July 21, 2016

Good Reasons to Oppose Welfare Expansion

73 million Americans are already on Medicaid

"Control healthcare to control the people" has been long taught by socialists and communists. The left, as well as others who stand to benefit financially in the short term, will clamor for Obamacare Medicaid expansion, but the sound reasons to oppose this are many if not obvious.

The hard Left simply wants more government dependents. Others may be softhearted folks who see welfare expansion as charitable, but it is neither charitable nor is it sustainable. The welfare system has not solved poverty. Furthermore, Obamacare Medicaid expansion is another step toward socialism and will expand poverty far beyond what our country has today.

Medicaid was established in 1965 for the truly indigent. It was projected to cost nine billion dollars by 1990. The actual cost that year was $67 billion! Now, 73 million people are on Medicaid (almost one in four Americans) at the tremendous annual cost of over $500 billion (up 14% last year). Half of U.S. births are now paid for by Medicaid. Skyrocketing Medicaid costs are projected to pass $1 trillion within five years. Meanwhile, the U.S. leads the world in debt and is going broke.

The current Obamacare plan would expand the number of recipients to almost one in three Americans, and the numbers would continue to grow. The current plan is only the next artificial benchmark which the Left will always advance. This plan is not the end; it is simply a major step toward the Left's goal of government-run healthcare.

True poverty, a state of deprivation, is an age old concern. It may seem difficult for some to define true poverty and how best to address it. In the Bible, the Lord says the poor will always be among us. But, who is "poor"? Are a fourth (or more) of Americans truly destitute and unable to sustain without dependence on government assistance?

Studies clearly show that many Americans defined as "in poverty" by our government live better than Europe's "middle class", and far better than most of the world. Many Americans "in poverty" own many luxuries compared to the rest of the world. No one suggests poverty does not exist or there should be no safety net, but America's welfare system has gone very far beyond this.

Fifty years ago, the Left launched its "war on poverty". After over $20 trillion (mostly borrowed) spent, poverty rates are not improved but broken homes have skyrocketed. Too often, an attitude of entitlement has replaced responsibility. The nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, the economy is stagnant, and American jobs move elsewhere as U.S. corporate taxation leads the world.

America has never been more divided, and this divided house with its continued budget deficits cannot stand too much longer. Socialized medicine is a huge nail in the coffin of a free America, as many on the Left celebrate the nation's demise.

Welfare dependence for many has become a way of life, as the programs have created more poverty than they have cured. There is no incentive for anyone to save money with Medicaid. The program needs reform, not expansion. Many meaningful healthcare cost reforms have been suggested, including health savings accounts, more transparency in pricing, competing health insurers across state lines, and yes - tax dollars certainly available for the truly indigent, but with some personal accountability and incentive built into the system. Also, programs such as Medicaid should be managed at the state level, rather than the overgrown federal government.

It is past time for straight talk instead of false promises to tickle the ears of the public. America is at the brink, with a current debt greater than all the goods and services produced in this country. The national debt will exceed $20 trillion by the end of the year, and total U.S. debt is $800,000 per family. If America does not get its financial house in order right away, which seems impossible, there is no alternative to financial collapse. When this happens, poverty in America today will seem like the American dream. Thoughts of money for programs like Medicaid will be a fantasy. Americans need to wake up and get real, or the American dream will soon be a nightmare.

July 25, 2012

Much Accomplished, Much More to Do

The 2011-12 session of the General Assembly has come to a close. The second year of the session (called the "short session") is traditionally the year when the budget passed in the "long session" is tweaked, and unfinished business from the first year is completed. This session was historic for multiple reasons. It was the first time in 140 years that Republicans had majorities in both the House and Senate. The challenges were exceedingly abundant, but there were significant accomplishments on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina.

The new leadership inherited a massive $3 billion deficit, the largest in state history and among the nation's largest in 2011. However, the Republicans (68 in the House, 31 in the Senate) were joined by five moderate House Democrats and balanced the state budget without repeating the tax increases of the past. In fact, taxes were reduced by eliminating the $ 1 billion "temporary tax" imposed by Gov. Perdue and legislative Democrats that they wanted to continue indefinitely. With more tax relief for businesses scheduled for 2012, it is believed these efforts will help restore our economy and create long-term jobs in our state. However, for significant improvements to occur, we need to elect a new President and a conservative Governor in 2012. The state legislature cannot by itself fix the problems with this economy.

With a liberal governor and a conservative legislature, North Carolina had deeply divided government in 2011-12. Yet, with the help of a few moderate Democrats, the legislature achieved some significant improvements as the state's finances were put on better footing… certainly a good step in the right direction. Budget reforms were incremental rather than dramatic, but the growth rate of state spending was curbed significantly.

In the area of education, reforms were implemented to strengthen student literacy, encourage effective teachers, and improve graduation rates. Last year, legislators were also able to remove the cap on charter schools in response to parents and students that want opportunity to make the best educational decisions for their families. Over 20,000 students had been on charter school waiting lists. However, a tax credit allowing businesses to provide scholarships to low-income children attending private schools did not garner approval. This program and others have been successful in other states where educational performance is on the rise. Many parents are pleading for such opportunities in our state, as we have been flooded with letters and emails. Some even testified recently to our House Education committee on which I serve. As our state considers tax reform and education reform next year, we should step up our efforts to ensure children with special needs and those from low-income families have better access to quality education opportunities under the new system.

The energy sector was also revived through actions at the General Assembly as bipartisan legislation was passed to create jobs and attract businesses to North Carolina. The new law, the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act, will hopefully begin to lower energy prices as alternative sources are found and ultimately generate more revenue and jobs for our state. After years of stagnation in this area, our state has finally taken the first step to create a commission to ensure that any such activities emphasize safety first, while potentially making our state a leader in the production of much needed domestic energy.

