Editor’s note: What follows is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2010, print edition.
By Susan Johnson
Local citizens gathered Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, for a second Town Hall Meeting at Stockholm Inn, hosted by Northern Illinois Tea Party. Jane Carrell served as moderator.
John Gile, journalist, publisher and award-winning author, spoke about “Principles vs. Personalities: Why We Will Win.” He compared government to a pit bull that is only partly domesticated and must be kept muzzled. “Too many of today’s journalists are public relations agents for the political establishment,” he said. “That is not their role…” Referring to the U.S. Constitution, he said, “Our founders gave it to us because all throughout human history, government has been an oppressor and an enemy of liberty…
“Even here in our own country, that tendency has not been eradicated, but it has been restrained by checks and balances, by the U.S. Constitution. But today, that document is under severe attack from politicians and bureaucrats. It is up to you and me to see that it survives… We are the guardians. We have to vote and raise our voices… We have an enormous bureaucracy in Washington and at the state level. One of the rules of bureaucracy is its nature to devolve or degenerate to the point where it serves the people running the bureaucracy instead of the people… We see it in business, religion, unions, and especially today, in government. Why do we have that? Because of citizen apathy. If we don’t like what’s going on, we have no one but ourselves to blame for it…
“Our nation’s founders never envisioned career politicians. The most fundamental principle of all that separates us from other countries is that the rights of human beings come from God, not from the state. There are two competing philosophies. One says that what you earn is yours and the fruits of your labor are yours to decide what you wish to do with them. The other philosophy says the fruits of your labor belong to the state, and the state … will decide how much you are allowed to keep…
“Always remember the limitations of the human condition, and that the totalitarian mindset will never leave the planet. We need the power of universal recall… That is the only ethics reform that any politician will understand. The other very important tool we need is citizen initiative… Another thing that would be helpful is to eliminate the pensions for the professional politicians. Public service should be a sacrifice—but for the servants, not for the people.”
Terri Maier, retired junior high school teacher, spoke about “Teaching Junior High School from Original Sources.” She taught for 37 years in Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, and has a master’s degree in education. When her principal asked her to teach seventh-grade history, she was excited because she loved U.S. history. But there were two problems. The curriculum consists of outcomes—a list of topics that teachers are supposed to cover. Standards are the information the kids are supposed to learn from the outcomes. The curriculum outcomes were to begin teaching the Constitution, but much history was omitted. She thought, how can I teach seventh graders the importance of the Constitution unless we know how we got it? Sixth grade covers ancient civilization with the feudal system, so there is a huge gap. She could not make it relevant if she didn’t teach the kids about the 13 colonies and the Revolutionary War.
“So the second problem was that we had no textbooks,” she explained. “The old ones had been disposed of, and we were looking at a variety of material to purchase for the next school year, so we had to make our own materials… “ Her husband had bought her Bill Bennett’s book, America: The Last Great Hope. It read like a story, and she decided to use it in the classroom, adding some creative activities. “Textbooks are pretty much watered down and politically correct and boring,” she admitted. “They leave out a lot of our history that is interesting,” concentrating on dates and facts. Bill Bennett’s book came out in 2006, but now there are three volumes. It is being used in some high schools to teach history. She learned a lot from Ronald Reagan, who said, “If we forget what we have done, we will forget who we are.”
Lawrence Jacobs is vice president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, and managing director for the World Congress of Families. His topic was “The Natural Family—Bulwark of Liberty.” He had previously worked in the private sector in business. He supports the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and is for lower taxes. “A bulwark is a solid structure that protects a city or a ship. The family is the natural protector of our freedom,” he said. “A natural family is defined as the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered around the voluntary union of a man and a woman in a lifelong covenant of marriage.”
Jacobs cited three things the social scientists say are true 93 percent of the time, that if you do these things, you will never be considered poverty level: (1) graduate from high school; (2) get married after age 20 or older; (3) have children while you are married. Also, 80 percent of the jobs are created by small businesses and family-owned businesses. G. K. Chesterton said it is the only check on the state that is guaranteed to renew itself. It is also more natural than the state. One problem today is that there is no such thing as a family impact statement on the part of the government. We need to look beyond economics.
Scott Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute stopped in and brought the Illinois Turnaround Plan tour bus to Rockford. Their plan is, “when it comes to the State of Illinois and the federal government, don’t spend money you don’t have. We have a balanced budget amendment here in Illinois, and it has not been opened up for the last 10 years.” He outlined the steps necessary: (1) Stop out-of-control spending. Encourage job-friendly policies that will increase household incomes. (2) Expand government transparency. Everything is on record; we want online searchability. (3) Reform the bankrupt state pension system. (4) We need to remove the roadblocks to government transparency. For more information, go to www.illinoisturnaround.com.
