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American Independence Is Relevant And Worth Fighting For

As a young child,I was fortunate to be able to live in Newport, Rhode Island, the firstBritish colony in America to formally declare its independence, and the first state toguarantee freedom of religion.

We lived a short time in a very old home in downtown Newport, which survived the Revolutionary War. Soldiers fought the Brits from the upstairs windows of our home, according to local lore.

Newport was rife with constant reminders of The American Revolution. I used to imagine what life was like in 1776 Newport, when the staterepealed its allegiance to King George III of England.

Reflecting upon Independence Day, it’s so… Read More

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“Making the Worst of It”

How often in life has something not gone quite the way you hoped and you or someone responded with the common phrase, “We’ll make the best of it”? This is reflective of the natural optimism that is an endemic part of American culture.

The “Sequester” went into effect just over a week ago. It is inartful. No one loves it. But, it is better than not reducing the deficit at all and borrowing another $85 billion per year. Even though it was his idea, we now know that the president hates it. But, rather than take something he isn’t happy with and “make the best of it”, the president has decided to “make the worst of it”. He has affirmatively decided to intentionally and unnecessarily inflict discomfort on as many Americans as possible in a distasteful attempt to justify his excessive rhetoric of the last few weeks.

Amongst the many egregious actions taken is his unilaterally canceling of all White House tours, effective Saturday, under the guise of forced cost reductions because of the Sequester. The problem with that logic is that White House tours don’t cost anything. There are no tour guides except for a few… Read More

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A World of Debt

A World of Debt: It is no surprise to readers of these pages that we have a debt, spending, deficit and growth problem in the United States today. What you may not know, however, is that the rest of the developed world is suffering from the same malaise, albeit to different degrees. And, the causes of said malaise are the same the world over, again with variations only in degree. But, what is really disturbing is that governments around the world seem to be implementing exactly the same “solution” for the debt, spending, deficit and growth problems that abound everywhere. It’s disturbing because this “solution” will not work – at least it won’t work without potentially severe side effects that may make the medicine as bad or even worse than the disease.

Allow me to explain.

The U.S., Japan, the U.K. and continental Europe are all currently either in recession or experiencing very slow growth. All have massive, if not record, budget deficits, and all have record debt to GDP ratios. That means that the debt issued by the respective governments is a greater share of their economies than ever before. In fact,… Read More

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“Fix It” Episode IX: The Final Chapter

The final chapter….sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I’m just taking my cue from Desperate Housewives and House and such to draw you in. Maybe this will be as big as the last episode of M*A*S*H?!

Except that I’m not going to be satisfied with cable channel reruns like those shows. No, you will continue to hear from me about a variety of matters. But, it is time to wrap up our series on how we can fix our economy.

In the previous VIII Episodes, I have talked about strategies to address the too big to fail problem, repair our deficits, and set housing, energy, health care, education, infrastructure, and manufacturing all on a path to prosperity. Most of these strategies are built upon tenets that could elicit bipartisan support. And, every single problem I’ve addressed can be successfully resolved in the United States regardless of what happens in Europe or China or anywhere else. But, before I sign off from this series, there are 3 more points I would like to make:

Absolutism Will not Work: There are some of my colleagues on the right who believe that tax cuts can cure anything. There are some on the left who believe that… Read More

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Episode VII – Education

Episode VII – Education: In 1979, President Jimmy Carter created the Federal Department of Education. He did it to make the quality of education in this country better. This year, that department will have an administrative budget of $69 billion. That does not include the roughly $19 billion in federal dollars we will spend on education entitlements like Pell Grants and student loans.

The question is simple: Is American education better now than it was in 1979? Has spending trillions of federal dollars over the last 33 years led to America’s students consistently receiving a superior level of education?

The answer is painfully obvious. NO! So, why are we still trying to do what has failed for over 30 years expecting to achieve positive results?!

Sorry. I’ll calm down now. I have included education in this “Fix It” series on how to jump start two new decades of American hegemony, growth and prosperity because, like infrastructure, a strong education system is a prerequisite to growth and prosperity. So then, what is the state of education in America? In order to analyze our system, we have to break education into two… Read More

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Remembering

Any of you of my generation or older remembers where you were and what you were doing when you heard that President Kennedy had been shot. I think all of us, including two younger generations now, will always remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard about the attacks on 9/11/01. I was not yet in Congress, but was in my first year as a freshman Assemblyman in the California Legislature. I was at my home in Sacramento that morning reading the paper and quietly doing e-mails and preparing to write one of these missives, which I had already been regularly writing for a year to that point. My then Chief-of Staff called me at home to ask if I was watching the news. “No”, I replied. He said, “A plane crashed into the world Trade Center in New York”. “You mean like a Cessna or something?” I asked. “No”, he responded, “a big plane. You should turn on the TV”. I did. The State Capitol was closed that day as they assessed attack risks there. My house was under the flight pattern for Sacramento Airport and it was eerily quiet as all planes stopped flying for several days. When we went into the State Capitol the next day, I, along with a Democratic… Read More

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Celebrating Independence Day

This weekend we celebrate our nation’s most festive and important holiday, Independence Day. As the smell of backyard BBQs and displays of fireworks unite us in celebration, let us also reflect on the importance of this date and why we are proud to be Americans.

It was 235 years ago that delegates of the thirteen colonies gathered as the Second Continental Congress and voted to approve a resolution declaring their independence from Great Britain. This resolution was a powerful statement asserting once and for all the sovereignty and independence of our newly formed country.

Many historians debate the ‘real’ reasoning behind the final straw that caused early settlers to become tired of the crown and begin the fight for an end to oppression under the thumb of the crown. But one thing the majority of Americans can agree on is that the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today came at a high price and only through the courage of many brave men and women.

More than two centuries later, the American spirit keeps us fighting for liberty both at home and abroad. Let us never forget that we live in the greatest nation on the face of earth, and that together as… Read More

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Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

This Memorial Day weekend provides an opportunity to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.

As flags are flown throughout the country to honor the valor and courage of the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our county, let us remember that the liberties we enjoy today came at a great price.

Even this year brave Americans overseas continue to fight and die for our freedom. As these valiant soldiers are put to rest let us offer a prayer this Memorial Day in respect and gratitude for the rights and liberties we are blessed to have.

Often viewed as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day has deep roots in American History.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a federally observed holiday in 1967 when the tradition of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers had spread nationwide. Unlike Veterans Day which honors living veterans, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women throughout the history of our country who died in battle paying the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and well being of all Americans.

Since Decoration Day was first observed in the 1860’s, more than one… Read More