Memo to GOP: This is an issue that resonates with all voters and cuts to the core of the food stamp presidency. Last week, Obama announced that he would issue waivers suspending the requirement that recipients of cash welfare be working or actively looking for a job. Rasmussen reports that only 7% of the public supports Obama, while 83% support the bipartisan welfare reform work requirements. This is something that Republicans must push to the brink. They should immediately pass it in the House and force a vote in the Senate, making Democrats go on record as standing with Obama or with the “83 percent.”
Last night there were runoff elections in North Carolina. First for the good news, conservative Mark Meadows handily won his race for the Republican nomination in NC-11. We were proud to endorse him and will continue supporting him in the general election in an effort to pick up this seat currently held by the Democrats. The sad news is that the establishment – the forces that blur the distinction between the two parties – won in district 7, with Richard Hudson defeating Scott Keadle for the GOP nomination.
As someone who has followed every detail of legislative affairs over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that we have serious problems within the Republican Party. It’s not just a matter of a few RINOs. The party is filled with people who stand for nothing aside for the pursuit of power. Those who desire to fight for our founding principles are in a minority and are at a dramatic disadvantage in terms of time, treasure, and talent needed to win elections. Scott launched an uphill battle against someone who is bought and paid for by the Republican establishment, and we are proud to have stood with a man of principle.
Richard Hudson had the advantage of having no record as an elected official, even though he has worked for and associated with establishment figures for years. As we’ve noted many times, establishment figures don’t run as establishment figures. They will never promise to raise the debt ceiling or vote for trillion dollar spending bills. In fact, they run to the right of their conservative opponents during the primaries, further muddling the distinction for the overwhelming majority of voters who are not steeped in “inside baseball” knowledge of politics.
Hudson took full advantage of his clean slate and ran as a red meat conservative. He had Eric Cantor’s leadership PAC spend $425,000 painting Keadle – one of the most conservative candidates of this election cycle – as a liberal. Hudson won fair and square, and we wish him well against Democrat Larry Kissell in November. We hope he wins in November, and we will hold him to account for keeping his campaign promises.
We often find ourselves lamenting the fact that there are only a few dozen principled conservatives out of several hundred on Capitol Hill. Well, this is why. It all boils down to primary elections, and the bad guys have most of the time, treasure, and talent to portray themselves as conservatives. While there are only roughly 35 real conservatives on the Hill, well over 200 of them sell themselves as conservatives during primary elections. We will not change the trajectory of Washington if we keep falling into this trap.
Our next stop is Texas, where Ted Cruz – our best Senate candidate of the cycle – will square off against David Dewhurst in two weeks. The dynamic is the same. To anyone who knows the candidates, their backgrounds, and their political associations, it is incontrovertibly clear that Ted Cruz will be another Jim DeMint and David Dewhurst will be another Mitch McConnell. But you’ll never hear an ad from him with the following disclaimer: “I’m David Dewhurst, moderate from Texas, and I’m running for Senate because we need more moderates who will stand with Mitch McConnell against extremists like Cruz and DeMint.” Quite the contrary, Dewhurst has used all his money to evince a conservative image while painting Cruz as a pro-amnesty, China-loving pinko liberal!
Those of us in the liberty-loving community need to decide if we’re down for the struggle or not. Conservative candidates will not win on their own. The establishment Republicans will make sure of that. We must take back our party and then take back our country. Those of us in Texas must go door-to-door to canvas votes for Ted Cruz. Those of us out of state can make phone calls and help fund the effort to combat Dewhurst’s lies.
What are you willing to do to defend the cause of freedom?
Talk about two peas in a pod. Liberal former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert endorsed moderate David Dewhurst last night in the Texas Senate race. Let’s just say that a man who marched in gay pride parades is not exactly the time of person who will rally the base behind Dewhurst. Then again, that is probably the best he can do to distract from his dismal debate performance last night.
It’s bad enough that government regulations and environmental legal defense groups have prevented us from building oil refineries for over 30 years. It’s even worse when the existing ones are forced to blend fuel mixtures that don’t exist.
We are all painfully aware of the Soviet style mandate that requires 10% of petroleum to be comprised of ethanol. This unconstitutional mandate has killed jobs, driven up the cost of fuel and food, lowered gas mileage, and damaged car engines – all to benefit corporate cronies in Big Ag. This odious fuel source is primarily made from corn. But since 2010, the EPA has mandated the blending of more than 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel into the nation’s fuel supply. The problem is that while creating efficacious fuel from grass, wood, and algae might sound great in theory, it doesn’t exist on the commercial fuel market.
On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed a disastrous socialist energy bill that contained numerous green energy mandates and subsidies. It also banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs. The “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” passed with support from 39 Republican senators and 95 Republican congressmen. It created a Renewable Fuels Mandate requiring that 22 billion gallons of renewables be blended into our gasoline supply by 2016 and 36 billion gallons by 2022. The bill also created a few sub-mandates, one of which required a blend of 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel by 2010, rising to 250 million in 2011, 500 million in 2012, and 16 billion by 2022. The bill also established a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon produced.
Despite the tremendous tailwinds of tax credits and the boot of the government used to force fuel blenders to purchase cellulosic fuels, the industry has failed to perform magic and become commercially viable during the past 5 years. Some of the plants that were given subsidies to produce this phantom fuel were never even built. Yes – this is a scandal far worse than Solyndra.
What is even more scandalous is that oil companies are forced to pay a tax for not blending this phantom fuel!
One of the biggest lies peddled by the Obama administration is that they have never raised taxes on those earning less than $200,000 a year. As we noted last week, Obama has indeed raised tax on the middle class, including those in the form of pernicious hidden costs on vital goods and services. One of the biggest treasure troves of tax increases can be found in Obamacare.
