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You might know the names Taylor Swift, the Jonas brothers, Beyonce, Stephen Colbert, Celine Dion, Green Day, Pink, Bon Jovi, Ringo Starr and Carrie Underwood – all of whom participated in the 2010 Grammys a week ago.
But many who normally read my column might not as easily recognize the name Justin Bieber, at least not yet. He was also one of the Grammys’ presenters. He is a 15-year-old pop star singing sensation. In fact, MTV reported last week, Justin is one of “two of the biggest names in the pop-culture universe at the moment.”
Just a month after cutting his first album, he performed at a charity Christmas concert in Washington with the president and the first lady in attendance. Two weeks ago Justin was also among the 74 music superstars who remade the 25-year-old song, “We are the World,” for a new generation. And this last Thursday, Bieber fever hit Miami as he and Rihanna kicked off weekend events for the NFL Super Bowl .
But it was a couple weeks ago, when I received word that Justin was posting (or tweeting) on Twitter Chuck Norris Facts – those mythical super-hero-type sayings about what people say or think I can do.
Then I heard Justin posted a playful photo of me as “Walker, Texas Ranger” with himself Photoshopped into the image, kneeling next to me. The bubble caption coming out his mouth read, “Buy ‘Baby’! Chuck Norris says you should.” (For those who don’t know, “Baby” is Justin’s new big Top-10 hit single). Last Friday, apparently from Miami, he again Tweeted in jest, “Chuck Norris just called me. He bought BaBY again on ITunes. Beast.”
Another assistant informed me that Justin was even writing Tweets (or messages) on Twitter while attending the 2010 Grammy awards ceremony. Here are the actual Tweets that Justin posted that evening (italics added):
- Wait, who misspells The Beatles?? Oh I know, this guy does. Chuck Norris just reminded me with a roundhouse to my face. My apologies.
- Live on the red carpet at the Grammys!! Just met LL Vool J [sic] and Smokey Robinson!! This is CRAZY. They knew who I was. Can’t believe it.
- Sitting in my seat at the grammy’s wow
- Wow beyonce is so sexy … Pink is amazing. And Chuck Norris is a legend.
- Zac Brown is the man! He was sitting right in front of me and is from ATL! They are awesome. Happy for them. Best New Artist! Congrats!
After the past few weeks of Justin’s posts about me, over 50,000 blogs and news columns started popping up everywhere asking tongue-in-cheek questions like, “Will Justin Bieber and Chuck Norris team up?” “Where is Chuck Norris? Is Justin Bieber in danger?”
First, let me say, I am genuinely flattered, humbled and honored that the Chuck Norris Facts folklore about my persona continues to live on and bring a little levity into people’s often overburdened lives. In fact, it was to encourage and lighten the loads of many Americans, who were enduring tough times, that I consented to write and publish my 101 favorite Facts in my new book, “The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book,” with my accompanying 101 favorite humorous and inspirational stories from my life and careers as an actor, martial-arts expert and concerned citizen. I want to send Justin a copy.
When I think about the environment in America that has provided Bieber and other young people the opportunity to climb the ladder of success, I’m reminded again of the reason I started writing on cultural issues and started my nonprofit organization for at-risk kids, KickStartKids: to fight for the future of America and the future generations who will inhabit it.
“Is Justin Bieber in danger?” Maybe. But definitely not from me.
What threatens Bieber and other youth across the country is a runaway Washington that is heaping upon their generations trillions of dollars in debt that they will have to pay off with their taxes. Like wayward parents who leave a legacy of messes their children have to mop up, they are the future victims of a federal government that in due time will be forcing even young, creative and wealthy entertainers like Justin to pay tomorrow for their out-of-control spending today. That isn’t a prediction or a scare tactic; it’s a future economic fact.
Washington has added a record $1.6 trillion national debt in a single year – unprecedented in the first year among all preceding administrations (including G. W. Bush). And they just voted this past week to borrow another $1.9 trillion!
