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State government collected $718.2 million in general revenue in April. That is generated almost entirely by state sales taxes and state income taxes. The amount is the most ever collected in one month by Arkansas state government, and it is 5 percent more than was collected in April of last year.
State tax rates have not changed, therefore the increase is not due to any tax increase. The good news is that the 5 percent increase in revenue represents growth in economic activity.
The state's top budget official presented the revenue report to the legislature's Joint Committee on Economic and Tax Policy. The governor noted the growth in individual income tax revenue and called it "good news" because it means that people are working more.
On the same day the state Finance and Administration Department presented the revenue report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released an unemployment report for April that indicates the jobless rate had improved in all seven of the metropolitan areas in Arkansas.
There are two months remaining in the state's fiscal year. Budget officials said that in spite of the improvement in revenue, they would not change their official forecast. That means no changes are in store, at this time, in the amount of state aid budgeted for state agencies, school districts and institutions of higher education.
By nature, Arkansas budget officials are cautious. A specific reason for their caution after reviewing the April revenue report is that sales tax figures are not up to the levels that had been expected. That is an indicator that though people are working more, they are not spending on retail items as much as forecast.
The state's budget director said that paying more for gasoline has had a negative effect on retail sales. Motor fuels taxes are not part of general revenue - they are dedicated to maintaining and building highways and bridges.
Although the April revenue report was favorable, administration budget officials tempered their remarks by saying that the Arkansas economy was not completely recovered.
Also, the threat of a looming financial crisis in the state Medicaid program put a damper on the favorable revenue report.
The state Human Services Department, which administers Medicaid, has warned legislators that the program faces a possible budget shortfall ranging from an estimated $250 million to $400 million next year.
Medicaid is a government-subsidized program that pays for medical care for low-income families, care and treatment of people with disabilities and nursing home care for the elderly. Addressing the financial problems of Medicaid is shaping up to be the dominant issue of the 2013 regular session. Tags:Arkansas, State Revenue, climbs, Johnny Key, Arkansas State Senator, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Small Businesses Suffer From Obama Administration Regulations
Small Businesses Struggling Under The Yoke Of Obama Administration's Excessive Red Tape
This month’s NFIB Optimism Report lists “government regulations and red tape” as the single biggest problem facing small businesses. “The NFIB asks its members each month to declare their “single most important problem.” In April, 18 per cent said taxes, down from 19 per cent a year ago. Poor sales were identified by 19 per cent of respondents, which is a notable improvement from a year earlier when 25 per cent said a lack of demand was their biggest concern. The biggest single concern of business owners is one policy makers can address with little cost to the treasury: Twenty per cent identified “government regulations and red tape” as the biggest problem, up from 17 per cent in April 2011.” [Kevin Carmichael, “Red Tape Worse Than Taxes: US Small Business.” CTV, 05/08/2012]
Small business owners are no more optimistic today than they were a year ago, according to the latest reading from the National Federation of Independent Business. "The National Federation of Independent Business says its index of small business optimism rose 2 points last month to 94.5. That makes up for the 2 points lost in March, but only returns the index to its February 2011 level. William Dunkelberg, the NFIB's chief economist, still classifies the reading as weak." [“Small Biz Optimism Rose in April But is Still Weak.” Associated Press, 05/08/2012]
Small business owners point to the proliferation of regulations as a cause of uncertainty. “‘And someone has got to pay for that extra cost,’ he said. ‘Regulations result in an overall rise in prices and a lack of availability, and that hurts everyone. It's a vicious cycle. I'm not saying we shouldn't have some regulations, but there's got to be a balance somewhere.’ Chapdelaine and others in the small business community said they are worried a rash of regulations being crafted by federal agencies will stymie job growth further than the economy has in recent years.” [Brian Gadd, “Regulations Hurting, Small Businesses Say.”Coshocton Tribune, 05/06/2012]
Uncertainty on the business front translates to higher prices for goods and services for consumers. “Those same regulations cause prices to rise, hurting consumers as well. ‘It's really taking a toll on small business,’ said National Federation of Independent Business Ohio Member Support Manager Andy Patterson. ‘There are more than 4,000 different federal regulations that are in the pipeline right now, and 850 of those are going to affect small business owners in Ohio.’” [Ibid]
Businesses exist to grow and build their business, which translates to job growth within the community. “‘Our stance is, let's rein in some the regulations being created, and let small business owners get back to creating jobs,’ Patterson said. ‘If the government could foster an environment where business can grow and add jobs, our small businesses can hire people in their communities and put people back to work.’” [Ibid]
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: With the increasingly likelihood that Obama’s health care law will be struck down in court or repealed next Congress, the administration has been working hard to cement another dubious legacy: the destruction of the coal industry.
Obama’s war on coal is stirring a lot of anger in parts of the country like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio that have long relied on coal as an engine of prosperity. But little of that anger has been directed at the biggest funder of the War on Coal: the natural gas industry, which stands to reap big rewards from the destruction of coal-fired power plants — given the regulatory barriers to nuclear power and the lack of any other real, commercially viable alternatives.
The lynchpin of the War on Coal is the so-called Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (UMACT) rule. The rule was a product of Sierra Club litigation and requires expensive control technology retrofits at coal-fired power plants, raising electricity prices nearly 20 percent.
The cost, according to EPA’s own low-ball estimate, is $10 billion per year. A more realistic analysis from National Economic Research Associates found compliance costs of $21 billion per year, with 183,000 lost jobs per year.
It’s all pain and no gain; except for the natural gas industry, which stands to reap enormous rewards from the forced conversion of coal-fired power plants to natural gas. That’s probably why between 2007 and 2010, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon donated more than $25 million to the Sierra Club for its “Beyond Coal” campaign, which included the lawsuit resulting in the UMACT rule.
A more recent EPA rule following on the heels of UMACT is explicit in forcing power-plant fuel switching from coal to natural gas. It’s the Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the latest installment in the Obama administration’s effort to act as if cap-and-trade had passed by transforming the 1970 Clean Air Act into a global warming law. (This is despite the fact that in 1970 Al Gore hadn’t even invented the Internet yet, let alone global warming.)
Under the proposed NSPS, coal-fired power plants are instructed that in order to comply with the new emissions standard of 1000 tons of CO2 per megawatt of power generated, they must convert to natural gas. Not nuclear. Not even wind and solar that Obama claims to love. Natural gas.
The rule supposedly applies only to new plants and plants undergoing major modification, but the latter means that it operates as a one-two punch with UMACT to destroy coal-fired electricity: UMACT requires major modifications to control mercury emissions, which triggers carbon dioxide regulations, which forces fuel-switching to natural gas. The costs of mass forced-retirement of coal plants would run into the hundreds of billions of dollars — and electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket,” as Obama promised on the campaign trail four years ago.
The NSPS, like the UMACT, was a product of natural gas-funded Sierra Club litigation. The natural gas industry is also attacking coal through the so-called American Lung Association (ALA), an advocacy outfit also known for accepting millions of dollars from the EPA while promoting EPA regulations.
The manipulative campaign shows a red baby carriage, in front of a coal plant with a coughing sound and a heartfelt plea for Congress “not to water down the Clean Air Act,” which is a deceptive way of telling Congress to just look the other way and let the natural gas industry, the green groups, and the EPA destroy coal — without any authorization from the people’s elected representatives in Congress.
The Senate will soon have an opportunity to stop Obama’s War on Coal when it votes on Senator Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) S.J. Res. 37, which would overturn the UMACT rule. If our elected officials are interested in doing their job, they will vote yes on the Inhofe Resolution and reject anti-coal cronyism that will cost the American people dearly.
-------------- Phil Kerpen is the president of American Commitment where he first shared this article; a columnist on Fox News Opinion, and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. He is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service. Tags:Phil Kerpen, Barack Obama, natural gas,Gas-Powered War on Coal, war on coal, Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology, UMACT, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, OhioTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
West Virginia Democrat State Chair: "A Lot Of Folks Here Have Real Frustration With This Administration's Stance On Coal And Energy. … They Are Frustrated And They Are Upset, And They Wanted To Send Obama A Message." "In West Virginia, some are calling it a howl of protest. Others, a blunt message addressed directly to President Barack Obama. Either way, the fact that a convicted felon now serving 17 ½ years in a Texas prison nabbed more than 40% of the vote against President Obama in the Democratic primary has Democrats and others scrambling to explain the outcome. For Larry Puccio, the state's Democratic Party chairman, the conclusion is obvious. 'A lot of folks here have real frustration with this administration's stance on coal and energy,' he said. 'They are frustrated and they are upset, and they wanted to send Obama a message.'" (Neil King Jr., "West Virginia Vote Was All About Coal," The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire, 5/9/12)
Prisoner #11593-051 at a Federal Correctional Institution in Texas put up strong numbers in Tuesday’s Primary Election in West Virginia.
Keith Judd, who is currently serving prison time for making threats at the University of New Mexico, had the support of 41% of voters in the race for the Democrat Presidential nomination compared with President Barack Obama’s 59% of the vote, according to results reported on Tuesday night.
"It's an embarrassment to the state and, I think, it's an embarrassment to the Democrats," West Virginia Wesleyan Political Science Professor Robert Rupp said of those numbers. "When people cast a protest vote, they never bother on who they're voting for. They just want to use that as an expression on who they're voting against."
Democrat Consultant Mike Plante agrees. "I think most of the people who were casting a vote for Keith Judd, it was not a vote for him, it was a vote expressing dissatisfaction with the President," Plante said. "Barack Obama has not run strong here in the past and probably will not run strong in the Fall."
In the Democrat Primary, Judd beat President Obama in the following nine counties: Hardy, Logan, Mingo, Webster, Wyoming, Boone, Clay, Gilmer and Tucker.
President Obama is hugely unpopular in the Mountain State. [Full Story on West VA Metro News] Tags:inmate vs Obama, Keith Judd, Barack Obama, West Virgina, democratic primary, political cartoon, William Warren, Metro NewsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington - May 11, 2012:
The Senate is in recess today and will reconvene on Monday to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 2072, the bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is, again, blocking Republican amendments to the bill.
The House is in recess until Tuesday at Noon. Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 5652 (218 - 199) — "To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 201 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2013."
H.R. 5326 (247 - 163) — "Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes."
As you read the following scenario being played out in the Senate, consider these comments. What would a dictator wish? Every since the Emperors of the Rome Republic cooped the Roman Senate, dictatorial and power hungry desperate leaders have sought ways to silence the voices of the people or their representatives -- especially the opposition party. It is most interesting that the following theatrics by Harry Reid are playing out over a non-event as related later. While the Obama administration and Congress had absolute power and control prior to the 2010 elections, there efforts were stymied by the 2010 elections when the people gave the then opposition party, the Republicans, control of the House and elected enough new Republican Senators to potentially stop or at least slow down the Senate Democrats with the 60 vote majority rule.
Now we have Obama puppet, Harry Reid, at it again. Why at this time? While he may know that grassroots conservatives are upset over the Export-Import Bank, the fact is that the bill easily got through the Republican controlled House and it is fully expected to eventually pass in the Senate. So, why is Reid at it again -- why now?
The Obama puppets do not do anything other than react to the strings controlled by the White House. As a minimum, this agenda by Reid is an attempt to set the stage to later force through bills and to prevent blockage of regulations, appointments, treaties, and other unimagined actions by the White House in the potential final days of the Obama administration or at least hopefully the final days of a Democrat controlled Senate. Mark my words: Reid is up to no good but his actions are controlled by the White House.
Politico reports, “An angry Harry Reid took to the floor Thursday and demanded changes to the Senate’s hallowed filibuster rules, siding with junior Democrats who have sought to substantially weaken the powerful delaying tactic. It’s a risky move for the Senate majority leader, who could find himself in the minority in a matter of months and need the filibuster to block the GOP’s agenda. . . . ‘If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,’ Reid said on the floor. ‘These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.’ Reid added: ‘If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.’” Note the words "fine young men" and the proposed abolishing of the Senate tradition of protecting the minority party and to assure a higher level of consensus. These words are from the puppet masters not Harry Reid. Udall will be 64 in a few days. Reid is not talking "young" in age, but "young" in experience in the Senate. Both these men came to the Senate three years ago via the 2008 Obama election win and they have helped push the radical new Obama agenda before it was slowed down in 2011 with newly elected Republicans. Obviously, they hate the 60 vote rule!
At Townhall.com, Guy Benson has the video of Harry Reid’s latest attack on this venerable Senate tradition and notes, “Interestingly, when Reid's minority posse was actually abusing the judicial filibuster in the mid-2000’s, they defended their inviolable right to obstruct President Bush's appointees . . . .” He points out that last night Reid was attacking all filibusters, not just those of judicial nominees, which Democrats went to the mats to defend in 2005.
And what prompted Reid’s “anger” last night, as Politico describes it? He wanted to pass a bill without any debate or amendment and Republicans objected, demanding the basic rights of senators. A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) complained on Twitter, “McConnell is holding up bipartisan Ex-Im bill in name of amendments by Toomey, Vitter, Rand Paul & Mike Lee.” But have Senate Democrats really made legislating their priority recently?
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been less than impressed with Democrats’ priorities: “Earlier this week, the President repackaged a list of old ideas into a Post-It note checklist for Congress. He said he did not want to ‘overload’ Congress. Unfortunately besides the weekly political show votes to coincide with the President’s campaign schedule, the work that needs to be done, isn’t. No budget, nothing to prevent the largest tax hike in history, and House-passed bills are sitting in the hopper. And while the President is trying to manufacture arguments that he can run on, House Republicans have spent the last year and a half voting on and passing energy and jobs bills. In fact, more than two dozen job proposals are currently collecting dust on the [Senate] Majority Leader’s desk.”
With Democrats’ clear desire stymie debate in the Senate, it’s interesting to note what Harry Reid said about such things back when his priority was defending the filibuster. Guy Benson highlights: “The Senate was not established to be efficient. Sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. The Senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. Majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. That is what the Senate is all about. For more than 200 years, the rules of the Senate have protected the American people, and rightfully so. The need to muster 60 votes in order to terminate Senate debate naturally frustrates the majority and oftentimes the minority. I am sure it will frustrate me when I assume the office of majority leader in a few weeks. But I recognize this requirement is a tool that serves the long-term interest of the Senate and the American people and our country.”
As Leader McConnell said at the beginning of this Congress last year, “Americans have been telling us that they’re tired of being shut out of the legislative process. They want to be heard. And the response they’re now getting from some on the other side, instead, is a proposal to change the Senate rules so they can continue do exactly what they want with even fewer members than before. Instead of changing their behavior in response to the last election, they want to change the rules. Well, I would suggest that this is precisely the kind of approach a supermajority standard is meant to prevent. It exists to preserve the Senate’s role as the one place where the voices of all the people will, in the end, be heard.”
Reid, Udall, Merkley, Schumer and their followers are progressives and would prefer to see the Republic of the United States go the way of the Roman Republic. Hail Caesar! Or, in their world, Hail Obama! Tags:Washington, D.C., Us Senate, US House, Harry Reid abuse of Senate, protecting the minoiryt voice, Hail Caesar, hail Obama, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Facts the President
Doesn't Want You to Know
AmericanDoctors4Truth Video: A response to the Democrat ad showing Paul Ryan throwing grandma off a cliff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGnE83A1Z4U Get the whole truth on how Obamacare will impact the health and welfare of your loved ones at AmericanDoctors4Truth.org.
Tags: Healthcare, doctors, ObamaCare, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Democrats, elderlyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
And when President Barack Obama saw Americans struggling with higher gasoline and home energy prices, did he encourage more domestic oil exploration, off-shore drilling, or coal production, while lowering taxes on energy? Of course not. After all, with political observers expecting a close presidential race this year, Obama needs the financial and institutional support far-left environmental groups. The result has been the President anointing certain energy sources - such as wind and natural gas - as energies of the future, while implementing regulatory hurdles for more dependable fuels like oil and coal.
Over the last decade, natural gas has exploded as an important energy source in the United States, accounting for almost one quarter of all energy consumed. Natural gas has boosted economic activity in states like Ohio, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, and until recently has done so largely without the benefit of preferential treatment from the federal government.
But to expedite this natural gas boom, President Obama just recently decided to form an interagency natural gas council run by Cecilia Munoz, a former community organizer with La Raza and White House bureaucrat with deep-ties to George Soros, the billionaire investor who made his fortune in currency trading throughout the world while bankrolling liberal political efforts. Munoz formerly lead the Open Society Institute and the Center for Community Change, two organizations which are directly connected to Soros, MoveOn.org, ACORN, and other fringe groups with a long record of opposing the development of America's oil and coal resources.
If having a new council run by the far left was not enough, President Obama continues to support major Democratic donors such as Soros by picking winners and losers in the energy through risky subsidies, through a bill known as the NAT GAS Act. This legislation attempts to artificially encourage a transition to more natural gas usage, by offering tax credits for natural gas vehicles, fueling stations, and storage facilities. As we all saw with the collapse of inefficient companies like Solyndra, when private investors are not willing to fund a new project, politically connected firms try to force taxpayers to fund their schemes.
But if natural gas is an already cheap and abundant source of energy, why would we subsidize it?
The answer may be found with the Soros Management Fund, which is Soros' investment vehicle, owns more than $90 million of shares in a Vancouver, British Columbia company which produces the same natural gas-powered engines which the act would encourage the use of. Soros has personally donated $5,000 to the act's co-sponsor Rep. Nita Lowey of New York and his family donated $121,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, while the lead sponsor of the act, Senator Robert Mendez of New Jersey, was chairman. This is in addition to the countless (and often untraceable) millions of dollars Soros pours into Democratic campaigns through the activities of his non-profit organizations and political committees.
Natural gas is a valuable and commonly used fuel. But it is not a silver bullet to our nation's massive energy conundrum. And just like wind, solar, and nuclear, it should be left to succeed or fail based on private market forces. Government should not have the legal authority to hand your hard-earned dollars over to a private industry, just because a handful of politicians think they have the right to make decisions about what energy consumers use.
We have seen the costly errors of government manipulating energy markets, and Obama must not allow wealthy activists to profit at the expense of taxpayers. Conservatives should oppose the NAT GAS Act and other measures that give one specific fuel a distinct marketplace advantage over others.
--------------- J. Ken Blackwell is a member the board of directors of, both, the Club for Growth and
the National Taxpayers Union. Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Barack Obama, George Soros, Controlled Energy Council, NAT GAS Act, Soros Management Fund, Cecilia Munoz, community organizer, La RazaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 19, 2012: Yesterday the House passed the corporate welfare bill(330 - 93) - H.R. 2072, the bill reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. Noting the delegation from Arkansas: Rick Crawford (R), Steve Womack (R), Mike Ross (D) all supported the bill. Tim Griffin (R) voted no; the correct vote in my opinion. All no votes were by Republicans. The 183 democrats voting all voted for the bill. As for the Republicans, 147 voted yeas and 97 voted no. It is a sad day when the Republicans are in control and cannot or will not put down a raggedly old (created by Executive Order in 1934) worn out abused program that wastes and risks the people's money.
When Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Henry Waxman complain about failed bi-partisanship, the Republicans can now, not so proudly, point to the passage this Export-Import Bank bill. Republicans leadership had their chance and failed. Senate democrat leadership will now move quickly to get this bill passed and on to the President for signature. Corporate Welfare money had its influence in the House and bi-partisan corporate welfare (and contributions) are alive and well for incumbent members of congress except for those who voting no.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) voted NO and shared, “In 2008, Barack Obama called the Export-Import Bank ‘little more than a fund for corporate welfare.’ Now that he’s in charge, President Obama wants to increase it by 40%. We needed to end corporate welfare, not expand it. Only in Washington is a 40% increase characterized as a phase-out.”
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson responded, "The House had an opportunity to show that corporate welfare in any form is unacceptable, and yet again blew it by not only reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank, but by adding $40 billion to its lending capacity. Every member who voted yes now must explain to their constituents why they support a bank that gave millions to bankrupt Solyndra. Why they support a bank that gives foreign companies an edge over U.S. companies in the global economy. And why they support a bank that has wasted billions manipulating markets rather than allowing market forces to determine demand."
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already moved to proceed to H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Votes are possible later today if Democrats agree to allow votes on amendments. Also, in the Senate, there may be a possible is a vote to reconsider the failed cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S.2343, Democrats’ bill to stop an increase in student loan rates caused by legislation they passed in 2007.
The House yesterday also passed (411 - 2) H.R. 4133 — "To express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes." The Nay votes were by Rep John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Republican presidential candidate.
Canadians sent a warning shot over the bow of America's ship of state. Politico reports today, “Canadian oil executives this week are personally warning U.S. lawmakers that the delay in the Keystone XL pipeline has repercussions on U.S.-Canada trade relations. The CEOs of at least six Canadian oil companies or subsidiaries — in town on a regular annual visit ostensibly to talk about broader issues affecting Canadian oil production — will almost certainly end up predominately lobbying members of Congress and a diverse list of think tanks on Keystone.
"Their message will include pointing to expedited consideration in Canada of two proposed pipelines sending crude oil from Alberta oil sands to the West Coast for Asian export. ‘The snowball’s already rolling,’ Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, told POLITICO. ‘Canadian producers have always recognized that there’s some vulnerability in only having one market, that being the United States,’ Collyer said. ‘I think what the Keystone decision did was increase the awareness of that vulnerability and provide some impetus clearly … on the importance of diversifying that market.’ . . . ‘But in the face of a rather overwhelming set of facts, with this decision to be deferred that frankly raises some questions about the integrity of the process and whether we can have confidence in the regulatory review process’ for other projects'. . .”
In other words, thanks to the unnecessary delays and political dodging on allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward, our allies in Canada are saying that if the Obama administration continues this kind of treatment, they’ll look for other partners to do business with, particularly in Asia.
There’s simply no longer any excuse for President Obama to keep blocking the pipeline. Transcanada, the company that will build the pipeline, has worked with the state of Nebraska to approve a new route to avoid any environmentally sensitive areas and has now submitted a new application to the State Department. Labor leaders and Democrats in Congress have expressed support for building Keystone XL, since it would create tens of thousands of jobs and allow the U.S. to import more oil from Canada instead of the Middle East.
And yet President Obama is still blocking the pipeline from moving forward. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell notes, “At a moment when tensions are rising in the Middle East, millions of Americans are struggling to find work and millions more are struggling with the rising cost of gas, the Obama administration’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline shows how deeply out of touch they are with the concerns of middle-class Americans. When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should look no further than the Oval Office.” Tags:Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, corporate welfare, H.R. 2072, Export-Import bank, Cananda, warning, XL Pipeline To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski, Contributing Authors: Elections are about choices, and 2012’s pivotal election showcases two very different visions for America’s future. Governor Mitt Romney is quickly consolidating the Republican base to enthusiastically support him this November. His speech this weekend at Liberty University illustrates these efforts, providing an opportunity to underscore Romney’s embrace of American exceptionalism in both his public and private life.
Liberty University is the perfect venue for Governor Romney to make his case. With over 50,000 students, it’s America’s largest Evangelical school. Founded by Jerry Falwell, it’s affiliated with the largest Evangelical denomination in America, the 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Liberty University wisely offered Romney a platform to speak to social conservatives.
Romney wisely accepted, showing both support for cultural issues, and also his desire to have a large and diverse political movement behind him to unseat one of the most radical big government presidents in America’s history. Some seek to make an issue of the fact that Romney is a Mormon—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). But those attacks will deservedly fail in a choice between Romney and Obama.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that in America you have the legal right to be theologically wrong. This protection for diversity of belief includes matters large and small, covering not only Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Catholics, and others, but also 422 Protestant denominations. While there are very significant theological differences between LDS and Evangelical doctrine, none of them are significant for national policymaking.
That’s because most voters only focus on religious beliefs insofar as they inform policy decisions. On those issues, there is little difference, for instance, between the faith teachings of Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons. All are pro-life, upholding the dignity of human life. All fully support marriage between a man and woman. All embrace the value of religious faith and practice, and pursue religious liberty.
Moreover, in an age where some seek to drive a wedge between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives, members of the LDS church understand that family issues are economic issues. They understand that children raised by a father and mother in a low-conflict marriage are more likely to graduate high school, graduate college, stay out of jail, secure a good-paying job, and eventually have successful marriages of their own. That’s one reason why the LDS church places such a premium on the hard work of child rearing, as seen in Ann Romney’s noble choice to work at home, investing in their family in a 24−7 job whose only paycheck is a dividend of love and satisfaction, and whose employee-of-the-month awards are photographs of a woman laughing and smiling with her children.
Contrast this pro-faith, pro-family picture with President Obama’s radical agenda. It’s more than his war on people of faith (especially Catholics) or his fringe views on abortion. In President Obama’s worldview, government usurps the place of family. Big Brother becomes Big Father who brings home the bacon through government entitlements covering everything from housing, to education, to food (stamps), to government-run healthcare. You need have faith in government alone, as the collective state becomes the god in whom you trust and from whom you receive your daily bread. And they replace the family unit with the state, undermining the foundational unit of civilization.
This attempt to—as President Obama puts it—“fundamentally transform the United States of America” must be stopped. And there is cause for hope, as the North Carolinians this week reaffirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their state constitution. This is a fresh reminder that despite the pontifications of urban and coastal elites that supporters of traditional marriage are on the wrong side of history, countless millions of Americans embrace marriage as a sacred institution that government can only recognize, not redefine. This marriage victory in a state that is not only a swing state, but also the location of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, bodes well for Romney’s support for marriage helping him carry North Carolina and with it the White House.
(It also shows Obama to be on the horns of a dilemma. Whom will he alienate? His far-left base, or swing voters in swing states like North Carolina? Or will he refuse to “man up” and alienate both sides by failing to take a stand one way or the other?)
Both the LDS church in general—and the Romneys in particular—not only understand these truths of the family as the essential foundation for American prosperity, they embrace them. And the LDS focus on self-reliance at the family level, of responsibly stewarding financial resources and planning for a rainy day, is naturally opposed to big-government programs to redistribute wealth and centralize decisionmaking.
Surveying the differences between both candidates and considering what’s at stake (i.e., America’s future), we believe conservatives will flock to Romney. In a matchup between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it’s an easy choice for conservatives like both of us to fully endorse Governor Romney in this year’s election.
---------------------- Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski are on faculty at Liberty University and the authors of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America. Both are Contributors to the ARRA News Service. Their political endorsement was in their personal capacities. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski, Evangelicals, Rally for Romney, Mitt Romney, presidential candidate, 2012 electionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“More Now Than at Any Time in Past Year Working Part Time, Looking for Full-Time Job.Another 18.4% of young adults in the workforce were working part time but wanting to work full time in April. This is up from 17.5% in March and 17.1% in April a year ago, and is the highest percentage of part-time young employees looking for full-time work seen during the past year.” (“One In Three Young U.S. Workers Are Underemployed,” Gallup, 5/9/12)
More Than Half ‘Disappointed,’ ‘Worried’ Or ‘Angry’ With The Obama Presidency
ABC NEWS: “A survey released Thursday showed that only 34 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds are ‘satisfied’ with the Obama presidency. More than half -- 51 percent – said they were either ‘disappointed,’ ‘worried’ or ‘angry,’ according to the survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkeley Center.” (“Bad Economy Puts Obama In Tight Spot With Young Voters,” ABC News, 4/20/12)
“Nearly 25 million adults live at home with their parents because they’re unemployed or underemployed…”(TIME Magazine, 2/14/12) Tags:Obama economy, unemployment young Americans, underemployed, disappointed, worried, angry, no jobs, newsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: Francois Hollande, the Socialist and Radical Left Party candidate has been elected as the new President of France replacing the more conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande will become the first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand stepped down in May 1995. Hollande served as the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008 and as special adviser to the President Mitterrand before serving as a staffer for Max Gallo, the government's spokesman.
Most Americans forget or are unaware that France is a nuclear power. Sarkozy and Hallande will meet at the Elysee Palace next Tuesday for the traditional handover of power, They will then have a private meeting where Sarkozy hands over the codes to France's nuclear deterrent.
American can expect that left minded President Barack Obama to be back slapping France's President Francois Hollande in short order. While Obama is considered by some to be a "stealth socialist," Hollande is an open socialist.
William J. Bennett, CNN Contributor had some interesting thoughts: Last week, President Obama's campaign launched a fictional storybook ad called, "The Life of Julia." The slide show narrative follows Julia, a cartoon character, from age 3 to age 67 and explains how Obama's policies, from Head Start to Obamacare to mandated contraception coverage to Medicare reform, would provide Julia with a better life than Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan could.
Julia is not your typical all-American girl, but an obviously independent, yuppie liberal woman. She goes to public school, graduates college, and becomes a Web designer. She is able to pursue her career because, at age 27, "her health insurance is required to cover birth control and preventive care, letting Julia focus on her work rather than worry about her health."
At age 31 she "decides to have a child," with no mention of a father or husband. Her son Zachary heads off to a Race to the Top funded public school, while Julia goes on to start her own Web business. She retires at age 67 with Social Security and Medicare supporting her financially and spends her later years volunteering in a community garden.
Julia's happily-ever-after tale is remarkably void of reality. Nowhere in her fictional life is it mentioned that Head Start has done little, if anything, to improve elementary education, that she will likely graduate with $25,000 in student loan debt, that she has a 50% chance of being unemployed or underemployed after college, that Medicare and Social Security are headed toward insolvency, and that her share of the national debt is $50,000 and growing. . . .
The Life of Julia" . . . -- outline in exacting detail what modern Democratic policy wants for individuals. Here we have Obama's 21st century synthesis of the Great Society, New Deal and New Frontier.
Julia's entire life is defined by her interactions with the state. Government is everywhere and each step of her life is tied to a government program. Notably absent in her story is any relationship with a husband, family, church or community, except a "community" garden where she works post-retirement. Instead, the state has taken their place and is her primary relationship. . . .
Democratic policymakers realize that in the absence of self-sustaining family units, government can step in and fill the void. And a government large enough to fill that void can eventually take the place of the family altogether. Cultural commentator Heather Mac Donald recently wrote, "The single mother has become the cornerstone of Democratic politics." Julia is the perfect example. . . . [Read Full Article] Tags:French Leftovers, France, new president, socialist, Francois Hollande, Obama's Julia, Democrat, socialist agenda, controlling life, cradle to graveTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 9, 2012: Quick Spotlight: Eric Holder is still Attorney General. It is amazing that his actions and/ or those of his department have not resulted in his removal or resignation. His action appear to be far worse than the former actions of V.P. Spiro Agnew who was forced to resign facing a criminal charge or of former AG Alberto Gonzales who was convicted of --- nothing --- but resigned after having several conflicts with Congress. Just a minute, Holder and or his department officials have sanctioned "Gun Running" to Mexico which resulted in the death of people, have protected people who violate and intimidate voters, have ignored the problems of crimes and even lost jobs created by illegals in our country, have sued states for taking action to protect themselves and a long list of other actions or offenses. Last week, In a dangerous power grab that will jeopardize government transparency,
the DOJ wants to redefine federal public record law
so that it becomes the sole arbiter in disputes between agencies and
individuals who submit requests under the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA). Several members of Congress have called for his resignation. When will he do so? Most likely it will not be before the 2012 elections. Regardless, the appointment and continued subsequent support of the present Attorney General is proof positive of another mistake by Barack Obama.
The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2343, a bill dealing with federal student loan interest rates. Yesterday, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to move to their bill, S.2343, to stop an increase in student loan rates caused by legislation they passed in 2007. The Democrat bill would have paid for the bill with yet another tax increase. Republicans senators have instead proposed a bill that would be paid for but cutting an Obamacare slush fund that even the White House has previously suggested cutting.
Yesterday the House spent the majority of their time debating several amendments to HR 5326 "Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes." The bill will be addressed today or later in the week.
However, the hot issue for the day is the debate and pending vote on H.R. 2072, would reauthorize and expand Export-Import Banks borrowing authority from $100 billion to $140 billion, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for the full amount. As reported the last two days, here and here and here, conservatives are against this bill. The House is also expected today to address H.R. 4133 "To express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes."
Gallup finds today, “Thirty-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed in April, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment. . . . Underemployment among 18- to 29-year-olds has hovered around 30% for most of the past year, showing no real improvement. . . . Young adults were more than twice as likely as those in older age groups to be underemployed in April. . . . Young adults continue to be much more likely than average to be unemployed . . . .”
Examining these results, Gallup writes, “Wall Street has generally viewed the government's unemployment report for April as a negative for the U.S. economy. Gallup's unemployment measures show that April has also brought gloomy job news for young Americans and underscores that this group has been struggling disproportionately for some time. Those aged 18 to 29 are more than twice as likely as those in any other age group to be underemployed. . . . Today's slow economic growth is a disaster for those unemployed and underemployed as they look for jobs when so few new jobs are being created. For younger Americans as a group, this is a particularly acute issue. Nearly one in three young adults in the workforce are not now able to gain full-time job experience. This not only hurts them temporarily, but deprives them of the experience they need to get a better job in the future. It also deprives U.S. companies of the skilled and experienced workers they will need for their businesses to prosper in the years ahead.”
This news comes on top of recent reports that only half of graduates between 2009 and 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of leaving school, that last year over half of college graduates under 25 were unemployed or underemployed, and that “[n]early 25 million adults live at home with their parents because they're unemployed or underemployed,” leaving The Atlantic to conclude, “It is, very simply, a tough time to be young.”
But instead of any real solutions, President Obama offers only campaign rhetoric designed at creating attacks on Republicans or excuses for why his policies have failed. This morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The cynicism here is breathtaking. Here’s a President who, in the morning, worked hand-in-hand with Senate Democrats to ensure that legislation to freeze interest rates on student loans wouldn’t pass– in the afternoon, giving a recycled speech in which he pleaded for an end to the very gridlock he was orchestrating. There’s perhaps no better illustration of how far this President has come from the heady days of his last campaign.”
He blasted Obama’s expand the government and shift the blame approach: “Let’s face it: there isn’t a problem we face that this President didn’t think government could solve. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, he still can’t seem to shake the idea that more government is the answer for what ails us. When the Stimulus failed, it wasn’t the government’s fault. It was the Republicans. When the health care bill caused health care costs to rise, same thing. When trillions are spent and the jobs don’t come, it’s ATM machines, it’s the weather, it’s bankers, it’s the rich, it’s Fox News. It’s anything other than the government.”
“The President,” Leader McConnell said, “seems to view government the way some parents view their children. It can do no wrong. So if there’s a problem to solve, a challenge to tackle, the solution is always the same: more government. And the results are always the same — a disappointment to be blamed on somebody, anybody, else. . . . Hasn’t the experience of the last three and a half years taught this President anything about the limitations of government action? Three and a half years and five trillion dollars later, there are nearly half a million fewer jobs in the country than the day the President took office. That’s not what most people would describe as a good return on investment. Yet that’s all we get: the same government-driven solutions he’s been pushing for three and a half years.”
Tags:Barack Obama, polls, jobs, college grads, Eric Holder, DOJ, Us Senate, US House, Export-Import BankTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
After 36 years of being an Indiana Senator, 80 year Richard Lugar is forced to retire. Today, conservative Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock Soundly defeated Lugar with 60-plus percent of the vote. Sen. Lugar stated in his concession speech, "I want to see a Republican in the White House. I hope that Richard Mourdock prevails."
Richard Mourdock was backed by numerous conservative groups including the Club for Growth, Freedom Works, TEA Party Expess, Gun Owners of America, National Rifle Association and others. Lugar had become not only a moderate Republicans over the years but tp much of a get along friend with the entrenched Senate Democrats.
Indiana Republicans have and will continue to be confronted by Democrat allegations that they now have a chance to take a Senate seat away from the Republicans with Lugar loss .Not much logic here, but they will spend a lot of money trying to claim this former entrenched Republican seat.
The Republican voters of Indiana made Richard Mourdock their 2012 candidate for the U.S. Senate. They were seeking to have someone in office that reflecting the real conservative values of Indiana and has a home in Indiana. Sen. Lugar faced accusations this election of being "out of touch" with the residents of Indiana because he ceased maintaining a residence in the state he was supposed to represent.
Also, such political allegations of the Democrat machine ignore the fact that groups which helped to defeat very-very moderate Richard Lugar will now help Republican Senate nominee Richard Murdock convey his message to the Indiana voters for the 2012 General Election. And these are voters who are tired of Obama mania both in Washington, in the U.S. Senate, and in Indiana.
There were lots of tweets on this Indiana Senate race (#INSEN). Some were suspiciously satirical:
-- Sen. John Kerry: Sen. Lugar's defeat is a "tragedy for the Senate"
-- Obama: As a friend and former colleague, I want to express my deep appreciation for Dick Lugar’s distinguished service in the US Senate.
Gun Owners of America is celebrating the defeat of the most anti-gun Republican in the U.S. Senate, Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar who had an "F" rating by GOA. Also, Lugar was the only Republican Senator to refuse to sign a letter opposing a massive UN small arms treaty. They noted that Richard Mourdock is 100% in favor of our Second Amendment rights and understands that gun ownership is a fundamental, individual liberty that must be safeguarded in a free society.
Chris W. Cox at the NRA Political Victory Fund responded, "Since the 1990s, Sen. Lugar has become notorious for his zealous support of gun control schemes and his fervent anti-gun positions. . . . Thanks to Indiana gun owners, one of the most anti-gun Senators will no longer be in the U.S. Senate. "
Roy Beck at NumbersUSA responded positively to Sen. Lugar's defeat, "Today's Indiana election guarantees one major immigration improvement in 2013 U.S. Senate. Sen. Lugar is one of the last hold-overs of the Republican Senators who not only tried to push through all the Bush amnesties at the beginning of this century but also back in the 1990s helped kill the immigration enforcement and green card reductions recommended by the bi-partisan Barbara Jordan Commission. . . . the Indiana Senate seat now held by Richard Lugar should produce far better immigration actions in the future.
To learn more about or to support electing a conservative Republican to the U.S. Senate, visit Richard Mourdock for US Senate. Tags:Richard Mourdock, Sen. Richard Lugar, Indiana, U.S. Senate candidate, Republican, 2012 election To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Romney Wins Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia
Romney 2012 Campaign Photo
Yesterday, former Republican candidate Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney.
Today Mitt Romney rolled to majority victories in three Republican primaries: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia. Even though most of the delegates are not yet distributed, Romney will garner an estimated 100 more delegates and move closer to the total number needed to move from "presumptive nominee" to the actual nomination as Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party.
Indiana (46 Delegates - Combined Selection:Winner-Take-All Primary for District Delegates with Caucus/Convention): Mitt Romney 64.6%; Ron Paul 15.5%; Rick Santorum 13.4%; Newt Gingrich 6.5%. Delegated To be Determined.
North Carolina (55 Delegates - Proportional Distribution): Mitt Romney 65.7%; Ron Paul 11%; Rick Santorum 10.4%; Newt Gingrich 7.7% and No Preference 5.2%. Delegated To be Determined.
West Virginia (31 Delegates - Delegate Selection Primary): Mitt Romney 69.5%; Rick Santorum 12.7%; Ron Paul 11.2%; Newt Gingrich 6.2% and buddy Roemer 1%. Past on soft tabulations, Romney receives 12 delegates; Gingrich 7 delegates; uncommitted 12 delegates. Tags:election 2012, Republican, primary, primaries, May 8, Indiana, North Carolina, West VirginiaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Congress Faces Major Issues - Will it Be Games or Solutions?
End the Export-Import Bank
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 8, 2012:
The Senate reconvened and resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2343, a bill dealing with federal student loan interest rates. At noon, the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to (whether to begin debate on) S. 2343.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 91-3 to confirm Jacqueline Nguyen to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
Yesterday, we identified a long list of potential bills being considered by the House this week. Of special note is The Corporate Welfare Bill: H.R. 2072 the re-authorization of the Export-Import (Ex-IM) Bank and raising the agency’s statutory lending cap by 40% from $100 billion to $140 billion. The Ex-Im Bank is a form of corporate welfare. It provides subsidized financing to foreigners who buy American products, mostly from large companies like Boeing and GE and od all places drilling for oil in Brazil verse the United States.
On Wednesday, the House will vote on reauthorization of a corporate welfare slush fund known as the Export-Import Bank. The bill, H.R. 2072, would expand Ex-Im’s borrowing authority from $100 billion to $140 billion, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for the full amount.
"Historically, Ex-Im loans have overwhelmingly benefited one company: Boeing. Boeing is a great company, but it can compete without help from American taxpayers.
"Even worse, in recent years Obama has transformed Ex-Im, which he once correctly denounced as “Little more than a fund for corporate welfare” into the kind of slush fund he can love: one that rewards his cronies in the green energy industry.
"Worst of all, three years ago Ex-Im was the pot of money Obama used to massively subsidize offshore oil drilling in Brazil at the same time he was shutting it down here in the United States.
The Republican House was elected thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears of tea party activists dedicated to ending corrupt big government manipulation of economy. The House must be reminded that the Export-Import Bank is precisely the kind of program they were elected to end, not to expand.
Kerpen has set up a form on American Commitment which you can use to contact your member of Congress on this key issue. It was easy - I even used it to contact my Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR). You can also call through the switchboard at 202-225-3121.
Bill Wilson of ALG noted: "The Ex-Im Bank, a relic of the Great Depression, as constituted today gives foreign companies an unfair competitive advantage over U.S. companies, and therefore serves little purpose in today's global economy. "Any member that votes for this is going to have to explain why they support a bank that lent over $10 million to bankrupt Solyndra to set up solar panels — in Belgium. Why they support a bank that apparently lent millions to a Mexican drug cartel and an oil company that may have had Russian mob ties. The Ex-Im Bank has outlived its usefulness and must be eliminated."
We’ll find out Wednesday whether House Republicans and alleged conservative democrats are listening to us and are they truly willing to start cutting back on wasteful spending. As I said yesterday, "We can only hope that others will also oppose this bill but until more people are elected who will stop supporting un-constitutional or questionable bills, be they for corporate, public or personal welfare, the United States will continue on the fast track to bankruptcy like Greece."
Of minor note, the House items passed the following bills yesterday:
H.R. 4097, (Approved Voice Vote) John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2012 "To amend the John F. Kennedy Center Act to authorize appropriations for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and for other purposes."
H.Con.Res. 117, (377 - 0) Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service
H.Con.Res. 118, (375 - 0) Concurrent resolution authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run
H.Con.Res. 106, (Approved Voice Vote) Concurrent resolution authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the Greater Washington
H.Con.Res. 105, (376 - 0) Authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha
S. 1302, (Approved Voice Vote) A bill to authorize the Administrator of General Services to convey a parcel of real property in Tracy, California, to the City of Tracy
In an op-ed today for Politico, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell writes, “Few groups today are struggling more under the Obama economy than recent college graduates. More than half either can’t find work or can’t find work to match their skills, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Close to half, or 42 percent, of recent college graduates, a Pew Research Center study found, are back living with their parents.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, “In a study to be released Thursday, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that recent graduates are taking awhile to find work. Only 49% of graduates from the classes of 2009 to 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of finishing school . . . .” Further, “[T]he class of 2012 faces tougher competition thanks to . . . ‘the recession hangover.’ Young adults who graduated into the dire labor market of 2008 and 2009 and have been out of work or underemployed since are applying for the same jobs as new grads are. The same goes for earlier grads who were laid off during the recession.” And, the WSJ notes, “even when new graduates do find jobs, their starting salaries tend to be lower than those for their counterparts who graduated a decade earlier . . . .”
Last month the AP reported that “[a] weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed” anda recent Pew study found “the gap in employment between the young and all working-age adults—roughly 15 percentage points—is the widest in recorded history.”
As Sen. McConnell writes, “The president has been trying for weeks to convince college students that their struggles have less to do with him than with ‘some in Congress’ who stand in his way. And for weeks, Senate Democrats have echoed his taxpayer-funded distraction and misinformation tour. . . . Fearful that young people might start to realize the reason they need relief right now is because of the Obama economy, Democrats have turned the college loan issue into yet another fake election-year fight. The goal is to distract young people from the fact that they’re suffering disproportionately under this president’s policies.”
This morning, Leader McConnell elaborated, “It’s not exactly a state secret that Senate Democrats have turned the Senate floor into an extension of the Obama campaign over the past few months. And that what happens here these days has a lot more to do with what some political consultant in Chicago thinks is good for the President’s reelection than what the American people think would be good for the country as a whole. . . . Today’s vote on student loan rates is a perfect example of this cynical election-year strategy in action. Rather than working with Republicans to help young people in this country weather the effects of the Obama Economy, Democrats have sought to distract them from it.
“Here’s the real issue behind today’s vote: right now, more than half of college graduates can’t find a decent job. Close to half of them are back at home living with their parents. As a Wall Street Journal article from late last year put it, ‘the U.S. labor market may be in a malaise but young adults are in crisis.’ The real solution, of course, are pro-growth policies that make it easier for U.S. businesses to hire. . . . The real enemy of recent college graduates is this president’s economic policies. Until Democrats are ready to admit that, we’ll keep falling behind. And the real losers will be the young people . . .”
As we can see from the above Congress Faces Major Issues. The question remains "Will it Be Games or Solutions" With the Democrats in control of the Senate. we note the continuance of the Obama Games. Over in the House under Republican leadership they have more options. They can confront the issues. Yes, I realize they are all up for re-election. But consider this, should a military person, a few months from his combat tour potentially ending, say "You go fight the battle comrades, I am hunkering down here to play it safe." Congressmen do not die because of their vote. They often act like their careers are more important than the American people the represent. It is time for solutions which include defunding and eliminating a long list wasteful programs and agencies like the Export-Import Bank. Tags:Washington, DC, US Senate, college loans, College grads, no jobs, US House, Ex-Im Bank, Export-Import Bank, wasteful spending, corruption, Games or SolutionsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Sen. Lee And Rep. Brady: Let's Bring Back The Gold Standard
Sen. Mike Lee
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Mike Lee, U.S. Senator from Utah, recently sponsored a bill entitled the “Federal Reserve Modernization Act.” It is the counterpart to Rep. Kevin Brady’s Sound Dollar Act of 2012 (which enjoys 35 House cosponsors and, of equal note, already is drawing liberal fire). The Brady/Lee legislation represents an important first step forward to restoring good money to America: money that can provide a foundation for prosperity with equity, security, and, of at least equal importance, constitutional integrity.
The Sound Dollar Act/Federal Reserve Modernization Act directs America’s central bank to monitor the prices of major asset classes including gold and the value of the dollar relative to gold. Gold is the only asset twice specified. One of its three broad categories is entirely devoted to gold. Gold thereby emerges designated as a more important factor in monetary policy than it has played in two generations.
Mr. Brady and Mr. Lee thereby offer a first step toward Constitutional money, which is a dollar defined as a fixed weight of gold. Constitutional money was the good money, conceived by the Founders and installed by George Washington and his Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, which gave the impetus to America to prosper. Both Lee and Brady demonstrate astute awareness of Constitutional history and performance.
Mr. Lee’s official blog notes: “As for monetary policy, the American experience from the First Bank in 1791 to the modern Fed is that the economy operates more efficiently when the central bank, managed by competent individuals, operates independently with a rules-based approach. …. For too long, Congress has abdicated its responsibility of ensuring that the Fed’s mandate properly reflects the lessons of history while building toward the future.”
Key words? “The lessons of history.”
Mr. Brady, too, draws on history in a recent speech before the Shadow Open Market Committee:
“Not far from here on West 141st Street stands the Grange, the recently restored home of Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury. After careful consideration, Hamilton devised a monetary system that revived a moribund American economy and fostered rapid economic growth. As Hamilton did in his day, we must thoughtfully and clearly define the role of the Federal Reserve going forward.
“Learning from the past and looking to the future, Congress must select the right monetary policy mandate, maintain a Fed independent of political pressure, and hold the Fed accountable for the results.
“So let us examine what monetary policy should be going forward.”
American monetary policy today, with its QEs and Operation Twists, is by no means America’s first experiment with paper money. The most notorious previous experiment was that of the Continental Congress, which issued a paper dollar called the “Continental.” Gen. George Washington wrote to John Jay, president of the Continental Congress, “The depreciation of it is got to so alarming a point that a wagon-load of money will scarcely purchase a wagon-load of provisions.” The Continental rapidly became a byword for worthlessness.
Almost all of America’s Founders detested artificial paper money (of which Federal Reserve Notes are but the modern incarnation). James Madison — the chief architect of the Constitution — wrote this in Federalist #44: “The loss which America has sustained since the peace, from the pestilent effects of paper money on the necessary confidence between man and man, on the necessary confidence in the public councils, on the industry and morals of the people, and on the character of republican government, constitutes an enormous debt against the States chargeable with this unadvised measure, which must long remain unsatisfied; or rather an accumulation of guilt, which can be expiated no otherwise than by a voluntary sacrifice on the altar of justice, of the power which has been the instrument of it.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote, in 1788, “Paper is poverty. It is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.” (To E. Carrington) His opinion did not improve. He wrote, in 1813: “Paper money is liable to be abused, has been, is, and forever will be abused, in every country in which it is permitted.” “When I speak comparatively of the paper emission of the old Congress and the present banks, let it not be imagined that I cover them under the same mantle. The object of the former was a holy one; for if ever there was a holy war it was that which saved our liberties and gave us independence. The object of the latter is to enrich swindlers at the expense of the honest and industrious part of the nation.” (To J.W. Eppes)
Madison’s Notes of Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 show that the power to issue paper money was stripped from the federal government (except, perhaps, in times of war) too. The Convention stripped out this power by a vote of 9 states to 2. Some excerpts:
Mr. ELSEWORTH thought this a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money. The mischiefs of the various experiments which had been made, were now fresh in the public mind and had excited the disgust of all the respectable part of America. …
Mr. BUTLER. remarked that paper was a legal tender in no Country in Europe. He was urgent for disarming the Government of such a power.
Mr. READ, thought the words, if not struck out, would be as alarming as the mark of the Beast in Revelations.
The Sound Dollar/Federal Reserve Modernization Act is a notable first step toward restoring Constitutional, prosperity-fostering, money. To fulfill its inherent promise another step beckons: to define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold and direct the Federal reserve not merely to reference the price of gold but, as fully articulatedby Reagan Gold Commissioner Lewis E. Lehrman, founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute (which this writer professionally advises) to take the known required measures to maintain the fixed value of the dollar — including interconvertiblility of paper and gold dollars — while also providing sufficient liquidity to allow the economy to prosper.
This is not an outré proposition. As The Economist’s New York bureau chief stated in a recent video interview with the Wall Street Journal: “Gold does seem to in a way hearken back to another age, doesn’t it. But I think the reason it has come back into fashion in the last ten years as we write In Gold We Trust people have lost faith in the 20th century religion of government backed fiat money.”
Amity Shlaes writes in Bloomberg (mentioning, in passing, this columnist) “The gold standard endures a reputation for causing more banking crises than other monetary regimes. The Bank of England paper suggests gold stabilizes banks: The incidence of banking crises in the non-gold-standard period is higher than the incidence in the two gold periods. ‘Overall the gold standard appeared to perform reasonably well against its financial stability and allocative efficiency objectives,’ wrote Bush, Farrant and Wright.”
Directing the Fed to reference the price of gold is an important symbolic step. To really generate jobs in abundance now? Mark up this legislation so as to define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold and make our currency convertible thereto. Pivoting from symbol to substance will ignite an historic wave of job creation and put its proponents onto the same level of monetary statesmanship as George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and all who brought forth upon this continent a new nation.
------------ Mr. Ralph Benko is an advisor to the American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative , and is the editor of the Lehrman Institute’s The Gold Standard Now. He is co-author with Charles Kadlec of The 21st Century Gold Standard: For Prosperity, Security, and Liberty. He is an expert on the Constitution and on the politics and the history of our money. He is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York and is a public policy advocate, writer and author of the international award-winning cult classic, "The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Benko's article was also published on Forbes Tags:Ralph Benko, Mike Lee, Kevin Brady, The Sound Dollar Act, Federal Reserve Modernization Act, Gold Standard, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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