This was on the Investor’s Business Daily editorial page:
Not since a misguided piece of legislation imposed tariffs that turned a recession into a depression has there been a piece of legislation as bad as Waxman-Markey.
The 1,000-plus-page American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) is being rushed to a vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before anyone can seriously object to this economic suicide pact.
It’s what Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, might call a “man-caused disaster,” a phrase she coined to replace the politically incorrect “terrorist attack.” But no terrorist could ever dream of inflicting as much damage as this bill.
Its centerpiece is a “cap and trade” provision that has been rightfully derided as “cap and tax.” It is in fact a tax on energy everywhere it is consumed on everything it is used to make or provide.
Fair to assume that cap-and-trade doesn’t have the support of these guys. Even though the intro suffers a bit from some dramatic overstatement, they are right to oppose Waxman-Markey, because this legislation would inflict serious damage on our economy at a time when we can’t take any more financial chaos. A tax on energy affects everyone, and as IBD points out, this includes that fictitious 95% of Americans who weren’t supposed to see any increased taxes under the Obama administration. A tax of this kind directly and indirectly raises the price of everything we buy. It affects farmers and truckers and car companies and soccer moms, and all the rest of our fellow working stiffs. Eventually all this “hope and change” will end up costing the taxpayers a fortune, and there won’t be much payoff for our involuntary donations.
If you want to know if Waxman-Markey would have any significant impact on climate change relative to its cost, read more here.
Please don’t let this issue fade into the background with all the other distractions on the news right now. This is important to the country’s future and we need to let our legislators know that we oppose this bill.
One of the Democratic advisers told CNN there is fear within the party that the president’s signature issue is “on the rocks” because of dramatically high cost estimates for separate bills being drafted by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts and Max Baucus, D-Montana.
The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate for the Kennedy bill — that it will cost $1 trillion and yet leave millions of Americans without health insurance — has given Republicans strong political ammunition to charge reform may be too expensive at a time of massive federal deficits.
Um…yeah…it’s gonna cost LOTS of money plus reduce choice for the average buyer — obviously we must rush this brilliant idea through Congress. If even some of the Democrats are balking at these costs, you know there’s serious money being discussed here. 😉
Here’s a few things we might want to know about this new and fabulous grand government scheme, more commonly known as a national health care plan. Reason Online breaks it down here.
First, that the proposed national health care plan won’t cover everyone.
Second, that the subsidized lower plan premiums on a government-run / public plan would provide an almost irresistible incentive for employers to switch their employees’ coverage from private plans. This doesn’t exactly promote or support the promise of increased choices for people, and it can be fairly assumed that any private insurance companies left competing with the feds for customers will have a difficult time making it profitable to stay in business. The solution is not, and is NEVER, more government control or federal tax dollars to support a system that doesn’t operate as efficiently and effectively as it should.
*I’m not at all saying that there aren’t fixes and solutions that we can implement to make the current system work better for patients and those in the medical field. I just think that President Obama has the wrong fix to what ails our health care system.*
The most important point is that it will become harder and harder to keep private health care plans. The linked Reason Online article actually predicts that the ability to opt out of public health care will eventually disappear, because the private insurers will be out of business. I’m not going to go that far here, but I do think it’s something we should be very concerned about, because once there is only one choice of health care plan and it’s the government plan, we all lose.
We need to consider carefully the next steps in any possible reform of health care in this country. This isn’t something Congress should rush through and pass without reading it first and thoroughly discussing all options and alternatives. Yes, the Democrats gained power and have the ability to pass whatever junk bill they support, but I believe that this requires more care and attention that any other piece of legislation they will ram through Congress this year. Make no mistake about this — once the American people start to figure out what’s happening to them (and there are a few encouraging signs that this is the case), the support for many of President Obama’s grand schemes could end up backfiring on the Democrats.
Senator Arlen Specter finally makes the decision to leave the Republican Party and officially join his fellow Democrats by running for re-election as a Democrat. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about this news. His motivation for doing this doesn’t really matter to me. It does open up more options for challengers like Pat Toomey…or it could lead to a different Democrat replacing Specter, because there’s no guarantee that he gets the Democrat nomination without the other candidates pulling out of the contest. I do think that his announcement was self-serving, and it failed to acknowledge those Republicans, such as President Bush and VP Cheney, who supported him against Toomey the first time. The national Republican Party hasn’t thrown Specter under the bus. He chose this path for himself. When he votes the way he does, he should expect conservatives to loudly oppose those votes. But the Beltway Republicans have a far different agenda than the rest of us — they would have us go further to the left and abandon social conservatism or any pretense of fiscal accountability / responsibility.
