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Archive for January, 2009

This article talks about how the state legislature is asking for our suggestions on how to balance the budget. How pathetic.

Through Tuesday, the hyperlink added to the Minnesota House page attracted 1,200 suggestions, said Andrew Wittenborg, director of public affairs for the House DFL Caucus.

“It’s just been crazy,” said Wittenborg, referring to the number of e-mails generated by the link, which he credited House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, for originating.

Ideally, he said, Anderson Kelliher and other state lawmakers would like to incorporate some e-mailed suggestions into legislation during the lengthy budget session to help pare costs or streamline operations.

“She feels strongly (that voters should) be able to actively engage their legislators and have some input,” said Wittenborg, who likened the voter input box to a property tax suggestion mechanism used in 2007. “This is the whole new level of input that we’ve seen with the Obama administration and increased use of the Internet,” he said.

I like the idea of legislators listening to their constituents. That’s all I like about this idea. All summer long, DFL committee chairs held hearing after hearing. They got reports saying that the economy was getting worse. As far back as prior to the national conventions, legislators were being told that the deficit could hit $4,000,000,000.

Instead of working on putting together a budget that would deal with the deficit, Democrats just ran up big per diem bills. According to this chart, DFL senators worked lots of overtime outside the 2008 session. According to this chart, Sandy Pappas collected $7,104 of tax-free per diem when the Senate wasn’t in session. Calculated at $96/day, that’s 74 days worth of meetings/hearings. That’s nearly 15 full weeks when the legislature was in session.

Larry Pogemiller collected $7,008 of tax free per diem, or 73 days worth of out-of-session per diem expenses. Linda Scheid collected $6,816 of tax free per diem, or 71 days worth of out-of-session per diem. Linda Berglin and Ann Rest each collected $6,624 in tax free out-of-session per diem, or 69 days worth of per diem.

On the House side, where representatives ‘only’ get $77/day in per diem, Al Juhnke collected $7,007 worth of tax free out-of-session per diem, or 91 days worth of per diem. Speaker Kelliher collected $6,776 worth of tax free out-of-session per diem, or 88 days worth of per diem.

Despite putting in all that time, the DFL told reporters that they wouldn’t be putting out their own budget, that they’ll be working off of Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. After holding 70-90 days worth of hearings while the legislature wasn’t in session, the only thing the DFL produced was bills.

NOT LEGISLATION!!!

BILLS!!!

Then they have the audacity to tell us that, despite having gotten paid all that tax-free per diem, they don’t have a budget plan? After all those hearings and meetings, what did their constituents get out of it besides thousands of dollars worth of wasted per diem payments?

Did we get any reform-minded legislation from these hearings? If yes, what were the reform-minded legislation that those hearings produced? If these hearings didn’t produce any reform-minded legislation, why did Democrats charge Minnesota’s taxpayers thousands of dollars of per diem for doing nothing?

I said here that the DFL leadership team has refused to lead. At this point, I’d be satisfied if they simply didn’t cause harm to Minnesota’s taxpayers. If these legislators aren’t producing important work product, why are they getting paid for these out-of-session hearings?

That’s before I start asking why senators need $96/day in per diem or representatives need $77/day in per diem. Remember that out-state legislators get paid for their travelling expenses and are eligible for a housing allowance.

That’s a major reason why my blood boils when I hear Larry Pogemiller talk about shared sacrifice. I’m not often into giving advice. I’d rather offer suggestions or persuade people into agreeing with me. This time, dispensing advice is what’s called for.

Sen. Pogemiller, cut the Senate’s per diem, eliminate the wasted out-of-session committee hearings and put out your own budget. Share in Minnesota’s sacrifice. You’re the majority leader. Lead. If you don’t start sharing in the sacrifice, we’ll find a new majority that takes its responsibilities seriously, that will lead and that will provide solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems in a timely fashion.

