The Battle over Repeal and Replace: President Trump is misguided in alienating the House Freedom Caucus and the constituents that elected them:

 

Estimated reading time 2-3 minutes.

Nearly every member of today’s GOP ran on the promise to repeal Obamacare. With Republicans controlling the executive and legislative branches this should have been a relatively quick and easy process. They have had, after all, a rather long time to be ready for the inevitable day that they would be in a position to enact free market reforms to improve not just insurance coverage, but actual access to affordable care. Why is it proving to be anything but that?

Enter the House Freedom Caucus.

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In what should be a given in the party of the GOP this is a group of Conservative Republicans and libertarians that has found it necessary to band together to do what they were actually elected to do: Respect the rule of law and follow the Constitution.

And President Trump is attacking them for failing to support the abysmal American Health Care Act proposed by Speaker Ryan.

President Trump, in his typically boorish fashion somehow deemed it prudent to fire off a series of Tweets aimed at this group of roughly 30 statesmen, including conservative stalwarts Reps. Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, Jim Jordan and Raul Labrador

The day after Speaker Ryan pulled the bill due to a lack of votes to pass it, Trump tweeted  : “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!”

And on Monday, he tweeted “The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!”

Today, Representative Thomas Massie  from my home state of Kentucky fired back in this quip in his typically trenchant fashion.

Massie Tweet

Instead of attacking fellow republicans that are holding out for true reform that will bring about an improvement in Americans access to affordable care, President Trump should be actively engaging them.  He should be focused on finding ways to pass a more sensible plan like that of Senator Rand Paul’s Reapeal and Replace bill that simultaneously repeals the ACA and implements a health care policy that restores the inherent sovereignty of the consumer to choose their healthcare plan and providers, increases competition in the marketplace, returns power back to the states and reduces the scope of federal government intervention. President Trump is missing an enormous opportunity to bring unity to the GOP with this misstep. Despite the grublings from establishment types,  I’m thankful the members of the Freedom Caucus are doing what they were elected to do.

It’s time we demand better from our elected leaders. Here’s how we get there:

1,194 words. Estimated reading time: 4-7 minutes

Do you want to see a better and more productive congress? That’s very likely to be a highly rhetorical question for most of you. Nonetheless, I’m supposing you answered in the affirmative.  I thought so… me too. So, how do we get from where we are at a near average 28% approval rating to a point where at least 50% of our country thinks congress is doing a decent job?

Before we get to that answer, let me briefly describe what I consider to be a “better and more productive congress”.

Such a congress would ONLY take up legislation authorized by the constitution and these issues revolve around national defense as well as interstate and international commerce. That is it. The rest is up to the States.

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This congress, for a time, would repeal more legislation than it produces. That position is the exact inverse of what many analysts consider “productive”. In their minds the more bills passed, the better! Our founding fathers knew this folly all too well.

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton asserted in the Federalist No. 62 in 1788:

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.” 

How many federal laws do we actually have? No one knows for sure because they are, in fact, so myriad. Michael Cottone, writing in the Tennesse Law Review estimates the number of criminal offenses between 3,600 and 4,500. Matt Vespa writing at Townhall.com states the number at over 5,000. This doesn’t include, according to congressional testimony the federal regulatory violations carrying criminal penalties that exceed over 300,000. According to the Heritage Foundation research congress criminalizes, on average, one new activity every week all year-long.

We cannot be a nation of laws, one that respects the rule of law, if it is absolutely impossible to know if you are actually breaking the law.

Further, a productive congress would repeal burdensome regulations that are not able to pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. A shining example our national congress could follow is that of  Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s Red Tape Reduction initiative. So far this initiative has resulted in the elimination of 147 regulations with 117 more targeted for repeal, 156 have been amended and 361 more targeted for amendment. This effort, combined with active recruitment efforts has resulted in over 21,200 new jobs in Kentucky at 342 new or expanded facilities with an investment of over $5 billion. That is good news for Kentuckians and an example Congress can follow.

Now, very few people (the majority in fact) seem to be happy with Congress these days and I count myself among them.

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WHY?

Why do we seem to continually find less than capable and corrupt people in government?

The political environment we have created is so noxious, so repulsive, so hostile that truly good and capable people do not wish to subject themselves to the level of vitriol and disdain directed at them when running for public office. This is also nothing new. Alexis de Tocqueville discusses this very issue at length in his classic literary work, “Democracy in America”. The most capable, the most desirous, those of the greatest virtue, the best suited for the job, those people among us largely want nothing to do with being a public servant.

Can you blame them?

Would YOU be willing to subject yourself to the level of scrutiny and continual hate and disdain these people endure?

Only the most power-hungry and “any ends justify the means” type people, save the rare exception, will endure what it takes to ascend to the national level of the body politic.

