Sunday, September 26, 2021

Out of Control Government Spending will annihilate America before COVID does!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), has scheduled a vote on Thursday on the Senate passed bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.   The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 69-30 last week.  Nineteen (19) Republicans joined fifty (50) Democrats to push the bill over the top.  Both of Oklahoma’s U.S. senators voted no.  President Biden claims the money will add 2 million jobs per year over the next ten years.  The money is earmarked for roads/bridges, modernizing of public works, and boosting broadband internet. 

     Pelosi is struggling to get the votes necessary to get the bill passed.  She delayed the floor vote to work on getting some of the more moderate Democrats to vote for it.  They wanted the much larger $3.5 trillion relief bill passed first.  It would pay for new family, health and education programs, among other liberal priorities.  Since March of 2020, over $7 trillion dollars of tax dollars has been spent in the name of COVID.   Three observations:

     First, the economic response to the virus may economically kill the U.S.  Spending we don’t have on programs we don’t need will result in mortgaging our grandchildren’s future. Handing out money to able bodied Americans to not work has resulted in a labor shortage for businesses all over America.  Employers hiring entry level/minimum wage employees are struggling to find workers who will show up.  Rewarding inactivity and nonproductivity is never a good strategy. 

     Second, there is just so much a government can borrow without raising interest rates and crowding out private investment.  Because of the federal response to the pandemic, the national debt as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product is now over 100%.  In times of war and crisis, spending more than revenue may be necessary, but the wild, crazy spending the government is doing is shortsighted and reckless.

     Third, spending tax dollars is a non-partisan activity.  It doesn’t seem to matter the political Party designation.  Republicans spend at a lesser rate than Democrats, but they still spend.  ‘Bringing home the bacon,’ or earmarks help keep incumbents in office.  Taking credit for spending our money is what most politicians do best.  There doesn’t seem to be the political will to cut spending and reduce government’s footprint.  President Reagan was right when he said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.  Government programs, once launched, never disappear.  Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal lie we’ll ever see on this earth!”

     2022 elections are coming up and candidates are emerging.  When interacting with a candidate, don’t editorialize or present them with your opinion or solution on an issue.  Ask them direct, concise questions and let them answer.  Don’t tip them off as to how you want them to answer.  Zig Zigler said, “Take time to be quiet.”   It’s the voter’s job to vet candidates and you can’t do it talking- you have to listen.  Until we get leadership with resolve, out of control government spending will continue and it will annihilate our country as we know it.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Taxpayers should know where their money is being spent and elected officials should welcome audits!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     In the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, then candidate Kevin Stitt promised to have the State Auditor and Inspector audit every major state agency if he was elected.  He wasn’t the only one- every candidate followed then State Auditor Gary Jones’ lead and said they would audit every dime of taxpayer dollars, but then the campaign ended and the promises forgotten-until this week. 

      On Thursday, Governor Stitt announced he has asked Cindy Byrd, the Oklahoma State Auditor to audit the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).  The governor said he wants all revenue sources flowing into the ODSE identified.  OSDE has many buckets of revenue- state funds, federal funds, state appropriations, taxes, and fees.  The audit is also to determine whether OSDE and Oklahoma school districts are complying with financial transaction reporting requirements. 

     “I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise. As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law,” Stitt said in a press release.

     “This type of audit has never been conducted in the history of Oklahoma and, perhaps, the nation,” State Auditor Cindy Byrd said. “As always, these audits are about transparency and accountability to taxpayers. I commend Gov. Stitt for requesting this audit. People want to know how their tax dollars are spent on education.” State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Joy Hofmeister says the audit is an attack on public education.

     "As the Governor should already know, the OSDE has undergone more than 20 financial, compliance and programmatic review audits by the state auditor’s office in the last 6-1/2 years. Additionally, the Governor’s hand-picked Secretary of Education approves every agency expenditure over $25,000 on a weekly basis. Every single spending request has been personally approved by Secretary Ryan Walters. The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system,” Hofmeister said in a press release.  Three observations.

     First, better late than never.  Education (secondary and higher ed) receive more of Oklahoman’s hard earned tax dollars than any other state agency. It is long past time for a comprehensive audit of the OSDE.  It should be regularly audited and it shouldn’t require special action to get it done.  All state agencies, not just OSDE, should face the same scrutiny.    

     Second, Stitt’s timing on the request looks political.  An audit will take some time to complete.  Release of the findings will be in 2022, an election year.  The primary election is in June 2022.  Stitt’s Secretary of Education, Ryan Walters is an announced GOP candidate for SSPI- the office Hofmeister is termed out of.  Both Stitt and Byrd have announced they are seeking reelection in 2022.  If the audit finds some shenanigans, they all look good in the eyes of the voters.  Back in November 2020, twenty two(22) legislators asked the governor to request a full blown investigative audit of the OSDE.  Why wait ten months to make that request?  As they say, timing is everything.

     Third, an audit is not an attack.  It is a tool to verify tax dollars are being spent as they should be.  Honest, ethical elected officials should never fear an audit- they should welcome them.  Most auditors are watchdogs, not bloodhounds.  Taxpayers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent.  It is never a waste of tax dollars to look at the books. 