“Cheesehead,” a frequent WROK radio caller, noted that “41 percent out of every dollar of real estate taxes goes to fund Winnebago County pensions. This is another example of power out of control. We have millions of illegals flowing across our border. We need to do what Arizona has done. We need to get rid of the Department of Education. We now have 82 socialists in Washington, D.C.”
Savannah Liston, 17, is a home-schooled student of economics and webmaster who now teaches others. She won a scholarship to the Von Mises Institute, where she learned the Austrian school of economics. She will have an “Introduction to Economics” workshop on April 9, 2011, open to anyone, as well as a semester-long online class starting in January (www.savannahliston.com).
Liston said, “Lew Rockwell wrote an article recently in which he says, ‘The political environment focuses the mind on important issues, such as the role of the state. The most significant thing about the election season is that it teaches people to think for themselves.’ What some have called the leviathan cannot be fixed from the inside out. Once they become politicians, they become corrupted by the system. It cannot be fixed that way. Preventing the terrible evil is not the same as doing good. We should not be satisfied with slowing our path down the road to serfdom. But we do have hope—the growing awareness of freedom and a refusal to compromise on liberty.
“Sarah Palin and Ron Paul represent two different sectors of the Republican party. Some recognize government in different areas but not in others. On the other hand, we have people like Ron Paul, who says we don’t need the government in our lives; we do it ourselves. We cannot pick and choose what we believe—either we embrace total liberty, or we march down the road to serfdom… Either we reject any government intervention in our lives, or we will find our lives belong to the government. Mises said there is no middle road. Once the government intervenes, it causes trouble. Then we have its intervention again and again until we have total dictatorship. That is the trouble with compromise. Either we reclaim our rights, or we keep up in a system of bondage and slavery.
“They have already hinted that the Tea Party is a group of terrorists. There would be no fair and speedy trials; you would be thrown in prison by a kangaroo court…. That is the choice we have. No political candidate is going to force that on us. As individuals, we have to make up our own minds. There is a new Mises Institute in Brazil. The founder said. ‘Tyranny ends when we refuse to support voluntarily our own serfdom, and we realize that no person or group of people have the right to take the fruits of our labor.’”
Chris Jenner, District 27 School Board member in Cary, Ill., spoke of “Shenanigans, Chicanery, And Buffoonery—the SCAB on our ‘Public’ School System.” He stated that “when children come out of the schools and are not prepared for life, you know there is something wrong with the public school system. The problem is the ‘output’ or ‘public’ school system.” He submitted an outline of the problems: (1) International comparison: national report cards; (2) Understanding and knowledge of government and citizenship in a free society; (3) Increased remediation in knowledge; (4) Basic ability to function—reading, writing, speaking, etc.
“It is a system that serves adult constituencies before children and parents,” he asserted. “The system’s insatiable greed for money—the causes include: public schools are a monopoly owned and operated by government; increased complexity; teacher training, qualifications, incentives; educational labor relations; the ‘education industry’ and dumbing down to show progress.
“Spending vs. academic progress: There is a wealth of data available on student performance and academic progress. Adult constituencies before children: Some examples include school law firms; school accountants and auditors; municipal bond holders; school architects and construction; athletic field builders; association employees; collective bargaining units and IASB; convention exhibit hall/receptions. Associations and lobbying is almost endless. Unrestrained costs include laws that serve adult constituencies before children, purchased by special interests, such as educational mandates like dental exam requirements; the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (allows for tenure).
“Another problem is the student-to-teacher ratio—equity to 67 percent increase in teachers per student since 1960. But student achievement is not better. Prevailing wage is another problem. Questions: Must education be a public good? Should education be a public good? What government monopolies do we need? Police? Fire? Utilities? Roads? Government-run operations = no consequences for waste, fraud, corruption or lack of results.”
Dr. Terry Noel
Dr. Terry Noel, associate professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University, Bloomington, spoke about “Out of Thin Air: What Money Is, and Why Ours Isn’t.” He explained the difference between time deposits and demand deposits; how we originally started with a barter system and its problems; the origins of using gold and silver as mediums of exchange.
Money should be rare, not easily acquired. It should be divisible. Gold was used as money as early as 4,000 to 5,000 years ago in Egypt. Paper money was a convenience, and originally it was backed by gold; it was first used in Athens, Greece and in China.
He explained, “The problem with fiat [money without intrinsic value] money became obvious during the Revolutionary War period. That was the orgins of the saying, “Not worth a Continental.” Government always tries legal tender laws, price controls, and they always fail.
“A brief history of banking—it began in 14th-century Europe. Honest banks issued paper receipts at first, then more receipts than gold. Money is created when a loan is taken out. The Fed creates money out of debt in three ways: discount window, open market committee, and reserve ratio. Our money system is an inverted house of cards—high leverage. More loans means money supply expands; loans can go bad. Money supply contracts; less money = less purchases. Our money is based on debt. We are headed toward a ‘fire or ice’ scenario.
