Archive for the ‘Earmarks’ Category

WHY IS THIS ELECTION SO CLOSE?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

 

  • POWERLINE

How Obama Benefits From His Own

Failure

Yesterday I wrote a post titled Why Is This Election Close? which has gotten considerable attention and comment. I want to expand on that post by making explicit one of its implicit themes.

Ordinarily, as I wrote yesterday, a president with a record on the economy as disastrous as Obama’s wouldn’t have chance at re-election. But in a perverse way, Obama’s failures may be working in his favor, politically.

Because Obama’s policies have suppressed economic growth, the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed have grown steadily. As unemployment benefits have finally run out, the long-term unemployed have, by the millions, declared themselves to be permanently and totally disabled. Millions of Americans have come to be dependent on government largesse as a result of the economic folly of the Obama administration. So how are those people going to vote? One might think that, angry at the government policies that have robbed them of their ability to be self-supporting, they would vote Republican. No doubt some will. But many more will cling to the only life raft in sight, and will vote for the party that promises the never-ending continuation and expansion of government benefits.

A second factor is also at work. The Obama economic disaster has spawned widespread hopelessness. Many millions of Americans are convinced that things aren’t going to get better; that stagnant growth, high unemployment, and few if any opportunities in the private sector are the “new normal.” Perversely, that very hopelessness works in Obama’s favor as well. If the underemployed and the “disabled” thought that recovery is just around the corner, given halfway-decent government policies, they would vote Obama out so they can get back to work. Again, there are some in this category. I received a DM on Twitter a few minutes ago that said, “John, this food stamp family intends to vote for Romney so that we can get a job and GET OFF FOOD STAMPS!!!” That is of course the right attitude. But those who are hopeless won’t think that way. They can see no future except one of dependence on the government, and most of them will vote for the party of dependence, the Democrats.

So the sad fact is that Barack Obama’s economic illiteracy, and the consequent debacle that we have lived through for the past four years, hurts him with some voters but benefits him with others. Hopelessness: a cynical politician can turn that to his advantage!

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OBAMA – THE DECLINE AND FALL

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Published on The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com)

Decline and Fall

The arc of the Obama presidency bends towards failure.

Peter Wehner

August 29, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 46

Now more than halfway through his third year in office—with the economy flat-lining, American prestige evaporating, and public anxiety spiking—Barack Obama is the most vulnerable incumbent president since Jimmy Carter. The election is still 14 months away, but it’s not too early to see the broad outlines of the GOP’s case against the president.

Economic Malpractice: Obama inherited a tough economy, but his stewardship has in many respects made the situation worse.

The unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent (it was 7.8 percent the month Obama took office). July marked the 30th consecutive month in which the unemployment rate was above the 8 percent level that the Obama administration said it would not exceed as a result of its stimulus program. Chronic unemployment is worse than during the Great Depression, while the share of the eligible population holding a job (58.1 percent) has declined to the lowest level since the early 1980s.

The housing crisis is also worse than in the Great Depression. Home values are worth roughly one-third less than they were five years ago. Consumer confidence has plunged to the lowest level since the Carter presidency. And from the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011, we experienced five consecutive quarters of slow growth. America’s GDP for the second quarter of this year was an anemic 1.3 percent; in the first quarter, it was 0.4 percent. Even more problematic for the president, there are virtually no signs that things will improve anytime soon. He now has to hope for an economic miracle. (more…)

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WHY ARE TAXPAYERS PAYING FOR WINE TASTING?

Friday, June 17th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • JUNE 15, 2011

At a time of crisis a wasteful federal agency gets $200 million more.

Long before there was President Obama’s stimulus, there was the Economic Development Administration. The EDA was created in 1965 with the same high-minded intent used to usher in the $814 billion stimulus bill in 2009. Set inside the Commerce Department, the bureau and its grants are supposed to promote economic competitiveness and create jobs. In reality, the EDA has given taxpayers little return on their investment and instead become a slush fund for the well-connected.

Certainly, the bureau has funded some well-meaning projects, just as there were some noncontroversial earmarks mixed in with bridges to nowhere and teapot museums. As a recovering earmarker, I must say that I have supported certain EDA grants in the past. But to my fellow senators, I now say this: If you aren’t willing to cut spending you previously supported, our nation is destined for bankruptcy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hand delivered a $2 million EDA check in 2008 to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas to begin construction of the ‘UNLV Harry Reid Research and Technology Park.’

demint

Yet, in the midst of a debt crisis, the Senate is currently seeking to increase EDA funding to $500 million a year from $300 million. Worse, this bill passed out of a Senate authorization committee with unanimous, bipartisan support.

