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Friday, February 17, 2012

We the People

Smack in the middle of President's birthdays and valentines is Martin Luther Day, Feb. 18. (We commemorate saints not on their birthdays but on the day they get to go home.) So I write this for Marty--and all those reformers of his era who wanted so much to remove the state from interfering with faith. Hence Luther championed his 'two kingdoms--kingdom of heaven and kingdom of earth' and Richard Brooke coined the term 'separation of church and state'. This is also the address that I will give to KCRP on Feb 23.

I'm one of those guys who Garrison Keillor loves to make jokes about. One of those moderate blend into the woodwork guys that keeps his powder dry and doesn't get too emotional. In fact, now that I'm getting old I can't remember where I put my powder. For a long time, I have been an social conservative. But you won’t find me picketing anywhere. Yes, I’m pro-life. And that issue is important. And I was against embryonic stem cell research. But then research issues are really complex. And I thought that Terry Schiavo should probably be saved simply because if we had to err, we would probably best err on the side of life. I am against gay marriage. But then civic marriage has become so muddled, it is pretty late in the game to be getting wild about what they do to it.

But there is something happening the last few years with the Christian Faith that makes me want to grab a rifle and put on a Continental Army uniform. For me it started personally with Obamacare. Remember Bart Stupak? That Michigan Democrat who wouldn’t vote for Obamacare unless they took out the abortion mandated funding and put in the conscience clause for health workers whose faith rejects certain procedures. So Obama and Pelsoi got his vote. Now Obama and HHS Director Kathleen Sibelius very cleverly reinstated their original intent by fiat along with demands that health insurance policies include contraception and sterilization coverage. No wonder Bart quit Congress! His own leaders lied to him! But more than that, I find myself asking who would dream of telling Catholics to do something their faith forbids? What’s next? Are we going to tell Amish to drive electric cars? But the insurance companies will have to provide them free.

When you tell people to practice what their faith forbids, doesn’t that violate the First Amendment? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Free exercise thereof flows out of the most deeply cherished beliefs of people. So even if I were a good, self-respecting atheist, why would I want to be in the Thought Police business? Let people think what they want and let that govern their own actions. But thinking alike, acting alike is what the secular progressive left wants. But then I have a little moderate voice inside my head that says, "Oh, you're making too much of this. Obama just did that so he could later back down on the mandate and have a big kissy,huggy moment with Catholic voters." Happy days are here again!

Not true. Leftists and Obama really do want the First Amendment gone. , Let me tell a story from a couple years ago. My denomination has a lot of church schools. The EEOC told my church that from now on, they would have to comply in hiring practices without regard to beliefs of the church. So you might have to hire a Muslim for a teacher. My pastor told about a church conference he attended in which this was announced. I have never seen people so stirred up, he told me. Well it happened. DOJ brought suit against a church school in MN for failure of the school to re-instate a teacher whom the local board said was teaching false tenets of faith. The Supreme Court upheld the church school 9 to 0. Now think about that. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted for the First Amendment rights of the school! The woman who told the Egyptians not to copy us. “The DOJs position is even more hostile to the Lutherans than the amicus brief filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU."

There’s a war going on against Christianity. In a 1992 Supreme court decision established the Outsider Test. If someone’s religious expression in a public place makes someone feel like an outsider, then it must stop. If you share the gospel in public—called Jesus’ Great Commission—and someone says they felt like an outsider, you can be stopped. All that remains is for them to put a penalty on religious expression in public. “We will imprison anyone who publicly shares the gospel,” and suddenly we have become Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The problem with Healthcare is not that the mandate to buy insurance will drive costs up—which it has—or that it will assess fines. Obamacare upends the fundamental relationship between God and man and government written into our Constitution and Declaration. The founders upset the old order: God over some lousy divine-right King who lorded it over the people. God over government over people. They reasoned both from scripture and from common sense that it was God in a direct relationship with His people who are over the king—or government, if you will. “We the People” Lincoln said those 3 words are the most significant words of the United States. "We the People, in order to form a more perfect establish the United States of America."

When the government tells you that you must engage in commerce, you must buy health insurance and you can’t walk out of the store and say, “well, I choose not to buy,” then you are born with an obligation to your overlord, Government. That’s the definition of a serf-- guy born with an obligation to an overlord! Government has risen to place themselves over the people. I think it is time for We the People to rise up. Rise up and save America. Someday you and I will have a funeral and all the great grandkids will be there. They will ask, "What did grandma and grandpa do? Weren't they involved in politics somehow? But did they do anything important?" And I hope someone will say, "Kids, they saved America--for you!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Letter to editor, Income tax

News Managing Editor Kristi Hayes
Ponca City News
Letter to the Editor

Dear Madame:

Here are some numbers and resources to consult concerning the income tax discussion. First, the legislature and governor are not making broad assumptions in asserting that personal income taxes (PIT) discourage job creation and the economy. In the last fifty years, eleven states have instituted a progressive income tax (CT,NJ,OH,RI,PA,ME,IL,NB,MI,IN,WV). Compared to the time prior to the introduction of their tax, every one of those eleven states has declined in their share of the US economy.
The nine no-PIT states had jobs growth the last ten years in a range from -0.7% to 15.2% while the nine heaviest-PIT states had a range of -9.3% to 5.7%. However, Hawaii (tourism) and Maryland (federal jobs) were the only two states among the heavy taxers with any positive job growth. New Hampshire and Tennessee were the only two states with negative job growth among the no-PIT states.
Anyone who tells you there is no correlation between jobs and taxes isn’t consulting the data. The correlation is enormous. That’s why several of Oklahoma’s neighbors are also lowering income taxes (“Heartland Tax Rebellion” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 7) Concerning consistency of state services, the no-PIT states have experienced average year-to-year revenue shortfalls of 0.5% vs. 4.6% for the nine heaviest-PIT states. People who have lost jobs vote with their feet. The 9 no-PIT states have averaged net in-migration of 3.05% over the last decade. Those 9 heavies have net out-migration of 2.48%. All these statistics are available from Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, an independent, non-profit, policy ‘think tank’.
Readers should remember that it was originally one of Oklahoma’s independent commissions, the OK Tax Commission which recommended that roughly 90% of exemptions and loopholes be closed. This, they reasoned, OK could immediately lower the maximum tax rate from 5.25% to 3.0% and simplify returns. The governor’s plan is 3.5%, is revenue neutral and does not depend on cuts. This was recommended by a bipartisan group that included House District 37’s Rep. Steve Vaughan. Vaughan has been in the forefront of prudence insisting that the State needs to limit its claim on sales taxes so that cities and counties will not be crowded from future revenues. Yet he is a supporter of Gov. Fallin’s plan. He recently said of tax reform, “There is indeed a small revenue risk involved. But if no one will assume any risk, then no one would have lined up on the Kansas border in 1893.”