Archive for January, 2009

Now that the House has passed its version of a spending stimulus bill, the next logical question appears to be a simple one: What will the Senate cobble together? After Wednesday’s vote, however, that doesn’t appear to be the right question. With House Republicans standing firm against Ms. Pelosi’s spending avalanche, and with Sen. Jon Kyl predicting the same reaction in the Senate, the question might turn out to be this: Will the Senate’s version be scaled back out of fear of GOP filibuster? Or will it keep growing?

Another question that must be asked involves something more than policies and priorities. It involves dynamics, politics and the midterms. The dynamics involved have changed. The House GOP standing together changes it from a bipartisan bill with political cover for representatives who voted for it to a partisan bill that Nancy Pelosi currently owns.

The politics have changed, too. It isn’t likely that House Republicans stood in unison without getting a hint that the Senate GOP was willing to stand fast, too. That means the so-called stimulus bill will be the Democrats’ property.

Let’s suppose that House and Senate Democrats agree on bills that look pretty much like the bill the House passed Wednesday. Let’s suppose that the conference report reconciling the bills emerges with everything staying largely intact. At that point, wouldn’t that put the Democrats in an at-risk position for the midterms?

The UK Telegraph’s Toby Harnden doesn’t paint that bleak a scenario in this article but he isn’t painting with rose-colored glasses, either:

The Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill badly miscalculated by treating the bill as a victor’s charter. Not that it seemed to bother Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who grinned from ear to ear as she announced the result of the vote.

Aside from her penchant for pit bull politics, Ms. Pelosi is best known for her overreach capabilities.

Mr. Harnden noted something else from Wednesday’s vote:

Obama vowed to change Washington and usher in a new post-partisan era. The the mood music and optics were pitch perfect as he trekked up to the Hill. Republicans praised his gesture, welcomed his sincere demeanour and appreciated his willingness to listen.

Problem was, he wanted only to listen and did not want to act on what Republicans said. When he was asked if he would re-structure the package to include more tax cuts, he reportedly responded: “Feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part.”

He apparently added: ” I understand that and I will watch you on Fox News and feel bad about myself.”

When I wrote this post, I detected more than a hint of President Obama’s audacity. In retrospect, his “I won” quote is more damning now than I thought then. And I thought it was damning then.

Mr. Harnden’s statement that President Obama “wanted only to listen and did not want to act on what Republicans said” is emerging as a telltale sign of President Obama’s governing style. During the campaign, I noted that then-Sen. Obama often talked about bringing people together. I also noted that his Senate record on working in a bipartisan manner was almost nonexistent.

In fact, the campaign embarassed itself when they tried characterizing his working with Dick Lugar on locking up the former Soviet Union’s nuclear warchest as an effort in which he defied his party’s elders. It turned out that the Obama-Lugar bill passed on a voice vote in the Senate.

It’s becoming apparent that President Obama is skilled at photo op bipartisanship. Unless something changes dramatically, it’s becoming equally apparent that President Obama isn’t skilled at substantive bipartisanship.

That’s potentially damaging to him if the bill passes, is signed into law, then flops. It’s politically damaging to him if the bill passes but doesn’t lift the economy out of this recession. It’s especially damaging if the bill causes high inflation and unemployment rates.

Finally, if the bill passes and doesn’t lift us out of this recession AND the American people can be convinced that more tax cuts would’ve made a difference, then President Obama can be cast as a smooth-talking partisan failure, not a statesman whose plan succeeded in lifting us out of a recession.