(more…)

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A PSYCHIATRIST’S ADVICE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA – DR. KEITH ABLOW

Saturday, January 29th, 2011
By Dr. Keith  Ablow

Published January 27, 2011 | FoxNews.com

President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night symbolically kicked off the 2012 Presidential campaign. I tuned in with what psychiatrists call a “third ear”—listening to myself listening, polling my gut for when it alerted me to true or false notes. In my office, it is this “third ear” that allows me to ask questions that get past a person’s more superficial stories, to the heart of that person. In other words, I was paying as much attention to whether I sensed the President believed what he was saying, as to whether I agreed with what he was saying.

I loathe lip service. I am more than two decades into a career based on detecting it and opposing it. Much of what I can offer patients is help finding the courage and faith to stop running from who they really are and what they really believe—to say what they mean and mean what they say. Authenticity is quite literally part of the cure for depression and anxiety, because self-deception and the manipulation of others are so dispiriting. They literally remove us from the healing power of God.

So, here’s what I heard Tuesday night: I heard a man reading a script, acting out a part. The words the President spoke about reducing our national debt, reining in the size of government and working collaboratively with both Republicans and Democrats sounded—to my third ear—like the words of an alcoholic who tells me that he won’t drink, that I should just believe him, even though that he can’t share any compelling insight (let alone a true moment of epiphany) as to why he started anesthetizing himself with booze to begin with, nor any compelling narrative as to why he now believes he has to be sober to walk the path ahead. In short, he sounded like a man with new words, but without the new perspective that would make them his own, and, thereby, make them either credible or moving.

It was all too “add-water-and-stir” for me. I would have had to be drunk myself to believe it.
This new fiscally-disciplined, job-focused, centrist, collaborative, entrepreneurial president arrives on the stage with no back story to explain the character “arc” he has traveled on the national stage. (more…)

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SENATOR COBURN’S LIST OF WASTEFUL GOVERNMENT SPENDING

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com The Corner

Taxpayer Dollars at Work

December 20, 2010

Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) released today his annual Wastebook, which details lavish government funding on obscure projects.

“As you look at these examples, ask yourself: at a time when we are borrowing over $44,000 for every person in the country, are these items a priority and are they a federal responsibility?” writes Coburn in the introduction, adding that the cost of the 100 projects he highlights totals over $11.5 billion. Here’s some of the “best” taxpayer-funded items:

● $1.8 million to the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum, which collects and displays discarded neon Las Vegas signs.

● $2.9 million to a group of professors at University of California-Irvine for research on internet games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life and how, according to the university’s press release, they “can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.”

● $239,100 to Stanford University for a study on how people date and find love online. (more…)

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PRESIDENT MCCAIN AT MIDTERM (WHAT IF…)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Published on The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com)

Tod Lindberg

November 8, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 08

No, this is not going to be a full-blown exercise in the fiction genre of Alternative History: A minor adviser to the 2008 McCain presidential campaign chronicles the day-to-day ups and downs of the two eventful years following the American people’s reluctant conclusion that they don’t know a blessed thing about Barack Obama and want something a little more reliable than “hope and change.” We’ll leave that to Harry “Guns of the South” Turtledove—the master of the genre. While we will be engaging here in flagrant speculation, and though the claims we will make are accordingly beyond truth or falsehood, this is not fiction but rather an attempt to take what we know about American politics and ask what would have happened if, mirabile dictu, the 2008 election had gone the other way and John McCain were president of the United States today. (more…)

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INTERVIEW WITH DICK ARMEY, REVOLUTIONARY DO-OVER

Sunday, November 21st, 2010
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • NOVEMBER 20, 2010

    Revolutionary Do-Over

    An old Washington story goes that when Martians land near the White House, everyone inside the Beltway flees in terror. Everyone, that is, except for the folks at the favor-factories known as Congress’s Appropriations Committees, who rush to greet the spaceship and say, “We’re here to help with the transition.”

    There is always a danger that this election’s invading aliens—aka, tea partiers—will gradually succumb to Beltway mores. Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, now a big-time Washington lobbyist, has already told the Washington Post that it’s imperative for his tribe to “co-opt” the tea partiers arriving in D.C.

