The new budget cuts pensions for vets, including those who were wounded while serving this country, while continuing unchecked the flow of money to illegal aliens. We’re not shocked, because we’ve learned that, no matter how low our government goes, give it a day and it can go even lower. The absence of shock, though, doesn’t insulate us from anger and disappointment. I got the following from a friend who serves and I think it pretty much says everything that needs to be said on the subject:
So I signed a contract with the govt outlining what exactly I would get in exchange for my lifetime of service. Now the govt gets to change the deal yet I am expected to continue to hold up my end of the bargain.
The same government who is complaining about military “entitlements” eating us alive has no issue extending unemployment benefits at the drop of a hat. They also feel someone who has chosen a life of dropping fries and flipping burgers deserves a “living wage.”
Also, John McCain is a dick. I would expect more support from a POW. This is the height of hypocrisy considering his political career is based on his military service, specifically time spent as a POW.
This entire issue smacks of disloyalty and is particularly galling to those of us who have spent a lifetime of loyal and faithful service.
Charles Krauthammer gets to the heart of the matter:
The violence to constitutional norms here [with the filibuster’s destruction] consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52-48. This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.
What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.
As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.
Read it all. I doubt you’ll find a better exposition of the profound damage the Obama administration is doing to the Constitution and to America.
Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do: he’s going to pack the court. Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism. Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.
Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:
There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate. They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues. They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.
How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate? Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation? Let him try. But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate. Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.
On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike: he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship. It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse. There’s a certain purity to that.
Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals. So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.
There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them. Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:
There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….
William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something. As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism. For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.” By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies. When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:
Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.
Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.
That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.
Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.
The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.
It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.
Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism: “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.” “Us” happens to be Republican politicians. I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians. As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:
Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win: The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat. Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.
Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections. First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014. Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto. This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power. The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.
If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party. James Taranto thinks he has the answer:
In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:
When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.
That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.
Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.
You can see the video at the Black Sphere. I highly recommend that you listen to it. He’s on fire, but manages to stay logical, factual, and focused. (I chose to link to the Black Sphere, rather than to load the video here, because that’s a site I like a lot, so I’m happy to send it traffic.)
I believe Gowdy is a lawyer by training. He must be a kick-ass attorney. Director Jarvis is patently and deservedly deeply uncomfortable. This is the kind of cross-examination that is one for the books.
Obamacare is the greatest thing ever to happen to America or to Americans. How do we know this? Because Obama has been relentlessly spreading this gospel since 2009. It’s nothing if not interesting, then, that Obama has promised to veto legislation that would require him and his family to enroll in Obamacare and that would make Congress enroll on the same terms as other Americans.
Okay, we were being super sarcastic there. We all know that Obamacare is a disaster at every level. It’s been a festering infection in America since its enactment, and the disastrous Obamacare exchange rollout only means that this boil is coming to a head. The Obamacare exchanges are certainly an embarrassment, since they are to internet design what the Edsel was to automobiles, but even if they were perfectly designed, Obamacare would still be a disaster.
Obamacare is doomed to fail because it uses insurance companies as the engine for socialism. In this regard, it’s worthwhile remembering that, long before they got around to attempts at world domination and genocide, the Nazis did precisely the same. They were socialists, after all, which meant that they came from the Big Government Left. Since they weren’t communists, though, they didn’t officially nationalize industry. Instead, they allowed the “capitalists” to retain their companies, with the government calling the shots. Ultimately, of course, this helped Hitler create his war machine, but the short term goal was wealth redistribution with a capitalist gloss.
And no, we are not calling Obama and the other Democrats Nazis. We are just pointing out that socialism is fairly predictable and, as the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9.)
But back to Obamacare: the system uses companies that once used to provide actual insurance (risk pool allocation) and has them function solely as conduits by which the rich subsidize health care for the poor. That’s all.
Now Obama is a very rich man. He’s not just in the 1%; he’s in the .01%. That means that, if he and the missus were to enroll in Obamacare like everyone else, he and Michelle would pay through the nose, both in terms of increased premiums and in terms of high deductibles. The same is true for Congress-people. (Keep in mind that Congress is a millionaire’s and, occasionally, billionaire’s club.) As written, though, none of these people have to enroll in Obamacare the way the rest of us do – none is being called upon to subsidize genuinely poor and sick people, illegal aliens, or slackers.
