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It's been barely 48 hours since the terrible shooting down in Tucson that left at least six people dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded.

But it took only one hour for the rhetoric to fly.

On Twitter - a social media site on which I spend way too much time - well-respected left-wing commentators were already blaming Sarah Palin and Fox News for the shooting well before we knew that the suspect was 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. And people who I respect on the other side of the aisle were jumping to conclusions like never before to condemn every right-wing mouthpiece and media outlet for the murders.

So, instead of continuing down the road of conjecture as to who might or might not complicit in this horrible event, I thought it might be helpful to take a step back and review what we do know at this point - because frankly, what we don't know still far outweighs what we do.

So, here are four things that we know for sure - and a fifth point on which I think most reasonable people can agree.

1. This lunatic's ideology is all over the map. As indicated by his rambling YouTube video - which is more an incoherent, typo-riddled manifesto - Loughner didn't seem to belong to the Republican or Democratic Party so much as the Certifiable Party. What's more, Loughner's book favorites included Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto, and it was just revealed that he kept an occult-like shrine in his backyard. Something to keep in mind when anyone claims that Loughner was a down-the-line Tea Party member; such an assertion is anything but rooted in fact.

(For what it's worth, a former classmate of Loughner's described him as a "liberal," "left-wing" "pothead.")

2. We don't know what he watched or listened to.
Since we don't know what media, if any, might have influenced Loughner's actions, you might think that political pundits might seek to restrain themselves before placing blame on any media outlet in this situation. Unfortunately, I can't count on both hands (or feet) the number of people I've encountered this past weekend who have prematurely condemned Fox News and conservative talk radio for this maniac's actions on Saturday. Of course, we have no idea what media this maniac listened to or watched. In this kind of situation, such assumptions seem to be irresponsible, at best.

3. Fox News doesn't advocate violence toward the government. Those same people who have been quick to condemn Fox News seem to believe that one of that network's primary objectives is to advocate violence toward the government. Not only is this particular premise irresponsible, but it's just flat-out untrue. No on-air Fox News figure expresses such views - and in fact, every liberal's favorite right-winger, Glenn Beck, has repeatedly said on his program that "violence is never the answer" in terms of changing our government, and he has held two entirely peaceful rallies in Washington, D.C. since 2009. Bottom line: If anyone tries to tell you that Fox News has advocated violence toward any government figure, ask them to cite an example.

Actually, truth be told, I can cite two of them:

1. After Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) said he would support a cap and trade bill if it came up to a vote last year, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly wrote in his weekly column, "By all means, hang Joe Lieberman in effigy."

2. After Giffords declared that she would not vote to repeal last year's health care reform law, a foxnews.com blogger actually wrote just last week, "Congresswoman Giffords is DEAD to me!"

OK, that wasn't the truth. Here's the real truth:

1. That quote was written in 2009 by liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who is not a fan of some of Lieberman's conservative beliefs. In fact, Krugman wrote a column today in which he describes how the "right-wing" is responsible for a "climate of hate."

(Aside to Krugman: You might want to check out your side' s own "climate of hate" here. Warning: Some of these images are disturbing.)

2. That post came from a blogger at a left-wing Web site, The Daily Kos, in response to Giffords' decision not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader. You can read that post here. Shall we rush to judgment and assume that Loughner was a Daily Kos reader?

4. Sarah Palin didn't sell Loughner the gun. Within an hour, the founder of the Daily Kos, among many other liberal pundits and even respected news outlets, noted that Sarah Palin created a map with crosshairs on it last year that "targeted" certain vulnerable Democratic members of Congress for defeat by their Republican challengers. Was it in bad taste? That's certainly debatable. But do we know that Loughner was a Palin fan? We know he read Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto, but we've yet to determine if Going Rogue was on his reading list. One thing we do know for sure is that Palin did not fly down to Tucson to sell this man his gun and personally instruct him to shoot Giffords or anyone else.

5. Lunatic or not, Loughner is responsible for his own actions. Point #4 leads to my own opinion on the subject, which I'll take ver batim from a Facebook discussion I had with a friend earlier this weekend:

"Even if it is revealed that this guy watched Fox, listened to right-wing talk radio, etc. - even if he shouted 'Sarah Palin made me do this!' right before he opened fire, we're all ultimately responsible for our own actions. If you want to go down the culpability rabbit hole, you can blame the shop that sold him the gun, not to mention his parents, his grade school bullies, and the guy who didn't hold the door open for him at 7-Eleven."

