Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 5, 2011

Constitutional cites, NYT and “fundamentalism”

The New York Times editorial board wasted little time in attempting to attack the new Republican led House in the way smug elitists usually do … by invoking “fundamentalism”.   In this case the fundamentalism is an apparent attempt by a party to refocus the legislation it plans on debating and passing on the “fundamental” legal document of the land.

That just won’t do:

In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation.

Really?  Is that what it means?  If that were the case, I’d suggest no cite would be necessary – they’d simply do as Democrats have done for four years and pass whatever they wanted to with the implicit assumption that it is Constitutional.  Frankly, I see the move as one that says exactly the opposite of what the editors of the Times claim.  I see it as a bow to the fact that much of what has been passed lately has no relation to those powers granted Congress and the “assumption” that they do is simply unfounded.   It is a check on the validity of the legislation before it ever arrives on the floor of the House.

So what is this nonsense from the Times then?  Well it is an obvious attempt – at least to me – to lobby for business as usual because if the requirement to cite Constitutional authority for legislation were really honestly applied, I’d guess about 75% of the garbage that has been run through the place would never have been passed. 

And notice the word they choose – not “interpretation”, but “reinterpretation”.  We all know what interpretation means and it isn’t at all the same thing as reinterpretation.  One implies clarifying the original intent of the document/law/writer.  The other means making it up as you go along and as you see fit.

So it comes as no surprise that the NYT finds this “fundamentalism” both egregious and horribly inconvenient.  ”My goodness … if they really do this why, ObamaCare and …oh my!” 

Can’t have that can we?

Instead we get a catty editorial that takes cheap shots at everyone and raises the scare word of which the left is so fond.


The Republicans’ antics are a ghastly waste of time at a moment when the nation is expecting real leadership from Congress, and suggest that the new House leadership is still unable to make tough choices. Voters, no less than drama critics, prefer substance to overblown theatrics.

The same editorial board watched the previous Congress toss trillions of dollars up into the wind of a financial storm half of it to land who knows where and then ignore the critical employment concerns of the voters and the economic crisis in general in order to pass their ideological agenda and the Times takes issue, on the first day of the new Congress, with “Republican’s antics”?

Good lord I am tickled to death that someone woke the editorial board up in time to dash this bit trash off and throw it out there.  Welcome back!  

And here’s a poser for the board -  why do you suppose the “nation is expecting real leadership from Congress” as you state?

Could it be because the last one exhibited none?   They totally ignored the wishes of the American people to instead focus selfishly on their own legislative wants.  Where was the NYT during those “antics”?  Silent as a tomb.

You have to wonder if the thought ever entered the heads of the editorial writers that perhaps the “ghastly” waste of time these “antics” take is something the American people desperately want to see – a visible return to fundamentals, to reason, and to responsibility instead of the absurdity that was Congress for the past 4 years?  Maybe these antics are a comforting demonstration that the incoming Congress “gets it” — something the NYT editorial board rarely achieves as this editorial demonstrates.

I think they might be surprised by an entirely different attitude outside the ivory tower about what they find to be “ghastly … overblown theatrics”. 

But it is always nice to see the editors, who are clueless as usual, have retained their fighting edge when in comes to being petty, smug, dismissive and ignorant.  Wouldn’t be the old Grey Lady if that wasn’t so.



Quote of the Day–Nancy Pelosi’s final lie edition

Seriously, this is just a shameless lie.  Nancy Pelosi at her final news conference as Speaker of the House summing up the House’s priorities under he leadership:

"Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go."

No. It hasn’t.

When the Pelosi Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8,670,596,242,973.04. The last day of the 111th Congress and Pelosi’s Speakership on December 22, 2010 the national debt was $13,858,529,371,601.09 – a roughly $5.2 trillion increase in just four years. Furthermore, the year over year federal deficit has roughly quadrupled during Pelosi’s four years as speaker, from $342 billion in fiscal year 2007 to an estimated $1.6 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2010.



The energy policy choices

Yesterday was a rather interesting day for me.  Besides being a mild and pleasant day in Washington DC, a new Congress was being sworn in and an vital industry group was making the “state of American energy” known via a presentation and news conference at the Newseum – a museum about the history of gathering of news (and a place you should definitely put on your “must visit” list the next time you’re there).

The American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard made a very sound and clear argument for the development of an energy policy which will best benefit this country and economy.  Backed by a Wood Mackenzie study, the choices seem stark and the best one seems obvious.  As he laid them out, choice one is to continue the policy of limited or no access to domestic drilling areas both on and off-shore and taxation of the industry at an increased percentage in order to generate revenue for government use.   That will certainly generate revenue – no doubt.  But at what real cost to the economy?  That is the question.

Choice two is to open up access and focus on safe and environmentally sound drilling to boost production here in the US.  That, of course, would have the critical side benefit of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and, by the way, producing more revenue for government than choice one.

The numbers for the two options come from the Wood Mackenzie study as cited in an API press release.

The study calculates that increased access to America’s oil and natural gas reserves could, by 2025, create 530,000 jobs, generate $150 billion in taxes, royalties, and other revenue for the government, and “boost domestic production by four million barrels of oil a day.

The other choice?   Not so good: “Raising taxes on the industry with no increase in access could reduce domestic production by 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (in 2020), sacrifice as many as 170,000 jobs (in 2014), and reduce revenue to the government by billions of dollars annually”

That latter policy choice would reduce our domestic oil production, cost jobs, raise the cost of doing business for the oil and gas industry of which most will be passed along to those who can least afford it.  Plus:

An additional 1.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in potential production that is currently of marginal economic feasibility would be at greater risk of not being developed under the modeled tax increase.

So again we see some pretty stark examples of how government enabling an industry would be vastly more beneficial to the economy and its own revenue coffers than would government using regulatory restrictions, denial of access and a straight up scheme of taxation. 

Yet right now we have an administration which is choosing the latter course and is seemingly at war with that industry– an industry that “supports more 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.”

Does that make sense to you? 

The energy policy choice that enables Americans to increasingly address their own domestic energy needs with good paying jobs and will actually provide more in revenue for the government than taxation alone seems the obvious choice.

So why aren’t we seeing it being made?