Manchin, Still Riding Fences

February 25, 2014

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By:  Rob Jones

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison, “Letter to Edmund Pendleton,”
-James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).

I have written about West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin before. So the fact that he once again will be my focus, should surprise no one. I’ve been very clear about where I think Senator Manchin’s head and heart really are. I’ve made no bones about saying that Manchin sides with a socialist president, hell bent on destroying my state and my country. No, I won’t back down. No, I won’t ease up. I will continue to stay on the offense and attack hard. Unlike Manchin and Obama, I really do care about what happens to my fellow West Virginian’s and my fellow countrymen. I refuse to sit back and watch while Manchin says one thing, but does another. Senator Manchin has been riding the fence for way too long, saying whatever keeps him in the good graces of the president, the liberal socialist party, and the people of the Great State of West Virginia. He just didn’t count on me being around every corner, reading everything I can, and paying attention. Shame on him…

In the Sunday edition of my local news paper, admittedly a bit liberal leaning, “The Exponent Telegram”, Senator Manchin did a bit of Q and A with the editorial board. I had a hard time getting through it, but it needs to touched upon here. As West Virginia Governor, Manchin had no choice, but to stay pretty much “center of the road” on his actions and leadership of this state. Manchin set the tone, the pace, and the direction this state was headed in. As Governor, the only real screw up he had was changing our “Welcome to West Virginia” signs, which had always said “Wild and Wonderful” to “Open for Business”. Manchin  made a huge miscalculation, when he thought that we Mountaineers wouldn’t mind. Well, we not only minded, but we put his back against the wall, made answer for his mistake, and then forced him to change it back. As a West Virginia Senator, Manchin has been all over the board. Let’s take a look at the front page story in The Exponent Telegram, called “Manchin: Expect Obamacare changes”, written by Jim Davis and John G. Miller. Let’s take a look at the questions he was asked, his political answers, and what I think he really meant, but didn’t quite say.

Q.  Now that the Affordable Care Act has begun to take effect, what are your thoughts on this sweeping legislation? What would you change?

A.  “If you spend 18 percent of (gross domestic product), a higher amount than any other nation on earth on health care, and the results are you’re 43rd in wellness, you have a problem.” Manchin said of the law informally known as Obamacare. “… Over the years, other presidents, Republicans and Democrats, have tried to expand health care programs” to produce better results, Manchin said. “… (With Obamacare) the amount of expansion of Medicare was a concern for me while I was governor. At the time, there were 45 to 48 states that didn’t cover those who qualify” at 100 percent poverty level. “Most worked on covering children. Now we’re going to cover those who qualify at 133 percent? Don’t you think getting all those at 100 percent is a lofty goal?” Overall, Manchin said if the goals were to contain costs and have a healthier population, those aspects aren’t being met with the current law. And he’s concerned federal and state budgets can’t withstand the current formula. “What you see today isn’t what you’ll see two years from now,” Manchin said. “The market will prevail in the end. It always does.” He said the number of people who are signed up for free coverage compared to those who are paying will have to change to keep the program affordable. Or the type of coverage available will have to change. “In West Virginia, there are 80,000 to 90,000 signed up for free coverage and 10,000 to 12,000 who are paying. How much of the final load can the Treasury handle? He also questioned the standard that lowered full-time employment from 40 hours per week to 30, saying it’s unthinkable to consider less than 40 hours to be full-time work. “… The bottom line is we should have a healthier population, and it shouldn’t be a burden on state or federal government.”

