We Must Defeat Republican Highway Bill

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 and is filed under Blog

Here we go again.  Republicans talk incessantly about the need to cut the deficit, yet that are once again proposing a policy that will actually augment the deficit.

On March 31, authorization for transportation spending, along with its accompanying revenue source – the federal gasoline tax – is set to expire.  Republicans in the House and a bipartisan group in the Senate have introduced dueling proposals to fund long-term transportation projects, in lieu of the short-term bills that have been enacted since 2007.  Unfortunately, the Republican House bill is not much better than the Senate bill.

One need not be a staunch conservative to appreciate how inane it is to collect gasoline taxes from all 50 states into one pool, only to be doled out randomly for every state’s personal transportation project.  Ever since the Interstate Highway System was completed almost 20 years ago, there has been no rational purpose for the current top-down federal control over transportation.  Successive congresses have diverted as much as 38% of the gas tax revenue to mass transit projects and wasteful endeavors for specific states.  The net result is that some states are donors (contribute more), while other states are recipients (receive more in funding than they contribute).

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Obama Underestimated 2012 Deficit by About Half a Trillion

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 and is filed under News

Remember Obama’s first budget in which he promised “A New Era of Responsibility?”  This is what three years of stimulus does to the budget.

The Real Problem With Romney’s Comments

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 and is filed under Blog

Yesterday, Mitt Romney caused a stir when he made the following remarks about the poor during an interview with CNN:

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Following this comment, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien prodded Romney to clarify his remarks.

“We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor…. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus…. The middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”

The media, Democrats, and many Republicans are painting him as out-of-touch, while expressing their concern that he is apathetic to the plight of the poor.  However, they are missing the point.  The real outrage is not that he doesn’t want to do more for the poor; it’s that he thinks they are taken care of with the welfare state.  Worse, he believes that the welfare state is, more or less, functioning properly.  Fear not, ‘any minor glitches would be repaired by Mr. Fix It.

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The Government is Playing Hide and Seek With Airfare Taxes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under Blog

When purchasing a product or service, we all like to see the itemized list of charges – one that separates the cost of the purchase from the share going to Uncle Sam through the form of taxes and fees.  Needless to say, government bureaucrats don’t like that.  They desire that we remain blissfully ignorant of government’s burden on our everyday lives.  This is one reason why they concocted the withholdings scheme for income tax collection.  Now, they are expanding their tentacles into commercial taxes so they can obfuscate the magnitude of taxes and fees on airfare purchases.

Without much fanfare, the Department of Transportation (DOT) enacted a rule which requires airlines to ensconce all government taxes and fees in a single total advertised price with the fare.  For example, if you purchase a $350 plane ticket with $50 of taxes and fees, the DOT is demanding that the airline advertise the price as $400.  Airline passengers pay over a dozen taxes and fees on any given airplane ticket, but the government doesn’t want us to know that.  The rule was finalized last April, but only took effect last week.

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Conservative House Members Return $1.4 Million From Office Budgets

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under Blog

Today, 8 conservative House members sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner announcing that they will return $1.435 million in savings from their House offices.  The money that was returned  ranged from $145,000 to $300,000 per office.

Now, we all understand that in terms of dollars and cents, this is merely pocket change relative to the federal deficit.  Nonetheless, it shows a high level of sincerity from these members, who are willing to lead by example.

Congressional staffers, unlike most executive branch workers, are often underpaid, even though they work long hours.  Republicans already agreed to a 5% across-the-board cut for staff salaries.  So this is not just a gratuitous empty gesture on the part of these members.

Here are the names of the signators to the letter:  Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Raul Labrador (R-Id), Jeff Landry (R-La), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan).

Obama to Bailout All Homes Under Water

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under News

It is astounding how this man desires to double down on policies that have not only failed to revive the housing market, but have precluded it from bottoming out and recovering.

The Earmarxists are Back

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under Blog

It’s another week in the Senate, and there’s another battle over earmarks.  Senators Toomey and McCaskill are proposing an amendment to the STOCK Act (“insider trading bill”S. 2038) to permanently ban earmarks in the Senate.  Not surprisingly, there is pushback from Harry Reid…and a number of Republicans as well.

As always, there are those who argue that earmarks are just inconsequential “drop in the bucket” expenditures; that we must focus on more impactful issues.  This from Senator Cornyn:

He continued, “I wish we would focus on what the American people are most concerned about rather than some of these other issues that have their importance but are tangential to the main issues we ought to be focused on.”

“I think we ought to [instead] be looking at other ways to … address people’s concerns about jobs and the debt,” Cornyn said.

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Scott Walker, Wisconsin and the Unions

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under News

Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal wrote that the Walker recall election in Wisconsin, if there are actually enough legitimate signatures, could be the most important non-Presidential election in a decade. Moore is absolutely right. Despite Walker’s reforms now shifting Wisconsin from a $3 billion deficit to a $300 million surplus, despite adding 10,000 jobs for the state in 2011, and the fact that Walker’s Budget Repair Bill helped prevent thousands of layoffs in tough economic times, everyone knows the recall has everything to do with Walker daring to challenge the unions’ power.

Everyone also knows that the recall election, should it happen, with have one of two effects: if Walker wins, it will empower other state executives to continue to bring this kind of reform to their states. If he loses, it will have a chilling effect on reform. Right now, the Huffington Post reports polls are showing Walker winning by 6 to 10 points against any of the proposed Democrat opponents, and the fact of the matter is, despite tens of millions of dollars being poured into the state, the unions are 0-3 over the last year: Budget Repair Bill, the Supreme Court race and the Senate recall elections. With Scott Walker’s campaign doing well on fundraising, and the fact that unions will have to decide whether they spend upwards of $30-50 million in the spring of 2012 versus saving it for the Presidential in the fall (I do think they drop millions into a Walker recall, but not as much as if it were 2013), I’m optimistic the unions will go 0-4 at this point.

You Can’t Beat Somebody With Nobody

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 and is filed under Blog

The media and Republican establishment are agog with glee over Mitt Romney’s landslide victory in Florida.  They will undoubtedly view the results as a sign that the Republican base has coalesced around Romney, or at the very least, deemed him a satisfactory nominee.  The reality is that Romney won by default; there was no conservative challenger.  Instead of attacking Romney from the right, Gingrich assailed Romney for his wealth and for his “hardline” view on illegal immigration.  He also spoke of creating a lunar colony.  Instead of articulating a pure conservative vision, he complained about Romney’s negative ads.  Oh, and he was outspent by 65:1 on TV ads.

Bottom line: conservatism was not on the ballot in Florida.  However, a glimpse into the exit polling data shows that conservatives really wish that a true conservative were on the ballot.  57% of voters expressed their desire for someone else to run for the nomination.  This is not the beginning of the election cycle anymore.  We are well into the primaries, and 57% is a very high number of people who would chose someone else.  It’s also important to note than turnout for last night’s primary was actually lower than in 2008, a year when Republicans were largely dispirited.

At this point, there is nobody on the ballot who is articulating conservatism.  The best outcome would be a scenario in which no candidate gets a majority of delegates, paving the road for a new candidate at the convention.  It is quite unlikely, but it is definitely something to think about.

Moreover, the degeneration of the presidential election should serve as a motivator for all of us to work as hard as possible to elect conservatives to Congress.