Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: December 17, 2010

The omnibus blows an engine

I think it is unanimous, at least on the right, that the withdrawal of the Democrat’s omnibus 1.2 trillion dollar spending bill – larded with over 6,600 earmarks – is a “good thing”.  Instead we can hope that a continuing resolution keeping funding at current levels (or reduced – that wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all) is passed.  Sen. Mitch McConnell was waiving around a one-page bill yesterday that essentially does that.

One page.  Imagine.

Not almost 2,000.  One page.

Anyway, I’m glad to see the GOP standing tough on this stuff.  And the other good news is the midterm election losses have so unnerved the Democrats that Harry Reid couldn’t find the votes for cloture on the bill.

McConnell, embarrassed by reports on his own earmarks in the omnibus, went to the Senate floor Thursday to propose a one-page, “clean,” two-month extension of the current stop-gap funding resolution that has kept the government funded since Oct. 1. And as if caught with their hands in the cookie jar, he and other top Republicans vowed to do everything in their powers to kill the omnibus to square themselves with their tea party backers.

Fear is a wonderful motivator, isn’t it? POLITICO spends much of the article pointing out the hypocrisy of the GOP who also had earmarks in the bill.  And that’s about the only talking point the lefty blogosphere has as well.   Yup, stipulated and acknowledged.  But look how it turned out and they know why.  Retribution from those supposedly on their side.  They know it will happen.  Yes indeed, fear is indeed a fine motivator if properly applied.

Which says to me that the Tea Parties need to understand that the pressure they’ve been able to bring to bear to this point is a) working and b) needs to be unrelentingly continued. They didn’t “win” and can now “quit”.  Slack up now and I promise they’ll be right back at their old ways before you can blink twice.

Of course representatives of the administration weighed in in favor of the omnibus spending bill trying to sell it as a necessity:

“We need these resources now more than ever to support national security priorities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we are helping secure gains made by our military and preventing the spread of violent extremism,” Clinton said. “Our budget is being used to help stabilize the global economy, combat extreme poverty, demolish transnational criminal networks, stop global health pandemics and address the threat of climate change.”

“These are not partisan issues; they are national imperatives,” Clinton said.

They may not be partisan issues in particular, but there’s absolutely nothing that says the funding for some of what is deemed “national imperatives” be funded in a clean bill addressing that.  But it is time to stop this incessant habit of using any passing bill as a chance to lard it up with earmarks that would never survive an actual appropriations process vote.

You can’t fix the spending problem until you take the first step – and this was a good first step.  But only that.  GOP, you’re on notice – you’re expected to do a lot more of this in the next Congress.  We want to see spending cut dramatically and the deficit reduced equally as dramatically.  

Yes, hope springs eternal.  But who knew the GOP would find a spine?  Keep it up boys and girls, we’re all out here watching you, you better believe it.



House votes to keep current tax rate

Dear media, the House vote last night – which sends the bill to President Obama for his signature – wasn’t an $801 billion tax cut bill, as the NYT headline blares. Certainly there are tax cuts in it, but not to the tune of $801 billion. Nor did "millionaires" get a “tax cut. “

All that happened is the House voted to maintain the current income tax rate for everyone. Nothing changes. No one gets "more" in terms of tax savings than they do right now and have gotten for most of a decade.  Well, except, perhaps, those who don’t pay any taxes into the system.  They may get more in the way of a “refundable credit”.

So quit spinning this as something it isn’t.  There is no permanent tax rate.  They aren’t “Bush era tax cuts”.  They’re the current tax rate. Period.

Keeping that rate doesn’t "cost" the government one red cent, because they never had the money to begin with. Pretending that somehow anticipated revenue from an increase in taxes is somehow a "cost" is a perversion of the English language as well as a misuse of an economic term.

Quit it.

Thank you.



Quote of the day–Gene Simmons “Obama is unqualified” edition

Yes, that Gene Simmons – KISS – spills the beans.  And I think the sentiment he expresses is much more common – at least on the left and left of center – than previously admitted.  This is why an unqualified man sits in the White House today:

"I voted because the man that was running was a moment in history. I–in the back of my mind I wanted to show the world that America, the land of slaves…the land that tortured its black population for hundreds of years is also the place of hope that can give an African American the chance to lead the most powerful place on the face of the planet. However, if you take a look at the resume, you couldn’t find somebody–in retrospect–more unqualified."

In “retrospect”?  You mean it wasn’t obvious prior to the election?

Well, it would have been if we hadn’t been playing the “moment in history” game and been more worried about “showing the world” something that a mature person would have known we did decades ago.  By striving to “show the world”, people like Simmons actually did more harm than good.  They elected an unqualified black man because … he was black.   It is the single most immature reason to elect anyone to anything I can think of.  And that includes voters out there who elect someone only because he’s white.  Or a Democrat/Republican, etc.

The mature adult looks at resume and stances on issues with which they’re concerned before pulling the lever.  But more importantly, elections aren’t about “showing the world” or “moments in history”.  They’re very serious affairs that effect the lives of all of us.  The legions of Gene Simmons out there who foisted this unqualified president upon us didn’t show the world anything except even supposedly mature adults can be caught up in a moment and make some very immature decisions.