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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Pelosi’
January 16th, 2014 at 3:39 pm
The Utter Wastefulness of Farm Subsidies
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Farm subsidies are wrong on principle. It’s fundamentally unjust to take money from taxpayers and funnel it to other citizens just because of the industry in which they work. If farmers need that money to stay afloat, that’s a sign that their business model isn’t working and that they either need to adjust or leave the practice entirely. If they are self-sufficient, then they don’t need the money in the first place.

Even if you accept the case for farm support in the abstract, however, you have to be mortified at how it plays out in practice. As Susan Ferrechio notes in the Washington Examiner:

To illustrate just how far the subsidy program has strayed from its original purpose, [watchdog group] Open the Books calculated payments going to three major cities with few, if any, modern ties to farming: Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. Taxpayers sent $30 million to those residents over the past four years to compensate them for converting farmland to conservation areas and for growing soybeans, cotton, corn, rice and other crops.

The big-city farm subsidies show that savvy landowners are legally maximizing a return on their real estate investments at the expense of taxpayers, [Open the Books founder Adam] Andrzejewski said. They buy land, hire a farm manager and collect a check from the federal government, he said.

This would be a good time to remember Nancy Pelosi’s complaint during last fall’s budget negotiations: “The cupboard is bare. There’s [sic] no more cuts to make.” Perhaps the cupboard deserves another look.

April 23rd, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Indiana Labor Union: Right-to-Work is Enslavement

Once upon a time, liberals scoffed at the idea that legislation needed to be constitutional in order to be lawful.  Remember then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous response to the question of where in the Constitution did Congress have the power to pass Obamacare: “Are you serious?”

Well, after the U.S. Supreme Court scared the daylights out of the liberal commentariat with pointed questions about Obamacare’s constitutionality, it seems that opponents of Indiana’s recent right-to-work law are trying their hand at interpreting the text instead of the spirit of the document.

The Daily Caller summarizes the argument:

Indiana’s law prohibits employers from making union membership a condition of getting or keeping a job. The union’s February lawsuit claimed the law violated its members’ Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of “equal protection” under the law.

But an amended complaint filed on Wednesday added a Thirteenth Amendment claim as well. The new lawsuit suggests that when nonunion employees earn higher salaries and better benefits because of the union’s negotiation on behalf of its members, the union has been forced to work for those nonunion employees for free.

And being forced to work without compensation, the union suggested in its revised lawsuit, is slavery.

It’s the height of hypocrisy for union leaders who’ve spent decades coercing membership and dues from any worker falling under their legally-sanctioned monopoly to claim that economic enslavement only occurs when its members have to subsidize benefits other people don’t value.

In a sane world, the union’s lawsuit would be thrown out with prejudice as a waste of court time and resources.

But this is the Age of Obama.  How much longer can it be before the Department of Justice and the National Labor Relations Board weigh-in with briefs defending the indefensible?

March 23rd, 2012 at 12:43 pm
California Passes Blank Budgets, Fills in the Details Later

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said of ObamaCare that Congress would need to “pass the bill so [the public] can see what is in it”?  Two years ago, Pelosi & Co. refused to make the contents of ObamaCare public until just before voting was allowed on the bill.

Well, it looks like Pelosi’s fellow liberals in California state government are doing her one better.  From the Los Angeles Times:

In an annual quirk of California government, lawmakers approved 78 budget bills on Thursday — and they were all blank.

The bills function as shells. As negotiations continue and tax revenues are tallied, they will be amended with actual budget details, then quickly passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

Calling this practice a quirk obscures the fact that California’s big-spending liberals are deliberately perverting the legislative process to hide their intentions.  Just like ObamaCare, California’s majority Democrats negotiate with themselves behind closed doors and demand an up-or-down vote on budget bills within hours of making them public.

This kind of process-destroying behavior cannot be allowed to continue.  The public needs accurate information to judge policies and politicians, not shell games that cost billions.

December 5th, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Fact Checking Gingrich’s Ethics

Newt Gingrich thinks that Nancy Pelosi just gave him a great Christmas gift. She is so despised by conservatives, he thinks, that having her threaten to unleash dirt on him will make conservatives rally to his cause. But let’s think this out a little further: Nancy Pelosi knows the same thing. She WANTS it known that she wants to go after Gingrich, because she WANTS conservatives to rally to his cause, because she KNOWS he is so incredibly beatable — in part because of all the dirt that she and so many others have stored up about the guy.