All this is speculation at this point but it’s a plausible scenario now that the House GOP stood its ground.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’ve criticized the DFL for the absence of spending priorities. In this statement, Rep. Steve Gottwalt has questioned the DFL’s budget priorities:

The DFL is quick to criticize, but despite their overwhelming majorities in both houses, they have not provided one shred of leadership in solving our state budget deficit! Where is their plan? They have the benefit of the same information the Governor’s Office has, and have had more than ample time to consider the same challenges. So where is their solution, their ideas, their vision forward? There isn’t one, and Minnesotans will be subjected to weeks of bashing and wailing over the tough decisions contained in the governor’s budget proposal before we see any inkling of a DFL solution (i.e., “revenue enhancers”, better known as tax increases). Minnesotans did not elect us to ponder and criticize; they elected us to address the challenges facing our state, and they cannot take more tax burden. They are struggling to live within their means, and government should do no less! So far, it’s only Governor Pawlenty and the GOP providing leadership on how not only to address the current budget shortfall, but reform systems of government, and position our business climate to attract and grow jobs.

Rep. Steve Gottwalt
House District 15A

I’d be surprised if the DFL didn’t take the next month on the road criticizing Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. Remember that this is the bunch that didn’t pass budget targets in 2007 even though it’s mandated. If they’re truly the majority party, what’s the leadership’s solutions to today’s problems? We know that Assistant Senate DFL Leader Tarryl Clark thinks that “maybe we could figure out how to save about $500 million.”

Since the deficit is $4.8 billion and growing, possibly to $7 billion, it’s a safe bet that the rest will either come from Obama’s stimulus package or tax increases. That isn’t a plan. That’s patching things together and hoping people accept it.

Thus far, Gov. Pawlenty, along with the House and Senate GOP Caucuses, have been the people who’ve thought outside the box. They’ve been the innovators. By pinning their hopes on Pelosi’s spending bill and by voting against the GOP’s costcutting proposals that would have had politicmoral ground’ on the status quo. That’s if such a mythical place exists.

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When an Opinion Journal article focuses on the same topic as a Washington Post article, you know that it’s important. That’s why I took notice when both focused on the Jimmy Carter Memorial Bill. First, let’s look at James Freeman’s Opinion Journal op-ed:

President Obama’s $825 billion (and counting) “stimulus” is steamrolling through Congress. One group of conservative Republicans is betting that it will only worsen the country’s economic plight.

That’s where the House Republican Study Committee comes in. “No Trillion Dollar Spending Spree” is the message from this conservative caucus. Led by its new chairman, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, the RSC now counts more than 100 House Republicans among its members. Mr. Price calls the Democrats’ proposal “the non-stimulus plan” and says it “simply won’t work” because it offers no market incentives to create jobs. What the plan does offer are multibillion-dollar gifts to state governments, teachers unions, and the environmental lobby, with such gems as a $6 billion program to “weatherize modest-income homes.”

It’s time conservatives showed they had a spine. It’s even better that they’re listening to their base. The Jimmy Carter Memorial Bill is loaded with lots of wasteful spending. Five years ago, this bill would’ve passed with little opposition. Today, there’s vocal opposition to it. Some of that opposition is coming from Democrats, though for a different reason:

In testimony before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Alice M. Rivlin, who was President Bill Clinton’s budget director, suggested splitting the plan, implementing its immediate stimulus components now and taking more time to plan the longer-term transformative spending to make sure it is done right.

“Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package. The elements of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create many jobs right away,” said Rivlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The risk, she said, is that “money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted.”

It isn’t that Ms. Rivlin is opposed to spending fistfuls of taxpayer money. It’s that she’s opposed to hastily spending the taxpayer’s money.

It’s worth noting that, in suggesting that the spending bills be split, that she talked about things that would stimulate the economy and things that would improve infrastructure. She didn’t mention a thing about $4.2 billion in grants to ACORN and like-minded organizations. She didn’t mention $335 million in funding to the CDC for STD education and prevention.

UPDATE: According to MajorityTracker.com, the roll call for final passage was 244-188. The Ayes and Nays haven’t been posted yet. Check this link later today for the Ayes and Nays.

UPDATE II: The Washington Post is reporting that “11 Democrats and 177 Republicans [voted] against it.” It’ll be interesting to see which Democrats broke ranks with Ms. Pelosi.

