April 11, 2011
Libertarian Party's Senator Keeps Cap'n Trade!
Libertario Delenda Est!
Whenever Libertoids starts dishing out the famous equivalence and suggest that their irrelevant biennial temper-tantrums do no real harm, remind them of their complicity in sending Jon Tester (D-MT) to the US Senate. Tester ousted incumbent Republican Conrad Burns by 3,562 with the LP's Stan Jones collecting 10,377. Now I can hear the capital-Ls screaming about Senator Burns's many shortcomings in the field of liberty.
But Senator Tester was the 60th vote for ObamaCare®. Today, the WSJ Ed Page salutes him for at least having the honesty to block every legislative attempt to reign in the EPA on Carbon. Other Democrats participated in subterfuge to keep Executive Power at its zenith yet defend their votes back home.
But the Libertarians' man was all in:
All 13 tacitly acknowledged that the EPA rule will do economic damage because they voted to limit its breadth or delay it for two years. But then they helped to kill the one bill that had the most support and would have done the most to prevent that economic damage.
Who knows, there might be a lesson for the Tea Party in there.
October 29, 2008
Quote of the Day
For example, recent media reports have lauded the prescience of Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who has long called for increased regulation of financial derivatives. Not that this says much about derivatives. Mr. Markey has also called for increased regulation of the Internet, cable TV, telephones, prescription drugs, nuclear plants, natural gas facilities, oil drilling, air cargo containers, chlorine, carbon dioxide, accounting, advertising and amusement parks, among other things. -- WSJ Ed Page: Barack Wrote a Letter...
October 14, 2008
It's Like A Culture of Corruption
The affair between Congressman Tim Mahoney and Patricia Allen began, according to current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising "a world that is safer, more moral."
October 3, 2008
Profile In Courage
You don't see many these days, but Km Strassel has found one in Paul Ryan (R - WI). Strassel calls Ryan "perhaps the free market's truest friend in Congress" and highlights his getting beyond ideology to support the rescue plan:
Compare this to Mr. Ryan's GOP colleagues in Wisconsin. Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri were among those 162 Republicans that let Fan and Fred bust the bank. Yet when this week's day of reckoning came, Mr. Petri complained it was a "half-baked plan," while Mr. Sensenbrenner declared he wouldn't "subsidize Wall Street." Oh, for this righteousness during the half-baked Fan-Fred subsidy days. And this from two guys in safe seats.
September 30, 2008
First, brother jg's mortgage broker "I've been a life-long Democrat and have volunteered for several campaigns but when I saw how she tried to fix all the blame for this situation on Republicans I decided I'm going to vote a straight Republican ticket in November."
Now, I'm intrigued by this from Katie Allison Granju:
However, the speech was incredibly inappropriate. At a moment when the Speaker should have been rallying the entire membership of the House to pull together as Americans and solve the crisis before them, Pelosi chose instead to use her pulpit to lay blame and point fingers. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and some finger pointing is going to have to occur as we decide what specific mistakes were made and how we can avoid repeating them. But yesterday was not the time.
This Knoxville News Blogress is -- if you'll pardon a little judging by personal appearance -- a young female Democrat right out if central casting. She's bright and earns her frequent Instapundit links, but she is not a budding Republican or Libertarian. If Madame Speaker has lost Granju, I suggest she has lost America.
Hat-tip: Instapundit of course.
September 28, 2008
Quote of the Day
The Ethics Committee, after all, has in recent years handed out any number of wrist-slaps - if anything - to legislators accused of serious malfeasance.
You know, it's like a culture of corruption...
August 27, 2008
Past Performance Predicts Future Reliability
In 2003, President Bush called for a new agency, internal to the Treasury, to oversee Freddie & Fannie. Rep. Barney Frank didn't see a problem:
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
He's right -- Fannie and Fred should provide a lot of affordable, repossessed housing. Way to stick it to the man, Barney!
Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw
August 13, 2008
Energy Freedom Day
Sign the petition created by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) calling on Congress to let the drilling bans expire on October 1, 2008.
The related blog page can be accessed here.
Hat Tip: Human Events via Wayne at jeremiahfilms.com
August 1, 2008
Pretty Cool Stunt!
House Republicans have not given me a lot to cheer about of late, but this is pretty cool:
Michigan Republican Mike Rogers returned to the House floor in shorts and sandals to take his turn at the podium, as the Republican talkathon continues on the House floor, hours after the chamber formally recessed for the week.