An extremely popular measure statewide was the effort to protect citizens' property rights by reforming our archaic anti-citizen annexation laws. Gone is forced annexation as we knew it. Going forward, a referendum vote will be required by the area’s registered voters before that area can be annexed by a municipality. Lawmakers also de-annexed several towns that were involuntarily annexed and these towns may not be re-annexed for the next 12 years.

While there were several successes, a big disappointment was that we were unable to bring true election reform to our state. Every Republican in the General Assembly passed HB 351, the Restore Confidence in Government Act, which would have implemented a free photo voter ID for all voters to ensure integrity in our elections and decrease voter fraud. However, Gov. Perdue vetoed the bill, and no Democrats would help override that veto. About 80% of our state favors this measure, which other states have passed and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It is unfortunate that it is a partisan issue in Raleigh. It will happen next year if we elect Pat McCrory governor and maintain Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

The realm of health care was also positively affected, but more could have been done with bipartisan help. The legislature passed tort reform and medical malpractice reform that will have a positive effect on lowering health costs and maintaining high quality of care. But, the bad news of Obamacare continues to keeping businesses from hiring and is a specter that will hurt the quality of care while increasing costs. The legislature passed the Protect Healthcare Freedom Act, HB 2, but it was vetoed by Gov. Perdue with no Democratic help for an override. The Freedom Act would have provided some protection for North Carolinians from the intrusive individual mandate. The majority of states had passed such legislation. Now, it appears the 2012 presidential election will decide our fate on Obamacare. While there may be a few decent provisions within the 2700 pages of this sweeping government intrusion of health care, the vast majority of this law will help bankrupt our country and destroy the health care system.

In May, voters were given the choice on a Constitutional Marriage Amendment. North Carolina joined 30 other states by affirming the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Despite the huge influx of money and distorted presentations by nationwide anti-marriage groups, a large 61% supermajority voted for marriage. This included a whopping 75% in our House District. Clearly, North Carolinians support the traditional values of marriage. Every age group, political party, gender and race voted for marriage… a measure opposed by Gov. Perdue, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Dalton, and at least 62 of the 71 Democrats in the legislature. It is clear that whether the issues are taxes and spending, annexation reform, voter ID, or even marriage, the Democratic leadership is way out of touch with the majority in North Carolina.

The legislature also reformed a law that allowed convicted murderers on death row to appeal their sentence using arbitrary statistics to attempt to prove racial bias. The law had been an effective moratorium of the death penalty, as anyone and everyone could make such a claim… it had nothing to do with their race. In order to prevent criminals from abusing the law, the legislature limited the statistical analysis to the county or prosecutorial district where the sentence was imposed as opposed to using statewide and irrelevant statistics.

In short, the new legislative leadership had a successful two-year beginning. Many good changes were accomplished, but only a step toward much that needs to be done. There are still several opportunities to bring government back within its original authority. No doubt after many decades of progressive liberal policies, runaway taxes, spending and debt, the fixes will not come overnight.

May 1, 2012

Vote for the Marriage Amendment

Friends, It has continued to be a busy time for me in preparation for the upcoming Short Session beginning in two weeks. The House and Senate rules limit what legislation we will undertake in this session (or every session would be a Long Session, I suppose). But, I expect it will be somewhat 'fast and furious'.

I do not have an opponent in the May 8 primary, but I ask you to vote FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment. Let's be clear, the only legitimate reason to vote "no" is if you want homosexual marriage. If that is the case, vote your conscience and we'll agree to disagree.

Don't be confused by the barrage of deceptive ads by those against traditional marriage. Let's consider briefly a few myths versus facts in this debate. The opponents of traditional marriage are using a 'divide and conquer strategy' with odd, conflicting arguments. They know that 30 states already have Constitution protection of marriage. It has passed every time voters have had that opportunity. Every scientifically sound poll indicates a wide margin of NC voters support marriage.

I ask you to apply common sense to their main two arguments. First, they admit that the amendment simply affirms current marriage law and puts it in our Constitution. They argue it is therefore unnecessary. Of course, we know the amendment is necessary to keep a liberal activist judge from trying to challenge the law as in some other states. There is already a lawsuit by an elected official in NC for not allowing "same-sex marriages".

But then, opponents argue that if the amendment passes, all sorts of terrible things will happen. Not only are these claims false, but keep in mind that the definition of marriage between one man and one woman is already the law. No one will lose rights when this amendment passes. These terrible things do not occur now, and they do not occur in the 30 states with constitutional protection of marriage. These false claims are only attempts to confuse voters to oppose the amendment.

Finally, they appeal to 'limited government' conservatives by claiming this is "big government overreach". The truth is that there will be a legal definition of marriage one way or the other. This amendment vote allows citizens to decide, rather than a "big government" activist judge or potential future legislature changing our marriage laws against the will of the people.

All credible polls show the supporters of traditional marriage leading by huge margins even with all the deceptive ads in opposition. But, we cannot depend on polls or take victory for granted. People must be sure to vote. Let's make a strong statement for traditional, biblical marriage. Vote FOR Marriage! For more information, go to www.voteformarriagenc.com. For "Myths vs. Facts", see http://www.voteformarriagenc.com/docs/nc_mythsandfacts.pdf

Announcements: Thanks to all who came out for the Marriage Protection Amendment rally at the Rockingham County Governmental Center last week. The Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a resolution supporting the Marriage Protection Amendment that evening. Thanks to Commissioners Keith Mabe, James Kallam, and Craig Travis for voting for marriage. There will be another rally in Yanceyville, in the courthouse square in front of the Old Caswell County Courthouse, this Friday, May 4 at 5:30 pm. Please join us if you can for a brief 20 minute rally to affirm biblical, traditional marriage between a man and a woman.