UPDATE III: The NY Times has posted an interactive chart that identifies the 11 Democrats who voted against the stimulus package. Voting against the spending bill were Collin Peterson, Gene Taylor, Walt Minnick, Brad Ellsworth, Heath Schuler, Parker Griffith, Bobby Bright, F. Alan Boyd, Frank Kratovil, Paul Kanjorski and Jim Cooper.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I’ve been harping all weekend that the bill currently being touted as the salvation of our economy isn’t anything of the sort. Now people are joining the chorus. People like Jennifer Rubin:

The notion of a bipartisan, pro-growth stimulus plan that could pay for some much needed infrastructure was appealing to many Americans. Even Republicans skeptical of the entire Keynesian premise were willing to go along with the deal if they could get some private sector help and some needed spending on national defense. But what has emerged from the clutches of Nancy Pelosi is a grab-bag of liberal special interest group goodies, welfare disguised as “tax relief” and precious little of long term value to the country.

Charles Krauthammer isn’t buying it either:

Look, this is one of the worst bills in galactic history. It’s not only on the timing of it, as we saw from the Congressional Budget Office, more than half of the infrastructure stuff with the bridges and roads will not be spent until two years hence when the recession will be likely over or coming out of it, and it will only add to inflation, not jobs.

And it’s the content of this. We heard earlier in Major’s report, a third of a billion for contraception, a billion to states to help them collect child support, nursing training–all this is worthy, but it ain’t stimulus.

If you look at what was left behind after last year’s stimulus, $160 billion, it didn’t have any effect on the economy. It left nothing behind. This bill has a fifth of a billion for grass at the Jefferson Memorial. FDR left behind the Hoover dam and Eisenhower left behind the interstate highway system. We will leave behind, after spending $1 trillion, a dog run in East Potomac Park.

Leave it to Mr. Krauthammer to put things that succinctly. Saving the best for last, here’s Ms. Rubin’s finest observation in the entire article:

And on a political level, the Democrats have given Republicans every reason to oppose the bill and no reason to support it. As a result the “bipartisan” stimulus will be the Democrats’ bill.

It’s refreshing to see conservatives growing a spine instead of crumbling before The Unifier. If Republicans stop free-spending ways, they’ll pick up seats in 2010.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last night before going to sleep, I saw this article on Drudge:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic “stimulus” package, claiming “contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, “Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom,” seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.

The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC’s THIS WEEK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. We have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Developing…

Several observations are appropriate here. First, and most importantly, Speaker Pelosi isn’t the least bit concerned with the loss of human life. Second, Speaker Pelosi is admitting that a significant number of abortions happen solely for financial reasons. Third, and least signifcantly, this is one of the flimsiest justifications for any expenditure I’ve ever heard.

She got caught flat-footed on this question. She didn’t expect Stephanopoulos to ask her about spending money on an article of the Democrats’ faith. I’m betting that’s why she scrambled and put together such a flimsy answer.

It’s a revealing insight into Ms. Pelosi’s mind, though it wasn’t a particularly nice sight.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In asking whether President Obama’s post-partisanship tour is over, it’s realistic to ask whether it wasn’t more smoke-and-mirrors than reality. Nonetheless, the UK Telegraph is asking the same questions in this article:

After less than a week in office, Mr Obama’s presidency is already encountering the very partisan bickering he had pledged to stamp out during his first 100 days. He faces mounting criticism over his $825 billion economic stimulus plan, from Republican leaders who say the legislation has been drawn up without the input which Mr Obama had promised to allow them.

The president responded with a clear signal that he is prepared to ram the bill through without the bipartisan consensus he promised to construct, telling Republican leaders from the House of Representatives: “I won. I’m the president.”

He then told them to break free of the confrontational mindset epitomised by Mr Limbaugh, the highest paid talk show host in America. “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” Mr Obama said.

It’s apparent that President Obama thinks he’s bulletproof, that he can say anything and get away with it. My instincts tell me that he’s wrong, that his image will take some hits the minute he starts making real decisions impacting real people.

