What Sort of Government Have You Given Us Dr. Franklin?

By: Richard H. Frank

Benjamin Franklin is purported to have replied to the above question with “a Republic madam, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin recognized the threat posed to a “Representative Republic” by partisan politics, special interests, and unrestrained growth of the central (Federal) government. The Constitution imposed heavy restrictions upon the three separate and equal branches of government and left the fabric of authority for legislation in the hands of the several individual states protected by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

Over the past 100 years liberal progressive manipulation of the Constitution  has resulted in the creation of bloated bureaucracies at both the Federal and State levels of government with an unsustainable appetite to spend this nation and the states into bankruptcy. Even following the 2010 elections where the people confirmed their demand for fiscal responsibility and elimination of uncontrolled taxation and spending, Congress still has not passed a budget for the current fiscal year and the mythical threat of government shutdown is used to villify members of the  opposing political party.

At the State level we have witnessed massive union demonstrations including invasion of State Capital buildings as the special interest groups rebel against legislative actions to restore fiscal responsibility.

Our elected representatives should take a lesson from the average American family as how to balance their personal budgets. Millions of American families across this nation have had to make difficult choices about where spending would have to be curtailed in order to continue providing the survival necessities for their family. In order to provide food, clothing and shelter the majority of Americans have found it necessary to curtail most if not all discretionary spending. Many have been forced to find multiple means of employment just to supply the necessities. For the millions out of work and those on fixed incomes (mostly seniors) the choices have become even more difficult. These individuals and their families, approaching 50 million in America, are faced in many instances with loss of their homes, ability to pursue higher educational opportunities and the threat of creeping inflation that diminishes the purchasing power of their fixed income. These sacrifices are real and equate to major spending reductions and belt-tightening on the part of individuals and families that in many instances approach 20 – 30% of their budgets. The pain being felt by these individuals is massive in comparison to the minor budget cuts currently being debated in legislatures at both state and federal government levels.

Political ideology seems to be substituted  for facing reality within the Democrat caucuses in Congress. The debate over cutting $100 billion from the 2011 federal budget has become absurd when that amount is compared to the total spending incurred by the Federal Government. Depending on how the spending cuts are apportioned it amounts to less than 2% of the total budget for the year.

Democrats seem to think that as long as the FED has the ability to print dollars there is no urgency to imposing meaningful spending reductions. These legislators need to spend a day in the grocery store to see the impact that printing dollars has on the price of food, clothing and energy. All these items are excluded by government from calculating the consumer price index as the basis for determining inflation.

Congress needs to take a lesson from small businesses and American families and cut spending across the board by 20% wherein every bureaucratic agency will feel equal pain much the way the American public has felt it for the past two years or longer. Five years of 20% budget cuts would result in achieving fiscal equilibrium and the elimination of regulations that inhibit growth and would jump-start the economy.

Returning to spending levels experienced in 2008 would hardly impact the national security. In retrospect 2008 was a pretty good year in comparison to the past three years under the Democrat controlled Congress and the Obama administration. Unfortunately, as long as the likes of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama remain in a position to forestall real fiscal reform, we can only look for incurring mounting deficits and mortgaging our grandchildren future. In the interim our standard of living will be diminished for every American.

Obama Defies the Constitution and Congress!

By: Richard H. Frank

The Constitution of the United States of America is crystal clear with regard to Presidential powers as they relate to war. Specifically, only Congress has the authority to take this nation to war via congressional declaration. Only after such a declaration is the President, as Commander-in-Chief, authorized to conduct war against a defined enemy.

In 1973 Congress passed “The War Powers Resolution” which placed restrictions upon the President to make war. Those restrictions included  evidence required of an attack on the united States, its possessions and protectorates, or armed forces. The President is required to consult with Congress prior to committing troops and continue such consultation until our forces are no longer involved. Also, he is required to file a report to Congress with in 48 hours seeking authorization and after 60 days from the time the report is filed must withdraw such forces.

Further, it has been specifically documented that United Nations Security Council approval does not constitute authorization by Congress pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

President Obama addressed the nation on March 28, 2011 attempting to establish his authority and leadership role by leading the NATO coalition against Muammar Qaddafi of Libya for crimes against his own people. According to President Obama his leadership and that of those of his diplomats resulted in a swift formation of a coalition of 28 nations and the placing of sanctions against the Libyan regime. Those swift steps took 31 days during which Gaddhafi’s armies devastated the revolutionary forces.