What is Manchin really saying? eighteen percent of gross domestic product may look (and sound) bad, till you really think about what that covers. That 18 percent of GDP, that we spend every year covers more than you and me. Every time an illegal goes to the ER, where they can’t be denied service, they don’t pay the bill, so who does? You and me, if the form of higher costs. Notice that Manchin didn’t say “43rd in health care quality”, but in wellness? Why would he say that? Simple. Because the United States has always had superior health care, to every other nation in the world. There’s no mistake for why foreign citizens, to include leaders, come to America for care. We can’t force our people to live healthier lives, but we can force a hostile takeover of our health care. The amount of Medicare expansion concerned him? It should have then and should scare him to death now. This “free health care” that he talks about doesn’t exist! It never has and never will. Someone has to pay for that expansion. Guess who that someone is? You and me, if the form of higher premiums and higher taxes. He was right, when he said that the number of people signed up for free care compared to those who are paying, will have to change, or the coverage will have to change. Why? Because if more people don’t pay up, those with “free” care won’t have enough money to cover it. and the system will collapse on itself. “Or coverage will have to change”, means that what you and I have now, will not cover everything that we’re used to our insurance covering. In a nutshell, that means that health care will be forced to begin to pick and choose who gets what care. Right now, in WV, there are 10,000 to 12,000 paying for about 80,000 to 90,000. Do you see the problem with that? That means that our taxes will have to go up, to cover the difference. He also mentioned the loss of hours for working people. What he didn’t say was that companies are cutting employee hours, to keep from being forced to provide insurance to so many people. Nice, isn’t it?

Q.  About 14 months after the Sandy Hook massacre, little has been done to change gun laws. You’ve been out front in some efforts. Where do you stand on gun control efforts today? What needs to happen to make meaningful changes?

A.  “Not a lot of political courage or will,” Manchin said referring to Congress. “Our approach was simple: background checks. “Some people wondered, ‘How did Joe Manchin get involved in background checks?’ Some people want to call it gun control, but it’s the furthest thing from gun control. It’s just common-sense background checks.” Manchin said gun enthusiasts must be receptive to some changes after tragedies like Sandy Hook. “When this all happened, it just tore our hearts out,” Manchin said. “Twenty babies getting slaughtered brought it to national attention very quickly.” Manchin said his efforts are to close loopholes that exist in background checks while raising mental health treatment awareness. “We need to protect law-abiding gun owners” — those who wouldn’t sell their guns illegally, Manchin said. “As a responsible gun owner who loves and protects 2nd Amendment rights, that’s my responsibility and obligation.” Manchin said his legislation would actually restore some 2nd Amendment rights that were lost with passage of the Brady Bill. He said that in talking with gun owners, most who read the legislation eventually see it’s good, but they’re still hesitant. “We just don’t trust government, don’t trust this president,’” Manchin said people have told him, adding they are afraid that through executive orders or other legislation, their rights to bear arms would be diminished. “It’s a paranoia,” Manchin said. “ … It’s a shame we have such a lack of trust in our government. We have to build that trust back.” But he cautioned gun owners that they must be willing to discuss safety issues, or they’ll appear uncaring. “I tell them I’d rather be proactive than retroactive,” Manchin said. “And when you start arguing against common sense that you shouldn’t have background checks (if you don’t know who you are selling a gun to), are you saying you just don’t care?”

What is Manchin really saying? “Not a lot of political courage or will”? No, that’s elected senators and congressmen listening to their voters. The people weren’t interested in having our rights trampled in the name of gun control. Manchin’s approach wasn’t only background checks, like he says. Go back and listen. He wanted much stricter background checks, along with registration laws. The background checks we have now weed out many that shouldn’t have guns and work well. As for nationwide registration? All that was intended to do, was gain the name of all gun owners, they type of guns they own, the caliber of guns, and how many guns. You can’t confiscate all of the guns, if you don’t know who has what. Manchin spoke of the “twenty babies getting slaughtered”, but he does nothing to stop the murder of 1.2 million unborn babies every single year, from abortion. “We need to protect law-abiding gun owners”? Criminals don’t get gun by legal means, so all the legislation in the world won’t change criminals getting guns. We don’t trust this government, Sen. Manchin, because we have seen Obama in action. He’s violated our constitution over and over, stated publically that our constitution puts too many restraints on his power, and has chipped away at our rights and freedoms, with Manchoin’s help!! Background checks are great and law-abiding gun owners agree with them. We don’t agree with our rights being trampled.

Q.  There’s been significant chatter about “income equality” and increasing the minimum wage law. In West Virginia, many occupations trend behind similar jobs in other states in terms of pay. Does the nation have an “income inequality” problem? If so, is government regulation the answer?