Washington has increased the national debt to over $12 trillion, just raised the debt ceiling to a historic $14.3 trillion and projects a 2010 end-of-decade debt to top $24.5 trillion, even exceeding the Gross Domestic Product projection for 2019 of $22.8 trillion.
And despite our president confessing to global leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that “debt-driven growth cannot fuel America’s long-term prosperity,” Washington is literally selling America via our increasing international indebtedness to $3.5 trillion – $800 billion in U.S. Government securities to China, followed by Japan with $731 billion and including other smaller nations like Luxembourg, Taiwan, Singapore and Ireland. And those amounts don’t include the additional $1.9 trillion the House and Senate just approved to borrow!
Amazingly, after initiating all that incurred debt, our president said last Monday, “We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don’t have consequences, as if waste doesn’t matter, as if the hard-earned tax dollars can be treated like monopoly money.” To whom is he talking?
The president again spoke out of one side of his mouth a few days later when giving financial advice to the people in New Hampshire, “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”
But he then spoke out the other side of his mouth, when he informed the American public that he was proposing a record-breaking $3.8 trillion budget for 2011 (starting on Oct. 1), which equates to spending $7.3 million a minute. (The federal budget was only $1.9 trillion in 2001.)
Tragically, the president expects Americans to live one financial way (fiscally prudent), and the federal government to live another (extravagantly wild). Not so surprising, Moody’s credit rating agency announced the next day after the president’s 2011 budget proposal release that his fiscal policies “test [America’s] Aaa boundaries” and now push the U.S. government credit ratings below those of Canada, Germany and even France.
Obama’s 2011 budget calls for $2 trillion in higher taxes over 10 years – that’s after accounting for its $154 billion in tax cuts. His 2011 budget will allow the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire for families making over $250,000 a year. What that means, again in due time, for even young, innovative musicians like Justin Bieber, as well as a plethora of other entertainers who actually elected Obama into office, is that their top two marginal tax rates will rise from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent.
Unfortunately, such tax hikes will not help us out of the recession. Actually, they will drive us deeper into economic despair, because they enable Washington’s reckless spending, penalize productivity and often trickle down into higher consumer prices or organizational cuts. I agree with Reps. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., and Mike McMahon, D-N.Y., who wrote in a January letter to Obama, “Allowing these tax rates to expire during this recession runs the risk of curtailing economic expansion just when it begins to pick up and could lead to a ‘double-dip’ recession.”
Washington has an addiction problem, and it’s addicted to debt. But instead of charging it to their own credit, they’re charging it to all hard-working American people and especially the next generations. They radically oppose the sound and prudent fiscal advice of our founders like Thomas Jefferson, who counseled to “put off buying anything until we have the money to pay for it” (Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Currie, 1787). Jefferson also admonished: “The conclusion then, is, that neither the representatives of a nation, nor the whole nation itself assembled, can validly engage debts beyond what they may pay in their own time” (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789).
The bottom line is that Washington is stealing from our posterity. The White House is robbing our children of their future. But the youth have no say so in the matter, beyond our ability to fight for them. That’s what our founders called “taxation without representation” – government forcing others to pay despite their inability to vote, voice opposition or often times even prepare for the fallout from the resulting and impending economic earthquake coming upon them.
Justin Bieber won MTV’s brand new “10 For 10” poll, which seeks to discover the hottest artist for the coming year. Bieber bagged a massive 41 percent of all votes. Considering all the hot rising stars today, that’s pretty impressive. And such popularity will undoubtedly lead to a lot of good as well, and I’m sure many humanitarian efforts throughout his career.
In fact, with Rasmussen Reports citing that only 29 percent of the nation’s voters strongly approve of the way Obama is performing his role as president, after Justin Bieber rules the music world, maybe he should consider a run for the White House.
(For more on how to reawaken America to our founder’s vision and plans for this country, including a chapter on “Stop America’s nightmare of debt,” check out Chuck Norris’s brand new – January 2010 – expanded paperback version of his New York Times best-seller, “Black Belt Patriotism”)