NPS Retirees Say House Legislation Would Gut Antiquities Act, Lead To More Hunting In National Parks

Legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate would, if allowed to become law, gut the Antiquities Act that so many presidents have used to preserve and protect valuable landscapes and historical settings, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

The measure is being considered as an amendment to the Farm Bill on the Senate floor and should be opposed by anyone who cares about the special places that are part of the National Park System, according to the Park Service retirees.

The bill's language would gut the Antiquities Act, which was used by past presidents to set aside places such as Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Carlsbad Caverns and Acadia national parks.

“Some of this nation’s most loved parks were first set aside and protected as national monuments and were later legislated by the Congress into national parks," said Maureen Finnerty, chair of the Coalition's Executive Council. "The modification to the Antiquities Act would require that any presidential proclamation be approved by the governor and the legislature in the state in which the potential monument would be established. Such a requirement would essentially render the Antiquities Act meaningless as such accord rarely exists.

"Moreover, the president can only employ the provisions of the Act on lands already owned by the people of the United States. It cannot be used on state or privately-owned lands," she added.

Additionally, the group says, H.R. 4089 could open up many areas of the National Park System to hunting, trapping, and recreational shooting. Most national park sites are closed to such activities in the interests of public safety, visitor enjoyment and resource protection. The House defeated an amendment to the bill that would have specifically excluded all the 397 units of the National Park System from these activities, which are already legal and appropriate on millions of acres of other public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

“NPS has long governed units of the National Park System based on the principle that hunting, trapping, collecting specimens and other uses that extract natural resources from park area ecosystems are not allowed, unless Congress has clearly authorized such activities," said former Glacier Bay National Park Superintendent Cherry Payne, a member of the Coalition's Executive Council. "This longstanding principle has been confirmed by the courts.

"H.R 4089 would eliminate this principle because it would recognize that hunting, trapping, fishing and collecting are to be affirmatively supported and facilitated on all federal lands," she added. "As a result, H.R. 4089 would stand NPS management policy on its head, creating a presumption that consumptive uses are the norm, and must be allowed unless expressly prohibited.”

Comments

This would be one giant step backward and would eliminate any real significant difference between National Park units and BLM or Forest Service lands. I can see it now....open pit coal mines in Zion National Park. Uranium mines at Grand Canyon. How about a couple hundred oil/gas rigs (one in every picture taken) at Grand Teton. While we are at it let's cap Old Faithful for geo-thermal energy production. Amazing!

Could the author please identify the legislation that will "gut the Antiquities Act"? I see nothing in H.R. 4089 (the only legislation mentioned) that says anything about the Antiquities Act. Also note that H.R. 4089 specifically says:

"Nothing in this title requires the opening of national park or national monuments
under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service to hunting or recreational shooting."

In other words, the Parks would have the jurisdiction to allow or not allow just as they do now. No policy would be stood on its head.

Anonymous, you need to read the version that passed out of the House. Section 601 specifically states:

6 (a) DESIGNATION.—No national monument des-

7 ignated by presidential proclamation shall be valid until

8 the Governor and the legislature of each State within the

9 boundaries of the proposed national monument have ap-

10 proved of such designation.

11 (b) RESTRICTIONS.—The Secretary of the Interior

12 shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of

13 a national monument until the expiration of an appro-

14 priate review period (determined by the Secretary of the

15 Interior) providing for public input.

As for hunting et al, there are more units in the National Park System than just "national park or national monuments." There are national historical parks, national historic sites, national recreation areas, etc, etc, etc. For further details on this proposed legislation, please see this earlier story that appeared on the Traveler:

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2012/05/npca-worried-house-legislation-would-open-national-park-system-hunting9984

Old Ranger - Please read the bill. It is about hunting and fishing. It says nothing of coal or uranium mnes. Nothing of oil or gas drilling. Nothing about capping Old Faithful (or any other geothermal feature.

Its is Chicken-Little rhetoric such as this that makes people skeptical of even real environmental issues.

Well, anonymous, not sure I'd say essentially rewriting how the Antiquities Act can be used is "chicken-little rhetoric"....If adopted, it would basically put the states in control of federal lands when it comes to designating national monuments. Good thing Theodore Roosevelt didn't have to negotiate that. He turned to the Antiquities Act 17 times to set aside such places as Devils Tower and that canyon in Arizona, the one they call Grand...