Obama stated that it was not in our national interests but would be against our values should we not have initiated action against the Libyan forces. During his entire speech he failed to identify the conflict in Libya as either a war, or a civil war, which in either case does not constitute an attack upon the U. S., our possessions or protectorates, or our armed forces. Thus his intervention in this civil uprising is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The President contends that his actions have freed 700,000 people seeking freedom from fear, unwarranted arrest, assault and slaughter and having stopped the deadly advance of qaddafi’s forces against the Libyan people. He attempted to couch his position by stating he had consulted with members of Congress before committing American forces to the conflict although this remains to be confirmed. The estimate that the initial dollars spent is more than one billion in unauthorized treasure for the conflict to date.

He stood before the nation and declared that genocide would not be  allowed to take place as long as he was President and Commander-in-Chief. If that statement is meant to define the Obama doctrine then what about genocide taking place in Uganda, Kenya, Darfur, Jordan, Syria, Iran and on and on all over the middle east and Arab countries? The truth is that we have a President worried about his prospects for reelection in 2012 because of his dismal record on domestic matters and sees Libya as a pawn to use in his never-ending election campaign.

If ever there was a situation that shows his contempt for our Constitution and the rule of law it is this reckless venture into Libya under Obama’s leadership. Perhaps our President needs to be reminded of his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Make no mistake regardless of the outcome in Libya Barack Obama will have sufficiently insulated himself from bearing any responsibility for failure but is sure to take the credit for any success.

Obama’s Shame: The Affordable Home Loan Modification Program

by Richard H Frank

It appears as though the U S. Housing market is about to enter a double dip with forecasted values to drop an additional 25% for existing homes.  Add this impact to potential sales and existing mortgages under water, now estimated to be 23% and 6 million verging on foreclosure, and the perfect storm for destruction of an industry is in place.  The average number of vacant properties in the United States stands at 13% with states likes Florida, Michigan and Arizona experiencing 50% abandoned properties.  We must ask what happened to TARP and the highly touted Obama Affordable Home Loan Modification Program?

When the banks were bailed out and extended hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to find ways to protect “troubled assets,” part of those funds were targeted for home loan modification programs.  The general rules for qualification to receive a modification were:

  • A major change in income status
  • Mortgage principal and interest, taxes and insurance payments to exceed 31% of income
  • A hardship must be present stemming from health, marital status or other catastrophic condition.

The program was initiated in December, 2009 and to date of the 2.5 million applicants, only 1 in 4 have been granted some sort of modification.  The total TARP funding for the program was $75 billion and to date only $1 billion has been appropriated.  The banking industry continues to sit on $74 billion and continues to stonewall applicants at every opportunity.

Tactics employed by the banks include:

  • Not including a request for all documentation required upon application
  • Claiming submissions are incomplete when evidence shows all criteria has been met
  • Requiring re-submission of documents over and over again under the guise that Federal requirements have changed
  • The response to monthly follow-ups is that the application is in process
  • The application is in Underwriting, although no contact information is available
  • Referral to the “Hope Department” to assure all documentation as been received
  • Being advised that the only modifications being granted are in the case of death of spouse or divorce

The above process takes from 12-15 months while the homeowner is being advised to keep making payments in order to avoid foreclosure.

Oddly, the Foreclosure Department and the Loan Modification Departments do not communicate as late notices, letters of intent to accelerate and requests to sign a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure continue to be received by the homeowner.  Bank representatives arrive, unannounced, at your home to prove occupancy and assure the premises has not been abandoned, giving the confused homeowner hope that the bank might be forthcoming with an affordable modification.

Following 15 months of frustration, the homeowner receives a boilerplate notice of rejection for either being current or not being qualified as to meeting requirements of the program.

“The Affordable Home Loan Modification Program” is just another sham like cash for clunkers and stimulus cooked up by the Obama Administration  with the help of the banks who received TARP, characterized by understaffing at the banks for administration, overloading underwriters with applications and sloppy or intentional mismanagement of documentation in an effort to reject otherwise legitimate claims.

