June 24, 2011

A Tale of Two State Trios, and Their Comparative Press Coverage

I can’t say that I’m up on what every state is doing, but it’s hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:

  • Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
  • Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.

So how is the press covering these situations?

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Just One Week Until ‘We the People’ Convention

Note: I’m going to keep this at the top as much as possible on Friday.

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It’s a only week until the big event (Direct YouTube link):

WeThePeopleLogoThe schedule is so jam-packed with valuable sessions, I suspect many attendees will wish that they had cloned themselves for the occasion.

Oh, and did I remember to mention that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain will be there?

Obama In April: A Speech and a ‘Framework,’ But Not a Budget (CBO: ‘We Don’t Estimate Speeches’); See Update: Obama Awakes

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:20 pm

James Pethokoukis at Reuters notes that the President hasn’t put any meat on the skeleton he presented in April, and that the Congressional Budget Office can’t do anything with it (bolds are mine; internal links are in original):

At a House Budget Committee hearing today, Chairman Paul Ryan and Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf had this exchange:

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Ryan: “We got your re-analysis of the President’s budget. I won’t go back into that. But the President gave a speech on April 13th where he outlined a new budget framework that claims $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. Have you estimated the budget impact of this framework?”

Elmendorf: “No, Mr. Chairman. We don’t estimate speeches. We need much more specificity than was provided in that speech for us to do our analysis.”

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Bingo. As I wrote back in April, when President Obama made his big budget speech, it wasn’t at all clear from where his numbers were coming — nor in what direction they were heading. A “fact sheet” on his “Framework for Shared Prosperity and Shared Fiscal Responsibility” gave a few more specifics, but little or no context to make real sense of them. Even for seasoned budget experts, it was a puzzlement. At the time, I predicted it would never get submitted to the CBO, and so far I have been proven correct. The whole mess now seems like nothing more than a political ploy to make Obama seem like a debt hawk. We also know now that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had to push the White House to do even that.

Exactly. The President is so insincere about his alleged interest in fiscal control and debt reduction that he won’t even put a concrete, credible plan on the table (February’s doesn’t count, and he knows it; that’s why April’s charade came to be).

No wonder the President is a non-player in the current negotiations, turning it all over to VP Joe Biden. If Obama were to get involved, he might actually have to commit to something. As he has done on so many other important matters in his political career, he is voting “present” — something with which even the establishment press had a problem in late 2007, just a couple of months before it swallowed the hopey-changey koolaid:

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UPDATE: Miss an hour, miss a lot

President Barack Obama will wade into the angry impasse over raising the US government’s borrowing limit next week, hosting meetings with rival Senate Republican and Democratic leaders.
Obama’s intervention follows a Republican walkout from crucial talks on the issue and warnings by top party leaders that they will not accept White House demands to close tax loopholes and hike rates on the wealthiest Americans.

dscott has raised an important point in a comment: If they want “tax increases,” end subsidies, and call ‘em “tax increases.” Like ethanol, farm subsidies, and the array of green subsidies, including the $7,500 Chevy Volt/electric car credit.

UPDATE 2: It would appear that Obama was heckled into showing up by none other than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Speaking with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show Friday, Christie suggested the president more personally engage in budget talks with lawmakers. The Republican suggested the first thing Obama do about debt ceiling talks is “show up.”

… “You can’t negotiate through a secondary person. And with all due respect to the Vice President, the President’s got to show up,” Christie said.

It would also appear that Christie may be attempting to create momentum for a presidential run.

Audio Link to Tuesday Radio Appearance

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:52 pm

I’m going to have to start doing better at shameless self-promotion (actually, engaging in any shameless self-promotion would represent an improvement).

The PR people at Pajamas Media arranged three radio interviews for me on Tuesday to talk about the differences between Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare and Barack Obama’s plan, i.e., Obamacare, and I didn’t say a thing about ‘em here at BizzyBlog.

One of the interviews was with Brad Davis at the Talk of Connecticut (audio found here).

If you go there, you’ll be able to tell that the interview was at 7:10 in the morning. I’m going to have to ramp up the vocal animation and mainline a bit more coffee in the future.