Speaker Pelosi's stunt to shut down the House rather than lose a vote on drilling has been countered with a much more consumer-friendly stunt. Well, done lads!
As the WSJ Ed Page admitted, it is usually better to have Congress out of session, but energy prices have created a valid exception. As Larry Kudlow would say: "Drill! Drill! Drill!"
UPDATE: Instapundit brings this video. Here's my own lilustrious Senator showing gifted leadership:
UPDATE II: Terri at I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err wonders where's the media coverage?
July 28, 2008
Best. Scrappleface. Ever.
“These people can’t just walk out of Starbucks and get a job at a grocery store or a factory,” said House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. “They would need ESL classes and cultural training to learn how to relate to ordinary Americans and function in society.”...
Read the whole, awesome, thing! Hat-tip: Mankiw
July 25, 2008
It's Like a Culture of Corruption!
Professor Glenn Daltry would say "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Kim Strassel's Potomac Watch column today is a grim reminder of just how corrupt our Congress really is.
The corporate world got an early taste of this last year, when New York Sen. Chuck Schumer used his majority status to take advantage of his home-state financial industry. It works like this: Mr. Schumer steps up to protect hedge funds and private equity from his own party's threats of taxation. In return, a grateful industry writes enormous campaign checks that Mr. Schumer, as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is now using to increase his party's majority. Somewhere, Mr. DeLay is whistling in appreciation.
She's sadly right that Republicans were no better, and that these pages were ripped from the Hammer Handbook. And she is right that there is a double standard on press outrage. What I cannot understand is why so few people care that these banana republic tactics (Mmmm. Bananas) live on in Washington.
July 9, 2008
Quote of the Day
Among independents, only 3% approve of Congress. That’s within the margin of error, which means there is a chance no independent approves. -- Don Surber in a post highlighting Congress's 9% Approval/52% Disapproval.
June 16, 2008
You Can't Eat Your Way Out of Hunger
Donald Kochan at HughHewitt.com takes a fine and well deserved whack at a favorite Democratic talking point: "You can't drill your way out of this problem." He quotes Speaker Pelosi but anybody who saw a Democrat on a Sunday show heard this gem a time or two. Kochan offers a slightly different take:
Of course the only way to get more oil and thus decrease the price is to in fact drill. Oil is obtained only by drilling. The casual indifference to reality displayed by the Speaker mirrors the Democrats' indifference to the economic pain being inflicted by their steadfast refusal to allow America to tap its own reserves.
Then, Kochan says that the "Don't Drill Democrats" will pay in November. But they won't. Senator Dorgan (Communist - ND) was on FOX News Sunday and parried every question about this by saying "Even Senator McCain..." followed by a vote or speech that the GOP made about ANWR, outer continental shelf, whatever.
No. They won't pay. We will pay.
[UPDATE: the original post attributed this to Hugh Hewitt. It was Donald Kochan at Hewitt's site. ThreeSources regrets the error.]
June 9, 2008
These folks cannot run a Taco Stand!
It is churlish of me to use a piece of good news and wise decision making to beat up the U.S. Senate. But that's what I'm here for.
WaPo: Senate Votes To Privatize Its Failing Restaurants
I don't mean to impugn the restaurant business, or taco stands (mmm Tacos...), they require hard work and good decision making. But this underscores the broken incentive structure of top-down, government, command-and-control. Who thinks they will do any better running health care? Energy?
No you can't, Senator Obama. The structure is wrong. Read a little Hayek.
UPDATE: Too late to change my headline? It seems Yum!® Corporation cannot run a taco stand either. I went to Taco Bell (mmm Tacos...) and they are no longer offering tomatoes, or the Fresca menu (which uses tomatoes) and my order of a Mango Frutista was declined because "the Mango machine is busted." It's like the Soviet Union in Lafayette!
June 2, 2008
Cap and Tax
The lead WSJ editorial today does a nice job taking down the Lieberman-Warner "Cap and Trade” bill. "[A]nyone who looks at the legislative details will quickly see that a better description is cap and spend. This is easily the largest income redistribution scheme since the income tax." Senator Barbara Boxer of California has already introduced amendments to spend this new largesse windfall.