Incidentally, if asked, all the D.C. political types will say “Of course, we have to enroll in Obamacare. It’s a right-wing wacko lie to say otherwise.”
That’s a true statement in an alternate universe. Here in the real world, the President and his family, the Vice President and his family, and all White House appointees are completely exempted from Obamacare. As for the rest of Congress and other White House employees, they’ve given themselves and their staffers a subsidy to offset any increased rates and deductibles they have to pay. Just as upper members of the Communist party reserved the good vodka for themselves, and gave the masses cherried-up gasoline, Washington, D.C. took care of its own.
Also, if asked, Congress will say that this subsidy is necessary to ensure that White House staffers don’t end up taking home smaller paychecks than before. Think about that for a moment. Apparently it’s okay for the rest of us to end up taking home smaller paychecks than before; it’s just not okay for the People’s servants to do so.
All of which wraps back to the fact that Politico is reporting that Obama, on his own initiative (that is, without anyone else mentioning it first), said that he will absolutely veto the plan put forward by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) to require Washington, D.C. to enroll in Obamacare on the same terms as everyone else in America. The “Vitter measure,” as it’s called, would eliminate all subsidies for federal employees working for Congress or the White House and it would require the president, the vice president, and their various political appointees to roll in the Obamacare mud with the rest of us.
If you were every curious what life was like back in the Soviet Union, now you know, because you’re living it in real time.
(This post originally appeared in slightly different form at Mr. Conservative. You’ll notice that I use the royal “we” for Mr. Conservative posts, since I’m writing on behalf of a site, not on behalf of myself.)
The shutdown is over — the Republicans caved because no one was willing to face the risk that Obama would jettison the Constitution and allow the United States government to default. I think it’s a bit more nuanced then a total collapse, though, and I think it may still effect future change.
Those who have hung around the Bookworm Room for a long time know that I believe that it was to George Bush’s advantage that the media portrayed him as a loose cannon cowboy. I don’t think this was a true characterization, but it certainly kept the world’s bad actors nervous.
It’s a little different with Obama. He’s repeatedly proven that he has nothing but disdain for the Constitution and the free market. Because we’re trying to predict his future conduct based upon his past actions, people weren’t being unreasonable in fearing that he would cheerfully invite in world-wide economic disaster.
The Left is now celebrating: Obama won. The Tea Party was shown to be the party of stupid killjoy spoilsports who tried to undo the law (never mind, please, that what they did was entirely Constitutional). It’s over. Close the book.
But I don’t think so….
Here’s what I think (or maybe just what I hope). In about two weeks, Americans will have completely forgotten the shutdown, as they’ve forgotten almost all of the past shutdowns, except maybe for the clash between Clinton and Gingrich. That had some high drama and good television, so it resonated a bit. The other shutdowns, though, are down the memory hole.
There are a few things people will remember, though. They’ll remember that the president went after the military and spitefully denied Americans access to their own outdoor treasures. They’ll remember that the Obamacare exchanges had a disastrous debut, with stone-age technology and staggeringly high socialist wealth redistribution. And they’ll remember that the Republicans tried everything they could to derail or delay Obamacare. When it comes to the fight against Obamacare, the Republicans now have a record to run on.
What Republicans can and should say in 2014 and again in 2016 is “We tried, but it was an impossible task. The only thing that can work is if we take the Senate in 2014, and then get the White House in 2016 while still holding onto Congress. We are your last chance.”
And if that “last chance” shtick doesn’t work, it still makes for funny Fawlty TV:
George Will has made a very important point here about Democrat hubris. Sen. Susan Collins, as mushy a Republican as one could ever find, made a proposal that gives Democrats everything they want, including relieving them from the political embarrassment of the “medical device tax,” which even they dislike. Flush with poll power, however, since Republicans have dropped lower in the polls than Democrats, Democrats refused even to contemplate this offer. They’re now demanding that, in addition to getting everything they asked for in September, the sequester must also go away, so that they can spend even more.
The problem now is twofold: (1) How to get Republican politicians and talking heads to capitalize on the Democrats’ hubris; and (2) how to explain this somewhat complex procedural maneuvering to the average voter. George Will’s article is excellent, but it’s not a sound bite and, while it gets electronic and page space in the Washington Post, it’s not the kind of thing that goes viral on Facebook.
