In a short presentation that covered a number of topics, Congressman Tom McClintock declared Americans are faced with some difficult choices when he spoke before the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 14.
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We’re at a crossroads, he said. Either return to American founding principles of individual liberty, constitutional and limited government, and personal responsibility or fade into history as another failed European state.
However, all is not lost, said McClintock, who reminded the audience that past examples of bipartisan cooperation helped get the country back on track, in part, by removing the burden imposed by the government on the economy and the American people.
All the problems we are seeing are the predictable result of certain policies and those policies can be changed, he said, pointing to North Dakota as one of the bright spots in the country because of its booming economy and low unemployment rate.
It is all the result of oil from the Bakken Oil Field with the reserves there estimated to be 3.5 billion barrels, said McClintock. But it’s happening on private lands that are outside the regulatory control of the federal government.
In California, the Monterey Shale oil reserve is estimated to hold 15.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil, but unfortunately it’s in a state where regulations make it impossible to recover, he continued. Our state is full of resources like oil, gold and timber. At the same time, those trying to reopen gold mines have been systematically stymied by acts of government and the same thing is happening with the forests. A policy of benign neglect towards our forests has devastated the economy in the region, brought on ferocious fires, and made forests more subject to diseases, he said.
Once again, these are not acts of God, they are acts of the government and the good news is that’s within the public’s power to change, he added.
Proceeding from there, McClintock went on to identify other issues in California and Washington, D.C., that could result in significant economic and political damage.
AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, is supposed to regulate greenhouse gases. But what this policy is about to do to commerce is frightening, he said, as it calls for the radical reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
The unemployment numbers have already gone up substantially since AB32 was passed, he said. “I have talked to two oil refiner executives, and by 2015 they will have to shut down because of AB32. And that’s just one sector of the economy. There are also implications for the wine industry, agriculture and other industries such as cement production.”
This is a train wreck headed for California and it will be devastating, he predicted.
McClintock also criticized passage of Proposition 30 which levies extra taxes on what he called “filthy rich people” who earn over $250,000. Gov. Brown thinks passage of the bill solves his budget problems, but revenues are now declining because many are leaving the state.
“We’ve had a net domestic out-migration of 2.3 million people in the last 10 years,” he said, and the impact has been substantial. “You not only lose what they would have spent in the state but also the income taxes they would have paid since the state is highly dependent on income taxes from the wealthy to stay afloat.”
McClintock said another disaster in the making is Obamacare and President Obama’s assertion that he has the authority to nullify acts he finds inconvenient or objectionable.
The whole purpose of the office of president is to faithfully execute the laws, he said, and now Obama is picking and choosing and we don’t know which laws will or won’t be imposed. The House has tried 40 different times to repeal Obamacare and has been unsuccessful, so now it is considering defunding it.
McClintock said AB32 and Obamacare are examples of policies driven by ideological extremism. They are completely unworkable and will collapse of their own weight, but will do tremendous damage in the process.
McClintock also took President Obama to task for asserting he has the authority to commit an act of war against another country that hasn’t attacked us — in this case Libya. But he has no authority to commit an act of war.
“That’s a very, very dangerous thing,” he added, saying he has joined a resolution in the House to inform the president that he needs Congress’ approval to go to war and that crossing that line again would be considered an impeachable offense. So far the resolution has been held back in the House.
Equally dangerous is the role that government regulatory agencies have assumed, said McClintock. They are imposing laws that elected officials have refused to impose. “This is dangerous. The genius of the Constitution is that it divided powers. When a regulatory agency writes a rule, it’s indistinguishable from a law so they are assuming the legislative function. When they enforce the rule, they are taking on the executive function. If you run afoul of the rule, you face an administrative law court which usurps the judicial function. So regulatory agencies are combining all the powers our founders tried to divide.”
Moving on to resource development, McClintock said there is a concerted effort to push people off public lands and to prohibit commercial activities on them. In Yosemite National Park, he noted that camping and recreational facilities are being removed as are iconic stone bridges that have been there since the 1920s. Recently U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed restricting access to 2 million acres in the Sierra Nevada as critical habitat for the Yosemite Toad and the Sierra mountain yellow-legged frog, even though what’s decimating them are trout who eat the frogs and a fungus that attacks the toads.
However, the public is starting to say it won’t take it anymore, he said. “We held a town hall meeting in Sonora and 400 people showed up. People are standing up and saying they want their constitution back, their economy back and their freedom back.”
The solution is for people to “agitate, agitate, agitate” and become part of the debate about the future of the country. Do what you can to sound the alarm, he urged. Write letters to the editor, Tweet, post on Facebook, speak up a forums, and forward articles you find interesting to friends.
Quoting President Reagan, he said the U.S. Constitution is not the government’s document telling us what we can and can’t do. It’s the people’s document telling our government those things we will allow it to do.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.