The simple answer to the question is this:  We don’t like be lied to, condescended to, and told we are idiots because we don’t like the current Imperial Presidency and the Elected-for-life Congress or courts.

TRUST - a graphic from ravenwerks.com

 

Example One:

Jack Lew, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in USA Today in late February.  Its purpose was to support the President’s Budget proposal to Congress.  Specifically, its purpose was to debunk rumors that the Social Security Fund was broke and that meeting the regular payments to Social Security recipients was helping drag down the budget.  If you want to read Mr. Lew’s amazing claims, go here.  The short and sweet of what Mr. Lew claims is that payments to Social Security by both employees and employers are kept in a separate fund, the fund has sufficient moneys to pay all expected Social Security Claims until at least 2025 (or 2032, or 2050 depending on which assumptions are made), and the real reason for our budget woes is that George Bush cut taxes on the wealthy and increased the Medicare benefits without funding them.  Let’s see how these statements meet the smell test.

First, there is no “trust fund dedicated to paying benefits.”  The fund is basically an accounting device.  The Government spends all income of the Social Security tax annually on both retirees and general fund commitments.  Since early in 2010, less money has been collected for Social Security than is paid out.  “Surplus funds” have for many years been nothing but IOUs from the U. S. Government to the Social Security ‘fund’.  As President Bush stated in 2005, “Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund — in other words, there’s a pile of money being accumulated. That’s just simply not true. The money — payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They’re spent on benefits and they’re spent on government programs. There is no trust.” When people in the Federal Government point to the Social Security Trust fund and say it is fully funded for 25 more years, they are pointing to a pile of special Treasury Bills, that can only be bought back from Social Security by our Government.  In other words, they are non-negotiable securities or paper placeholders – IOUs that have no basis in value other than the “full faith and credit of the U.S. government.”  True assets have a market value.  The “assets” of the Social Security Trust fund have no market value.  Somewhere in prison, Bernie Madoff is green with envy wishing he had thought up such a clever fraud.

If this is not enough to make Americans distrust their government, President Obama nominated and Congress confirmed Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury.  Among other things, Geithner’s job is to appoint the Trustees of the Social Security Fund.  Yes, that’s the same Timothy Geithner who failed to pay over $34,000 in Social Security payments in 2001 through 2004.  “These were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes.  But they were unintentional,” he said. “I should have been more careful.”  What he meant when he testified before Congress was that he wished he hadn’t been caught.  You or I would be in jail, but Geithner gets a powerful job and a $191,000 paycheck.  Is it any wonder most Americans feel there is a double standard, that they don’t trust their government?

Example Two:

The “Employee Free Choice Act” being pushed by both the President and the Democrats in Congress.  This is legislation intended to “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations [unions], to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.” Right.  The only people who beleive that to be the reason for this legislation are the labor operatives who bought and paid for the legislators (and President) to put forward this unconstitutional law.  Fortunately, it has not yet made it through Congress, but it has not been for lack of effort on the part of its backers.

“Free Choice” is lie number one.  The act would eliminate secret ballots from Union Certification Elections and replace them with a requirement that Unions only get 50+% of the employees to sign a card indicating interest in having Union Representation.  If four large, mean-looking people came to your door and suggested that you needed to sign such a card or face consequences, would you feel that was a “free choice?”  If you were greeted by union organizers as you left work and asked in front of your fellow employees to sign a card to request a union, would that feel as much of a free choice as a secret ballot?  Second, the “mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts”, are only for employers who commit unfair labor practices, not unions.  Should this pass, it will be of the unions, by the unions, and for the unions, but paid for by the dues of workers who have no choice in how their mandatory union dues are spent.  Sounds like Free Choice to me.  You, too?  Why would you not believe your government when it tells you that it has just passed the Employee Free Choice Act?

Example Three:

Undeclared wars.  Our past five Presidents, including Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, the Senior Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan, have all sent U.S. combat troops into foreign countries.  Though some Presidents asked Congress for approval and others did not, there is a common theme that Presidents have used to justify their wars that is troubling to most observers.  In short it can be called the domino theory.  Each President has claimed he had to do this and that this invasion was justified because it was in the direct interest of our country.  In effect each argued that if this issue was not put to bed, it would spread and encourage more aggression elsewhere.  In Bosnia, the story was that if we did not invade and stop Serbia, they would overrun all of the Balkans and the conflict would spread to all of Europe, much like in World War I.  In Granada it was to show potential military despots that the U.S. will not stand for anything but free people who have the right to elect their leaders.  If Hudson Austin was not stopped, the whole Caribbean and soon South America would fall to despots.  In Kuwait and Iraq, the two Bushes argued that Sadam Hussein was not only butchering his people but would soon hold the world hostage for its oil or with weapons of mass destruction.  If this happened, all of the Middle East would fall to radical muslims. The invasion of Afghanistan was to stop Al Qaida before they brought their rule and Sharia law to all of the Middle East.  Now we have Mr. Obama claiming that if we had not intervened, thousands of Libyans would have been slaughtered and refugees driven to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.  The pressure of these refugees would upset the fragile state of both countries and they would soon be back in the hands of evil rulers.

In all cases, credible arguments could be made supporting the President’s action.  In all cases but the current one, the majority of Americans initially accepted the President’s military interventions.   So why are so many in both parties upset at Mr. Obama when they largely supported his predecessors?  Simple.  Hypocrisy.  Don’t you remember what Mr.Obama said so many times on the campaign trail?  “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Yet, that is exactly what he has just done.  Gallup’s poll shows this military action to have less support than any of those mentioned above and it is telling that an almost equal number of Democrats and Republicans disapprove.  Mr Obama never mentioned oil in his speech to justify the “No Fly Zone” invasion.  Does that seem strange?  If the U.S. gets about 1% of its imported oil from Libya and our European allies get about 10% to 25% of their imports from Libya, don’t you think that might have been a factor?  Most people do.  Mr. Obama never mentioned the word.  He did mention that thousands could be killed and we could not just stand by and not act.  What about Sudan?  Some estimate the killings to total in the hundreds of thousands, yet, the U.S. has stood by and not intervened militarily.  Oh, and yes, though Sudan does produce oil in the south, it is not a source of U.S. crude or much of one for the E.U.  The “No Fly” invasion may have nothing to do with oil though most people doubt that and wonder why Mr. Obama failed to even address the issue.  It is hard to trust a government that gives seemingly false excuses rather than reasons for its actions.

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