    But Dick Armey—Republican House majority leader for eight years following the GOP landslide of 1994 and now chairman of the influential advocacy group, FreedomWorks—is pointing them in the opposite direction. Mr. Armey’s organization has nurtured and mentored tea party candidates for the past 18 months. He helped promote the “Contract from America,” a 10-point, grass-roots inspired program to “re-limit” government that more than 70 new Senate and House members signed. And he’s sent each new member of Congress a seven-page memo on how not to be co-opted. (more…)

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    THE CHALLENGE BEFORE THE REPUBLICANS

    Sunday, November 21st, 2010
    Published on The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com)

    As Simple as One, Two, Three

    A legislative strategy for the House Republicans.

    Jeff Bergner

    November 15, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 09

    Republicans have won control of the House and have gained several seats in the Senate. What will the Republicans do? Will they simply nibble at the edge of big government orthodoxy, fearing that Senate inaction would doom more ambitious efforts? Or will they act, understanding that the only steps capable of reversing our slide into bankruptcy are so large as to be outside the comfort zone of the political class in Washington? Will they make good on the commitment to economic growth on which they ran and were elected?

    This is a problem of political courage, to be sure. But it is also a practical political challenge. It is simply not realistic to expect a political party to act against its own interest in survival. In moments of high drama a party may act on principle against self-interest; but as a rule, it must find ways to reconcile principle and politics.

    The challenge before the Republicans is to fashion a legislative agenda combining boldness and prudence, a set of principled policy reforms that commands public support. Republicans need an agenda that is both radical and popular (as opposed to the Obama agenda, which was radical and unpopular). An agenda that is more than high-sounding-yet-empty reforms to the legislative process. Only concrete actions to address the nation’s problems will do. What follows is a modest proposal for squaring this circle, an agenda as simple as one, two, three. (more…)

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    ERIC CANTOR’S YOU CUT: VOTE TO CUT NPR

    Friday, November 19th, 2010

    republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/

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    THE GOP’S EARMARK NO-BRAINER

    Saturday, November 13th, 2010
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • NOVEMBER 12, 2010

    Sen. Jim DeMint is offering Republicans a chance to prove they meant what they said on spending.

    • By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

    • Senate Republicans ran to midterm victory last week hitting every single high note. One week in, they risk ruining the aria with some off-key grunge.

    What issue could prove so important that senators would risk blowing up the vision of a GOP unified against spending? Earmarks, of course. You know, the ugly little spending perks that have grown into one of Washington’s biggest political liabilities. The pork that earlier this year was unilaterally sworn off (to public praise) by House Republicans, who appear to be ready to do the same even in their new majority.

    In the Senate, not so much. South Carolina’s Jim DeMint is offering his party its first opportunity to prove it meant what it said, by offering up a moratorium on Republican senators’ earmarks. Fifteen GOP senators—including six senators-elect—are co-sponsoring the ban, which will get its vote on Tuesday. At least 13 Senate Republicans—spearheaded by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim Inhofe—are going to the mat to keep the spending privileges. Twenty senators are apparently still mulling over the complex decision of whether to demonstrate some principle.

    And so, instead of the GOP leading the debate on spending freezes or ObamaCare, the newspapers and radio programs are filled with Mr. Inhofe declaring an “all out war” against those in his party trying to demonstrate some spending restraint. The Oklahoman, who is looking forward to the upcoming highway spending bill, went further to lament that so many Americans have become “brainwashed” on the earmark issue. That’s it. Blame the voters. It worked so well for Democrats.

    Instead of Republicans using their air time to pressure President Obama over taxes, they are using precious hours to explain why earmarks are good, moral, even a constitutional duty. Americans are told, on the one hand, that earmarks are too small a budget item to merit this much attention yet, on the other hand, are too important for funding big, vital projects to relinquish. Untangle that one. Another favorite is that the earmark debate is siphoning attention away from more “serious” budget debates. Because Republicans can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?

    Instead of the GOP giving its grass-roots something to cheer about, it has created its first fault line. The antagonized Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group, has now sent out an email to 134,000 members urging them to do “battle” with a Republican Senate. The conservative blogs are already slamming the party.

    Sen. Jim DeMint is offering Republicans a chance to prove they meant what they said on spending.
    pw1112

    (more…)

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