Archive for February, 2011

Wisconsin protests: Obama goes too far by mobilizing opposition

There are many lessons to be learned from the protests and outright abdication of duty by public labor unions and Democrats (but I repeat myself) in Wisconsin. One of them is that there can no longer be any doubts that President Obama has radical ideas about the proper balance and relationship between the federal and state governments.

From the Washington Post:

President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals.

Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an “assault” on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.

The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get …

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Treating the national debt like a kind of jeopardy

The kind with an upper-case J, that is.

I’ll take “Still the Third Rail” for $14 trillion, Alex:

Political cartoon from the Washington Examiner's Nate Beeler

(H/t: Hot Air)

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Sunday sales in Georgia? It’s really a simple question

I have a very simple test for Republican state senators sitting on the fence about Sunday sales of alcohol. It’s multiple choice:

a) vote for SB 10, which would allow counties or cities to put to their voters the issue of Sunday sales in stores (remember, alcohol can already be sold in restaurants, stadiums and “special entertainment districts” in many parts of Georgia); or

b) do not pass the buck to voters any longer on issues like taxation and spending (such as a one-cent sales tax for transportation), and do sponsor a bill to reinstitute a ban on all alcohol sales on Sunday, and possibly the rest of the week.

I really don’t see another option that has any kind of basis in logic, much less ideology or Scripture.

Me? I’m for “a.”

– By Kyle Wingfield

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‘Impatient’ on budget? Obama has no idea

I have a feeling this line from President Obama’s press conference Tuesday is one he won’t live down:

“You guys are pretty impatient. If something doesn’t happen today, then the assumption is it isn’t going to happen.”

“Impatient”? You bet we are.

The “you guys” actually referred to the Washington press corps, and the topic was the federal budget — specifically, the reforms for the tax code and entitlements that members of Obama’s bipartisan commission recommended in December. The president mentioned those reforms as steps necessary to “meet our long-term fiscal challenges,” and that’s true as far as it goes.

You have to wonder, though, how patient all Americans are supposed to be about the totality of Obama’s deficits. The budget Obama presented Monday was his third as president — he only gets one more crack at it without winning re-election — and it’s the third time he’s budgeted a deficit of more than $1 trillion.

Asking for more patience from Americans looks even worse …

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High-speed rail subsidies are a bad investment

I mentioned high-speed rail in my post last week about the Charlottephobia infecting some people in metro Atlanta. Anyone who wants to know whether metro Atlanta, and Georgia, should fret over “losing” the high-speed rail race absolutely must read this column by the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson (links in the quoted sections are original throughout):

Vice President Biden, an avowed friend of good government, is giving it a bad name. With great fanfare, he went to Philadelphia last week to announce that the Obama administration proposes spending $53 billion over six years to construct a “national high-speed rail system.” Translation: The administration would pay states $53 billion to build rail networks that would then lose money — lots — thereby aggravating the budget squeezes of the states or federal government, depending on which covered the deficits.

There’s something wildly irresponsible about the national government undermining states’ already poor long-term budget …

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Obama’s budget would increase the debt by trillions

The correct way to evaluate President Obama’s budget proposal is illustrated by this line from Jake Tapper of ABC News: It is “a 10-year budget plan that would increase the national debt by $7.2 trillion over 10 years.”

Yes, Tapper goes on to say that this total is “$1.1 trillion less than if [Obama's budget] weren’t implemented.” That $1.1 trillion figure is the one you’ve probably seen atop virtually all other reports on the budget proposal.

But the $7.2 trillion over 10 years figure is the one that matters. The supposedly higher starting point is inflated — and the White House’s projections already include raising taxes on “the rich” after 2012, so don’t try to tell us that’s the problem here. The key point is that there is no requirement for Washington to run a deficit in any of the next 10 years, much less average $720 billion in annual borrowed spending over the coming decade.

In fact, the smallest projected deficit in Obama’s proposal — $607 billion in fiscal 2015 — …

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Obama’s bid to end Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac is on the money

I spend plenty of time criticizing President Obama, so here’s one I think he may be getting right: Moving to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From the Associated Press:

The Obama administration wants to shrink the government’s role in the mortgage system — a proposal that would remake decades of federal policy aimed at getting Americans to buy homes and would probably make home loans more expensive across the board.

The Treasury Department rolled out a plan Friday to slowly dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored programs that bought up mortgages to encourage more lending and required bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis.

Exactly how far the government’s role in mortgages would be reduced was left to Congress to decide, but all three options the administration presented would create a housing finance system that relies far more on private money.

This is potentially great news if you believe, as I do, that Fan and Fred played a critical role in …

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House GOP must not go wobbly on spending cuts

The good news out of Washington is that conservative House members, including a number of newcomers, appear to be stiffening GOP leaders’ resolve to cut federal spending.

The bad news? That those leaders needed additional steel in the first place.

Many of the millions of Americans who voted for Republicans last year, shifting power in the House away from Democrats on a historic scale, did so despite harboring worries that the new GOP majority wouldn’t deliver on its lofty promises.

It was only four years earlier, these voters remembered, that they’d cast out Republicans who had proven not to be fiscal conservatives. Worries remained, particularly among independents, that Republicans might fall off the wagon again if given the chance.

It’s safe to say those who voted Republican anyway found the alternative — two more years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — untenable. The balloting was less a celebration of Republicans than “a restraining order” on Democrats, as P.J. O’Rourke wrote in …

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Yes, ObamaCare will kill jobs (video)

Turns out Republicans were right when they labeled ObamaCare a “job-killing” law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it’s an 800,000-jobs-killing law:

Keep in mind, I have repeatedly said the CBO has been working with overly rosy assumptions about ObamaCare (forced onto them by the congressional Democrats who wrote the law; CBO must score bills and laws as they’re written, not as they’re most likely to turn out). So, it seems likely that a job loss of just half a percentage point — those 800,000 jobs — is the best-case scenario.

The retort from Democrats seems to be that the loss of these 800,000 jobs is OK, because the figure represents workers who will choose not to work — because they won’t need to work just to have health insurance — rather than workers who won’t be able to find jobs.

Actually, I think that’s even worse: The implication is that taxpayers — 800,000 fewer taxpayers than there would otherwise be, remember — will be footing the bill for these …

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In Egypt, Mubarak’s looming departure sparks Twitter levity; Update: Mubarak isn’t leaving after all

UPDATE at 5:10 p.m.: Well.

Hosni Mubarak isn’t stepping down now after all. He is trying to get by with a plan to hand over powers to his new vice president, the former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, while retaining the title of president. Or, at least, he will hand over those powers in name and appearance.

At Hot Air, Allahpundit hits on the specific fear that every protester in Tahrir Square must be feeling right about now:

Needless to say, if Mubarak still has enough support within the military to hold on even under pressure this tremendous, there’s no reason to believe he’ll follow through on his promise to step down in September, transfer his powers to Suleiman, etc. Referring to the U.S. as “outsiders” who are trying to dictate to him means our leverage with him is down to nil, especially with the Saudis poised to pick up the slack, so who’s left to push him out?

Certainly, the assumption behind what everyone thought to be Mubarak’s ever-more-hasty departure from …

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