Monday, July 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Not the party of 'no' as suggested by Democrats, but the party of here's-what-to-do, or as I like, git-r-done.
... Republicans list a number of spending proposals to close the budget gap, most of which has already been introduced to the House and ignored by Nancy Pelosi. It counters the entire narrative of the Party of No, showing that Republicans have attempted to offer ideas to reduce spending and the national debt, or at least to slow down the growth in both. Had Democrats decided to actually produce a budget, they would have had to consider the following:
- Cancel Unused TARP Funds. Prohibit the Treasury Secretary from entering into new commitments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]. Ending TARP would prevent up to $396 billion in additional disbursements; CBO estimates savings of $16 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
- Cancel Unspent ‘Stimulus’ Funds. Rescind all unobligated budget authority authorized under the “stimulus” bill and dedicate to deficit reduction. Saves up to $266 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
- Cut and Cap Discretionary Spending. Return non-defense discretionary spending to pre-Obama (fiscal year 2008) baseline levels. Saves up to $925 billion. Legislation introduced by Reps. Ryan and Hensarling (H.R. 3964) and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio (H.R 3298) include caps on discretionary spending.
- Reduce Government Employment. Hire one person for every two who leaves civilian government service until the workforce is reduced to pre-Obama levels (exempting the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs). Saves an estimated $35 billion. H.R. 5348 introduced by Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
- Freeze Government Pay. Freeze Federal civilian pay for 1 year. Saves an estimated $30 billion.
- Adopt the Legislative Line-Item Veto. Enact a constitutional line-item veto law. The President’s FY 2011 budget included terminations, reductions, and savings that would achieve $23 billion in one year. While Congress may not accept all these savings, the Line Item Veto can help reduce spending. H.R. 1294 introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
- Reform and Bring Transparency to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Reform these companies by ending conservatorship, shrinking their portfolios, establishing minimum capital standards, reducing conforming loan limits, and bringing transparency to taxpayer exposure. According to CBO, the cost to taxpayers of putting government in control of Fannie and Freddie is $373 billion through 2020. Saves an estimated $30 billion. H.R. 4889 introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. H.R. 4653 introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey.
- Create a Sunset Commission. Establish a commission to conduct systematic reviews of Federal programs and agencies, and make recommendations for those that should be terminated; and provide for automatic sunset of programs unless expressly reauthorized by the Congress. H.R. 393 introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.
Fannie and Freddie reform might be the most stabilizing of the proposals. Except for the unfunded mandates of Social Security and Medicare, Fannie/Freddie represent the greatest threat of potential future liabilities for the American taxpayer. Instead of containing that damage, Congress allowed the Obama administration to uncap the Fannie/Freddie line of credit, making their bailouts bottomless. Until we rid ourselves of that liability and force Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA to return to proper lending standards, we risk further collapses.
The Republicans have published their ideas on how to return to fiscal responsibility and accountability. It may not be complete, but it’s better than anything seen from the Democrats, who seem intent on proving that they can’t even budget, let alone govern.
Republicans are also launching their America Speaking Out project, which will allow Americans to give feedback to their elected representatives about cutting spending and restoring fiscal responsibility. I’ll talk with Rep. Michele Bachmann about that today on The Ed Morrissey Show, which starts at 3 pm ET!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Every so often, the president takes his revenge, as Obama did on Friday, mocking skeptical reporters who have been questioning the positive impact of health-care reform. "Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm and you planted some seeds and they came out next day and they looked—Nothing’s happened! There’s no crop! We’re gonna starve! Oh, no! It’s a disaster!" Obama told a town meeting in Maine. “It’s been a week, folks. So before we find out if people like health-care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place. Just a thought.”
What monumental irrelevant obfuscation! How about this, Mr. Obama...
You planted some rocks in the ground that caused you to sell all you and your family own just to buy the rocks. But you were assured they would grow into a bountiful harvest of grain, not even requiring water or fertilizer.
Wait and see what happens dear reader. Just a thought.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
AP’s ten whoppers from the SOTU speech
POSTED AT 9:30 AM ON JANUARY 28, 2010 BY ED MORRISSEY
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Only ten? Maybe the Associated Press got as tired as everyone else listening to Barack Obama’s lengthy State of the Union speech last night and stopped paying attention after an hour. AP’s headline focuses on the “toothless commission” that Obama demanded, but the other nine fails on their fact-check test are just as interesting and revealing (via Geoff A):
President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won’t just be “one of those Washington gimmicks.” Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won’t have any teeth. …
OBAMA: “I’ve called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. This can’t be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline. Yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I will issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans.”
THE FACTS: Any commission that Obama creates would be a weak substitute for what he really wanted — a commission created by Congress that could force lawmakers to consider unpopular remedies to reduce the debt, including curbing politically sensitive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. That idea crashed in the Senate this week, defeated by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Any commission set up by Obama alone would lack authority to force its recommendations before Congress, and would stand almost no chance of success.
Of course, even his first proposal was a rather dishonest dodge of accountability, especially for Democrats. A bipartisan commission that recommended tax hikes as a means of raising revenue would allow Democrats to shove part of the blame for raising taxes in a recession on Republicans. It would allow more of them to tell voters, “Well, we committed to doing what the commission demanded,” or “We had to accept the commission’s findings in toto based on the rules established for it,” or other such nonsense. We already have a bipartisan commission with 535 members to handle budgetary decisions — it’s called Congress.
The other whoppers:
- Spending freeze – The AP points out that it will save less than 1% of predicted deficits over the next ten years — and that Obama scoffed at such a plan when John McCain proposed it in 2008.
- Health care – Obama said the Democratic plan would allow people to keep their insurance and their doctors, but the bill doesn’t guarantee either. Their plan has massive cuts to Medicare Advantage, which would definitely affect coverage of a large portion of America’s seniors and disabled.
- Lobbyists – Obama has not “excluded” lobbyists from his administration; he’s hired over a dozen for key posts, and the AP notes seven of those waivers were for White House posts. Obama called for restrictions on lobbyist contributions, but those already exist.
- Two million jobs saved through Porkulus – The CBO puts the theoretical range between 600K and 1.6 million, but also cautions that the methodology of estimating jobs “saved or created” is “uncertain.” The last detailed numbers the White House produced totaled 650,000 — and were found to be highly inaccurate.
- Openness: “Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign — to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN “so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.” Instead, Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors. Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it’s acted upon.”
The last two are on the rate of killing al-Qaeda leadership and the status on START talks with Russia. In both cases, the AP suspects that Obama overstates his case, but also reports that it’s difficult to measure either. The US has never given body counts on fighting AQ in the Af-Pak theater, mainly because many of the operations are covert, and because enemy body counts fell out of favor with the Vietnam War and have been only reluctantly shared in other conflicts.
Let me add at least one other whopper that the AP doesn’t mention. Obama repeatedly insisted that he inherited massive budgetary problems from George Bush, but the Con Law professor may want to retake his high-school civics class. Congress passes budgets, not the President, and the last three budgets came from Democrats. In three years, they increased annual federal spending by $900 billion, while the admittedly profligate and irresponsible Republican Congresses under George Bush increased annual federal spending by $800 billion — in six years. And during the last three years before taking office as President, Obama served in the Senate that passed those bills, and he voted for every Democratic budget put in front of him.