Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Economy
There is nothing that exemplifies the feckless and deleterious effects of government intervention in private enterprise more than the Renewable Fuels Standard. Using the boot of government to mandate that private enterprise use an inefficient product of a special interest to the detriment of consumers and job creators is the worst form of tyranny. James Madison is rolling over in his grave.
Yet, much like Obamacare, the ethanol mandate has become unworkable even from a liberal perspective. Given that most car engines cannot handle more than a 10% ethanol blend, there is simply not enough demand to fill the targeted quota of 18.15 billion gallons in 2014 as prescribed by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). As such, the Obama administration was forced to lower the standard to 15.21 billion gallons.
Many conservatives are heralding this as the first victory over the intractable ethanol lobby. However, rather than celebrate an infinitesimal decrease in the mandate, we should work to repeal the remaining 15 billion gallons worth of statism.
Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers published a study detailing the harmful effects of the ethanol mandate. They found that the increase in food prices from the ethanol mandate costs a restaurant $18,000 per year. Needless to say it hurts the average consumer at the grocery store. When you take 40% of the corn crop and shove it into our engines, it creates an undeniable inflationary effect down the food chain. Had food prices continued on the same downward trend-line since 2005 (when the ethanol mandate was enforced), families would be paying $2,055 less for food every year, according to a study cited by the Heartland Institute.
Only in Washington can the prevailing wisdom dictate that corn be used in our engines instead of on our kitchen tables. Only in Washington can they raise the cost of food for the average family by over $2,000, and then increase spending on food stamps to cover the poverty they engender.
It’s time to kick the ethanol beast while it’s down. If ethanol is really God’s gift to the world, as industry lobbyists suggest, why do we need a government mandate to push their product? Fuel blenders would clamor for it on their own.
The House is considering several good energy bills this week. They should add in a full repeal of the RFS. Do they stand with free markets, consumers, and small businesses or do they stand with Soviet-style central planning and special interests?
Monday, November 18th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, News, Press
For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2013
Contact: Mary Vought
Madison Project PAC Endorses
Colonel Rob Maness for Senate in Louisiana
Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative PAC to endorse Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Matt Bevin (R-KY), announced today that it is supporting Colonel Rob Maness for U.S. Senate against Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in Louisiana.
“Rob Maness provides conservatives with a refreshing change from typical senatorial candidates,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “As a career Air Force officer who fought in combat for our country, constitutional principles are more than just a talking point. With a dearth of courage within the ranks of the Senate GOP Conference, Maness would bring his leadership skills to a group of elitists who know nothing but capitulation and surrender on first principles. His energy and unapologetic Louisianan conservative values are a bold contrast to Landrieu and make him the best candidate to win back this seat for Republicans. We are proud to support Colonel Rob Maness.”
The official endorsement can be viewed here.
Our full report on Sen. Mary Landrieu’s record of supporting big government can be viewed at LandrieutheLiberal.com.
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/
Monday, November 18th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections
As we all suffer the dire consequences of a Congress full of power-hungry politicians in Washington more concerned with their “Beltway status” than the impact of their bad policies back at home, it has become clear that it is time we have the resolve and audacity to start electing more citizen legislators to the U.S. Senate. Why should the Senate function like the House of Lords? Has it served us well? Why not elect more outsiders? Why not elect more people with bona fide leadership qualities such as military officers? Why not elect Colonel Rob Maness in Louisiana?
Next year, conservatives will have a number of solid opportunities to pick up Senate seats from Democrats in conservative-leaning states. Chief among them is Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) who supports 100% of President Obama’s agenda and is completely out of touch with the values of Louisiana.
But as we’ve witnessed from the current crop of GOP senators, it’s worth very little to replace a Democrat with a Republican who refuses to fight the Democrats. Moreover, we learned last cycle from former Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Rick Berg (R-ND), we are not going to beat a well-funded savvy Democrat, even in a red state, with a deadbeat establishment politician who stands for nothing and appeals to nobody. If we don’t step up in support of Rob Maness, and leave the task of defeating Landrieu to the establishment pick, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), we will not win this seat.