It is not the agenda of the leadership of the Republican Party to weed out the moderate / liberal elements of its membership. If you need evidence of that, witness our presidential nominee, John McCain. He agreed more than he disagreed with Barack Obama on domestic policy, although I suspect he would have embraced keeping more tax cuts than President Obama has. Our party supported Arlen Specter, even though he hasn’t done very much to merit our support. We don’t even consider challenging Snowe and Collins. So our far-right takeover hasn’t occurred yet, and my guess is you won’t see that until we can recruit much stronger candidates to challenge the Republicans already in the Senate and House.
There’s much about this move that I can be happy about. Allowing the Democrats a 60-vote majority means they take full responsibility for anything they screw up. On the other hand, I’m not sure I am willing to accept the consequences of the Democrats passing whatever laws they want to pass, no matter how crazy or misguided those laws may be — and I’m certainly not optimistic that all the damage done would be reversible. Once we all get national health care, there’s no going back. Look at Britain. If you even hint at NHS (national health service) reforms that would assign some responsibility back to the recipients, don’t expect to win any national elections. That’s the danger here. We need to keep a close eye on what’s happening in Washington, and raise awareness of how all this will affect our lives in the long run, because we might only get one chance to keep this country from absorbing some big mistakes made by the politicians.
After spending part of my weekend with my fellow right-wing extremists from the York County Republican Party, the experience left me feeling more reflective on the current direction of the national party rather than energized about the good stuff happening on the local level. I’m going to try to put those impressions into words, but it may not all make sense. I’m still trying to work through what I believe the next steps should be for the Washington Republicans, but I’m going to suggest a few things and throw them out there for discussion.
So here goes…
Step #1: Recognize and acknowledge your own failure to live up to the standards you set when running for office. For the Party itself, acknowledge the deviation from what we claim as our core values — limited government and a commitment to fighting wasteful spending. It also wouldn’t hurt to find strong candidates to replace any corrupt Republican survivors in our Congress.
There is so much criticism of Democrats and President Obama (most of it well-deserved) about their agenda and the outrageous sums of money that will be spent by this administration. Republicans (and especially fiscal conservatives) are correct to be concerned about that. What Republicans fail to recognize is their own culpability in the wilderness state than our party now finds itself in. We did start this fiscal irresponsibility, and a few folks in our party are in fact corrupt. Failing to admit that continues to damage our credibility, and it prevents my party from becoming a viable alternative to the President and the Democrat party.
Admitting there is a problem with the lack of direction / leadership in our party is not the most painful part of this recovery process, however. We must make a choice to change our behavior — not so much to attract the independents and moderates, but to regain lost credibility on the issues we used to own over the Democrats. You can’t win elections without the base, and moving left loses that base for the Republicans.
Taking this first step won’t automatically fix our problems. There may be a few more lost elections in the current future of the Republican Party. But we can accelerate the process of regaining what we have lost if we start by admitting our mistakes and making a clear break from our past failures. Then when we attack the Democrats for wasteful spending and President Obama for his entire agenda, people might actually start listening to what we have to say.
Well…at least it was around the world of MLB. For the rest of the country, the discussion was about tea parties and the annual rite of passage for taxpaying citizens to fund wasteful government programs for all Americans. Another April 15th has come and gone, but nothing really has changed. The tea parties, while meaningful and important because of the message the participants delivered (no on Washington and the wasteful spending), will not sustain whatever momentum could have been gained from these events. For a political protest to have any staying power in the long run it requires some kind of ongoing commitment to the cause for those who are involved in that protest. Many of the participants have that kind of commitment — to keep fighting for limited government, lower taxes, and reduced government spending — and they will stay involved locally and hold their local politicians accountable in these areas. That would have been true without the tea parties. The success or failure of Tea Party Day should be measured by what happens next. Will this spark lead to more involvement in the political process by those who are disconnected from both parties as a result of finding common cause with these protesters? Or will we all go back to our own lives and forget all the great things that happened today?
