Paul Ryan’s Busy Week

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Family Values, Immigration, News, Taxes

Here are the rhetorical accomplishments this week of one of the biggest “stars” in GOP politics.

Joining in mass amnesty with a radical Democrat

On Monday, Paul Ryan joined Luis Gutierrez at a rally in Chicago to promote immigration reform.

“A sweeping immigration bill that would provide a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week,” WBEZ reporter Alex Keefe notes. “Gutierrez said he and Ryan are in the process of drafting a House bill.”

According to Keefe, Ryan “stressed that changing the “broken” immigration system goes along with quintessentially Republican ideals. He pointed to his own family’s immigration from Ireland during the Great Famine.”

Promoting Gay Adoptions

“I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple – I think if a person wants to love and raise a child, they ought to be able to do that. Period. I would vote that way. I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman; we just respectfully disagree on that issue,” Ryan said.

It’s funny because Ryan believes that children who were brought here illegally “of no fault of their own” should be given citizenship and welfare.  What about the children who are forced to grow up in a licentious, dysfunctional home of no fault of their own?

Online Sales Tax

Paul Ryan now supports the concept of a online sales tax.  Aside for some technicalities of the current bill, he has no problems with raising taxes and instituting taxation without representation across state lines.

Folks, we’re in a world of hurt.  When do you ever have a prominent Democrat come out one week and evolve on a major issue in favor of conservatives, support massive tax cuts, and join with conservatives on a major right-wing initiative?

There is a reason why we are losing this game.  We have no men on the field.

Welcome to Budget Irony Week

Monday, March 18th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt

It’s ironic to see Republicans speak so passionately about this year’s Ryan budget, even as they simultaneously vote to vitiate last year’s Ryan budget with the CR.

Every Republican in Washington will give lip service to the importance of balanced budgets and cutting spending as they vote to pass the House budget for FY 2014 this week.  The RSC has introduced an even more aggressive budget.  The budget would balance in just 4 years and trim spending to 18.5% of GDP.  It would cut discretionary spending below FY 2008 levels, gradually raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, and phase-in Medicare premium support more quickly than the Ryan budget.  Moreover, it would not rely on the Obamacare and fiscal cliff tax hikes in order to achieve balance.

Many members will support this budget and hide behind a document that has no force of law in order to burnish their conservative credentials and stave off any attempted primary challenge next year.  But we all understand that both budgets are meaningless if those who support them refuse to stand behind any of the principles laid out in the budget when it counts.

Ultimately, leaders in both parties will wind up funding government for the next fiscal year (beginning October 1.) with a CR or an omnibus bill that looks nothing like the Ryan budget.  So while many Republicans will act like heroes voting for the Ryan budget, and possibly even the RSC budget, very few of them will commit to voting against the final CR or omnibus late this summer.  That final budget bill will ultimately fund Obamacare and eschew every major reform set forth in the Ryan budget resolution.

Read More

Ryan Budget: Balancing with More Taxes

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes

Paul Ryan released his budget proposal for FY 2014 today, and as expected, it will balance within 10 years.  Let me first say that this budget would be superior to the status quo a million times over.  Medicaid and Food Stamps would be block granted to the states and Medicare would be subject to at least some free market reforms.  Most importantly, it defunds the Obamacare programs.  If Republicans would only fight for this budget during the debt ceiling fisticuffs, many conservatives would be more than satisfied.

However, as we’ve been showing over the past few weeks, there is a difference between balancing a budget and limiting government.  Balancing a budget is all about accounting.  You can coalesce enough small cuts across many programs and come up with a big number, without ever eliminating many of the 2189 federal government assistance programs.  I’m not sure how many of them would be abolished under this budget.

Moreover, an exclusive focus on balancing budgets instead of limiting government leads one to begin using every desperate accounting measure to achieve that balance.  Most prominently, we start factoring in optimistic revenue projections from economic growth and new tax hikes.

Last year, the Ryan budget proposed for FY 2013 didn’t balance until 2040.  This one balances in 10 years.  What changed?  You might think that this budget contains many new reforms and downsizing of government.  However, it is essentially the same budget.  Let’s compare the 10-year revenue and outlay figures of the two budgets:

FY 2013

Outlays: $40.135 trillion

Revenues: $37.008 trillion

FY 2014

Outlays: $41.466 trillion

Revenues: $40.241 trillion

Here is a comparison of the outlays by major category for the two budgets:

As you can see, this year’s budget actually spends more money, while all of the balance is achieved through $3.233 trillion in new revenues.   Spending increases an average 3.4% per year in this budget; last year’s budget increased spending by 3.1% per year.  Now, granted that the new budget goes from 2014-2023 while the last budget covered 2013-2022, meaning that this one contains an additional out year when there will be more baby boomer retirees.  That is why there is more spending.  But the balance is achieved by including the $618 billion in Obama/McConnell fiscal cliff tax hikes, $1 trillion in obamacare tax hikes, and a more optimistic revenue projection into the baseline.