(b) RESTRICTIONS.—The Secretary of the Interior shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of a national monument until the expiration of an appropriate review period (determined by the Secretary of the Interior) providing for public input.


If this passes, the lawyers and politicians will have a field day with this wording, and it could be argued that all existing regulations (i.e. "restrictions") that currently apply to national monuments are off the table. If so, what happens until new ones go into effect after "an appropriate review period"?

Given the lack of support for the NPS in general by some past Secretaries of the Interior (and their Under Secretaries), placing all this authority in the hands of a political appointee would be a very bad move indeed.

We need to be clear about this bill and its Senate counterpart, S 2066.

H.R. 4089/S. 2066 does not maintain the current prohibition on hunting, trapping, collecting wildlife and shooting in most national parks and monuments.[/i] H.R. 4089 subsection (h) says that “[n]othing in this title requires the opening of national park[s] or national monuments under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service to hunting or recreational shooting.” It should be noted that recreational fishing is not included in the proviso; hence, any national park or monument now closed to such an activity would be opened. S. 2066 is even more problematic because it does not even include this provision, and therefore would compel NPS to allow these consumptive use activities in parks and monuments where they are currently prohibited.

This provision of H.R. 4089 does nothing to protect parks and monuments. While the provision does not “require opening” such areas, the bill still requires NPS to “support” and “facilitate” hunting, trapping, collecting and shooting. Even without a mandate to open such an area, there would be no way to satisfy the “support” and “facilitate” duty without opening parks and monuments. In addition, most parks and monuments are closed by virtue of the principle described above that these consumptive uses are prohibited unless expressly authorized. But that principle would be invalidated by this bill. Quite simply, if H.R. 4089/S. 2066 intended to maintain the status quo in parks and monuments, it could plainly state that the bill does not apply to such areas (or, even better, to any unit of the National Park System).

H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would eviscerate the 1906 Antiquities Act. [/i]Many units of the National Park System have been created as national monuments by Presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act, a law that has worked well for this purpose since it was enacted in 1906. Every President, save three since 1906, has utilized this act to create national monuments. This bill would impose a major impediment on the designation of national monuments by requiring approval of the Governor and legislature of the affected states. Needless to say, state-level political support for national monument designation is unlikely in most cases. Even if designation could still occur, significant trade-offs could be necessary to satisfy state concerns. This is a particularly difficult provision to understand as national monuments are created out of land already owned by the people of the United States for federal purposes of protecting nationally significant “historic landmarks, historic and pre-historic structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” The Act does not apply to state or privately-owned land. This Presidential duty should not be subject to state politics.

Rick

Like other proposals that have recently emanated from House Republicans and similarly minded people, this obviously isn't going anywhere.

To its credit, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees acknowledges this right up front, in the first paragraph of its webpage. While calling the legislation "perhaps the greatest threat to the National Park System throughout its history," the sentence preceding that assertion tacitly acknowledges it's a rather vaporous threat, because "[a] similar bill . . . had previously been introduced in the Senate, but no further action has been taken." And that's the end of that. Moreover, President Obama would veto any bill that passed along the lines of this House bill.

Next issue, please . . . .


not sure I'd say essentially rewriting how the Antiquities Act can be used is "chicken-little rhetoric".


So again - this legislation says nothing about past properties designated under the Antiquities Act (ergo no gutting). And it doesn't say anything of mining, oil and gas, geothermal et al - so yes - it is Chicken Little rhetoric to claim those things might happen.

The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?

And again - how is the hunting fishing etc different. Under this legistlation, each unit would decide, which is exactly the status quo. Or do you (and Rick) read this to say they must allow hunting on the grounds of the Washington Monument? The legislation specifically says:

"Nothing in this title requires a Federal agency to give preference to recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting over other uses of Federal public land"

So obviously, if there is some reason that fishing, hunting or shooting should not occur, the Federal agency (Park Service) has the ability to prevent it. If there is no reason - than they should support and facilitate. Makes perfect sense - unless you just believe that hunting, fishing and shooting should be banned per se.

"The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?"

This guy obviously doesn't live in Utah.

