Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Westmoreland: ObamaCare’s One Year Anniversary: One Year Later, One Year Wiser

Today marks the one year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s statement on the occasion.

“As Democrats across the nation try to tout the one year anniversary of ObamaCare, the American people aren’t fooled. In fact, a recent poll by Rasmussen showed 63% of Americans are in favor of repealing ObamaCare, up from 55% one year ago. So, one year into this law and the American people are finally learning what’s in it – and they don’t like what they see.

“We all remember the promise by President Obama himself that if we liked our health insurance, we could keep it. However, by the Administration’s own estimates, 80 percent of small businesses expect to have to change their coverage to comply with the new law and between 39 and 69 percent of all businesses in the United States will be forced to change their coverage to comply with the law. The Administration also admits that at least 7 million seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plans because of ObamaCare. And a recent study suggests as many as 35 million Americans could lose their employer-based health insurance. So much for, ‘if you like it, you can keep it.’

“We also all remember then-Speaker Pelosi’s claim that ObamaCare would create jobs. However, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the law will actually result in the loss of more than 800,000 jobs over the next ten years alone.

“And we all definitely remember the promise that this law would lower our health care costs. One year later, we have learned the truth. According to the Administration’s own top actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, ObamaCare will increase national health care costs by $311 billion. Even worse, according to the CBO, ObamaCare will actually increase premiums on family insurance policies by an average of $2100 a year. And this has already begun. I have spoken with many of you in the Third District who have told me they have already seen their insurance premiums rise in the last year as health insurance companies prepare for the dramatic cost increase ObamaCare will create. And that will continue as this law is further implemented.

“So one year later, we are one year wiser. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. One year later, House Republicans are fighting vigorously to fully repeal ObamaCare. We have passed legislation repealing the law and have passed amendments to the FY2011 continuting resolution to defund ObamaCare. So far, Democrats in the Senate have refused to vote with the American people and join House Republicans in repealing this harmful law. However, I will continue this fight as we move into year two of ObamaCare,” stated Westmoreland.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Westmoreland Votes to Cut Federal Spending Another $6 Billion

Today, the House of Representatives passed a three-week extension to the 2011 fiscal year funding bill, referred to as the ‘continuing resolution.’ This is the second short-term stopgap measure passed by the House this year to address the failure of Congressional Democrats and the White House to pass the legislation during last Congress. The 2011 fiscal year began October 1, 2010 and runs through September 30, 2011. The House passed a permanent continuing resolution last month, but so far the Senate has been unable to put together a comparable package. The short-term extension is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president sometime this week, and will run through April 8, 2011. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s statement.

“I am proud that House Republicans were able to draft a short-term funding resolution that will cut more than $6 billion from federal spending over the next three weeks alone. We are continuing our battle in Washington to cut federal spending, lower the national debt, and get Americans back to work, and this resolution is just another example of how we are doing this.

“However, this is only a small victory. A true victory will be passing a permanent continuing resolution that will fund the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year so we can remove the uncertainty created by these short-term stopgap measures. Senate Democrats and the White House need to stop dragging their feet and come to the table willing to make some real spending reforms. We can no longer afford spend money the way Congressional Democrats and the White House have done over the last two years. We must accept the fact that we are broke.

“So far, the only people driving this discussion – and this effort to actually pass a permanent funding bill – are House Republicans. Not only have we already passed a permanent funding bill, but have also been the leading force behind both of the recent short-term measures, making sure that much-needed cuts are included in each bill. Senate Democrats and the White House have so far only been focused on government shutdowns and who’s to blame for the current mess we are in.

“I strongly urge Senate Democrats to listen to the American people – to their constituents – and work with House Republicans to end the unnecessary, wasteful, and duplicative spending in Washington. It’s what the American people want, and it’s time we listened to them,” stated Westmoreland.

Press falsely credits Republicans with "deep cuts"

The mainstream press is falsely crediting Republicans for proposing "deep cuts" in federal spending. To fight back, the Libertarian Party is promoting its "Republican Wall of Shame" with an online ad in the Washington Post.

Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said, "I can't believe the press is saying Republicans are making deep cuts. It's just false."

On February 20, the Associated Press wrote, "The Republican-led House has approved a spending bill with deep cuts that Democrats call unacceptable."

On February 21, the New York Times wrote, "...the Republicans' fervor for the deep cuts adopted by the House."

On March 5, an NPR caption read, "The House was debating the continuing resolution (HR 1) that contained Republican-proposed deep cuts in the budget."

On March 8, the Los Angeles Times really went overboard: "For some, the House-passed GOP budget plan, with the deepest spending cuts in generations, goes too far in slashing jobs and programs."

Hinkle continued, "This phrase, 'deep cuts,' keeps appearing. But it's just comical to describe the Republican budget plan as 'deep cuts.' It would be more accurate to say 'microscopic cuts,' or even 'no cuts.' It's a spending bill that will result in discretionary spending of $1.356 trillion this year. That's higher than last year's $1.349 trillion. When did higher spending become a cut?"

Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict said, "Sure, Republicans want to attack a handful of Democratic pet projects. That's such a narrow sliver of the budget that it doesn't matter. It's political game-playing. It won't do anything to address our large-scale fiscal disaster."

Benedict continued, "Republicans and Democrats constantly try to pretend that they're on opposite sides of a huge chasm. Unfortunately, the mainstream press cooperates and hypes up that false notion. In fact, there's not a dime's worth of difference between them."

Overall federal spending is expected to be 7 percent higher this year than last year, even with all of the Republican "cuts" in HR 1.

To help set the record straight, the Libertarian Party is promoting its "Republican Wall of Shame." The Libertarian Party has purchased online ad space in the Washington Post, to help inform the public that Republican rhetoric about "cutting government" is hypocrisy.

Benedict continued, "One of my pet peeves is hearing all this nonsense about Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan being a budget-cutter. Paul Ryan is a typical big-government Republican. He supported the giant Medicare expansion in 2003, the hugely expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the expensive No Child Left Behind Act, the TARP bailouts, and on and on. Paul Ryan is one of the prominent Republicans featured on our Wall of Shame."

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Senate Passes SB 98 – Expanding the Locations Where Licensed Gun owners Can Carry Their Weapons

Georgia law lists several specific locations where guns are not allowed. Georgia law also allows individuals to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, provided that person has met the appropriate criteria.

Under current law, however, a person who has taken the appropriate steps and is legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm is still restricted by state law from carrying that weapon in certain areas. This is after that person has submitted to fingerprinting and stringent background checks to ensure he or she is trustworthy enough to carry a concealed firearm.

SB 98, passed by the Senate today in a 43-10 vote, allows licensed gun owners to carry their weapon anywhere except in courtrooms (or beyond the security checkpoint of a courthouse), prisons and jails, county or municipal government buildings (unless the local governing authority allows firearms), on the premises of a nuclear power plant or on the premises of a state mental health facility.

“It just makes no sense to me that someone who is licensed and legally allowed to carry a gun could not carry one into a restaurant, into a church or to a political event – all of which are currently prohibited by law,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville). “Senate Bill 98 does not change private property laws. If property owners or business owners say ‘no guns,’ it is left up to them. This bill makes the law simpler and gets the government out of decisions that should be left to the discretion of the property owners and to the discretion of the licensed gun owner.”


Sen. Barry Loudermilk represents the 52nd Senate District which includes Floyd County and portions of Bartow and Gordon counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0034 or by e-mail at

Sen. Hill Votes Against SB 40 Immigration Reform

Please see the following statement from Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) regarding Senate Bill 40, immigration reform.

“I oppose Senate Bill 40 because it begins to dismantle the strong provisions of existing state law. Georgians need jobs but Senate Bill 40 weakens the prohibitions in Georgia law that restrict hiring unlawful public-projects workers with taxpayer moneys. Under Section 3 of Senate Bill 40, companies that do not use e-verify are not penalized. In fact, it will now be easier to avoid compliance. Furthermore, passage of SB 40 has weakened Georgia law and allows contractors to look the other way on violations of the law.”

– Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta)


Sen. Judson Hill is chair of the Government Oversight Committee and serves as vice-chair of the Cobb County legislative Delegation. He represents the 32nd Senate District which includes portions of Cobb and Fulton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0150 or by e-mail at

Friday, March 11, 2011

LP Chair: The problem in Wisconsin is not unions but government

While Republicans and Democrats battle in Wisconsin over a bill to reduce the collective bargaining power of state employee unions as a means of balancing their budget, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle points out that the problem lies with government control of activities it has no business running.

Hinkle comments, "Libertarians are neither pro-union nor anti-union. We believe that the right of association and freedom of contract allows any group of people to choose to bargain collectively rather than individually. Naturally, we oppose violence and threats of such, but unions per se can play a major role in a free society. The problem is that the battle between the Wisconsin state government and state employees isn't even remotely a free market.

"Government monopolizes many services that could and should be provided in the voluntary sector by profit-making and/or non-profit organizations. This also gives them a 'monopsony' as virtually the only potential employer for workers in these fields. Once someone has trained to be a teacher or prison guard, they are essentially at the mercy of government for their employment in that field. Blaming them for wanting collective bargaining representation would be comparable to siding with the Polish government against the union Solidarity headed by Lech Walesa that freed Poland in 1989 from Soviet rule. The problem is with the employer: the government."

Hinkle considers the education budget to be the best example of a solution only Libertarians have offered:

"Far and away the largest part of the budget of the State of Wisconsin, once aid to local governments is allocated to underlying expenditures, is in the category of education. This is true of virtually all state and local governments, so it is the best example of how freedom can provide a solution. Unfortunately, government expenditures for education are driven by political considerations rather than the needs of the students. The result is outrageous costs that are not primarily for the most important ingredient in education: the teacher.