Our culture has become one that champions victim status; one in which someone else must ultimately be held accountable for an individual's unwise, illegal, or even deadly decisions. Jared Lee Loughner was an adult who acted on his own accord. He decided to buy the gun. He decided to drive down to the Tucson Safeway on Saturday. And he made a conscious decision to open fire.

Ultimately, the only man responsible for Loughner's despicable actions on Saturday is Loughner.


The Bible and illegal immigration

I had a great dialogue with a pair of friends on Facebook last week on the subject of illegal immigration. The specific topic of discussion was the DREAM Act, which would pave a path for citizenship for students who live in America illegally.

(There are a lot more ins and outs to the DREAM Act, but they aren't essential to the content of this post. However, it's an interesting concept, and you can read more about it here.)

A couple of my Facebook friends expressed disappointment that the DREAM Act did not pass in the Senate. I had the opposite point of view. Long story short, their view was that everyone, whether they are in America legally or illegally, should have the same opportunities that native-born Americans have. One of my friends noted that, "God loves us all, no matter what side of the border you were born on."

Of course, that's true. There are numerous passages in the Bible that instruct us to care for the less fortunate (James 1:27 and Galatians 2:10 are New Testament examples). In the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:33-34 and Exodus 22:21clearly demonstrate that God expects us to love non-citizens and treat them fairly while they're in our country.

But as for the idea of allowing anyone to come across the border in violation of our laws? There are two reasons why I oppose it:

1. The Bible instructs us to obey our government.
While the federal government has undoubtedly been lax (at best) when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws that forbid aliens to live in the United States, they are the laws on the books nonetheless. Romans 13:1-7 outlines the expectation that laws are to be obeyed, whether we regard them as just or not (which some Christ-followers may be well served to remember on certain issues such as abortion and gay rights). Specifically, Romans 13:2 (NIV) says:

"Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment to themselves."


Obviously, the vast majority of those who cross our border illegally are Mexican citizens. Are these people worse off financially than most Americans? Sure. Are most of them simply trying to create better lives for themselves and their families? Of course. Does that justify coming here illegally? No - not according to Biblical standards.

2. What about those around the world who wish to come here legally? The major point I made to my friends in our discussion last week was that all Americans who look the other way when Mexican citizens illegally cross the border and live in the U.S. do a great disservice to the millions upon millions of people in the rest of the world who would love to become a legal citizen of America, but are forced to go through the system and wait years (if ever) to come here legally.

There are so many people in Africa, South America, Asia, and even parts of Europe who endure similar (or worse) financial conditions than those in Mexico. Is it fair to let those who live just south of us break the law just because they happen to share a border with the U.S.? 

All Christ followers would agree that our God is a God of justice. How can anyone justify allowing those who break our laws to gain preferential treatment over those who have no choice but to wait in line and follow the rules? 

Like I wrote during my Facebook discussion last week: 
Of course we're all equal in God's eyes - so why aren't we treating everyone around the world equally in terms of giving them the opportunity to become an American citizen?

Gay marriage: How would Jesus vote?

Picture Jesus alive and among us on planet Earth in 2008. Now, imagine Him walking into a voting booth in Arizona (while probably getting some cockeyed stares from poll workers) and having to decide on Proposition 102, which would have altered the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

I suspect most Christ-followers would think it's a given that He would have voted Yes on the prop. After all, homosexuality is a Biblical sin. There is, however, a reasonably-sized contingency of Christ-followers (mostly the younger variety) who point out that Jesus was all-inclusive in his days on Earth, and would vote No as a way to show that he loves homosexuals just as much as he did his tax-collecting and otherwise sinful disciples back in the day.

Here's my take on homosexuality: The Bible says it's wrong. I believe what the Bible says. Therefore, I believe homosexuality is wrong. No, that's not the politically correct view - but for me, it's more important to be Biblically correct than politically correct.

However, a lot of Christ-followers conveniently forget (or at least overlook) the entire list of sexual sins that Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 6:9, including "the sexually immoral," idolaters (which suggests pornography viewers), and adulterers, along with homosexuals.

So, why do so many Christ-followers spend so much time and energy focusing on the immorality of homosexuality as opposed to extra-marital affairs, pre-marital sex, and pornography? My opinion is pretty simple (if crude): In their view, homosexuality is gross. It's disgusting. It's just plain icky. All those other things? Not so much.

Many of us show much more love and tolerance to adulterers and porn addicts than homosexuals. I would submit that this attitude grieves Jesus far more than any sexual sin.

