Ted Cruz Attacks the U.S. Constitution – Nothing New There

There is a disturbing trend among Republican Presidential candidates, who are making claims—if elected—that goes against what the Founding Fathers wrote in the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

For instance, on ABC, Ted Cruz said that the U.S. Supreme Court replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia should not be nominated by President Obama. Cruz said, “This should be a decision for the people. … Let the election decide. If the Democrats want to replace [Scalia], they need to win the election.”

Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, who I think was the Prince of Darkness himself. How did this happen? Simple, the Senate majority at the time was held by the Republicans and Strom Thurmond from South Carolina was Senate Pres. Pro-tem. If you want to read more about Scalia as a terrible person, click this link on another Blog written by another blogger: Antonin Scalia Was a Terrible Person, and I’m Glad He’s Dead

The appointment and confirmation of Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States involves several steps set forth by the United States Constitution, which have been further refined and developed by decades of tradition. Justices are appointed by the President of the United States, and must be confirmed by the United States Senate. This is done following a series of hearings in which both the nominee and other witnesses make statements and answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

What’s even more disturbing was the Senate vote to confirm Scalia was 98-0, and even though Thurmond said he wasn’t a racist, the New York Times reported in June 2003 that he was against integration.  Thurmond said, ”On the question of social intermingling of the races, our people draw the line.” And, he went on, ”all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.”

Reagan filled five seats on the U.S. Supreme Court. The two Bushes filled five more seats. Bill Clinton and Obama have only filled two seats each for four Justices.

There is no reason that Obama should be blocked from appointing the next Supreme Court Justice. The only obstacle standing in his way is a corrupt and extremist Republic Party that has an autocratic agenda so far to the right, that if successful, that agenda would turn the United States into a racist police state ruled by fear, a country that is always at war somewhere in the world. The GOP wants to control both Houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court, and they will say and do anything to fool the voters who will hand it to them.

It is obvious today that the GOP wants someone equal to or worse than Scalia/Thurmond sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Why I dared to say the GOP is corrupt—President Richard Nixon, a Republican, in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office, was the only President in the history of the United States to resign. Nixon led the way when he declared war on illegal drugs.

Reagan doubled down with the Iran-Contra Affair, the savings and loan crises, EPA scandals, Debategate, a lobbying scandal, etc. and the two Bushes followed suit—20 Forgotten Bush Scandals.  For a comparison, Bill Clinton had his sexual misconduct allegations. What did Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct with Monica Lewinsky cost the United States—did it add to the national debt; did it start another war? No matter what anyone alleges about Bill Clinton’s other scandals, he only added $75.1 billion to the national debt compared to $2.6 trillion for Reagan, $1.4 trillion for G.H.W. Bush and $6.64 trillion for G. W. Bush leaving Obama to inherit $12 trillion in debt when he became president, and $5.3 trillion of that debt was from interest only.

Image for Prison and Jail Population from 1920 to 2013

Then there is President Nixon. In June 1971, he declared “war on drugs” and dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer. In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Nixon also—without the knowledge or approval of the U.S. Congress—ordered the bombing of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War where more bombs were dropped than the U.S. dropped in World War II. It’s estimated that as many as 500,000 people died as a direct result of this secret and illegal bombing, and the CIA reported that the U.S. bombing campaign was a key factor in the increase in popular support for the Communist Khmer Rouge rebels that later killed one-to two million Cambodians that died from execution, hunger and forced labor.

Both of the Bush Presidents launched wars in the Middle East and President G. W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to start a war in Iraq and almost ignored the real enemy behind the attack on 9/11 in Afghanistan.

In 1970, the U.S. Prison population was less than 350,000.  After Nixon and the GOP declared war on marijuana and other illegal Schedule One drugs, the prison population in the U.S. soared to where it is today, approaching 2.5 million—the largest prison population in the world even behind Communist China that has a total population almost five times the U.S.

Under President Reagan, the for-profit private sector was allowed to build its own corporate prisons to hold some of these incarcerated Americans, and these corporate prisons lobby the U.S. Congress for more laws and longer sentences to boost profits.

Infographic on National Debt by President

The results of GOP leadership cannot be denied except by ignorant, gullible, naive, and/or biased fools.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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The Evolution of a National Debt Burden – Part 7/7

Next, we should discover where the revenues comes from that helps pay the bills of the annual federal budget, America’s wars and socialist-welfare programs.