A. “Yes, and we have the figures — there is definitely an income inequality” across the country and when West Virginia is compared to national statistics, Manchin said. “The Congressional Budget Office found that between 1979 and 2007, income for the top 1 percent rose 275 percent; the middle class saw less than 40 percent. That didn’t keep up with inflation. “If you look at 1968, some of us who were working or trying or to work at that time, $1.60 was the minimum wage. If you were to adjust the minimum wage (for inflation) … we’d be at a little over $10, $10.20 or $10.30 an hour today. “… The median income in the nation is $53,000; in West Virginia it’s $40,000,” Manchin said, adding that the state ranks higher in overall poverty, child poverty and senior poverty than the national average. “And the saddest number, 49 percent of single-mother families in West Virginia are living below the poverty level. “We have 45 million in the nation living below poverty level. You can say the War on Poverty isn’t working.” Manchin supports increasing the minimum wage, and he said he doesn’t see much opposition from either political party. “I think we also have to be very cautious in how we might do it. The question is to what extent and how quick we implement it,” Manchin said, citing CBO figures that warn of 500,000 lost jobs if the minimum wage is increased to more than $10 per hour. “Can we mitigate that?” Manchin asked. He also said that there needed to be personal responsibility from workers and corporations. “We can’t reward people for bad behavior or allow them to take the path of least resistance.” Manchin said he believes people who are willing to work full-time, 40 hours per week, and to work hard, should earn enough to live above poverty level. He also believes lawmakers need to close tax loopholes that permit some corporations and people to skirt paying a fair share of taxes. Manchin mentioned “carried interest” and laws that allow companies to locate overseas to gain tax breaks as problems that need to be addressed. “Some people on the other side are afraid of revenue,” Manchin said of some congressional Republicans. “They be-lieve government is too big and they have to starve the beast. “But I tell them we’re $17 trillion in debt … and we have to get ourselves out of this mess.” Manchin said if Congress would clean up tax loopholes, “we’d have more than enough money to run this country,” and any new revenue would be used to reduce debt and build infrastructure. He also said structuring laws to require companies to be housed in the U.S., would see manufacturing jobs return from overseas.

What is Manchin really saying? First of all, to compare West Virginia with the rest of this nation is just plain absurd. Life isn’t as fast paced here and things just don’t cost as much. A gallon of gas here may be $3.50. In most other places, that same gallon gas may cost anywhere from $3.60 to $3.75 or more. Groceries cost less, clothes cost less, and so does all of the basic items that we purchase from local stores or large chain stores, like Wal-Mart. So, the median income for more expensive areas might be $53,000. To us Mountaineers, our $40,000 is on an equal par when you factor in the cost of living. Manchin says that we have to be very cautious as to we raise minimum wage. Sure raising minimum wage helps people out, in a paycheck, but when you force a small business to raise their pay scale, you also force that business to look hard at how many people they paying for how many hours. Small businesses will cut hours to maintain a profit margin. That is simple business, folks. Like it or not, people get into business to make money. Cut into those profits and they will make it up, by cutting employee hours or employees, raising the price of their goods or services, or a combination of both. Manchin also failed to tell us that that top one percent of earners pay about ninety percent of our total taxes. Our tax system isn’t fair, the way it’s set up. It never will be, unless we get away from our current system and move to a fair tax type system, where people pay taxes based on what they spend. Spend less, pay less. That simple and easy. Companies moving off shore to save in taxes tells me a very important detail. America is costing these companies too much to want stay here. Some states have seen this and lowered state taxes as an incentive to get companies to want to move to those states. That’s smart business. Government is too big, Sen. Manchin!! Who pays all of these federal salaries? We the people, in the form of taxes. We are $17 trillion in debt, not for a lack of tax revenue, but because Washington, D.C. has a severe spending problem. The American people are forced to live within a budget, but Washington isn’t? “We” didn’t get us into anything, Mr. Manchin. You, the bloated and over spending government, did. Why should we be forced to save your hide? You spent us into this mess. You need to make cuts to fix it. Law requiring companies to be housed in the U.S. would not bring manufacturing jobs back. Companies would simply hire existing companies, located outside of the U.S., to buy supplies or cheap labor.