       Lou Holtz says, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”  It will be interesting to see which way this ball bounces.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Biden Executive Order will not stand up to Constitutional Scrutiny!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced sweeping new COVID vaccine mandates.  In an Executive Order (EO), the POTUS ordered all business with more than 100 employees to require their workers to be immunized or face weekly testing.  Biden also said he would require health care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding (pretty much all of them) to vaccinate their employees.  The EO also compels all federal employees to get vaccinated- without the weekly testing option available to private business employees.  Biden’s tone was more antagonistic toward the unvaccinated on Thursday.  “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden told the unjabbed.  Three observations:

     First, Biden’s position on mandating vaccinations has changed.  In July 2020, candidate Biden said he would not force anyone to be vaccinated.  “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory,” he said when questioned by reporters.  In fact, he was critical former President Trump had rushed the vaccine for use.  As late as July 23rd, the White House maintained Biden’s position had not changed on mandatory jabs.  “There will be no nationwide mandate,” WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. 

     What changed in six weeks?  “We’re in a tough stretch and it could last a while,” Biden said on Thursday.  The truth is Biden’s position changed because his approval numbers dropped.  He has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to slow the spread of COVID.  According to the CDC, the highly contagious delta variant has resulted in 150,000 cases a day in the U.S. and 1,500 deaths daily.  Biden’s senior advisors believe his not delivering on his campaign promise to stop COVID could derail the rest of his presidency.    

     Second, Biden’s EO will not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.  It is not the job of the federal government to force Americans to take the vaccine.  The Executive Order violates the U.S. Constitution.  That opinion is shared by many that are advising Biden.  Earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population.  It would be unenforceable and not appropriate.”   Psaki said in that same July news briefing, “Mandating vaccinations is “not the role of the federal government.  Our interest is very simple, from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and their rights should be protected.”  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), said last month; “We cannot require someone to be vaccinated.  That’s just not what we can do.”    Several governors have already said they would challenge Biden’s EO in court.  Hopefully the SCOTUS will take quick action and strike down Biden’s EO.

     Third, COVID has been politicized.  Politician types never let a crisis go to waste- even a pandemic.  “These ‘pandemic politics,’ as I refer to it, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die,” Biden said. “We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting a large majority of Americans who have done their part.”  Biden is right.  He has played politics with COVID.  His flip flop on mandatory vaccinations is a classic example. 

     Biden’s EO creates a Constitutional crisis.  If a president can, with a stroke of the pen, force Americans to put something in their body they don’t want to put in it, then America ceases to be America.  If the courts ignore the Constitution and rule in Biden’s favor, America is doomed.  Individual liberty is the foundation of the republic.  It is not the job of the government to protect ourselves from ourselves.  Each person has a right to make their own decision on vaccination.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Labor Omnia Vincit!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Oklahoma’s motto is Labor omnia vincit.  It is Latin for labor conquers all.  The phase was on the seal of Oklahoma territory before statehood.  Labor omnia Vincit is widely used in organized labor, which is odd given Oklahoma doesn’t have a strong labor union influence.  Oklahoma’s roots were more along the line of socialism, which brings up the Green Corn Rebellion.

     In August of 1917, exactly two weeks after the draft lottery in Washington, D.C., between 800 to 1,000 young Oklahoma farmers gathered on the banks of the South Canadian River in Seminole County on a ranch owned by John Spears.  They were upset about being forced to fight in WWI because they believed it was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.  They believed they were being used by a government that wasn’t taking care of them and they were needed on their small farms to help their families survive.  The rebels, self-described as ‘old American stock’ armed themselves and planned to march east to Washington, D.C., eating roasted ‘green corn’ and barbecued beef on their trip for sustenance.  Their plan included joining up with countless thousands of likeminded comrades and then march to Washington and overthrow ‘Big Slick’ Wilson (President Woodrow Wilson), repeal the Draft Act of 1917, and end the war.  They had hoisted the red flag of socialist revolution. Most of the men were members of the Working-Class Union (WCU), a socialist organization that vowed to destroy capitalism and avoid the military draft.

     The rebel’s plan was betrayed to local authorities by an informer and a posse was formed.  Shots were fired by both sides.  A total of three people were killed in the Green Corn Rebellion.  One was a black tenant farmer.  450 were arrested, but only 184 were charged.  150 were convicted and most served short sentences, but those identified as leaders served 5 years in federal prison.  The rebellion was over in hours.  Three observations:

      First, WWI was a rich man’s war fought by poor men. Most wars are.  WWI was started in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and led to most of Europe picking a side.  President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality in the European war, but that changed in 1915 when Germany sunk an ocean liner with Americans abroad.  The war was not popular in the American south, especially among those engaged in agriculture.  Those involved in the rebellion were willing to give up everything, including their life to feed their families, but they weren’t interested in fighting a war halfway around the globe for a government that had neglected them.

     Second, the rebels had zeal, but not according to knowledge.  Socialism is an inferior economic system to Capitalism.  They didn’t know that because they were reacting to their circumstances.  Their point of reference was poverty, despair, and hopelessness.  Cotton prices had hit bottom and they were starving.  They had to do something, but it is never a good strategy to react to situations without a plan.  The result of their rebellion was failure, but you can’t fault their zeal. 

     Third, the Green Corn Rebellion should be an example to modern day Oklahomans.  Those involved in the rebellion were not afraid to get involved.  They were willing to march across the country for their cause.  Many of them served time for their involvement.  Desperate people are not to be underestimated.  You never know how far they will go to get what they want.  Just look at the Taliban.

     Oklahoma has changed in the last century.  Far from being socialist, the Sooner state is the reddest in the U.S.  Few Oklahomans would march under a Socialist flag today, but few of today’s Okies have the fortitude(intestinal and physical) to march across the country for a cause.  America could use another Green Corn rebellion.