Perhaps the impending double-dip recession in the home real estate market will bring the banks to their senses.  Keeping people in their homes and receiving lower interest payments in the short term until the market recovers is a good business decision and seems to make more logical sense than forcing up to 50% of mortgages into foreclosure and/or bankruptcy.  When the market recovers, be it in 5 or even 10 years, the mortgage holder will be made whole when the property (today’s “troubled asset”) finally sells.  That property will have been maintained and hold its value as opposed to having been abandoned.

As for the 600,000 mortgages that have been modified, this will be the only salvageable “talking point” that the Administration and the banks will have.  Unfortunately, there are 2.1 million applicants, many of whom are better able to maintain their mortgage under modification, than those that have been approved that are in peril of losing the largest investment of their lives.  Where are Obama and all the politicians that bailed out the banks to come to their aid?  Perhaps the Government should demand the return of the $74 billion in TARP funds that the banks are withholding from the program.  After all, that money belongs to “We the Tax-Paying People”.

I doubt that even a further deterioration in the housing market and leading to a total collapse will wake the mortgage holders to the peril they face by mismanaging the Modification Program.

America – A Once Proud Nation Set Adrift

by Richard H. Frank

How much incompetence will the citizens of this once great nation suffer at the hands of the Congress and the Obama Administration before we take action “to alter or abolish” this government as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

During the 2010 mid-term elections the electorate sent a loud and clear message to our government that fiscal responsibility and smaller Federal government were the agenda of the voting citizens.  The course set by the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress was firmly rejected by “we the people” and a major shift in the balance of power in all legislatures, state and federal, occurred all across this nation.

The mandate to reduce the size of the Federal government and return to responsible fiscal policy have been totally ignored by Barack Obama and the Democrats in the 112th Congress.

Every attempt to cut spending and reduce deficits both at the state and federal levels is violently opposed by Democrats that fight for their special interest groups including unions and government employees being asked to participate in actions to achieve balanced budgets.

The Congress is so afraid of the leftist media and maintaining their elected office that they will not risk forcing a budget for FY2011 and continue to vote for continuing resolutions containing token spending reductions.

Then, there is our neophyte President, Barack Obama, the Master of Insulation, that purposely remains disconnected from finding resolution to domestic and international problems.  he steadfastly proclaims that we are a nation of laws and blatantly ignores those laws to suit his purposes.

He and his Administration have invented a new vocabulary to sell his socialist, progressive ideology to Americans, particularly the youth.

  • “Fundamentally Change America” equals european-style democracy and redistribution of wealth.
  • The “War on Terror” equates to man-made disasters and international contingency operations.
  • “Investing” equals more big spending
  • “An Act of War” is now a kinetic action.

The liberal media in America compares Barack Obama, as Commander-in-Chief” to those great leaders in  history including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, John Kennedy and the most absurd comparison to Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln.  Those writers prone to make such comparisons obviously have no personal knowledge of these leaders, aside from that written from the viewpoint of liberal, progressive historians.  Barack Obama, as President, is not fit to fill the shoes of any of this American icons.

The Obama Doctrine seems to be that as a nation we must separate our social interests from or strategic national interests.  Former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, correctly states that these interests are inextricably intertwined and cannot be separated from each other without creating a serious risk to one or both.  As a result the mixed messages coming from the White House, Pentagon and State Department create confusion and ultimately show the lack of planning and leadership on the part of Barack Obama as Commander-in-Chief.

America is seen internationally as the Titanic without a rudder.  Notwithstanding all the power we possess, like a ship unable to steer a course, we plunge forward and backward wasting our precious lives and treasure until we will be  hopeless adrift as a Third World power submitting to the tides of the United Nations or a One World Government.

The 2012 national election is the time for us to return to Government under the values and principles enumerated in our Constitution.  Any candidate, President down to the local dog catcher, that does not support, protect and defend those values and principles, is not fit to hold public office.  The destiny of this once great nation rests with each and every American as they cast their vote in the coming 2012 elections.  I pray that we have learned the lessons of Obama’s “Hope and Change” over the past 2 years and the disastrous course upon which it has placed our nation.

Obama’s Agends is America’s Tsunami!

By: Richard H. Frank

 Over the past four years, beginning with the Presidential Campaign for the 2008 election we have listened to both political parties proclaim that the economy and job creation was the number one priority for their administration should they be elected. The American public was forced to listen to the hollow promises of “Hope and Change” that would fundamentally change America and the world should Obama’s liberal progressive agenda be adopted. Since that time (2009) what have we endured as a nation?