In order to beat Mary Landrieu, we need to present voters with a compelling contrast. Bill Cassidy is another trite establishment congressman with no passion for conservatism. He has supported debt ceiling increases, green energy subsidies, and is in favor of clamping down on gun sales. He has been wishy-washy about fighting Obamacare, and has worked with Senator Landrieu to get his ‘fair share’ of Obamacare subsidies for the state. The lines of contrast are so blurred that Cassidy actually donated to Landrieu’s campaign, as well as to Kathleen Blanco against Governor Bobby Jindal. Worse yet, in 1988, he wrote a letter bashing Republicans and endorsing Democrat Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
But more than the fact that Cassidy would just be another yes-man for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and GOP leadership, he is a lackluster candidate. As the Times-Picayune has noted, Cassidy has been missing in action in aggressively pursuing Landrieu on the issues. As she has supported every aspect of Obamacare, amnesty, the abortion and anti-marriage agenda, and endless debt, Cassidy has failed to prosecute the case against her. Even his fundraising is unimpressive for a sitting Member of Congress. Cassidy is not the candidate Louisiana deserves.
This is why we need a bold contrast. This is why we need Rob Maness.
There is no candidate who is more antithetical to a career politician like Mary Landrieu.
Mary Landrieu comes from a family of career politicians but Rob Maness comes from a family of military servicemen. Maness, the son of an Air Force officer, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and signed up when he was 17 years old. He served for 32 years until retiring in 2011 to help his wife, Candy, fight off a bout with breast cancer. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal for his combat service. During his time in the military, he managed to complete Masters’ degrees from Harvard University’s Kennedy School, the Air Command and Staff College, and the U.S. College of Naval Warfare. Rob now has two sons serving in the military.
Despite never serving in elected office, Rob has a better command of all the policy issues than most career politicians. His experience as a squadron commander, Joint Chiefs of Staff Operations Officer, and a family-farm owner have equipped him with the requisite skills to be a principled citizen legislator.
Through several meetings with the candidate, we found him to be uniquely knowledgeable about both national security and free market issues. Not only is he solid on all three legs of the conservative stool, he moves beyond the platitudes to actually tackle tough issues, such as free market reforms for agriculture, flood insurance, and transportation. Maness is one of the few candidates to fill out our survey and pledges on the spot.
Louisiana holds a jungle primary in which all candidates – regardless of party affiliation – are placed on the same ballot next November. The top two vote-getters will head to a runoff a month later if no one secures 50% of the vote. The first step is to make Rob the defacto GOP nominee. He has worked hard to create a competent campaign out of nothing, beginning with zero name recognition. If we want more regular citizens to enter the halls of the U.S. Senate, we must be there for them when they are willing to take the risk and when they need the help the most. We can start now by supporting Rob Maness, and sending a strong message to the big-government politicians in both parties.
Monday, November 18th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Immigration
Last week, in one of the most bizarre columns he’s ever written, George Will inadvertently blew Mitch McConnell’s cover as the prince of amnesty. As Democrats languish from the negative consequences of the Obamacare rollout, and amnesty legislation is left for dead, George Will is looking for a way to revive “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Comparing Mitch McConnell to Henry Clay, the ultimate compromiser, Will suggests that McConnell’s great achievement as Majority Leader- in-waiting would be to pass amnesty and save America from a civil war:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does know. The most important Kentuckian since Henry Clay, McConnell knows that his hero Clay, who was called “the great compromiser,” failed to engineer Senate passage of a comprehensive compromise in 1850. McConnell, who wrote his senior thesis at the University of Louisville on the Compromise of 1850, knows that this was achieved by the canniness of Stephen A. Douglas. His is a name not much mentioned on Capitol Hill since he died in 1861 at age 48.
In 1850, the “Little Giant” — he stood 5 feet 4 — was in his first term as senator from Illinois. He would win his third term in 1859, defeating the tall man who was president when Douglas died. Douglas’s great achievement — the compromises of 1850 — helped save the union by releasing steam from the sectional crisis. This delayed the Civil War — the “irrepressible conflict” — until a decade of immigration and industrialization had made the North more prepared to win it, and until two other Illinois men, Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, emerged.
Putting aside the uncanny comparison to the civil war, George Will is actually dead on about McConnell. He is the King of K Street, and thus, the prince of amnesty. There is no question he would forge a deal to bail out Democrats from their misery were he to become Majority Leader. Although Will never explains why he thinks McConnell would pursue immigration deform, he is very close to the Minority Leader and understands that he is the strongest undocumented supported of Obama’s prized second term initiative.
One thing is clear: you don’t raise the type of money McConnell rakes in every cycle if you oppose the endless supply of cheap labor. It happens to be that so many of McConnell’s associates and alumni work for amnesty groups like Zuckerberg’s PAC or the Chamber of Commerce. They always know he is in their back pocket, but is unable to vocally support them because his Kentucky constituents don’t appreciate illegal immigration.