BTW, speaking on behalf of We The People, that isn’t a suggestion. If you don’t remember that you work for us, we’ll remind you in 2010.

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My representative Michele Bachman has just posted about the GOP alternative to Ms. Pelosi’s Porkapalooza bill. While Ms. Pelosi’s Porkapalooza bill stalls, House Republicans offered this alternative:

The legislation will reduce the lowest individual tax rates from 15% to 10% and from 10% to 5%.

As a result, every taxpaying-family in America will see an immediate increase in their income with an average benefit of $500 in tax relief from the drop in the 10% bracket and $1,200 for the drop in the 15% bracket. A married couple filing jointly could save up to $3,200 a year in taxes.

And according to research done by The Heritage Foundation, 272,306 filers in Minnesota’s 6th District will benefit from the reduction in the 10% bracket and 228,926 filers will benefit from the reduction in the 15% and the 10% brackets.

The legislation allows small business to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income.

In fact, small businesses (those employing less than 500 individuals) employ about half of all Americans, yet they can be subject to tax rates that siphon away one-third or more of their income. This legislation will immediately free up funds for small businesses to retain and hire new employees.

In Minnesota, there are 498,606 small businesses with 500 or fewer employees and according to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, they represent 98.0% of the state’s employers while having created 78.4% of the state’s net new jobs from 2004 to 2005. It’s vital that we lower the tax burden on these small businesses.

The legislation also includes a home-buyers credit of $7,500 for those buyers who can make a minimum down-payment of 5%.

This credit will go a long way in giving potential buyers the incentive they need to purchase homes now to help turn around our stagnant real estate market.

Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is making these threatening noises regarding the dying stimulus bill:

In a Thursday afternoon news conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged Senate Republicans not to line up against the bill, and says Republicans will be blamed for any delay in the landmark economic legislation. “If we don’t [pass the bill], it’s not our fault, we’re trying,” Reid said. “The president has done a remarkable job covering all the bases on Capitol Hill.”

This morning, I heard from several St. Cloud businesspeople that the less-than-stimulating stimulus bill is likely heading for a major rewrite:

Afterwards, I spoke with several local entrepreneurs. One of them told me that his contact in Washington said that the stimulus funds “don’t come with strings attached. They come with CABLES attached.” Another entrepreneur told me that they’ve heard that the stimulus bill is likely to get a major rewrite because (a) of the House vote and (b) Ben Nelson’s statement that a number of Senate Democrats won’t vote for this bill.

Harry Reid can threaten all he wants. If that bill isn’t significantly changed, Reid will have significant Democratic defections on the bill. Doing his best Harry Reid impression, Dick Durbin asked this:

“For those in the House that voted against this package, their alternative is what?” asked Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin.

I’d direct Sen. Durbin to look at the alternative that the House GOP offered earlier in the day before Pelosi and her lemmings passed the $819,000,000,000 less-than-stimulating stimulus package. Chuck Schumer also got in this threatening sounding noise:

Schumer piled on the tough talk, accusing House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, an outspoken opponent of the package, of “leading his members off the cliff.”

Little Chuckie is pretending not to notice that Leader Boehner ‘led’ 11 Blue Dogs over the cliff with the House GOP Caucus.

I know Reid’s caught in the difficult position of defending the indefensible but you’d think he’d do a better job picking his fights. This fight isn’t over but I’m thinking that this proverbial train left the station.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

First, Tim Geithner either was too lazy, too incompetent or too crooked to pay his taxes. (Personally, I’m going with the too crooked option.) Now it’s being learned that Tom Daschle didn’t pay his taxes either:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Sen. Tom Daschle, picked by President Barack Obama to lead the administration’s health reform efforts, recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in unpaid taxes and $11,964 in interest, according to a Senate document obtained by The Associated Press.

The White House acknowledged Friday that “some tax issues” had emerged in connection with the nomination, but a spokesman said the president is confident the former Senate Democratic leader will be confirmed as the new health secretary.

