and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column

Overreaching Democrats threaten the America we know and love
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, July 2, 2009

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

For more than 200 years, those words were the simple, poetic, common background of our American experience. We memorized them in school, accepted them as self-evident, and got on with our American lives.

Sometime after 1776, "Men" became "men and women of all races;" our "Creator" was generally accepted to be either a personal God, the Life-force, or a kind of evolutionary order; and the phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" continued to throb in the pulses of our American souls. Despite wars, economic downturns, political silliness or corruption, all was well with the United States of America because we all knew "who we are."

Now many of us look at each other and ask, "Who the heck are you and what have you done with my country?"

Last week I wrote about health insurance instead of the proposed new energy tax bill because the "Obama health-care plan" seemed more imminent. However, on June 24 ABC ran a disorganized news special from the White House during which the president couldn't answer any questions, rambling off into vague, general statements that never did tell us if the plan will have a public component or levy new taxes on health insurance policies. When Sen. Judd Gregg, the one token Republican presence, was asked by a reporter about President Obama's plan, he said, accurately, "There is no plan."

Meanwhile, the "cap-and-trade" energy bill, which wasn't supposed to come up in the House until after the July 4 holiday recess, was rushed to the floor last Friday.

House Republicans kept demanding that there be a copy of the "energy tax" bill in the House chamber during the debate, forcing Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey to insist that since the 1,300-page bill had been on the Internet for several hours, that should be good enough for an informed vote.

When the Republicans brought a paper copy to the microphone, it became obvious why Obama and the Democratic leaders were trying to rush it through without analysis. House Minority Leader John Boehner read sections aloud, informing the members about some of its provisions.

Here's a sample of what I heard him read about only the real-estate section:

All appraisers will have to go to school to learn to value buildings based on their energy efficiency. You will need to fill out an environmental survey before you sell your home and modernize it, energy-wise, before the sale. Banks must give their customers an energy analysis of the bank building so consumers can decide if they want to give that bank their business depending on whether it's "green" enough (of course this will eventually apply to all businesses).

My favorite: When a potential buyer applies to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, he can adjust his annual income by the presumed potential savings of any energy improvements. Say your income is $40,000. You can add the annual savings from having an energy-saver water heater, increasing your "income" to say $40,200 for the purposes of getting your loan.

I'm not making this up. Apparently no one has learned anything from what went wrong with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans last year.

A narrow majority of House members enthusiastically voted for the bill they hadn't read, approving federal control over those aspects of our economy that use fuel which is all of them.

And why? To save the planet, of course.

From what? From global warming. Make that global cooling. What the heck, from climate change, whichever way it's going.

At least, could we do what Charlie Baker suggests?

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO, a former Swampscott selectmen and potential Republican candidate for governor in 2010, was discussing the commonwealth's health insurance law at a Marblehead Republican Town Committee function last weekend. He said the mistake that was made by Massachusetts politicians was to pass a giant, solve-it-all-tomorrow proposal instead of addressing the issue one bite at a time, over several years, so we can learn as we go.

Obama and Congress are taking the same wrong, overreaching approach with national health insurance and the national energy bill. We got to where we are today slowly, incrementally, and should move forward to address problems the same way.

All of us cares about Mother Earth, but only some people care about using her to enhance the power, size and revenues of government, its politicians and bureaucrats. We need a clean environment for Life, and we need limited government for Liberty, which we need for any chance at Happiness for ourselves and our descendants.

Speaking of offspring: My son the liberal who lives in Nevada, gave me a year's membership in the Sierra Club, complete with a polar-bear puppet, for Mother's Day. For his birthday this week, I sent a campaign contribution to Sharron Angle, who is challenging Majority Leader Harry Reid for his Nevada U.S. Senate seat next year.

Happy birthday, kiddo, and a happy ongoing Independence Day to us all.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.