"The U.S. Department of Education calculates that the per pupil cost of K-12 education is nearly $11,000 in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The Cato Institute, however, in a paper entitled, 'They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools,' discovered that actual spending in the districts they examined was 44 percent higher than official reports due to the failure to include various categories (such as spending financed by bond issuances). We can reasonably estimate that true spending is more than $15,000 per pupil. With class sizes, on average, exceeding 20, the total spending per classroom is probably well in excess of $300,000. Obviously, most of that money isn't going to the teacher in the classroom. In private schools that don't depend on taxpayers, it does: teacher pay and benefits averages nearly 80% of the total budget of the average private school. Not surprisingly, while private schools are often described as havens for the rich, public school spending per pupil is nearly DOUBLE the average private school tuition, mainly because it is a haven for administrators and other recipients of `education' money who never step foot into a classroom.

"The answer to Wisconsin's budget crisis, and that of governments throughout the country, is to return education to the voluntary sector. Compulsory education dominated by tax-supported schools was not established until the mid-1850s, yet literacy rates prior to that time were higher than they are today. Parents have ALWAYS valued the education of their children, and the religious and secular private schools of that time knew they'd only be paid by parents if they taught their children. Free or reduced costs for poor parents was always part of the tradition, and would be again in a country freed of massive taxation and spending.

"Returning education to the voluntary sector and eliminating compulsory funding and attendance laws, not to mention centralized bureaucratic nightmares such as the bi-partisan No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 championed by Republican President George W. Bush and the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, will free teachers to be responsive to the needs of their students instead of the desires of politicians. As for how to do it quickly, a case can be made for selling all the local schools and putting the proceeds into the underfunded pension and benefits funds, then leaving the reorganization of education in the hands of the buyers. But, the workers at these schools are the ones with the strongest interest in ownership. We could just give each school to its local employees and let them decide whether to run it or sell it. Either way, the teachers, the students, the parents, and the taxpayers are all big winners.

"Education is the largest item in the Wisconsin budget, but the same principle applies to other expenditures. The legitimate debate in Wisconsin and elsewhere is not about whether the politicians or the government employee unions should win. It is why we should be stuck with only one employer sucking the money from taxpayers and then complaining when their power to decide how it is spent is not unlimited."

The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:

2.7 Labor Markets
We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

2.8 Education
Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children's education.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

War on Drugs leads to gun smuggling nightmare

According to CBS, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been involved in undercover operations to smuggle high-powered weapons into Mexico, probably as some sort of tracking operation. Now many of those weapons are in the hands of ruthless drug traffickers, which they are using to intimidate and kill people.

Libertarian Party chair Mark Hinkle issued this statement today:

"This is another sad chapter in the long story of the terribly destructive War on Drugs. Now our own government is apparently involved in smuggling weapons to drug lords in Mexico. This story is as bizarre as it is depressing.

"The War on Drugs has caused far more death and destruction than it has prevented. The War on Drugs is a failure in almost every measurable way. The War on Drugs should end.

"It's becoming more and more unclear whether the U.S. government even wants the violence to decrease. More drug violence means more jobs for federal drug agents. More drug arrests mean more jobs for prison construction and management contractors. There are a lot of people whose income depends on a big, thriving, unsuccessful War on Drugs.

"If the War on Drugs were halted, there would no longer be any such thing as 'drug trafficking.' Violence in Mexico would decrease very dramatically, as drug lords would quickly go out of business.

"A lot of liberals and libertarians were hoping that President Obama and a Democratic Congress might at least tone down the War on Drugs, but they have done nothing of the kind. They have kept this war going as strong as ever.

"It looks like those of us opposed to the War on Drugs can forget about help from the Democratic Party. Only the Libertarian Party will fight to end the misguided, wasteful, and destructive War on Drugs.

"One of the things that saddens me is that our foolish and unjust drug laws are leading to the deaths of thousands of Mexican citizens. Those Mexicans can't vote in our elections to change our drug laws -- they just have to wait and hope they aren't the drug lord's next victim.

"We Libertarians call for an end to the War on Drugs: an end to federal prohibition of the possession and sale of narcotics. Would that lead to increased drug abuse? It's hard to know -- probably not much -- but nothing could be worse than the death and destruction our government has unleashed with its War on Drugs."

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wrights takes Stop All War message to Kentucky, Georgia

Potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights will be in taking his stop all war message to the state Libertarian Party conventions in Kentucky and Georgia over the next two weekends.

Wrights will be he luncheon speaker at the Kentucky LP convention in Maysville March 5. The convention will be held at the French Quarter Inn, 25 E. McDonald Parkway.

The following weekend, Wrights will attend the Georgia state convention which will be held March 11 and 12 at the Atlanta Airport Westin, 4736 Best Rd.

Wrights, 52, is a longtime libertarian writer, political activist, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, and a past vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee. He is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he’s determined that the Libertarian message in 2012 be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end, Wrights has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

Wrights is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. He is also co-founder and president of the Foundation for a Free Society, an educational organization dedicated to promoting the principles of liberty, personal sovereignty, private property, and free markets in order to create a more free and prosperous society. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wrights now lives in Texas.

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