“Pressures toward deflation: fewer loans and credit being paid off. Pressures toward inflation: government spending and no restraint on the Fed. We will not see deflation for a long while because Ben Bernanke is scared. They are already making noises about injecting more money into the economy—fiat money. At some time, we will have trending pressures toward inflation—which could become hyper-inflation. The money you have will not be worth anything. Where’s the flation point? Fiat money always tends toward zero worth. It could be 30 minutes or 30 years.
“If it happens suddenly, the middle class could get wiped out. What can we do? Let politicians know we are watching. Organize and educate. Prepare for the worst financially. Keep an optimistic outlook—we will win.”
Illinois Conservative magazine
Nancy Iwankovitsch, editor, Illinois Conservative, spoke about the lessons she learned in founding a magazine for Illinois conservatives and how to encourage reader participation. She said, “We are trying to create a pull within the conservative movement. One of the major initiatives is that you have a magazine you can share with your family. The magazine is still in the process of expanding its target area.” They are looking to syndicate it into other places.
C. Steven Tucker
C. Steven Tucker, insurance broker and subject matter expert for The Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine, gave a detailed speech on “The Truth About Obamacare” and its implications for Americans as the plan takes effect. He referred to HIPAA, the failed Massachusetts experiment, and other options that could have worked better.
“There is a reason you have not heard a health insurance broker on any news outlet,” said Tucker. “There is a group working hard against Obamacare.” He knew of lawyers who have been working to protect people who have pre-existing conditions.
“Remember the lie the President told during the State of the Union speech that a man from Downers Grove died [because of the current system]. He said the man’s coverage was canceled and his treatment denied, and he died because of it.” Obama had attributed the outcome to an “evil” insurance broker. “Actually,” explained Tucker, “that man did have a policy from an insurance company, but he did die. They had found out something that was diagnosed in a test. They found a mass, and the doctors didn’t tell him. He started getting treatment. Shortly after he bought his policy, the insurance company said they were going to do a pre-existing condition test and found that there was a condition. Even though the Assurant health insurance company did not have to keep [the policy] in force, they kept it in force for four years until the man died.
“When President Obama said to George Stephanopolous ‘we will levy a fee on you’—now it is a tax. Twenty of our sovereign states are suing the federal government… because it is a collection for a tax. They are trying to buy a product. A free citizen’s purchase is not covered in this legislation. ‘The Power Agenda’—Pelosi, Obama and Reid—no matter what he says, they don’t question it. It is fiscally unsustainable.
“There are things happening now in the health insurance industry that you are not hearing about… Obamacare was passed without having to read the legislation. Someone would be able to figure out that if we are buying 33 million people a new health insurance plan with all sorts of mandates, it’s going to cost something. It will send the costs up. In Massachusetts, you can be prosecuted if you don’t buy health insurance. But there is no recourse for the U.S. taxpayer if they can’t afford it.
“The health insurance company is not at fault for denying coverage. Fourteen years ago, the federal legislation HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] was passed. When you move from one employer to another, you are protected from being dropped as long as you have been insured for 18 months prior. You are entitled to have all your pre-existing conditions covered from day one. That’s 90 percent of the American insured. But 10 percent have no protection from being denied for pre-existing conditions, so they have to buy individual plans. But the rates go up.
“The companies are following a law—no extended coverage, no HIPAA portability protection for Americans who are under an individual plan. But all policies should be put under HIPAA protection. Why do we need a 2,700-page health care bill? It is all about control. There are 5,700 agencies opening under Obamacare. There has to be a way we pay for it.
“President Obama promised he would not raise taxes for anyone earning under $250,000. But they have to pay taxes. Obamacare increases the tax load by 15 percent. Where does $17 billion come from? Also, you don’t have to be a resident of this country, and Chicago is a sanctuary city… So if you live in the same house and can provide a utility bill, the dad gets coverage, too. Those programs are still being funded and were borrowing $5 million every year just to pay state employees…
“If you don’t like Romney Care in Massachusetts, you can leave the state, but with Obamacare, where can you go? It will lead to the demise of insurance companies.
“Committee rating will result in everybody paying the same, and this has failed everywhere it has been tried. Guaranteed issue—The biggest reason that Massachusetts’ plan is costing $3.4 billion is because there is no competition under Mass Care to pay their premiums, because it is guaranteed issue. High-risk insurance premiums are used by some states. Ten percent of states have guaranteed-issue options. Doctors in Illinois accepting Medicaid have not been paid for 22 months; they are refusing to take patients. In Massachusetts, if doctors don’t treat Medicaid patients for free, the state will pull their medical license.” He referred to The Wall Street Journal article of Sept. 9, 2010 titled “How Obamacare guts Medicare.”
For more information, see Tucker’s website, www.truthaboutObamacare.com.
From the Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2010, issue