Ms. Boxer expects to scoop up auction revenues of some $3.32 trillion by 2050. Yes, that's trillion. Her friends in Congress are already salivating over this new pot of gold. The way Congress works, the most vicious floor fights won't be over whether this is a useful tax to create, but over who gets what portion of the spoils. In a conference call with reporters last Thursday, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry explained that he was disturbed by the effects of global warming on "crustaceans" and so would be pursuing changes to ensure that New England lobsters benefit from some of the loot.
I'm reminded of Boulder Refugee's post last week of climate change as "The New Socialism." Here it is right here at home. And, no matter who gets elected, the Executive Brach will be friendly to it after January 2009. (Well, unless Bob Barr wins...)
It is a perfect match for these folks. They can, in the name of saving the planet:
Karl Popper talked about those who would send us back to the caves. There is certainly some of that sentiment among many of the constituencies that would support this. I just don't feel Dr. Popper ever considered that such an ideal vehicle would ever present itself.
May 20, 2008
I've Been Stimulated
Okay. I have not been a big fan of the stimulus. In some comments, it was suggested that I shut up and cheerfully accept any tax money the government was going to refund me. I still groused.
Let the record show that my check was deposited last Friday and was a welcome sight as I seek to husband all liquid resources in time for this Friday's closing.
So Thank You, President Bush!! In using my stimulus check to purchase a new condo, I think I single-handedly prove what a brilliant idea this was. Thanks to all you loyal ThreeSources taxpayers for making this possible. Thank-you, Speaker Pelosi, for your swift action and bipartisan bonhomie.
What a country! On the other hand, they now charge $1.00 to change your address at the post office. I don't mind paying, but I can't imagine that it does not cost the government $5.00 to process my credit card online. Paranoid?
Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM
February 15, 2008
Hooray for Partisanship
Now that the GOP primary contests are settling down (even though Governor Huckabee could close that 4-1 delegate gap anytime...) I am getting my partisan, pragmatic mojo back.
Like other ThreeSourcers, I am wedded to ideas over party. There is nothing special about the letter 'R' to me except that, for my adult voting life, those with the R brand were at least a little bit better at keeping the freedom we enjoy. It is dammed easy to enumerate a dozen things President Bush did that you don't like, but I cannot imagine any ThreeSourcers would like to turn back the clock and elect President Gore or President Kerry.
I am told that America cries out for post-partisanship and I see examples at the margins. But our structure of government (Madisonian Democracy, 2,010 have called it) fosters (mmm, Foster's...) two-party conflict. Right now, the game is about Democrats vs. Republicans. And today, we see the stakes:
Democrats voted yesterday, for the first time in decades, to hold two White House officials in contempt of Congress. Hours later it emerged that Ms. Pelosi has apparently decided not to vote on the warrantless wiretap bill passed by the Senate days ago. This means that the Protect America Act -- which conferred Congressional support to wiretapping suspected al Qaeda terrorists -- will expire at midnight today.
This is from a WSJ editorial. The bill has passed the US Senate and everyone knows that it has the votes to pass the House.
Yet Speaker Pelosi will not bring it up for a vote. Everyone who voted for a "Blue Dog" Democrat because that particular candidate was good on guns and reasonable on security -- this is what you get. You may have voted for a great person, but you put a San Francisco lefty in charge of the House and a Searchlight Socialist in charge of the US Senate.
Leader Reid came around, but Speaker Pelosi is willing to let this bill expire. Thanks, Blue Dog voters. There are not too many days that I am proud to be a partisan hack. But today is one.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM
January 18, 2008
We had a dust up around here a while back. Rep Ron Paul was discussing the need for more Congressional overview of the FOMC. I was concerned that our
I give you Exhibit A: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Doh!, I mean, D - OH)
Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw
Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM
December 27, 2007
Property Rights? Right to Contract?
I laughed when I heard Senator John Kerry pontificating on people's needing cable to watch the Pats-Giants game. (How's the Deep Thoughts line go? "We all laughed at Grandpa when he got up at 6:00 AM to go fishing, but nobody was laughing that night when he came home with some whore he'd picked up in town...)
I ain't laughin' neither. The league has capitulated to Congressional pressure to give away something it purchased. Mortman has the details in Are You Ready for Some Congress? He links to the NYTimes:
The league's decision to simulcast the game came amid mounting Congressional pressure to make the potentially historic game more broadly available.
