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2 ()P NION The Clarendon Enterprise * November 29,.2012 THE CLAI~DON /~" ~ ~:!! ~< rmterpr s6il 1Ire Olamdd~t E~-'IUSPS 947040,-It.I.I.I.I.I.I.I.I~N>V" WARNING: The following column is an editorial (i.e. an opinion, a point of view) and may contain ideas with which some readers may freely disagree. It could be harmful to liberals, socialists, and other small mammals. Read at your own risk. talk secession and compromise The impact of the President Obama's re-election has draw some interesting reactions from the right. On the most extreme side we've seen people calling for secession with people in almost every state going to the White House website to petition the presi- dent to let their state leave the Union. The petition for Texas has more than 117,000 signatures according to our latest information, which seems like a lot of people but really isn't. Texas has a population of more than 25 million people, so the petitioners are less than one-half of one percent of Texans. It's hard to pin down since polls weren't around back then, but by contrast it is believed that about 40-45 per- editorls cent of colonists supported the commentary American Revolution.. by roger esdack The thing that always amuses me about talk of secession is that automatic reactions that range from a) Texas reserved the fight to secede as a condition of admission to the Uniofl in 1845, to b) the Civil War and/or the Supreme Court has determined that no state can secede. Neither posi-. tion is correct. Owing to its size, the Congressional joint resolu- tion admitting Texas tothe Union does allow it the optioii of dividing into as many as five states, but it nowhere says that Texas can leave. On the other side, the failed War for Southern Independence showed that the north had a greater industrial capacity and mili- tary might than did the south, and, as far as the courts go, the federal government is never going to say it is okay for states to break away. But states certainly can secede, and history proves it. If you read the Declarations of Independence of both the United States and Texas, then it is pretty clear the founding fathers were secessionists. They believed to the death that sometimes people may need to dis- solve their political ties with governments that are abusive to their liberties. Indeed, Jefferson wrote that people have not only the right but the duty to throw off their oppressors. However, governments - from London to Mexico City to Washington, DC - never agree that their own subjects can secede. Of course, just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you should. A free and independent Texas is fun to contemplate. The Lone Star is big enough to take care of itself, and it would be nice to see "a whole other country" that embraced liberty and limited government. Enshrine personal and economic liberty in law, join NAFTA to enjoy free trade with the US and Mexico, and watch a new national economy take off like a rocket. Unfortunately, with the ideo- logues we currently have running our state, it is very likely that a new Republic of Texas would be plagued by religious intolerance, a mediocre commitment to higher education, and political agendas in school cur- riculums. We would, however, have a balanced budget and sport very nice highways in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. The question is moot though, because without a groundswell of popular support and the backing of prominent statesmen (who are in short supply these days), secession is an idea that is just never going to get traction. On the opposite end of the spectrum in reaction tO the president's re-election, we see continuedcalls for "compromise" in Washington as the nation inches toward the so-called "fiscal cliff" - a series of auto- matic tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect in January and possibly throw the economy back into a recession. To that end, we are beginning to see some Republicans breaking away from the "no tax increase" stance, and the emboldened president con- tinues to demonize the right, saying this week that the GOP will ruin Christmas if it doesn't back down. Will it never end? America doesn't have an income problem; it has an expense problem. The gov- ernment just fiat spends too much money, and the best our "leaders" in Washington can come up with is a plan to save $1 trillion over ten years. How does that help us when we have a $1 trillion annual deficit and total debt of more than $16 trillion? We can't tax our way out of that mess. "Compromise," it seems, is still a one-side propo- sition. There can be no solution to this disaster without reforming - and cutting - entitlements, namely Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But Democrats have said those are off limits. The results will be that the Republicans will cave - as they usually do - and America will get a semi-solution that gets us past January. After that, "Dancing with the Stars" will be back for a new season, and politicians will be mostly quiet until 2014. Meanwhile... It now appears certain that Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America's great progressive presidents. Like all presidents who fit in this category, he has expanded entitlements, grown the role of the