For at least a couple of hundred years in America, the “letters to the editor” section of any newspaper has been the one place where people can express views opposing a newspaper’s editorial content. Newspapers felt sufficiently strong in their viewpoints that they figured that a few crackpot letters wouldn’t be enough to damage the paper’s reputation. Now, though, the Los Angeles Times has announced that conflicting views are a bridge too far:
Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare.
Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.
So the Los Angeles Times has taken it upon itself to pronounce anthropogenic global warming as settled science, despite the fact that even the IPCC is trying to squirm around the fact that all of its earlier data and hypotheses were wrong. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the drive-by media, which works in an ideologically closed system that makes no allowance for new, and especially conflicting, evidence.
And then there’s that other thing: the Los Angeles Times also says that it’s false that Congress exempted itself from Obamacare. That too is a giant leap of fact and faith for the Los Angeles Times. While it’s true that Congress didn’t exempt itself from Obamacare, it made sure to insulate itself from Obamacare, which is just as bad. In that regard, I think that Noel Sheppard, of Newsbusters, gives up a bit too quickly on the Obamacare point:
Of course, readers are likely just as concerned that the Times is also not publishing letters claiming Congress is exempt from ObamaCare.
I respect Sheppard for being honest enough to concede on the facts but the facts actually support conservative complaints. The CNN link is a good start explaining why Congress has effectively exempted itself: CNN purports to do a fact-check on the claim that Congress gave itself a pass:
When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.
Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.
All those words! What they boil down to is this: The Obamacare health exchange is so expensive, in large part because plans must contain expensive benefits that people neither need nor want, that requiring employees to go into it will cost them thousands of dollars out of pocket which, as a practical matter, decreases employees’ take-home pay at the end of the day. Therefore, Congress is giving employees (congress people and staffers alike) a stipend to offset that cost. So yes, congress people and their staffers, unlike other Americans, are being forced into the exchange, but Congress has made sure to insulate them from its devastating economic impact. This insulation is tantamount to an exemption, because Congress won’t feel the pain.
In this regard, it’s unlike other Americans who are feeling the pain very badly. The law’s terms mean that they too are being forced into the exchange, but without the nice little stipend to offset costs that Congresws gave itself. For example (h/t Gateway Pundit):
Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.
One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.
In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.
“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.
“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”
Under the new law, all insurance plans must cover 10 “essential health benefits,” including maternity care and pediatric dental and vision care. Plans must also provide certain preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free.
Today, people who buy individual policies often choose plans without maternity coverage, for example, to reduce premiums. That choice is gone, too.
“Now maternity is loaded into everybody’s plan,” Blount said.
That means men will generally be paying more than they did before. But women, who can no longer be charged more just for being female, will probably pay less.
Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said Friday that large premium increases will affect about one-third of the approximately 400,000 North Carolina customers who buy Blue Cross insurance in the individual market. Some of their policies were canceled because they didn’t meet the new federal standards, he said.
Michael Hood, 46, who lives near Winston-Salem, is another of the Blue Cross customers who is suffering sticker shock after receiving a recent renewal letter.
He and his wife, who is expecting their third child, now pay $324 per month for a plan with a $10,000 family deductible. The comparable plan suggested by Blue Cross for next year would cost $895.27 per month with an $11,000 family deductible. Their annual payment would rise from $14,000 to $24,000.
Self-employed as part owner of a medical device distributorship, Hood said he and his wife “try to live a healthy lifestyle and keep our medical costs down.” They chose the high-deductible plan to keep their premium low.
Hood said his income is about $85,000 a year, which would mean he might be able to qualify for a subsidy. He said he checked the online marketplace, which has been operating only sporadically this week, and didn’t think it looked like his family would be eligible.
One of the pluses of any new plan is that it will cover maternity care, which his current plan doesn’t. But “is that really worth paying $1,000 a month more for?”
“I’m angry that legislation has been passed that is forcing me to purchase something that otherwise I would not have to purchase,” Hood said.
“The president told us Obamacare would make health insurance affordable and reduce costs. It is now impossible for our family to afford private health insurance.”
By enacting legislation that protects itself from the pain ordinary Americans are feeling, Congress has indeed exempted itself from Obamacare. And that’s no lie.