There is nothing particularly wrong with the last point; it’s just that we should not be fooled into thinking that this year’s budget is somehow radically different from last year’s budget.  If you didn’t like last year’s budget, this one is pretty much the same; it just uses tax hikes and new revenue projections to balance.

Consequently, conservatives who agreed to vote to suspend the debt ceiling in January and pass a CR that funded Obamacare – all in return for a 10-year balanced budget – should be asking themselves the following question.  Why was last year’s Ryan budget underwhelming in their estimation, yet this year’s budget is so magnanimous that it was worth signing the “Williamsburg Accord” with leadership and sell out on the debt ceiling and CR?  I can respect someone who liked last year’s budget.  It definitely is a lot better than the status quo. But this budget is essentially identical, albeit with $3.3 trillion in more tax revenue.

So House conservatives essentially voted to suspend the debt ceiling on condition that leadership introduce the same budget with tax hikes.  Now, the Ryan budget does call for pro-growth tax cuts that are not included in the static scoring of the bill.  However, were we to bake those tax cuts into the baseline, the budget would not balance.

Again, tax cuts are a good thing, and should not be avoided just to show a statically balanced budget.  I would rather the same budget without the tax hikes (or with the Ryan tax cuts), even if it wouldn’t balance statically.  This just goes to show that there is no way to truly balance a budget in a pro-growth way without actually eliminating programs and agencies that are unconstitutional, devolving things like transportation and education to the states, and charting many other functions on a course to privatization.  You can’t have it both ways.
Balancing the budget is not an end in itself; it is a means of downsizing government.

What’s the Point of the Ryan Budget?

Monday, March 11th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Obamacare

This week the House and Senate will focus on spending measures for two different years, but they are both intertwined.  The Senate will vote on the House-passed CR to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, while the House will introduce the “Ryan” budget resolution for FY 2014.

With much anticipation and gusto, Paul Ryan will release his budget this week – one that is expected to balance in 10 years.  In order to do so, it will presumably zero out funding for Obamacare.  Conservatives on an off the hill will offer profuse accolades for Ryan and his budget.  And rightfully so.  This budget, while imperfect (it uses Obama’s tax hikes to balance), will represent a paradigm shift from the current fiscal trajectory into Greece on steroids.  Conservatives will pour over the budget and express glee over each item as if it were some Christmas wish list.

Unfortunately, there is one disturbing point that will be overlooked through the hullabaloo over the budget resolution – we’ve been here before.  And if the past is a good indication of the future, conservatives will be disappointed.

In 2011, Paul Ryan introduced a pretty good budget for FY 2012.  We were told at the time to hold back on the FY 2011 CR because “wait until the Ryan budget, and we’ll defund Obamacare and cut trillions.”  Well, we waited for the Ryan budget, and Republicans never had any intention of standing behind it.  They eventually passed Harry Reid’s omnibus bill, which increased spending and obviously left Obamacare intact.

It’s really very simple, folks.  You can unilaterally craft a budget that balances in 10 years, 5 years, or one year.  It is irrelevant unless you plan to use the debt ceiling or budget deadline as leverage to force through a major element of that budget.

Oh, but we can’t “govern” from the House, can we?  Tell that to the Gingrich-era House, which fought a moderate Senate and a Democrat president to enact welfare reform and spending cuts.  Clinton knew that Republicans meant business and were willing to engage in brinkmanship.  And no, Republicans did not lose the ’96 elections because of the government shutdown.  I think a man named Bob Dole had something to do with that (they also picked up two seats in the Senate).