Mortman is prepared to adjust to Our New Congressional Overlords:
With this kind of meddling going on, I’m now resigned to joining the bandwagon. My new position: I hope that Congress demand the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. I’d settle for a sense of the Congress resolution, but if they want to withhold funds from the Iraq war effort until the Redskins win the Super Bowl, I’m fine with that.
I just hope I can interest some of them in hockey...
October 19, 2007
Dirty Hippies Lose One!
A Sen. Clinton contributor is denied in an attempt to get 1 million of federal jack to erect a Woodstock Museum. Stephen Moore has the good news in OpinionJournal's PoliticalDiary:
Well, what do you know? For the first time in modern history, the United States Senate yesterday eliminated an earmark. After scores of votes forced by Pork-buster Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Senator finally prevailed 52-44 on a roll call vote to extinguish funding for a $1 million museum to memorialize the 1969 Woodstock Concert. Far out!
Would they sell fake, bad, brown acid in the gift shop?
Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM
September 12, 2007
jk Questions the Senate Majority Leader's Partiotism
Reid said the recommendation by Gen. David Petraeus, expected to be embraced by President Bush in a speech to the nation on Thursday, "is neither a drawdown or a change in mission that we need. His plan is just more of the same."
If this country is really prepared to accept Senator Reid's version of reality over the assessment offered to Congress by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, perhaps we deserve to live under shar'ia.
This Republican will accept it as a Republican's war if the Democrats have all truly decided that freedom is no longer worth fighting for. I've been disappointed with the opposition party (and my own) many times in my life, but this is a new level of separation. (No word from Senator Salazar on my letter. I received an email acknowledgement that it had been received.)
Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM
August 7, 2007
Yo, China Bashers!
The Club for Growth has compiled stats on the rate of growth of exports to China by Congressional District and has posted those of the members of the House Ways & Means Committee on its blog.
These are awesome numbers! Why on Earth would we want to enact protectionist policies against China and put at risk our ever-increasing ability to send them more of our stuff? Bottom line: For the last seven years, American businesses in these 41 districts have experienced an average growth rate of 321% in their sales to China. But despite this fabulous surge, some of the members listed below want to enact policies that will spark a trade war and defuse this growth, the idea of which is pure lunacy.
Larry Kudlow calls the "Smoot" Schumer and "Hawley" Graham. Yeah, let's start a trade war.
Hat-tip: Don Luskin
Posted by John Kranz at 6:57 PM
July 20, 2007
He Thinks He's Robert Byrd!
Kim Strassel writes in the OpinionJournal Political Diary:
Can't Take My Eyes Off of Me
Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM
June 15, 2007
"Usually, if a turd gets into the Senate, it’s because he or she was elected," Emily Heil reports for Roll Call. "But on Wednesday, several large piles of actual, nonmetaphorical 'No. 2' found their way into the Capitol, and the source isn’t yet clear."
Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM
Payback can be a ...
Kim Strassel says (free link) that the 110th Congress Democrats have now made legislative payments to their funding constituencies. "First came Big Labor. Then the tort lawyers. What special interest lobby remains for the Democratic majority to reward for services rendered this past election?"
It's the environmentalists. Shades of Vaclav Klaus, they will use green language to get unprecedented power over land use and the economy.
These are the folks who helped write the "energy" bill that passed committee this week. Broadly, the bill fulfills one big ambition of environmental groups in recent years: a rollback of any smarter use of public (or even private) lands for energy use. Gone are previous gains for more drilling, more refineries, more transmission lines. But the big prize was an unprecedented new power allowing green groups to micromanage U.S. lands. That section creates "a new national policy on wildlife and global warming." It would require the Secretary of the Interior to "assist" species in adapting to global warming, as well as "protect, acquire and restore habitat" that is "vulnerable" to climate change. This is the Endangered Species Act on steroids. At least under today's (albeit dysfunctional) species act, outside groups must provide evidence a species is dwindling in order for the government to step in. This law would have no such requirements. Since green groups will argue that every species is vulnerable to climate change, the government will be obliged to manage every acre containing a bird, bee or flower.
"Endangered Species Act on steroids." And crack. And she's outta crack...
President Bush will veto this. But we must not let internecine strife keep us from electing a Republican president in 2008.
Posted by John Kranz at 9:35 AM
May 29, 2007
Crazy Uncle Jack
This scandalous conduct would be unknown except for reforms by the new Democratic majority. But the remodeled system is not sufficiently transparent to expose in a timely manner machinations of Murtha and fellow earmarkers to his colleagues, much less to the public. It took Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the leading House earmark-buster, to discover the truth.