Daschle filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reductions in charitable contribution deductions. He filed the returns after the announcement that Obama intended to nominate him to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Most of the additional taxes resulted from unreported income from the use of a car service provided him by a close friend and business associate. The unreported income for that service totaled about $250,000 over the three years.

Daschle had unreported consulting income of $88,333, in 2007. He also had reductions to charitable contributions totaling about $15,000 over the three years covered, according to the Senate Finance Committee document. The document, marked “Confidential Draft,” is a committee statement concerning Daschle’s nomination.

President Obama said that there wouldn’t be lobbyists in his administration. I wish he would’ve told us that he’d fill his cabinet with tax cheats instead. How does a person forget $88,333 in consulting income? Did the company that hired him forget to send out a 1099 that year? Even if they did, why didn’t Sen. Daschle follow up with that organization to correct things?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

8:58– I’m getting set up at the townhall meeting at Whitney Senior Center. Thus far, Representatives Gottwalt & Severson, Sen. Clark & Mayor Kleis Are here. Sen. Clark said that Rep. Haws isn’t here yet but should be here shortly.
9:04– Attendance appears to be good. I just talked with former legislator Bernie Omann, who asked me if I was live logging the event. I said that there isn’t wireless internet so I was doing a “delayed live logging.”
9:07– Rep. Haws just arrived. We should start soon.
9:09– Tarryl is getting things started. She’s saying Rep. Hosch might be here soon. Tarryl: “The Governor’s budget is just coming out.”
9:11– Mayor Kleis is talking. “We’re facing a number of challenges.”Whether your tax dollars are going to the city or the state or the federal, we need to spend money wisely.” Mayor Kleis is talking about the city website having a chart of the city’s priorities. He’s saying that enacting the budget early leaves us with more options.
9:15– Now Mayor Kleis is talking about do’s, don’t’s & ‘do differentlies’. It’s part of his system of identifying needs vs. wants. He’s also obviously interested in always making things run as efficiently as possible. “We feel pretty good about how we’re situated. We think we‘ll rebound quickly once the economy recovers.”
9:20– When Joe Perske, Sartell City Council, says that the LGA formula needs fixing, there’s general agreement with legislators.
9:22– Mayor Kleis is talking about how people ask to cut this or that thing. He said that state mandates limit their options, though he said they sometimes get waivers on those mandates.
9:25– Felix Schmiesing, Sherburne County Commissioner, is talking about how using stimulus dollars is risky. Then he talks about how they need clear direction from the legislature on what they want cities & counties to do.
9:29– SCSU President Potter is talking about the unallotment they experienced. MnSCU budget got cut pretty significantly.
9:31– Steve Jordahl talking about the need to introduce children to the school system earlier. He then talks about how they can’t get make ends meet without more revenues. School levy that passed said that we need to keep class sizes down.
9:36– Jerry von Korff is talking about they’ve had to lay staff off in order to keep special-ed going.
9:41– Steve Broman of CentraCare is talking about the rising cost of health care. He’s saying that we aren’t doing enough to get the fed matching dollars.
9:45– Teresa Bohnen is talking now. Lots of the local companies are already trimming employees. She then asks that government doesn’t raise taxes on small businesses.

Afterwards, I spoke with several local entrepreneurs. One of them told me that his contact in Washington said that the stimulus funds “don’t come with strings attached. They come with CABLES attached.” Another entrepreneur told me that they’ve heard that the stimulus bill is likely to get a major rewrite because (a) of the House vote and (b) Ben Nelson’s statement that a number of Senate Democrats won’t vote for this bill.

Afterthoughts: At times, the meeting felt like a DFL BPOU meeting, where person after person tells why we can’t change and we can’t cut funding. Though that was the dominant perspective, there was significant pushback from the people paying for these programs. One entrepreneur spoke up about how families and small businesses are sacrificing. He then asked why government workers aren’t sharing in that sacrifice. This entrepreneur also asked why government wasn’t doing more in terms of innovation, especially in terms of HSAs.