government, become a savior to the down trodden, and has championed socialjustice. Presidents like-Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John E Kennedy~ and Lyndon Baines John- son have occupied similar statuses in the minds of the American public to the extent that they becameknown just by their initials - T.R., ED.R., J.EK., and L.BJ. As such it would seem fitting that, out of reverence, we henceforth refer to President Obama as simply B.C. Fiscal cliff is Forthose who didfft see the movie, Thelma and Louise (played byGeena Davis and Susan Sarandon), while run- ning from the law after giving a wife abuser what he deserved, drove a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible over a cliff of the Dead Horse Point State Park, just north of Moab, Utah. I've been there and it is a magnificently spec- tacularly drop off of several thousand feet. Absolutely nothing could survive a plummet off that cliff. We the People may have the oppor- tunity to experience a similar economic plummet if the Congress doesn't get its act together and find a way to avoid making the plunge. In their infinite stu- pidity, the Congress actually decided to make such a possibility feasible in the event that they couldn't get together and do what is best for the United States, which I will concede, difficult to ascer- tain. Well, surprise, surprise. They couldn't get together to pass the needed legislation, primarily because of differ- ent policy positions. Policy is the name we gix'e to our future mistakes. And it does take a certain kind of man to be in politics - a small one, with a small mind. I'm amazed that such little men can make such a big mess. About the only thing they can pass is gas. Can any of you seriously say that the Bill of Rights could get through Con- gress today? Hell, it wouldn't get out of committee. Granted, these are difficult times for the deficit critics, who have dominated policy discussion for almost three years. If it weren't for their role in deflecting attemion from the continuing problem of an inadequate economic recovery, thereby helping to preserve disastrously high unemployment, one could almost feel sorry for them. Has anything changed? Actually, for one thing, the crises they predicted keeps not happening. Instead of fleeing from U.S. debt, investors have continued to frantically jump in, driving interest rates to historical lows. What? Yep, 'tis true. And beyond that, suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy that the Varmint News Channel (Fox News) has been warning us about isn't that we'll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we'll reduce a Thelma & Louise redux the deficit too much. Because, people, that's what the "fiscal cliff" - more accurately named the aus- the qu,~.-";-L, terity bomb - is all about: the the dead, tax increases 8( fred and spending reductions by fred gray scheduled to kick in at the end of this year are pre- cisely not what we want to see happen in a still recessed economy. Due to factual flaws, the deficit- critic movement has lost some of its glitter. That movement, in case you didn't know, is a multi-headed beast, compromising many organizations that are actually financed by and operated by pretty much the same people - people like Gr0ver Norquist, truly a greedy American ,idiot. Dig down deep.enough into these groups histories and you will find people like Peter Peterson, my old boss at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Inc., and now a private-equity multi- billionaire, playing a key role. Even so, the deficit-critics are not throwing in the towel and skulking back into their Palatial mansions. Yet another organization has risen from the muck surrounding Grover. Fix the Debt, is advocating for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, .all the while making lower tax rates a "core principal." That last part makes abso!utely no sense in terms of the organization's stated mis- sion, but makes more sense if you look at the roster of big corporations, from that bastion of integrity Goldman Sachs to the United Health Group, that are involved in the campaign and would benefit from the aforementioned tax cut. Meanwhile, sacrifice is for the little people. Should we take this latest song and dance seriously? Not really, these people are born-again hypocrites and have been dead wrong on everything so far. The truth i~ that, at a fundamental level, the crises story they are trying to sell to ttie greaf unwashed doesn't make' economic sense. We've all heard the story enough to make us puke: Supposedly, any day now, investors will lose faith in America's ability m come to grips with its budget fiascos. When they do, there will be a choleric type run on Treasury Bonds, interest rates will spike, and the U.S. economy will plunge back into darkness and despair. This isn't going to happen. First of all, just because it happened to Greece doesn't mean it will happen to us. In case you haven't noticed, we are not Greece, and it's pretty much impossible to see how this could actually happen in the United States, in light of our situa- tion. You see, we have our own currency - and almost all of our debt is in dollars. So our government, unlike Greece, liter- ally can't run out of money. After all, it can create the stuffon demand. So, there's a very minute risk that America will default on her debt. There would probably be no risk at all if weren't for the possibility that those pesky Repub- licans will try to, once again, hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling. And no, if the economy is still depressed, the U.S. government printing money to pay its bills will not automati- cally lead to inflation. 