After voting for the 2006 amnesty, McConnell backed away from the 2007 version as he faced a tough reelection campaign. He ultimately voted against the 2007 amnesty bill. According to Robert Novak, “Not only did the minority leader end up voting against an immigration bill that he said was better than the 2006 version he supported, he abandoned his post, staying off the floor during final stages of the debate.” Also, “McConnell was among six switchers who voted no after the 40 senators needed to kill the bill were recorded.”
Once again, earlier this year, after soliciting Marco Rubio to join the gang and after praising the bill in committee and on K Street, McConnell voted against it.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy, News
There is perhaps no entity of government that has more autonomous power to centrally plan our economy than the Federal Reserve. The endless monetary stimulus, artificially low interest rates, and juicing up the stock market, has devalued the dollar, inflated commodities, distorted the housing market, enabled the growth of government (with cheap borrowing), and redistributed wealth from savers to borrowers. With current Chairman Ben Bernanke stepping down, Republicans must utilize the confirmation process of Janet Yellen to focus attention on the deleterious policies of the Fed.
Today, the Senate Banking Committee will hold its first confirmation hearing on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. As Vice Chair of the Fed, Yellen has been even more zealous in pushing monetary stimulus and interventionist policies than Bernanke. Yet, so many Republicans, including some egg heads at the think tanks (along with K Street), have no problem with a group of unelected bureaucrats led by Yellen distorting the economy to benefit Wall Street and the expansion of government over the rest of the country.
Make no mistake about it: using the Fed as a tool to service debt on the cheap is antithetical to free market values. No conservative can support Janet Yellen.
Let’s put aside the debate over quantitative easing and the currency/commodity issue. What is beyond dispute is that the near-zero interest rates have allowed the Federal government to expand its role into the private economy with relatively little pain. Take a look at this article from the Washington Examiner:
The U.S. government has saved over $1 trillion in debt since 2007 thanks to the actions taken by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy, a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds.
By keeping short-term rates near zero and engaging in large-scale asset purchases known as quantitative easing, the Fed also boosted U.S. banks’ net interest income by $150 billion, the analysis found.
The government profited by being able to issue Treasury debt that pays lower interest rates thanks to the Fed’s stimulus programs. The effective rate on outstanding U.S. debt fell from 4.8 percent in 2007 to 2.4 percent in 2012, according to the study, saving the Treasury $900 billion in interest payments over that time. The Fed also remitted an extra $145 billion in profits to the Treasury during that period.
Some might suggest that this is reason to celebrate. And indeed, from the perspective of the “dollars and cents” budget Republicans, this is a welcome development. Their end goal is just to trim the budget in itself. Accordingly, if they are able to expand government (“compassionate conservatism”) with just a $240 billion annual tab for interest on the debt instead of $500-$700 billion, why not take the initiative?
As we all understand, the main problem with government is not the budgetary cost and the debt (although it will be a problem in the coming generations). The worst aspect of the federal government is that it uses those funds to meddle in the private economy, kill jobs and raise the cost of living (Obamacare, labor and environmental regulations, etc.).
If not for the Federal Reserve acting to service the debt on the cheap, we would immediately actualize the damaging effects of increased spending under large programs like the stimulus and Obamacare. According to Investors’ Business Daily, “If Washington had to pay the average interest now that it paid in 2000 (6.4%), it would be paying $500 billion more each year to stay afloat.”
Consequently, most people would feel the pain of “the free lunch” and realize that it is not so free. Without the Fed’s monetary manipulation, Washington would be forced to raise taxes more outright in order to purvey Obamacare and the free lunch society. Now they can do so simply by monetizing the debt on the cheap.
Additionally, demanding reforms of the Fed is not only good policy, it is good politics. I’m not an advocate of populism just for its own sake. Obviously, we all believe Wall Street and wealthy bankers are entitled to pursue their personal fortunes to their hearts’ content. But when we have a policy issue that vividly shows how anti-free-market policies hurts retirees and savers in order to benefit the well-connected special interests on K Street and Wall Street why not rise to the occasion?
Why stand for unelected and unaccountable manipulation that is the biggest culprit for expansion of government when we can stand for starving the beast?
Why stand with Wall Street banks to pursue unprecedented purchases of long-term assets that induce negative interest rates when we can stand with the “natural order of things” and help seniors?
Why stand with $45 billion in monthly mortgage-backed security purchases, which will distort the housing sector once again, when we can stand with the free market?