With all due respect to imtnbike, I think he underestimates the fear that the NRA strikes in the hearts of legislators during the election season. This bill was principally crafted by the Safari Club and the NRA.

As to the comment from Anon 8:19 pm, think about this:

NPS has long governed units of the National Park System based on the principle that hunting, trapping, collecting specimens and other uses that extract natural resources from park area ecosystems are not allowed, unless Congress has clearly authorized such activities.This longstanding principle has been confirmed by the courts.H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would eliminate this principle because they would recognize that hunting, trapping, fishing and collecting are to be affirmatively supported and facilitated on all federal lands.As a result, H.R. 4089/S. 2066 would stand NPS management policy on its head, creating a presumption that consumptive uses are the norm, and must be allowed unless expressly prohibited.

As to what is wrong with Antiquities Act section, the President can only declare monuments on lands already owned by the people of the United States. It cannot be used on state or privately-owned lands. In almost every case in the past, significant opposition existed in the states to the creation of national monuments. Had the Antiquities Act in the past required state approval, we may very well be without, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Grand Teton, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Acadia, Zion, Petrified Forest, Badlands, Arches, Capital Reef, C&O Canal, Biscayne, Chaco Canyon, Dry Tortugas, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, and almost all the national parks in Alaska. All these parks started as national monuments proclaimed by the sitting President, using the powers vested in him by the 1906 Antiquities Act, on land already owned by the people of the US.

Rick


So again - this legislation says nothing about past properties designated under the Antiquities Act (ergo no gutting).


You're confusing gutting the properties with gutting the Act.

I could go on and on . . .


And it doesn't say anything of mining, oil and gas, geothermal et al

These fall under "collecting."



The legistlation does require state approval for FUTURE designations. What is so wrong with that? Why shouldn't the people and state most effectived have a say?


Because for the same reason we wouldn't have had Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, the Alaska parks, etc. today, we may not have great future parks. The people who have a say are Americans. The millions who visit these parks are more effected by them by locals who don't even visit them.


You're confusing gutting the properties with gutting the Act.

I could go on and on . . .


Please do, because I don't see either the properties or the Act being gutted. What exactly will change other than hunting and fishing which the Antiquities Act doesn't address.


These fall under "collecting."


No they don't. The only "collecting" addressed in 4098 is the collecting of wildlife and fish.


Because for the same reason we wouldn't have had Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, the Alaska parks, etc. today, we may not have great future parks.


What in 4089 prevents the creation of new parks?


the millions who visit these parks are more effected by them by locals who don't even visit them.


I see, so we should tell the French how the Eiffel Tower should be administered. Afterall, there are probably more Americans (certainly more foreigners) that visit the Tower than Parasians.

It's true, the biggest opponents of National Parks and wilderness are always the locals. Just look back at how Arizona business and politicians fought to oppose the Grand Canyon's national park status. They're still doing it today by arguing, "Banning uranium mines near Grand Canyon is stifling Arizona's economy. HARRUMPH!!"

This bill would also effectively gut the Wilderness Act of 1964. It's bad legislation.


This bill would also effectively gut the Wilderness Act of 1964. It's bad legislation.


And how would it do that? More hyperbole.

Anonymous, you are either not paying attention, or you don't want to understand. I'm guessing it's a combination of both.

Lee - Nice attempt at a gratuitous insult. But of course- you don't address the issues.

Tell me - how does HR 4089 gut the Wilderness Act? What does HR 4089 actually change? Basically all it says is that if there is not a reason not to, hunting and fishing should be allowed. Talk of mining, drilling, capping geothermal features is nothing but hyperbole. None of that is in the bill.

Lee, I thought the same thing. First thought when I read that states would have to give approval was. "no more monuments in Utah."

So RangerLady - Suppose there are no more "monuments". Isn't it Federal land anyway? Can't they manage it any way they want? Can't it be a Park, a National Recreation Area, a Wilderness ..... and accomplish the same thing? What exactly does "monument" status do that can't be done a dozen other ways? Seems to me the only significant of Monument designation is that it can be granted by the wishes of a single person.

One anonymous above asks how this Act would "gut the Wilderness Act."