  • Average retail price of gasoline has increased 100% from $1.83 in 2009 to $3.66 today.
  • Crude Oil price/barrel increased 135% and we still lack a cohesive energy policy.
  • Unemployment rate continues to hover between 9 and 10% even with the government’s alteration in the method for calculating the number.
  • Number of food stamp recipients increased by 22% and rising.
  • Number of long term underemployed 146.2% increase.
  • Government’s solution to spend our way to recovery has increased the national debt by 32.2% to reach $14.0 trillion.
  • Over 6 million homes currently in foreclosure in spite or TARP monies given to the banks to implement mortgage loan modification programs.
  • Our health care industry costs continuing the upward spiral out of control due to the liberal progressives ramming the unpopular legislation dubbed “Obama care” down the throats of Americans over their overwhelming objections.

The travesty to all of these situations is that they are the result of our Federal Government overstepping the enumerated powers defined in our Constitution. The first 5 items listed above could be immediately impacted and reversed if the Federal Government and its agencies would get out of the way of the free enterprise system and develop a comprehensive energy policy for America that does not change with every congressional and presidential election. Energy independence for America will result in establishing a free market price for oil and not that controlled by Mideast cartels.

The $816 billion that was spent on stimulus by the Administration and the 111th Congress accomplished just one thing. That was to create a 2% increase in government sector jobs; jobs which must be paid for with the sweat of those Americans working in the private sector.

Today, the announcement was made that the housing market reached its lowest level in the past 9 years. The resulting loss in equity to those seniors that have invested in their homes while raising their families in order to provide for a return after retirement find themselves facing a future without an equity nest-egg with which to supplement retirement and in many cases foreclosure as the banks refuse to respond to their request for loan modifications.

Lastly, we now are finding out what is in the “Affordable Health Care Law” forced upon every American as part of the “Hope and Change” agenda of this administration. Each and every argument set forth in opposition to this law is now proving to be true. Twenty-six states are suing the Federal Government for the law either being unconstitutional or for its violation of the 10th Amendment provision upholding States sovergnity.

The mid-term elections of 2010 expressed the will of the people against continued uncontrolled spending and limiting the size of the Federal Government. Yet, just four short months following that election, Congress and the President, act as though the election never took place and are conducting business as usual.  There are 31% of Americans that approve of the Presidents management of our economy. The remaining 69% are tired of his unending platitudes and proclamations that jobs and the economy are his number one priority and that we must stop spending when he continues to proceed without a budget for 2011 and has the nerve to present a $3.7 trillion proposal to Congress for 2012 that contains an additional $1.6 trillion deficit.

If stupidity, or doubletalk, could be considered a high crime or misdemeanor we would have cause to remove this unqualified novice from office. Unfortunately, we must rely upon the 112th Congress to keep him in check.  Many will say that we are destined for gridlock as long as Harry Reid sets the agenda in the Senate. I would gladly endure the next two years of gridlock until we can replaced Obama, Reid, Pelosi and RINOs who refuse to take the hard decisions to address the budget and unsustainable entitlements that have bankrupted this once great nation, and elect men of principle to put America on a course to true recovery.

Prognosticators, Politicians and Fear Mongers.

By: Richard H. Frank

In today’s world of the 24 hour – 7 day news cycle we have come to expect the coverage of any disaster, occurring naturally or man-made, to be transformed into theater for the consumption of viewers around the world. Political unrest, demonstrations and even revolutions are covered with the same theme as the movie of the week and many times lose their message in the reality they are meant to convey. The most recent phenomenon is the 8.9 magnitude earthquake followed by a killer tsunami  impacting the island nation of Japan.

Natural events such as these illustrate just how insignificant man is when compared to the forces of nature. All the special effects available in Hollywood to depict a natural disaster pale in the face of reality as demonstrated by images of destruction following the events in Japan.

Now we will bear witness to the throng of prognosticators that will attempt to give voice to their particular theory with regard to consequences, unintended or otherwise, arising out of this natural tragedy. The situation regarding the wisdom of using nuclear power generation in Japan is the case in point. Logical discussion concerning the status and condition of these various facilities located on the island nation has escalated from that of concern, to rumor of melt down and fueling of hysteria, instead of a measured controlled response to the conditions at these nuclear generating plants. Cooler  heads recognize that these facilities were designed and constructed to provide for containment in the event of a reactor melt down. Irresponsible reporting on the part of the news media can only serve to misinform the public and elevate fears of the “China Syndrome” around the world.