John Hinderaker makes that point in this post:

Notwithstanding the media blitz in support of the Democrats’ over-the-top “stimulus” plan, most Americans are skeptical. Rasmussen finds that 59% fear that “Congress and President Obama will increase government spending too much in the next year or two.” Conversely, only 17% worry that they will cut taxes too much. (I think we can safely reassure that group that their fears are unfounded.)

This suggests that the seeds of the Republicans’ resurgence have already been sown. Congress will indeed spend far too much money, increasing the federal deficit to ridiculous levels. Before long, the monetary and fiscal policies now emerging will lead to wealth-destroying and income-eroding levels of inflation. As long as the Republicans in Congress stick to their principles and oppose the Democrats’ pork-fest, they should be well positioned for a comeback in 2010 and 2012.

There isn’t any doubt but that this level of spending will create significant amounts of inflation, which will likely cause significant layoffs. That isn’t the shortest path between today’s recession and tomorrow’s prosperity, though it might be the shortest path between today’s supermajorities and embarassing midterm defeats.

It’s important that Republicans stay calm and make the smartest arguments against this so-called stimulus package.

One of the best arguments that I’ve figured out about it include highlighting the supplemental appropriation for maintaining the National Mall. Another great argument against it is questioning the Democrats’ putting $4.2 billion into “neighborhood stabilization activities.” How does putting billions of dollars into that type of thing stimulate the economy?

Perhaps the best argument against the Democrats’ so-called stimulus package was provided by the Obama administration itself:

“Can you tell me Mr. Barthold, how many jobs will be created as a result of this legislation?” Camp asked. Barthold replied, “In short, Mr. Camp, I can’t.” Camp then pressed Barthold to clarify his position, “So we don’t have an estimate of the number of jobs this would create either private sector or public? We don’t have any estimate of the economic effect that this legislation would have on our economy, whether it would create any growth in our economy at all? We don’t have that data before the committee today?” Barthold then nodded his head and shrugged.

That type of testimony has the potential to be an unmitigated disaster for this administration. It essentially says, under oath no less, that they didn’t do the math on this legislation. It also says that their ‘plan’ was just to spend alot of money and hope that it helped.

This is potentially the first time in his political life where President Obama might be judged on the results of his policies rather than on his speaking ability. That’s got to scare him just a little. His policies are about to be put into action. Until now, people could project their own values and priorities onto him. When the interest rates climb, the inflation rates don’t drop and the economy doesn’t stabilize, what’s the likelihood that the American people will trust him when he proposes another massive spending bill to stimulate the economy?

The Lady Logician sums things up pretty nicely here:

The crux of Krugman’s column is if the Fed prints a boat load of money and nationalizes the bank and if the federal government creates a whole slew of temporary government jobs then the economy will bounce back. Banks can not be forced to lend money to people who don’t want to borrow! Right now, the people who can best “rescue” the economy don’t have faith in it. That faith was killed, in some part by the very politicians that now want to rescue it from certain disaster! The consumers are the ones who can best rescue the economy and right now they are not spending money out of fear of higher taxes, higher fuel costs, an over higher cost of living and a stock market in free fall. The job creators of the country are not creating jobs out of fears of high taxes, higher fuel costs, an overall higher cost of doing business and a stock market in free fall! We simply can not spend our way out of this mess. Responsible spending mixed with tax cuts, permanent job creation and ceasing to live well beyond our means are all parts of the solution to this problem.

No amount of President Obama’s personal charm will change people’s fears. the trust that people have with President Obama isn’t based on anything substantive. Their trust certainly isn’t grounded in his long list of accomplishments. He didn’t have any in the US Senate or the Illinois Senate.

People didn’t trust Ronald Reagan on the economy because of his personality. People trusted him because of their prosperity and his long list of accomplishments. They also trusted him because of all the speeches that he gave,the debates he participated in.