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This afternoon, I participated in a blogger conference call with Sen. David Hann. King Banaian, Andy Aplikowski and Derek Brigham were the other invited bloggers. Sen. Hann spoke first. Initially, Sen. Hann focused on Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. After focusing on that, Sen. Hann focused on the DFL’s intention of not putting their own budget plan together. That’s when we made aware of this YouTube video:

Here’s a partial transcipt from the video:

Reporter: “But are you [Senate DFL Caucus] going to come out with an alternative budget?”

Clark: “No. We’re going to work off the Governor’s budget and go through the process…”

One of the questions I asked Sen. Hann was whether the DFL’s unwillingness to put their own budget proposal together proved that the DFL wasn’t the party of priorities or prosperity. Sen. Hann immediately said that the DFL’s not putting together their budget targets was proof that they didn’t want to publish their priorities. Sen. Hann later released this official statement n the subject:

“The DFL majority has completely ducked their responsibility by pointedly refusing to produce a plan addressing Minnesota’s budget deficit. They have instead chosen to offer a continuous chorus of complaints about the decisions Governor Tim Pawlenty has made, no doubt hoping the people of Minnesota will be lulled into giving the DFL a pass on the most important task they face; to govern.”

We won’t accidently stumble into prosperity. People have to establish a path to prosperity. Establishing a pathway to prosperity means setting intelligent priorities.

Thus far, the DFL hasn’t proven that they’re interested in setting intelligent priorities that lead to prosperity. They seem disinterested in laying out their vision on acheiving prosperity. In fact, they’re pinning alot of their hopes on the stimulus plan that’s slowly stalling in Congress. That isn’t govering. That’s following. A cynical person might say that it’s wishing and hoping that someone bails them out so they’ll avoid making difficult decisions.

Followers come a dime a dozen. It isn’t difficult to find followers. Finding a leader, though, is a time-consuming effort.

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For all of President Obama’s lofty rhetoric about being a postpartisan president, he’s done precious little to change how Democrats operate when they think the spotlight isn’t on them. This Hill article tells us everything we need to know about Democrats:

Democrats are preparing to attack those Republicans who oppose the $825 billion stimulus package but supported the $61 billion stimulus bill that passed the House last year, according to multiple sources.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is readying press releases to target the 35 House Republicans who were on board with the smaller stimulus bill in September, but who might balk at supporting the new economic recovery package when it comes to the floor on Wednesday.

The press releases will accuse those Republicans of abandoning their commitments to increase infrastructure spending, create jobs and turn around the ailing economy, a source familiar with the plan said Tuesday.

As we know, 11 Democrats joined all 177 Republicans in voting against Pelosi’s monstrous pork bill. It’s safe to assume that there’s no chance that the DCCC will accuse the 11 Judases of “abandoning their commitments to increase infrastructure spending, create jobs and turn around the ailing economy.” Here’s hoping that the NRCC targets every vulnerable Democrat for voting for a pork-laden bill that does nothing to put us on the path to sustained prosperity.

The goal of every spending bill that’s signed into law should be to increase America’s prosperity. PERIOD.

It isn’t just the DCCC that’s putting together anti-Republican ads:

Politico has learned that tomorrow Americans United for Change, a liberal group, will begin airing radio ads in three states Obama won, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada, with a tough question aimed at the GOP senators there: Will you side with Obama or Rush Limbaugh?

“Every Republican member of the House chose to take Rush Limbaugh’s advice,” says the narrator after playing the conservative talk radio giant’s declaration that he hopes Obama “fails.”

“Every Republican voted with Limbaugh, and against creating 4 million new American jobs. We can understand why a extreme partisan like Rush Limbaugh wants President Obama’s Jobs program to fail, but the members of Congress elected to represent the citizens in their districts? That’s another matter.

Asked to respond, Limbaugh had a message for his party.

