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Congressman John Campbell

On Syria

“What is this president thinking?” “Why is he trying to push American into a war in Syria?” “What exactly does a “red line” mean and who are we supposed to be helping?”

These are the kinds of questions I receive from all of you each day. They are the kind of questions you should be asking and, frankly, they are the questions the president has not answered. Instead, he has come to Congress asking for a blank check to entangle our precious military resources in one of the more tenuous, convoluted, and treacherous threat environments in the world without bothering to provide anything even remotely close to a plan.

I am firmly against any military intervention of any kind in Syria. Not only has the president failed to present a strategy with measurable objectives for success, his desire for authorization to use U.S. military force to intervene in the Syrian civil war represents misguided and dangerous foreign policy.

This morning, The Orange County Register published an op-ed I wrote explaining my position on U.S. intervention in Syria. I’m including it below for your review in hopes that it will help to begin to answer some of your… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

“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

Congressman John Campbell

9 Reasons to Keep the Sequester in Place

The Sequester: I would wager that just a few months ago very few of you knew what the word “sequester” meant. Maybe you didn’t know how to pronounce it either (see-kwes-ter). I can tell you that I had never heard the word before I was elected to Congress. And, it took me a couple of terms on the budget committee to become familiar with it.

But, now we all know. It is a budgeting mechanism by which across-the-board spending reductions are enforced. And, it went into effect on March 1st.

Listening to the president, you would think that the Mayan calendar was off by a couple of months and that the end of the world was really coming as a result of the Sequester. From the dramatic rhetoric in his perpetual campaign swing, it sounds like life as we know it will cease because of a 2% reduction in the growth of planned government spending. What you are not hearing is that even with the Sequester cuts in effect, total federal spending this year will be higher than last year. So, why all the drama? Because it is clear that the president wants to increase spending and increase taxes and he wants you to think that the… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Violence

Let me begin this discussion by joining in the mixture of sorrow, disgust and anguish that is universally felt by all Americans at the recent spate of killings resulting in the deaths of children and students in schools and colleges around the country. The Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy is one that will not, and should not, leave our collective memories for many years. My daily prayers include the families of these young victims. There is no disagreement that such violence is on the increase in our country. There is similarly no dispute that we must have a reasoned and serious debate about its causes and potential solutions.

With this writing, I will enter that debate.

With a few exceptions, the proposals to reduce such violence have been focused on increased gun control legislation. Some have also talked about increased mental health funding and reporting, while others have suggested armed guards in schools as a solution. I believe that these proposals all deal with the symptoms rather than the causes of such violence. Furthermore, I believe that most of these proposals are actually counterproductive in that they distract us from what perhaps are much more… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

This native Californian was all bundled up to keep warm on a chilly Washington morning on Monday to witness the 57th United States Presidential Inaugural and hear President Obama’s second inaugural address.

To be honest, I was inspired by the address….. ….but, not in the way the president might have wanted.

I’m a big football fan. There’s nothing to bring you to your feet quite like the big touchdown pass. And, that is usually what brings accolades in the annals of football lore. But, just as important, and many times more important, is that tenacious defense. When you don’t have the ball, you count on those 11 defensemen to keep you in the game. Oh sure, they can sometimes get a “pick-6” and score a touchdown. But usually, they just hold the line and keep bad things from happening. The undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins were led by what was dubbed the “no name defense”. They held the line and they were a big part of the only undefeated season in NFL history. As Republicans, we don’t have the ball right now. We may control the House, but we are the minority party in Washington since everything… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Moral Imperative

I speak often in these pages about things fiscal, financial and economic. Given that I am a CPA and sit on three committees in Congress that deal with money (Budget, Financial Services and Joint Economic), this is to be expected. But, I am not all about money. And, the nation’s problems are not all about money. As big a problem as our debts and deficits are, they are emblematic of deeper and actually more significant moral and cultural issues.

For some time now, we have heard of those who Tom Brokaw dubbed “the greatest generation”, those who sacrificed through a world war to vanquish fascism and imperialism and leave a stronger America for their children. We can go back further to speak of the generation that took the risks to establish this country in the late 18th century or of the generation that fought the Civil War. In each case, said generation sacrificed in order to leave a better and more prosperous country of opportunity for their children.

But, what are we doing now? What will be the legacy of my generation? Our debt and deficit crisis is largely caused by giving ourselves health care and retirement benefits without paying for them.… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Debt Ceiling Conditions

The president says that we should just extend the debt limit, or cede the authority to him to expand it as he wishes. I’m sure he probably doesn’t think we even need such a discipline at all. He says he will not negotiate on this issue. He says that Congress has already approved all the spending that led to these deficits.

Like on most things, the president is completely wrong.

If credit cards had no limit on them, a whole lot of people would spend without end. The debt limit is like that. It is a discipline that reminds us – “Oh yeah…we’ve just borrowed $16.4 TRILLION. That’s kind of a lot. Maybe we shouldn’t spend so much.” We’ve borrowed 35% ($5.805 trillion) of that since Obama took office. Maybe we ought to think about it before we try to borrow $7 trillion more, which is an approximation of how much more this president wants to borrow in his second term. And, as I understand him, the president won’t negotiate on this. In fact, he has yet to negotiate on anything. No change here. And, as far as Congress already approving the spending….that’s not correct either, Mr. President. Sixty percent of all… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Why I Voted Against the Fiscal Cliff “Deal”

You may be wondering why you did not hear from me during the last few weeks of the “fiscal cliff” machinations in Washington. For one thing, I figured that many of you were enjoying the holidays with your families and friends and did not want me to interrupt that with depressing news. Additionally, however, things were moving so fast that anything I wrote you would have been obsolete by the time you read it. I had about a dozen “laptops” in my head each day, but, by the time I sat down to write them, the circumstances had already changed.

Well, unless you were abducted by aliens or have just gotten back from your Mayan end-of-the-world worship ceremony in South America, you know about the deal that was passed by the Senate and the House on New Year’s Day. To say I didn’t like the “deal” would be to understate the case. I hated it.

I don’t want to raise taxes. That feeling is not driven by a pledge, as many liberals would like to argue in order to portray we conservatives as the mindless lemmings that some of said liberals are. I think that having the federal government take roughly 20% of all the production of the… Read More

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