Future results are TBD.
We could learn so much from history if we choose to acknowledge the wisdom of those who have lived before us. I’ve been reading P.J. O’Rourke’s On the Wealth of Nations, a condensed version of the famous economist Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Only P.J. O’Rourke could get me to read a book about economic theory in my spare time. He’s always a must-read.
Here’s an interesting quote:
It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense… They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.
The Wealth of Nations, Book II, Chapter III
John Kerry says that Syria should help in the disarmament of Hezbollah, and he’s an foreign policy expert because he served in Vietnam. Thank God America had the good sense to vote against him in 2004.
From Yahoo News:
BEIRUT (AFP) Senator John Kerry said on Wednesday that the new US administration will press Syria to help disarm Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as it forges ahead with a fresh diplomatic approach in the region.
We want Syria to respect the political independence of Lebanon, we want Syria to help in the process of resolving issues with Hezbollah and with the Palestinians, said Kerry, after meeting President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.
We want Syria to help… with the disarmament of Hezbollah, added the former US Democratic presidential candidate, who is also due to visit Damascus on his regional tour.
Sure. I’m surprised no one tried this before. It’s such a simple plan after all.
Those who are still pushing this absolutely-must-have-right-now-or-the-world-will-explode “emergency rescue plan” aren’t all that concerned with sticking to the $700 billion price tag. Is it too much to ask from this Congress that we have a straight up-and-down vote on whether we should bail out private industry? Why yes it is. They just couldn’t resist adding pork to a bill that they believe will eventually pass.
Here are some of the “incentives“:
- Sec. 105. Energy credit for geothermal heat pump systems.
- Sec. 111. Expansion and modification of advanced coal project investment credit.
- Sec. 113. Temporary increase in coal excise tax; funding of Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
- Sec. 115. Tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration.
- Sec. 205. Credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.
- Sec. 405. Increase and extension of Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax.
- Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
- Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
- Sec. 501. $8,500 income threshold used to calculate refundable portion of child tax credit.
- Sec. 503 Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.
Wooden arrows? Cost recovery for a motorsports racing track facility? All hail to our bipartisan overlords. We might very well get stuck with the bill for all this, and this is a very high price to pay for opening the eyes of many Americans to the failure of both parties to get our fiscal house in order.
One day after the House Republicans, with the help of a significant number of Democrats, stopped this disaster of a federal bailout, the world hasn’t collapsed. The Dow rebounded a little today after its terrible day yesterday. I still think those who voted against this bill did the right thing. I am, however, unsympathetic to the Republicans complaining about Pelosi’s partisan speech, and making that a reason to oppose the bailout. The bailout should be opposed on its lack of merit, and its expansion of government welfare to those who acted irresponsibly. Republicans haven’t been making this case, and that’s why Democrats could still win the PR war.
Some of my fellow conservatives are trying to tell us the sky is falling and that we must pass Bush’s plan NOW. Not so fast. A federal takeover of this kind must be carefully studied and discussed, and alternatives must be presented. Any acceptable plan must attempt to correct past errors as well as to hold those responsible for this mess accountable for their actions. We aren’t there yet.
To the Democrats still willing to support their Speaker, I would ask them: Doesn’t it concern you that the Bush administration wants to expand the reach of the federal government to take over a large section of our economy? I thought you all were against more power for the federal government under George Bush. Why all of a sudden do you believe the Bush administration and Secretary Paulson when they insist that the only way to save the economy is through a federal takeover? If this bill passes in its current form, then Democrats will share the blame with our President when it fails to achieve its objectives. Hope you all are ok with that. Looks like a no-win to me.
There are a few economists who are opposed to this bailout, and I would take their opinions over those of some of the know-nothings in Congress.
Here’s part of what one of them, Jeffrey Miron (day job- Harvard), had to say:
So what should the government do? Eliminate those policies that generated the current mess. This means, at a general level, abandoning the goal of home ownership independent of ability to pay. This means, in particular, getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with policies like the Community Reinvestment Act that pressure banks into subprime lending.
The right view of the financial mess is that an enormous fraction of subprime lending should never have occurred in the first place. Someone has to pay for that. That someone should not be, and does not need to be, the U.S. taxpayer.
Read the whole thing.