So she’s playing smart politics by helping Gingrich now — because helping Gingrich now helps Obama later.

Meanwhile, there’s a problem with Gingrich’s complaint, here:

Gingrich said that Pelosi’s suggestion that she would reveal information from that investigation underscored that the ethics charges were politically motivated. “It tells you how capriciously political that committee was,” Gingrich said.

The problem is that Gingrich actually admitted having prevaricated to investigators for two solid years about the charges. Moreover, it wasn’t just Democrats who found him flagrantly guilty; it was his fellow Republicans, or at least three of the four of them, who joined the conclusion.

So how, pray tell, was it politically motivated?

All of which is just by way of acting as a fact checker….. Politically, of course, Gingrich is an effective salesman, in a way, of the Gingrich cause, which is the cause of Gingrich. World historical definers of and savers of civilization can’t be bothered with petty facts…..

November 28th, 2011 at 9:33 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Shopping With Aunt Pelosi
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 1st, 2011 at 5:33 pm
Pelosi: Make Your Plant Union or Shut it Down
Posted by Troy Senik Print

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sat for an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo last week on the state of the economy. Based on her remarks here, we can conclude that – as dismal as the current downturn is — it would only be worse if the Sage of San Francisco and her ilk were still running the lower chamber:

h/t: Hot Air

October 12th, 2011 at 4:42 pm
Pelosi: Let’s Help American Workers by Cutting Them Off from the Global Economy
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In my column this week, I argued that members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are playing with fire in their attempt to prevent China’s “currency manipulation.” The problem, I contended, is actually much smaller than the damage that could be engendered by the proposed remedy; damage that could include a trade war, driving up prices throughout the American economy.

In the column’s coda, I noted:

The antidote to America’s economic ills won’t come from engaging in trade wars. It will come from reducing the debt and making Chinese credit irrelevant; strengthening incentives for entrepreneurs and job creators, and expanding exactly the kind of international trade that this proposal will derail.

Now comes news that House Minority Leader (the three sweetest words in the English language when appearing before her name) Nancy Pelosi not only wants to shut down trade via the China bill, she also wants to gut  free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that have already been delayed by nearly half a decade. Per Politico:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the floor Wednesday to urge lawmakers to abandon work on three pending free-trade agreements until they take up a bill dealing with China’s manipulation of its currency.

Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea with bipartisan majorities later Wednesday. But the California Democrat, who’s been critical of the pacts, said in a fiery speech that targeting currency manipulation would ultimately benefit more U.S. workers than the free-trade agreements.

At least give the erstwhile speaker credit for consistency. Passing the currency manipulation bill and blocking the free trade agreements would have exactly the same effect: keeping prices artificially high for American businesses and consumers, making it harder to sell American goods overseas, and further delaying meaningful economic recovery. Reviewing that list, it quickly becomes apparent that Nancy Pelosi is a much bigger threat to the state of the American economy than the value of the yuan.

July 25th, 2011 at 11:35 am
Congressional Democrats Tacitly Admitting Obama is Inept
Posted by Troy Senik Print

For the past two and a half years, it’s been the exclusive provenance of the right to point out that President Obama often seems overmatched by his job. But after this weekend’s latest round of debt ceiling negotiations — where a newly irascible President Obama was nowhere to be seen amidst the congressional horse-trading — it’s becoming clear that Democrats on the hill are starting to think the same thing. The ugly details are fleshed out by Craig Crawford, writing in the Huffington Post:

While the GOP obviously would savor a solution to the debt-ceiling crisis that gives Obama no credit, why are Democratic leaders so willing to cut him out?

The answer might be found in growing concerns among veteran Capitol Hill Democrats that their president is a lousy negotiator.

Although they see him as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

“A talented public communicator” who can’t negotiate? The Democrats are essentially saying that the president is really good at talking about his job, just weak when it comes to actually doing it. This, my friends, is what the wag who coined the phrase “damning with faint praise” had in mind.

June 2nd, 2011 at 5:59 pm
California’s Shameless Legislators Make Congress Look Good by Comparison
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In 2009 and 2010, the news out of Washington was dominated by stories of Congress rushing through legislation without reading it, voting in the middle of the night, and generally disregarding the adjective in the term “representative government.” Perhaps more than the specifics of policies like the stimulus package, Obamacare, and cap and trade, it was this disdain for honest dealing that set the public firmly in opposition to the Pelosi-Reid Congress and precipitated the blowout midterm elections of 2010.

As with most pathologies in American politics, what’s bad in Washington is usually even worse in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee reports today:

Numerous bills to crack down on California lawmakers have been shelved quietly by the Legislature in recent weeks.

Casualties included proposals to bar middle-of-the-night legislative sessions, to restrict lawmakers from receiving pay for serving on state boards within four years of leaving office, and to require annual disclosure by public officials of their pay, benefits, travel and other compensation.

Legislators opted not to dock per-diem pay for absences or to create a “do not call” list for campaign robocalls.

What’s consistently fascinating about California politics is that, for all the dysfunction of state government, the Golden State doesn’t have a criminal political culture akin to Illinois or New Jersey, states where the capstone of a successful electoral career is often a stint in federal prison. And why would it? With six-figure legislative salaries and virtually guaranteed appointments to one of the (literally innumerable) state boards and commissions that act as legislative rest homes, one need not break the law to plunder the taxpayers.

As with most of its deficiencies, California would do well to replicate the example of Texas, a state that has shown that a massive population and a sophisticated economy do not necessitate governmental incompetence. Texas has a part-time legislature that only convenes once every two years. The stated goal of this policy: to protect the liberties of the people of Texas. Considering that Texas has created more jobs in the last five years than every other state combined, that seems to be a decent formula.

The upshot: California can take Texas’s principles or Texas can take California’s jobs. Reforming the way the Golden State’s feckless legislature does business would be a good start towards the former end.

May 17th, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Obamacare Waiver Corruption Continues
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Ever since its inception, it’s been clear that the waiver program being run by the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services represents that age-old liberal trend: suffering for thee, but not for me. The waivers allow certain institutions to bypass the onerous requirements put in place by Obamacare. But since they are dispensed according to the whims of the Obama HHS, the recipients tend to be interests favored by the White House — a process that makes a mockery of the rule of law.

A piece in today’s Daily Caller reports yet another suspicious trend:

Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

All hail the Democrats, party of the working man — assuming he works in a San Francisco bistro.

April 12th, 2011 at 9:12 pm
Nancy Pelosi Displeased That the Voters Have a Voice
Posted by Troy Senik Print

File this one under “Gone, but not willing to shut up long enough to be forgotten.” House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (she of “we’ll have to pass the health care bill for you to find out what’s in it”), has stepped in it again. In a speech at Tufts University in Boston earlier this week, the erstwhile Madame Speaker let the public know just how deep her reverence for the electoral process runs:

To my Republican friends: take back your party. So that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election, because we have shared values about the education of our children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, our security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors. Because there are so many things at risk right now — perhaps in another question I’ll go into them, if you want. But the fact is that elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do…But when it comes to a place where there doesn’t seem to be shared values then that can be problematic for the country, as I think you can see right now.

Our apologies to Mrs. Pelosi, but conservatives have the intellectual acumen not to confuse unilateral surrender with unanimity. Elections matter because Americans have widely varying understandings of what constitutes the best interest of the nation. If the former speaker can’t understand that, she may be well advised to consider another line of work.

March 21st, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Judicial Activist Blocks Wisconsin’s Union Law

If at first liberals don’t succeed, they plead their case to a friendly judge.  Last Friday, a Wisconsin judge granted a temporary restraining order to block publication of the state’s recently passed union law.  (State law requires the Secretary of State to publish the contents of the law to the public in order for the law to be valid.)

The law’s opponents claim Wisconsin Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law by negotiating the substance of the bill outside the normal committee hearing process.  The judge says all Republicans have to do is re-pass the bill with adequate notice (i.e. 24 hours instead of 2).

Where were these process-conscience Democrats when their federal counterparts rammed through ObamaCare while violating almost every legislative procedure?  Where was the outrage when the Reid-Pelosi gang used the budget reconciliation process and ‘deem-and-pass’ to thwart deliberation?  At least Wisconsin Republicans gave their absentee opponents a heads-up.

January 6th, 2011 at 9:14 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Most Irresponsible Congress Ever
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 4th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
House GOP Advancing ‘Rule of Law’ Agenda

When it comes to how a bill becomes a law, the route popularized in most textbooks and School House Rocks is of little value.  Instead of clear procedural steps the process is rife with secret votes, waived rules, and last minute amendments that completely change a bill hours before final passage.  The failure of the Pelosi-Reid Congress to abide by any semblance of a consistent process made lawmaking into nothing more than the personal whims of liberal elites.

No longer.  The incoming majority of House Republicans is poised to pass House Resolution 5, a fundamental overhaul of the way the House does business.  Today, the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry Blog teases out the five most important changes.

(1)   Members introducing new legislation must provide a statement of what powers the Constitution grants to Congress to enact the bill.

(2)   Any bill that increases mandatory spending must adhere to a “Cut-As-You-Go” rule requiring the legislation to cut an identical amount of spending elsewhere.

(3)   All bills must be posted online in their entirety three days before the House votes on them.

(4)   The text of any amendment must be publicly available for at least 24 hours before the House votes on it.

(5)   Vote avoidance maneuvers like “Deem-And-Pass” are eliminated.  If members want to raise the debt ceiling – or socialize medicine – they must do so on the record.

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) is fond of saying, “process is substance,” by which he means that how a bill becomes a law is just as important as what is in the bill.  Passing House Resolution 5 will go a long way towards restoring the public’s confidence in Congress’s ability to play by a set of fair, easily understood rules.  If House Republicans go further and insist on restoring the lost constitutional limits on federal power, they will enjoy a long ride in leadership.

December 13th, 2010 at 1:51 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Thelma and Reid
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 19th, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Video: A Midterm State of Denial
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Democrats’ response to the midterm elections and the current state of denial of Party leaders about the message sent by voters on November 2.

 

November 18th, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Setting the Record Straight on Tax Cuts, Unemployment, and the Economy
Posted by Troy Senik Print

As the lame duck Congress prepares to take up the issue of what to do about the expiring Bush tax cuts, liberal pundits are busy proving to the American people that no journalism school in America provides economics education. A few points to make with your liberal friends as you argue economics the next time you join them for a non-fat soy latte made from fair trade ingredients:

  • Extending the Bush Tax Cuts Won’t “Cost” Anything – Liberals can’t stop carping about the $700 billion “cost” of extending tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 a year. This is preposterous. The absence of tax increases isn’t a cost to the federal government. If it was, then every dollar kept in private hands instead of transferred to Washington would be a cost. Private businesses don’t account for imaginary revenues as costs, and there’s no reason for government to either. This is just an excuse for not bringing expenditures into line with “revenues” (i.e. money confiscated from you).
  • A Shortage of Tax Revenue Isn’t the Root of America’s Fiscal Problems – The class warfare rhetoric at the heart of the tax fight is a red herring for the real issue at hand. Virtually all taxes kill economic activity. Of course, some tax revenue will always be necessary to finance the basic functions of government, but beyond that baseline taxes are actively destructive. Thus the real choice when it comes to upper-level earners’ tax rates isn’t whether they should be soaked or not. It’s whether you think the federal government is doing too little (in which case taxes need to increase and more private economic activity should be killed) or too much (in which case spending needs to decrease).
  • Income Inequality is a Meaningless Metric – Proponents of aggressively progressive taxation who are prone to ideological rather than practical justifications of their beliefs have increasingly been leaning on an argument that America suffers from growing income inequality. This is specious for two reasons. First, it presumes that there is an ideal distribution of wealth that exists free of merit. The more free an economy is, however, the more income is a function of how much value one creates in the marketplace. So do we want a nation of C students (socialized mediocrity) or a nation where the highest achievers get A’s and the lowest ones are held back a year (with generous welfare benefits, we should add)? Also, these numbers are absolutely useless from a statistical perspective. Samples of income tiers measure groups, not individuals. So when we say that the rich are richer and the poor are poorer than 20 years ago, we ignore the dynamism of the American economy — and the resulting fact that many individuals who were on the lower rungs of the economic ladder two decades ago have moved up, and many at the top have moved down. This interpretation also ignores the fact that the gap is less important than the actual numbers. If you have $200 and I have $100, are incomes are closer to parity than if you have $1 billion and I have $1 million. But in the latter scenario, we’re both better off individually and society (if it consists of just you and I) is better off as a whole. Now imagine extrapolating that analysis to an entire nation
  • Virtually Every Number You See About Poverty in America is a Lie — For one simple reason: government calculations of poverty do NOT factor in benefits conveyed by government. To prove the point using an unrealistic example, a family of four making $40,000 a year but receiving $60,000 in government assistance, would still be captured in government statistics as making $40,000 a year, even though their actual income would be $100,000.
  • Unemployment Benefits are NOT a Form of Economic Stimulus – From Nancy Pelosi to Nicolas Kristof, every empty head on the left seems to have the idea that unemployment benefits are a form of economic stimulus rattling around inside it. The idea is that because the poor have the greatest need for liquidity (and will thus spend the cash the quickest) unemployment greases the wheels of commerce. This is a basic Keynesian fallacy: thinking of the economy only in terms of consumption. But if this is true, why wouldn’t the road to recovery be paved with every American emptying out their bank account for a trip to Nordstrom’s? Maximum economic efficiency is achieved by putting money to the use that provides the greatest benefit relative to the cost to the individual. In some cases, this will be consumption. But in others it will be investment or savings. Unemployment benefits can be justified on humanitarian grounds, but not on mechanical economic ones (indeed, excess unemployment benefits drive up unemployment — not a surprise if you remember that you always get more of what you subsidize). Paychecks generally provide the basis for a sounder economy than food stamps.
November 17th, 2010 at 8:46 am
Ramirez Cartoon – Dems: “Give Me One Good Reason We Shouldn’t Stick With Pelosi.”
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 13th, 2010 at 6:24 pm
House Dems’ Version of Job Creation

At least outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) can claim credit for creating one job during her tenure.  According to The Hill, Pelosi – the frontrunner to become Minority Leader when the defeated Democrats give up power next Congress – has a novel idea how to decide which of two people gets one available job: create a new position.  (Title and portfolio TBD)

How perfect.  Rather than let Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC) compete for the position of Minority Whip, Pelosi is proposing to create a federal job that spends more taxpayer money.  (Unless, unlike all other congressional leadership positions, the new post comes without staff, office, and an expense account; a situation that would hardly appeal to anyone gunning for a job with real power.)

Even in the face of a 60 seat rebuke that cost her the Speakership, San Francisco Nancy is still following the same liberal formula of growing the federal government.  If this is the kind of in-the-box, hidebound thinking House Democrats want to pursue over the next two years, Republicans should get ready to win even more seats in 2012.

November 11th, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Re: House GOP Leadership Team Taking Shape
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Ashton makes a good point about the geographic diversity of the GOP House leadership in comparison to its Democratic predecessor. Another interesting addition may be Kristi Noem, the incoming freshman who will serve as the At-Large Representative for South Dakota and who looks to be in line to fill a new position being created to give some leadership representation to the burgeoning ranks of Tea Party-affiliated conservatives. Noem is attractive, articulate, and has a compelling biography. She looks to be a definite rising star in the party.

I think the mix of the two parties may be reflective of what caused the Democrats to go astray in the past few years. Looking at the new Republican leadership, only Texan Jeb Hensarling comes from a state where Republicans are reliably strong in both federal and state elections. Democrats, on the other hand, populated their leadership ranks with figures from the deepest of the deep blue states. They governed that way too. And in so doing, they forgot all the lessons that gave them control of the Congress.

In the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, Rahm Emanuel in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate gave considerable flexibility to their recruited candidates, allowing them to run with conservative positions on a host of issues that allowed them to escape being tarred as liberals in the Midwest, the South, and the Mountain West. While they succeeded in getting a large percentage of those candidates elected, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda then lurched so heavily to the left that the new members had to run for reelection in the shadow of a record that undermined all their pretensions of moderation.

The facile interpretation of this trend is that a party always has to govern from the center to keep its majority. That’s also the rationale for liberals like  E.J. Dionne, who hope that the new conservative majority’s stand on principle will alienate them from the electorate. In his most recent column, Dionne writes:

Give Republicans credit for this: They don’t chase the center, they try to move it. Democrats can play a loser’s game of scrambling after a center being pushed ever rightward. Or they can stand their ground and show how far their opponents are from moderate, problem-solving governance. Why should Democrats take Republican advice that Republicans themselves would never be foolish enough to follow?

This is what happens when a static mind attempts to comprehend a dynamic landscape. The problem with Dionne’s analysis is that he assumes the left and the right are equidistant from the center. This is false. When Gallup polled the question in June, 42 percent of Americans identified as conservative, 35 percent said they were moderate, and 20 percent said they were liberal. That means the self-identified center-right represents an astonishing 77 percent of the country. By contrast, the center-left at its theoretical apex is only a slight majority of Americans. When you then factor in that 56 percent of independents broke for Republicans this year — and that that represented a 36 point swing from 2006 — you see how steep the hill is for Democrats.

Dionne and his counterparts in Congress need to learn the lesson: in a center-right country, it’s more important for Democrats to moderate than Republicans. If you doubt that, ask Bill Clinton — he might remind you that he’s the only Democratic president to be elected twice since FDR.