In the old days, the crazy uncle (or aunt) would be locked in a basement and discussed in hushed tones. Now they're major players. ;)
Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM
May 25, 2007
I think I've had a Jack Murtha post everyday this week.
Here's an op-ed from the Wall Street Journal.
Federal audits had found the [National Drug Intelligence] center to be ineffective and duplicative, but when Mr. Rogers proposed sending that $23 million somewhere else, Mr. Murtha was unamused. "I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills," Mr. Murtha told him, "because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever."
Thanks again to Stan!
May 22, 2007
219-189 to table the resolution.
Pa's Tim Murphy was the lone Republican to vote to table.
Congressman Murtha, however, did not escape Citizens Against Government Waste's Porker of the Month award.
Posted by AlexC at 5:56 PM
Murtha Puts Dems in a No-Win Situation
Is a no-win situation for the Democrats a win-win for Republicans?
House Republicans angled Tuesday to put Democrats in a no-win position: reprimand a senior colleagues or be seen as blindly excusing legislative bullying for partisan reasons.
Maybe the best answer to earmark reform is "no earmarks"... everything should go through the regular process.... committee, floor debate, etc.... with thousands of earmarks ever year, Congress would grind to a halt.
In which case, it's a win-win for the American people.
(thanks to Stan, again!)
Posted by AlexC at 1:07 PM
What's with this guy?
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) submitted an earmark certification letter for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) May 1, more than five weeks after the Intelligence Committee’s deadline and the day before the panel marked up its authorization bill, according to copies of the letter and the notice of the deadline sent to the entire committee.
Posted by AlexC at 11:49 AM
Good ad about the Murtha Kerfuffle from the NRCC.
April 4, 2007
Global War on ________.
During the 2006 Senate campaign (and even before) Senator Santorum was criticizing the President for using the phrase "Global War on Terror"? Santorum wanted the war called what it is... a War on Islamofascism. He even got the President to say it once, and then Mr Bush apologized for it.
The Democrats in Congress agree. They also have a problem with "the Global War on Terror."
The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.
So are Democrat colloquialisms fair game?
Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administration’s catch phrases. The memo, written by Staff Director Erin Conaton, provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as “the war in Iraq,” the “war in Afghanistan, “operations in the Horn of Africa” or “ongoing military operations throughout the world.”
Of course!! What was I thinking?
April 1, 2007
Support The Troops
March 30, 2007
Murtha: The Draft Is Absolutely Needed
I could have sworn in 2004, a Bush victory would have led to a draft.
Murtha is a Democrat, in case anyone forgot.
(tip to Extreme Mortman who titles his post, Murtha, Wind and Fire)
Posted by AlexC at 2:49 PM
March 24, 2007
Speaker Pelosi's Big Win
I almost put scare quotes around win, but the war appropriations bill was a win for the new Speaker. It was a loss for the country and for freedom, but elections matter and I'm afraid that's a dichotomy we'll need to get used to.
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page scare quotes the victory metaphorically (free link). Most notable is how hard this victory was to achieve. The clear mandate she thought they had received last November took a little greasing -- well, larding -- to push through.
The lengths that Democratic leaders had to go to win their "triumph" betrayed its cynicism. To get her narrow majority of 218 votes, Ms. Pelosi and Appropriations Chairman David Obey had to load it up like a farm bill: $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers, $283 million for dairy farmers--all told, some $20 billion in vote-buying earmarks of the kind Democrats campaigned against last year.
Bravo to the house GOP caucus; Leader McConnell, you're up next, slay this porcine perversion.
March 22, 2007
The Best Blog Post Headline Ever
Hoyer seen yelling at staff…
Though I am a faithful Extreme Mortman reader, honor dictates that I offer the hat-tip to his Glennness
March 15, 2007
Hugh Hewitt's (superb) headline for a complete posting of the Senate Minority Leader's superb remarks:
“It is unprecedented in the powers it would arrogate to the Congress in a time of war; it is a clear statement of retreat from the support that the Senate only recently gave to General David Petraeus; and its passage would be absolutely fatal to our mission in Iraq. “Previous resolutions proposed by the Democrats were a mere statement of opinion, or sentiment. This one has a binding quality. It would interfere with the President and General Petraeus’ operational authority to conduct the war in Iraq as he and his commanders see fit. It would substitute for their judgment the judgment of 535 members of Congress.