As much as anything, the people’s trust in President Obama is based on his speaking ability and the media’s not doing their due dilligence on him. Now he’ll have to perform. If they aren’t better off in October, 2010 than they are now, Democrats will pay a price that November. It’s that simple.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When David Paterson took over from Eliot Spitzer, it’s been a foregone conclusion that he’d win in 2010. That ‘sure bet’ thing is pretty much out the window now, especially after reading this editorial:

Gov. Paterson had the opportunity, and the obligation, to appoint a U.S. senator who has the standing and expertise to be a national leader in rescuing the American financial system and economy from dire peril. He fell far short.

The governor’s selection of one-term upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand for this highly critical post, a seat long held by people of enormous stature, was decidedly underwhelming and thoroughly disappointing.

Though that isn’t insignificant, I suspect that this is the least of Mr. Paterson’s problems. I suspect that this will cause him far more re-election troubles:

For good measure, Gov. David A. Paterson’s advisers piled on a few more salacious tidbits: She has embarrassing skeletons in her closet related to taxes, a nanny and her marriage.

That Paterson would sanction such a frontal assault on Kennedy after she already had ended her quest to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton stunned even the most grizzled political insiders.

What was to be gained when advisers close to Paterson decided to dump on Kennedy in interviews with The Buffalo News and a handful of other news outlets Thursday, less than 12 hours after she already dropped out of the running?

What was the benefit the governor saw in attacking Kennedy, whose political connections, including straight to the Oval Office with President Obama, go far beyond anything the governor enjoys?

Gov. Paterson knew that not picking Ms. Kennedy wouldn’t get him on the Kennedy’s Christmas card list but then stabbing her in the back after she humiliated herself by dropping out was political suicide. The Kennedys know a thing or two about sharpening the long knives right before going for the political kill.

When history books are written, it will note that Gov. Paterson’s political career was inconsequential, tumultuous and exceptionally brief. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t lose in the primary. I wouldn’t be surprised if he announces soon that he’s retiring at the end of this term.

Here’s something interesting from the article:

Some Democrats say Paterson’s choice of Gillibrand could have selfish political motives. One lawmaker theorized that he took a lesser-known Democrat as a way of making the 2010 Senate race more attractive for a big-name Republican, say Rudolph Giuliani, to take on instead of running against Paterson next year.

I don’t have any insight into what Rudy’s ambitions are but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran for governor so that Peter King could run against Gillibrand. Whether that’s the best top of the ticket for Republicans is another story.

One thing’s that’s certain is that Paterson’s picking Rep. Gillibrand gives the GOP a shot at regaining that House seat. The governor’s race will be far more competitive than experts predicted in 2007. Since then, Eliot Spitzer got run out and Paterson inflicted alot of political damage on himself. I’ll still have to see more to put this Senate seat in the toss-up column but it’s alot closer to being competitive than it was a year ago.

That’s alot of potential damage from a single bad decision.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Since its inauguration, the Obama administration has done its utmost to convince us that the recession we’re in is unlike any other the United States has experienced, with the exception of the Great Depression. While it’s true we’re in a recession, John Stossel writes, it’s hardly time to panic. While it’s true we’ll have to deal with some unique circumstances before climbing out of this recession, it’s nothing that can’t be solved by thinking things through and reacting rationally.
Stossel points out a phenomenom that we’re watching play out today:

Even smart people like Paul Volcker say, “This crisis is different.” Politicians say things like this because they’re too close to the problem. They’ve panicked. I saw this again and again doing consumer reporting: People closest to problems often panic beyond reason. After 9/11, people overreacted because of fear of terrorism. We federalized airport security and spent tax money on nonsense like bulletproof vests for dogs. In 1999, it was the Y2K computer technicians themselves who were most convinced that computers would freeze and planes crash. It was the bird flu specialists who were convinced that millions would die from the bird flu. Today, it’s the scientists creating global warming computer models who are most insistent that we take economically destructive steps to stop climate change.

A friend of mine held a key position in Fingerhut’s Y2K team. At the time, I was working at Quebecor in St. Cloud. Another friend of mine was involved in getting Quebecor Y2K compliant. Both were telling me that the crisis was vastly overblown, that newspaper articles were long on crisis hysteria and short on actual facts.