Politicians and their spin-meisters are cautiously observing events in Japan as they unfold to situate themselves to be on the right side of history with any statements or policy decisions made as a result of this natural disaster. There is no doubt that the future of extending nuclear power usage in the United State will be set back significantly.

Fear mongers are already at work looking for evidence that connects the earthquake and resulting tsunami to the actions of man on earth. Global warming, now referred to as climate change, is being used to demonize mans progress on the planet as destructive and attribute the forces of nature to his greed and destructive quest for power. It is this arrogant view of man’s domination over the planet which over the centuries has only retarded civilization’s advancement and not enhanced our existence.

We can only imagine the awesome power and energy released by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. Measured in pounds of TNT the force would have been equal to 238 megatons ( 238 million tons) of the explosive. Placing this number into context consider that the seismic yield of the Atom Bomb dropped on Nagasaki measured a meer 5.0 on the Richter scale and produced a force  of only 447 metric tons of TNT. Had the earthquake not occurred off shore and under the ocean the forces released would have been sufficient to obliterate the entire nation of Japan in under 3 minutes.

Perhaps our creator is sending  a wake-up call to all the arrogant leaders on the planet for them to understand just how insignificant they really are and that their priorities are in need of a major adjustment.

Therefore, all of you prognosticators, politicians and fear mongers need to take heed just in case there really is a God that holds domain over the universe who will hold each of us accountable on the day we stand before him to receive our final judgment.

The Baby-Boomer Generation – Americas New Underclass!

By: Richard H. Frank

Seventy-six million babies were born in the US between 1946 and 1964, a span of 19 years. According to the 2000 census 72 million of these babies have survived and are eligible to begin receiving full Social Security benefits in 2011 and it is expected that an average of 3.0 million will be added to the roles with each successive year. These individuals have paid into the SS system their entire working lives and some will continue to support the system over the next 20 years.

The average benefit paid to recipients is just under $1200.00 / month with those receiving disability benefits approximately $1100.00 / month. Annually that equates to about $14,400/ year slightly above the poverty level. The poverty level for all states in the U.S. for the 2009/2010 timeframe was set at $10,830 for an individual and $14,570 for a family of 2 persons. Assuming the CPI for food and energy continues to increase at an annual average rate of 5.0%, which is not included in the cost of living inflation rate, there will be substantial erosion to the fixed benefits paid to recipients and ultimately force them closer to the poverty level.

According to government estimates there were 44 million Americans living below the poverty level in 2009, or approximately 14% of the population. Most baby boomers retiring have no pensions, or at best limited IRAs, upon which to supplement their Social Security benefits. The largest investment made during their working lives was the equity built through the purchase of their homes. That equity has been diminished substantially by the recent crash of the real estate market. Those retirees that do not own their homes will bear the additional inflated costs to provide shelter for their families in addition to the uncontrollable inflated costs of food and energy.

Government, not the individual, is the problem with regard to having a sustainable Social Security safety net.  Social progressives have looted the mythical Social Security lock box of more than $2.5 trillion dollars for programs never intended to be funded under the original law. Today we have created an unsustainable Ponzi scheme in an attempt to redistribute wealth and level the playing field for all residents instead of creating a safety net for those seniors that have contributed to the system and are in real need.

Over time inflation and hyper- inflation will create a new underclass in America. That underclass will consist of illegal aliens, retirees and the growing numbers of baby boomers attaining retirement age over the coming twenty years.

The feeble attempts made by Congress to revise the SS system will only result in compounding the situation over the long run. The real answer is to limit the government influence over achieving energy independence in America as the stimulus that will drive efficient job creation and a resultant thriving economy. Government over- regulation of the free enterprise system in America must be reduced to the level of assuring safety and protecting against fraud. The reality is that Big Government has created Big Problems all of which were foreseen by our founding Fathers and warned against when drafting our constitution. Government must return to the values and principles ascribed to by the founders.

Unfortunately, there is an entire generation of Americans that will spend their “Golden Years” experiencing  a substantially reduced standard of living from that which they were anticipating all the years of their working lives.