Author Archive
February 1st, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Virginia Senate Says “No” to ObamaCare
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Virginia is now one of many states pushing through a legislative response to complete federal control of health care.  Today, 23 Virginia Senators voted to exempt the Commonwealth from ObamaCare’s individual health insurance mandate.  Five Democrats joined all 18 Republicans to enact the measure in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If President Obama’s health care bill does come back to life in the U.S. Congress, it appears that more states will follow Virginia’s lead to fight ObamaCare locally.

February 1st, 2010 at 11:51 am
Before Scott Brown, Democrats Had a Deal
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According to The Hill newspaper, Democrats reached a tentative compromise on health care just days before Massachusetts elected Scott Brown.  Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) stated that an agreement was reached on January 15. 

Of course, it is an indictment of this Administration’s transparency pledge that you’re reading about this news in February and didn’t watch the discussions live on C-SPAN.  Senator Harkin’s revelation underscores just how deceptive the White House was in negotiating the future of health care behind closed doors and how important Scott Brown’s victory was in defeating ObamaCare.

A few million Americans in Massachusetts made their voices heard loud and clear, but judging from last week’s State of the Union Address, the White House is still not listening.

February 1st, 2010 at 10:29 am
The President’s $3.8 Trillion Budget
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Today, the White House officially released its Budget for Fiscal Year 2011.  It is $3.8 trillion and consumes four large volumes.  What does it say about fiscal responsibility when your budget is thousands of pages and costs $236?

After a $1.4 trillion deficit in 2009, the White House projects a larger $1.56 trillion gap in this fiscal year.  To “trim” the massive sinkhole of red ink, the Administration proposes raising income taxes (though President Obama bragged about his tax record during his State of the Union Address) and energy taxes to reach a “manageable” $1.27 trillion shortfall next year.

Click here for the Office of Management and Budget website to review the budget, historical tables and analytical perspectives.

February 1st, 2010 at 8:57 am
Morning Links
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January 29th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
The President’s Question Hour
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Today, President Obama sparred with Republicans at a GOP retreat in Baltimore.  The debate lasted about an hour, and covered taxes, spending, health care and federal debt, among other issues.

It’s good to see the U.S. following the British tradition of the Prime Minister’s Questions.

Before the debate, Republicans were treated to a second lecture by the President.  With two lectures in one week, the GOP must feel so fortunate.

If you weren’t glued to C-SPAN this afternoon, here is the full exchange.

January 29th, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Moving Terror Trials out of New York?
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That’s the word from the New York Times.  If the grassroots outrage didn’t sway the White House, the objections of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and fellow Democrats appear to be enough for the White House to at least consider moving the terrorist trials.

Even liberal Democrat Chuck Schumer from New York has gently nudged President Obama away from the New York City location.  Schumer recommended to the Administration that they “find suitable alternatives” and that “concerns about costs, logistics and security” might force the trials out of New York.

Since costs could balloon to more than $1 billion for civilian trials in New York, the President is rightly balking from his initial decision.  Let’s hope his newfound ambivalence leads him to the correct decision.

January 29th, 2010 at 10:25 am
Video: The Return of Free Speech
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the left’s response.

January 29th, 2010 at 9:08 am
Morning Links
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January 28th, 2010 at 4:35 pm
Obama Hearts First Person Pronouns
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January 28th, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Senate Votes to Expand Debt Limit by $1.9 Trillion
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Today, the Senate  voted to expand the U.S. debt limit to a record $14.3 trillion, or more than our total economic output last year.  We will soon spend more than we produce.

Here is the roll call vote.  No Republican voted for the measure.

January 28th, 2010 at 10:37 am
President Smacks the Supreme Court
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The recent weeks haven’t been kind to President Obama.   Support continues to drop for his health care bill, his poll numbers are falling and his filibuster-proof majority has been lost.

Well, last night, President Obama took out some of his frustration by criticizing the Supreme Court in front of a national audience.  As the President, he has the power to trounce on judicial independence, but his display last night was historic.

According to the Legal Times, only once has a President publicly criticized the Supreme Court during a State of the Union address.   Not surprisingly, it was President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937, and even FDR didn’t call for Congress to overturn the Court (thought the justices would eventually start to capitulate shortly after the address).

Here is FDR’s attempt at judicial intimidation:

The Judicial branch also is asked by the people to do its part in making democracy successful. We do not ask the Courts to call non-existent powers into being, but we have a right to expect that conceded powers or those legitimately implied shall be made effective instruments for the common good. The process of our democracy must not be imperiled by the denial of essential powers of free government.

Here is President Obama’s criticism:

Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

As Justice Alito gestured during the remarks, the Court did not reverse “a century of law” in its Citizens United decision.  Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce was decided in 1990, not 1910.  Linda Greenhouse over at the New York Times calls out the President on this as well.

As a former constitutional law professor, President Obama should either fire his speechwriters or hit the books.

January 28th, 2010 at 8:49 am
Morning Links
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January 27th, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Follow CFIF on Twitter for State of the Union Coverage
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The Center for Individual Freedom will be tweeting live during tonight’s State of the Union Address and subsequent Republican response.

President Obama’s address begins around 9:00 p.m. (EST) tonight.

You can follow CFIF on Twitter by clicking here.

January 27th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Should Libertarians / Conservatives Support Socialized Health Care?
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The obvious answer is no, but economist Arnold Kling would like to run an experiment between a completely decentralized market system and a government-run single payer system.  To the victor go the spoils.

Kling writes:

Instead of having a big national contest over what health care system, why not try single-payer in one part of the country and radical deregulation in another? Switzerland, which is about the size of Maryland, has different health care systems in each of its 20-odd cantons, which are about the size of Maryland counties. Surely it must be possible to try different health care approaches in Texas and Massachusetts.

Since states are supposed to be the “laboratories of democracy,” this proposal might make sense.  Of course, Massachusetts and Mitt Romney have already tried aspects of ObamaCare (state-run exchanges and individual mandates) and the results should be a sobering reminder to politicians.

Massachusetts has the highest health care premiums in the nation and state expenditures are far above projected levels.  Massachusetts’ failed experiment finally merited some political capital for supporters of a free market system when Bay State voters essentially derailed ObamaCare with their vote for Scott Brown.

Voters appear to be taking notice.  Politicians?  We’ll find out tonight.

HT: Peter Suderman

January 27th, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Does Restricting Speech Lead to Better Government? Nope.
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Or at least that’s the conclusion one can take away from a recent New York Times article examining campaign finance reform laws across the globe.

The Times reported:

“There is no evidence that stricter campaign finance rules reduce corruption or raise positive assessments of government,” said Kenneth Mayer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  “It seems like such an obvious relationship but it has proven impossible to prove.”

The article also notes that Australia imposes no restrictions on the amount of money corporations and individuals can give, yet Australia is hardly a failed state.  In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation, Australians enjoy more economic freedom than Americans.

If the First Amendment doesn’t support opponents of free speech and neither does social science research, where else will they turn? Olbermann?

January 27th, 2010 at 8:59 am
Morning Links
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PoliticoDem Impasse on Health Bill Continues
Washington ExaminerTurning out the State of the Union
Reason MagazineAdvice to Barack Obama
Rep. Paul RyanA GOP Roadmap for America’s Future

The HillLawmakers Cold on Obama’s Freeze
WSJ EditorialDemocratic Tax Dissent
National Review OnlineThe Brick Wall on Health Care
Washington TimesThe Speech the President Should Give

Federal Debt: $12.329 trillion

January 26th, 2010 at 5:45 pm
Vote Alert: Coburn Amendment to Debt Hike
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The following was distributed to all Senate offices today:

Key Vote Alert: H. J. Res. 45, the Coburn Rescission Amendment

Center for Individual Freedom Urges All Senators to Vote “Yes” on the Coburn Rescission Amendment

On behalf of its 250,000 activists and supporters nationwide, the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) urges all Senators to vote “Yes” on the Coburn amendment to H. J. Res. 45, the statutory debt limit increase.

CFIF supports numerous aspects of the amendment, including the more than $120 billion in federal spending reductions through the consolidation of duplicative government programs.

For example, the federal government currently has over 20 programs dedicated to reducing obesity. Because President Obama has pledge to “eliminate wasteful redundancy” in our federal budget, all Senators should support the Coburn amendment to reduce the nation’s bloated budget.

As the Senate considers yet another $1.9 trillion increase to our national debt, it only makes sense that our political leaders should take some strides toward reducing wasteful and duplicative spending. The Coburn amendment is one of many steps needed to reduce our staggering national debt.

For these reasons and more, CFIF urges all Senators to vote “Yes” on the Coburn amendment. Moreover, CFIF also opposes the $1.9 trillion debt limit increase and calls on Congress to further cut spending rather than recklessly add to the nation’s out-of-control debt.

Update: The Coburn amendment was defeated by a 37-57 vote.

January 26th, 2010 at 11:12 am
Morning Links
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WSJ EditorialThe GOP Litmus Test
NY TimesObama’s Credibility Gap
The Daily CallerNet Neutrality to Infringe on Free Speech
Real Clear PoliticsRubio Tops Crist in New Poll

Washington TimesObama Loses Grip on Reality
National Review OnlineObama’s Spending Freeze
The HillCBO Predicts Muted Economic Recovery
PoliticoMcCain v. Hayworth in Arizona

Federal Debt: $12.325 trillion

January 25th, 2010 at 5:28 pm
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Blame Your Predecessor
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That appears to be James Carville’s new strategy amidst the Democratic bloodbath last week.  Writing in the Financial Times, Carville argues that Democrats need to end their circular firing squad and start blaming the real culprit behind recent failings … George W. Bush, of course.

President Obama has had more than a year to “fix” the nation, but his attempts at restoring economic growth were littered with the tired and failed ideas of yet another government stimulus plan.  His spending schemes and continued bailouts have only exacerbated the unemployment rate, while still spending more than any president in history, including George W. Bush.

What George W. Bush has to do with an election in the most liberal state in the nation is unexplained by Mr. Carville’s article.  President Bush’s economic policies did contribute to the deficit and to the unemployment rate but they didn’t make Martha Coakley take a vacation during her campaign or make President Obama ignore the race until it was too late.

For Mr. Carville, President Bush is a convenient boogeyman, but not an explanation for electoral disaster in the Bay State.

January 25th, 2010 at 1:13 pm
Democrats Continue to Jump Ship
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The parade of horribles continues for the Democratic Party.  After losing their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate last week and witnessing an important victory for free speech, Democrats now have to face another retirement.

Marion Berry (no relation to the local politician in Washington, D.C.) announced that he would not seek reelection this year.  Berry represents Arkansas’ First District in the northeast part of the state.  President Obama garnered just 38 percent of the vote there in 2008, so Berry’s seat looks to be a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP.

In other news, Joe Biden’s son, Beau, announced that he would not be a candidate for his father’s former Senate seat, now held by Edward Kaufman.  Kaufman is not considered to be a challenger this November either, leaving another vulnerable Senate seat for the Democrats.

Click here for a full list of departing Members of Congress.