My favorite Senator recalls statements from Clinton, Reid and Biden against timetables, and forcefully rolls the vote and the debate.
Posted by John Kranz at 7:48 PM
March 13, 2007
2-4-6-8,who we gonna regulate?
The Democrats are in charge and have decided that the FDA (my personal bete noire) should regulate tobacco. So, how have those shorts on tobacco panned out?
Terrible. As Adam Smith told us in 1776, businesses don't want freedom and a level playing field. They, like incumbent politicians, want protection from innovation and competition. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup analyses both tout the positive effects of the bill on big tobacco's share value. Citigroup says "We believe the results" of regulation "would actually help the major cigarette manufacturers since it would entrench their position further allowing them to maintain market share or increase it."
This is from a Wall Street Journal editorial (paid link) that enumerates the advantages to entrenched providers:
First, the Kennedy bill (co-sponsored by Texas Republican John Cornyn) specifically prohibits the FDA from banning tobacco products, so some in the industry feel this gives the Marlboro Man and the Camel brand a new lease on life.
Everybody wins, huh? I'm going back to bed now...
Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM
January 17, 2007
Six in Oh Six
I reacted negatively to the Democrats' "Six-in-06" initiatives (surprise!) I felt that the drug negotiation, stem cell research, alternative fuels subsidies, and minimum wage hike were anti-Hayekian. The 9/11 Commission recommendations should be debated and negotiated; it's a cop out to take them all.
I didn't take the time to object to their education subsidies, but the good folks at the WSJ Editorial Page have completed the task adroitly. Their problem is that the Government is subsidizing the interest paid on student loans. That will not help those who cannot afford education, it's a giveaway to college graduates.
In other words, the Democratic loan proposal isn't really about making college more affordable for low-income families. It's about expanding federal subsidies for college grads, including millions of middle-class men and women who will go on to do very well in life and hardly need such a government handout.
Cui bono? Faculty and administrators who will now be able to raise tuition because Federal subsidies will defray the costs. The 110th is going to make college more affordable by raising tuition.
I score them 0-6 in '07.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:10 AM
January 12, 2007
George W. Cleveland
President Bush is behind President Cleveland 42-1 in the veto derby, but we should all cheer him on.
The Wall Street Journal reports: Bush Plans to Veto Drug Legislation
WASHINGTON -- President Bush will veto legislation requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices under Medicare, Republican officials said Thursday.
Divided government is a beautiful thing, President Madison (two vetoes), thanks.
These two bills together define the character and represent the worst of the Democrats' "Six in '06" bill. I'll let slip that this is '07, the Democrat initiatives have a common thread that the government will pick winners instead of the free market. Taken as a group, their common thread is that they are anti-Hayekian.
Embryonic stem cell research is promising. The cynic in me wonders if it will retain its popularity when it cannot be used as a cudgel against an Evangelistic President. Either way, government is saying that they will fund stem cell research. But they will then take away the private profits of the drug companies who are working on alternate therapies. Price controls as envisioned by the House Democrats will devastate investment in pharmaceuticals.
Likewise, they plan to halt subsidies to the oil companies (hooray and huzzah!) and give it to alternative energy (boo). If they did nothing, the market would import oil. The Republicans subsidize domestic production. The Democrats want to stop giving money to the people who provide us energy and give it to those who cannot.
The decisions will be made by politics. Senators Grassley and Harkin will be certain to bring some ethanol subsidies to Iowa; the guy in Arkansas developing biomass fuels from Tyson's discarded chicken carcasses will suffer from Blanche Lincoln's lack of seniority. Government will pick winners badly.
The one six-in-oh-seven initiative that is inside the Congressional purview is an abdication of Congressional authority. They will poke their noses into medicine, energy, and wages. Yet they will accept the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission en banc, with no debate or discussion.
Keep that veto pen warn, Mr. President. Stock up on ink refills.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM
December 14, 2006
Ambulance still cooling down
My brother emailed me an MSNBC "Breaking News" piece under the subject line: Senate back to 50/50 - maybe..." I knew what he was referring to, having heard the news of Senator Tim Johnson's apparent stroke. "Good NED, man" I thought, "have you no compassion for a man taken seriously ill? At least let the ambulance cool down after taking him to the hospital before you contemplate his replacement!"