Q.  It seems like every day we hear or read reports on the national level that sound another death knell for coal. Are you frustrated that your efforts to balance the national energy policy have fallen on deaf ears in some Washington circles? What are your plans for changing that in the future?

A.  Manchin said he is very frustrated with national energy policy and believes the country will eventually have a major power issue. “I believe we’re going to hit the proverbial grid wall. We’re not going to be able to have the reliability into the grid system that we need,” Manchin said. “I’m being told that during the recent polar vortexes, we were within 500 to 700 megawatts of collapsing the entire system that serves 53 million customers.” Manchin explained that the grid is primarily powered by base load fuels: coal, natural gas and nuclear. “But they couldn’t get gas to where it was needed because of the coldness.” Still, the government is placing regulations on companies that force them to take more and more coal-fired plants off line, Manchin said. “It’s frustrating that no one wants to understand that. (Coal) built America and has given us the affordability and reliability we have today. “It looks like this country is committed to hitting that proverbial wall where we don’t have the capacity to put the power into the line that’s needed for this system to work. And if that happens, then maybe we’ll shock them back to reality.” He emphasized that he’s “a believer” in climate change. “The 7 billion people on earth have had an effect. But I tell environmentalists that I’m a realist. And the Department of Energy says we need coal-fired plants for at least three decades.” Manchin said the federal government must do more to help develop the technology needed to use coal-fired plants, not just in the U.S., but across the world. “There are eight billion tons of coal burned each year, and we burn less than 1 billion of it. And we burn it better and cleaner than anyone.” He said the U.S. should lead the effort for global environmental initiatives that use clean-coal technology that would still maintain a stable power grid.

What is Manchin really saying? If he’s so “frustrated” over energy policies, as a U.S. senator, why is he not doing more? He’s right though. We will have power issues. To start with much higher bills and Obama said this would happen, under his energy policies, by saying, “Under my plan, energy costs would necessarily skyrocket”. One time Obama told the truth. For cash strapped families in West Virginia, that will kill most of us. Our budgets, unlike Washington’s, are tight. We can’t just spend more to cover those things. The EPA was also handed way too much power to make policy, that falls under the guidelines of who? Obama, who already said that he will do away with coal, by costing coal power plants too much to build and run. Make sense to you? Manchin is a “believer in climate change”? I’m saddened to hear that he buys in “junk science” that is proven false every single day, yet still pushed by who? Again, Obama, who wants to destroy coal power plants. Make sense to you? I agree that the United States needs to develop new technologies, but you can’t do away with coal, until those are found and proven just as cheap and effective. We also can’t control other nations and how they burn coal. China, for instance, is quickly becoming a world economic power. Their growth has totally eclipsed our own. Do you really think they will listen to a country they see as in decline? No, they won’t. They will continue to do what is best for their people and country.

Q.  While West Virginia has not been affected greatly by current immigration issues, we, like the rest of the country, were formed by our hard-working ancestors of German, Italian, Scottish, Irish and various other nationalities. What is your position on immigration reform? How do we move the country past this apparent stumbling block?

A.  Manchin said he supports a pathway toward citizenship spelled out in legislation the Senate voted on. But the senator stressed he doesn’t want “one job a legal American has today for someone who’s illegal that could take it.” Still, there are 11 million people living in the country illegally, and they have had children who were born here and are legal, Manchin said. “Can you fault them if they want to have a better quality of life?” Manchin posed. “A lot of our ancestors came here for that reason. “(Illegal immigrants) came here for the right reason, but the wrong way.” Manchin said the immigration policy he supported in the Senate would have required illegal aliens to pay a fine for breaking the law, prevented them from jumping ahead of anybody going through the system and mandated they learn English and get a job. “With that being said, you’re going to get people that maybe aren’t contributing as much as they should and are using more than they should who will now pay their fair share,” Manchin said. Those who come to America illegally and commit a crime would be deported, Manchin added. “Those are the ones that should be sent out of the country,” he said. “They didn’t come here for the right reasons. There’s got to be a pathway to citizenship.” Manchin said he also supports better border patrols, and the Senate legislation would have beefed up patrols with the aid of surveillance drones.

