July 22, 2011
The Most Dangerous Man In AmericaBy Mark Hyman
Just who is the most dangerous man in America?
There are countless people who could be named as the nation's most dangerous.
Hungarian immigrant George Soros may come to mind for many. The billionaire has no shortage of domestic and worldwide critics. A few may be envious of his financial success. But for most it is because of the extremist policies he's pushed, the front groups he has financed, and the economic devastation he has wrought abroad.
Soros has single-handedly created more hatred toward the U.S. in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, than any George Bush policy dreamed up in the newsroom of the New York Times.
For the political left, the most dangerous individual may be Sarah Palin. The energetic former Alaska governor has the wit and wisdom, good looks, and populist charm to make her a legitimate threat to wrestle control of Washington, DC from establishment politicians, both Republican and Democrat.
After hating Palin, liberals would next like to jam a monster-size hat pin into their Michele Bachmann voodoo doll.
AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka clearly views Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the most dangerous. Walker's pulling the state of Wisconsin back from the brink of financial ruin by reining in out-of-control employee wages, benefits, and pensions was an affront to the cozy nexus of state politicians and employee unions and their plundering of the state treasury.
The eventual 2012 Republican presidential nominee will be tagged by Democrats as the most dangerous regardless of who he (or she) will be. Democrats loved John McCain for more than a decade but took a leave of absence from being enamored with the Arizona senator during January-November 2008 when he had become the most dangerous man in America.
However, equilibrium has been restored. McCain is no longer a presidential nominee and he is back to voting in lockstep with Democrats and they love him again.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich previously thought Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) is the most dangerous man in America because Ryan, according to Gingrich, was a "conservative imposing radical change" in Medicare and was guilty of "right-wing social engineering." After those intemperate remarks on Meet the Press, the few supporters of Gingrich's presidential campaign might be forgiven for thinking Gingrich is the most dangerous man in America. Or at least they may think he is the most dangerous man to the Gingrich campaign.
The national news gatekeepers view those who report the stories they ignore or who offer balanced reporting as a threat to the decades-long status quo and therefore that makes them dangerous. Leading the list is the indefatigable Rush Limbaugh. As a talk radio host, Limbaugh offers more facts than do straight-news journalists like, say, CNN reporter and Obama adviser Fareed Zakaria.
Others in the news industry viewed as dangerous include the entrepreneurial Andrew Breitbart, undercover savant James O'Keefe, and the mercurial Glenn Beck.
O'Keefe and other citizen-journalists have uncovered fraud, corruption, or simply abhorrent behavior in favored liberal groups such as ACORN, National Public Radio, and Planned Parenthood earning these new-age journalists both the scorn of embarrassed newsrooms and the ire of the Democrat Party's central planners.
Some consider George W. Bush as dangerous. He is blamed for every misfortune that befalls America (real or imagined), including those that have occurred deep on the watch of his successor. If a 13-year-old Malia Obama secretly gets her ears double-pierced Bush will be blamed for that, too.
Many justifiably view Barack Obama as a legitimate threat to America. In two years and with an overwhelming Democrat majority in both chambers of Congress, the former community activist and 20-year cult member in the House of Jeremiah Wright has forced the nation to accumulate more public debt than the first 40 presidents combined.
His wealth redistribution policies, loathing of American exceptionalism, and destructive domestic policies have done more to damage the American dream than anyone could have imagined -- including the Soviet Politburo.
Obama may be very dangerous but, at the moment, he is not the most dangerous man in America.
That distinction belongs to House Speaker John Boehner.
The biggest long-term threat facing America is its precarious financial predicament. If our nation's fiscal health was a prize fight then the referee would be readying himself to call it.
The U.S. needs immediate attention focused on its finances and Boehner is content to kick the can down the road. Sadly, he doesn't want to upset the apple cart and inconvenience those members of the Republican conference who engage in generational theft.
The national debt was nine trillion dollars when Obama took office. In two years time it skyrocketed to more than $14 trillion. Trillion-dollar annual deficits have become commonplace. In the Obama spending plan, annual deficits would continue in perpetuity. Failed Keynesian economics would live on.
Yet, when finally given the opportunity to gently apply a tourniquet to the nation's fiscal hemorrhage, Boehner fainted at the first sight of blood.
House Republicans have understandably rallied around the long-term budget plan authored by Rep. Ryan that envisions a slow and plodding path for the nation's return to fiscal sanity. There are other, more aggressive plans that do not wait to balance the budget until after ten winter and summer Olympics have come and gone as does the Ryan plan. But those other budget plans never got the time of day from Boehner.
Ryan's plan proposes to cut trillions of dollars in government spending over the next decade. Yes, trillions. But not until 2030 will the budget come into balance. Even with such a snail's pace approach, Boehner has been inching away from the Ryan plan.
Boehner's performance in present-day budgeting has been just as atrocious. When given the chance to modestly trim the current fiscal year (FY-2011) appropriations, Boehner went outside for a smoke.
House Republicans ran on an election platform that pledged to trim $100 billion from the current fiscal year budget but GOP leaders immediately backed off that number shortly after the November 2010 election returns were apparent and instead offered a mere $32 billion in cuts.
Freshmen Republicans and Tea Partiers pressured Boehner to up the figure to $61 billion, a far cry below the proffered $100 billion. Yet, that Jenny Craig "after"-sized figure proved to be too much for the House Speaker and he eventually negotiated a mere $38 billion. That is, until the Congressional Budget Office read the actual numbers on Boehner's cocktail napkin and realized it tallied a miniscule $352 million.
Boehner would have the public believe that surrendering on cuts measuring a microscopically small 0.01 percent of government spending on an annualized basis would make it easier to achieve trillion-dollar cuts in the years ahead. Really?
In all fairness, House Republicans who control only one-half of the legislative branch in Washington, DC do face challenges. Negotiating on the budget with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama is akin to a sheep discussing the dinner menu with a pair of wolves. Still, there is the not-so-insignificant power of Article I Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution: "All bills for raising revenue should originate in the House of Representatives ..." House Republicans have the most leverage of any entity in Washington, DC when it comes to spending (or not spending) money if they choose to use it. Boehner chooses otherwise.
Boehner failed on the 2011 spending negotiations. He also surrendered on a number of appropriations riders that carried weight aside from reducing spending.
Appropriations riders that have legitimate policy implications should have never been taken off the table such as the one defunding Planned Parenthood. Taxpayers should have never been in the business of funding the world's largest abortion factory even if the country were not in a fiscal mess. Why fund Planned Parenthood? Why not fund penis enlargement clinics and tattoo removal parlors? (The cynic in me says public money is probably funding those, as well.)
Redirection of taxpayers' money via Congress to favored political groups is a cancer and is a contributing reason as to why our nation is in dire financial straits. Congress writes checks that can no longer be cashed.
And in the case of Boehner when it comes to taking a firm stand against spending -- he caved, he folded, he surrendered.
(By the way, what is up with all of the crying by Boehner? He delivered a sniffle-filled, weepy-eyed soliloquy to his GOP colleagues in the final hours of the budget negotiations. Boehner cries more often than a teenage girl without a prom invitation.)
Boehner does not even allow constitutional matters to interfere with the business of upholding one's oath to the Constitution. When Obama's war "kinetic military action" in Libya clearly violated the War Powers Act of 1973, Boehner argued otherwise. Fortunately, his own conference pressured him to conduct a do-over.
The signs of what was to come were evident early on. As Boehner divvied up the Election Day spoils he remained loyal to his Establishment Republican roots as if he were Anthony Weiner clutching his Blackberry. Given the choice of appointing as committee chairmen Republicans with fiscal conservative and strong business credentials Boehner instead gave the finger to the public and the Tea Party that helped elect him Speaker and appointed Hal Rogers (R-KY-5) to chair Appropriations and Fred Upton (R-MI-6) to Energy and Commerce.
Was it lost on Boehner that Rogers' longtime nickname is the "Prince of Pork" or that Upton was a devout parishioner in the Al Gore Church of Global Warming and helped foist upon America curly-fries light bulbs (CFL) and other aspects of the "green" agenda?
No doubt Boehner is itching to raise the national debt ceiling because that is what Establishment Republicans want to do. It is true that House leaders vow they'll get spending concessions from the White House before the debt ceiling is raised. But it is all meaningless.
Congress will vote to raise the debt ceiling. Then the House will pass spending bills with modest cuts that will head to the Senate where -- as Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Rogers already know -- they will die.
Maybe the Senate will act on the three security-related appropriations (Defense, Military Construction, and Homeland Security) because that is good politics but, the rest will die in the upper chamber. In their place, "compromise" spending legislation will be passed out of Congress and happily signed into law by Obama. It will be business as usual on Capitol Hill.
However, Boehner could prevent this from happening by refusing to address the national debt ceiling until after all twelve fiscal year 2012 appropriations measures -- with significant cuts -- are signed into law. But he won't. This is why he is so dangerous.
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.
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