Then I read the article. (Click "continue reading" to see a reprint, as it has since been revised.) After a two-sentence first paragraph stating the Senator had been hospitalized came these two paragraphs:
In addition to concern about Johnson's immediate health, his illness draws political concern in that the Democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage in seats, giving them control of the Senate.
So the unseemly rush to the political angle was not by my brother, who would like to see the GOP maintain control, but by MSNBC, which arguably recoils at the idea. They end on a reassuring note, however, noting that "the Senate Historian's office cites several examples of a senator being incapacitated for years and remaining in office."
Whew. That was close!
(And yes, the spelling "Demorats" WAS in the original text.)
S. Dakota's Sen. Johnson has possible stroke
In addition to concern about Johnson's immediate health, his illness draws political concern in that the Democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage in seats, giving them control of the Senate.
The governor of South Dakota is Republican Mike Rounds. Should there be a vacancy as a consequence of Johnson's illness and Rounds appoints a Republican to fill the term, that would make the count 50 Demorats and 50 Republicans. Under the rules of the Senate, ties votes are settled by the vote of the vice president - currently Republican Dick Cheney - effectively giving control of the Senate to the Republicans.
Story continues below ↓
Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said he had walked back to his Capitol office after the call with reporters but appeared to not be feeling well. The Capitol physician was called and Johnson was taken by ambulance to the George Washington Univeristy Hospital in D.C. for evaluation.
A statement released by Johnson's office said, "Senator Tim Johnson was taken to George Washington University Hospital this afternoon suffering from a possible stroke. As this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team. Further details will be forthcoming when more is known."
Filling a vacated Senate seat
The 17th amendment of the U.S. Constitution says state legislatures can give their governors the power to appoint someone else to take over, but only in the case of "vacancies."
What's a vacancy? Clearly death or resignation, but history suggests not much else. Serious illness doesn't count.
The Senate Historian's office cites several examples of a senator being incapacitated for years and remaining in office.
Most recently, Sen. Karl Mundt (ironically, also from South Dakota) suffered a stroke in 1969 and was incapacitated, but he refused to step down. He remained in office until Jan. 1973 when his term expired. Mundt was pressured repeatedly to step down during his illness, but he demanded that the governor promise to appoint his wife. The governor refused, and Mundt remained in office.
Another example was Sen. Carter Glass, D-VA. Sen. Glass had a heart condition that prevented him from working for most of his last term after his re-election in 1942. Yet Glass refused to resign, and finally passed away from congestive heart failure in his apartment at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC in May of 1946.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive
December 11, 2006
I Really Don't Get It
Speaker-designate Pelosi has another caucus member for her "most ethical Congress in history." Rep. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson won a runoff election, so that his expected indictment for bribery can be delivered to his House office. John Fund wonders, in OpinionJournal's Political Diary:
How did Democratic Rep. William Jefferson win re-election in New Orleans on Saturday despite allegations by the FBI that he'd been caught with $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer? To make matters worse, two of his associates have already pleaded guilty to giving him $400,000 in bribes as part of a scheme to land lucrative contracts in Nigeria. The congressman himself dodged most questions, telling reporters: "I'll not talk about this issue in this campaign."
I love the great state of Louisiana, even though I was badly beaten outside of Shreveport when our band attracted too much attention at a truck stop. But these people returned Ray Nagin to the NO Mayor's office, now Jefferson. One hates to say that fellow Americans get the government they deserve, but I’m gonna.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM
November 19, 2006
Are the Democrats going to cut and run?
Not if some want a draft.
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars and to bolster U.S. troop levels insufficient to cover potential future action in Iran, North Korea and Iraq.
"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said.
Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, said he will propose a measure early next year.
In 2003, he proposed a measure covering people age 18 to 26. This year, he offered a plan to mandate military service for men and women between age 18 and 42; it went nowhere in the Republican-led Congress.
Democrats will control the House and Senate come January because of their victories in the Nov. 7 election.
At a time when some lawmakers are urging the military to send more troops to Iraq, "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," said Rangel, who also proposed a draft in January 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Posted by AlexC at 2:09 PM
November 16, 2006
Speaker Pelosi, oh for One!