“Senate Republicans need to understand this is not about me,” he wrote in an email. “It is about them, about intimidating them, especially after the show of unity in House. It is about the 2010 and 2012 elections. This is an opportunity for Republicans to redefine themselves after a few years of wandering aimlessly looking for a ‘brand’ and identity.”

Brad Woodhouse, the Democratic strategist who is overseeing the ad campaign, said: “The House Republicans put their Senate colleagues in the crosshairs because they decided to play politics rather than do the right thing.”

I’d love asking Mr. Woodhouse if Collin Peterson, Gene Taylor, Walt Minnick, Brad Ellsworth, Heath Schuler, Parker Griffith, Bobby Bright, F. Alan Boyd, Frank Kratovil, Paul Kanjorski and Jim Cooper “decided to play politics rather than do the right thing”, too?

Brad Woodhouse is a partisan liberal hack. Here’s what Jeff Birnbaum wrote about Mr. Woodhouse in May, 2007:

The convergence began in January of last year when USAction, a grass-roots organization with eager activists in two dozen states, was hunting for additional space and leased more square footage than it needed on the second floor of 1825. It ended up subletting to Americans United for Change, its rapid-response confederate in the successful fight in 2005 to defeat President Bush’s plan to add private accounts to Social Security. (Woodhouse is president of that group.)

Birnbaum’s article continues with this:

Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, called this clustering of a critical mass of these groups “a happy accident,” and a very useful one.

“The ability to walk down the hall and see somebody and get things done is great,” agreed Jeff Blum, executive director of USAction. Then, sounding just as corporate as anyone on K Street, Blum added: “We believe in synergy.”

These are the same K Street lobbying organizations that helped Democrats retake the House and Senate in 2006. MoveOn.org’s Tom Matzzie shared office space with these groups, too.

If President Obama doesn’t do anything to distance himself from these organizations, it’ll be impossible for him to credibly say that he’s a postpartisan presidency. Why should I trust someone who talks a great postpartisan game but who tolerates the actions of the most hyperpartisan organizations in DC?

Fortunately, the NRCC is hitting back:

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) suggested Democrats are using the troubled economy as a way to advance their own social agenda, citing the liberal grassroots group ACORN and others as beneficiaries of the stimulus package.

“Spare us the phony press releases,” said NRCC communications director Ken Spain. “So far the Democrats’ idea of ‘protecting the middle class’ has consisted of taxpayer-funded contraceptives and billions of dollars in ACORN-stuffed pork.

“It’s hard to decipher which is the most fraudulent notion, the fact that ACORN is a law-abiding entity worthy of a $4.2 billion bailout or that $1.1 trillion in out-of-control government spending is going to defy the experts and have some sort of immediate effect on the economy,” Spain said.

Let’s hope Republicans realize that the Democrats have declared war on every elected Republican. Let’s hope Republicans understand that bipartisanship and statesmanship isn’t part of the Democrats’ game plan. The Democrats’ idea of bipartisanship is allowing Republicans to cave.

If the Democrats’ highest priority was to make America the most prosperous country in the world, it wouldn’t have included $4.2 billion for ACORN and likeminded organizations in the spending bill. It wouldn’t have included $1 billion for Amtrak in the legislation. It wouldn’t have included $335 million for STD prevention and education in the legislation.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

After reading Tom Emmer’s op-ed, it’s painfully obvious that the DFL won’t let this bill pass because it contains utterly too much common sense to be worthy of consideration. If legislation doesn’t the requisite amount of obfuscation. a bill can’t be considered. Only if legislation lacks a sufficient amount of clarity can it be considered.

Here’s what Rep. Emmer said in arguing for requiring Photo ID:

Photo identification requirements are designed to do one thing: prevent fraud in our elections. Unfortunately, the occurrence of fraud in our voting system is all too prevalent. The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform (chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker) made such a determination when it released its report in 2005. The report cited numerous examples from other states that demonstrate how fraud has played a role in recent U.S. elections. One such case in East Chicago, Ind., resulted in the Indiana Supreme Court invalidating a mayoral primary based on evidence of rampant absentee ballot fraud that included the use of a vacant lot as an address for nonresident voters.

