Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tax and Trade: a vote to destroy the American economy

Cap-and-Trade (which I call Tax and Trade, since that is what the bill really does) passed the House yesterday evening by only 7 votes. Eight misguided and ignorant Republicans joined the 83 percent of House Democrats in supporting the bill. 44 Democrats joined 95 percent of House Republicans in opposing the bill.

Fortunately, the legislation faces a good chance of defeat in the U.S. Senate, as 60 votes are needed to prevent a filibuster and several Democrats from rural, energy-producing states could be persuaded to vote against the disaster--Landrieu from LA, Nelson from NE, Tester and Baucus from MT, Specter and Casey from PA, Udall from CO, Begich from AK, Lincoln and Pryor from AR.

Perhaps most remarkable, environmental group Greenpeace and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have joined forces in opposing the bill--the Chamber correctly condemns the bill for killing jobs and economic growth; Greenpeace argues that the bill will do nothing to help the environment and substantially reduce pollution.

What are the provisions of this gargantuan 1,000 page bill with a 300 page addendum?

  • The bill will implement an arbitrary and corruption-prone system of doling out a limited number of carbon credits or usages to businesses. Any attempt to use energy beyond the government allowance will require higher fees, a.k.a. taxes
  • This scheme will result in higher utility costs--electricity, heating, oil--for all Americans. Estimates range from an additional $175-$1000 a year for the average American family, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
  • This disasterous bill will hurt all U.S. businesses, especially small businesses which are the backbone of our economy (since they do not have the money, lobbyists, and clout to bribe the bureaucrats for exemptions and additional credits). Unemployment will soar and GDP growth will slow dramatically or possibly go negative
  • Also included in the bill: new federal zoning mandates for all property owners. Now, when buying land for commercial use or making simple adjustments and renovations to your own property, you will be required to apply for a federal permit to ensure environmental compliance in addition to complying with local county and municipal zoning regulations. A bureaucrat in Washington will decide what constitutes an "acceptable" and environmentally-compliant use of undeveloped land in western Douglas County, Kansas

KS' own congresswoman Rep. Lynn Jenkins sent an email newsletter to her constituents highlighing the disasterous and indefensible aspects of this bill, the purpose of which is to lower global temperatures just several hundredths of one degree in the next 20 years. Jenkins has also produced a short series of videos called "Cap and Trade 101" where she succinctly summarizes the legislation and its impact on families, businesses, and agriculture, along with the FAQs--you can view them here at her House website.

Numbers from the CBO (most likely on the low side) are profiled in this recent NY Times article.

Pelosi was able to lock in support from members with an unprecedented blitz of deal-making and pork-barrelling. It is too soon to tell if the same strategy will work on members of the Senate.

Despite numerous protestations and appeals from residents of the 3rd District, Rep. Dennis Moore ignored his constituents and voted with Nancy Pelosi for this disasterous bill--he couldn't bring himself to join the 44 moderate Democrats in the House who opposed it. His constituents are watching and will not forget. Moore will not have Obama on the ballot to pull him across the finish line in 2010, but he will have his countless controversial votes that go against the majority of his district. Fiscally responsible he is not. Independent he is not. A liberal lackey for the most extreme elements of his party's agenda--he is.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

News Highlights...

I've been extremely busy lately, so not much time right now, but here are some points to ponder:

Obama's approval is down to 57 percent acc. to Gallup, which has always had his approval rating higher than other polls. Rasmussen (the only pollster to accurately poll the percentage outcome of the 2008 presidential election), has Obama at a mediocre 53 percent approval, with 46 percent disapproving. Could his insistance on rapid passage of his nationalized healthcare proposal and the fear over its price tag and implementation explain the president's fall from grace? Or is it his tepid response to Iran and relunctance to stand with Iranian dissidents who support democracy and reform? Or is the fallout from North Korea's saber-rattling? Or the fact unemployment continues to climb and the effects of the stimulus seem to be nil? Discuss.

It's almost certain now that Brownback will be our next governor. Thornburgh saw the reality and accepted it--however, I think our secretary of state still has a bright future in politics if he wants it. Brownback has managed to unite the party behind him like never before--he has Moran, Tiahrt, Jordan, and Jenkins leading his campaign in each of their congressional districts, and he has the backing of prominent moderates and conservatives throughout the state--Pat Roberts and Bob Dole are leading his statewide campaign team and Overland Park lawyer John Petersen (former Gov. Bill Graves' finance chair) is chairing Sam's campaign in Johnson County.

This shifts the focus on the blockbuster battle between Tiahrt and Moran for Sam's U.S. Senate Seat. Thoughts?

The Johnson County Republican party is organized and ready like never before--the county party has prominent new offices at 12651 Metcalf (127th and Metcalf, next to The Peanut) and th county party will have a presence at the Lenexa Days Parade. Their new office Grand Opening is Saturday, July 11th from 11-2 pm. Join them for free food, socializing, and meet local GOP candidates running in 2010.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sen. Reid: Sotomayer's judicial record does not matter--no plans to read any of her past decisions

It's bad enough when our representatives in Washington assume we do not care how much they are spending or insult our intelligence by wasting time on the taxpayer's dime by calling in a speed-reader in an apparent mocking gesture and insult to the vast majority of Americans who naively expect their representatives to actually read legislation before they vote on it.

But now we have this from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

He sidestepped questions about her past decisions, telling reporters that he's never read any of the hundreds she's written during her 17 years as a federal judge. And, he added, "if I'm fortunate before we end this, I won't have to read one of them."

Is this a joke? With a salary of $174,000 a year, gold-standard healthcare plans that are unmatched by any other employer or profession, and over 4 months of taxpayer-subsidized, paid vacation a year, I guess expecting senators who will be voting on Sotomayor's nomination to actually study and read her judicial record is just expecting too much. Maybe our elected body should be content with judging whether she meets racial and gender quotas for the court and ignore her legal opinions and decisions--after all, why pay attention to details? Supreme Court Justices only serve for life anyway and are never subject to a public vote of confidence or approval.

For the record, Sotomayor has an impressive legal background and history, and I'm sure she herself would agree that she should be judged by her legal body of work and opinions--after all, professors up for tenure are judged by their research, surgeons are evaluated based on the procedures and operations they have performed, and entire corporations are judged on past earnings and profitability ratios. Shouldn't we expect a judge to be "judged" on her past work?

Sen. Reid is an embarrassment--it's no wonder nearly half of Nevadans have an unfavorable opinion of Reid and 45 percent say they would definitely vote to replace him. Reid may follow in Dascle's footsteps in 2010.

Presidential Positioning

Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced today he will not run for re-election to a third term as Governor of Minnesota, fueling speculation that he's setting up a presidential run for 2012.

Coincidentally, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) was making the rounds in Sioux City, Iowa today, greeting voters. Ensign claims no presidential ambitions, just a desire to demonstrate leadership and propose solutions (code speak--he's running for president, folks). Ensign heads the Republican Policy Study Committee in the Senate and would be an interesting contender in 2010--a strong, affable leader from a critical swing state.