The Fretts Perspective

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The Fretts Perspective

The Fretts Perspective will be a source for articles, addresses, position papers, responses, and other observations from Calen.

Smoke. Mirrors. A Devalued Quality of Life.

In a newsletter on July 29, 2012, Jeff Miller decried the tax increases Congress is considering imposing on us at the end of the year. While it is obvious that tax increases are a bad idea, it should be even more apparent by now that Jeff Miller is, once again, playing with smoke and mirrors. Where does one even begin?

Perhaps with the shell game of extending tax "cuts" for 1 or 2 years at a time. This creates an unstable economic environment where businesses are hesitant to invest, knowing that in just a few years their tax rates may skyrocket again. Of course, this scares jobs overseas, too. But it also gives politicians the ability to scare corporations into cutting big checks for politicians every two years, while begging for those temporary tax cuts to be extended once again.

Perhaps instead with Congressman Miller's flip-flopping on the payroll tax. At first, he voted for the payroll tax cuts. Later, he voted against them, even going so far as to say that it "betrays the taxpayers who have demanded a return to fiscal sanity in the federal government." And now, he has come out in favor of the payroll tax cuts again, which would put Social Security into an even deeper hole. You can't have it both ways, Congressman.

Or perhaps most important is the fact that the hidden tax of the more than $5,000,000,000,000 (5 trillion dollars) in new debt that Jeff Miller racked up on our backs over the past decade is far worse than any tax Congress could even dream of considering this year!

Our government should ditch this immoral tax system altogether (along with the IRS), quit spending and borrowing trillions of dollars it doesn't have and can't afford, and cease impeding the ability of Americans to save and spend the product of their own labor, as only they know best.

Meanwhile, Our Congressman may just as well come out and endorse all those taxes he claims to oppose. It would be no worse than the other fiscal calamities he's voted for time and again, at your expense... and at least it would be honest.

Crashing the System

In a newsletter on July 19, 2012, Jeff Miller criticized the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” better known as "Obamacare," as being "anything but affordable." Our Congressman talks a good game, but don't be fooled; his anti-Obamacare rhetoric has nothing to do with ideological opposition in forcing individuals to comply with government demands. The Congressman's actions over the past 10 years have repeatedly shown that he is perfectly content to compel citizens to act as he thinks best, as long as he is making the rules.

One would be hard-pressed to find instances where Our Congressman has vocally and aggressively advocated policies for significantly reducing government intervention and monopolization of the healthcare industry. This could be done in a myriad of ways. Allow purchases across state and even international lines. Get DC bureaucrats out of programs like Medicare and Medicaid and let the States handle these issues. Repeal EMTALA and allow hospitals to deal on an individual basis with those who can't pay for services rendered, instead of forcing all citizens to pay indirectly through exponentially rising annual rates. EMTALA requires hospitals to treat illegal aliens who can't pay, too.

Instead, Our Congressman votes to immunize Big Pharma from punitive damages for any wrongful harm caused by their FDA-approved products, up to and including death. Who is served by this?

Even when it comes to the new regulations, Our Congressman reiterates his intent to "repeal and replace Obamacare." Replace it with what, you might ask? The answer is, whatever version of government healthcare Jeff Miller wants. And the version of government healthcare that Jeff Miller has signed on to includes the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate, by the way. Yes, the same Pre-Existing Conditions mandate that President Obama himself admitted was akin to forcing car insurance companies to provide coverage on vehicles after they are already crashed.

The obvious truth is that government intervention itself, over many decades, has put the whole U.S. healthcare system on a collision course. And it will all come crashing down all-too-soon if Presidents and Congressmen do not cease and desist their meddling in industries they do not understand and have no authority over, and instead let individuals solve such matters voluntarily in the free market.

If Jeff Miller wants to make a point about fixing healthcare, maybe he should start by following his own advice. Obamacare and MillerCare are not so different, after all.

Pay Attention to the Hands

On May 10, 2012, Our Congressman voted for H.R.5652, Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 (House Roll Call #247). Tucked inside this bill were provisions to, believe it or not, absolve medical product manufacturers and distributors of any punitive damages for any wrongful harm if the product was approved by the FDA. The text is found in a section entitled "No Punitive Damages for Products That Comply With FDA Standards." It appears the Congressman does in fact, despite his rhetoric, have great faith in the ability of the federal government to control the healthcare industry.

Look no further than this week's national headlines, where yet another multi-billion dollar medical corporation conceded a multi-billion dollar criminal and civil settlement for harm (up to and including death) caused over many years by its (FDA-approved) asthma treatment. Expect this sort of trend to accelerate now that Big Pharma is on the fast track to ill-gotten fortune; that is, as soon as they realize that they need only get one foot in the (revolving) door at the FDA, and their product instantly becomes liability free.

To state this one more time, in most plain terms: when medical corporations create harmful products and get them approved by the FDA - even if that product kills you or a loved one, and even if they are completely at fault - they can no longer be sued for punitive damages.

In short, Our Congressman is an unapologetic enabler of malfeasance; and it is time to rid the Congress of malfeasance. Politicians often speak in the manner they believe their constituents wish to hear - for example, being critical of big government - but pay attention to the hands.

Ants & Elephants

In a June 13th letter to the Northwest Florida Daily News entitled "Eglin, BRAC, and an Air Force acting recklessly," Representative Jeff Miller says he inserted his own legislative language in HR 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 to "explicitly require the Air Force to keep the Air Armament Center at Eglin" over the wishes of USAF staff and planners.

Playing politics with defense is a bad idea. Do we really want each of our 535 Congresspersons across the U.S. asserting his or her undue influence and power, and violating the autonomy of our military to direct its assets as it knows best? It is the military, not lone Congressmen like Mr. Miller, who are the professionals in this field. They best understand how to get the most out of every defense dollar. Micromanaging will only serve to make the Air Force more costly and less effective when already 43 cents out of every dollar spent by Congress is borrowed. It is unfortunate that asserting undue influence and power like this is the only behavior most members of Congress seems to understand.

Eglin AFB is unique, and its capabilities as a range, operational base, and test and research center will never be matched elsewhere. It has the potential to expand missions and adapt like few military installations on Earth. Units and missions can and should change with defense needs, and not be hamstrung by local politicians. If the USAF were allowed to do its job and relocated units as necessary to sustain defense, who is to say Eglin would not see an increase in personnel and influence in the future instead of clinging to a headquarters unit? What senior military commander would want to relocate to Eglin with a local Congressman so willing to interfere in the planning process?

Mr. Miller should get his priorities right. Instead of worrying about the placement of one- and two-star generals, perhaps he should be more concerned with making sure the military mission is accomplished most efficiently. While we are at it, the citizens of the Panhandle would be better served by a Congressman who, instead of focusing solely on passing a defense budget, refused to violate every American citizen's right to due process as recognized in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which is what he did when he voted for the 2012 and 2013 National Defense Authorization Acts. These bills gave President Obama illegal powers to detain U.S. citizens, without charges and without legal counsel, under the guise of funding the military. I can only suppose our Congressman considered the loss of our fundamental liberties less important than passing a defense budget.

I've heard some military men say "Don't worry about the ants if the elephants are about to stomp on you." Jeff Miller is micromanaging ants when elephants like debt and Constitutional neglect are about to stomp on him - and all of us.

To those concerned for their country.

If you're anything like me, you might have had a visceral, stomach-churning reaction this past week when the Supreme Court upheld the notion that you can be taxed not just for buying something, but simply as a matter of existence. It has now become direly apparent that all three branches of the federal government are anathema to the Constitution and the soul of America.

[As an interesting side note, the Supreme Court did not originally have the power of judicial review; in fact, it actually gave itself that power. Of course, it doesn't have the power to rule in favor of blatantly un-Constitutional law, as it has done many times throughout history, either. That ship sailed long ago, but now it appears the Constitution and the whole rule of law is sinking.]

Where we once celebrated Independence Day - our nation's emancipation from the boot of monolithic and tyrannical government - we must now admit that a government of exponentially worse size and scope has forced the citizens of this nation (with or without their consent) back into a mindset of dependence. America's real producers - the middle class - work more than 4 months out of every year just to pay off government debts. And to think, our country's founders revolted over taxes in the single digits!

You can exercise your right to bear arms, but only with government permission. You can practice freedom of speech, but only in free speech zones. You are told you have rights, but you can be spied on without warrants, have your person invaded at airports, and even be arrested and indefinitely detained (or worse) without due process. You and your family are even forced to pay the crushing debts of others, including private banks and corporations. Government seems to have successfully conned We the People into believing that it gives us our rights, and it can take them away. That's wrong.

We're no longer the land of the free. But we can be again. The spirit of Liberty can be forgotten for a time, but it never dies.

Restoring our freedom starts with admitting our failures. Many have claimed the Constitution while endorsing policies perpendicular to it. Most have explicitly and implicitly endorsed grand exceptions to the rule of law, paving the way for its demise in the wake of rule by men. We have alternately and repeatedly asked politicians from one or another political party to "fix" things. After many decades, both parties have failed. And still, the failures are explained away as faults of "the other side."

Great men of our nation's past, such as George Washington, warned against a two-party political system, and the innumerable reasons why are staring us in the face. With national debt and deficit spending at an unsustainable all-time high, and respect and honor of the principles that made America great at a dangerous all-time low, our great nation is at the crossroads. This deteriorating cycle must be broken, and it has never been more apparent that the only solution is to be unrelenting in our pursuit of justice and intellectual honesty, and unforgiving in our casting out of all those who have violated their oath to uphold the Constitution, even once, without exception.

But if you vote for the same old politicians (like Our Congressman) again this November, you'll just be asking for more of the same.

And that's exactly what you'll get.

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