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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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 (429-347 BC)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Gov. Sam Brownback Delivers Weekly Republican Address

‘Republican governors have been told you can’t cut taxes, balance your budgets and invest in the future all at the same time, and we’ve said, “watch us” and done what we said we would do. Growing our economies, building strong family structures and making wise government investments produces winning results. Our Republican message is a belief in the power of the people more than the control of government. This unleashes the creativity of entrepreneurs and the strength of hope and dreams.’

TOPEKA, KS – In the Weekly Republican Address, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the best ideas on how to fix the federal government are often being carried out at the state level by Republican governors. “You see, you don’t change America by changing Washington—you change America by changing the states,” says Brownback. “And that’s exactly what Republican governors are doing across the country—taking a different approach to grow their states’ economies and fix their governments with ideas that work.” Brownback, a former United States senator, highlights how he turned a $500 million projected deficit into a $500 million budget surplus without raising taxes or cutting funding for education, Medicaid or prisons. Following is the video:
A full transcript of the address follows:“Hi I’m Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

“A week ago nearly a third of the world’s population celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Jesus. New life. Well, we need new life in our nation and economy.

“Washington is broke. Big spending programs are running out of money and change is coming. The ideas on how to fix the federal government are now percolating in the states, 30 of which are led by Republican governors.

“You see, you don’t change America by changing Washington—you change America by changing the states. And that’s exactly what Republican governors are doing across the country—taking a different approach to grow their states’ economies and fix their governments with ideas that work.

“They involve a more focused government that costs less. A taxing structure that encourages growth. An education system that produces measurable results. And a renewed focus on the incredible dignity of each and every person, no matter who they are.

“Now, take my state, Kansas, as an example.

“The year I became governor, the state began the fiscal year with just $876.05 in the bank—less than $1,000 and it projected a $500 million deficit. Two years later we had a $500 million ending balance—and did it without tax increases.

“Now to make that financial turnaround a reality, we didn’t cut state funding to schools, we didn’t cut state funding for our universities and colleges, we didn’t cut state funding for our Medicaid system, we didn’t cut state funding for our prisons.

“We did consolidate agencies, cut overhead costs, offered a voluntary retirement buyout to state employees and eliminated outdated programs.

“We reformed our state’s Medicaid system to save a billion dollars over five years while at the same time, we expanded health care services for our neediest Kansans.

“We found ways to reduce the cost of running state government while increasing our investments in key areas like research in aviation, agriculture and medicine.

“We reduced the number of state employees and increased the number of students taking technical education courses which will help them prepare for a future with a better paying job.

“We reformed our court of appeals so that judges are selected more democratically.

“We took steps to safeguard our state’s water resources for future generations and gave Kansans more local control of their future water needs.

“And we passed the largest tax cut in state history—eliminating the income tax on small businesses altogether. This took us from being one of the highest tax states in the region to one of the lowest.

“My objective is to make Kansas the best place in America to raise a family and grow a business.

“Now, for those who come to our state because of lower taxes, opportunities abound.

“We had an all-time record of new businesses formed in Kansas last year.

“Kansas recently received an ‘A’ for its friendly small business environment and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 5.5 percent.

“All signs of strong economic growth.

“Governors compete each and every day for citizens and for businesses, and unfortunately, Kansas hasn’t kept up with that competition the last 30 years, but working with the legislature, we’re back in the game.

“What I and other Republican governors around the country are doing is a lot like the Wichita State Wheat Shockers basketball team playing in the NCAA Final Four this weekend—unranked as a team, the pundits said ‘you can’t win’ and the Shockers said, ‘watch us.’

“Republican governors have been told you can’t cut taxes, balance your budgets and invest in the future all at the same time, and we’ve said, ‘watch us’ and done what we said we would do.

“Growing our economies, building strong family structures and making wise government investments produces winning results.

“Our Republican message is a belief in the power of the people more than the control of government. This unleashes the creativity of entrepreneurs and the strength of hope and dreams.

“Join us as we remake our country, not into a place that looks more and more like Europe. We don’t need to do that. We just need to become America again. And that is the rebirth we are doing.

“Thanks for listening. God bless you all.”

Tags: Kansas, Governor, Sam Brownback, weekly Republican address, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Unemployment Numbers Today Indicate Weak Economy & Reality of Obama’s Failed Policies

ARRA News Service: The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly jobs report for March, 2013. The Washington Post labeled the report "dim" and said, "A streak of robust job growth came to a halt in March, signaling that U.S. employers may have grown cautious in a fragile economy."

BLS reported a gain of 88,000 jobs which was the smallest in nine month. March’s job gain was less than half the average of 196,000 jobs in the previous six months. Considering that some in Congress want to grant amnesty, thus giving illegals open access to jobs, and the military draw down with vets returning and looking for work, things may get far worse with jobs not being available to meet the needs. Employers are not hiring our of fear of legislative mandates cranked out principally by Democrats programs. Obamacare alone is stopping the many small businesses from hiring more people.

And the BLS report of 7.6 percent unemployment is not great news because it does not reflect the massive number that 663,000 Americans dropped out of the workforce last month - people stopped looking for work.

WP noted, "The government uses a separate survey of households to calculate the unemployment rate. It counted 290,000 fewer people as unemployed — not because they found a job but because they stopped looking for one. The percentage of working-age adults with a job or looking for one is a figure that economists call the participation rate. It’s the lowest since 1979. Normally during an economic recovery, an expanding economy lures job seekers back into the labor market. But this time, many have stayed on the sidelines, and more have joined them."

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise responded to the March jobs report.“Today’s weak unemployment report includes the lowest workforce participation since 1979 when Americans were dealing with the economic malaise of the Jimmy Carter years, and nearly 40 percent of those currently unemployed have been out of work for more than 27 weeks," Scalise said. "More Americans have given up looking for work, yet President Obama continues to turn his back on common-sense proposals to create high-paying U.S. jobs. That’s a failure of leadership, and American families deserve better than this failed Obama economy.

“More must be done to reverse years of damage by the Obama administration. If the liberals in Washington truly want to help create American jobs, the President should approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, cut harmful taxes and radical regulations that are killing jobs, and repeal Obamacare. The American people want government to get out of the way and they want the President to green light common-sense projects like Keystone XL that will create jobs and promote growth here at home. Our nation won’t fully rebound from the failed Obama economy until the President finally starts working with Congress to create jobs, control spending and get our nation on the path to a balanced budget.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in a statement:“The president’s policies continue to make it harder for Americans to find work. Hundreds of thousands fled the workforce last month and unemployment remains far above what the Obama administration promised when it enacted its ‘stimulus’ spending plan.

“To help grow our economy and expand opportunity for all Americans, Republicans passed a balanced budget that addresses our spending problem, unleashes North American energy like Keystone, and fixes our broken tax code, and voted to replace the president’s sequester with smarter cuts and reforms. One of the best things President Obama can do is follow the House and outline a balanced budget next week – one that includes entitlement reforms that are not conditional on enactment of more tax increases, which will suppress growth instead of encourage it.”
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today responded to today's BLS report:"663,000 Americans dropped out of the workforce last month. "206,000 fewer Americans were employed. 290,000 more Americans were unemployed. Yet, the headline will be that the unemployment rate dropped in March to 7.6 percent. Never has the lie of the improving Obama economy ever been more starkly revealed than in today's March unemployment report, where the consequences of the destruction of the American workforce by policies that promote government dependence over work are hidden behind a statistical drop in the percentage of workers who are unemployed.

"At this rate, Obama may just make history by achieving a 0 percent unemployment rate because nobody's in the workforce. You might just call that full unemployment."
David Pasch of Generation Opportunity analyzed the BLS report and provided the following data,: "Opportunities remain scarce for young people after years of debt-fueled government spending. Millennials ages 18-29 unemployment was for March 2013 is 11.7 percent. For African-Americans the rate is 20.1 percent, for Hispanics 12.6 percent, and for women for March 2013 is 10 percent. The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as "unemployed" by the U.S. Department of Labor. If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 youth unemployment calculation, the actual 18-29-unemployment rate would rise to 16.2 percent.

"March was another lost month for my generation. Young people are finding fewer opportunities and are being saddled with the costs of our country's unsustainable deficits. Some people will try to blame the laughably small cuts to government spending known as the sequester – but aside from the Post Office, government actually added 9,000 jobs last month.

"After years of deficit spending and government meddling in the economy, 1 in 6 of us don’t have a job. Half of us are doing no better than a part-time job. All the while, we are all stuck with a bill that keeps getting bigger. It’s like we’re the last one to leave the bar and everybody else ran out without paying their tab."
This last comment should be of concern to all. It is a cry from those who are supposed to be entering the workforce as others are retiring. As long as the progressive agenda's continue to be both voiced and aggressively pushed by both the President and the U.S. Senate Democrat Majority, small business owners' fear and practicality will rule out opening the door for more employees. Obamacare itself caries a significant penalty in healthcare costs for having too many employees. Then there is the EPA agenda and other Federal Agencies attacking businesses or reducing their options for success.

Tags: Dept of Labor, BLS, unemployment report, March 2013 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Will Senate Democrats Really Cut the Death Tax?

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: One of the most significant votes in the recent Senate budget vote-o-rama was on the federal death tax. Not the disappointingly predictable vote on full repeal, which just two Democrats supported, but the vote on an amendment offered by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia that created a deficit-neutral reserve fund for "the repeal or reduction of the estate tax." It racked up 80 votes, including 35 Democrats. Zero Republicans and just 19 Democrats voted no. So the Senate has voted overwhelmingly to at least reduce the death tax. Good. It really should be fully repealed.

The federal death tax snapped back into effect in 2011 after one year of full repeal in 2010. For two years the tax was set at a 35 percent rate, with a looming automatic hike to 55 percent in the fiscal cliff. Now, as part of the deal negotiated by Senator Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden, the death tax is permanently set at 40 percent, empowering the IRS to take nearly half of everything some Americans leave to their loved ones. Would 55 percent have been worse? Yes. But a seizure of 40 of your assets at death is still wrong.

It's wrong because people work a whole lifetime paying taxes every step of the way. The death tax is an unfair double tax. It's wrong because rather than taxing income it confiscates assets, directly reducing the country's capital stock and therefore destroying jobs with a viciousness unmatched by other taxes.

It's wrong because many family farms and businesses are worth millions according to the IRS — but only if they are liquidated; they are land-rich but cash-poor.

Across the Corn Belt, cropland prices increased an average of 20 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the USDA, but 92 percent of all farms see less than $250,000 in annual sales to keep their farms operating.

The economic damage created by the current regime of IRS confiscation of 40 percent of everything above $5 million is staggering. According to an analysis by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin conducted in 2010, when the death tax was zero, a 40 percent tax destroys 978,600 family business jobs.

It is the "worst tax -- that is, the least fair" according to polling by the Tax Foundation. The most comprehensive review of public opinion on the issue by two liberal Yale professors, Mayling Birney and Ian Shapiro, found: "Many polls since the late 1990s have shown widespread public support for estate tax repeal, in the range of 60, 70 or 80 percent. Moreover, supporters appear to be spread more or less equally across income groups, contrary to what self-interest would predict."

Which brings us back to that lopsided 80 to 19 Senate vote for "repeal or reduction."

Do the 35 Democrats who voted for the amendment have any sincere desire to reduce the hated tax, or do they only want to inoculate themselves from the political consequences of opposing repeal?

There is an easy test. Where is the Democratic bill? What do they actually support? Republicans, like the American people, overwhelmingly support full repeal. (That was the other budget vote, on John Thune's amendment. Only Susan Collins voted no among Senate Republicans.)

If the Democrats who voted for "repeal or reduction" don't introduce and pass a bill actually following through on a position supposedly supported by 80 percent of the Senate, then we can safely assume they were simply politically posturing and are perfectly content to allow the tax to remain at its present confiscatory level. That's wrong.
© Copyright 2013 Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment where he first shared this article and the author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him. Phil Kerpen is a contributing author for the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Death tax, estate tax, morally wrong, theft, confiscation of property, democrats To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

(Exclusive photos) Mourning in America: Univ. of Chicago completes demolition of Reagan home

As this week ends, another Ronald Reagan memory location has been wiped from the earth to become a University of Chicago parking lot. As Reagan's memory faded in life in his concluding days with Alzheimer, so has the memory of former democrat turned conservative republican faded in the windy city. Illinois Reagan fan and independent reporter, John Ruberry, recorded the event with exclusive photos presented in the following article. Drop by his exclusive article and leave a comment.

By John Ruberry, Marathon Pundit: It's gone now, the only Chicago home of the only president born and raised in Illinois. At dawn Mrs. Marathon Pundit took some photographs of what was left of the six-flat at 832 E. 57th Street where Ronald Reagan and his family lived in 1915. I was off from work today. When I drove to the South Side this afternoon only the foundation remained.
There I am in happier times--two years ago in front of the Reagan home. However, by then, the University of Chicago, which purchased the building in 2004, had emptied the dwelling of its tenants.
Above is the Reagan home one month ago. Its neighboring apartment buildings had already been torn down by then. Only a 90 day City of Chicago reprieve kept the Reagan apartment standing. But that stay quietly expired last week--just as the U of C wanted it to do. Two days ago the demolition began. The University of Chicago, which has been razing buildings that are in its way for decades, got its way. Again.

The college has, or had, conservative credentials, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, whose economic policies Reagan put into practice, was a longtime University of Chicago professor.
This is what remained of the Reagan home at sunrise this morning. . .

Of his time in Chicago, the Gipper had this to say in An American Life:
Our stay in Chicago introduced me to a congested urban world of gaslit sidewalks and streets alive with people, carriages, trolley cars, and occasional automobiles. Once, while watching a clanging horse-drawn fire engine race past me with a cloud of steam rising behind it, I decided that it was my intention to become a fireman.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on Main Street in Tampico, Illinois in 1911. From there Dutch and his family moved to Chicago, then to Galesburg, then on to Monmouth, then back to Tampico, and finally to Dixon in 1920.
While driving to 57th Street, I listened to the Chicago White Sox game on the radio. From the WHO studio in Des Moines, Reagan--with the aid of a telegraph machine--called the play by play action for White Sox and Cubs games. As with the battle to save the Reagan home, the South Siders came up short today--they fell to the Kansas City Royals.
This is all that remained of the home at 3:30pm today--the foundation. Looking down is the University of Chicago's new Center for Care and Discovery. What will replace the Reagan home is a parking lot.

It may be Mourning in Chicago today, but there are many Reagan sites remaining in Illinois. I urge you to take a drive on the Ronald Reagan Trail, as I did in 2011 in honor of the Reagan Centennial. ~ John Ruberry

Tags: exclusive photos, John Ruberry, Marathon Pundit, Mourning in America, demolation of Reagan home, University of Chicaco, Chicago, Illinois To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Carbon Tax Would Destroy America

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: If you want to know what a carbon tax on emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would do to America you need only look at the destruction of industry and business in Australia, along with the soaring costs for energy use it imposes on anyone there.

“The carbon tax is contributing to a record number of firms going to the wall with thousands of employees being laid off and companies forced to close factories that have stood for generations”, Steve Lewis and Phil Jacob reported in a March 18 issue of The Daily Telegraph, a leading Australian newspaper.

“Soaring energy bills caused by the government’s climate change scheme have been called ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ by company executives and corporate rescue doctors who are trying to save ailing firms.”

The passage of a carbon tax in America would have the exact same results and it remains a top priority for the White House and Democrats in Congress who see it as a bonanza in new funding for the government.

As Paul Driessen says in a commentary, “More rational analysis reveals that dreams of growth are nothing more than dangerous tax revenue hallucinations. They would bring intense pain for no climate or economic gain.”

Too many Americans still believe that CO2 is causing global warming, but CO2 plays no role in climate change and is barely 0.038 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. More to the point, there is no warming and hasn’t been for the last seventeen years as the Earth is in a natural cooling cycle that has prolonged the advent of spring with severe snow storms throughout the nation.

There is no scientific justification for such a tax, but those advocating it don’t care about the science. They care about raising revenue for an ever-growing government to spend and waste.

Driessen points out that “Hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and natural gas) provide over 83% of all the energy that powers America. A carbon tax would put a hefty surcharge on everything we make, grow, ship, eat, and do. It would put the federal government in control of, not just one-sixth of the economy, as under Obamacare, but 100% of our economy and lives. It would make the United States increasingly less productive, less competitive globally, less able to provide opportunities for our children.”

The case for a carbon tax simply doesn’t exist, but there are powerful forces in Congress and the support of the White House to impose such a tax. The power of the environmental movement and its long history of lies about the climate, primarily the global warming hoax, cannot be dismissed or ignored.

In Australia, “The Australian Securities & Investments Commission reports there were 10,632 company collapses for the 12 months to March 1—averaging 886 a month—with the number of firms being placed in administration more than 12 percent higher than during the global financial crisis.” It represents “a record high…led by widespread failures in manufacturing and construction, which accounted for almost one-fifth of collapses.”

Greg Evans, the chief economic economist for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that “It defies logic to adopt a policy which even the Treasury acknowledges will lower our standards of living and be harmful to national productivity.” Adding to Australia’s struggling companies, the carbon tax and one on mining were showing up as “sovereign issues” in discussions with foreign investors.” Who would want to invest in Australia if these two taxes were destroying the economic strength of the nation?

Politics in Australia is no less a battleground than here in America. Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who introduced the carbon tax, just beat back a bid by her Labor Party’s dissidents to reinstall former leader Kevin Rudd who lost to her in 2010 and 2012. Much of the opposition to her comes from the harm being inflicted by the carbon and mining taxes.

Marlo Lewis is a senior fellow in energy and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. During the 2012 campaign, he described a carbon tax as “political poison for the Republican Party.” Mitt Romney opposed it, but ‘the big attraction of carbon taxes these days is not as a global warming policy but as a revenue enhancer. In both parties, deficit hawks and big spenders (often the same individuals) are flailing for ways to boost federal revenue.”

That is precisely the problem afflicting a nation whose Congress and President could not find a reason to cut anything from the federal budget. The result was the “sequestration” that imposed cuts neither party could agree upon.

In a Fox News article, “Here comes Team Obama’s carbon tax”. Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment and author of “Democracy Denied” reported that “The Treasury Department’s Office of Environment and Energy has finally begun to turn over documents about its preparations for a carbon tax in response to transparency warrior Chris Horner’s Freedom of Information Act request. The documents provide solid evidence that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have every intention of implementing a carbon tax if we fail to stop them.”

President Obama’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, is on record wanting to double or triple the cost of energy, much as his predecessor wanted. A carbon tax, if enacted, would totally undermine a nation that has a debt climbing toward $17 trillion and millions unemployed in an economy that is struggling to inch its way out of the depths of the financial crisis.

If you wanted to destroy America, you could do it with a carbon tax. Australia is reeling from the cost to its economy and the higher energy costs its people are paying. We don’t want that here.
© Copyright 2013 Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He first shared this article on The National Anxiety Center and is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Alan Caruba, Carbon Tax, destruction, America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

55% See Major Cyberattack on U.S. As Act of War

Rasmussen Reports: Following the recent major computer attack on South Korea, Americans continue to worry about the safety of this nation’s computer systems, and most still believe a foreign attack on them should be viewed as an act of war.

Eight-four percent (84%) of Likely U.S. Voters are at least somewhat concerned about the safety of America’s computer infrastructure from cyberattack, including 44% who are Very Concerned. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 14% are not very or Not At All concerned about such an attack. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Tags: Rasmussen Reports, cyberattack, act of war To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Survey Finds 80% of Small Businesses Back Tax Reform

Washington, small businesses demand tax reform.

In the U.S. Chamber’s first Small Business Outlook Survey for 2013, a huge majority (79%) support comprehensive tax reform, with 54% strongly supporting it. That’s the kind of support for popular stuff like grandma, apple pie, and puppies.

Also of note, 76% of small businesses surveyed said they're organized as pass-through entities (think LLCs, partnerships, etc.), which pay taxes on business income at the individual tax rate. Every time there’s foolish talk about raising tax rates on high-income earners (Hi, Paul Krugman) it hits job creators.

Some other interesting findings from the Small Business Outlook Survey include:
  • Requirements of the health care law are now the biggest concern for small businesses, having bumped economic uncertainty from the top spot which it has held for the last two years.

  • 77% said the health care law will make coverage for their employees more expensive, and 71% said the law makes it harder for them to hire more employees.

  • 32% of small businesses plan to reduce hiring as a result of the employer mandate, and 31% will cut back hours to reduce the number of full time employees.

  • Two-thirds (66%) agree that immigration reform will help strengthen the U.S. economy and increase America’s global competitiveness.
Note the US Chamber of Commerce infographic for more findings from the survey.

Tags: U.S. Chamber, small business, survey, tax reform To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Quinnipiac Poll: Americans Still Disapprove Of Obamacar

"This law is a disaster waiting to happen. Imagine the burden we’re placing on the single mom who wants to open her own store. Or the young entrepreneur who wants to sell some new idea. Or the business owners we all know from back home – the folks who employ so many of our constituents. Instead of encouraging them to create jobs and grow the economy, we’re hitting them with a brick of regulations." ~ Sen. Mitch McConnell

"Even though it’s been over three years since Democrats jammed President Obama’s massive health care spending bill through Congress in an unseemly process full of backroom deals, Americans still don’t approve of the law and still don’t think it’s going to improve health care in the United States.
Buried in a new Quinnipiac poll are a couple of questions about Obamacare that are quite illustrative of Americans’ continued skepticism towards the law. Asked overall if they approve or disapprove of the law, 41% of respondents said they approved, while 46% disapproved. As has been the case form the beginning, the intensity remains on the side of those who disapprove of the bill. Overall, 35% strongly disapprove of the law, with only 21% strongly approving. Among independents, 33% strongly disapprove. Among respondents age 55 and over, 39% strongly disapprove and 49% disapprove overall, with only 36% approving overall.

Critically, when asked whether they think Obamacare will mostly help them personally, hurt them personally, or have no effect on them, only 15% of respondents said they thought it would help them. And 37% said they thought it would hurt them. Not even one in three Democrats thought the law would help them personally.

It’s hardly surprising that Americans still aren’t sold on this law, especially given all the news in how the Obama administration’s implementation of it is falling far short of its promises. According to CNNMoney, “Small businesses were no great fans of Obamacare -- but at least they liked the promise of the health exchanges. Now, some of the benefits might not appear for at least a year. . . . Under a new proposal from federal regulators, each business owner would still have their pick of insurance from several providers. But businesses would be limited to choosing a single plan to cover all their employees. An expansion of more options would not come until at least 2015. It would limit employers who currently offer several plan options to their employees. That makes up about half of all small businesses, according to health insurance broker Jesse Smedley. ‘People who are used to having a choice and offering multiple plans are going to be pissed off,’ said Smedley, who owns iHealthBrokers.”

CNNMoney then interviewed a couple small business owners about the problems this creates for them. “Zachary Davis, who owns two ice cream shops and a cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif. . . . currently provides health insurance to his 20 full-time workers, a diverse group that ranges from college students to seniors. Davis chose to offer his employees three different types of plans to better suit their needs. . . . Davis said limiting each business to a single plan would be a deal breaker, keeping him out of Obamacare exchanges. ‘That would not be a good fit for us. Having options is very important,’ Davis said. ‘For a business like ours -- and a lot of businesses I deal with on a regular basis -- I can't see that making sense.’ . . . Small employers like to provide workers with a range of health care options because it makes them more competitive with large corporations. That's why Lajuanna Russell wants to keep her options open. She's the president of an organizational consultancy group in Alexandria, Va., Business Management Associates. . . . ‘I wouldn't want to impose limits on my employees that a large business -- or even another small business -- isn't placing on them,’ she said. ‘I want them to have choice. I want them to be able to make decisions that are good for them and their family, because every family is different.’”

The results of a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce pollof small business executives are unsurprising: “Requirements of the health care law are now the biggest concern for small businesses, having bumped economic uncertainty from the top spot which it has held for the last two years. 77% say the health care law will make coverage for their employees more expensive, and 71% say the law makes it harder for them to hire more employees. 32% of small businesses plan to reduce hiring as a result of the employer mandate, and 31% will cut back hours to reduce the number of full time employees.”

Tags: Quinnipac poll, Obamacare, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Farewell from Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner

Today is my last day as president of The Heritage Foundation, and I want to write you one last note in that capacity. We’ve had quite a ride these last three-and-a-half decades, and I leave knowing that Heritage will flourish under my successor, Jim DeMint.

I want to thank you for your generous support, of course, but more importantly, to tell you to remain optimistic about the future. Yes, progressives are on the offensive, aggressively trying to remake our country using a Euro-socialist mold. But this is why we must now redouble our efforts, not lessen or abandon them.

I know that as a patriot, you will do all within your power to ensure that our society will take back the reins from Big Government. I know that you believe in the enduring truth of our ideas of limited government, free enterprise, and individual freedom, and that they will eventually win the day. Freedom is man’s natural state; whenever he’s enslaved, all he thinks about is how to become free once again.

Let us remember that we’ve been here before. When we started Heritage in 1973, liberals controlled the Congress and all the socio-cultural institutions. In the White House, we had a president weakened by scandal and who had instituted wage and price controls, grown the welfare state, and trekked to Beijing to meet Mao.

We had few, if any, allies in positions of power back in 1973. We were in fact surrounded.

There was no Internet or Fox News or talk radio to break the monopoly of liberal media. The liberal experiment was in full swing. If you drew your inspiration from Russell Kirk, F.A. Hayek, Bill Buckley, and Milton Friedman, life looked mighty grim.

But we didn’t give up. We fought back and started The Heritage Foundation. We resolved to take control of our fate, defend our values, and work night and day to save our country and the American Dream.
Within seven years, Ronald Reagan was elected president and started the conservative counterattack against the Leviathan of government. We were there to help him, and he embraced many of the proposals in our 1980 best-seller, Mandate for Leadership. To name just one: missile defense, a proposal that now even Barack Obama seems to be admitting is important.

Getting Reagan to enact our reforms was comparatively easy and the country prospered. Working with our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton, was something else.

But we didn’t give up or even slow down. Welfare reform was one of the biggest battlegrounds, and we were in the middle of the battle. President Clinton twice vetoed welfare reform bills that Heritage helped write. But eventually he signed our reform into law—and then bragged about it as one of the highlights of his presidency!

Not so President Obama, who has gutted the heart of the reform by getting rid of the work provisions. Our response? We are fighting hard on all fronts to put back the provisions, because we know from our research that unconditional government assistance hurts far more than it helps the needy and society.

Anticipating the progressive onslaught under President Obama, Heritage launched 10 key initiatives under the Leadership for America campaign. LFA is designed to change the direction of our country, from health care reform to energy exploration, based on a renewed commitment to the first principles of America’s founding.

Which brings me to the present. Many of the critiques we’re seeing these days, from individual conservatives and the Republican Party, sound all too ready to abandon first principles and accept big government.
What can they be thinking? The last thing we need right now is more government, more spending, more debt, more dependence on Big Brother!

I am happy to report that the next generation of bright—no, make that brilliant—conservatives is inventing new ideas and breaking new ground on taxes, education choice, and providing for the needy at the state level. I am confident that you and the hundreds of thousands of other Heritage members, 559,000 Facebook fans, and 281,000 Twitter followers will flank them.

In this last note as your Heritage president, I challenge conservative thinkers, here at The Heritage Foundation and elsewhere, to come up with solutions to strengthen the family, civil society, and our nation. I know they will come up with far better solutions than the progressives who, when they see a problem, automatically turn to the government.
Our Founders bequeathed to us the principles and the culture of a self-governing republic. They created the first experiment in leaving people free to live their lives as they wish as long as they don’t infringe on the freedoms of others. They believed in coming together voluntarily to solve common problems under the rule of law. Their vision was a country of faith, family, and free enterprise.

It’s been my honor and my joy to fight alongside you in order to secure America’s blessings for future generations. The battle continues with Jim DeMint as your president. Please join me in giving him, and Heritage, our full and enduring support.

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.

P.S. Heritage is celebrating its 40th anniversary this week. We produced a video, narrated by Heritage trustee Kay Coles James, telling the story of how we're advancing ideas that work for America. Please watch and share it with your friends.

Tags: Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner, farewell address To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

One Cent Solution - Penny Plan Returns to Congress

Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA) and Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), along with 10 co-sponsors, have re-introduced the One Cent Solution/Penny Plan in both houses of Congress. The One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2013 (H.R. 1202 and S. 547), also known as the “Penny Plan,” balances the budget in three years and reduces U.S. public debt by $8.5 trillion over ten years.

The One Cent Solution/Penny Plan calls for reducing total government expenditures (excluding interest payments) one percent per year. Beginning in 2014, Congress will be required through regular order to determine how to make the spending reductions totaling approximately $33 billion per year (1% out of a $3.3 trillion annual government budget). Some programs may be cut more or less than one percent, or not at all, as long as the total spending is reduced by one percent. If Congress does not achieve the required spending reductions, automatic spending cuts totaling one percent would be applied.

The One Cent Solution/Penny Plan was first introduced in Congress in 2011 by Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) and Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY). Seventy members of the House and 15 senators co-sponsored the legislation. The Penny Plan has been endorsed by over 150 economists and has received wide-spread grass roots support from all 50 states .

Bruce Cook, CEO/Chairman of the One Cent Solution, Inc. states: “The One Cent Solution/Penny Plan still offers the best solution to our nation’s debt problem. It’s simple, straightforward, and provides a strong foundation for growing our economy. What family or business can’t cut 1% off its budget?”

Read The One Percent Spending Reduction Act of 2013.

Tags: One Percent, One Cent, reduction, spending, Mack Penny Plan, H.R. 1202 and S. 547 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Mitch McConnell Prepares To Give Barack Obama The Political Shellacking Of A Lifetime

Sen. Mitch McConnell at CPAC 2013
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: Coming up next: a political Battle of Armageddon over repealing Obamacare.  The Republicans are attempting to take the majority in the Senate.  The Democrats ambitiously wish to take the majority in the House.  All hangs on about two dozen races. Winning these races is not the main thing.  It’s the only thing.

The main battleground in the fight to break the prevailing political stalemate will be the fight to repeal what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calls the “monstrosity” of Obamacare.  Upon something like a plebiscite on Obamacare, and with it control of the Congress, entirely depends the fortunes of both political parties… and, perhaps, the literal health of America.

Memo to this columnist’s fellow Tea Partiers:  let’s throw McConnell, our strategist, a ticker tape parade!  The Obamacare fight is not a cynical exercise. It is a life and death issue.  Voters care deeply.  From the Republican base the Tea Party populist faction, small government conservatives, and libertarians all passionately oppose Obamacare.  From the Democratic base, progressives consider Obamacare a triumph of historic proportions, and it reportedly is popular among the Democratic-leaning ethnic base.

Meanwhile, the all-important Independents who control the political balance of power are … queasy.  The old system was in trouble.  But is Obamacare taking America out of the frying pan and into the fire?

The frying pan was (and is) very real.  Republicans are culpable for failing to provide intelligent free-market-based solutions (which certainly exist).  The United States spends the most in the industrialized world on health care.  And has some of the very worst health care, and health. According to a 2011 article by Reuters,The U.S. healthcare system is more effective at delivering high costs than quality care, according to a new study …

The study, released on Wednesday by the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, said Americans pay … far more than any other OECD country — but still die earlier than their peers in the industrialized world.

The cost of healthcare in the United States is 62 percent higher than that in Switzerland, which has a similar per capita income and also relies substantially on private health insurance.

Meanwhile, Americans receive comparatively little actual care, despite sky-high prices driven by expensive tests and procedures. They also spend more tax money on healthcare than most other countries, the study showed.
Enter Obamacare — which now has landed as the issue on which national politics almost is sure to hinge in the upcoming political cycle.  If indeed Obamacare degrades health care (and makes it more expensive and an even bigger hassle) it will prove more of a political liability than an asset. What does the political battlefield look like?

As ace political analysts, Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik, observed on March 18th in the Wall Street Journal:[T]he Obama White House wants to achieve something no other president has ever done: Retake full control of Congress in a midterm.

The party of an incumbent president traditionally loses seats in midterm elections. The usual strategy is simply to minimize the damage. Yet Mr. Obama and many Democrats are so buoyed by national polls and the buzz from the November election that they sense a chance to make history by holding their 10-seat Senate majority … and picking up the needed 17 House seats. That would clear the way for Democratic legislative aims.

A few factors work in the Democrats’ favor. …

A grand sweep will be harder than Democrats think, though. Electoral history and the nature of the 2014 races indicate that Democrats actually stand a greater chance of losing the Senate than they do of winning the House.

Since the start of the modern two-party system in the mid-19th century, the party of an incumbent president has never captured control of the House from the other party in a midterm election.
On March 27th the National Journal’s Chris Frates reveals in The Secret Republican Plan to Repeal ‘Obamacare’: And why the fight is far from over the GOP strategy to bring about its resurgence as “King of the Hill,” holding the House and taking a Senate majority: repealing Obamacare.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — a political grandmaster, sometimes underestimated — reported that the Senate GOP was prepared, if they had won the majority, to “take this [Obamacare] monstrosity down.”  The Democratic majority, bolstered by the typical presidential year turnout surge, held solid in 2012.

“Monstrosity” is not an unfair description.  Frates:During the legislative debate over the law, Democrats promised Obamacare would create jobs, lower health care costs, and allow people to keep their current plans if they chose to. Those vows, Republicans argue, are already being broken.

The Congressional Budget Office, the Hill’s nonpartisan scorekeeper, estimated that the health care law would reduce employment by about 800,000 workers and result in about 7 million people losing their employer-sponsored health care over a decade. The CBO also estimated that Obamacare during that period would raise health care spending by roughly $580 billion.
A takedown of Obama’s signature legislative achievement is not GOP partisanship, pettiness or obstructionism (although the left-leaning media will portray it that way).  Crushing 800,000 jobs and forcing 7 million people out of their health insurance is a bitter fruit indeed.  Obamacare was designed sloppily at best. For those almost million people whom it will cause to lose gainful employment, or the 7 million who will lose their employer-provided health insurance, indeed it is monstrous.  FDR would have been appalled.

What are the political implications?Republicans will need to win half a dozen seats to retake the chamber. So, what are the chances?

“There are six really good opportunities in really red states: West Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Alaska,” McConnell said last week. “And some other places where you have open seats like Michigan and Iowa. And other states that frequently vote Republican, an example of that would be New Hampshire. So, we’re hopeful.”
What are the policy implications?

Two decades ago, this columnist, browsing in a Washington bookshop, happened upon the greatest supply side columnist who ever lived, Warren Brookes.  Brookes shared an indelible insight.  He observed that it was possible to provide good health care at an affordable cost through the free market, rationing it by price.  And it was possible to provide good health care at an affordable cost by the government through state agencies, rationing it by thoughtful policy.  And that America had managed to create a monstrous hybrid of the two, the worst possible system: lousy care at unaffordable prices.

The Obamacare “monstrosity” is the apotheosis of what Brookes noted.  Americans deserve better.

The National Journal concludes the most politically salient column of 2013 to date by saying that “McConnell [is] a brilliant defensive coordinator who will have to play flawless offense if he hopes to take control of the Senate next year.”  Yes, he does.  Likely, he will.

The chickens of Obamacare are coming home to roost.  There are some mighty ugly chickens in the flock.  Given the uglier side of Obamacare now becoming visible, the historical trends, and McConnell’s strategic political savvy President Obama should be bracing himself to receive the political shellacking of a lifetime come November 2014.
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: Republican, Barack Obama, repeal Obamacare, Ralph Benko To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

IMF Calls on U.S. to Institute $500 Billion Carbon Tax

By Robert Romano, Senior Editor, Americans for Limited Government: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called upon the U.S., its largest contributor, to levy a $500 billion a year carbon tax on consumers to offset what it calls “underpriced” oil, coal, and other energy products.

This “mispricing” is supposedly leading to “excessive energy consumption,” which is “accelerating the depletion of natural resources” and contributing to climate change.

“The IMF is lobbying on behalf of environmentalist radicals, arguing that not implementing a half-trillion dollar a year carbon tax is a de facto energy subsidy,” Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson wrote in a letter to members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade.

The IMF study, published on Jan. 28, states, “Consumer subsidies include two components: a pre-tax subsidy (if the price paid by firms and households is below supply and distribution costs) and a tax subsidy (if taxes are below their efficient level).”

In a statement, Wilson called the IMF’s view “warped.” He added, “not taxing being construed as a subsidy that economically crowds out anything is as Orwellian as it gets. There is no level of deception these people will not stoop to in order to hide their true ends.”

The study justifies these taxes as preventing climate change: “The efficient taxation of energy further requires corrective taxes to capture negative environmental and other externalities due to energy use (such as global warming and local pollution).”

In a March 27 interview, the IMF’s head of fiscal affairs, Carlo Cottarelli said, “Even where countries impose taxes on energy, they’re rarely high enough to account for all of the adverse effects of excessive energy consumption, including on the environment.”

Cottarelli claimed that not taxing carbon emissions in the U.S. by $500 billion a year “crowd[s] out public spending that can boost growth, including on infrastructure, education, and health care. Cheap energy can also lead to overconsumption of energy, which aggravates environmental problems, such as pollution and climate change.”

“Just think about what Cottarelli said. It’s a completely distorted view of reality. It is higher energy costs and increased taxes are what would actually dampen consumer spending in other areas,” Wilson explained.

Therefore, Wilson said, the IMF-proposed carbon tax is “just a means to an end by increasing governmental power over other these other areas of the economy, like health care and education, for one by raising $500 billion a year in additional revenue.”

“By strangling the economy for money and restricting energy consumption, people will naturally turn to governments for sustenance since producing value in the private sector will come at a much higher premium. What good is a job in the U.S. economy if a person cannot afford to drive there?” Wilson asked.

He also criticized the IMF for bailing out Greece, Portugal, and Ireland with $86.6 billion of bailouts, which the U.S. has contributed about $17 billion to, and the IMF’s role in levying a €5.8 billion savings deposit tax in Cyprus.

Wilson said the U.S. “should have nothing more to do with this radical outfit,” and called on Congress to reject the Obama Administration’s budget request to double the nation’s quota subscription in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to $130 billion from its current $65 billion level, converting part of the nation’s current $100 billion line of credit to the IMF.

If the Obama request was fulfilled, it would keep the nation’s total stake in the IMF at $165 billion.

“Not only should that request be rejected, but Congress ought to withdraw our quota subscription altogether, along with the $100 billion line of credit,” Wilson added in his letter to the House subcommittee, concluding, “Taxpayers should not be propping up bankrupt socialist states and the banks that fund them, let alone financing the lobbying efforts of radical environmentalists.”

Tags: IMF, Carbon Tax, United States, Americans for Limited Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

ABC: Is Fisker Headed for a Solyndra-Like Collapse?

"Fiscal Fail" at Delaware Way
ABC News reported yesterday, “As a major financial deadline looms, a green car company that was approved for a $529 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department is keeping quiet about whether it could be headed towards a Solyndra-like collapse, following reports the company may be preparing for bankruptcy. ‘We are not offering any official comment on the speculation around bankruptcy at this stage,’ Roger Ormisher, a spokesperson for the electric car company Fisker Automotive, told ABC News recently. Ormisher was responding to questions about reports last week that Fisker had hired a prominent law firm to advise it on possible bankruptcy proceedings. The Anaheim, Calif.-based company recently disclosed that it had furloughed non-essential U.S. workers in March . . . .”

“Fisker Automotive entered the electric car market with hefty support from the U.S. Energy Department and backing from such celebs as Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio, but the company and its high-priced Fisker Karma have continued to skid financially. If the California-based luxury carmaker goes bust, it will be the most high profile failure of an alternative energy firm backed by the Obama administration since the solar company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in 2011.”

The ABC report elaborates, “In April 2010, Fisker started receiving payments on a loan of up to $529 million from the Department of Energy as part of the Obama administration's push to bolster alternative energy firms. . . . The loan to Fisker was part of a $1 billion bet the Energy Department made in two politically-connected California-based electric carmakers producing sporty -- and pricey -- cutting-edge autos.”

Like Solyndra, Fisker is exhibiting warning signs about its viability. ABC writes, “In October 2011, ABC News aired reports revealing that the government loan to Fisker raised concerns among industry observers and government auditors, and added to questions about the way billions of dollars in loans for smart cars and green energy companies were being awarded.
At the time, Fisker was already more than a year behind rolling out its $97,000 luxury vehicle bankrolled in part with DOE money. The ABC News investigation, conducted with the Center for Public Integrity, came in the wake of the administration's failed $535 million investment in Solyndra. That company's collapse, bankruptcy and raid by FBI agents generated further interest in how the Energy Department doles out billions in highly sought after green energy seed money. Both Fisker and Obama administration officials raced to defend Fisker, but at the same time acknowledged the inherent risk involved in such start-ups. The Energy Department said it had carefully vetted loan recipients to minimize taxpayer risk. Then in May 2012, after providing nearly $200 million in loans, the Energy Department announced it had frozen payments to Fisker, saying it hired a restructuring advisor to study the terms of the agreement and assess the performance of the company. . . . But the outlook has only appeared to get worse. In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that Fisker board members had discussed the prospect of filing for bankruptcy, citing unnamed sources. Company executives responded by saying they were seeking larger partners for the small automaker.”

is only the latest of the Obama administration’s “investments” in green energy companies to be struggling. There was, of course, the well-known bankruptcy of Solyndra, which got a $535 million loan from the federal government. But also going bankrupt was Indiana-based EnerDel, which got a $119 million stimulus grant from the Energy Department. And then there was A123, which went bankrupt after receiving nearly $250 million from the Obama administration, but was then sold to a Chinese conglomerate.

Tags: Green Jobs, Stimulus Waste, Fisker Automotive, DOE, Solyndra, A123, EnerDel, failed. Democrat energy investment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Sowell: Guns Save Lives

Dr. Thomas Sowell
By Thomas Sowell, Commentary, GOPUSA: We all know that guns can cost lives because the media repeat this message endlessly, as if we could not figure it out for ourselves. But even someone who reads newspapers regularly and watches numerous television newscasts may never learn that guns also save lives-- much less see any hard facts comparing how many lives are lost and how many are saved.

But that trade-off is the real issue, not the Second Amendment or the National Rifle Association, which so many in the media obsess about. If guns cost more lives than they save, we can always repeal the Second Amendment. But if guns save more lives than they cost, we need to know that, instead of spending time demonizing the National Rifle Association.

The defensive use of guns is usually either not discussed at all in the media or else is depicted as if it means bullets flying in all directions, like the gunfight at the OK Corral. But most defensive uses of guns do not involve actually pulling the trigger.

If someone comes at you with a knife and you point a gun at him, he is very unlikely to keep coming, and far more likely to head in the other direction, perhaps in some haste, if he has a brain in his head. Only if he is an idiot are you likely to have to pull the trigger. And if he is an idiot with a knife coming after you, you had better have a trigger to pull.

Surveys of American gun owners have found that 4 to 6 percent reported using a gun in self-defense within the previous five years. That is not a very high percentage but, in a country with 300 million people, that works out to hundreds of thousands of defensive uses of guns per year.

Yet we almost never hear about these hundreds of thousands of defensive uses of guns from the media, which will report the killing of a dozen people endlessly around the clock.

The murder of a dozen innocent people is unquestionably a human tragedy. But that is no excuse for reacting blindly by preventing hundreds of thousands of other people from defending themselves against meeting the same fate.

Although most defensive uses of guns do not involve actually shooting, nevertheless the total number of criminals killed by armed private citizens runs into the thousands per year. A gun can also come in handy if a pit bull or some other dangerous animal is after you or your child.

We need to recognize the painful reality that, regardless of what we do or don't do about gun control laws, there will be innocent people killed by guns. We can then look at hard facts in order to decide how we can minimize the number of needless deaths.

But that is not the way the issue is presented by many in politics or the media. Every story about an accidental shooting in the home will be repeated again and again, while a thousand stories about lives saved by defensive uses of a gun will never see the light of day in most newspapers or on most television newscasts.

More children may die in bathtub accidents than in shooting accidents, but you are not likely to read that in most newspapers or see it on television newscasts. Some in the media inflate the number of children killed by counting as children the members of criminal teenage gangs who shoot each other in their turf fights.

Many seize upon statistics which show that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates. Yet they ignore other countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, but which have much higher murder rates, such as Brazil, Russia and Mexico.

Even in the case of Britain, London had a much lower murder rate than New York during the years after New York State's 1911 Sullivan Law imposed very strict gun control, while anyone could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked in the 1950s.

Today, virtually the entire law-abiding population of Britain is disarmed-- and gun crimes are vastly more common. Gun control laws make crime a safer occupation when victims are unarmed.

The gun control crusade today is like the Prohibition crusade 100 years ago. It is a shared zealotry that binds the self-righteous know-it-alls in a warm fellowship of those who see themselves as fighting on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. It is a lofty role that they are not about to give up for anything so mundane as facts -- or even the lives of other people.
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Visit his website with list of other articles.

Tags: Thomas Sowell, commentary GOPUSA, guns, shootings, guns save lives, facts, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Abundant U.S. Energy Attracts Foreign Companies

Image Via Oil & Gas Refining
by Sean Hackbarth, Free Enterprise: Abundant U.S. energy, courtesy of hydraulic fracturing tapping shale oil and natural gas deposits as well as other sources, is attracting manufacturers from Europe where energy prices are significantly higher. The Washington Post reports:[I]n Ludwigshafen [Germany], many people view the United States as the land of the future. Since 2009, BASF has channeled more than $5.7 billion into new investments in North America, including a formic acid plant under construction in Louisiana, where the company will manufacture a chemical used to de-ice runways, tan leather and preserve animal feed.U.S. energy abundance isn’t only drawing business from across the Atlantic. A Toronto Globe and Mail story notes that Canada’s Methanex will move a methanol plant from Chile to Louisiana and could move a second one to be closer to supplies of U.S. natural gas, a methanol feedstock. Methanex’s CEO told the paper, “We’ve become more and more … confident with the shale and tight gas revolution here in North America.”
As the Washington Post points out, this foreign investment will translate into jobs:Among them is Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine, which announced last month that it will build an iron-ore processing plant in Texas to take advantage of the low energy prices. The plant is expected to cost $715 million and create 150 jobs. The company aims to almost double its total output by 2020, largely through U.S. expansion, and it has mostly abandoned making any major new investments in Europe.

Royal Dutch Shell announced plans last year to build a multibillion-­dollar petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania that will employ several hundred full-time workers and as many as 10,000 people during construction.
"People are looking at the U.S. differently, seeing the U.S. as much more competitive in the world," said energy expert, Daniel Yergin.

We can thank abundant U.S. energy for this.
Sean Hackbarth is a blogger and does policy advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Tags: U.S., gas, oil, energy, attracts, foreign companies To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

ICUMI: President Obama Signs Executive Order Establishing Presidential Commission of Election Administration

Office of the Press Secretary, The White House - For Immediate Release March 28, 2013

Executive Order -- Establishment of the Presidential Commission of Election Administration

- - - - - - -
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote the efficient administration of Federal elections and to improve the experience of all voters, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. There is established the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (Commission).

Sec. 2. Membership. (a) The Commission shall be composed of not more than nine members appointed by the President. The members shall be drawn from among distinguished individuals with knowledge about or experience in the administration of State or local elections, as well as representatives of successful customer service-oriented businesses, and any other individuals with knowledge or experience determined by the President to be of value to the Commission.

(b) The President shall designate two members of the Commission to serve as Co-Chairs.

Sec. 3. Mission. (a) The Commission shall identify best practices and otherwise make recommendations to promote the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue delay, and to improve the experience of voters facing other obstacles in casting their ballots, such as members of the military, overseas voters, voters with disabilities, and voters with limited English proficiency.

In doing so, the Commission shall consider as appropriate:
(i) the number, location, management, operation, and design of polling places;
(ii) the training, recruitment, and number of poll workers;
(iii) voting accessibility for uniformed and overseas voters;
(iv) the efficient management of voter rolls and poll books;
(v) voting machine capacity and technology;
(vi) ballot simplicity and voter education;
(vii) voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and other special needs;
(viii) management of issuing and processing provisional ballots in the polling place on Election Day;
(ix) the issues presented by the administration of absentee ballot programs;
(x) the adequacy of contingency plans for natural disasters and other emergencies that may disrupt elections; and
(xi) other issues related to the efficient administration of elections that the Co-Chairs agree are necessary and appropriate to the Commission's work.

(b) The Commission shall be advisory in nature and shall submit a final report to the President within 6 months of the date of the Commission's first public meeting.

Sec. 4. Administration. (a) The Commission shall hold public meetings and engage with Federal, State, and local officials, technical advisors, and nongovernmental organizations, as necessary to carry out its mission.

(b) In carrying out its mission, the Commission shall be informed by, and shall strive to avoid duplicating, the efforts of other governmental entities.

(c) The Commission shall have a staff, which shall provide support for the functions of the Commission.

Sec. 5. Termination. The Commission shall terminate 30 days after it presents its final report to the President.

Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) To the extent permitted by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations, the General Services Administration shall provide the Commission with such administrative services, funds, facilities, staff, equipment, and other support services as may be necessary to carry out its mission on a reimbursable basis.

(b) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.) (the "Act"), may apply to the Commission, any functions of the President under that Act, except for those in section 6 of the Act, shall be performed by the Administrator of General Services.

(c) Members of the Commission shall serve without any additional compensation for their work on the Commission, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, to the extent permitted by law for persons serving intermittently in the Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707).

(d) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Tags: Presidential Executive Order, EO, President Obama, Presidential Commission on Elections Administration To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

What Can Washington Politicians Learn From America's Moms?

Bankrupting America: We asked moms, "What can Washington politicians learn from America’s moms?" They told us politicians should learn to coupon, multi-task and, most importantly, how to budget!

We also asked if they were concerned for their kid's future when our country is nearly $17 trillion in debt.

Ruth, one grandmother we interviewed, answered: “I have a grandchild who's going to end up having to pay the debt. And her quality of life is going to be less than what mine and my own children’s was.”

Ruth is right. Unless we stop overspending and reduce our debt, the future will be grim.

Tags: Washington Politicians, American Moms, lessons learned, video Bankrupting America, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

GOP Autopsy

by AF Branco

Tags: AF Branco, Editorial cartoon, GOP Autopsy, death by media To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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