The effect of the media’s fearmongering? You couldn’t buy a generator if your life depended on it. One guy in Wisconsin bought enoough Hamburger Helper to last 15 months and stored it in his basement. At the time, USA Today showed a picture of the guy’s basement. Not only did this gentleman buy that much Hamburger Helper, which might be considered cruel and inhuman punishment in the Obama administration, he bought the metal shelving for that Hamburger Helper.

My point is that this ‘crisis’ is a fiction created by the Obama administration’s desire to spend money at unprecedented and unsustainable levels coupled with Wall Street’s corruption and greed.

America, it’s time we stood together and sent these panicmongers this bold, clear message: Enough’s enough. You made bad decisions? Deal with it. You want to throw more of my money at your panic-driven and ill-fated decisions? Not in my lifetime.

This pork-filled bill is a disaster that Democratic politicians want to hang around OUR necks. We The People should refuse the check. In fact, We The People should get irate that this new administration thinks so little about working people’s wallets.

Here’s another notworthy paragraph from Stossel’s article:

Vice President Biden informed ABC News that “Everyone…says the scope of this package has to be bold. It has to be big.” Everyone? Hardly. More than 100 prominent economists signed a petition against the stimulus package, and more than 200 signed a petition against the financial bailout.

When Vice President Biden says that “Everyone…says the scope of this package has to be bold”, what he really means is that everyone that he hasn’t tuned out because they disagree with him says that the government must bail out the free market system.

It isn’t dramatically different from Al Gore saying that consensus has been reached on MMGW. In both instances, discord and disagreement reached significant levels. Those asking legitimate questions about MMGW were ignored because the liberals had to save the planet. Those raising doubts about the “unprecedented crisis” are being ignored because this administration thinks that it has to save our economy from the capitalists.

Here’s the part of Mr. Stossel’s article that I most appreciated:

I liked the headline that the Wall Street Journal gave to an op-ed by George Mason University economist Russ Roberts: “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There.” Roberts pointed out that politicians can’t wisely spend the trillions they commit, “even if they want to. The information about who needs to be bailed out and who needs to fail is too complicated…It is time to let the imprudent fail and the prudent pick up the bargains.”

This re-inforces two of my long-held beliefs:

1) Free markets occasionally create messes.
2) Governments don’t have enough money to clean up those messes.

Years ago, I was a big fan of This Week With David Brinkley. I think TW was the first show that featured interviews and conducted a roundtable discussion. One particular Sunday morning during the Clinton administration, the subject turned to a difficult situation in the economy. George Will offered the voice of calm, said that this situation would pass. Carol Simpson’s reply didn’t disguise her do-gooder intentions. She said “Surely, we’ve got to do something.” Mr. Will’s rejoinder was classic. “More money has been poorly spent in the name of ‘Surely, we’ve got to do something’ than on anything else.”

Washington would be wise to heed Mr. Will’s wise words. Unfortunately for the taxpayers, Washington is more interested in listening to the echochamber’s conventional wisdom than it’s interested in listening to voices of reason and true wisdom.

The truth is that I can make a strong case that The Unifier has been a bigger fearmonger than the Democrats accused President Bush of being after 9/11. The Obama administration is peddling this recession as an economic catastrophe of historic proportions. It isn’t.

President Bush could point to verifiable terrorist threats as reason why we had to dramatically change tactics against the terrorists. President Bush could justify the need because we got frequent reminders of their capabilities from Madrid, Bali, Beslan and London.

This crisis mentality can’t just be placed on the Obama administration. Nancy Pelosi bears part of the blame, as does President Bush. Here’s something that Ms. Pelosi said that we should remember:

Of course some of those companies would fail, and suddenly letting that happen is a political no-no. When the automakers came to Washington to beg, Nancy Pelosi said, “We reject those advocating bankruptcy.” Why? Bankruptcy can be a good thing. Kmart declared bankruptcy in 2002, but it didn’t disappear. Filing for bankruptcy allowed the company to reorganize itself and reemerge stronger.