'Tis true that we might experience some inflation some years down the road. That might push down the value of the dollar. However, both of these things would actually help the U.S. economy right now. Expected inflation would discourage corporations and people from sitting on cash, and a weaker dollar would make our exports much more competitive. In my opinion, it's time for Wash- ington to stop listening to Grover and his disciples of doom and gloom. Actu- ally, we could send them to Antarctic to study pink unicorns. This country is much stronger than we realize. We don't intentionally need to drive it off the cliff, while running from boogie men, like Thelma and Louise. Let's stand pat. As an aside, Roger wrote a well- written, cogent column expressing his divergent view on the impending fiscal cliff. While I don't agree with it, it has much merit and valuable information. The problem with economic theory is that it's nigh impossible to know what is and what is not correct. Who knows, he may be right. You can't turn on the news these days without hearing about the looming "fiscal cliff." The stock market goes up and down daily as some small bit of good or bad news is reported about avoiding the economically catastrophic tax increases and automatic spending. reductions that are set to occur at year's end. I believe Congress and the White House can come together and reach the necessarybipartisan agreements that are needed to avoid the fiscal cliff and put America's economic house in order again. The stakes for our economy and our future are enormous. Accord- ing to the Congressional Budget Office, the impending tax hikes and across- the-board spending reductions in most" programs (known as sequestration) would drag America back into recession and push unemployment back above 9 percent. The underlying problem is out-of- control deficits. For the fourth consecu- tive year, our budget deficit is over $1 trillion. Total debt now exceeds $16 tril- lion, and our country will be financially crippled if we don't deal with deficits. Several bipartisan solutions have been put forward, including a plan from the President's Simpson-Bowles Com- mission. The President has said repeat- edly that taxes must be raised on those who make more than $200,000. But if over every million- .'aire in America were taxed at 100 percent, it would put only a small dent in our enormous budget deficits, capitol Although comment going over by sen. kay bailey hutchison the fiscal cliff would raise taxes on everyone, the big threat is to middle class families. If action isn't taken by year's end, middle class families, small business owners, and retirees are going to take it on the chin in their 2013 taxes. Uncertainty about taxes has small businesses stuck in neutral. Three- quarters of small businesses pay taxes at individual rates. Until they know what their tax rates for 2013 will be, the busi- nesses that account for almost two-thirds of new job creation are standing still - and more than 20 million Americans who are looking for work will be on hold, too. Senior citizens who saved for retirement are at financial risk, too. Taxes on dividends are set for huge increases on January 1 - to as much as 40 percent. Retirement planning and financial security will go out the window for millions who did all the right things throughout their working lives: Also at risk if we don't avoid the fiscal cliff are my two top tax priorities. First, in states like Texas, which don't have an income tax, the deductibility of sales taxes for federal income taxes assures fairness with other states. If state sales tax deductibility isn't renewed by year's end, millions of Texas taxpay- ers will see their federal income tax bills swell hy an average of $500 next year. My second priority is renewing tax relief for middle class married couples. Before my amendment was made law in 2001, 25 million married couples were forced into higher income brackets and paid an average of $1,400 more than they would have as single people. This marriage penalty is, well, un-American, and my fix must be renewed. There is still time for Congress and the White House to come together on a comprehensive-long-range fiscal plan - to avoid punishing tax increases that will kill our weak economy, assure long-term Social Security and Medicare solvency (without cutting current benefits), and lock in prudent spending limits that will pare back deficits. The first step is for Congress and the White House to agree before year's end on a tax and spending framework that will avoid the fiscal cliff and put our country back on the right track. 1088-9698) is published each Thured/ty by ROI~" A. Estlsck at 105 S Keamey Street, Clatendo~ Texas 79226-1110. Periodicals po=ta~ I~IM at,, ~ . '~ Clarendon Sports '.i> ,,~ F~d Gray College Sports Karl Llndsey Photographer " " Kathy Spler Hcdley "~,, . :i~!::~I. CONTACT IN FO RMATIO lff~..i~?'" Phone ,:~'~" '.