The House version of the bills says, "The Secretary of the Interior shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of a national monument until the expiration of an appropriate review period (determined by the Secretary of the Interior) providing for public input"

That's a very broad statement, and those "public activities" are not limited to hunting and fishing by this sction of the bill. It could easily be interpreted to mean no restrictions on motorized travel and other activities which are not allowed in a wilderness area.

For Anon #2 who asks, "Suppose there are no more "monuments". Isn't it Federal land anyway? Can't they manage it any way they want? "

That's part of the problem, if those federal lands are being managed by the BLM, USFS, Bureau of Reclamation, DOD, and others. Those agencies have a different mission and management policies, which means activities such as mining, timber harvesting, oil and gas development and other extractive activites are not only allowed, but in some cases encouraged. In some cases that's appropriate, but if there are special resources or values worthy of protection from development, designation as a monument has - thus far - provided an additional level of such protection.

Anon, there was no attempt at any kind of insult -- gratuitous or otherwise. I was merely pointing out an obvious fact. Please go back and really read the bills.

Jim -


It could easily be interpreted to mean no restrictions on motorized travel and other activities which are not allowed in a wilderness area.


This is specific to national monuments - not Wilderness - and what would be wrong with "public comment"?

Lee - I have read the bills and they don't say what is claimed here. If they did, you would cite the specific passages. HR 4089 says nothing of mining, oil and gas, geothermal on future designated lands, much less existing Parks. Pure hyperbole.

Re: "This is specific to national monuments - not Wilderness - and what would be wrong with "public comment"?

Yes, it's specific to national monuments - some of which include wilderness. No need to create confusion on these issues in those areas.

As to public comments: There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A public comment period is already part of the process of any new regulations in NPS areas. However, the rather vague wording for "an appropriate review period (determined by the Secretary of the Interior)" makes me a bit uneasy, based on some past Secretaries and their underlings, not to mention opinions by a host of judges. Who's to determine how long is "appropriate"?

In addition, "shall not implement any restrictions on the public use of a national monument..." may imply - but doesn't specify - that this is limited to new restrictions. Given the number of lawyers eager for work, if this were to pass, I wouldn't be surprised to find a suit arguing against enforcement of any regulations, new or existing, in national monuments, until they've all gone though that open-ended review.

The text, as written, is simply too vague.

Mr. Hyperbole...

It's easy to play picadore from behind a series of anonymous postings.

The only thing is, with something this strident and focused, all you're doing is making everyone else wonder what your personal vested interest is.

Jim Isn't all legislation "vague"? But actually in the case you cited it isnt. The law says the sec of interior "shall not implement restrictions" without public comment.Wilderness is designated by Congress as are the Wilderness restrictions. The sec of interior has nothing to do with it. So once again your fears are unfounded.

Anon 2:14

Not that "personal vested interest" augments or diminishes the validity of the arguments but my personal interest is that I fish. I don't hunt but believe those that want to should have the opportunity.

I think imtnbke and Rick Smith are both right. There's 0% chance s. 2066 gets passed; the bills' (co)sponsors in the House and Senate can use it for fundraising and can take the issue into campaign season. That said, given the party-line support in the House and Senate for this awful bill, there are some close Senate races to keep an eye on.

Anonymous, could you possibly be overlooking Wilderness Study Areas, which are to have their "wilderness characteristics" maintained by the Interior Department until Congress decides whether to designate them as wilderness? The "shall not implement restrictions" could in theory leave them open to mining, logging, dam building, etc.

Beyond the issue of wilderness, potential or otherwise, when monuments in the past were created and given to the National Park Service to manage, often the NPS would work to phase out livestock grazing, ORV use, hunting, and other uses that conflicted with the agency's mandate to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations..."

This, too, could be disrupted by the language in H.R. 4089. For example, in Utah the San Rafael Swell has, I believe, 7 WSAs. Now, if H.R. 4089 became law, there's no doubt that Utah officials would oppose its designation as a national monument and that would be that under 4089's provision.s

But let's say that somehow the state officials OKed the designation. The second hurdle would be the "shall not" provision, although politics being politics, it's likely that if an administration was determined to block ORV use, mining, and energy development, they could allow for a public comment period and then decide to phase those uses out just the same.


the "shall not implement restrictions" could in theory leave them open to mining, logging, dam building, etc.