Normally, when I see the usual liberal talking points on my Facebook page, I try to ignore them lest I damage my blood pressure. Today, though, I got a wall of stupid. I’ve already written here about the profound ignorance that lies behind the progressive masses’ repeated claim that Obamacare is the “law of the land” and that the Republicans can do nothing. Aside from being grossly hypocritical coming from a party that refuses to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, it’s also ignorant. The House has the power of the purse precisely because, as a representative body with a two-year turnover, it is the best reflection of the will of the people at any given moment.
I probably could have tolerated that stupidity if I hadn’t also gotten a boatload of dumb about the gun shots fired in Washington, D.C. today. Early reports indicated that a driver who tried to slam into the White House was the shooter. Instantly, people went on their anti-gun tirades. Of course, when the dust settled, it turned out that the only shooters were the cops and that the person driving the car had a long history of mental illness. (Warning: site has autoplay video.) When I passed this information on to the Lefties claiming that guns were at the root of this, at least two of them made the identical risible argument: Even though the gal didn’t have a gun, she’s still a poster child for gun control, because she could have had a gun.
Honestly! How in the world can you counter that kind of monomania? It transcends reason and fact, and is an article of faith as profound as the Democrats’ historic belief that blacks are an inferior race who need either slavery or government welfare to function.
Given this type of irrational anti-gun lunacy, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that a Phoenix-area police officer was asked not to wear his uniform when he picked his child up from elementary school, because parents were frightened by his gun.
I love Ace’s take on this story. The article that originally reported the story presented the school’s point of view:
A district spokeswoman told the station that “some parents” voiced concern about seeing a fully armed police officer on the school’s campus. The spokeswoman apologized that Urkov perhaps took the discussion the wrong way.
“It was not the intent of the principal to offend him,” the spokeswoman said.
To which Ace provided the only response possible:
Yes yes yes yes yes. He took it the wrong way. It’s on him. He didn’t understand your intent. He’s got the problem; not you.
Of course you don’t have a problem. Hysteria is not only natural, it’s preferable.
Shall we ban Cowboy Hats next? I mean: Cowboys. They carry six-shooters.
My stock response to all those liberal Facebook friends who have insisted that the House is “unconstitutionally” holding Obamacare hostage, is that the Founders named it the “House of Representatives” and gave it the power of the purse for a reason.
The House’s members serve for much shorter terms than Supreme Court justices (life terms), executives (minimum 4 year terms) and Senators (minimum 6 year terms). This means that, if people are not pleased with the decisions made by those more entrenched bodies, they can make their displeasure known through the House, where new representatives can be rotated in every two years.
Making their displeasure known is precisely what the People did in 2010 and again in 2012, when they “shellacked” the House Democrats, which was a clear rebuff to Obama and his “care.” (It’s also entirely possible that Obama would also have been shellacked right out of office but for the IRS’s unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable interference with free speech.)
In addition to the short term of office, which means the people can quickly punish or reward legislative conduct, the House of Representatives mirrors population dynamics. The Senate is fixed at two representatives per state, there’s only one president, and there are nine Supreme Court justices. The House, by contrast, is reconfigured every ten years to represent accurately the number of people in various population centers and deserts throughout the U.S.
The Founders deliberately gave the power of the purse to the federal branch most closely tied to American citizens, both in numbers and responsiveness: The House is meant to use that power to put the brakes on schemes cooked up by members of the other branches of government who are elected or appointed in numbers unrelated to the American population, and who have job security unrelated, or less related, to their immediate conduct. If the Founders were alive today, they’d say the roadblock inherent in the power of the purse is a feature, not a bug — and a pretty damned important feature too.
The above response came off the top of my head. If I had studied the Federalist papers recently, however, I could simply have quoted James Madison. one of the Constitution’s primary architects, writing in Federalist No. 58 (and a groveling h/t to Tom Elias, of The New Editor, for this brilliant find):
The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure. (Emphasis added.)
What the House is doing is entirely constitutional, and we conservatives should be doing our best to trumpet that fact. Moreover, given the federal takeover of the Lincoln Memorial, we should remind everyone that we live in a nation guaranteed “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Unlike a monarchy, the federal government doesn’t own the properties it is denying us. Instead, we own the federal government. The government is merely a caretaker, and a pretty damn surly, ineffectual, greedy, and tyrannical one at that.