The mindset that we shouldn’t let businesses fail because we don’t want to see pain or suffering is troublesome. Once we got on the backside of Jimmy Carter’s disastrous “America must make do with less” policies, we got Reagan, who corrected things and ushered in a generation of prosperity.

The dirty little secret that Ms. Pelosi doesn’t want people examining is that the Detroit bailouts weren’t for the car companies but for the unions. Had Detroit not gotten those bailouts, GM would’ve filed for reorganization, which would’ve forced the unions to renegotiate. That’s the last thing Ms. Pelosi wanted.

The Obama administration’s ‘Surely, we’ve got to do something’ mantra isn’t smart policy. That attitude won’t lift us out of this recession. And the pork contained in this bill certainly doesn’t do anything other than pay off the Democrats’ political allies with our money.

The economy isn’t on the verge of collapse. The sky isn’t falling. And the Obama prescription for prosperity is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

If there was a message I’d want conveyed to Republican senators in DC, it would be that they should vote to not confirm Timothy Geithner to be the next Treasury Secretary. It isn’t that I think this will stop Geithner’s confirmation dead in its tracks. It certainly won’t.

If there was a request I could make to these Republican senators, it would be that I wish several senators would stand up and call Mr. Geithner a corrupt man. I’d wish they did that because that’s precisely what he is.

His non-apology apology for ‘accidentally’ forgetting about his tax obligations for 4 years is insulting. We know that Mr. Geithner received checks from the IMF to pay his taxes. We know that he signed documents each year saying that he accepted responsibility for paying his payroll taxes. As awful as that is, it’s minor compared with his neglecting his oversight responsibilities as president for the NY Federal Reserve.

After TARP funds were sent out, Mr. Geithner didn’t pay attention to what they got spent on. Instead, TARP money disappeared into thin air.

What’s worse is that his new boss is asking for more TARP money. I’m not talking about releasing the last $350 billion of the original TARP funds. The Washington Post reported that President Obama is planning on asking for more money:

But with the economy deteriorating rapidly, financial companies are incurring trillions of dollars in losses on failing mortgage loans and other assets, forcing the federal government to consider substantially expanding its response to the crisis, officials said. Leading economists and lawmakers calculate that hundreds of billions more could be required.

“I don’t think many people at the top of the Treasury or the Fed thinks this is the last amount of money they’re going to need to deploy,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who speaks regularly with top officials.

Obama has pledged, for instance, to use at least $50 billion of the remaining rescue funds to help troubled borrowers avoid foreclosure on home loans. But in a private luncheon Thursday with Senate Democrats, some of the nation’s top economists said the cost of that element of the rescue program alone could approach $250 billion.

Mr. President, I’m not a world-famous economist but I’ve got a suggestion nonetheless: before asking taxpayers for more money, why don’t you tell your incoming Treasury Secretary to find out where the first $300-$400 billion disappeared to.

In fact, I’ve got a second request: Stop trusting Barney Frank’s advice on financial organizations. He’s got a crappy record on knowing when something is going south fast. He was the Democrat that said he didn’t see a crisis at Fannie and Freddie.

But I digress. Let’s get back to why I think Mr. Geithner is corrupt. I’ll make my point with a question: How can someone get a notice from the IRS that 2 years of his taxes are in, putting it gently, disrepair, then not pay his taxes for the other 2 years of his employment in the IMF?

Let’s remember that he didn’t pay his taxes until he was tapped as OBama’s Treasury Secretary-Designate. He still hasn’t payed his taxes for all 4 years of employment with the IMF. If that’s the modern definition of integrity and honorable, I prefer the old definitions of those words.

The difference between corruption in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that we feed our crooks to the courts. Democrats nominate their corrupt people to run the IRS.

Isn’t it time we demanded more integrity from people in positions of extreme power?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In classic style, Rush has responded to President Obama’s anti-Rush partisanship. Here’s the part of Rush’s reply that we must focus on:

There are two things going on here. One prong of the Great Unifier’s plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. And there is a strategic reason for this.