Tom’s, Greg’s, and dscott’s Links (062411, Early PM)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 1:02 pm

(Links are mine unless otherwise noted; unquoted commentary is all mine)

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More Evidence That Cain Is Very Able — He had a prolife pledge handed to him. Instead of signing it without any thought to artificially ingratiate himself with the prolife community, he actually read the pledge, and lodged a specific, constitutionally correct objection:

Herman Cain Reaffirms Pro-Life View After Not Signing Pledge

Businessman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain reaffirmed his pro-life views in a statement today, one day after he declined to sign the pro-life pledge sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List that other presidential candidates signed.

“I support right-to-life issues unequivocally and I adamantly support the first three aspects of the Susan B. Anthony pledge involving appointing pro-life judges, choosing pro-life cabinet members, and ending taxpayer-funded abortions,” Cain said in a statement. “However, the fourth requirement demands that I ‘advance’ the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation.”

Herman Cain understands separation of powers. As President, he can “advocate” legislation, but he has no ability to advance it.

Herman Cain actually reads documents presented to him. Imagine that. The other candidates who signed the pledge either didn’t understand the separation of powers issue, didn’t care about it, or thought the political advantage of signing a flawed pledge would outweigh clear evidence that their signature betrays a less than complete understanding of the Constitution.

As with the Hermanator’s insistence a month ago that he can’t say what he would do about Afghanistan without having access to the information a president has, this is incredibly refreshing.

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dscott provides a couple of “human interest” links about multiple jobholders:

  • Out of Oregon — “More People Holding Multiple Jobs”
  • From Kentucky — “You have how many jobs? Moonlighting works for some”

They’re interesting reads, but I’d like to look at how the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s recession and aftermath have affected multiple jobholders.

It doesn’t seem to have increased their overall numbers (in fact, they’ve declined a bit), which may simply reflect the fact that finding any kind of job is still very tough.

The following chart from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, supported to an extent by a recent BLS table, highlights one significant trend:

MultipleJobholdersMF1995to2009

This female-male divergence could mean a number of things: Fewer employed men are looking for a second gig, they’re looking but not finding something they want, they’re not finding something they can fit into their schedules, or the opportunities aren’t there.

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(via Greg) Before everyone jumps on the Rick Perry bandwagon, read this“14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President.”

The points may be stridently stated, but I don’t think the facts noted are in dispute; several of them are more than a little troubling.

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(via Greg) At Red State “Senate Plans to Abdicate its Confirmation Duties; The Obama Czars will trump the constitution.” Briefly stated:

The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act (S.679), which was never reported out of a committee, would eliminate the (Senate) confirmation requirement for 200 presidential appointees. This bill would completely abrogate the safeguards against tyranny that were established in the “Appointments Clause” of the constitution.

Y’know, because that “advise and consent” stuff is just too much hard work.

Heritage’s Reax: “The Senate Should Preserve, But Speed Up, Its Role in Senior Presidential Appointments.”

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(via Greg) The march of tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) continues. But it’s for the children, so it’s supposed to be okay.

This is NOT okay:

Obama’s Food Police in Staggering Crackdown on Market to Kids

Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts will be out of a job unless grocery manufacturers agree to reinvent a vast array of their products to satisfy the Obama administration’s food police.

Either retool the recipes to contain certain levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to tots and teenagers, say several federal regulatory agencies.

The same goes for restaurants.

… “When regulators strongly suggest a course of action, it’s treated as a rule, not a suggestion,” said Scott Faber, vice president of federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Of course it is, because there’s never a coequal relationship in discussions between private parties and the government, and because those who don’t wish to follow the “suggestions” are putting targets on their backs.

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Walter E. “Black by Popular Demand” Williams: “America’s New Racists”

The late South African economist William Hutt, in his 1964 book, “The Economics of the Colour Bar,” said that one of the supreme tragedies of the human condition is that those who have been the victims of injustices and oppression “can often be observed to be inflicting not dissimilar injustices upon other races.”

… Today … Most racist assaults are committed by blacks. What’s worse is there’re blacks, still alive, who lived through the times of lynching, Jim Crow laws and open racism who remain silent in the face of it.

… In many of these brutal attacks, the news media make no mention of the race of the perpetrators. If it were white racist gangs randomly attacking blacks, the mainstream media would have no hesitation reporting the race of the perps.

… Black silence in the face of black racism has to be one of the biggest betrayals of the civil rights struggle that included black and white Americans.

Read the whole thing.

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At the Hill“President ‘becoming an absolute monarch’ on war powers …”

“We have been sliding for 70 years to a situation where Congress has nothing to do with the decision about whether to go to war or not, and the president is becoming an absolute monarch … And we must put a stop to that right now, if we don’t want to become an empire instead of a republic.”