It could "in theory if you ignored Sec 104 e 3 "3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) are not intended to authorize or facilitate commodity development, use, or extraction, or motorized recreational access or use."

Clearly is not the intent of this legislation to allow extraction or mortorized recreational use.


This, too, could be disrupted by the language in H.R. 4089


Yes - God forbid, they might have to listen to public comment before they took action.

Why don't you (plural) just admit you don't like guns and don't want hunting instead of making up all these convulted theories, could be's and speculative maybes.

Maybe it's because we've all been there and have had to fight against too many "speculative maybes" in the past. Public comment is a formality that is often ignored or sidestepped when politicians begin playing power games. In case you haven't noticed, politicians speak with split tongues and can find ways to make even a skunk smell good -- until you let it in to your house.

When any proposed law or regulation are based on wide vaguaries such as those seen in this legislation, people who have been there in the past become alarmed because we're heading back into familiar territory.

Lee:

"When any proposed law or regulation are based on wide vaguaries such as those seen in this legislation, people who have been there in the past become alarmed because we're heading back into familiar territory."

Seems to me to be a common practice (or at least a temptation) for conflicted politicians to play in those vaguries, deceive, lie and say anything even something completely opposite of the truth to present their arguments. Very apparent in todays political yakking! People are noticing.


When any proposed law or regulation are based on wide vaguaries such as those seen in this legislation, people who have been there in the past become alarmed because we're heading back into familiar territory.


Lee - Glad to hear you are such an anti-government advocate. I agree. The less government, the better.

I thought it would be helpful to know who sponsored and cosponsored this bill, so here's a web page on that: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4089

Anonymous - whoever he or she is - simply does not understand or appreciate that units of the National Park System and other public lands exist and are created for ALL the people of the United States, not for local or statewide citizens anywhere. This person goes on and on trying to get around this basic fact. These resources are set aside and protected so they can be enjoyed by the great-great- grandchildren of "Anonymous" without having been altered or degraded, in many cases in fact having been restored from the negative impacts of human beings who want to use them for specific selfish interests to the detriment of their long term protection for everyone.

There is really no point in debating "Anonymous." During my long over career I encountered this sort of viewpoint many times, and these folks have a mind set trhat will not change.

o

"these folks have a mind set trhat will not change."

We are no more intransient than you.

You believe the feds can do a better job than the states. I don't. I think the evidence is on my side.

In Utah, the Feds are doing a much better job than anything the Utah loonislature tries to do.

Really? Care to give any specific examples?

As I remember, Utah has a balanced budget. The Feds haven't had one for four years and have run at a Trillion + deficit every one of those years. You want to brag about the record of the Forest Service or BLM?

If you lived in Utah you'd understand. In the meantime, continue trolling. It's fun bugging trolls.

And once again you fail to give any specific examples - unlike those that gave specific examples of the higher cost of LEEDS (much less net-zero). Do you need a fork for that humble pie?

Americans have a long history of being a very nationally short-sighted. We seem to have significant problems when it comes to looking forward. Witness the destruction of our railroads in favor of super highways and the trucking industry and our reluctance to do much of anything about low fuel efficiency in our vehicles. We tend to hang on desperately to the old ways, no matter what the old ways may be costing us. I tried today to find an article I had read some time ago about how much money is lost by our dependence upon an inherently inefficient system of transporting goods. Unfortunately, I couldn't locate it. But the cost is astronomical.

I've spent a lot of time the last couple of days trying to learn more about LEED buildings and have learned that there are literally thousands of sites out there. Most of them, it appears, support the idea that greater efficiency is needed -- for many reasons. It also appears that, depending upon how fancy a builder wants to go, the cost of building using basic LEED principles is very close to that of traditional building. As with any other technological changes, expenses tend to drop sharply as those technologies achieve wider use. There was an item on TV news this evening telling us that "Green" housing is becoming something prospective buyers of new homes in Utah are looking for in increasing numbers. That's good news. Maybe their wisdom will help drive the housing market in new directions.

Time will tell. But in the meantime, let's not be afraid to look for things that will improve life for all of us, and particularly for generations to come. Our reluctance to get busy on research into alternate fuel and energy sources has already put America at a great disadvantage in the global market in that area. We will have no one to blame but ourselves when China or India or some other far away nation puts the clamps on us as a result of our short sightedness. Even our food supply is being moved overseas.