As a result of this sin bias, many gay and lesbian individuals feel singled out by the church. Of course, Jesus noted that all sins are equal in God's sight (i.e. lustfully looking at a woman other than your wife is the same as having sex with that woman) - a difficult concept for us to wrap our heads around, but a Biblical concept nonetheless.

So, how would Jesus have voted on Prop 102? I voted Yes, and if I had to do it over, I'd vote Yes again. Would Jesus do the same? Hard to say - and I think that anyone, be them pastor or Biblical scholar, would be hard-pressed to confirm with 100% certainty that He would.

My opinion: Jesus would recognize that marriage is a gift from God between one man and one woman. Therefore, from that perspective - not so much the perspective that homosexuality is wrong - I believe He would vote Yes. However, if Prop 102 did not pass (which it did, 56%-44%), He would encourage His followers to respect the law of the land (Jesus did advise us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and Paul emphasized the importance of respecting our government), and more importantly, to love homosexuals as much as we would any other individual who's dealing with any kind of sexual sin that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians.

What do you think?

The Christian Congressman Conundrum

Hypothetical situation:

A newly-elected Republican Congressman (Republican because it's the most likely scenario following the 2010 election cycle) takes his office in January. A devoted Christ-follower, he decides to hire only fellow devoted Christ-followers to his staff of office workers and advisors. In fact, one question that he asked every potential employee in his/her interview is, "Will you commit to private prayer with me and the rest of the staff every morning before we begin work?" The answer to that question had to be "Yes" in order for the individual to earn the job.

Two questions:

1. To my Christian friends: How does this scenario make you feel? If you were in this Congressman's position, would you actively seek a staff of people who shared your spiritual beliefs and would pray for your good judgment (and what's best for the country) on a regular basis? Or, to put it another way: If you had to choose between an athiest who would be perfect for your staff, and a Christ-follower who would be only adequate (but not perfect) for that same position, what would you do?

2. To my non-Christian friends: Are you offended by this scenario? Would your view of Christians be damaged in any way if this scenario turned out to be true? Should prayer and spiritual thinking in general be kept out of a public office like this one? And one final question: Would you feel any differently if this Congressman was a Democrat?

Please comment! I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Thoughts on last week's election

My analysis of last Tuesday's midterm election results:

1. Voters rejected liberalism. The best illustration of last week's election results may be the overused metaphor of America as a train: In 2008 - especially following the economic meltdown one month before the presidential election - voters decided they didn't like the direction the train was headed. So, in a panic, they handed over the controls to a man who promised change - any kind of change. Voters gave him an overwhelming mandate to steer the train in another direction - any direction, as long as it was different.

Flash forward to mid-2010, when President Obama's disapproval rating began to run consistently higher than his approval rating. Eighteen months after the '08 election, voters (especially independents) said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. We wanted to take this train a different direction, but this new track (over a trillion dollars in 'stimulus' spending, TARP, Obamacare, proposed cap and trade, suing Arizona over SB 1070) was not the direction we had in mind." So, voters decided another course correction was necessary - one that would effectively remove the controls from Obama's hand and bring the train to a grinding halt.

Last Tuesday, voters said they prefer gridlock to the left-wing policies of Obama and a Democrat-dominated Congress. A nationwide CNN exit poll of U.S. House races found that 52% of voters said Obama's policies will ultimately hurt the country (compared to 43% who said they will help). Of those voters, 89% voted for the Republican candidate in their district. And of the 56% of voters in that same exit poll who said the federal government should do less, not more, 77% voted Republican. Those sentiments translated into at least 61 House seats switching from Democrat to Republican last week, the most in a midterm election since 1938. It's an amazing reversal considering the landslide that Obama won by just two short years ago.

2. Voters did not embrace conservatism. Last week's election suggests that Democrats over-interpreted their 2008 mandate to move the country left (as outgoing Democratic Senator Evan Bayh suggested in a New York Times column last Wednesday). In 2008, voters were simply looking for change from the direction that the Republican Party took the country; they were not necessarily looking for dramatic left-wing change, specifically.

Similarly, Republicans would be wise to note that last week's election didn't give them a clear mandate to shift the country dramatically to the right. According to that same CNN exit poll, voters disapprove of the Democratic Party by a 53%-43% margin, but similarly disapprove of the Republican party by 52%-42%.

Also, when asked what the top priority of the next Congress should be, just 19% said cutting taxes is their No. 1 goal; nearly twice that amount (37%) said spending to create jobs is most important, while 39% said reducing the deficit is most important.