The Washington Post reported that federal government’s revenues for 2011 were $2.57 Trillion, and this money came from six sources:

  • individual taxes of $1.1 Trillion (42.8%)
  • social insurance (Payroll – Social Security and Medicare) of $934 Billion (36.3%)
  • corporate taxes of $297 Billion (11.5%)
  • customs duties of $27 Billion (1.05%)
  • excise taxes of $74 Billion (2.87%)
  • estate and gift taxes of $25 Billion (0.97%)
  • other of $87 Billion (3.38%)

How much did the federal government spend in 2011? $3.8 Trillion.

  • Defense spending was $895 Billion or 23.55% (this money is available for use at the discretion of the user. Discretion means: the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation).
  • Other discretionary spending was $510 Billion or 13.4%

Mandatory spending programs (required by law or rules; compulsory which means there is no choice. The only way to change this spending is through the Congress or if the Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional) were:

  • Social Security (SS) of $730 Billion or 19.2% – passed into law by Congress in 1935

The 1935 Social Security Act created primarily a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that payments to current retirees come from current payments into the system. The trust fund represents a legal obligation of the federal government to program beneficiaries. The government has borrowed nearly $2.7 trillion as of 2011 from the trust fund and used the money for other purposes such as paying for wars and funding other social welfare programs that do not have a tax source to fund them.

The trust fund ratio, which indicates the number of years of program cost that could be financed solely with current trust fund reserves, peaked in 2008, declined through 2011, and is expected to decline further in future years. After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033 … Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086.

  • Medicare of $491 Billion or 12.9% – passed into law by Congress in 1965

Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government since 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease. The trust fund is considered insolvent when available revenue plus any existing balances will not cover 100 percent of annual projected costs. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion is 2024, the same date projected in last year’s report, at which time dedicated revenues would be sufficient to pay 87 percent of HI costs. The Trustees project that the share of HI expenditures that can be financed with HI dedicated revenues will decline slowly to 67 percent in 2045, and then rise slowly until it reaches 69 percent in 2086. The HI 75-year actuarial imbalance amounts to 36 percent of tax receipts or 26 percent of program cost.

  • Medicaid of $297 Billion or 7.8% – became law in 1965

Unlike Medicare, which is solely a federal program, Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. Each state operates its own Medicaid system, but this system must conform to federal guidelines in order for the state to receive matching funds and grants.

Medicaid funding has become a major budgetary issue for many states over the last few years, with states, on average, spending 16.8% of state general funds on the program. If the federal match expenditure is also counted, the program, on average, takes up 22% of each state’s budget.

Medicaid does not pay benefits to individuals directly; Medicaid sends benefit payments to health care providers.

  • Troubled Asset Relief (TARP) of $11 Billion or 0.29% – became law in 2008
  • jobs initiatives or JOBS Act of $25 billion or 0.65% – passed in Congress April 5, 2012
  • other of $612 Billion or 16.1%
  • Interest on the debt of $251 Billion or 6.6%
  • potential disaster costs of $3 Billion or 0.079% – FEMA was formed June 19, 1978
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1973-1979
    FEMA became an independent agency 1979-2003
    In 2003, FEMA was placed under the Department of Homeland Security

Conclusion: Because the national debt for 191 years until 1981, when Ronald Reagan was elected president, came from the cost of fighting wars, then some or all of the current national debt must also come from wars that the US fought after 1981. In addition, some of the national debt may come from some social welfare programs but cannot come from Social Security or Medicare because these two programs are funded by a specific tax and trust fund.

The US Defense Budget 1947 – 2012 was $15.6 Trillion and the Defense Budget comes out of the general fund. In addition, another $850 Billion went to foreign military and economic aid—a form of foreign welfare that is never paid back by the countries that receive this aid.

In contrast, total spending on social welfare programs 1947 – 2012 was $6.2 Trillion, but $1.343 Trillion of that was unemployment benefits (established in 1932) funded by a federal-state program jointly financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes. Generally, employers must pay both state and federal unemployment taxes. The IRS collects this annual federal employer tax used to fund state workforce agencies. This means actual welfare programs cost $4.857 Trillion over sixty-four years.

Then defense spending cost 321% more than social welfare programs over the same period of time.

You decide the answer to the last questions:

Where does most if not all of the National Debt come from and why do we keep hearing from the Tea Party and the GOP that social welfare programs are the blame?

How much did President Obama add to the federal budget – the actual amount he is responsible for?

Note: The Inflation calculator used for this series of posts may be found at Dave Manuel.com, and the primary source for government spending was US Government Spending.com

Return to The Evolution of a National Burden – Part 6 or start with Part 1

Also discover Each President’s share of the US National Debt and learn more from the National Debt Info-Graphic by President 1945 – 2012

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”