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Tale of Two Hospitals: Parkland and the Veterans Administration

November 2, 2015

When comparing Parkland Hospital and the Aurora Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, the difference between local and federal management is clear. Parkland Hospital in Dallas County completed in August 2015 a $1.27 billion expansion. After approval from taxpayers, $747 million in municipal bonds, private donations and the hospital's reserve funds renovated the dilapidated building.

The VA hospital in Aurora, Colorado was scheduled to be completed in 2014, but lack of oversight and rejection of fiscally conservative options has left the hospital still unfinished and $600 million over budget. 

Both hospitals experienced difficulties with construction. All involved in the Parkland Hospital project, however, were held accountable -- project leadership even went as far as hiring a company to monitor spending. The Aurora VA's building designs changed repeatedly and even after a year, the $604 million hospital plan had to be reconstructed and room equipment size was not taken into account. 

Both projects were to improve hospital facilities. One was locally and privately funded, the other a large scale federal undertaking. Parkland hospital is now open, has twice the land area and has 700 more beds. The VA hospital still will not be open until 2017, and cost $500,000 more than the Dallas County project.

Thoughtless federal spending should be curtailed, as this cycle has become all too common. Local involvement, private funding and project accountability could have significantly changed the outcome of the VA hospital remodeling project.

Source:  David Grantham and Jennifer Vermeulen, "Tale of Two Hospitals: Parkland and the Veterans Administration," Townhall, October 28, 2015.

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Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035

August 6, 2015

As Social Security has shifted from a program to protect the elderly from poverty to a potential decades-long income subsidy, current workers and younger generations will inevitably bear the burden of Social Security's drain on the federal budget.

The sooner lawmakers address Social Security's massive and growing cash-flow deficits, the lower the burden will be on current and future workers. Four important reforms could help resolve Social Security's financial shortfall:

  • Fix Social Security's cost-of-living adjustment. Social Security's cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is based on an outdated measure of changes in the cost of living that fails to account for how people react to changes in prices.
  • Raise the early and full retirement ages. Lawmakers should gradually and predictably increase the early and full retirement ages to 65 and 70, and then index both to increases in life expectancy.
  • Focus Social Security benefits on those who need them most. Lawmakers should phase out benefits for retirees with high levels of non-Social Security income and provide a true system of social insurance that focuses on seniors who need it most.
  • Implement a flat benefit structure. Congress should put Social Security benefits on a schedule to gradually arrive at a flat payment structure for those who work more than 35 years. This flat benefit payment should be sufficient to keep eligible seniors out of poverty throughout their retirement. 

Absent reform, Social Security benefits will be cut across the board by 23 percent in 2035. Action should be taken this year to protect Social Security's most vulnerable beneficiaries from such drastic cuts. Lawmakers should immediately focus Social Security benefits on those who need them most, and enable more Americans to save for the future in private retirement accounts.

Source: Romina Boccia, "Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035," Heritage Foundation, July 29, 2015.

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Political Correctness is Evil

President Ronald Reagan and Pope St. John Paul II combined forces to set the stage for the collapse of the iron curtain and freedom for millions. The iron curtain collapsed but communist ideology survived and it learned what it needed to ultimately prevail.

The legal and moral foundation of America, like most of western civilization, is based on Judea/ Christian principles firmly rooted in the Ten Commandments. This is the source of the American sense of fair play and empathy for the less fortunate. The forces of evil have mounted an all out campaign, under the guise of political correctness, to undermine and dilute our moral foundation. As Thomas Jefferson warned “Even under the best form of government, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”. Tyranny is coming our way at light speed.

By using the camouflage of political correctness, the forces of tyranny have removed discussion of religion and thus removed morality from public life under the guise of separation of church and state. It is that removal that is the source of the deterioration of the way of life our forefathers passed to your care. Political correctness has made it illegal for preachers to preach moral issues, redefined by them as political issues, from the pulpit. Unfortunately, most of the religious powers have, out of convenience, surrendered their right to preach and educate their congregations on how political issues and specific politicians align with the Christian foundation of the Ten Commandments. To quote Martin Luther King Jr. “Powerless Pulpits Produce Nations in Bondage”. Truer words were never spoken.

If this country is to be turned from tyranny, it will take someone with extremely strong moral character firmly rooted in the Ten Commandments, along with the firm, vocal, and unwavering support of the Christian’s community. So, as we approach this next election, I plead with voters to ignore all the political noise and vote for the candidate with a track record firmly demonstrated to align with the Ten Commandments.

Ben Di Ponio - Tea Party Patriots of West Oakland County 










Obamacare Number of the Day: $621,000,000,000


In addition, the report by the CMS actuaries debunked the notion that Obamacare helped cause the recent slowdown in health spending—or that the slowdown is likely to continue:

Annual national health spending growth is projected to remain near 4 percent through 2013, primarily as a result of the recent recession and modest recovery. This projection is consistent with the historical relationship between health spending and economic cycles….

Continued slower health spending growth after the recent economic downturn has raised the question of whether a more fundamental change is occurring in the health sector. However, econometric and actuarial analysis by the CMS Office of the Actuary of the past fifty years of National Health Expenditure Accounts data…suggests that health spending growth is likely to accelerate once economic conditions improve significantly.

Instead, the actuaries conclude, the recession and anemic economic recovery bear the bulk of the “credit” for the current slowdown in health spending growth.

Finally, the actuarial report analyzes the sources of some of the increased health spending due to Obamacare. And, as Exhibit 4 (below) notes, one of the fastest sources of growth in the health sector will be “government administration.” Spending on government administration—which includes salaries for federal, state, and local bureaucrats, as well as computer and other overhead costs for government programs—will more than double, rising from $31.1 billion in 2010 (the year Obamacare passed) to $70.4 billion in 2022.


So even as Obamacare is raising overall health spending, despite the lingering effects of the economic recession, more of that spending will pay the salaries of government bureaucrats and regulators. That’s not the kind of change Americans can believe in


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