Aside for the obvious taxes embedded in the leviathan (individual mandate, medical device tax, 40% excise tax on health insurance plans), Obamacare will impel large tax increases on a state level in order to set up the healthcare exchanges mandated under the law.
Obamacare requires that all states set up health care exchanges to service those who need to purchase insurance as required under the individual mandate by 2014. Here’s the subterfuge. Although the federal government will fund those exchanges in 2014, states will be left holding the bag for the subsequent years. As we all know, states are scrapped for cash and will need to find more revenue to fund those exchanges. Where will that revenue come from? All of us.
Here is a report from the Washington Examiner on the plans to raise taxes in Maryland, the land of a thousand taxes, in order to pay for Obamacare:
This election cycle, Michigan’s 11th district might prove to be the biggest gift to conservatives. This oddly shaped district, which covers parts of Oakland and Wayne counties in eastern Michigan, was represented by the quirky, pro-labor Thad McCotter for the past decade. Nobody paid attention to this district, assuming that this Republican Main Street Partnership member would easily coast to reelection. But his political career met an untimely demise when he failed to garner the requisite signatures to get on the ballot for the primary in August. Last week, McCotter announced his resignation from Congress altogether.
When we say that nobody paid attention to this district, we mean everyone except for Kerry Bentivolio. Long before anyone ever envisioned McCotter’s untimely political demise, Kerry embarked on the arduous task of challenging an entrenched, moderate Republican from the right. Kerry is the archetypical Tea Party candidate. He was never elected to political office, yet he always had a deep understanding of the Constitution and an encompassing view of conservatism and free markets.
One would think that Kerry would have the nomination all to himself following the resignation of Thad McCotter. After all, he’s the only one on the ballot. Bentivolio also has a huge ground operation that is ready for a general election. Unfortunately, local party bosses could not handle a conservative outsider and rancher like Bentivolio. They decided to have tax-hiking state Sen. Nancy Cassis run as a write-in candidate with the backing of McCotter.
Now the saga has become even more bizarre. After the August 7 general election to fill the seat in the 113th Congress, voters will go to the polls to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. The special election primary will be held on September 5 and the general election will be held in November along with the national election. The state will spend millions of dollars to seat a new member for the lame duck session – a session conservatives should seek to block in the first place. Moreover, the special election to fill the current term, which will be held after the election for the next term, will be held within the old district lines. Nancy Cassis will be on the ballot for the special election.
This is something we’ve learned to expect from the United Nations. The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran was elected to the 15-member general committee of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty conference. Hey, at least they bring a wealth of expertise in the field.
Over the next few months, we will be inundated with media-contrived polling data suggesting that Americans want to raise taxes on the rich. The reality is that it all depends on the wording of the question. That’s why, to a large degree, issue polling is very tenuous. For example, here is a poll from McClatchy that finds that a majority support extending the tax rates for all Americans, including the rich (52-43%). And this is a poll of registered voters, not likely voters who are more conservative.
Last week, the House Agriculture Committee marked up the preposterous $957 billion farm/food stamp bill (H.R. 6083). Despite the media reports about severe cuts to the food stamp program, this bill actually locks in the appalling levels of spending established in the Obama-era. In many respects, the committee votes from last week shed light on the problem we have with many red state statists within the Republican Party.
Once again, we put together a voting record spreadsheet of the major committee votes on the bill at ConservativeVoting Records.com (download spread sheet here). This will become a regular feature for major committee markups. Here are the amendments we scored:
- Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to phase out sugar price supports and import restrictions, which increase the cost of most food products while enriching a few special interests. It was defeated 10-36.
- Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to strike a New Deal-style program that limits dairy production when prices drop below a specific level. Even John Boehner called this a “Soviet style” price support program. It was defeated 17-29.
- Rep. Tim Huelskamp amendment to cut an additional $35 billion from food stamps. These cuts were actually already approved by the committee in the spring as part of the House GOP effort to replace the sequester, pursuant to the reconciliation instructions prescribed in the Ryan budget. Nevertheless, this effort was defeated 13-33.
- Rep. Martha Roby amendment that would require food stamp beneficiaries to provide proof of payment of utility bills in order to be eligible for the income deduction that lowers the threshold of income to be eligible for food stamps. At present, many states mail out small cash assistance payments for utilities in order to lower the income of those recipients and sign up more people for food stamps. This is a no brainer provision that Senator Sessions tried to slip in the Senate bill, but was rebuffed by Democrats. One would expect that with a 26-20 Republican majority on the committee, commonsense would prevail. But 7 Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat it 17-27.
It’s incontrovertibly clear that we are suffering through the most protracted period of economic stagnation since the Great Depression. GDP growth, joblessness, housing prices, and retail sales have never been this dismal so far after the end of a recession. So why is the economy not recovering? Aside for the big ticket items, such as Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, and the uncertainty surrounding Obama’s tax cliff at the end of the here, here is a macro look at the regulatory behemoth, as presented by the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
- 84 new final rules were published last week, down from 71 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation precisely every 2 hours — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- All in all, 2,144 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
- If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 4,024 new rules.
- 1,412 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 40,596 pages.
- At its current pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 75,178 pages.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 25 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $14.5 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.
- No economically significant rule was published last week.
- So far, 216 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
- So far this year, 386 final rules affect small businesses. 59 of them are significant rules.
We will never recover unless this albatross around the collective necks of business owners is lifted. Mitt Romney must commit to a moratorium on all new regulations and an audit of all regulations implemented over the Bush and Obama years.