The quoted congressman is Jerome Nadler (D-NY). In July 2008, in one of many occasions when he invoked the word in connection with George W. Bush, Nadler said:

If we had a just system and it weren’t overly political, the president would be impeached. I think he has committed impeachable offenses.

I’ll believe that Nadler is doing more than making himself feel good and placating his far-left base when he says exactly the same thing — or stronger — about Barack Obama. Don’t hold your breath.

Final 1Q11 GDP: Annualized +1.9%; Reagan Economy Was Growing Over 3x Faster

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:50 am

The government’s full report is here.

The updated Reagan vs. Obama scoreboard for the first seven post-recession quarters now reads as follows:

ReaganVsObamaGDPpostrec7Qtrs

In the first seven post-recession quarters under Reagan, the economy grew by almost 12%. Under Obama? Just under 5%, barely getting back to where we were before the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy and the recession as normal people define it began.

In terms of sustainability, the economy under Reagan grew 7.9% during post-recession quarters 4-7. Under Obama? 2.3%.

The economy under Reagan zoomed along at more than triple the speed of the current economy. Economic policy choices matter. Millions of Americans are needless suffering with little solace in sight because the Obama administration has chosen the wrong ones, and won’t move away from them.

IBD on SPR Release: Another Example of Lawlessness (Update: Conditions For Use Not Met)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

Strong (and true) stuff at Investors Business Daily, from an editorial last night:

With Democrats’ poll numbers in the dumps, President Obama has decided to release some of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves to cut prices at the pump. Problem is, its only real “strategic” purpose is politics.

… The spigots have been opened just twice — in 2005 by President Bush, who released 11 million barrels after disruptions from Hurricane Katrina, and in 1992 by President Bush Sr., who tapped 20 million barrels in the wake of the Gulf War. President Obama’s release — which is far bigger than either of those two emergencies — is supposedly in response to disruptions from Libya, which isn’t even a U.S. supplier. It isn’t our crisis.

Instead, Obama has said this release is part of a “coordinated” effort by the International Energy Agency to lower world oil prices and “save” the global economy.

It’s more than that, given that the IEA’s 60 million barrel release amounts to twice Libya’s daily lost output. This looks a lot more like a blatant effort to manipulate oil prices globally, using U.S. resources.

Frankly, the president doesn’t have a right to do that.

The SPR is not and never has been an open-market mechanism for lowering world prices. It’s an emergency supply for us alone, and so this release amounts to a misuse of American resources.

… it suggests that he thinks the reserves are his to use as he sees fit, rather than a tool for use in an emergency.

… Prices are high not because of Libya, but because of Obama’s own failed energy policies — which is based on little more than punishing oil producers.

… It’s no substitute for a sound energy policy that will secure America’s energy future. It’s short-term politics that sets a bad precedent. And it won’t work.

There’s a word (“a ruler who is not effectively restricted by a constitution, laws, recognized opposition, etc.”; “a person who makes pronouncements, as on conduct, fashion, etc, which are regarded as authoritative”) for a president who believes that a country’s resources “are his to use as he sees fit.”

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UPDATE: Heritage IDs the three conditions for accessing the SPR –

  1. An emergency situation exists and there is a significant reduction in supply which is of significant scope and duration;
  2. A severe increase in the price of petroleum products has resulted from such emergency situation; and
  3. Such price increase is likely to cause a major adverse impact on the national economy.

The “reduction in supply” has been driven by administration’s energy-restrictive policies.

Well, I guess we do have an “emergency.” We have a president who’s choking the economy at every opportunity, and won’t stop. The emergency will last until at least January 20, 2013.

Positivity: After 93 years, Corpus Christi procession to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome, and St. Petersburg:

Jun 23, 2011 / 01:50 pm

The mayor of St. Petersburg, Russia has granted permission for the first Corpus Christi procession to take place in the city since 1918.

The announcement was confirmed by the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, reported Vatican Radio. The procession will take place on Sunday, June 26, through the Prospettiva Nevsky Avenue, the city’s main street.

The avenue has traditionally been called the “way of confessional tolerance,” as it is lined with Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Armenian churches. According to archdiocesan officials, the last time a Corpus Christ procession took place on the avenue was in 1918. …

Go here for the rest of the story.