Why create a permanent dynamic in which we are locked into market-distorting sugar highs for fear of reprisal from Wall Street if we revert to normalizing our monetary policy?
It is truly incredible that any conservative would oppose commonsense reforms to the Federal Reserve.
**Posted below is my outline from last year of a reform bill from Rep. Kevin Brady and Senator Mike Lee:
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
Today, Politico Magazine published a featured piece on Senator Mitch McConnell and his pursuit of power. This is a must read for anyone who needs a lesson in why the political class in both parties is broken. It is also the definitive read on why McConnell has not ideological core and is a finger lickin’ fraud. Here are some good snippets:
Mitch McConnell has never been a beloved politician. Over the course of his career, he has been likened to everything from a warmed-over vanilla milkshake to “a man with the natural charisma of an oyster.” But for the 71-year-old Kentucky senator, the minority leader of the United States Senate, that has long been an asset, not a failing. His glower has usually been enough to dissuade those who consider crossing him. “He doesn’t say anything. He just sits there and stares at you,” says one person who has felt McConnell’s ire. “It’s bone-chilling.” While most politicians desperately want to be liked, McConnell has relished—and cultivated—his reputation as a villain. After all, he achieved his iron-fisted grip on the politics of his home state and his fractious party on Capitol Hill through discipline, cunning and, oftentimes, fear. Which is why, at the moments that have found him happiest—winning elections, blocking bills, denying the sheen of bipartisanship to President Barack Obama—he has radiated not joy but menace. Stepping to the microphones at a Capitol press conference some years ago, he announced with the slightest trace of a smile, “Darth Vader has arrived.”
“McConnell, whose ideology was power, ”
And yet, for some in the McConnell camp, the partnership with the upstart Paul—and his supporters—is a humiliating arrangement, no matter how necessary. “These are people who tuck their shirts into their underwear,” one prominent Kentucky Republican grouses. “My God, they have Mitch out there coming out for industrial hemp! … It just goes to show you the depths he’s willing to adapt to deal with the party as it is today.” Even for a politician long hailed for his pragmatism
Also, if you want a glimpse into how McConnell lies about his opponents, look no further than his early war against Rand Paul in 2010:
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Economy, Press
As Obamacare hammers the middle class with higher premiums and loss of coverage, Democrats are turning to their age old panic button – demagoguery over the minimum wage. Later this week or next week, the Senate might consider yet another minimum wage increase bill, S. 460. When Pelosi and the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, they raised the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour. The bill would raise the minimum from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 after two years, indexing future increases to the rate of inflation.
With the labor-force participation rate at 62.8%, the lowest since 1978, what better way to crowd out the labor market than by imposing new wage mandates? As we can see, past increases have done nothing to increase household income across the board, and if anything, we have lost more jobs as a result of the mandate.
If Democrats truly believe that these jobs are filled by those who support families, then why stop at $10 an hour? Come on – do they really believe that $10 an hour is a “respectable living wage?” Why not make it $15 or $18 an hour? If government can simply wave a magic wand and increase wages without destroying the job market and the economy, why not make it even higher so everyone can earn a middle-class wage?
The reality is that wage mandates force employers to modify their hiring practices and restructure their production in order to circumvent the mandates. This will be exacerbated by the Obamacare employer mandate, which gives companies a $3,000 incentive not to hire someone for full-time work. With the extra hourly rate increase, employers will have an even bigger reason to reduce hours, and in return, lower productivity and efficiency. Here’s how Jed Graham of Investors’ Business Daily explains it:
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Press
For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2013
Mitch McConnell’s Inconsistent Record on Gun Rights
Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC released the following statement regarding the NRA’s endorsement of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
“It’s sad to see the NRA continue their policy of reflexively endorsing the incumbent in any given race,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “While Mitch McConnell would be a better choice for Second Amendment rights than Alison Lundergan Grimes, he is not the best choice in the race. Mitch McConnell has shown himself to be a fair-weather friend of gun owners over the years and has refused to lead against Sen. Harry Reid’s anti-gun agenda this year as GOP Leader. If not for the leadership of conservatives like Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Senate would have passed a gun control bill this year. If Senator McConnell wins the primary and no longer fears reprisal from conservatives, he will not be a reliable voice against the growing push to limit choices of guns and ammunition.”