We, as a society, scrutinize EVERYTHING that a current or potential politician does and if there is even the slightest hint of something we disagree with it is a travesty of unparalleled proportions and virtue signaling outrage ensues.  Yes, a high level of scrutiny and accountability is necessary, but we have taken it to the utmost extremes. Who among of could really cast the first stone?

We should also exercise better restraint as a society and wait for the facts to fully materialize. We respond to headlines and take things out of context without seriously looking into how things actually are. We are SO very quick to cast damning judgment without giving politicians or policies a real chance to prove their merit or effectiveness.

How do we fix this?

We get better ourselves. We demand more of ourselves. We resolve to control our tongues. We resolve not to fall for click-bait headlines. We refrain from sharing disparaging memes with no basis in reality whatsoever. We hold to our respective areas of actual knowledge when choosing to engage others online and in actual dialogue. I’m not going to comment on subjects of which I know nothing about. We must exercise better judgment in knowing the difference between an uniformed opinion and expert testimony. We must demand better and we must, as a society, become more virtuous.

James Monroe, our fifth president, in his inaugural address prognosticated:

“It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt,
when they degenerate into a populace,
that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.
Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.
The people themselves become the willing instruments
of their own debasement and ruin..”

Essentially, when we devolve as a society in knowledge and mores, we elect those among us that are equally lacking in principle and capability, thereby undermining our freedom and the degrading the state of our country.

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James Madison, one of my favorite founders and our 4th President, eloquently describes the situation in which we find ourselves today along with the remedy just described.

But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks–no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.”  at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 20, 1788.

Since we all desire better representation it is essential that we elevate the level of virtue, the level of principle, the level of discourse, the level of kindness, the level of compassion, the level of knowledge and the level of love in our society. It starts with each of us. It can be done. For the sake of our country and future generations. We must.

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall” Our common bonds in Christ Jesus and Secular Humanity

 

This is the message the underpins it all. This is the most important thing that I will ever say to any of you. We have never been more divided as a nation since the Civil War. This need not be the case. Join me in this video for an exploration on the common bonds that unite us and how, by focusing on coming together, we can restore our families, communities, states and nation to true greatness.

Building the world we wish to see

 

You may have been told that the world is just the way it is and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. People may have told you that you are powerless to incite change, to drive progress, to be an example for others. They told you that it wasn’t up to you to push the envelope, to innovate, to lead the way. They told you that you couldn’t make a difference.

But what if they were wrong? What if they told you that simply because they couldn’t imagine doing so and therefore you shouldn’t either?

I want you to understand, in no uncertain terms that they are, in fact, wrong. You are capable. You have been equipped. YOU have the power to literally change the world. And it all starts from within.

Desire is expression seeking possibility” – Wallace Wattles

You feel the desire deep within, ready to spring forth. You know there is “more” out there. You might not be sure how to let out what you feel burning inside you. That’s ok, this is a process, a journey, an exploration and development of the latent gifts, talents, and tools God has placed within you. It doesn’t have to come out all at once. It can be a work in progress. Often times it is. And that is ok. This blog is going to be a resource for you to help you actualize, to release, and manifest the potential within you into the reality you seek to create.

If you are here, with me, then it’s highly likely that we share at least some of the same desires. We have a similar vision. We want to see the world become a better place, not only for ourselves, but for the rest of humankind. Not only do you want to witness this betterment, you want to be a catalyst for the good of the world. You want to give and receive love. You want better opportunities for yourself and your children. And for your children’s children. You want to feel a part of your community. You want to see your fellow man and woman treated with fairness, justice and equality. You want the opportunity to pursue your life, your liberty and your happiness. Together, you and I can bring about the world we wish to see. We have the desire and WE can make it happen. And it all starts from within.

This blog is going to cover and be many things.  Here, in the ensuing posts, I will cover and share the lessons I am learning, the books I am studying, the languages I am exploring, the lectures I am listening to, the discussions I am having. I’ll write clear and concise analysis on contemporary topics typically shrouded in arcane complexity- in an effort to help equip you as you become more informed and persuasive in your sphere of influence. I hope and believe you will help me do the same as you share your knowledge and experiences with me. I’ll cover nutrition, exercise, my journey into the martial arts of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Krav Maga (I’m still a beginner in that world!). We will explore economic policy, social issues, and current events. Not every post will be exactly relevant to you, but there will be something in almost every submission, that if you join me in the exploration and discussion, you will be able to take away and apply to your immediate world, In doing so you will be helping to bring about the improvement you so passionately desire.

As you and I learn and grow and our thoughts become our words, and our words become our actions, we will inevitably be changing the world for the better. We will be making our vision a reality.

And THAT is really exciting!  

In love, strength, and unity,

Michael L. Keck