Back in 1995, we only had $4.5 trillion in debt, the dependency state was a fraction of its current size, and Obamacare did not exist.  Anyone who is serious about saving this country must be willing to fight at least as hard as the Republicans did in the ‘90s.  Perforce, if Republicans continue to telegraph the message to Democrats that they are terrified of engaging in brinkmanship, the Ryan budget is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Read More

Regarding Immigration Proposals, Beware of Your Opponents’ Motivation

Monday, January 28th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Economy, Immigration

The subject of immigration (and evidently, illegal immigration) has proven to be a divisive issue for conservatives.  There are divergent opinions as to which policies should be pursued vis-à-vis the 12 million illegal immigrants who reside in the country.  However, as conservatives, there are certain fundamental goals and red lines that we should all unite behind as we commence debate on this issue.  Any so-called comprehensive immigration reform proposal that is worth more than a bucket of spit must ensure the following:

  • we are not saddled with 12 million new consumers of the welfare state;
  • we don’t have 12 million new Democrat voters;
  • those receiving the amnesty will not have the ability to spawn chain migration;
  • before any amnesty is implemented, there is a complete establishment of visa tracking, border control, and mandatory E-verify to ensure that this won’t create another ‘Charlie Brown with the football’ scenario of more waves of illegal immigration;
  • our legal immigration system move towards a merit-based process that favors high-skill immigrants instead of the current “Kennedy” system that is random and tendentious towards low-skilled immigrants.

Undoubtedly, Republican negotiators of reform proposals, like Marco Rubio, are well-intentioned in their desire to solve a serious problem with thoughtful solutions.  However, if they are really committed to advancing conservative solutions and addressing conservative concerns about the immigration system, they must understand the adversity we all face with our Democrat opponents on this issue.  Their proposals must be crafted to work not just in a world full of Marco Rubios and Paul Ryans, but in a political system full of Luis Gutierrezs and a judicial sphere full of ACLU and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)  types.  Hence, when proposing immigration bills, to know thy enemy is key.

Democrats like Luis Gutierrezs and Chuck Schumer believe that all 7 billion people in the world are born with a God-given right to immigrate to the United States.  When they speak of “our broken immigration system,” they are not bemoaning our policies that are biased towards low-skilled immigration; they are complaining that our generous acceptance of over 1 million new immigrants every year, predominantly from the third world, is not enough.  As such, they believe that illegal immigration is a natural and justified result of our refusal to let in even more low-skilled immigrants than we have already admitted over the past two decades.  They believe that our unwillingness to immediately grant them amnesty is a violation of their natural rights, and is a reflection of our sinister bigotry towards others.

Read More

Conservatives Must Beware Paul Ryan

Monday, October 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

If and when Romney becomes our president-elect, we must temper our euphoria with level-headed vigilance over Romney’s policy agenda.  One particular threat we must confront will be Romney’s attempt to disarm House conservatives by deploying Paul Ryan to keep them in line.

Last week, Politico published an article detailing the strategy for Romney’s first few months in office, based on interviews with campaign staff.  There is a lot of disturbing information in the article, but this one is the most disconcerting:

One of the biggest worries for a Romney administration, according to the aides, will be keeping conservative lawmakers happy when the most urgent task, dealing with the nation’s fiscal emergency, is going to immediately alienate the loud, powerful wing of House Republicans that is resistant to raising revenues, even though their leaders recognize it is a mathematical necessity.

That would be the most urgent task for a Vice President Paul Ryan, who has credibility with the tea party wing of House Republicans from his stint as a reformist House Budget Committee chairman.

“We’re going to come in and need to be able to do a lot of things that aren’t easy to do,” the official said. “Ryan is going to have to help keep the conservatives at bay and on the field. Some of them are going to expect us to come in and do a lot of things that we aren’t going to be able to do.”

Of course, this comes as no surprise to our readers and activists.  When Romney initially tapped Ryan as his running mate, we offered robust applause for his bold move, but articulated our concerns with him as well.  While Ryan is an indefatigable and articulate spokesman for limited government and free markets, his voting record doesn’t always reflect that.  In fact, he was one of only 6 Republicans to vote for every bailout.  It’s not that he’s insincere about his convictions, it’s just that he buys into the Washington deal-making mentality.  When the rubber meets the road, he feels that we must cut deals with Democrats, even if they completely abjure the very principles he so passionately defends.

Read More

The Petulant Circus Clown Drowns Out any Substance

Friday, October 12th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Family Values, Foreign Policy

Was Joe Biden on drugs or did he use Al Gore for his debate prep?

That’s the question anyone viewing the debate on TV should be asking.

Biden’s appalling petulant behavior, in conjunction with the moderator’s refusal to moderate the debate instead of debate the debate, allowed Biden to get out of control and make a clown of himself.  That is all anyone will remember.  The laughing, flailing, sighing, interrupting, smug and condescending demeanor, etc.  Taken as a whole, it’s hard to imagine that after weeks of practice he was unable to control his disposition for 90 minutes.