Here is a sampling of some of McConnell’s shortcomings on gun rights issues:
- Voted against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Amendment to block authority under Patriot Act to obtain gun records [RC #82, 5/26/11]
- Voted for an amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) prohibiting the sale or transfer of handguns by a licensed manufacturer, importer or dealer unless a secure gun storage or safety device is provided for each handgun. 25 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted against it. [RC #17, 02/26/04]
- Voted for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) amendment to spend taxpayer funds for Department of Education grants used to disseminate a gun control agenda in schools and through public service announcements. [RC #32, 03/02/00]
- Voted for Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) Amendment requiring that all guns be sold with trigger locks [RC#122, 5/18/99]
- Voted for the 1991 Crime Bill (S. 1241), sponsored by then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), that imposed a waiting period for handguns and a ban on 14 types of assault style weapons. [RC #125, 07/11/91]
- Senator McConnell cut a deal with the Democrats to allow all of Obama’s second term nominees to sail through the Senate. Included in that deal was the confirmation of anti-gun zealot Todd Jones to serve as Director of the ATF.
“Matt Bevin will be a consistent voice for the Second Amendment,” continued Ryun. “He will oppose every effort of the left to infringe upon gun rights, including all procedural votes. Bevin is a concealed-carry permit holder and understands the effects of Washington’s heavy-handed efforts to curb gun ownership instead of dealing with the root causes of violent crime. That is why Gun Owners’ of America, the most effective voice for gun owners, endorsed Matt Bevin.”
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/
Thursday, November 7th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Family Values, Issues
If you want a glimpse into the insufferable nature of the Senate GOP and its leaders, study this week’s legislative process over the transgendered trial lawyer employment bill (ENDA).
On Monday, after GOP leaders refused to marshal opposition against cloture, Democrats picked off several new Republican votes. A total of seven Republicans voted for cloture – Susan Collins, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, Orrin Hatch, and Pat Toomey.
What did the members get in return for the vote on cloture? A phony religious liberty protection:
“Senate passage of ENDA seemed more and more likely Wednesday after the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) protecting religious groups exempted under the legislation from government retaliation. That amendment likely secured the vote of several other Republicans pushing for that language, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).” [Politico]
This is a classic one-sided Republican deal. They will vote for a bill mandating the hiring of cross-dressers to any position as long as the government doesn’t retaliate against religious groups. And of course, John McCain was in on it.
Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on one more phony amendment. In exchange for his vote for cloture, Senator Toomey secured a vote to “expand” the religious protections. The underlying bill only exempts those groups whose “purpose and character are primarily religious.” His amendment would expand that to organizations that are partly religious in nature, such as a school that teaches religion for part of the day.
What’s missing from all of this?
Private business owners – religious or otherwise.
If you own a daycare center or any other business and object to the dissolute behavior of a cross-dresser, you are out of luck. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will have full latitude to agitate seminar discrimination complaints and infringe upon private property rights.
Amazingly, even this milquetoast amendment is being subject to a 60-vote threshold. They couldn’t even secure an agreement for a simple majority vote in exchange for ensuring passage of the bill.
The amendment is being co-sponsored by Senator Flake, which means he will join McCain in juicing up the Democrat supermajority.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Economy
Year after year, leftists run for office promising to solve the very problems they helped create with central planning and distorting the private economy. They self-righteously ingratiate themselves to an array of constituencies promising policies that will redistribute wealth and create a utopia for all. Well, 50 years into the so-called war on poverty, and after flushing roughly $20 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending on mean-tested programs, they have nothing to show for it but dependency and perpetuation of their own power.
Throughout the 1950s and early ‘60s, the federal poverty rate declined sharply thanks to the post-WWII economic boom. In 1964, as the poverty rate was tumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the Great Society campaign, ironically declaring an end to “the days of the dole in our country.” Well, as President Reagan noted in 1988, “the federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.”
Sadly, things have only gotten worse since Reagan’s era.
The AP reports that according to a revised census measure released today, the poverty rate has topped 16%, enveloping 49.7 million people. In 1966, the poverty rate was 14.7%. So after spending at least $20 trillion on welfare programs, we have failed to move the needle one inch against poverty. Instead we have perpetuated and exacerbated the problem.
We could have flushed $20 trillion down the toilet and enjoyed the same result sans the dependency and extra Democrat votes. Or as Cato’s Michael Tanner pointed out last year, with the amount we spend on combined federal and state welfare each year, we could write a $61,830 check to every poor family of three.
Unfortunately, when you ponder the real motivation behind the welfare state, it is clear that the war on poverty was a smashing success.