Get back to us in fifty years. By then, we'll know who's right and who's wrong. I just hope my grandkids will be able to live as good lives as the one I've had. But I'm worried.

Lee - I too am worried about the future and if we keep on our current path, we won't be looking back in 50 years, it will be in 15 or even five. We can't keep spending money just because it makes us feel good. If we do, we will look like Greece and see how well they have protected their antiquities.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/26/greece-acropolis-debt-crisis-athens

The best way to protect our Parks is to have a strong economy that can generate the funds to protect them. We won't get there by over taxing and over regulating.

Our current economic policies bear little resemblances to those of Greece. Which is why we're not in the same economic condition as Greece.

bear little resemblances to those of Greece.

I strongly disagree. We aren't there yet but that is exactly where we are headed. Overwhelming debt and an entitlement society.

Insofar as any of this relates to the parks . . .

What constitutes overtaxation?

Tax rates hit a 30-year low under Obama (See CBO report.)

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/11/514384/taxes-30-year-low-obama/

What constitutes overregulation?

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20121025/OPINION/310250001/Campaign-fact-check-Regulation-under-Obama

And a good article from Forbes (!) on the importance of strong regulation.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/2012/10/09/why-we-agree-with-romney-and-obama-stronger-regulations-make-sense-especially-for-crowdfunding/

Not all of us think we are "overtaxed and over regulated." In fact, it may actually be the other way around. Is it possible that many of our national problems are caused by greed and dishonesty? I, for one, believe it to be so.


Is it possible that many of our national problems are caused by greed and dishonesty?


Nope - But jealousy and sloth are certainly candidates. Our economy cannot thrive when federal income taxes are 25% of GDP (especially when half the people aren't paying any). Obviously you are a fan of "big government". Our country was founded on and thrived on the principle of limited government. Unfortunately since the New Deal we have slipped farther and farther away from that principle and the nation has suffered for it. Its no wonder Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalizm. Our founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves seeing how far we have come from their vision.

No, I'm not necessarily a fan of big government. But like most other Americans, even those who rail against taxes, I do enjoy a comfortable and safe life. The problem arises because we Americans enjoy many government provided services but become slothful when we have to pay for them. I have yet to see anyone who yells about excessive taxation provide a listing of the things they will personally be willing to do without if necessary to cut our rates of taxation.

And, yes, greed certainly plays a much larger part in our problems than you seem willing to admit. I'm retired and have a total monthly income after taxes of just about $1400. Yet my "effective tax rate" when I paid my income taxes was 14.8% while Mitt Romney's was 14.3%. Not much of a difference, admittedly, but were I back to teaching my tax rate would have been somewhere around 28%. Something is wrong there.

I doubt that our founding fathers really would be rolling over. Instead, I think they'd be quite proud that their work has provided us with a democratic form of republic in which all citizens have the opportunity to select our government leaders. We have the taxes we have because our leadership has carried out the wishes of the majority of us.

There are, if you will take the time to look thoughtfully at the big picture, very few slothful Americans. But there are very many who are greedy and will go to almost any length to feed their greed. If there is anything that would make our founders roll in their graves, it would be the obscene amounts of money being spent to bend and twist what they worked so hard to accomplish into a machine to feed the greed of those few who now try to impose themselves on the rest of us.

Your comments about the New Deal and Obama in your post above expose your buy-in to the talking points, outright lies, and scare tactics of people who are unfortunately able to delude too many Americans. Remember that most of us who are now labeled as "liberals" are really conservative citizens who simply refuse to let anyone fool us.

Here's a very interesting table of statistics. I haven't had a chance to study it carefully yet, but will toss it out here for anyone who may be interested.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=205

And also from the Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institute, there is this:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=901527

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that none of us can -- or should -- rely on only one source of information for our opinions. We need to make an effort to read and examine carefully info from as many sources as possible. It's difficult, but if we make the effort to obtain accurate information, we'd all be much better off.


Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalizm


He clearly believes in American exceptionalism, though.


I strongly disagree. We aren't there yet but that is exactly where we are headed. Overwhelming debt and an entitlement society.


Well, we're headed there if we do an about-face and implement austerity measures.