The Fix -- Chris Cillizza's Politics Blog on washingtonpost.com Hoyer Win a Blow to Pelosi
Ouch. Sorry Rep Pelosi, sorry Rep. Murtha.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM
Take a Deep Breath
Senator Trent Lott is going to be Minority Whip. I was dejected when I first heard the news, but after a few reminders of his skills (Pedro for Conference Committee Vice Chair), I have calmed down. Reading John McIntyre’s entry in OpinionJournal Political Diary today, I'm downright sanguine.
Tactically, Mr. Lott's choice is a smart move by the Senate GOP as it strengthens incoming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's hand in dealing not only with a Democratic Congress but also a White House that may be willing to pass Democratic legislation in an attempt to stay relevant. Senator Lott's return to the leadership signals a break from the White House within the GOP caucus and is a clear sign the Republican minority is moving on from the Bush years and has its eyes squarely on 2008 and a return to the majority.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM
November 15, 2006
The Fun Continues
The WaPo fires two at Speaker Presumptive Pelosi today. Howard Kurtz wonders in Targeting Murtha why we didn't all know about Rep Murtha's ethics challenges, say, before the election
Nancy Pelosi pushes the guy for majority leader and suddenly--boom!--he's on the front page of The Washington Post as being ethically challenged. The New York Times mentions it as well.
And that's the WaPo media critic (to be fair, Kurtz’s news beat has generated many thoughtful articles suspicious of bias).
Over on the Editorial Page, Ruth Marcus takes off the gloves (I expect it makes it easier to type).
"The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history," Pelosi pledged on election night. Five days later she wrote Murtha a letter endorsing his bid to become her No. 2.
A portentous start to the "most ethical Congress in history."
November 14, 2006
We've all taken Speaker Pelosi as a given. Brendan Minter has an interesting angle from WSJ Political Diary:
Each party elects its own congressional leaders but the Speaker is elected by the entire House. That means if Republicans cross the aisle and hand their votes to respected Democratic moderate Steny Hoyer, he would be just a small number of votes shy of being elected speaker. There are still several congressional races underway through recounts so it's not clear yet precisely how many Republicans there will be in the next Congress. Mr. Hoyer would likely need roughly 15 Democratic votes for speaker in order to beat Ms. Pelosi.
Posted by John Kranz at 2:57 PM
The Fun Begins
TNR is not going to go easy on the new Speaker. They've waited longer than most for a Democratic chance at power and they're not going to sit quietly and watch her squander it.
Nancy Pelosi's unintelligent decision
They may lose the war and ruin the economy, but I still predict fun for the opposition press and punditry.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM
November 13, 2006
100 Hours of Bad Economics
Rep. Pelosi has won an apparent Speakership -- fair and square, mind you -- based on "the first 100 hours." A nice play on the Contractor With America in '94, Pelosi promised 100 hours of bad economics and rode it to victory.
I'll not belabor the bad economics of increasing the minimum wage. Thomas Sowell owns that one lock, stock and barrel. He has shown it is ineffective, rife with unintended consequences, and racist in nature as it removes a new minority's ability to break into a labor market with advantageous pricing.
The next snap of the gavel will be to "fix Medicare" by allowing the government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. "Use their bargaining power like Wal*Mart," claim the Democrats. Trouble is, Wal*Mart has market power but not coercive power. Like the minimum wage, this plan is both unfair and rife with unintended consequences.
Stanford Professor Emeritus Alain Enthoven and grad student Kyna Fong. point out the difficulties in a guest editorial in the WSJ today.
In fact, the government negotiating on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries may lead to some unintended adverse consequences. Since direct-to-consumer advertising is legal in the U.S., there is nothing preventing pharmaceutical companies from funding a torrent of advertisements for the "latest and greatest" drug, thereby creating a strong demand within the Medicare population for coverage of the drug. How firm can the government stand when negotiating for a drug being clamored for? This is not the sort of bargaining power that will lead to lower prices.
Some may pay attention to the fact that it might backfire and raise drug prices for everybody, I was more interested in their closing point:
Finally, there is the familiar economic argument that the market-determined price is the only fair price. How can the government determine what price is "fair," what price appropriately reimburses pharmaceutical companies for all their research and development efforts? How can the government determine what prices will encourage the right levels of future innovation? The government negotiating prices only leaves room for additional gains through political lobbying and campaigning, activities at which pharmaceutical companies have proven themselves rather adept.
No wonder pharma stock prices are tumbling. Hope you don't get sick, kids, the government’s taking over.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:06 AM