In short, voters did not give the Republican Party carte blanche to move the country to the right; they simply want it back toward the middle, where they seem to think it belongs.

3. The jury is still out on the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement received mixed results last week, with 21% in the CNN exit poll strongly supporting the movement but 23% strongly opposing it. A plurality of voters, 25%, were neutral towards the movement.

While the Republican Party had a very good night overall, candidates who were closely aligned with the Tea Party had a mixed evening. On the plus side, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio won their respective Senate races in Kentucky and Florida, while Nikki Haley was probably the best example of a Tea Partier winning a gubernatorial election (in South Carolina).

However, the most glaring rejection of Tea Party-brand conservatism by voters was in the senate races in Delaware and Nevada. In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell's Republican Primary upset of established GOP candidate (and moderate) Mike Castle in Delaware blew what appeared to be an easy Republican pickup in the Senate. The very conservative O'Donnell (who had no prior public office experience and had multiple skeletons in her closet) was routed by the very liberal Chris Coons, 56%-40%. In Nevada, the very conservative Sharron Angle - who came out of nowhere to defeat a pair of more mainstream conservatives in the GOP primary - proved to be gaffe-prone and was portrayed as mentally unbalanced, and she was soundly defeated by the very unpopular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who conservatives declared their No. 1 target this election year, by nearly six points.

The Tea Party movement is still in its infancy. It essentially began 19 months ago on Tax Day 2009. As such, it's still very hard to say whether this movement will continue to pick up steam, or if it will be derailed by a pair of very hard-to-swallow defeats in what was otherwise a very good night for the right.

4. Sarah Palin's 2012 prospects might have been damaged. It will be interesting to see if registered Republicans remember O'Donnell and Angle in just over a year when the GOP presidential primaries will begin. If they do, a potential presidential run by Sarah Palin could be in trouble. Many Republican voters were concerned that they bit off more than they could chew by nominating very conservative, inexperienced, and (at times) inarticulate candidates like O'Donnell and Angle. Those fears proved to be valid.

Especially in Nevada, many political analysts believed that Reid vs. Angle was the best example of what an Obama vs. Palin 2012 election would look like. An exit poll said that 55% of Nevadans disapprove of Reid's job performance, including 43% who strongly disapprove. However, 44% of Nevadans also said that Angle's views were too conservative - and of those people, 74% voted to reelect Reid. In a Delaware exit poll, 44% said they would have voted for Castle had he been the GOP nominee, compared to 42% for Coons. It's worth noting that Palin strongly endorsed and campaigned for both Angle and O'Donnell.

The results in Nevada and Delaware may scare GOPers into picking what they perceive as a more mainstream, acceptable candidate as their presidential nominee. As of now, Palin's highest approval rating in any recent poll is 40%, which is even lower than the president's. If her numbers don't improve, and voters continue to see her as outside of the political mainstream, she may not stand much of a chance in 2012.

Why I voted no on 100

If it's true that thousands of teaching and education jobs would have been cut in Arizona if Proposition 100 didn't pass, I'm happy for my many friends who work in that sector. But no one should be happy about about the fact that we just increased the tax burden on Arizonans that already pay the seventh-highest sales tax rate in the country.

I was on of the 36% of AZ voters who voted No on 100 Tuesday. Among the tax-burden issue, here are some other reasons why it's a bad idea:

-71% of small business owners in Arizona opposed the proposition - not because they can't afford to pay an extra cent for each dollar that they spend on in-state goods, but because they understood the ramifications for the state's business climate. In a struggling economy, states need every edge they can get to encourage business owners big and small to set up shop in their state.

Proposition 100 gives these people a reason to do business somewhere other than Arizona, and it will cancel out a great deal of the revenue that the tax increase is supposed to bring in. The passage of this sales tax hike will do more to damage the state economically than SB 1070 will.

-Quick, name any state tax that was ever temporary. OK, OK - take your time. Bet you still can't think of an example. Yes, this sales tax increase is set to expire in three years - but the chances that it will are slim to none.

Come 2013 (or possibly before the 2012 elections), there will be one or more organizations that will once again pull on the heartstrings of Arizona voters by going on TV and explaining why it's so crucial to renew this sales tax for one cause or another. Rest assured that, much like this year, there will not be a shortage of sad kids' faces on the tube.