What is Manchin really saying? He supports the legislation already voted on by the Senate? Of course he does. Whose guidelines is that legislation following? Again, Obama and his socialist policies. Manchin says nothing about the fact that these men and women are here “illegally”! That means that they are criminals. They broke laws to come here. Why should we, as a nation, now reward them for that behavior? That just tells others that if they come here illegally too, they will eventually be rewarded with citizenship. I agree, that America offers what these people want, in terms of quality of life, jobs, income, and freedoms. That still does not give them the right to ignore our laws. I want the life that a million dollars would give me, but I have no right to ignore laws, to go get it. He’s also not telling you that as soon as one person has full citizenship, they are allowed to bring family over here. Once that grandma is a citizen, they are eligible to draw social security, that they never paid a dime into, adding a greater burden to those of us who have paid. Those who have committed a crime would be deported? What about the crime of crossing our border illegally? What about the crimes they committed in their home countries, before coming here? Why should we allow criminals to gain citizenship? Bottom line is that they say there are eleven million illegals here. Let’s say that only seven million become citizens. That’s seven million more people thrown into an economy that refuses to grow. There is already a pathway to citizenship, Sen. Manchin. We just have to make people use that system and not break our laws.

Q.  What other issue is first and foremost on your mind as you enter your fourth year in office?

A.  Manchin said his “greatest shock” was when retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen testified about America’s greatest threat before the Armed Services Committee on which the senator serves. Manchin said he expected Mullen to mention a terrorist group or a country at odds with the United States. “He says the finances of our country is the greatest threat we face,” Manchin recounted. “We’re carrying $17 trillion debt and (it’s) growing $1.5 billion a day. We’re making decisions that only cowards would make.” As Mullen saw it, the biggest threat was from within when Americans can’t pay for what they’re used to having, Manchin said. “When all is said and done, if you don’t get your financial house in order, everything we’ve just talked about is for naught,” he added.

What is Manchin really saying? This question falls back to an earlier question, where he mentioned national debt. Again, Manchin brings up our $17 trillion national debt and the fact that it’s growing at a rate of $1.5 billion a day. Just who is responsible for this massive debt? It’s certainly not Joe and Joanne Citizen. Mr. and Mrs. Citizen are forced to live within a budget. If they borrow money, to live outside of their means, can’t pay that back, and borrow more, they will eventually bury themselves in debt. Just like Washington is doing to America, right now. We keep raising our debt ceiling and saying that by doing so, we can lower our national debt. Does it not strike you as odd, that we’ve raised our debt ceiling over dozen times and we’re still sinking? America keeps spending money that we don’t have and borrowing money that we don’t have, to keep up an outrageous spending habit. Washington needs to work like the American people do. They need a yearly budget to be set. Then they need to be forced to live within that budget. If they can’t afford something, too bad. Make cuts elsewhere or do without. If American’s borrow outside their means to repay, the purchased item is usually repossessed or the bad loan is put on our credit report and we’re barred from borrowing more, till we fix it. Washington doesn’t live this way. Washington keeps spending, borrowing to spend more, then repeating.

America is drowning in debt and Manchin expects us to believe that it’s our fault. He says that we need to get our houses in financial order, but not once does he include Washington, D.C.. Frankly, I’m sick of seeing a federal monstrosity that continues to spend outside its limits, year, after year, after year, and elected leaders that tell us that we don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem. Sorry to tell you what you already know, but if you only make $50,000 a year, but you spend $65,000 a year; borrowing more the following year and spending it too, isn’t going to fix the problem. Obamacare is going to be a huge problem too. The system isn’t signing up enough people to make the system sustainable. More have signed up than are paying into it and we all know that Washington won’t end a monetary black hole. They’ll just throw more money at it and declare it fixed. America can’t continue like this. There will be a point that taxation reaches, where people won’t tolerate it.  America is going to eventually collapse under the weight of all this debt. Our federal fiscal house is a wreck and unless that is fixed, we’re doomed. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!

 


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