But critics of requiring photo ID at the polls argue that it somehow violates the First and 14th amendments to the Constitution because it imposes an unwarranted burden on a person’s right to vote. Opponents claim it’s a burden that would fall disproportionately on minorities and other groups that tend to vote in lower numbers. I’m not sure how carrying a (free, if need be) state-issued photo ID card imposes a burden on American citizens, but if someone has an explanation, I’m willing to listen.

A 2007 study by the Institute for Public Policy at the University of Missouri found that when a photo ID requirement was instituted before that state’s 2006 elections, not only did voter turnout increase by two percentage points compared with a similar off-year election in 2002, but that there was “no consistent evidence” that counties with higher percentages of minorities, poor, elderly or less-educated population suffered “any reduction in voter turnout relative to other counties.” To me, an increase in voter turnout and no undue burden on voters seems to be a goal that everyone, regardless of political ideology or party affiliation, should be willing to support.

Former St. Cloud Mayor John Ellenbecker always asks for proof of voter fraud to justify the ‘imposition’ of Photo ID. I’d suggest that “invalidating a mayoral primary based on evidence of rampant absentee ballot fraud that included the use of a vacant lot as an address for nonresident voters” should be sufficient proof that we need photo ID.

Some critics of Rep. Emmer’s legislation say that it’s a divisive issue. The DFL insists that it’s an artificial issue:

“I think it’s a solution in search of a problem,” said Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope.

The DFL also contends that it disenfranchises voters:

Democrats have argued for years that thousands of Minnesotans lack government-issued photo IDs, and such a law would disenfranchise the people least likely to have drivers’ licenses: the poor, the disabled and the elderly. Those people also are more likely to vote for Democrats.

Rep. Emmer’s op-ed cites studies that refute the notion that requiring Photo IDs disenfranchises voters. In fact, his study suggests the opposite.

I’ve got a question for Sen. Rest, Mark Ritchie and Keith Ellison. Does this trio think that Minnesota is doing its best in guaranteeing the integrity of its elections? If they think that, can they explain why they think that? I’m betting that they’ll dodge the first question by saying that voter fraud, if it happens, is minimal at best.

My counter to that is that 225 votes seperate Sen. Coleman and Al Franken out of almost 3 million votes cast. I’d highlight that, in 2006, Paul Gardner defeated Phil Krinkie by 50 votes, that Jeremy Kalin defeated Pete Nelson by 204 votes, that David Bly defeated Ray Cox by 60 votes, that Kim Norton defeated Rich Decker by 99 votes and that Ken Tschumper defeated Greg Davids by 52 votes.

In other words, a little voter fraud potentially might yield big results.

That alone should be reason enough to warrant doing everything possible to prevent voter fraud. Unfortunately, that makes too much sense for the DFL to consider it.

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The Senate GOP has issued the following statement:

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER CALLS ON SENATE DFL TO RELEASE DETAILS OF SENATE EXPENDITURES AS REQUIRED BY RULES

(St. Paul) – In a speech on the floor of the Minnesota Senate, Senate Republican Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) today called on the Senate DFL Caucus to immediately comply with the rules of the Minnesota Senate and release a copy of Senate expenditures to members of the Committee on Rules and Administration.

“The budget deficit is getting larger and larger by the minute and we should be examining ways to cut the expenses of the Minnesota Senate and spend less of the taxpayers’ money,” said Senjem.

Section 51.5 of the Permanent Rules of the Minnesota Senate states:

“By the 15th day of April, July, October, and January of each year, the Secretary shall submit a detailed report of Senate expenditures during the previous quarter to the Committee on Rules and Administration.”

Public records indicate that a report of Senate expenditures has not been provided to members of the Committee on Rules and Administration as required by the Senate’s rules in numerous years.

Earlier this session, members of the Senate Republican Caucus attempted to cut the expenses of the Minnesota Senate by offering amendments to reduce the postage allotment for each member and banning taxpayer-funded travel.

With transparency being the rule that the Obama administration is promising to live by, the Senate DFL should follow their national party’s leader and release this information.

I’d further add that both the House and Senate should enact whatever laws are required to provide total transparency to their constituents.

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I’ve just confirmed with Rep. Dan Severson and Rep. Steve Gottwalt that Tarryl Clark is indeed holding a townhall meeting at Whitney Senior Center this Saturday morning. According to the Times’ article, “State legislators representing St. Cloud and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis are inviting the public to a town-hall meeting on state and city budget issues at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Whitney Senior Center.” The article goes on to say this:

Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, and Rep. Larry Haws, DFL-St. Cloud, will join Kleis to discuss the impact of recent cuts in state aid to cities and the impact of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget proposal on cities.

About two weeks ago, Rep. Gottwalt announced that he would be holding a townhall meeting at the Granite Edge in Rockville this Saturday morning from 10-11. Unfortunately, Tarryl’s office didn’t check with Rep. Gottwalt prior to making this announcement.

I’m not suggesting moving the meeting, though that certainly would be an option. I’m suggesting that announcements shouldn’t be sent out saying people will be attending without first asking if they’re able to attend.

I’ve confirmed with Rep. Gottwalt’s office that he will attend the first part of this meeting but that he’ll keep his commitment with the people of Rockville.

Since public participation is encouraged, I’m asking area conservatives to attend & make their voices heard on Gov. Pawlenty’s budget.

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The Obama administration issued this statement last night after the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment plan. In it, it doesn’t sound like they’re in the compromise/bipartisanship mood. Here’s the text of that statement:

“Last year, America lost 2.6 million jobs. On Monday alone, we learned that some of our biggest employers plan to cut another 55,000. This is a wakeup call to Washington that the American people need us to act and act immediately.
That is why I am grateful to the House of Representatives for moving the American Recovery and Reinvestment plan forward today. There are many numbers in this plan. It will double our capacity to generate renewable energy. It will lower the cost of health care by billions and improve its quality. It will modernize thousands of classrooms and send more kids to college. And it will put billions of dollars in immediate tax relief into the pockets of working families.

But out of all these numbers, there is one that matters most to me: this recovery plan will save or create more than three million new jobs over the next few years.

I can also promise that my administration will administer this recovery plan with a level of transparency and accountability never before seen in Washington. Once it is passed, every American will be able to go the website recovery.gov and see how and where their money is being spent.

The plan now moves to the Senate, and I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk. But what we can’t do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way. We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do.”

I’m thinking that this administration should be called the ‘Everything Immediately’ administration because there isn’t a Democratic special interest group that they don’t attempt to pay off in this bill.

Notice, too, that President Obama tries glossing over the pork portion of the bill:

But out of all these numbers, there is one that matters most to me: this recovery plan will save or create more than three million new jobs over the next few years.

President Obama obviously knows that there’s tons of pork in this bill but tries distracting us from noticing. He’d rather we look at the tax relief and the infrastructure projects than on the special interest payoffs.

President Obama made a point of frequently talking about no lobbyist insiders corrupting his administration. After seeing the rate with which his administration spends money, I’d suggest that they’re spending more money than lobbyists would’ve suggested.

Before we’re lost in the blizzard of numbers, shouldn’t we ask a simple question, namely: Can we afford this amount of spending? Here’s another question I’d ask: Should we want to spend this money without establishing our priorities? Paying off the winning party’s political allies shouldn’t be part of the nation’s priorities. Neither should spending unprecedented amounts of money on dubious public works projects.

Rather than strengthening this bill, the best move would be to start over & get it right.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative