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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, February 15, 2013
President Obama's Really Bad Idea: Sequester
The ARRA News Service does not endorse or advertise other publications. However, the editor does follow and read other excellent sources and publications. One of those is The Patriot Post. Today they kicked off their Friday Digest with the following excellent article which is shared and linked to below. We appreciate The Patriot Post and all those who are co-laborers in the field of of freedom and liberty.
The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." --Thomas Jeffersonby The Patriot Post Editors: Proposed by Barack Obama and signed into law by Barack Obama, the sequester -- automatic spending "cuts" of $85 billion that will kick in March 1 -- is now the only thing standing between us and a prosperous future. So says Barack Obama.
In his State of the Union address, Obama complained, "These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness, they'd devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. And that's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts -- known here in Washington as 'the sequester' -- are a really bad idea."
His really bad idea. In fact, last year he even threatened a veto of any attempt to undo it.
In truth, these supposedly devastating "cuts" are merely reductions in budgetary spending increases that are called "cuts" by the Democrats and the Leftmedia. They're designed to convince Republicans to cave on tax hikes, but many Republicans have simply resigned themselves to sequestration as the only hope for slowing the growth of government during Obama's presidency. House Republicans did pass a bill last year to replace most of the defense cuts with cuts to food stamps and other redistribution programs, and Senate Democrats aim to replace it with a 50/50 proposal of $120 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes. The "cuts" would come from agriculture subsidies and defense, while the tax revenue would come from implementing the "Buffett Rule" -- ensuring that millionaires pay at least 30 percent in taxes. But neither plan is likely to go anywhere.
Fortunately, Democrats tell us, we don't have a spending problem. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) explained, "[I]t isn't as much of a spending problem as it is a priorities, and that's what a budget is, setting priorities." No immediate reply from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), whose chamber hasn't bothered to pass a budget in four years. Pelosi continued, "[I]t is almost a false argument to say that we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem." She didn't elaborate on how those are different things.
Her right-hand man, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), added his voice to the chorus, saying, "Does the country have a spending problem? The country has a paying for problem. We haven't paid for what we bought, we haven't paid for our tax cuts, we haven't paid for war." Um, that's called a spending problem. No matter, Hoyer blames Bush: "[W]e spent a lot of money when George Bush was president of the United States and the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans. We spent a lot of money." Indeed we did -- far too much -- but Democrats "solved" that problem by doubling, tripling and quadrupling spending.
Well, what about revenue? The Congressional Budget Office predicted this week that federal revenue will reach $2.7 trillion in 2013, returning to pre-recession levels and setting an all-time record for revenue collection. Revenue dipped to $2.1 trillion at the low point of the recession in 2009, but it has risen steadily since. It's important to recognize that the CBO estimate is based on a simple static calculation that assumes the recent tax hikes will produce a specific dollar amount in tax revenue. But this tit-for-tat theory never seems to work as anticipated.
Proven time and again, the higher tax rates go, the less revenue is actually brought in. That's because higher tax rates adversely affect investments, business growth, hiring and consumer spending. Taxes are punitive measures that restrict economic behavior, forcing individuals and businesses to curb their activity. In the long run, excessive taxes lead to less capital in circulation from which the government can skim off the top.
The CBO's assertion that federal revenue could reach an all-time high in 2013 runs counter to the leftist claim that Washington has a revenue problem. If the government collects more money than it ever has in history and it still doesn't have enough cash to cover the budget, we're back where we started: The problem is one of spending.
Yet leftists continue to call for more money, exhibiting not one bit of shame for their spendthrift ways. Taxing the rich won't bridge the gap; it won't even come close. Indeed, the unquenchable NeoCom appetite for other people's money has already materialized into more taxes on the middle class.
Republicans pledge to not raise taxes once again to avoid the March 1 sequester, and together with Democrats' refusal to discuss real spending cuts, any chance of making a replacement deal is slim. There's a lot of talk about closing tax loopholes and drafting last-minute legislation to postpone sequestration, but this is nothing more than spending junkies living in denial. Like an alcoholic who thinks it's okay to take one last drink before quitting, Washington has deluded itself into thinking that it can go on avoiding cuts indefinitely.
Keen Sense of the Obvious - "At some point you run out of money." --Barack Obama Tags:The Patriot Post, President Obama, bad idea, uncontrolled sequester, government spendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Treasury Department on Tuesday (Feb 12, 2013) released the Monthly Treasury Statement for January 2013 which showed the U.S. ran a surplus of $3 billion in January for the first tie since 2008. However, the surplus was actually driven by a 16% increase in tax revenue following the tax increases that took effect early this year, including the expiration of the payroll tax cut. Noting the effect of this expiration of the payroll tax cut is not an endorsement of its continuance as it affects the social security system.
When looking at this report, it’s important to keep in mind that forcing Americans to cover Washington’s overspending is not a sustainable solution.
A recent Congressional Budget Office report projected deficits would shrink in the short-term as a result of the increase in tax revenues.
But the report shows deficits will rise again as spending on government retirement and health programs and interest on our massive debt increases.
In the State of the Union address, President Obama called for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction. But, as evidence below, the White House’s approach has been anything but balanced.
This year Washington has already raised taxes on Americans, but has done nothing to cut spending. We can’t wait any longer to have a real discussion on spending.
The U.S. has recorded a deficit 45 of the last 48 months and we’ve run a deficit of $290 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2013.
What happens if we don’t cut spending?
The CBO warns that as a result of large deficits, “high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences.”
CBO adds that our National Debt “would increase the risk of a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.”
However, it is also important to recognize cutting spending isn’t just to see a zero at the end of the year. It’s about having a nation where government retrains itself to remain within the limits of the constitution in regard to personal liberty and freedom and is not a stumbling block or even an unreasonable hindrance to the business community. It is about having an the economic environment is one where small businesses are willing to expand, invest, and hire; an environment that creates opportunity for all Americans. Tags:January 2013, Treasury report, government, debt, deficits, spending, small businessTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The House passed this morning the following: H.R. 273 (261-154) — "To eliminate the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for Federal employees." H. Res. 65 (412-2) — "Condemning the Government of North Korea for its flagrant and repeated violations of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, for its repeated provocations that threaten international peace and stability, and for its February 12, 2013, test of a nuclear device." While 17 Representatives did not vote being either absent or opting to not vote, it would be interesting to know why two republicans voted against condemning North Korea. The two nay votes were by second term Justin Amash (MI-3rd District) and first term Thomas Massie (KY-4th District).
The Senate is in recess and will reconvene on Monday, February 25th, when it will take up the nomination of Robert E. Bacharach to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit. Then it is expected that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will call for another cloture vote on the Hagel nomination the following day. Yesterday as reported in No Valentine For Chuck Hagel Nomination, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Historically, Hagel's nomination is the first time a nominee for Secretary of Defense has been blocked. Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was easily confirmed.
And speaking of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, he warned, "The United States is at risk of becoming a second-rate power if automatic budget cuts go into effect, plunging the U.S. armed forces into the most significant readiness crisis they've faced in more than a decade."
And, along with his Panetta's warning, we must add that we cannot afford a second rate new Secretary of Defense with the growing global threats to the United States. That is exactly what the U.S. would have if Chuck Hagel is confirmed. While many may not have appreciated Panetta's willingness to push the President's social agenda in the DOD, most people have never been concerned over whether Panetta as Secretary of Defense and the former Director of CIA was sincere in protecting the United States from its foreign enemies. In fact, he may well have been the real decision maker in several events credited to the President. However, Chuck Hagel does not evidence a strength of resolve to protect the Constitution and our country against by attacks from our enemies and to protect the DOD against the destructive proposals and agendas by others in the current administration that will dismantle and or weaken our Nation's Defense.
After a State of the Union speech where he called for a litany of new “investments,” which of course always means “spending,” President Obama apparently is reluctant to actually talk about how much his new proposals would cost, even though he’s touring the country promoting them.
The AP reports, “Raising hopes among parents who want preschool for all, President Barack Obama on Thursday rolled out a plan to vastly expand government-funded early childhood while keeping the price tag a secret. Republicans, wary of high costs and questionable outcomes, made clear they have no intention of signing a blank check.” But, the AP notes, “Conspicuously absent from Obama’s plan were any details about the cost, a key concern among Republicans. Obama’s aides have insisted the new programs would not add to the nation’s nearly $16.5 trillion debt, but they won’t say what else will be cut to offset the cost, offering only vague allusions to cutting entitlement spending and closing loopholes. In a conference call with reporters Thursday, two of Obama’s top policy aides declined five times to explain how much the program would cost.”
And, according to The New York Times today, “At a high school near his own neighborhood here, President Obama on Friday will provide new details about an initiative to select 20 communities nationwide as laboratories for better coordination of federal, local, nonprofit and private-sector investments to revitalize long-distressed areas, according to administration officials.” However, “Administration officials would not quantify the cost of the initiative,” The Times writes.
Perhaps they don’t want to draw attention this administration’s poor track record with spending programs, like federal grants to “green” energy companies, which produced the debacles at Solyndra, A123, and Beacon Power. Adding to that list was yesterday’s report that “[a] Michigan battery-maker that received a visit from President Barack Obama spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus grant money for workers to do things like watch movies and play cards . . . .” As The Wall Street Journal reported, the “South Korean advanced battery maker never scaled up U.S. production despite receiving $142 million in federal grants.” Of course, “In 2010, Mr. Obama attended the plant’s groundbreaking and said such grants would ‘unleash private sector growth’ and called the factory ‘a symbol of where America is going.’”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in response to the president’s State of the Union address, “[L]ast night, the President didn’t propose any real cuts. He just demanded more and more taxes. And, with a $16 trillion debt, he actually called for more spending, too—though he didn’t say how he would pay for it or even how much it would cost. . . . [W]e all know that Washington uses tax increases to fund even more spending – on things like robosquirrels, and Solyndra – not to reduce the deficit. That’s what history shows us. It’s how we got in this mess in the first place. So we’re not going to play that Washington game. The stakes for American families are too high to keep taking the easy way out with more taxes and more wasteful spending.” Tags:President Obama, more government programs, what's the cost, the economy, national deft, wasteful spending, nomination, Chuck Hagel, DOD, Nationa Defense, Leon PenettaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
OBAMA: “But what I’m absolutely clear about and what this plant will prove is that we are headed in the right direction… This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.” (President Obama, Remarks, Holland, MI, 7/15/10)
BOONDOGGLE: Workers Playing Board Games And Watching Movies At Government Expense
’“A Michigan battery-maker that received a visit from President Barack Obama spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus grant money for workers to do things like watch movies and play cards, according to an inspector general report that blames poor management by the Energy Department.” (“IG: DOE Battery Grant Recipient Paid Workers For Leisure,” Politico, 2/13/13)
IG: “LG Chem Michigan inappropriately claimed and was reimbursed for labor costs that did not support the purpose/objective of the grant, including costs for workers to perform volunteer activities, play games and watch movies during regular work hours.” (U.S. Energy Dept. Inspector General Report, P.1, 2/13)
Tags:Symbol, America's direction, Obama Stimulus, Bankrolls, LG Chem, Workers Playing, Board Games, Watching Movies, Government Expense, Inspector General ReportTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bell was one of the key intellectual architects of the Reagan-era Republican ascendancy. On top of his important work for Reagan and his own U.S. Senate race, Bell’s greatest impact may have been that of his role as one of Jack Kemp’s privy-counselors. Economic policy, thanks to Kemp and his inner circle of supply siders, would never be the same. Over a billion people came out of abject poverty thanks to the changed economic discussion, and Kemp, Bell and others played a big role in changing it.
Bell has seen the GOP rise from its political grave before. In fact he was instrumental in helping to push it out. Now, extrapolating from his most recent, magisterial, book, The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism(Encounter Books, 2012), Bell observes:“… Obama’s reelection makes the GOP’s minority status in presidential politics impossible to analyze away. Economic conditions — stagnant growth and high unemployment — seemed to fulfill the classic conditions for a 'referendum' election that would very likely result in the ouster of the incumbent. The president’s signature domestic accomplishment, Obamacare, was rejected by majorities in poll after poll. The charisma and voter euphoria that marked Obama’s election in 2008 had seemingly long since dissipated.
“But when all the votes were counted, the election was not very close. …
"[T]o win, a Republican nominee must either break a generation long Democratic winning streak in one or more states, or carry 168 of 194 electoral votes among the “purple” states that have gone both ways since 1992. Not for nothing have political insiders taken to calling the GOP path to an Electoral College majority the equivalent of drawing to an inside straight.
"If the next two decades are anything like the last two, the presidential outlook for Republicans is pretty bleak. ….”What does Bell make of this?"The Democrats’ sharp move to the left since 1998 is the most recent leap forward in polarization, which has been the underlying trend of American politics since the 1960s. What few could foresee is how well the Democrats’ decision to embrace the left would work politically. Political polarization involves a rallying of popular forces behind or against a worldview. …
"[T]he most striking thing about Reagan as a political leader was his integrated worldview and his determination to advance it on a broad range of policy fronts."Bell’s Postulate: An “integrated worldview and … determination to advance it on a broad range of policy fronts” is a political imperative. A worldview is a powerful, perhaps decisive, force. In the days preceding the American Revolution the colonists were disgruntled … without a worldview enabling them properly to address the infringements on their dignity by the Crown. Then … a pamphlet entitled Common Sense appeared.
Common Sense was written by an unprepossessing former girdle-maker named Tom Paine. Paine attacked the legitimacy of monarchy. He exalted the dignity of republicanism. His worldview caused a sensation. It transformed what was (literally) Tea Party disgruntlement into a coherent determination to achieve dignity through Independence. The rest is history.
Such is the power of Bell’s Postulate.
What might be the corollary? The most significant tactical dispute within the GOP, today, is whether or not (and, if so, how) to integrate the “social issues” into its agenda. Social conservatives are as essential to GOP viability as social liberals are to the Democratic Party. Social issues are considered déclassé by the urban elites, very much including the mass media. The “social cachet” factor, as it was dubbed by American Principles president Frank Cannon, seems to be why, despite the electoral math, the tony “Rove Wing” of the GOP, courting elite approval, flinches from these.
Besides bringing elitist disdain the social issues cause tension between the party’s conservative base and its essential libertarian allies, many of whom are socially liberal. Libertarians are the “swing vote.” When they sided with the conservatives on foreign policy — anticommunism — and on economic policy — tax rate cutting — the conservative position prevailed. When the libertarians sided with the liberals on social policy, as many have, the liberal position tends to prevail.
But liberal social values are not inherently libertarian. They are a matter of preference, not libertarian principle. The great political philosopher Frank Meyer, chief formulator of fusionism , was credited by William F. Buckley, with, as phrased by the Wikipedia, “properly synthesizing the traditionalist and libertarian strains within conservatism.”
Meyer’s insights about how to conjoin the traditionalists and libertarians are as crucial today as they were when he first synthesized them. Marginalizing the social issues, and their activists, is a recipe for GOP political suicide — as nonviable as would be a Democratic Party without its Progressive base.
Fortunately for the Republican Party there seems, in this columnist’s view, “an integrated worldview” centering around liberty that integrates the social issues confidently, with integrity and authenticity. It does so fully in a way not alienating to principled libertarians, independents, Reagan Democrats, and, even, principled liberals.
This columnist believes that defense of the worldview that gave us, and gives us, the Bill of Rights — classical liberalism — offers the most likely corollary to Bell’s Postulate. Classical liberalism holds that certain liberties are so fundamental as to deserve to be sacrosanct from infringement even by what Tocqueville called “the tyranny of the majority.” Classical liberalism is antithetical to the Utopian romanticism of the left. In The Case for Polarized Politics Bell shrewdly traces the left’s Utopian romanticism to its very roots … and demolishes it. By disentangling classical liberalism from Utopian romanticism Bell suggests the path available to the GOP back to vitality — and victory.
What might that worldview look like in political practice? Every serious libertarian known to this columnist deeply respects the Constitution, especially its Bill of Rights. The Constitution enshrines within the supreme law of the land key liberties: civil, economic, and social. Among these rights are, very much, included a guarantee of free exercise of religion and the unambiguous right that “No person … shall be deprived of life …without due process of law.”
All true libertarians unite against government — which includes the courts as well as the legislature — coercion against the exercise of one’s Constitutional liberties. Any governmental attempt to interdict the authority of a religion to inform and champion (in law and in practice) its moral code unquestionably infringes a fundamental civil liberty.
Religion without theology, ethics, and moral code would be a travesty: a right merely to engage in a rite. The privilege merely to enjoy the liturgy of one’s choice is not the “free exercise of religion” championed by classical liberals, including the Founders.
Derogation of sacrosanct civil liberties — ones explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution — flies in the face of the libertarian ethos that says “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (often misattributed to the ur-classical liberal Voltaire but surely representative of his thought).
So there is an opening for a political championship of restoring our many eroded Constitutional rights. These include economic rights such as protection from takings, the gold standard, and even the obscure, interesting, provision that appears to prohibit the estate tax, and others; protection of Habeas Corpus now under assault; and many more rights now under siege including free speech, free press, and the right to bear arms, as well as religious liberty and life itself.
The left, itself exemplifying Bell’s Postulate in its determination to advance its own “integrated worldview … on a broad range of policy fronts,” is making a broad assault on our explicit Constitutional rights. This places the left on vulnerable ground. Americans honor the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
The harder left, now, is making its real intentions known. On the last day of 2012 the New York Times featured an op-ed by Constitutional law professor Louis Michael Seidman entitled Let’s Give Up on the Constitution. This call immediately drew heated protests, including from the very liberal dean of Constitutional studies himself, Harvard’s Prof. Laurence Tribe, an honest liberal: “He (Seidman) tells us that he would preserve free speech and religion, equal protection and limited government, but he never explains how he picks those values over others or how his maddeningly vague proposal would ‘give real freedom a chance’ rather than risk tyranny.”
And so the corollary to Bell’s Postulate seems to be: the GOP path to victory will come from championship of the Constitution, and, with it, of human dignity. It will come from Constitutional opposition to tyranny, grand or petty, in economic, international, and social policy. Championing the Constitution is a worldview to unite the Republican Party… and the republic.
To regain viability the GOP requires a leader — there are at least seven officials or former officials who show real promise — to present an “integrated worldview” in defense of our Constitutionally protected liberties. A leader, like Reagan, showing the “determination to advance it on a broad range of policy fronts” will rescue the GOP from the grave that Karl Rove is digging for it. Bell’s Postulate tells why.
------------ Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action’s Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. His article first appeared in Forbes Tags:Ralph Benko, Republican Party, Karl Rove, Bell’s PostulateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Obama, drone, Tea party Sticker, Unhappy wife, unhappy valentine, political cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb 14, 2013
The Senate reconvened and resumed consideration of the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture (to cut off debate) on the Hagel nomination. Sixty votes are needed to cut off debate, the nomination would then be able to move ahead to a confirmation vote which would require a simple majority to confirm. It was anticipated the a vote would be Friday morning.
However, Majority Leader Harry Reid pressed for a vote this evening. As a result, the cloture vote failed. The vote was 58 votes to end the filibuster to 40 against, but actually 59 backed Hagel because Reid changed his vote to no so that he could use parliamentary rules to quickly reconsider the nomination when the Senate returns from its Presidents Day break Feb 25. Note this is the first time a defense secretary nominee has been filibustered. Note, Republicans are opposing a former Republican Senator who they the Democrats know he is as liberal as they are. But the issue is far more serious.
Sen, John Cornyn (R=TX) said, "The majority leader knows full well that the reason why cloture was denied... is because there are reasonable requests being made on this side for additional information and I hope and trust that that information will be provided here in the next few days and when we come back from the recess. We'll have another vote and another opportunity for senators to express themselves. But this is not any attempt to kill this nomination. This is not a filibuster."
Unfortunately, Hagel's antisemitic (anti-Israel) and pro-Muslim Brotherhood positions as well as his positions on further disarming America's nuclear arsenal do not set well with at least his former Republican colleagues. And these positions should not have set well with many democrats including senators like Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) whose constituents oppose as a majority Hagal's nomination. Pryor voted in support of Hagel today making it clear he is more concerned with his liberal colleagues and President Obama than representing the interests of his constituents back in Arkansas.
Also yesterday the Senate voted 88-12 to confirm William J. Kayatta Jr. to be United States Circuit Judge for the First Circuit.
The House reconvened and debated a resolution to consider H.R. 273 - to eliminate the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for Federal employees, and for other purposes." The resolution finally passed and the House may now consider H.R. 273, possibly tomorrow.
Yesterday the House passed: H.R. 592 (354-72) — "To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that houses of worship are eligible for certain disaster relief and emergency assistance on terms equal to other eligible private nonprofit facilities, and for other purposes." H.R. 267 (422-0) — "To improve hydropower, and for other purposes."
In a Sunday appearance with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insisted, “It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.” Aside from the fact that this is just wrong and completely out of touch, it’s also impossible to square with the endless news stories of wasteful spending that the federal government engages in. And today’s is quite a story.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a battery company that received $142 million in federal grants was paying “idle workers” who “played board games” and “watched movies” because “demand for the plant's batteries didn't meet expectations.”
According to the WSJ, “The Obama administration's electric car efforts took another hit on Wednesday after a federal inspection found a South Korean advanced battery maker never scaled up U.S. production despite receiving $142 million in federal grants. A Holland, Mich., factory owned by LG Chem Ltd., part of LG Corp., was half-funded by a government grant and estimated to add some 440 jobs building battery cells for General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt and other vehicles. When demand for the plant's batteries didn't meet expectations, the company filled orders with cells made at a factory in South Korea, leaving the Michigan plant largely idle, according to the report by the Department of Energy's Inspector General, Gregory Friedman. . . . The inspector general said that to avoid layoffs at the factory LG Chem paid idle workers $1.6 million in the third quarter of last year, about half of which was covered by its U.S. grant, even though there was nothing for them to do. The workers played board games, watched movies, and volunteered at local animal shelters during regular work hours, Mr. Friedman said. . . . ‘Until the shift in production takes place or some alternative use for the plant is developed, U.S. taxpayers will receive little direct benefit from a plant for which they provided up to half of the funding,’ Mr. Friedman said in his report.”
And of course, as The Journal notes, “In 2010, Mr. Obama attended the plant's groundbreaking and said such grants would ‘unleash private sector growth’ and called the factory ‘a symbol of where America is going.’ The facility today has about 150 workers, some of whom are hourly employees and are furloughed one week a month.”
So just like Solyndra, this is another “green energy” company that the Obama administration happily funded with taxpayer dollars without a good sense of the market and touted as economic stimulus spending.
The WSJ makes the same connection: “LG Chem is the latest of several recipients of federal funds, including solar panel maker Solyndra LLC, that haven't panned out. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in 2011. The inspection report on the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative grant came a day after President Barack Obama lauded U.S. efforts to invest in alternative energy. . . . The DOE initiative that funded LG Chem's factory in total provided about $2 billion in grants to more than two dozen companies building advanced batters and other components for hybrid and electric cars. Another recipient, A123 Systems Inc., got about $250 million in federal funds for plants in Michigan. It filed for bankruptcy in October and its automotive assets have been sold to a Chinese auto-parts firm.”
Earlier this week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took a dim view of the president’s never-ending calls for more Washington spending of this kind. “Not only is that an ineffective way to create jobs, but it is also the very reason our debt continues to climb to such unsustainable levels. If the President really does want to do something about job creation for a change, he should leave aside the things that we know haven’t worked, and try some things that will: like getting government out of the way. Not only will that help jumpstart the private economy, it will help us get spending under control at the same time.” But at the end of the day Obama si sending "No Valentine" to America Tags:Chuck Hagel, nomination, Secretary of Defense, Barack Obama, the economy, no valentineTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: President Obama opened his State of the Union address with a quote from President John F. Kennedy: “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” But Obama’s speech that followed and the agenda it advocated indicate he failed to study JFK’s famous 1963 State of the Union and its ambitious program of tax cuts and tax reform that successfully shifted the U.S. economy into high gear.
“The mere absence of recession is not growth,” Kennedy said. Words that ring even more true now, with the U.S. economy mired in the weakest recovery of the post-war era. Obama’s response to the challenge of slow growth? More taxes and more spending. A replay of the first term agenda that so spectacularly failed. “Broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, Obama said, with “revenue” being Washington-code for another round of tax hikes.
Kennedy knew better. “One step, above all, is essential--the enactment this year of a substantial reduction and revision in Federal income taxes,” he said. “Our obsolete tax system exerts too heavy a drag on private purchasing power, profits, and employment.” He went on to highlight a program of genuine tax reform, lowering rates across the board “with selected structural changes, beginning in 1964, which will broaden the tax base, end unfair or unnecessary preferences, remove or lighten certain hardships.”
Kennedy knew that to spur economic growth, tax reform would cause a short-term drop in tax revenue to the government, but that “increasing the amount of our national income, will in time result in still higher Federal revenues. It is a fiscally responsible program--the surest and the soundest way of achieving in time a balanced budget in a balanced full employment economy.”
Obama, in stark contrast, uses the words “tax reform,” but what he really means is simply a massive tax hike. “To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target,” i.e., to collect more tax revenue for government, Obama advocated what we “save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected.” Real tax reform uses simplification to offset some of the short-term revenue losses from lower rates. Obama’s plan is a tax hike, which will damage the economy and make genuine reform more difficult by using simplification to pay for more spending instead of lower tax rates.
There is no question that the tax system is holding us back economically, especially the 35 percent corporate income tax which is the highest in the developed world. The average state corporate tax brings the rate up to 39.2 percent, versus an average in other developed countries of just 25 percent. Obama committed to bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., but his government research centers will do far less to encourage that than making our tax system more competitive.
Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: The media, of course, is calling it a resignation. But it not so much a resignation of a political office as it is a renunciation. The 85-year old pontiff’s decision to renounce the power and prestige of the papal office is so unexpected, almost unprecedented, as to take the world by surprise.
Of course, we Americans of all people can understand what thoughts must have coursed through Pope Benedict XVI’s mind as he prayed about this weighty decision. We saw this kind of renunciation with our first president, George Washington. He did not leave the presidency before his second term expired, true, but he renounced all further exercise of power on March 4, 1797. It was then he strode out of the Senate chamber in Philadelphia. He purposely prodded President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson, the new nation’s elected leaders and Washington’s own successors, to go before him. He knew the importance of symbolism. King George III had once been George Washington’s bitterest enemy. He said if Washington renounces his power, he truly will be the greatest man in the world. He did. He was.
Pope Benedict XVI knows that however insistent the world is, however menacing its foes are, the Church of Jesus Christ will stand forever. This Pope has not tried to keep up with the times. Or the Times. Too many church bodies today are desperate to be thought modern. Some are indifferent to the lives of the unborn. It’s as if they missed that story about Herod and the Innocents. Or, those synods and conventions that breathlessly ponder whether or not to take the plunge and declare that marriage between persons of the same sex is the new revelation. It’s an insight that the most serious Bible scholars for two thousand years somehow managed to overlook. And we can view with sorrow those religious bodies that solemnly declare that affordable health care for all is so important that it’s worth trammeling freedom of religion in order to mandate it.
In renouncing the power and the glory of the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI is clearly putting the life and mission of the Catholic Church and her 1.2 billion believers above his own earthly being. He knows that the challenges the Church faces—the dictatorship of relativism in the developed countries and the threats of militant Islam —will demand the vitality of a younger man. Still, no one can doubt the steadfastness of this Pope’s witness.
When he issued his first papal encyclical, the media raced to report it. What would be the Pope’s subject? Ordination of women? Priestly celibacy? The threat to religious belief from a culture increasingly drenched in sensuality? Inquiring minds wanted to know.
Pope Benedict XVI has never marched to the media’s drumbeat. He did not seek to satisfy the agenda of the hour. Instead, the Pope reminded the City and the World what it was in danger of forgetting: God is Love.
As he renounces the papal throne, it’s funny to remember the media caricatures of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he was elevated. In the days of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger was often called the Pope’s “enforcer.” In those days, he headed the Vatican’s sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
While critics in the media dubbed Cardinal Ratzinger “God’s Rottweiler,” a none too subtle reference to his German birth, and a hint of ferocity, the real Joseph Ratzinger belied all the press hype. Soft-spoken, mild-mannered, even sweet-tempered, he defied all the stereotypes.
It was his unyielding support for his brother in Christ, Karol Wojtyla, soon to become Pope John Paul II, that brought Cardinal Ratzinger to the attention of the world. Their fraternal collaboration was one of the great partnerships of the modern era.
That brotherhood was itself a testimony to the eternal truth that God is Love. The Bavarian teenager Joseph Ratzinger had been forced into the Hitler Youth. Young Karol Wojtyla, the Polish seminarian, had come within a hair’s breadth of being murdered by that same Nazi regime that slaughtered millions of Poles and Jews.
The fact that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict the XVI could have overcome national differences to work together for the New Evangelism is a source of hope for all mankind. By unapologetically defending Christian Truth, we work for peace, we advance reconciliation. Now, the scene opens upon a dramatic new vista. Whomever the College of Cardinals chooses in Rome, he and we will live in interesting times.
Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI built on an imperishable foundation. Their legacy can inspire all mankind.
---------------------- Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Renunciation, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, Catholic ChurchTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On SOTU: McConnell: Pedestrian, Liberal Boilerplat" | Politico: Distinctively Retro
Today in Washington, DC - Feb 13, 2013:
The Senate reconvened today and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated he’d like to take up the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense this week and could move to it today. Hagel is not a good choice for this position for varied reasons.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 78-22 to pass S. 47, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, as amended. Prior to final passage, the Senate voted 93-5 to adopt an amendment from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) extending a law that combats sex trafficking, 100-0 to adopt an amendment from Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) that allows trafficking victims to get assistance from certain grant programs, 46-53 against an amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would have directed the Justice Department to consolidate or eliminate duplicative programs, and 43-57 against another amendment from Sen. Coburn that would have expanded STD testing for sexual assault victims.
Yesterday the House passed by "voice vote": H.R. 316H.R. 235 — "To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide grants to States to streamline State requirements and procedures for veterans with military emergency medical training to become civilian emergency medical technicians."
The House is considering today H.R. 592 — "To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. It will also vote on H.R. 267 — "To improve hydro-power, and for other purposes."
Reacting to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said this morning, “To me at least, the occasion cried out for bold and courageous leadership from a re-elected President who has run his last campaign it called for a President who was willing to stare down America's challenges, reject the easy choices, and step outside his political comfort zone — to unite a deeply divided public behind a common goal. Sadly, history will record no such moment. An opportunity to bring the country together instead became another retread of lip service and liberalism. . . . Following four years of this President’s unwillingness to challenge liberal dogma, we got more of the same. . . . In short . . . last night's speech was pedestrian, liberal boilerplate that any Democratic lawmaker could have given at any time in recent memory.”
Indeed, Politico called it “a brand with a distinctively retro flavor — ‘Democrat Classic,’” noting that “Obama rolled out a series of vintage proposals” and writing, “it marked the latest step in a clear effort by Obama to” move the country’s politics to the left. The speech was chock-full of “new spending proposals,” “delighting liberals and eliciting charges of overreach by Republicans, who are unlikely to pass much of what Obama laid on the table Tuesday night.”
Among the problems with the president’s speech were its complete lack of any mention of the Keystone XL pipeline, which this administration continues to stonewall, despite the fact it is supported by many Democrats in Congress and a number labor unions, who have said things like “the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS… Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs . . . .”
It’s also worth recalling that President Obama also assured Americans that his unpopular health care law wouldn’t cost more money, despite the CBO saying just last week that “spending is projected to grow rapidly when provisions of the Affordable Care Act are fully implemented.” Obama even declared last night that “the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” But of course, the law is raising the cost of premiums for families and is raising costs for employers, resulting in layoffs and fewer jobs.
As Leader McConnell said, “Gun control, cap-and-trade, tax increases, and spending programs are exactly what we’ve come to expect from a liberal President who seems perfectly content to preside over a divided country and a stagnant economy. . . . I’m especially disappointed he chose not to seriously address the transcendent issue of our time, which is finding a way to control our spiraling debt before it controls us. Because if we don’t do that, we won’t be able to leave our children the kind of country our parents left us."
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) sumarized Obama's SOTU as follows, "President Obama did not bring any new, specific ideas to the table to address the biggest issue facing our nation — jobs." Boozman also addressed the issues of sequestration, immigration, Obamacare and gun control. Tags:Obama, SOTU, State of the UnionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS:“Says International President Edwin D. Hill: ‘We welcome the opportunity to work in cooperation with TransCanada to provide the skilled work force needed on this vital project. At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy. Our members look forward to being part of this historic project and pledge to deliver the highest quality work to make it a success.’” (International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, “TransCanada Pipeline PLA Could Mean Construction Boon,” 10/20/11)
BRENT BOOKER, LABORERS’ INTERNATIONAL: “We’ve been supportive of this project for several years now… Our members, and construction workers, middle-classAmericans are in desperate need of jobs, and we think that this project could create that for all those.”(Brent Booker, CNBC, 12/14/11)
·BOOKER: “We need the jobs now. We need them as soon as we can get them.” (Brent Booker, CNBC, 12/14/11)
UNITED ASSOCIATION: “My name is Stephen Kelly, and I am the Assistant General President of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters, which represents over 340,000 members in the plumbing and pipe fitting industry in the United States and Canada… The United Association strongly supports the Keystone XL project and the draft legislation under consideration by the Subcommittee to expedite its approval for several good reasons. First, this project would provide a tremendous and needed boost to the U.S. construction industry, generating thousands of high-quality jobs at a time when the industry is wrestling with nearly 20 percent unemployment.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Committee On Energy And Commerce, Subcommittee On Energy And Power, Hearing, 5/23/11)
“‘The United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters (UA) is proud to be a part of this collaboration and looks forward to adding thousands of well-paying construction jobs to this country, ’ said UA General President William P. Hite. ‘Our highly-skilled workforce is ready to begin work and help boost our local and state economies.’”(“$7 Billion Keystone XL Labor Agreement Announced,” Pipeline & Gas Journal, 9/10)
DAVID BARNETT, UNITED ASSOCIATION OF PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS:“We do need this pipeline. We’ve worked very hard in the last three years to get this permit for this pipeline.” (David Barnett, CNBC, 12/14/11)
BARNETT:“We are experiencing 20-25% unemployment in the pipeline sector right nowand our welders and pipe fitters are waiting on this project. … Quite frankly, the American people are tired of Washington D.C. politics going on, and their jobs are waiting in line for these decisions. Let’s get the politics out of it. Let’s give TransCanada a go ahead.” (David Barnett, CNBC, 12/14/11)
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS: “‘An ambitious project of this scope, spanning over five states and employing thousands of American construction workers, will unequivocally help remedy the struggles of our country's working families,’ said International Union of Operating Engineers General President Vincent J. Giblin. ‘History has proven time and time again that infrastructure projects, such as this, lead to the resurgence of our nation's economy and the ripple effects are far-reaching. The IUOE is proud to be part of the Keystone XL pipeline and our operating engineers throughout the Midwest are ready to provide TransCanada with the skill, professionalism and pride this project requires.’” (TransCanada, “U.S. Pipeline Contractors Association And Unions Pledge Their Support For Keystone XL Project,” 9/14/10)
DEMOCRAT SUPPORT: ‘Mr. President, America Needs The Keystone XL Pipeline’
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “I am for the Keystone pipeline … The Keystone pipeline, we’re addicted to oil. I'd rather use oil from my friends in Canada, than I would from the Middle East, that sounds good.” Q: “The President says he’s going to veto that though.” MANCHIN: “Well, we’ll see. I’m mean, all the trade unions, everyone’s for it, it creates thousands of jobs!”(Fox News, 12/12/11)
MANCHIN: “I’m mean, all the trade unions, everyone’s for it, it creates thousands of jobs!”
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO):‘Make It Go More Quickly’Q:“My guess is if you send them back a bill that… gave them Keystone… everybody goes home for Christmas.”SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): “Well, let's hope we can negotiate something like that… if states’ rights are being protected and if this is going to be something maybe that we can try to jump start the approval process, make it go more quickly.” (MSNBC, 12/14/11)
SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): “I am proud to again offer my support for the Keystone XL pipeline and the jobs it will create. We need a quicker decision, based on the merits of this project.”(Sen. Tester, Floor Remarks, 12/13/11)
TESTER:“I do not believe we should have to wait until January of 2013 for a decision that can create American jobs right now. In Montana, we need the jobs.” (Sen. Tester, Floor Remarks, 12/13/11)
TESTER:“We should be acting responsibly to create jobs with this pipeline… Instead, we’re watching political maneuvering designed to score points rather than create jobs. And we all know that when this is how Washington acts, the people who lose are hard working Americans and Montanans who just want to go back to work. They want to build and maintain the infrastructure that powers and protects America.” (Sen. Tester, Floor Remarks, 12/13/11)
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK):“I support the project. I think the president’s view on this, of waiting, I think doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is a project that could provide lots of jobs to this country… I think the president’s wrong on delaying this, and I think there are a lot of good jobs relating to this, and again [it’s oil] from a friendly country, Canada.” (“Begich On Keystone XL, Bypass Mail,” KTVA11 Alaska, 12/15/11)
“America truly cannot afford to say ‘no’ to this privately funded, $20 billion, jobs-creating infrastructure project, which would bolster our economic, energy and national security. To that end, we respectfully urge you to ensure that the Presidential Permit is issued for Keystone XL.” (22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)
“…Mr. President, America needs the Keystone XL Pipeline. It is in our national interest to have a Presidential Permit issued for Keystone XL as soon as possible.” (22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)
“The Department of State's Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirmed the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone XLPipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.”(22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)
“…not only would the Keystone XL Pipeline bolster America's economy, but it also would help strengthen our country's energy and national security…” (22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)
“With job growth an ongoing struggle for our country, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline represents a true shovel-ready project that would directly create 20,000 high quality domestic manufacturing and construction jobs for Americans who are desperately seeking employment. The project would also create an additional 118,000 spin-off jobs.” (22 House Democrats, Letter To President Obama, 10/19/11)
Signed By:Rep. Jason Altmire, (D-PA), Rep. Joe Baca, (D-CA), Rep. John Barrow, (D-GA), Rep. Dan Boren, (D-OK), Rep. Leonard Boswell, (D-IA), Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), Rep. Jim Costa, (D-CA), Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA), Rep. Henry Cuellar, (D-TX), Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, (D-TX), Rep. Al Green, (D-TX), Rep. Gene Green, (D-TX), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, (D-TX), Rep. Tim Holden, (D-PA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D-TX), Rep. Daniel Lipinski, (D-IL), Rep. Tim Matheson, (D-UT), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, (D-NY), Rep. Bill Owens, (D-NY), Rep. Collin Peterson, (D-MN), Rep. Mike Ross, (D-AR), Rep. Peter Visclosky, (D-IN)
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC):“I'm very much for the pipeline. There is no question about that.” (Rep. Clyburn, MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 12/14/11)
REP. MIKE ROSS (D-AR) "… counted more than 20 Democrats who would likely support adding the Keystone language to the payroll tax package. And he said he disagreed with Obama's threat. ‘Look, I think that'd be a mistake on the president's part,’ Ross said. ‘That's the kind of economic activity we need. It's a win-win. It reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs here at home.’” (“Dems' Keystone-Payroll Tax Dilemma,” Politico, 12/8/11)
REP. DAN BOREN (D-OK): “At a time when many are without work, it is time that we come together in a bi-partisan way to pass this legislation which will create tens of thousands of new jobs. I commend the Speaker for including the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that is supported by business and labor. I also believe that this bill should attract votes from both political parties, because it takes initiatives supported by President Obama including the payroll tax cut extension…”(Rep. Boren, Press Release, 12/12/11)
Tags:President Obama, democrats, Keystone XL, pipeline, jobs, SOTU Nothing on KeystoneTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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