Secondly, here is a combo quote from the meeting:

“If we don’t get this done we (the Democrats) could lose seats and I could lose re-election. But we can’t let people like Rush Limbaugh stall this. That’s how things don’t get done in this town.”

To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama’s plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR’s New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing “eternal” power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.

I’ve repeatedly said that this legislation is about paying off political allies and enacting the majority of President Obama’s agenda under the guise of stimulating the economy. This is monster pork bill. It’s a political payoff bill. It has little to do with stimulating the economy.

Starting this instant, Republicans’ mantra against Obama’s economic plan is centered almost totally on government intervention, wastes nearly a trillion dollars on political payoffs and doesn’t rely on the private sector’s ability to help solve the current recession. Thus far, I’ve seen little proof that the Obama administration believes in the private sector.

I say that because all of his proposed solutions are oriented towards the federal government dumping one load of cash after another to (A) solve the banking crisis and (B) lift this economy out of recession.

We should also reject the notion that this is an unprecedented economic crisis though we should be willing to agree that the Obama adminstration’s actions, coupled with Congressional Democrats’ actions, could turn it into one.

Let’s ask some pointed questions about the Democrats’ Pork-O-Rama bill. Let’s start with this question:

Will spending $200,000,000 on maintaining the National Mall and manicuring the lawn surrounding it jumpstart the economy?

Here’s another question that worth considering:

Will taxpayer funding for contraceptives and the abortion industry stimulate the economy? I’m betting not.

Finally, here’s another question (for me, it’s the most infuriating question):

Will putting $4,190,000,000 into a pot that organizations like ACORN are eligible for stimulate this economy? I’d bet the ranch it won’t. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to pay off President Obama’s corrupt community organizer allies.

Rush is right. President Obama doesn’t want to discuss the merits of the Democrats’ pork-barrel spending bill because he knows that the minute the discussion is about the Democrats’ spending billions of dollars on frivolous things like grants for ACORN or that it includes a special appropriation of $200,000,000 for maintaining the National Mall, this discussion changes dramatically.

Here’s what House Democrats have in mind in making ACORN and other like-minded organizations eligible for these funds:

“For a further additional amount for ‘Community Development Fund,’ $4,190,000,000, to be used for neighborhood stabilization activities related to emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes as authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–289), of which—

“(1) not less than $3,440,000,000 shall be allocated by a competition for which eligible entities shall be States, units of general local government, and nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities[.]”

“(2) up to $750,000,000 shall be awarded by competition to nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities to provide community stabilization assistance […]”

What stimulative purpose will giving $4,190,000,000 to ACORN and like-minded organizations serve? I’d argue that it doesn’t and that it wasn’t intended to have a stimulative effect. I’d argue that the most likely reason this money is in the Pork-O-Rama bill is to pay off longtime political allies. (Corrupt allies at that.)

Finally, let’s pay attention to Rush about the similarities between President Obama’s actions now and Saul Alinsky’s tactics of yesteryear:

One more thing, Byron. Your publication and website have documented Obama’s ties to the teachings of Saul Alinsky while he was community organizing in Chicago. Here is Rule 13 of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Anyone that doesn’t agree with President Obama is quickly trivialized. President Obama certainly tried intimidating Eric Cantor when Cantor challenged the need to waste spend money in unprecedented and unsustainable amounts.

I wish I could say I’m surprised. Unfortunately, I’m not.

UPDATE: Welcome Gateway readers. Check out the other posts I’ve made about the Obama administration’s Pork-O-Rama bill. (Explanation: I stopped calling it a stimulus package shortly after Obama’s inauguration.) I’ve also written about Tim Geithner’s corruption and about Washington’s endless supply of panic regarding this recession.

UPDATE II: I will no longer call the so-called stimulus bill Pork-O-Rama. Once again, Mr. Hewitt has coined a better title: The Jimmy Carter Memorial Bill.

That’s why he’s the Commish of the Northern Alliance and I’m but a lowly MOBster.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative