Archive for January, 2010
January 27th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Should Libertarians / Conservatives Support Socialized Health Care?
Posted by Print

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.
Posted by Print

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 11:36 am
Why Steny Hoyer Wants You to Make More Money

During his weekly press briefing yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had “some good news” to report.

Hoyer noted that federal revenues (taxpayer dollars the federal government takes out of your paycheck) have stopped declining, which is a sign that the American people are “making money.”  Taken at face value, that is good news.

But the part about Americans making more money – in and of itself – is not what the Majority Leader was excited about.  Rather, Hoyer’s exuberance was focused on the prospect of Americans paying more taxes as a result.

Specifically, as reported by, the Majority Leader stated:

We also had some good news for the first time in approximately two years. The projection of revenues has stabilized, not decreased. That is a very good sign because it is a sign that people are in fact making money and will be in a position, because they’re making money, to pay a portion of that in revenues to the federal government.”

In a way, this small glimpse into Hoyer’s mindset explains a lot.  And the current Administration and Congress wonder why the people are screaming mad.

January 27th, 2010 at 8:59 am
Morning Links
Posted by Print

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 27th, 2010 at 1:42 am
Millions for Democratic Losses, But Not a Pence for Republican Victories
Posted by Print

Bad news for political junkies — what could have been the title fight of the 2010 midterm elections in the U.S. Senate has been called off.

RedState reported this morning that conservative Indiana Congressman Mike Pence has decided against challenging moderate Democratic Senator Evan Bayh for his seat this year.

No doubt that it would have been an uphill fight. Bayh comes from an extremely popular political family in the Hoosier State, and his own career as a centrist governor-cum-senator has endeared him to his electorate. He’s also towards the bottom of the list of Democrats in the Senate who are threatening to conservative principles (and one of the few who sees the folly in the liberal thrust of the current Democratic leadership).

Yet the fact of the matter was that Pence was outpolling Bayh (albeit narrowly) without so much as announcing. Pence’s victory could have gone a long way towards driving a total electoral scramble in November.

Hopefully, the talented, able, articulate Pence goes back to the grindstone in the House. If he’s passing up the Senate race to take a crack at the White House (as RedState suggests he may be), he’s trading the improbable for the virtually impossible. Only one sitting U.S. Representative has ever been elected to the presidency — and Washington isn’t exactly brimming with people looking to replicate James Garfield’s legacy.

January 26th, 2010 at 5:45 pm
Vote Alert: Coburn Amendment to Debt Hike
Posted by Print

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 3:23 pm
They Just Don’t Get It…

Seemingly oblivious to the message sent by Massachusetts voters – on behalf of the entire nation – last week, Congressional leaders appear to be working to rally support in their caucus behind a series of procedural tactics in an effort to salvage their extremely unpopular health care “reform” bill.  The Associated Press reports:

Democratic congressional leaders are coalescing around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. …

Democratic congressional aides, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is in flux, said the latest strategy involves using a special budget procedure to revise the Senate bill.

The procedural route — known as reconciliation — would allow a majority of 51 senators to amend their bill to address some of the major substantive concerns raised by the House. That would circumvent the need for a 60-vote majority [in the Senate].

Fortunately, at least two Senate Democrats have voiced their opposition to using reconciliation as a way to circumvent the traditional legislative process.  Calling the tactic “ill-advised,” Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) said today he does not support the move.  Likewise, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) signaled that she opposes passing health care reform via reconciliation.  (H/T  Daniel Foster at The Corner)

It’s unclear at this point whether Pelosi and Reid will garner the support necessary to pull off the procedural move.  Regardless, the fact that they’re even trying proves once again their extreme arrogance.  They just don’t get it.

January 26th, 2010 at 11:12 am
Morning Links
Posted by Print

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 10:54 pm
Joe Klein: “It’s the Stupids, Economy”
Posted by Print

I may not win any points for originality for calling attention to the imbecility of Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, but his latest rhetorical moonshot has to be read to be believed.

Harnessing the liberal tendency to blame their failures on the stupidity of the country, Klein reacts to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll that shows nearly three quarters of the country considers the stimulus package wasteful by indicting the cognitive capacities of the nation (in a post titled “Too Dumb to Thrive”, no less). To wit:

Two thoughts:

1. The Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining the stimulus package to the American people…especially since there have been very few documented cases of waste so far.

2. This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed…and, for those watching Fox News, misinformed.

It is very difficult to have a democracy without citizens. It is impossible to be a citizen if you don’t make an effort to understand the most basic activities of your government. It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you’re a nation of dodos.

Strip away the ad hominem and here’s what you have:

1. We’re not communicating well enough (the oldest — and most impotent — political excuse in the book)

2. There’s been no waste (Klein seems to be missing that Americans aren’t reacting to abuse in the program … they think the above-the-board spending is pointless)

3. This is the American people’s fault for being thick-browed knuckle-draggers (someone might want to point out to the intellectual vanguard over at Time that the health of the economy and the intelligence of the electorate are what are called independent variables. The economy isn’t still faltering because Americans think the stimulus is pointless. Americans think the stimulus is pointless because the economy is still faltering).

January 25th, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Reconsidering “The People’s Seat”

In the wake of Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown’s upset victory, it looks like there might be slogan for other Republican senatorial candidates to ride to victory.  Brown got the nation’s attention when he reminded David Gergen that the seat he was running for didn’t belong to the Kennedy family or the Democratic Party.  It is “the people’s seat”.  Now the Republican frontrunner to take President Obama’s old senate seat is saying the same thing in Illinois.  That kind of populist shout-out certainly energizes the voters and activists disdainful of machine politics.  But it also serves as a reminder of how different U.S. Senate elections have become since the Founding Fathers framed them.

Originally, state legislatures elected United States Senators.  The idea was to give the states themselves a voice in the national government.  The effect was to make a state’s U.S. Senator similar to a prime minister because a vote for a state legislator was (indirectly) a vote for a U.S. Senate candidate.  (Incidentally, John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” has a delightful chapter about one such race featuring Missouri’s incomparable Thomas Benton.)  Of course, the Seventeenth Amendment changed all that when it made senators directly elected by a state’s voting public.  Had the original constitutional structure been retained, Scott Brown would likely not be Massachusetts’ new senator because the state’s legislature is dominated by Democrats.  On the other hand, if it were still in effect, would it be more or less likely to have senators who thought of themselves as mini-presidents?  If less, it seems likely that representatives of one government to another would be much more likely to question the expansion of the federal at the expense of the states.

Maybe then we wouldn’t need to worry so much about senators getting captured by the trappings of office.  Their state legislature would be quick to pry them out if ever they forgot for whom they worked.

January 25th, 2010 at 6:43 pm
So Funny It’s Not

It’s gallows humor, but there is something darkly funny about witnessing a Democratic president and his advisors get thoroughly mugged by reality and respond with denial. Domestically, President Barack Obama and his courtiers can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that good ole’ reliable Massachusetts just slapped them across the face in front of the whole country, knowing full well the sting would last until November.

Now, it looks like the engine powering the axis of evil is taking shots and looking for weaknesses. Apparently, after years of encouraging its citizens to hack into American mainframes, China is alleging cyber warfare from Uncle Sam. Of course, it just so happens that Google is leaving the country over concerns its system is under constant attack from inside China with government approval. For good measure, Chinese officials damned the United States for actively encouraging Iran’s pro-democracy movement. (In case you forgot, Obama’s official policy towards the protesters is to offer rhetorical support while they are shot and imprisoned.)

And all this comes after almost a month after Iran missed Obama’s “deadline” for halting its nuclear enrichment operation. When looking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is there anyone with Oval Office privileges that realizes foes think the president is weak and friends think him tone deaf? More importantly, does anybody in the room care?

January 25th, 2010 at 5:28 pm
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Blame Your Predecessor
Posted by Print

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 3:42 pm
Have Oregonians Learned Anything From California?
Posted by Print

Oregon, whose 11% unemployment rate exceeds the national rate by a full percentage point, sits just to the north of California, whose suicidal economic policies have provided a close-up lesson that reducing economic freedom reduces prosperity. As a result, Oregonians have seen first-hand the mass exodus of jobs and residents stemming from those policies.

So as Oregonians head to the polls tomorrow to consider two tax-raising ballot measures, we’ll see whether they’ve internalized California’s straightforward lessons.

Proposition 66 would increase Oregon’s personal income tax on “the rich” by fully 2%, and Proposition 67 would foolishly increase the corporate income tax. You know…  those corporations that actually create jobs and add to the economy.

Just as California’s reckless tax-and-spend policies have driven residents and jobs to surrounding states, Oregon may astonishingly slit its own wrists in the same manner by passing these measures.  Residents and community leaders in Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada and Arizona may welcome the resulting influx, but it will mean doom for Oregon. Nike, Inc. founder and chairman Phil Knight, hardly a starched-collar conservative, has labeled Propositions 66 and 67 “Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law II,” and some economists predict 70,000 lost jobs if the measures pass.

So which way, Oregon?  Freedom and prosperity, or suicidal tax increases?  Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey voters have learned the lessons of Obamanomics, and now we’ll see if the news has traveled out to the West Coast…

January 25th, 2010 at 1:13 pm
Democrats Continue to Jump Ship
Posted by Print

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.

January 25th, 2010 at 10:31 am
Morning Links
Posted by Print
January 23rd, 2010 at 7:00 pm
“Wormy” California Politicians Still Haven’t Learned to Resist Public Employee Unions

Apparently, if you poke an earthworm a few hundred times, it eventually starts avoiding your finger. In California state politics, it’s looking like a few liberal stalwarts are starting to think twice about the Democrat Party’s sweetheart pension deals given to public employee unions. Any rational person that looks at the financial benefits of becoming a California cop, firefighter, or prison guard (among others) is bound to give serious thought to abandoning any other career option. Why? Because you can retire at 50 and get 90% of your last year’s pay. For the rest of your life. Guaranteed.

Think you can get that kind of compensation in the private sector? There’s a reason – it’s unsustainable. So says Democratic State Treasurer Bill Lockyear. But with the state facing a $20 billion deficit this year and Arnold Schwarzenegger entering his last as governor, it looks like Golden State taxpayers are in for another round of deferred maintenance on state budgeting. All this insanity kinda makes one wonder why anyone would want to be governor of California – or even a citizen.

H/T: Wall Street Journal

January 23rd, 2010 at 5:08 pm
Video: The Obama Presidency, One Year Later…

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama took the oath of office to become our nation’s 44th president. One year later, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the President’s record thus far and his empty promises of “hope and change.”

January 22nd, 2010 at 5:45 pm
Heads Obama Wins, Tails Obama Doesn’t Lose
Posted by Print

In a sparkling column today, Jonah Goldberg does a rigorous job of deconstructing the Obama machine’s narrative that every single act in American political life — even the election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts — is proof of the president’s virtues.

My favorite section:

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president offered his nuanced analysis of the Bay State Götterdämmerung and his first year in office.

In short: “I did nothing wrong.”

Well, with one caveat: “One thing I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people. . . . I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on the, you know, this provision, or that law, or are we making a good, rational decision here, that people will get it.”

Is the President beginning to remind anyone else of the guy who, when asked about his worst quality during his job interview, says “I care too much”?

January 22nd, 2010 at 4:49 pm
Sit Down and Stay a While, Liberal Radio
Posted by Print

This has been a rough week for progressives in the U.S.  First, they lose a Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts, relieving them of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  Then, the Supreme Court strikes down another onerous McCain-Feingold regulation.

Now, Air America, the lone liberal bastion of talk radio, has closed its doors for good.  Though Air America had been through Chapter 11 bankruptcy once before, the recent economic recession forced the company to shut its doors and undergo a complete liquidation.  Fin.

There is some bad news for conservatives and libertarians.  Al Franken, former host, will not be silenced by this bankruptcy.  He’s now in the Senate making outlandish comments and still annoying the world.

Click here for the Air America statement.  It’s sad, in a schadenfreude way.

January 22nd, 2010 at 2:46 pm
First Amendment Victory, But Prepare for Union Onslaught
Posted by Print

Yesterday’s United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a welcome victory for free speech and the First Amendment.

By overturning byzantine prohibitions against the very type of fundamental electioneering speech most valued by our Founding Fathers when they drafted the First Amendment itself, the Court reclaimed enormous territory in freedom’s war against incumbent-protecting censorship.

While welcome, however, the decision also carries political implications about which conservatives must remain alert.  Liberals, predictably, hysterically focus upon the sinister prospect of free speech for those big, bad, evil corporations that actually employ people and produce things.  For instance, resident MSNBC village idiot Keith Olbermann rendered himself not only the world’s worst person, but also the most idiotic, when he suggested the decision was even worse than the infamous Dred Scott slavery decision of 1857.

But apart from the Olbermann crowd’s inanity, one negative prospect is Big Labor’s new ability to engage in direct electioneering communications.

Don’t get us wrong – union bosses should be just as free as other groups to exercise their free speech rights, so long as the dollars used to fund that speech aren’t forcibly wrenched from reluctant members’ wages.  As long as Big Labor isn’t afforded particularized protected status, fair is fair.

Nevertheless, expect new union efforts to not only flood the airwaves, but also to increase the amount of members’ dues used to fund those efforts, as well as even more pressure to enact legislative agenda items.  In particular, we can anticipate all new efforts to enact card-check, which would literally eliminate the secret ballot in union elections, and empower federal bureaucrats to dictate wages and working conditions via mandatory arbitration. In 2008 alone, two unions (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the infamous Service Employees International Union) spent $58 million of their hard-working members’ wages on political campaigns.

They’ll only scheme to increase that amount now.

Card-check legislation appeared all but dead, but this device to increase Big Labor’s membership rolls, and consequently the amount of money it can spend electing liberals across the country, will receive even more push now.

We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision, but we conservatives must remain wary of Big Labor’s upcoming campaign.