There’s a difference between passion and petulant anger, and Biden clearly exhibited the latter.  That is what will be remembered by the average voter.  Unfortunately, the lack of a coherent debate format, along with so much time spent on foreign policy, probably caused most voters to tune out the substance.  With Biden interrupting Ryan 86 times, and Martha Raddatz jumping in during the rest of his time, Ryan only had a few opportunities to shine, unlike Obama who actually spoke for more time during last week’s debate, despite Romney’s domination.  As such, he didn’t have an opportunity to win the debate outright.  But that won’t matter.  The rest of the analysis is just for the politicos.

In terms of substance, here are some observations:

Read More

Obama Supports Traffic Congestion

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

Through Obama’s truculent special interest campaign of division and derision, he is rapidly exhausting his check list of demographic groups.  He’s already targeted women, Hispanics, gays, blue collar workers, and all sorts of minorities.  Now he is going after the ‘commuter vote’ in northern Virginia.

Politico is reporting that Obama is up with a 60-second radio spot in northern Virginia claiming that Paul Ryan’s budget will exacerbate the traffic problems in the sprawling D.C suburbs:

The 60-second radio bit imitates a local traffic report and targets congested routes oft-cursed by northern Virginians: Interstates 395 and 66. The area is part of the sprawling D.C. region and consistently rated as having some of the nation’s worst traffic.

“Could things get any worse?” the faux anchor asks of another broadcaster, who replies, “Paul Ryan put forward a budget plan that slashes investments in road and infrastructure projects.” The two then agree that the Ryan’s “budget plan devastates infrastructure and roads projects.”

The ad also highlights the House Budget chairman’s opposition to “bridge repair and safety bills,” referring to votes against a bridge repair bill written in the aftermath of the 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the 2009 stimulus package and a 2011 appropriations bill written by Democrats.

The problem is that it’s actually Obama’s intransigent support of a top-down federally-run highway policy that is encumbering traffic, stifling innovation, and preventing states from taking control of their own destiny.

Read More

Standing on Principle and Staring Down the School Yard Bully

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

Had you taken a poll of GOP consultants prior to and immediately following the selection of Paul Ryan as VP candidate, their views would have been quite pessimistic about the choice.  After all, they would contend, won’t Ryan’s views on Medicare blow our lead with seniors and sink our chances to defeat Obama?

Less than two weeks later, we now see that the opposite has occurred.  PPP now joins Rasmussen in showing Romney with a small lead in Wisconsin, a state Republicans have not won since 1984.  More than any other state, Wisconsin shows the imprint of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate.

One of the major shifts in the poll is the fact that Ryan has united virtually all Republicans behind Romney.  He gained 10 points among Republicans, going from 87-9 to 93-5.  Also, Obama’s lead among Independents shrunk from 14 points to 4 points.   Additionally, Republicans now have an intensity edge that forecasts a model of +2 Republican turnout, as opposed to the +6 Democrat turnout in 2008.

But most importantly, Romney leads Obama 52-43 among seniors.

In other news, there is a Democrat poll out today that shows Romney up by 4% in Michigan.  It will be interesting to see if other polls show parallel results.

Read More

The “Extreme” Ryan Budget

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Debt

In the coming days, we will invariably be subjected to a barrage of lies about the “extreme” Ryan budget.  As such, it’s worthwhile to reexamine the latest version of his budget, and view it in its proper context.  Here are some talking points for Soledad O’Brien the next time she wants to grill a Democrat on the Ryan budget:

  • The budget won’t balance until 2040, yet that is considered extreme for Democrats.  After all, their budget, which never balances even with massive tax increases, is mainstream.
  • Spending will be reduced from 24% of GDP to 19.8% – roughly equal with the post-WWII average.  The debt held by the public would only decline from73.2% of GDP to 62.3% under this budget.
  • Out of Obama’s $11.575 trillion in discretionary spending, Ryan’s budget cuts just $352 billion, a mere 3%.  Evidently, 2008 (Pelosi era) spending levels were extremely low.  Some of those cuts come from farm subsidies – cuts that Obama claims to support.
  • Under Ryan’s plan, spending would still increase by about 3% a year after 2015.  Even after the full 10 years of Ryan’s “slash and burn budget,” outlays will reach $4.9 trillion by 2022, only 13% less than forecast in Obama’s budget.
  • Not one penny of the projected $10.5 trillion in Social Security spending is cut or altered in any way.  It will remain insolvent for the entire 10-year budget frame.

Read More