation at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling station.

This is an indication of how far the believability of the DoJ has deteriorated.


The arrogance of the Biden-Garland DoJ is on full display with its continued refusal to provide the audio tapes of the Hur-Joe Biden interviews.

The Biden-Garland refusal, through Garland’s Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte, in their letter to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that require the tapes:

We have repeatedly invited the Committees to identify how these audio recordings from law enforcement files would serve the purposes for which you say you want them[.]
We have also repeatedly urged the Committees to avoid unnecessary conflict and to respect the public interest in the Department’s ability to conduct effective investigations by protecting sensitive law enforcement files. The Committees have repeatedly failed to explain your needs or to demonstrate respect for the Department’s law enforcement functions[.]

Nor Congress nor any of its committees have any obligation to satisfy the demands of the DoJ. The obligation runs in the opposite direction: the DoJ must satisfy the Congress and its committees of the reasons why it cannot—not does not want to, but cannot—turn over the materials called for by the Congress or any of its committees.

If Biden-Garland are truly interested in avoiding unnecessary conflict, they will instruct the DoJ to stop forcing one and turn over the tapes. If they continue to refuse, then the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees must formally subpoena the tapes, if they have not already, promptly move to hold AG Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress over this refusal, and then withhold funding, including salaries, from the Office of the Attorney General and from the White House Office until the contempt is satisfied.

Regarding respect for the Department’s law enforcement functions, this is especially risible. If the Biden-Garland DoJ wants to be respected and wants its law enforcement functions to be respected, they must behave respectably. The former would begin by turning over the tapes without any further stalling. The latter cannot begin to behave respectably until there’s a complete replacement of those functions’ top managers, teams that variously lie to or condone lying to FISA courts, and who have accused traditional Catholics of dangerous extremism, accused mothers objecting to school board woke policies of being terrorists, and on and on.