-If our spending-happy state government is an out-of-control teenager, Arizona voters just became their enabling parents. Instead of forcing the legislature (not to mention Governor Brewer) to live within its means just like everyday citizens must, we just forgave them for running out of our money, and not stopping there.

The idea that this tax increase will encourage our legislators - both Republicans and Democrats - to be more frugal in the future is ludicrous. Arizona just passed a one-cent sales tax increase ten years ago - also for the purpose of funding education. Those who think this go-around will be different might want to look into Einstein's definition of insanity.

-With that said, state legislators' hands are somewhat tied because a great deal of the annual state budget is locked into place. Through previous measures passed by voters, over half of the state's spending can't be touched - but education is one of the areas that can. A much smarter approach would have been to put a measure on the ballot that would unlock certain state funding and make it open for budget cuts.

If Prop 100 doesn't hurt our state's economy and actually is repealed in 2013, no one will be more ecstatic than me. But history and human nature suggest that we shouldn't get out hopes up.


Why I'm voting for Hayworth over McCain

John McCain's campaign ads end with the tagline, "Character Matters." No one outside of the far-left questions McCain's character, his patriotism, and his status as a war hero.

It's his politics with which some of us conservatives take issue.

For me, this 2010 senate election isn't about personalities. It's about who's right and who's wrong. That comes down to a simple question: Who's more conservative?

That's easy: his opponent, former Congressman JD Hayworth, who has a lifetime rating of 97 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union for his 12 years of votes in the House of Representatives. McCain's rating for his 23 years in the U.S. Senate is 82 - and it was 63 during 2008 when he ran for president.

Specifically, Hayworth has McCain beat on three big issues:

1. Border security.
Hayworth literally wrote the book on this topic. He's in favor of finishing the border fence on which the federal government has stalled, and is opposed to amnesty. McCain co-authored the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 with Ted Kennedy. In part, the bill created a quick path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which many people (including myself) said amounted to amnesty. McCain has talked tough on the border during this election year. Here's hoping Arizonans don't fall for it.

2. Cap and trade. McCain opposes cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House last year - legislation that would have caused taxes and energy prices to skyrocket. But once again, he's singing a different tune than several years ago in which he and Sen. Joe Lieberman proposed similar legislation. Hayworth has always been opposed to any of these kinds of schemes in an absurd attempt to control global temperatures.

3. Bailouts. Remember when McCain suspended his political campaign in October 2008 so he could go back to Washington and focus on the bank/housing financial crisis, only to vote the same way on the $700 billion TARP bailout as then-Senator Obama? He also proposed an additional $300 billion bailout of all bad debts, which would have made taxpayers responsible for failed financial ventures. Hayworth opposed both of these bills.

McCain is right on plenty of things. He's aggressive in the war on terror, believes in traditional marriage, is pro-life, and (with the rather large exception of the 2008 bailout) is an advocate of sane spending. But he's also wrong on too many things for me to vote for him again when there's finally a true conservative alternative. Hayworth is a conservative all the way down the line; McCain isn't. It's really that simple for me. I'll be voting for Hayworth in the August 24 primary election.

Most Americans agree that their health care system is flawed and is in need of reform. President Obama has propsed a massive health care overhaul that would provide coverage to every uninsured American.

And yet, most Americans are opposed to his plan.

This opposition is remarkable considering that: 1. Obama was elected with 53% of the popular vote less than a year ago, 2. While his approval rating has come down considerably in the past two months, a slight majority (52.2%, according to the realclearpolitics.com opinion poll average as of this posting) still support him.

The most recent results from every refutable polling site show that more people oppose than support the kind of health care reform that Obama proposes. The latest Fox News poll has Obama with a 53% approval rating, but only 34% of respondents support his reform proposals, while 49% oppose them. The most recent NBC News poll has Obama's overall approval rating at 51%, but only 41% approve of the president on the issue of health care, while 47% disapprove. The last ABC News poll shows Obama with a very healthy 57% approval rating, but more people oppose than support him on health care (50%-46%). What's more, 42% strongly oppose him, while just 27% strongly support him on the issue.

Just nine months after Obama received such an impressive mandate from the American people, how is this possible? The polls suggest that Americans have three main concerns:

1. Their health insurance quality will go down and premiums will go up.

Obama has been adamant that those who are currently insured will not see any changes to their health plans. The problem is that a strong plurality of Americans don't believe him. The ABC poll says that 40% believe the quality of their own care will worsen under Obama's plan, compared to just 14% who think it will get better. Also in that poll, by a margin of 41%-19%, people expect their health care costs to increase.

The NBC poll tells the same story: 40% believe the quality of their health care will worsen, while 24% say it will get better. Similarly, the Fox News poll says that 35% of respondents believe that their health care quality will decline under the current reform plan, and only 20% expect it to improve.

2. Their taxes will increase.

Obama has repeatedly assured Americans that the bottom 95% of income earners will not see a tax increase while he is president - though two of his advisers recently said that tax increases on the middle class should be on the table.

Regardless of where the truth may lie, a wide majority of Americans don't believe Obama on this issue, either. The Fox News poll shows that 75% think their taxes will go up during the Obama administration (including 57% of Democrats), compared to 16% who believe they will go down. The poll also asked specifically: "During the presidential election, then-candidate Obama said that if he were elected, 95% of Americans 'will not see their taxes increase by a single dime.' Do you think Obama is going to keep that promise or not?" The response: 69% say he will not keep that promise (including 48% of Democrats), compared to 26% who do.

3. The deficit will skyrocket.

Obama (along with some Congressional Democrats) have claimed that the health care reform package will be deficit-neutral. But like the previous two issues, most Americans appear to be skeptical of that claim. According to the ABC News poll, 41% approve of Obama's handling of the deficit, while 53% disapprove.

This might not be a big deal if most Americans didn't attach too much importance to balancing the budget. But by a near two-to-one margin in the Fox News poll (57%-34%), respondents said that reducing the deficit was more important than reforming health care. In light of the newest projections from the Obama administration of a $9 trillion deficit over the next ten years, this is very bad news for the president.

The bottom line is that while most Americans still approve of the president, his poll numbers have dropped significantly since June. The main reason: On the issue of health care, taxes and the federal deficit, Obama has lost many Americans' trust.


Today's federal minimum wage increase from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour couldn't have come at a worse time. With the national unemployment rate at its highest level in 27 years, this is the last thing that small business owners need.

To be fair, many states - including Arizona - have already enacted a minimum wage of $7.25 or greater. But for the 31 states that haven't, small business owners who pay their employees according to the federal minimum wage will suffer.

Example: A business owner has ten employees and pays them according to the federal minimum wage. Each employee works 40 hours a week. Today's 70-cent minimum wage increase will result in an additional $280 per week that the business owner must pay his or her workforce, adding up to $14,560 per year.

Ask small business owners if they have an extra $15,000 lying around, and most of them will reply with an emphatic "No."

"But it's good for struggling employees to have more money in their pockets, right?" Sure - as long as the business owner decides that the added financial burden won't result in layoffs. A person making the $6.55 minimum wage earns $13,624 a year - slightly less than the added costs to the business owner mentioned above.

Several years ago, the city of San Francisco decided to enact a mandatory wage increase for its public employees, calling it a "living wage." The problem is, the laws of economics required that the city lay off seven percent of its workforce to pay for it. 

Look for today's federal minimum wage hike to carry a similar effect.

Daniel Hannan, a member of the UK's Conservative Party and a representative of the European Parliament, was on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News last night during Hannity's special, "Universal Nightmare."

Hannity's question: "Why do you warn Americans that nationalized health care is a nightmare, as we're calling it?" Hannan's response:

"Well I'm already living in that system. I'm the man from your future who can see how it isn't working, and the clearest proof of that is to compare which country you'd rather get ill in statistically. This isn't an opinion thing; there's impirical data on this. If you get prostate cancer, you are about four times as likely to survive in the U.S. as you are in Britain. Breast cancer, the same thing. Stroke, heart disease, surgery - your survival rates are way, way better. And that shouldn't surprise anyone. We have a system that is run along Marxist principles - funded out of general taxation, contribution according to ability, distribution according to need. And like anything else in a communist system, it doesn't produce efficient outcomes."

Hannan goes on to warn that if President Obama's health care plan is approved and sign into law, it will likely be a point of no return for our health care industry:

"The one thing I really say to you is, once you get a system like this, it becomes almost irremovable. We have 1.4 million people working in the system. It's a massive electoral block of people who really refuse to contemplate any change."

Finally, Hannan comments on how America appears to be headed down the same path as Canada: 

"My understanding is that Canada, when they started going down this road, did it in much the way that is being proposed in the U.S. They said, 'Well, there will be a state option alongside the private ones.' But of course, pretty soon, that drives out all of the alternatives. The logic of the argument means that you end up where they now are in Canada, where there effectively is no private alternative. And that's where we are in Britain, and let me tell you, you don't want to be there."

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