January 2, 2013


Politics lovers viewed the fiscal cliff negotiations in strategic and tactical terms.

Some time around 9PM Mountain on New Year's Eve, I confess I lost interest. I knew they would do what they would, that I wouldn't likely like it, and that it would not really solve anything. I didn't dream that we would get a full $0.02439024390243902439024390243902 in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, but there you have it.

And yet, I close the day in good cheer. The S&P 500 is up 36.23 (The Nazz almost a hundred!). American business will put up with all kinds of bad $%&*. When given the opportunity, there are more Dagny Taggarts than John Galts.

And, hey, there are now going to be more Famous Dave's!

"I've had four calls today from existing franchisees wanting to expand," said Dan DiZio, chief executive of Philly Pretzel Factory, a chain of 125 pretzel shops. "Uncertainty is a killer in any business and the pretzel business is not exempt."

John Gilbert, chief executive of Famous Dave's of America DAVE +6.20%, a chain of 185 barbecue restaurants, said consumers were holding back from dining out as they waited to see whether and how much their taxes would increase. "People have to eat but not at restaurants," he said. "We live and die by same-store sales and guest counts and when customers don't know what to plan for, it has a huge impact on businesses like ours."

I see very little likelihood that a cataclysm would have -- in this political environment -- lead to better policy and more liberty. I toast the 112th for putting just enough oil in the engine to make it to Jan 20.

Pretzels and Brisket for everyone!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:42 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Fume at Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all you want, but here's the problem: The chance to gain leverage in these negotiations was on Election Day, and the GOP came up with bubkes that day. Sequestration and the expiration of all of the Bush tax cuts presented an awful status quo to begin with, and there was really no better alternative that would get A) passed in a Senate controlled by Harry Reid and B) signed by President Obama. They don't want what we want, and we don't want what they want. And time was on their side in several ways, not least of which was that as of noon Thursday, a new Congress, with even more Democrats, is sworn into office. -- Jim Geraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

My first Facebook fight of 2013? With blog brother Keith.

He rips a snappy Les Mis allusion that goes over my head. I retorted sarcastically that I wish all the people unhappy with the leadership had done more last November to strengthen their hand.

Let's see, whom can I antagonize next...?

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2013 2:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

'Twas not a Facebook fight, mon ami! (Hey, it's French, in deference to Les Mis.) I thought we both did a fairly good job of taking a swing at the feckless GOP - both the House leadership (such as it is...) and the voters who no-showed in November. So, I chose to see it not so much a fight as a two-pronged attack at the state of politics. In fact, I think Brother JG's contribution made it a fairly neat trifecta.

So - will Boehnert's political career mirror Javert's last act? Will the hoi polloi finally step away from their big-screen TVs and their Xboxes and take their place on the barricades at last with us? Or will America, like Valjean, have to go through the sewers before we see a light at the end of the tunnel?

Dang, this metaphor practically writes itself...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 2, 2013 7:17 PM

December 12, 2012

The Coveted Hennessey Endorsement

S. 3412 is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bill. I hate S. 3412 because it allows taxes to increase by $80ish B (that's a guess) next year. I hate that it raises revenues by increasing marginal rates rather than through tax reform-induced economic growth and by eliminating or scaling back tax deductions. I hate that it raises taxes on successful small business owners. I hate that it raises capital gains and dividend taxes. I hate that it creates more uncertainty and another cliff at the end of 2013. I hate that it doesn’t contain any spending cuts or entitlement reforms.
Other than that, Keith? Yeah -- I like it too!
If you share my policy views but think the President is not bluffing, and if you think that America cannot, under any circumstances, risk a no-bill scenario, then S. 3412 is your Option C. It does exactly what President Obama has been calling on Congress to do, it allows tax rates to increase on the rich. It just doesn’t also do other things that we know he wants to do, but which he has not been making the centerpiece of his kick-Republicans-around PR campaign.
I encourage you to read the whole piece. I think Keith Hennessey has found the parliamentary maneuver to vote "Present" and pass a Democratic bill. He does not mention sitting back and making popcorn.

This answers commenter AndyN's question as well if I read it right. And, unlike Hennessey, I'm no enemy of the sequester -- Jeeburz it cuts spending! Oh noes, not that!!!

All in all a good plan. Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2012


The WSJ Ed Page printed Kim Strassel's -- I thought convincing -- editorial counseling the GOP to let tax rates rise and enjoy the consequences.

Today, and a bit in its weekend program, the board takes a tougher stand:

It's certainly true that Republicans can't stop a tax rate increase if Mr. Obama is determined to make it happen. The Bush-era rates automatically go up on January 1, and the House can't extend them alone.

But Mr. Obama also can't get what he wants without House Republicans. He needs their votes to extend current rates for lower-income taxpayers, as well as to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from hitting 27 million more taxpayers. Most of those new AMT taxpayers live in high-tax Democratic states. Meanwhile, the death tax rate reverts to 55% and a $1 million exemption. Senate Democrats running for re-election in 2014 won't want that on their resume.

For all of his bluster about blaming Republicans, Mr. Obama also knows a budget failure would do enormous harm to his chances of second-term success. It would guarantee at least two more years of trench budget warfare and poison the chances of immigration or other reform. Another recession would be on his watch, not on George W. Bush's.

The point is that Republicans have more leverage than they imagine, and they ought to act like it. A good start would be for the House to pass a bill this week extending all the tax rates for six months and fixing the defense spending cuts coming in January. Then ask Senate Democrats to pass their own bill, and they can negotiate with the President under regular Congressional order.

I'm still in the Brave Sir Robin camp myself -- just being fair and balanced

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I am now member of the "Let it Burn" camp. "The public" has spoken; what would Miss Rand say? Go Rand Paul, pass exactly what Obama asks for and vote present. The sooner we get the Big One out of the way the sooner we can form the Second Republic, or the Confederation of Free Republics or whatever. There is no England anymore, and there are no principles on the line here worth dying at the barricades for.

Let. It. Burn.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 10, 2012 6:06 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Is there a reason the House Republicans can't just say "We already passed a plan setting spending and tax limits, and have done so every year we've been in the majority. When the Senate passes theirs, which they haven't done for 4 years, we'll meet them in conference committee and hash out the differences"? I understand that it would be a move that's easy for the press and the Democrats to caricature as obstructionism and most voters won't like it, but voters obviously don't like responsible government in general, so that's nothing new.

Posted by: AndyN at December 10, 2012 8:58 PM

August 9, 2012

She Sees Dead People...

CNSNews.com -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) told a recent gathering of the Women's Political Committee that the spirits of suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul spoke to her at the White House. Pelosi said she heard them say: "At last we have a seat at the table".
If they tell you to hurt Leader Reid, Madame Speaker...oh, never mind.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

She forgot to mention Lizzie Borden.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 9, 2012 5:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ivy Starnes.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 3:08 PM

August 2, 2012

Senator Reid, Pederast!

Senator Reid has still not disproven the allegations of Pederasty against him! Why, if somebody wanted to be an author at ThreeSources, and had accusations of pederasty, he would not be approved. I see no reason not to expect as much from the US Senate Majority Leader...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm trying to resist reflexively arguing about the tax returns issue, as Reid is trying to goad us, and turn the attack right back at him but there are a couple of problems. First, Reid isn't up for re-election for another four years. Second, Democrat-electing constituencies don't care about personal decrepitudes. So I'm back to defending on taxes.

So what if he didn't pay any taxes? Did he owe any, according to the tax codes we all live under?

So what if he has bank accounts in foreign places? US bank funds are only guaranteed to $250,000 anyway.

Tax returns aren't a problem. Harry Reid isn't a problem. What really is a problem is that "Romney is a candidate in the grip of performance anxiety." The reality is, "The Republicans have nominated a bad candidate." (Well technically he isn't nominated yet but I ain't goin' down that road. At least not today.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Sometimes, you have to do something just because it is a good time. Getting that hashtag trending on Twitter or getting Google to recommend "harry reid pederast" when you hit an h is just good clean fun.

I'm liking our presumptive nominee. He was not my first or second choice, but he has displayed sharper elbows than Sen. McCain, and pleased to the upside with the Palestinian culture comment, and some pretty deft pouncing on the President's gaffes.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2012 4:15 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Two things come to mind, one the old saying, "He may be a son-of-a-bitch but he's our son-of-a-bitch!"

Second, Reid is a Mormon and Romney is a Mormon and what the hell happened to the 11th Commandment of Mormonism?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 2, 2012 5:16 PM

July 26, 2012

Browncoats on Unification Day

A sagacious commenter once remarked that you cannot go wrong with a Firefly reference. Maybe some other blog, I don't know...

But on the "Unhappy Anniversary" of Dodd-Frank, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (HOSS - TX) recounts his days on the right but losing side of this atrocious bill. The whole WSJ Guest Editorial is superb, but this part is worthy of "Quote of the Day:"

Having incorrectly diagnosed the problem, Dodd-Frank's authors wrote 400 new regulations. These generally fall into one of two categories: those that create uncertainty and those that create economic harm.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 26, 2012 1:18 PM

July 14, 2012

Good Doggie!

I have admonished a certain blog brother that appraising politicians -- like training a dog -- should be done on the most recent event. Yes, I could point out that Senator Mark Udall has raised taxes and opposed tax cuts over his years as my Congressman and my Senator.

Or I could applaud him for a supply-side beer tax cut.

"Beer is an important part of our economy. With the excise tax lowered, capital will increase and we can invest that back into the companies," he said.

Under Udall's proposed Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009, excise tax on a barrel of beer would drop from $18 per barrel to $9 per barrel, and from $7 to $3.50 per barrel for smaller producers.

If only that same effect of increased capital and investment worked for other industries.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The irony is obvious. Less obvious is the tacit admission that free-market policies are electorally popular - in Colorado at least, if not nation wide.

On the other hand, he did say of that increased capital that "we" can invest it back into the companies. How's about the company owners decide where and how to invest it?

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 3:27 PM

July 13, 2012

Gold Medal in Demagoguery

Senator Bernie Saunders, who insulates himself from a clever (?? - VT) appellation by being an avowed Socialist, is pretty upset mind you about this Ricardian Economics thingy!

This was posted on Facebook by a very nice new grandmother woman I work with and with whom I don't wish to pick a fight.

What are you gonna do? Gramma said "it makes me sick to my stomach" and I am confident she doesn't mean the demagoguery and Sen. Saunders's failure to appreciate competitive advantage.


UPDATE: Heh. Professor "White Power Toothbrush" Reynolds piles on "to me the real issue is that they're terrible. They look like something from an SNL skit about America becoming a gay military dictatorship."

There is a certain Lady Gaga-ness about them . . .

Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

That's right USOC, let's show the world that US domestic manufacturing is so admirable that American consumption of American products must be mandated.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 11:56 PM

May 24, 2012

The HOSS List

Voting for Rand Paul's Amendment to disarm the Milk Police:

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Jim Coburn (R-OK)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
John Thune (R-SD)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Not one Democrat.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:03 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to hear the explanation from Alexander, Barrasso, Blunt, Brown, Burr, Chambliss, Coats, Cochran, Collins, Corker, ENZI, Graham, Grassley, Hatch, Hoeven, INHOFE, Isakson, Kyl, Lugar, McCain, MCCONNELL, Moran, Murkowski, Portman, Roberts, RUBIO, Sessions, Shelby and Snowe: "Why did you vote against it?" My guess, the reason is "McConnell."

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2012 6:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I've a much higher opinion fo leader McConnell than you. I wonder who on that list might respond.

I'm glad to see it appear in Reason that not one Democrat opposed paramilitary milk police. Those guys need reminding that there's a difference.

Posted by: jk at May 24, 2012 8:06 PM

April 30, 2012

Quote of the Day

WASHINGTON -- Representative Paul D. Ryan strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds. -- Jonathan Weisman NYTimes
Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

Cue the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, who is as good a pal as Kent Conrad will ever have in the press. He writes that the good senator (routinely described by one and all as a "budget hawk," "a deficit hawk," etc., despite his inability to, you know, produce a budget) wants to become more bipartisan. But those freaking GOP bastards really just want to run against any plan and any vote to raise taxes and spending: -- Nick Gillespie
Hat-tip: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 4:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sen. Baucus to "Go Rogue?"

Provide energy and jobs for his constituents? The nerve!

Baucus -- who wants to win another term back home in Montana in two years -- remains a fan of the pipeline, which would be built partly across his state.

If regular order is followed, his vote combined with those of all the Senate GOP negotiators would form a majority bloc to accept the House's Keystone language, which orders regulators to issue permits for the project.

And if that happens, and the compromise bill clears Congress in that form (which would be likely), the president would be pressured to veto the job-creating highway bill at an extraordinarily inopportune time.

Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis

Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2012

Bad Optics

Nothing I'd change, but it doesn't look good...


Republicans to slash food stamps

Posted by John Kranz at 7:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2012

The Difference Paul Ryan has Made

James Pethokoukis points out that -- before Chairman Ryan endorsed Governor Romney -- Romney endorsed Ryan by taking so many of his ideas onboard.

For comparison purposes--and to show just how dramatically Ryan has shifted the GOP policy agenda--look at what GOP nominee John McCain was offering on Medicare reform in 2008. During his second debate with Barack Obama, McCain was asked how he would fix Medicare. His answer: "What we have to do with Medicare is have the smartest people in America come together, come up with recommendations, and then, like the base-closing commission idea we had, then we should have Congress vote up or down."

I remember those debates. Bad days.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:10 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

JP calls it "the Ryan difference." JG credits the TEA Party for inspiring the Ryan Plan in the first place.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2012 11:29 PM

March 27, 2012

Libertario Delenda Est

I can accept serious criticism of the 2012 GOP Budget and the Ryan Plan to cut entitlements. But Jeeeburz do Libertarians have a gift for making the perfect the enemy of the good.

And now they are dragging Tea Party GOPers into their trap -- which the WSJ Ed Page claims, looks an awful lot like Leader Pelosi's and President Obama's trap.

The GOP critics are wrong on the economics and politics. Mr. Ryan's plan may not balance the budget within 10 years, but that's the wrong policy guidepost. Mr. Obama can easily balance the budget faster--by raising taxes.

Mr. Ryan wants to avoid a tax increase and reform the tax code because he realizes that the budget will never balance over the long term without economic growth faster than today's 2% a year. By stressing budget balance over growth, Mr. Chocola and the tea-party critics are falling into Mr. Obama's deficit and tax trap.

The green eyeshade libs also fall for static scoring and an artificial sanctity for ten and twenty year projections. It will be impossible to pass something like the GOP budget in the 112th Congress, extremely difficult in the 113th. If the crowd who would most appreciate the direction loses interest, then we will get something very similar to the President's budget.

Anything else to add, Mister Gigot?

Mr. Ryan is thinking ahead of his critics by focusing on the two most important priorities: growth and reform. Without both, limited government will be nothing more than a tea party slogan and a balanced budget will be nothing more than a tax-increase trap.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2012

The House GOP Budget Trailer

Not bad:

Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2012

Larry Flynt, Illinois Nazis and Sen. Ted Stevens

Justice is its most beautiful as raiment to its ugliest claimant.

Heinous people are entitled to their rights; and when their rights are asserted, we -- the less obnoxious -- can feel more comfortable in the guarantee of ours. I love to live in a country whose highest court chose Phelps over Snyder. In that spirit, I am going to defend one of my least favorite Senators of all time: Ted Stevens (Graft - AK).

The WSJ Ed Page suggests that the famous "60th Vote" for ObamaCare was not Sen. Arlen Specter but rather Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated a Stevens incumbency hobbled by a politically-motivated prosecution.

These prosecutors, working in Justice's ironically named Public Integrity Section, trampled on Stevens's rights by ignoring the Brady rule, which requires prosecutors to share exculpatory evidence with the defense. The feds then won a conviction on ethics charges less than two weeks before Election Day in 2008.

Stevens, a Republican who had been highly popular in Alaska prior to the prosecution, lost a close race to Democratic challenger Mark Begich. Mr. Begich went on to become, yes, one of the 60 Senate votes for ObamaCare in 2009.

Within months of the election, as the federal abuses came to light, Stevens' conviction was set aside. But the election result, highly influenced by the bogus conviction, never was. As Judge Sullivan recently noted in explaining all the reasons that the report should be made public, the Stevens loss "tipped the balance of power in the United States Senate." And in favor of ObamaCare.

Hard to weep for a porker like Sen. Stevens, but we have to hold elections above that.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2012

Hope for Colorado

I linked to Senator Mark Udall's survey for Congressional priorities. The results are in:

Udall was my old Congressman in überliberal Boulder, and I first thought that this extremely balanced distribution represented CO-2. I've calmed down a little that it is the whole state. But having watched it go purple and then indigo -- I think this augers well for liberty.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:08 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I would have liked to see "Veterans" and "Environment" switched but yes, this reassured me also. If memory serves we were asked to choose three priorities from his prepared list (eliminate Department of Education wasn't on the menu) without ranking them. My priorities are all represented in the top four.

I could read a sinister motive into including "jobs and economy" in one priority to ensure it gets top billing but I won't. Coupled with my newfound "fond[ness]" for Bill Moyers I can imagine reaching out to the senior senator from Colorado: The bipartisan 'Crony Capitalism Caucus?'

Posted by: johngalt at January 29, 2012 10:49 AM
But jk thinks:

Sinister motives abound. What percentage of Energy is "let a thousand Soylendras bloom" and what is "Frack, baby, frack!"

Love me some veterans, but top three priority? Wasn't one of mine.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2012 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Senator Udall has become a frequent Kudlow guest. Hate to say it, but and he ain't a bad guy for a Democrat!

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2012 11:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was also a bit disappointed that building a moon base wasn't one of the choices.

Posted by: johngalt at January 29, 2012 11:37 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sense a TEA plot; who slipped the word "resposibility" in there and who excluded "social" ?!?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 2, 2012 9:46 PM

December 27, 2011

Full of Christmas Spirit!

It may be the 27th, but the generosity still lives in my veins.

The Hawaii Reporter well, reports, and Instapundit links that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also vacationing in The Aloha State.

Pelosi spent the last two Christmas holidays in Kona at the same hotel in an elaborate suite that rents for $10,000 a night.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai's details its luxurious setting and amenities on its web site: "Gloriously revitalised, this natural tropical paradise offers more than ever to explore -- with a newly expanded Spa, beachfront dining, fashion boutiques and new Deluxe Suites, in addition to Jack Nicklaus signature golf. Set on the Big Island's exclusive Kona-Kohala Coast, this showpiece resort captures the essence of Hawaiian design, culture and tradition."

She's richer than God and spending her own dough, is she not? There is $34K for security, but she is in the line of succession, so we'd pay that in Poughkeepsie probably.

Coming soon: Senator Chuck Schumer is really a saint...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:54 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

No, she is not in the Presidential line of succession. At least, not in the first 18.

Alas, she still behaves as though she is.

Posted by: johngalt at December 27, 2011 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Ah yes, I had forgotten that she had lost. Talk about waking up and not realizing it is Saturday and you don't have to go to school...

She was #3 for a bit. Is security offered in perpetuity?

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2011 3:56 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Historians in the future will remark that, at the low-water mark of partisan politics, Nancy Pelosi was two heartbeats away from the Oval Office - and the guy in front of her was Joe Biden.

A republic, ma'am -- if you can keep it...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 27, 2011 5:18 PM

November 1, 2011

Perhaps we're Not Finished

It appears that the Tea Party has not yet cleaned up the GOP. The WSJ Ed Page discusses two House Republicans who are joining a fight to increase the loan amount available for a taxpayer backstop.

It's a question that House Speaker John Boehner might consider as he reads a letter that Florida Republican Bill Posey and New York Democrat Gary Ackerman are circulating to fellow Members for signatures. The letter supports an amendment to an appropriations bill that recently passed the Senate to increase the mortgage limits that Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Administration can insure to $729,750 from $625,500 in certain markets for two years. California Rep. Gary Miller, the Republican who rivals Barney Frank in protecting Fannie, introduced a similar bill in May.

"Members may differ on long-term policy solutions for the housing markets, but it would be premature for the sake of the economy to shut down access to this credit right now," the letter argues. The Congressmen say raising the limits "will not cost taxpayers one dime" because Fan and Fred can charge more to insure more expensive homes. Anyone remember Bill Clinton's 1995 claim that expanding taxpayer-backed mortgages "will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent"?

What could possibly go wrong, huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

On the other hand, Supercommittee members have been soaking up campaign contributions from lobbyists. So it's not a complete failure. -- Glenn Reynolds
(He linked to us, only fair to throw a little traffic his way. He's a good kid who might make something of himself as a blogger with a little encouragement...)
Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Multiple heh's.

I also liked this: Chart - Gun Ownership by State

Over 50 percent: AL, AK, AR, ID, MS, MT, ND, SD, WV, WY
Under 15 percent: D.C., HI, MA, NJ, RI

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2011 12:36 PM

October 6, 2011

Whaddya Do for an Encore?

I'm up early this morning, and Ms. McArdle is on fire:

If we add in the Medicare surtaxes which start in 2013, then for a person earning a million dollars a year (we really need a better word for this than "millionaire", which already has a meaning), the marginal tax rate on long-term investment income for this group jumps to 24% in 2013, from 15% now, while the marginal tax rate on earned income will be (assuming the Bush tax cuts expire like they're supposed to) 48.5%. This of course does not include any state income taxes, or property taxes. The tax penalty on earned income seems likely to rise well over 50% for the typical high earner under Democratic plans. Most left-leaning pundits and wonks do not seem to believe that millionaires pay attention to decreasing returns to effort. I confess, I'm a bit more skeptical.

The real question, however is this: what do you do for an encore? They're hiking taxes on this lucky group 5% to pay for one temporary jobs measure. What happens the next time Democrats need some money to pay for something? Surely we need to leave millionaires a little something for themselves on their marginal dollar, say 10%--a sort of tip for good service. And the state and local tax people will want their bite too, so you'll need to leave another 10-15% so that those high-tax jurisdictions where sound Democratic politicians like Senator Schumer campaign can enjoy their full bite.

A tip for good service! Again, Megan McArdle is few people's idea of a right-wing nutjob. She's that rare breed of an honest lefty (well, left of center anyway). I'm comforted that she is giving this little respect to this in The Atlantic.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 8:51 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The looting Democrat's response to "Surely we need to leave millionaires a little something for themselves?"

"No we don't. They're millionaires! Get it?"

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2011 2:04 PM

September 23, 2011

Another Shutdown Looms

Faced with the prospect of a cut in federal spending, Senator Reid chose to once again risk a government shutdown in a desperate attempt to protect the federal jack for "a clean-energy program popular with Democrats and the Obama administration."

I love it. Just love it. Go TEA Party Reps!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:


We've got elections coming up, we can talk about big issues. President Obama has floated the world's lamest "jobs bill," Eurozone contagion looms, even überoptimist Larry Kudlow says we're likely in a double dip.

And we're going to embarrass Speaker Boehner and pick a fight over $3.6 Billion in aid to hurricane victims?

Yes, I know you're right, the fight is over offsetting with cuts to energy boondoggles, huzzah! But smallball fights with bad optics on the DJIA's worst week since Lehman. NO! NO! NO! Pick your fights -- and pick them a lot gorram better than this!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2011 12:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But ... except for the fact that "it's always the Republicans' fault" this is leader Reid's shutdown gambit. The house passed a bill "with full funding for what is needed right now." Reid plans to vote on a different version but there's no time for the House to consider it anyway. As the WashTimes headline said, "Senate Blocks Emergency Disaster Money."

I praise the conservatives for their tactics as much as their principles.

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2011 1:04 PM
But jk thinks:

More worried about WaPo than Times. Even Kudlow is bummed.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2011 10:15 PM

September 13, 2011

Connecting Both Dots

The WSJ Ed Page sees some correlation between the announced 30,000 layoffs at BofA and the hyperregulation of the financial sector in the 112th Congress and current Administration. Now hang on, it is pretty complicated. But if you think about it, you might see that they have a point:

[Bank of America CEO Brian] Moynihan didn't say this, but we will: These layoffs are part of the bill for the last two years of Washington's financial rule-writing. After loose monetary policy had combined with insane housing policy to create a financial crisis, the Democrats who ran Washington in 2009 and 2010 enacted myriad new rules that had nothing to do with easy money or housing.

Take the amendment that Illinois Democrat and Senator Dick Durbin (with the help of 17 Senate Republicans) attached to last year's Dodd-Frank financial law. Mr. Durbin's amendment instructed the Federal Reserve to limit the amount of "swipe fees" that banks can charge merchants when customers use debit cards.

How exactly does forcing banks to charge Wal-Mart less money for operating an electronic payment system prevent the next financial crisis? Readers may wait a long time for a satisfactory answer, but the cost of this Dodd-Frank directive is straightforward.

Good thing the President is releasing a solid jobs bill today to get these 30K jobs back.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2011

For All Those Who Missed Her

Hat-tip: The Blaze

Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

Who are these people of which you speak?

Posted by: Terri at August 31, 2011 8:18 AM
But jk thinks:

I dunno, Terri, the four staffers on her payroll in her office (for whose benefit she requires a microphone) seem to be enjoying themselves.

It's a big Internet and I am all about reaching out.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2011 11:07 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I hear that goddamn whore and her husband have quite a few coins to rub together, in no small part to her efforts to develop Bay waterfront properties that drive up her husband's real estate holdings. Let them pay first.

Oh, forgive me, "whore" might not be the most apt description. Bitch, certainly.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 1, 2011 12:16 AM

August 10, 2011

Good Picks

Don't know what to expect from the sooper-dooper-debt panel, but I will call myself pleased with the GOP picks:

The panel is known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and was established to find $1.5 trillion in additional budget savings over 10 years, but markets have been looking for signs that it may be able to do even more.

Senators Jon Kyl, Rob Portman and Patrick Toomey were selected by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for inclusion on the high-profile 12-member panel.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, appointed Representatives Dave Camp, Jeb Hensarling and Fred Upton.

Ron Paul was busy?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2011

My Senator Kills the BBA!

Am I supposed to be happy? Colorado Senator Mark Udall (used to be my Congressman) has crafted a means to comply with the debt bill's requirement for a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). He's offered one with a provision to "outlaw tax cuts for people making more than $1 million a year unless the country has a budget surplus."

"My proposal is a responsible approach to requiring a balanced budget that would prevent future Congresses from making some of the same mistakes that have led to our debt crisis," the Colordao Democrat said.

Udall's co-sponsors include Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

All the Democratic Senate "moderates" lined up in a row. Did somebody on this blog say something about Democrats being able to duck and cover behind an amendment (I co-sponsored it, people!) without altering their spendthrift ways? Did this prescient pundit mention McCaskill by name? I should do a search...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, you are right - the term "balanced budget amendment" is as specific as "weather." A modifier is required before one may judge whether or not it is desirable.

For what it's worth, my congressman called me this morning to thank me for my email and when I asked about limiting government spending to a percentage of GDP he said that will require passage of the "balanced budget amendment." Guess you're just hangin' around with the wrong crowd brother! ;)

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2011 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I need to move Le Condo d'Amour a few miles east or hope for redistricting...

And yet I will not cede my point that the BBA, amorphous or not provides endless opportunity for these games and posturing from the McCaskills and Udalls of the world.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2011 12:36 PM

May Have Disagreed, but HOSS

Blog friend gd sends a link to this interview:

Stay until the end to catch freedom of speech and why the Andersen Coopers of the world should not suppress "bickering." (Or maybe read a gorram history book, but I digress...)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2011

Well, that didn't work.

Larry Kudlow had me pretty well convinced that last week's slide had much to do with the debt-ceiling contretemps. So, big break to the upside today, right?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 250 points, or 2.07%, to 11881.49, in recent trading. The blue-chip index is on track for its eighth consecutive decline, which would be its longest since October 2008. It has lost more than 700 points during the skid, dating back to July 22.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM | Comments (0)

As Hard as We're Crying...

Mark Thiessen advises: "Conservatives who think this deal is a defeat needs to spend a few minutes with the Gray Lady today."

It seems Krugman, guests, and the page make ThreeSources look like party time.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It is just possible to have a war and both sides lose. It's kinda like applying the notion of Mutually Assured Destruction to national economics.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 2, 2011 2:18 PM

August 1, 2011

On the Other Hand, "The Hobbits Won"

I commented earlier today that the Progressives in congress and the White House are lamenting the current debt-limit "compromise" bill as a ruse to make conservatives believe it is good for taxpayers (by cutting spending and not raising tax rates.) Then I read Marc Thiessen explain how "the 'hobbits' won."

The fight for a balanced budget amendment must go on. But Tea Partyers should recognize just how much Obama and the Democrats caved: $2 trillion in spending cuts. No tax increases. A new precedent that debt-limit hikes must be accompanied by equal or greater cuts in spending. And the potential for a balanced budget in 10 years. That the Tea Party accomplished all this in just six months — at a time when the GOP controls one-half of one-third of the federal government — is remarkable.

Now, this conclusion is rooted in the assumption that "the package sets an important new precedent that debt-limit increases must be “paid for” with commensurate cuts in spending." And that "according to Sen. Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, if we cut a dollar of spending for every dollar we raise the debt limit, we will balance the budget in 10 years — something that even the Paul Ryan budget would not achieve" is also correct.

Taking those on faith I too would back the compromise. (But y'all know my opinion of faith.) Being both an optimist and a cautious conservative I s'pose I'll have to put away my matches and focus on 2012.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Clearly, a significant chunk of Pelosi's caucus is outraged. Progressive Caucus chairman Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) said the proposed deal "trades people's livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it." Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called it "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich." The two chairmen have scheduled a joint-press conference on Monday to call on President Obama to raise the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th amendment.
So I'm on a low-carbs, low-sugar, limited diet, and right now a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich" sounds fantastic. -- Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt
Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

I'm likin' The Debt Deal Better Already...

The Death of Keynesian Economics?

WASHINGTON -- The Republicans are killing Keynesian economics with their attempt to cut spending as the economy rebounds from a recession, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a floor speech on Sunday.

"I would say ... that symbolically, that agreement is moving us to the point where we are having the final interment of John Maynard Keynes," he said, referring to the British economist. "He normally died in 1946 but it appears we are going to put him to his final rest with this agreement."

Insert standard disclaimers that Lord Keynes offered a bit more to the science than an excuse for Sen. Durbin to take my money. But if it is true, as Senator Durbin understands and uses Keynesian Economics, then this is quite the bill indeed.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Nope, not buyin' it. The Progressive Caucus is all singing from the same page of the hymnal: "The spending cuts in this bill are devastating." Bullcrap. The real cuts are less than $100 billion in dollar terms and a fraction of the 7-8% annual growth already baked into government spending by the clever but criminally insane "baseline budgeting" scheme instituted in 1974.

Obama and the Spendalots saw what happened when he spoke favorably of the Gang of Six plan. Talking points have been distributed to make this "compromise" (as Speaker Boehner put it, "we spend more and you pay more") look like a win for taxpayers. Balder-freaking-dash.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2011 1:12 PM

July 29, 2011

Now in the Middle of Step 2

Underpants Gnome debt plan:
Phase 1: Defeat Boehner;
Phase 2: ???;
Phase 3: Cut, Cap, Balance!

From @McCormackJohn Hat-tip: Terri

Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

By holding out on yesterday's Boehner Bill they won incorporation of a balanced budget amendment prior to the second debt-cap hike to be offered next year. This gave them cover to return to Phase 1 and support Boehner. But if the Boehner Bill was DOA in the senate yesterday this only gave the Dems more justification to kill it today.

I can't complain. I like today's bill better as well and yesterday's was probably going nowhere anyway. But where are we now?

"The last train is leaving the station, and this is a last chance to avert a default," Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor...

"I say no, not again will we fight another battle like the one in which we are now engaged," Reid added. "But default is not an option, either. And we cannot wait for the House any longer. I ask my Republican friends, break away from this thing going on in the House of Representatives."

But they aren't. Senate Republicans are shying from the Reid Bill. And even if they did get it out of that body it would be - DOA - in the TEA Party's house. So now we're really in Obama's stalemate, but it's no skin off the nose of we who want less spending. No agreement - no cap hike - no more spending.

The Democrats thought they had the inexperienced TEA Party "Hobbits" right where they wanted them. They may come to wish they'd said yes a compromise or two earlier.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2011 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I fear the great ThreeSources Debt Ceiling Kumbaya is on its last chorus. I cede that Brother JG is in good company. The Club for Growth (praise be upon their holy names) sends an email today with the same sentiment. Yet I remain unmoved.

My nose lost some metaphorical skin as another 24 hours and another 100 point drop in the Dow was accepted because intransigent tea party Republican freshmen insisted on the completely symbolic political posturing inclusion of a balanced budget amendment requirement.

It seems that this was such a good time, we're going to do it again unless 3/4 of a Democratic-Controlled-Senate passes a Balanced Budget Amendment. Fine. At least I'll be short next time.

I am wholeheartedly and pancreatically opposed to a balanced budget amendment. It is both a mechanism to increase taxes and a convenient vote for Democratic Senators to appear committed to fiscal restraint with zero danger of any actual restraint.

It will never happen, it would be bad if it did, it provides the opposition with a legitimate complaint against GOP tactics, it cost us a day to get it in and possibly some Democratic votes against tabling it. A few more of these wins and we'll be defending Texas.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2011 11:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Consistency check: How does a BB amendment "cost some Democratic votes against tabling" now, but becomes "a convenient vote for Democratic Senators to appear committed to fiscal restraint" later?

Could it be because "Balanced Budget Amendment" is not a uniform entity? There are conservative and progressive forms such a measure could take. But I see chances of any of them passing congress as slim and none.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2011 5:27 PM
But jk thinks:

The three-quarter requirement would allow Senators in redder-tinged states to vote 'Aye!' knowing that enough blue and safe seats could prevent passage. Sen. Durbin, for his fabled lack of grace and charm, counts votes well enough to ensure that.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, for example, can vote for it and against all the plans that actually cut spending. When she is accused by her GOP rival of spendthriftedness, she says "Not me, bucko, I voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment!"

I guess I have not seen the conservative BBA yet, but every one I have seen would have prevented the Bush Tax Cuts straight away, yet have enough loopholes to allow all the spending.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2011 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm thinking of the cap on spending to a percentage of GDP.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2011 3:29 PM

July 28, 2011

TEA Party Hobbits

While we're waiting for the House to pass the Boehner Bill this evening, thus forcing the Senate and White House to make good on their threats to risk "default" by killing the House compromise, let's have some more fun. Did anyone hear Sen. John McCain read this into the record yesterday?

The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.

I'm sure that Senator nicey nice was attracted to the passage by the shots it took at the TEA Party ladies but the Hobbit line is the one that, as dagny suggested, "might stick" to the TEA Partiers. And why not? The Hobbits were the good guys! And defeating Mordor is a life or death matter. We just need to remind ourselves that it took the Hobbits three books and at least as many movies to get the job done. It ain't gonna happen with one debt-limit vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It's been a while since I was so disappointed in the WSJ Ed Page. Having it read into the Congressional record by the Senior Senator from Arizona is, perhaps, punishment enough.

I didn't mind the Hobbit reference. It goes well with the whole paragraph, which criticizes plan opponents for having nothing else.

I was angry with the slap at O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. Do they really wish Mike Castle was in the Senate to smooth things over? I do not know the establishment candidate in Nevada, but I think some Tea Partiers can be proud of standing on principle.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 3:30 PM

Brer's JK, JG and Rep. Allen West

Boehner backers all.

"In seven months, I think the expectation for Allen West and the rest of us to correct something that has been a disease going on for 30 years Let's be realistic in our expectations. It takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. I can tell you this: We have started that motion," West said.

Those TEA Party Republicans are so extreme and unreasonable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:37 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

My eyes tear up just thinking about it...

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 10:09 AM
But jk thinks:

Terri suggests that if even the grouchy old guys at ThreeSources are in, it must be okay...

And she also found this gem from @McCormackJohn:

Underpants Gnome debt plan:
Phase 1: Defeat Boehner;
Phase 2: ???;
Phase 3: Cut, Cap, Balance!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 4:05 PM

July 27, 2011

Dear [Congressman] Cory [Gardner]

Dear Cory,

Yesterday I called your office in Fort Collins and asked them to register my support for a "no compromise, no surrender" position on the debt limit issue. Today I am urging you and the rest of the house freshmen to support the Boehner Bill.

Your principled stand over the past week has resulted in: Elimination of all tax hikes, substantive and actual cuts in government spending, and a limited debt cap increase. President Obama and the Democrats have lost on virtually all of their demands.

While I personally have little fear of government default I believe most Americans do, and would view inaction on the debt limit as irresponsible and a "failure to compromise" as unreasonable. Putting the Boehner bill on the president's desk will put him in a no-win position. Failure to do so will give him his only chance to score political points.

I believe the accomplishments of you and your peers are remarkable. You will have my support and that of those like me whether or not you back the Boehner bill. I think you'll earn the respect and support of less principled voters if you show the reasoned maturity to take what you can get and send it, with bipartisan support, to the president.

As my blog brother and I recently wrote, "It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government." http://www.threesources.com/archives/009511.html

Respectfully yours.

I sent this despite being emailed by Grassfire Nation that "Rep. Gardner to vote on 'Debt Ceiling' bill TOMORROW"

According to Politico, this morning, Speaker Boehner bluntly told wavering GOP lawmakers this morning to "get your a-- in line" behind his debt ceiling bill as he scrambles for votes.

Your Congressman is being strong-armed and intimidated to accept and support a bill that doesn't do what was promised!

Now we are being told that Boehner will bring spending legislation to the House floor for a vote tomorrow (Thursday, July 28).

Thanks for the tip. I have my own message for my congressman, thank you.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2011

Latest Strategy on the Debt Ceiling

Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reports:

Boehner: "The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces -- not without tax hikes -- and I don't think they ever will. The path forward, I believe, is that we pull together as a team behind a new measure that has a shot at getting to the president's desk. It's won't be Cut, Cap & Balance as we passed it, but it should be a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap & Balance. We're committed to working with you -- and with our Republican colleagues in the Senate -- to get it done. No one is willing to default on the full faith and credit of the United States."

Rubin: That suggests to me that the House Republicans will pass a bill, send it to the Senate and let the Democrats decide if they want to send the country into default.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2011

No Surprise, Don Luskin Says it Better

Don Luskin says what I think -- with a level of panache I have not achieved in a long time:

Right at 0:35 after the commercial and the introductions:

It is all blue smoke and mirrors and that's what's so great about it.
The last thing we want is for Washington to legislate -- in haste -- some dumb deal. You know what it's going to be: it will raise taxes this year and it will cut spending never.

What we need is to stand down, for both sides to disengage, for us to just avoid a default, avoid a downgrade. And we'll have a referendum on this in 2012 and the Republicans will sweep the Congress. And then we'll deal with this the right way, Larry. That is the most bullish scenario and that is exactly what is happening.

There endeth the lesson.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Quote of the Day candidate from Mike Ozanian: "We have $61 trillion in unfunded liabilities - why are we triple-A rated as it is?"

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 22, 2011 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

What he said! I was going to cite that quote too (and it was Jim LaCamp, by the way.) Ozanian said, "I don't look at what the rating agencies are doing when it comes to U.S. government debt. I look at the price of gold." The US government is "triple-A rated" despite its president saying "I can't guarantee that checks will go out next month." It's just more politics of fear, from the White House and the bond raters.

Good segment. The consensus seemed to be yes, we can kick the can down the road for many more years before really serious problems occur. But in the entire seven plus minutes nobody asked Don, "What if the Republicans don't sweep congress?" Or beyond that, "What if 2012's Republicans see the electoral success of kicking the can down the road this year as a blueprint for future success?"

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2011 12:01 PM

July 21, 2011

All Larry's Saying...Is Give the Go6 a Chance!

I opened myself to criticism for saying I'd accept all indignities in the Gang-of-six (Go6) plan. While I am not retracting, let us not forget compromise by its nature also includes some positive elements. The blog optimist bows before the world's optimist, Larry Kudlow. Kudlow has some concerns but:

There are a lot of known unknowns about the new "Gang of Six" budget proposal. But conservatives should hold back from trashing it. Why? There's a large, pro-growth tax-reform piece in the plan that would lower tax rates across-the-board. This is a stunning reversal of the Obama Democrats' soak-the-rich, class-warfare campaign.
And right now, the Gang of Six package is the first real pro-growth tax reform of all the debt-ceiling plans. It acknowledges the need for a growth element in order to solve our budget bankruptcy and limit spending, deficits, and debt. It would boost the economy and broaden the base (by reforming or limiting numerous deductions). As a result, more income would be taxed at lower rates in a rising economy, throwing off a hell of a lot more revenues than we're getting today. Rising revenues from lower tax rates are a good thing.
In the Gang of Six plan, there are a lot of planned spending cuts across-the-board for all the cabinet departments. There is spending-cap enforcement. And, importantly, the plan would repeal the CLASS Act, an Obamacare entitlement for long-term health-care insurance that would exponentially elevate future federal spending. This would mark the first step toward undoing Obamacare.

The WSJ Ed Page is a bit more skeptical, but highlights the same advantages
That's especially true of the tax reform outline, which suggests moving to no more than three income tax rates, with a top rate in a range between 23% and 29%. This would be "paid for" by closing loopholes and tax preferences, but a marginal rate tax reduction of that magnitude would be worth giving up a lot. It could be by far the most pro-growth tax change since the 1980s, and the U.S. needs faster economic growth now above all else.

In the end, I am sympathetic to those who claim the Democrats are over-hyping the downsides to not increasing the debt ceiling. But Kudlow and the WSJ Ed Page folk are pretty smart and are not anxious to test the theory. If responsible people were dictating policy, I'm sure we'd be fine. But Secretary Geithner and President Obama have a perverse incentive to capitalize on calumny. I, for one, don't trust them to put patriotism over politics.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

When Senator McConnell said the President wants to give Americans smoke and mirrors this is what he was talking about. The seven-page plan is based on promises that the 2000-page bills that codify it will cut spending and make the proposed tax code changes. But as WSJ notes, "Senate committee chairmen would have wide latitude to write the new laws as they see fit. Anyone up for Max Baucus rewriting the tax code?" Rush read excerpts of the plan yesterday that said chairmen are responsible for delivering cuts "unless they adversely impact the most vulnerable Americans." No wonder the President is so giddy. The only thing he'd prefer would be the McConnell "last chance fallback" plan, which Obama said "is still on the table."

"Positive elements?" Maybe some positive ideas but the best we can hope for is the house will refuse to pass whatever resulting crap comes over from the senate. Then where are we? Credit limit raised - tax and spend (and regulate) status quo.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2011 2:48 PM

July 19, 2011

Kick Me Outta the Tea Party

I don't care how bad parts of it suck, I love the Gang-of-six plan! Crazy about it! Would marry it and bear it strong sons!

Leaders of a bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators said Tuesday that they've reached an agreement on a major plan to cut the deficit by more than $4 trillion. The deal, which was quickly endorsed by President Obama, pushed stocks higher.

The DJIA is up 208 at 3:25 EDT, Larry Kudlow will be giddy tonight.

But mostly, the GOP will be able to back down, get a few wins and live to fight another day. We (we kimosabe?) were getting our right wing asses kicked trying to govern from one house of Congress.

Yaaay tax hikes! Yaaay fake cuts that will never materialize! Sweet NED, we dodged a bullet!

UPDATE: Dan Mitchell of CATO has The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by John Kranz at 3:24 PM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

Brave Sir Robin waits for the high-sign from the commanders upon high at the evening news. Pretty sure my kids won't be served by my following that strategy.

"What did you do back in those early days to oppose the evil confiscatory government daddy?"

"I voted for the TEA Party candidates and crossed my fingers that TV producers would tell them it's OK to cut the budget."

"So that's why we have to trade with these metal coins and hide them in jars in the backyard?"

"I'm sorry dear. We just couldn't risk another Democrat majority in congress."

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2011 7:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Glad I am cementing my position as blog pragmatist. One more try, if I may:

Bumping the debt ceiling on August 3 will make the GOP own the bad economy caused by the Administration's bad policies. Everything bad after then will be attributed to the crazy Tea Party Republicans who would not compromise.

Now, if you can win, I'll go with Barry Goldwater: "Moderation in pursuit of spending cuts is no virtue." But if you cannot win and your symbolic charge will damage future attempts at extending liberty, then I'll go with "Brave, brave, Sir Robin..."

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2011 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I no longer fear "you can't win." If we're going to call their plays anyway then we might as well lose.

Let's return to brother BR's football analogy.

Prior compromise has only resulted in extending the time to a socialist state.

This is the time for a goal line stand. "It's time for smash-mouth football." If not now, when? After we take control of the White House and both houses of congress in 2012? There's a better chance of that than ever now, but what if we don't?

The public is watching. The 2010 mandate has not yet been met. Call. Their. Bluff.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2011 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Naah, I'm sticking with my war analogy. You want to die on this hill for no tactical benefit. Maybe they'll erect a bronze statue of you in the Ft. Lupton square.

When? When we take the Senate in 2012, yup. In the meantime, we may obstruct but it is foolhardy to pretend we are directing legislation from the House.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I contend that your war analogy is your problem. In politics and in football, even when the other team scores you keep playing the game. I don't see fear of them being cheered for scoring as a valid reason to ... let them score.

You seem to think the fans will boo us if we play too rough. I think they'll boo us if we don't.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2011 12:57 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sorry, gotta hang with JG on this one and not because it's my stupid analogy.

Tonight, O'Reilly opined that the Tea Party must compromise in order to remain relevant. So, what is comprise in this case? Going broke in 2020 instead of 2016? Borrowing only 20% of our spending instead of 40%?

Bottom line is that we go broke if we lose the debate and we go broke if we compromise. If we go broke, let it be on the shoulder of the libs. We are literally fighting for our economic way of life. It's time to eat our peas.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 21, 2011 11:07 PM

July 14, 2011

Tall Woman Speak Truth

It's over. The GOP has everything to lose on the debt ceiling negations, and one of the coolest charts on federal spending ever.

Hat-tip: Instapundit, who curiously gives a long excerpt, commentary, multiple updates, and then commentary on them. While I give "Heh." It is like you woke up in bizarro world this morning...

Posted by John Kranz at 7:33 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It took a while but I finally figured out what's wrong with this picture, i.e. your "coolest chart on federal spending ever."

McArdle uses it to show that the debt limit must be raised to keep our interest rates from rising. But the largest item in her spending chart is "Pensions and Interest on National Debt." Not sure why those two get lumped together but excuse me? We must allow Washington to borrow more money to pay the interest on what they've already borrowed? And this improves our government's credit rating and, as a result, the rates it gets on future borrowing? Bizarro World is right.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2011 2:44 PM

July 13, 2011

Libertarian Debt Solutions -- from a Democrat

And not just any Democrat -- my personal Democrat!

Jared Polis (D - CondoOfLove) pens a guest ed in the WSJ today that sparkles with good ideas. It's a read the whole thing, and Coloradans without subscriptions should ping me for an email (UPDATE: It's on his site).

He has four revenue ideas that all fall outside of tax increases in my book:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the bipartisan 2007 Senate immigration bill would have boosted revenues by $15 billion by 2012 and by $48 billion by 2017. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, also found that forcing undocumented immigrants to get right with the law would boost their productivity and thus the incomes of U.S. households $180 billion a year by 2019, thereby further increasing tax revenues.

New revenues can also be found by changing the way we treat Internet gaming, which is currently both underground and offshore. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently spends millions of dollars trying to shut down and prosecute Internet gaming sites, but they remain a casual click away for any interested gambler. Legalizing and regulating online gaming, as Reps. John Campbell (R., Calif.) and Jim McDermott (D., Wash.) have proposed, would generate $42 billion in additional revenue over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

In my home state of Colorado, and in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, local revenues have increased by millions of dollars since lawmakers decided to legalize and regulate medical marijuana. By reducing the current 100% confiscatory tax on marijuana to more reasonable levels, we can make revenues increase. If we were to nationally legalize, regulate and reduce federal taxes on marijuana, we could receive as much as $2.4 billion in additional revenue annually, according to a 2005 study conducted by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.

We can also institute a one-year amnesty program for federal taxpayers. This can quickly raise substantial revenues, boost our economy, and provide a broader tax base as former tax cheaters come out of the shadows and file returns. To reduce the fiscal burden on states, we could implement state tax amnesty programs alongside any federal one. According to economist Arthur Laffer, a one-year amnesty program could provide $800 billion to $1 trillion in additional revenues over 10 years.

Not sure my blog brothers will dig all four, but you have to give props to a leftist Democrat's quoting CATO, Jeffrey Miron, and Art Laffer.

UPDATE: Free link added.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

I'll deftly avoid the other hot-buttons and feign astonishment that "if we were to ... reduce federal taxes on marijuana, we could receive as much as $2.4 [baba]billion in additional revenue annually." Gosh, it seems like we've heard that somewhere before from someone. What if we tried it on other stuff, and not just marijuana? Imagine the possibilities!

Oh good grief. Then I read the last paragraph. Criminy Jared, you'll admit it's a good idea and it will increase tax revenues while also growing the economy but you're only willing to do it TEMPORARILY? Respectfully, you're an asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2011 12:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Hey! That's my ass -- er, Congressman -- you're talking about!

Agreeing to a short term extension on an immigration and marijuana gag rule, any interest in gaming or tax amnesty?

Are we on the same paragraph for your temporary concern? I think an amnesty program has to have an expiration date, does it not? Or were you talking about another item?

I seriously like the whole package, and my estimation of my representation has skyrocket this morning. But, I'll put you down as a "no," then...

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2011 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The only thing I agreed to on immigration and weed was not to talk about them at the moment. And I misread the paragraph on taxpayer "amnesty." I saw "raise substantial revenues, boost our economy, and provide a broader tax base" in the same paragraph as the name "economist Arthur Laffer" and mistakenly believed Polis was pitching temporary tax rate reductions. I hereby retract "asshole." But reproach is still due on the basis that he fails to recognize why taxpayers choose to cheat in the first place.

We needn't get too involved in discussion of how this might be received however, or if being packaged like this increases its chance of passage via the magic formula of "compromise." The real reason for floating this proposal is not legislative, but electoral. Like our [CO] two Democrat senators he's hurriedly endorsing conservative ideas to improve his image. Looks like it's working.

We'll talk again when Majority Leader Reid speaks as glowingly of this as he did the Minority Leader's debt-ceiling "fallback" plan. In the meantime this proposal should be used, electorally and legislatively, to focus a laser on the proposition that reducing tax rates to more reasonable levels can make revenues increase. Like this.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2011 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, that's a gag rule. I'm just finishing up the (very good) Heidler biography on Henry Clay. The gag rule was employed in the 27 Congress with minimal success to continue House business without interruption from slavery discussions. I concede that you're not conceding any more than that.

I don't know what's in Representative Polis's heart. But I know that the rest of his caucus and the President he shares a party with have offered nothing but "tax the rich" and "corporate jets" and "a clean debt-limit increase." Here comes my Congressman, with a call to raise revenue by raising liberty -- I'm all freakin' ears.

I don't know that his conversion is complete, and I share your circumspection that this will go no further than dividing two philosophical brothers. But the ceiling debate is all about getting things done that could not get done without the gun pointed at poor granny's head.

Each of these gives his caucus revenue they want, but also increases my personal freedom. Yay Jared!

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2011 6:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not gonna let me have my fun, are ya.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2011 7:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Not while they's peas to eat.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 1:53 PM

June 22, 2011

Snow in August!

[The title alludes to the first of the "Nanny McPhee" movies by and with Emma Thompson. I have just discovered these (there are two I know of) and they are gems.]

Coloradans should expect snow about any time but I doubt measurable has been recorded in August at any elevation habitable by homo sapiens.

But Coloradans would not normally expect their Senator (and my former Congressman) Mark Udall (D - CO) to team up with Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS - OK) to cut government.

The unfortunate truth is that some outdated federal regulations or programs persist simply because they haven't been properly reviewed. To help fix that, I've introduced legislation to establish a Senate committee with the sole purpose of identifying and targeting wasteful and underperforming federal government programs that should be cut or eliminated.

This bipartisan committee would be an important step toward making government more efficient and responsive to the American people. But we can't stop there.

In fact, this week, I also joined Republican Senator Tom Coburn in introducing an amendment that would require that Congress get a warning when proposed legislation creates duplicative programs. It would also require that Senate committees justify the need for legislation that overlaps with other laws or regulations. These important steps will help change the culture in Congress and encourage meaningful oversight.

I am Tea Party, hear me roar!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2011

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today’s lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,” Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

Then, They Came for the Software Developers

...and there was no one left to speak for me.

With all respect to Martin Niemöller, it's a shock to see your own industry on the Congressional Nationalization Buffet Table. In what James Taranto calls "the worst idea out of Congress in the last few minutes," gub'mint is going into commercial software:

Egged on by [Republican Illinois Senator Mark] Kirk at a hearing this month, [Democrat Illinois Senator Richard] Durbin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service, wants a disinterested IRS to look into drawing up software like TurboTax and offering it free to Americans on the agency's website. "We can eliminate the middle man," Durbin said. "It may save taxpayers money."

The idea was Kirk's, raised near the end of testimony from IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, whose $12 billion annual budget doesn't include any spending for free taxpayer software. Kirk estimated it would cost $20 million to $30 million to develop. He argued that Americans spend too much time and money filing taxes and that the agency should make helping taxpayers its priority.

Where? Does? One? Begin? "Cut out the middle man?" There is a vibrant market. If you don't like the US Treasury Secretary Geithner approved TurboTax, I heartily recommend the hosted TaxACT. It's nine or ten dollars for a Federal return, but I splurge for the $14.95 "Premier" that includes my Colorado State return. No freakin' doubt we'll save a gob of money having the government develop and deploy this.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:29 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"Free" to taxpayers?!? Who the hell does he think would pay for the development of said product, even if it works? Besides, who would trust the IRS - specifically mandated by Congress to maximize revenue within the law - to create an application that would result in the lowest possible tax liability?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 21, 2011 3:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: if I don't choose to use TurboTax, then I don't pay for it. Every taxpayer will pay for the government version, whether they use it or not.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 21, 2011 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I think you're missing how much of our money is going to the middle men, br. Gub'mint software will be much cheaper than $9. Damn middle men.

On the serious side, I am a big fan of TaxACT. Hosted solution, inexpensive, manages state and fed e-filing, plus it fills in and suggests entries based on last year's form. It doesn't get the Tim Geithner endorsement, but it's good.

Your incentive point is well founded as well. Plus, they wouldn’t log changes, or store worksheets that are not required for submission, or anything like that. Would they?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the private, FOR PROFIT, produced TurboTax is already online and free for 1040EZ filers. Gee, wonder how and why they do that without a government mandate?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 8:15 PM

June 17, 2011

How About a Little Optimism, Scarecrow?

My optimism and pragmatism cred was questioned this week. I shared my general ennui at the 2012 GOP Presidential race, and my blog brother suggested I revel in the change of tone and direction from previous years' debates. I'd reference Buffy in Season Six were he as geeky as me. Our heroine has been yanked out of heaven (Daniels-Rubio '12) and her friends cannot understand why general human pleasures (Herman Cain) do not satisfy her.

For the record, I think Keith and I are on solid footing as we mope about. Two of my favorite candidates (Govs. Christie and Daniels) elected not to run. Governor Romney looks to be solidifying his front -runner status, even though he is to the left of a supermajority in the US Senate on ethanol and authored the precursor to ObamaCare®. That stings a bit.

A very young, überintelligent and liberty-minded friend of mine suggested that she'd "move to Mordor" if Rep. Bachmann won. I asked her, as jg has asked me, for specific factual information that documents these repellent views. To be fair to the next Vice President, it was all small potato(e)s. Her tenure in Minnesota has been closely aligned with opposition to gay rights and promotion of traditional values. That may be a case of her enemies choosing her, I am not certain. But it does not contribute to my sunny disposition.

Back to the optimism, and the change of discussion that Chairman Ryan and brother jg like to highlight. Jennifer Rubin has a cheery post on this topic that I fulsomely recommend:

There were five critical steps after the 2010 election. First, the Senate held its ground and rejected the omnibus spending bill. Second, in a temporary and then a final vote on the continuing resolution for the 2011 budget Democrats agreed to more cuts, breaking the backs of those arguing for more spending ("stimulus"). Third, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) set down a marker: Every dollar the debt ceiling is raised requires a dollar in cuts. Fourth, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) made clear again this week that there will be no tax hikes. Fifth, Republicans generally did not flinch when the Democrats went on their Medicare scare campaign.

So now the question is how much to cut and can we work in some tax cuts before Congress gets to overall tax reform. Remarkable, isn't it?

Remarkable, yet none touches the Executive Branch. And as Rubin admits in the penultimate ppg:
That's the optimistic version. Or, the talks could collapse, we could suffer a technical default and the markets could freak.

Have a nice day!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I read the pessimistic alternative she closed with as a suggestion that the Democrats have no choice but to compromise on GOP terms. To paraphrase: "Either the Dems go ahead with spending cuts sans tax rate hikes or the economy craters and they get the blame."

Having the tax-and-spend party in this kind of a bind does inspire some hope. No?

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 12:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, but I again bifurcate Article I optimism (we have an excellent opportunity to take the Senate in the 113th) and Article II pessimism (none of our candidates can present a broad, articulate vision of liberty).

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2011 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But they are beginning to try. I see baby steps toward a just law and I just get all giddy.

The educational mission endures. That Bastiat link is an excellent primer.

[And remember it isn't merely the candidates who need to be brought along at their own pace. The electorate requires some time to learn as well.]

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2011 4:55 PM

June 8, 2011

Facebook Post of the Day

My friends ain't all bad. Posting Taranto's piece on the Weinerkerfuffle®:

Seriously? I don't think he should be removed from office. but I do think we should be able to mock him mercilessly.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:16 PM | Comments (0)

A Terrible Day for Liberty

The Fifth Amendment has been chucked in the trash.

As a result of the roll call, the Fed will be allowed to issue final rules on July 21 trimming the average 44 cents that banks charge for each debit card transaction. That fee, typically 1 to 2 percent of each purchase, produces $16 billion in annual revenue for banks and credit card companies, the Fed estimates.

The central bank has proposed capping the so-called interchange fee at 12 cents, though the final plan could change slightly.

James DeLong had a superb look at this in American.com today.
The Durbin amendment was a dead-of-night add-on to last year's Dodd-Frank bill that requires the FRB to issue regulations limiting the interchange fees charged by debit card issuers to an amount that is "reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer with respect to the transaction." The meaning of this phrase is then whittled down some more: the FRB is to distinguish between "the incremental cost incurred by an issuer for ... a particular electronic debit transaction," which it can consider in setting the rate, and "other costs incurred by an issuer which are not specific to a particular electronic debit transaction," which must be ignored.

The obvious interpretation of the law is that it requires marginal cost pricing of a service that can be offered only as the result of a process of hefty capital investment. The analogy would be a law noting that it costs very little for a telecommunications company to send a TV program to a consumer, so it must charge only for the electrons used, not for the investment in laying cable, buying routers, developing the necessary software code, or producing the content in the first place.

The fact that Congress could use the phrase "incremental cost ... of a particular ... transaction" shows how out of touch it is with industrial realities. Visit a Network Operations Center for a telecom carrier or electronic funds transfer firm and you see bays the size of two football fields filled with hundreds of millions of dollars of computer equipment, and surrounded by cubic yards of concrete and security protections, in which a few people oversee the processing of 20,000 transactions per second. "Incremental cost ... of a particular ... transaction" is a ridiculous concept, since the cost of any transaction is the cost of the electrons moving over billions of dollars of capital investment.

You buy two football fields worth of servers and routers and the government dictates your price. I don't throw the S word around lightly, but if that ain't real-live, flesh-and-blood socialism...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The incremental cost of software is equally diminuative. And of DVD and BluRay movies. Does this mean we can finally end President Clinton's War on Movie Piracy?

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2011 9:44 PM

May 26, 2011

Republicans Really ARE Mean

Putting up the President's budget for a vote. That's just mean.

They'll probably try to score political points off its 0 - 97 loss.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:53 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Not a single Democrat voted for the Democrat president's budget despite their ability to pass it on a party-line vote. Ouch!

The president need not feel singled out, however. It is only fair to point out that not a single Democrat voted for ANY of the four separate budget proposals brought to the Senate floor this week. So it isn't really the president that they don't like, it's budgets.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 2:02 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at May 27, 2011 10:29 AM

May 17, 2011

Actually, This Makes The Onion Thing Look Smart

I laughed at the idiocy of government's banning futures trading on onions. Damned Vidalia Speculators!

But, looking at the "Bust Big Oil's Chops Act of 2011," it is looking like the definition of wisdom. Let's look at the AP take:

WASHINGTON -- The Senate is voting on a bill Tuesday that would repeal about $2 billion a year in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies, a Democratic response to $4-a-gallon gasoline that might fare better when Congress and the White House negotiate a deal later this year to increase the government's ability to borrow.

The bill is expected to be defeated in a procedural vote in the evening. But Democrats hope to build their case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration. Lawmakers from both parties are demanding deficit reduction as part of deal to increase the government's ability to borrow and avoid an unprecedented default on U.S. Treasury bonds.

"Why should Americans pay at the gas pump once and then give these subsidies to the oil companies a second time?" said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nev. "We believe we need to cut government spending," he said, adding, "The place to start is with these subsidies."

The choir may quietly text their girlfriends while I rant, but I cannot leave this one alone. Is there anything in those first three paragraphs that makes any logical sense?
  • "a Democratic response to $4-a-gallon gasoline" If a company (or five)'s price is too high, raise their taxes. This makes the underpants gnomes' business plan look contiguous. "Now that our taxes are higher, we will be able to lower prices! Everybody wins!"
  • "But Democrats hope to build their case to include the measure in a deficit-reduction package being negotiated by key lawmakers and the Obama administration" Okay, this one actually parses and makes sense. The bad news is that it represents $2 Billion out of a deficit of $1.5 Trillion, and a debt of $14.5 Trillion. "Hooray! Sec Geithner will have six more minutes until he hits the debt ceiling! Crisis averted!!"
  • "Why should Americans pay at the gas pump once and then give these subsidies to the oil companies a second time?" Umm, Mister Leader, when you pay at the pump, you are purch-as-ing their product. When you "give them subsidies," you -- no, wait you really don't give them subsidies at all, Senator, you're making this whole thing up.

This is their contribution to the spending crisis. A pissant $2B tax hike that is as much a Bill of Attainder as anything else.

And yet, this party is still taken seriously.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:23 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the thorough take-down of the BBOCA of 2011. I'm on record opposing all subsidies, and if oil companies still get any legacy subsidies I say wipe 'em out and show how the oil bidness is self-sufficient. But when I found out the Dems "subsidies to big oil" are merely the itemized deductions that every other corporation and individual is entitled to claim on their byzantine tax liability negotiating document (e.g. 1040) I had to pick my chin up off the floor. "Fine Mr. Majority Leader, go ahead and eliminate all itemized deductions, but not just those for five corporations who make one of the most important products on earth" (you blubbering pissant.) Damn, I'm really hatin' on the NRA 'bout now.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2011 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

They're nothing if not good demagogues. They have successfully hitched their wagons to anti-subsidy sentiment.

My dear Facebook friends equate these manufacturing depreciation allowances with the market-distorting giveaways to the wind and solar industries. Again, if you can disregard a three or four magnitude difference, I suppose they are somewhat similar.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 7:28 PM

May 13, 2011

Right Wing Nuts?

Recent demands by various factions of the Republican caucus as the price for increasing the debt limit leads The Refugee to hope that they have, perhaps, finally grown a set of cojones. Demands include such beauties as hard spending limits (i.e., percent of GDP), modifications and caps to Medicare and Medicaid spending and "tax increases off the table". Whether or not this represents organ-farming moving from the lab to politics or if they are mere prosthetic devices remains to be seen. However, any failure to keep the ball rolling is likely to result in the electorate getting testy.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2011

Who Says They're Not Serious?

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released their "People's Budget" response to the Ryan plan.

James Pethokoukis doesn't seem what I'd call 100%, totally on board:

Here's the short version of the plan: It claims to achieve primary balance (not counting interest costs) by 2014 and overall balance by 2021. It does this via huge tax hikes (on income, corporate profits and investments) and by cutting defense spending by $2.3 trillion over a decade -- and then shifting $1.7 trillion of those savings into nondefense outlays. Those nearly $2 trillion in new "investments" would boost the growth potential of the economy by 0.3 percentage point per year over the next decade. Or so the CPC and the Economic Policy Institute claims.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2011

Read 'em and Weep!

The Club for Growth rankings for 2010 are out. It doesn't look too good in Colorado.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Colorado doesn't look so bad from where I'm sitting. I've got Senators #61 and - wait for it - #100 (out of 100, I presume), and 27 Congressmen (including my own) tied for #435.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 29, 2011 3:09 PM

April 13, 2011

WIsconsin Hosses!

If the Tea Party did nothing but send Ron Johnson to the US Senate (the anti-Lafollette?), it was all worth it. His first floor speech is on the WSJ Ed Page today (holler if you would like it emailed around Rupert's wall)

In 1902, the federal government spent 2% of the nation's gross domestic product. State and local governments spent 5%. Government was close to the governed. The size, scope, and cost of the federal government was constrained by the Constitution's enumerated powers. The individual was preeminent, and government's role was modest and pedestrian.

This body played a key role in limiting federal government expansion. Debate in the Senate was unlimited. The cloture vote did not exist. As George Washington had said, the Senate really was the saucer that cooled the tea.

UPDATE: Thanks, Brother Keith! video

Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Allow me: http://bit.ly/fHfcHo

That's the text of his speech, and includes a link to a video of the same. As you said: Hoss.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 13, 2011 3:14 PM

April 11, 2011

Good Friends to Have

I don't think we're really fighting around here. I'm guessing that most of us are pretty pleased with the first derivative of discretionary spending, though we would all like more.

The WSJ Ed Page calls it A Tea Party Victory in their lead editorial today:

One of the ironies of Friday's budget deal is that it is being criticized both by Ms. Pelosi and some conservative Republicans. We can understand Ms. Pelosi's angst. But conservatives are misguided if they think they could have done much better than Mr. Boehner, or that a shutdown would have helped their cause. Republicans need to stay united for the bigger fights to come this year, and for now they and the tea party can take credit for spending cuts that even Mr. Obama feels politically obliged to sell as historic.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Stay united for the bigger fights to come this year..." Yep. That's what Republicans need to do alright. And does it need to be said that when those fights come Republicans must WIN them? In this context "win" means cut spending to 2008 levels or less. This is the next "step in the right direction" that TEA Party libertarians expect to see. If Boehner can't deliver I expect we'll (TPL's) be looking for someone else to handle the gavel.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2011 3:51 PM

April 5, 2011

Playin' Chicken

I can't believe ThreeSources has been silent on Prince William's decision not to wear a wedding ring the Ryan Budget Proposal. I think it is awesome on stilts. It is probably not exactly what I may have done and yes, tough guy that I am, I could have stood even more cuts.

John Stossel's Facebook survey is running away with "it's still not enough cuts" and the wingnuttosphere is abuzz with disappointment. Yeah, I wanted to win WWII and have free cherry sundaes with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

At a slightly lower elevation than Candy Mountain, I think we have to realize that Chairman Ryan (I still like the sound of that)'s plan is audacious and it would be a game changer to get half of it.

The guys (and sadly Veronique de Rugy) who are throwing stones have a point, but cannot be taken seriously. Harry Reid runs the Senate and Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office. To suggest we kick the can down the road until we can get a $14 Trillion cut is no more serious than the President's proposal to do nothing.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:02 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm happy with it. If the entire thing can be passed without an "efficaciousnessectomy" it will be a step back from the brink of existential peril. It doesn't overreach, seeking only to return spending to 2008 levels. Since the world didn't end then it'll be hard to argue that it would do so with passage of this budget.

After passage the campaign to educate and enlighten the public to the perils of 'demanding the unearned' must continue. But for now, take the $400 BaBaBillion per year and run!

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2011 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Six-point-two T-trillion over ten years, front loaded.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2011 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had heard $4.4Bn from Jason Lewis yesterday. Today he explains that he should have said $6.2Bn. $4.4Bn was the figure for deficit reduction over the course of the plan.

Jason is a big fan. He says it is put up or shut up time and as a litmus test for GOP candidates it will "separate the men from the boys."

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 12:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Those were the advance "whisper numbers." Chairman Ryan has underpromised and overdelivered.

I expect the moans of outrage from the collectivists and I can certainly understand a few cranks saying that this is our chance to return to 19th Century governance. But the number and seriousness of the "too small" brigade is disappointing.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2011 11:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

When dagny and I heard it reported on Monday morning's news we both said "where do we sign?" I don't even care what the cuts are. Cut baby cut. Even at the Pentagon.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:23 PM
But jk thinks:

CATO makes that, what I would call the one serious critique, that Ryan does not cut miltary spending.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2011 1:38 PM

April 4, 2011

Budget Cuts with a Purpose

Not only does this recommendation by forecasting expert J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania hold promise for reducing the federal budget deficit, it could also reduce energy costs across the board nation wide.

The three researchers audited the forecasting procedures used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose "procedures violated 81% of the 89 relevant forecasting principles," Armstrong noted.

Armstrong and his colleagues recommend Congress end government funding for climate change research as well as other research, government programs, and regulations that assume the planet is warming. They also recommend Congress cease funding organizations that lobby or campaign for global warming.

"Based on our analyses, especially with respect to the violations of the principles regarding objectivity and full disclosure," Armstrong told members of Congress, "we conclude that the manmade global warming alarm is an anti-scientific political movement."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2011

Too Funny!

Senator Schumer tells the caucus what to say, unaware that reporters are on the line.

After thanking his colleagues -- Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut -- for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. "I always use the word extreme," Mr. Schumer said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week."

So, guys, here it goes -- and this is straight from Corporate: when asked about the Senior Senator form New York, portray him as an "asshole." I always use the word "asshole." that's what we're supposed to use this week.

Got it?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:30 AM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

For the Three Sources style guide: Charles Schumer, (Asshole-NY)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 30, 2011 11:39 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If we're seriously going to do this, we're quickly going to find that our federal legislature has more assholes than the bridge crew of Spaceball One.

Yeah, I feel like a total geek for remembering that reference.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 2:53 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Keith, it did also include a Colonel Sanders.
Not where this analogy can go. :)

Posted by: AlexC at March 30, 2011 4:35 PM

March 22, 2011

Mean Old Republicans

I hope the GOP is not going to try and make a big deal out of Senator McCaskill's plane in 2012.

Sen. Claire McCaskill's admission that she owes nearly $300,000 in back taxes on a plane she co-owned with her husband is the latest in a series of revelations regarding the aircraft that have complicated the Missouri Democrat's already-difficult path to reelection in 2012.

The tax revelations come roughly a week after McCaskill acknowledged using the plane for both official travel and purely political business while charging taxpayers for the flights.

I mean, who among us has not occasionally failed to remember to make a $287,000 tax payment? And why shouldn't we pay for her fuel and maintenance? She's just working so hard to take care of us!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2011

The Right Lesson Fron Japan

The wrong lesson from the tragedy is that nuclear power is unsafe. And we have learned that one completely.

The right lesson ... let me let Jeopardy champion, frequent Kudlow guest, and Reuters columnist James Pethokoukis say it:

You never know when a black swan will float your way. And when your credit card is nearly maxed out, dealing with emergencies can be tricky. A massive rebuilding effort may stretch Japan to its financial limits. Politicians in Washington should take note of the warning for several reasons:

The famously scary Administration budget proposals are predicated on rosy growth scenarios. One doesn't have to be too dark to envision a natural or "Man made" disaster and the potential difficulty to simultaneously watch spending and deal with it.

Anyone who doubts my "wrong lesson" needs to read blog friend LisaM's take.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2011

It's Chuck Schumer's World

It's Chuck Schumer's World -- we only live in it!

The Senior Senator from the Empire State is quoted in a Yahoo/AP story on the spending bills.

"We're looking for some give on the Republican side," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Citing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and first-term tea party-backed lawmakers, Schumer said Boehner "needs something to bring his ... freshmen into the real world."

A real world where Senator Schumer gets to spend as much as he wants to on anything he deems important. As Buffy might say: "Project Much?"

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

WSJ Ed Page's Paul Gigot (another Wisconsin lad), with a great column/interview about Chairman Paul Ryan (Hoss - WI):

So goes the reality of today's Washington, especially after Mr. Obama dropped his budget this week that does almost nothing about everything. To call it a punt is unfair to the game of football.

Honorable Mention (same article):
"The way I look at things is if you want to be good at this kind of job, you have to be willing to lose it. Number two, the times require this. And number three, if you don't believe in your principles, and applying those principles, then what's the point?" He mentions limited government and economic freedom. "I believe these are the best solutions. I believe they will result in growth and opportunity for the country."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Gosh, that last bit almost sounds like an elevator talk!

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2011 1:09 AM

February 18, 2011

Can it be true?

My brother-in-law calls to tell me he is watching CSPAN, and the mohair subsidy has been killed.

Did any of us think we would live this long?

Posted by John Kranz at 8:06 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I think CSPAN has resorted to making crap up to boost viewership.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2011 12:54 AM

February 17, 2011

It's a Badgerpalooza!

Americans for Prosperity:

By the way, newly-elected Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin made one of his first efforts in Congress a bill that returns non-obligated stimulus funding to the taxpayers. Now his bill has been included in the continuing resolution the House is working on this week. It’s great to see our efforts to end government overspending become the core of actual legislation and not just something we all rally for.

(Emphasis mine)

Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2011

New Conversations

Rep. Paul Ryan made an interesting comment on FOX News Sunday yesterday. Pressed about differences in the severity of budget cuts among different factions in the GOP, Chairman Ryan (I still like the sound of that) expressed hope that the conversation in Washington has shifted from "how much to spend" to "how much to cut." The blog optimist swoons.

We've discussed the required severity of cuts and structures going forward. I hold that the best hope is to change the tide of the conversation.

Example numero dos: the Obama Administration -- as Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up -- offers plans to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The WSJ Swoons.

Our view is that there should be no federal housing guarantee. If Congress wants to subsidize housing for the poor, it ought to do so explicitly through annual appropriations. One lesson--perhaps the most important--of the financial crisis is that broad policy favors for housing hurt every American by misallocating capital and credit. The feds created incentives to pour money into McMansions we didn't need while robbing scarce capital from manufacturing, biotech and other uses that might have created better jobs and led to a more balanced and faster growing economy.

Being the Obama Administration, they offered three options with varying levels of government intrusion. But, again, the talk is how much to remove, not how much more to spend to increase home ownership.

Regular readers will know I don't go for piling on President George W. Bush just for sport. But this is a superb case against "compassionate conservatism." Home ownership is "a conservative value" ergo we should use tax dollars to improve minority and poverty ownership rates. Sounds good but in the end, it is a market distortion and concomitant misallocation of capital.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 9, 2011

Hoss III

Rep. Jeff Flake, (HOSS - AZ), voted against the Appropriations Committee's proposed budget cuts.

The 27-22 vote broke down by party, with two notable exceptions: GOP Reps. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) and Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyo.) joined with Democrats and voted 'no' in protest over cuts they viewed as insufficient. Republicans very nearly lost a third member. Freshman Rep. Tom Graves (R., Ga.) had also threatened to oppose the measure, but was won over at the last minute.

Dey was too small.
He certainly didn't sign up for the Appropriations Committee to make friends.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2011

What's the Plural of Hoss?

I think Senator Rand Paul goes right up on Rushmore next to Judge Roger Vinson.

ThreeSourcers will especially dig his comparison of the Clay cousins.

Paul, who sits at Henry's desk, grappled with the pair's legacy. Henry Clay, he noted, is a darling of historians, but it is Cassius Clay, an unapologetic agitator, who captures his eye. "A venomous pen was his first weapon of choice, a Bowie knife his second," Paul said, smiling slightly. "He was so effective with the one, he found it wise to have the other handy."

At the risk of spoiling the ending, this Kentucky Senator thinks there's too much compromise on budget cuts. And he's ready to take out his Bowie knife.

Must thing read whole.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 3, 2011

Draconian Budget Cuts of a Magnitude that will Harm Critical Services

WaPo: Those mean ol' Republicans want to cut $30 Billion. I guess they don't like kids or something.

The figure represents a sharp reduction from President Obama's most recent budget request, and Democrats have dismissed the proposal as draconian, arguing that cuts of that magnitude would harm critical government services.

Stark, clear differences -- I'm all for it. The Democrats want to be the party that voted 100% not to repeal ObamaCare® and the party of the unlimited Gravy Train. Let's go.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not stark and clear enough, in light of the $100 billion in cuts originally discussed. I'm fearful we're looking at signs of the GOP being unserious about devolving the size of government.

"Critical government services"? When the Democrats want to come to the table ready to defend (a) why the government and not private business, individuals, or charity is the best choice to do the particular task on the chopping block, and (b) what the Constitutional authority is for the federal government garnering that task to itself. Anything that can't pass that two-pronged test ought to be done away with - period.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2011 5:00 PM

January 31, 2011

Worst Person in the World?

Now that Keith Olberman is gone -- NO, I just can't do it. Nope, execrable as he is, there are indeed worse people in the world than Senator Charles Schumer.


All the same...

Insty points out that "While the Middle East burns and America goes broke, Charles Schumer opines on bath salts."

ALBANY, N.Y. -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says he wants the federal government to ban new designer drugs known as bath salts that pack as much punch as cocaine or methamphetamines.

The small, inexpensive packets of powder are meant to be snorted for a hallucination-inducing high, but they are often marketed with a wink on the Internet or in convenience stores as bathing salts.

The Democratic senator is announcing a bill Sunday that would add those chemicals to the list of federally controlled substances. He is also pushing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban the substance in the state.

Graphing myself versus Sen. Schumer in the Nolan Chart or comparable two-axes political distribution would show true opposites. Schumer is authoritarian on personal liberty issues and confiscatory/collectivist on economic.

Add his capacity for demagoguery and, well, if he didn't have such a great personality...

UPDATE: Daily Caller (via Taranto) piles on:
"you know, we have three branches of government. We have a House. We have a Senate. We have a president."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Whatever Chuck the Schmuck smokes to get that stupidly statist, that should be banned before anything else.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 31, 2011 12:15 PM

January 20, 2011

Deminted Thinking

Sen. Jim DeMint and Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Garrett (all Republicans) penned an op-ed in The Washington Examiner on how to cut $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. Basically, this involves returning to 2006 spending level and implementing a "hard freeze" at that point.

Whether Americans realize it or not, we are all running together in a race against time. Unless Washington takes swift action to cut spending, we will chain our children to debt and rob them of opportunity to reach for the American Dream. On its own, passing the Spending Reduction Act will not get us over the finish line -- but we will get a $2.5 trillion head start.

First of all and with all due respect, given a $14 trillion debt, $2.5 trillion does not sound all that aggressive over 10 years. Yes, Federal receipts could grow to reduce the debt with an expanding economy and a flat budget. Maybe that will be enough.

More problematic, however, is that this proposal falls into the same old beltway trap. Do DeMint & Co. really believe that future Congresses would honor this spending discipline for 10 years? The Refugee finds that to be wishful thinking. Any 10 year projection regarding either fiscal savings or spending cuts is inherently crap. Moreover, this proposal does nothing to address the unfunded liabilities of entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid just as boomers enter retirement.

The Refugee would like to further point out that there is no such thing as a "finish line" unless these fine gentlemen are forecasting the end of our Republic or the disbanding of Congress. This is a never ending battle of "how much to spend and where to spend it." Fiscally responsible Congressmen cannot win this battle in the long term. As soon as the economy gives a hint of recovery and Federal revenues peek up, the Democrats and enough RINOs will vote to restore the "draconian cuts" - and up the ante - right before an election.

Although spending seems to be a problem, it is really a symptom. We cannot win the "where and how much" game until we solve the "how" game of goverment funding. Constitutional limits on spending, ending the entitlement money-grab and Constitutionally changing the way revenues are generated are the only ways to restore sanity to a Congressional spending system that inherently defies logic.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:52 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Do DeMint & Co. really believe that future Congresses would honor this spending discipline for 10 years?

I am as pessimistic as you on this point, perhaps moreso. As long as spending, entitlements, and pork have the ability to buy votes, nothing is done about the temptation. To fix this, we ought to have:

(a) Constitutional limits on what things Washington can rightly spend public money on (and I believe we do, but those limits are disregarded);
(b) a voting public who understands basic lessons of civics, and are willing to swiftly vote transgressing pols out of office; and
(c) the understanding that rather than deciding all the things they want to spend money on and then seeing how much they have to raise taxes to accomplish that, government and the public understand that tax revenues are the allowance that we give our elected leaders to do our business, and out of that allowance, they can then decide where and how to spend it.

"Fiscally responsible Congressmen cannot win this battle in the long term."

Too true, at least not alone. It is not enough to defund Congress during this session. Unless it is codified, set in stone, and voters learn to permanently hold them to that or face the consequences, we will always be at risk of returning to the same mess we're in today.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2011 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I have got to step up as blog optimist, here.

I see my blog brothers making the perfect the enemy of the good. I'd love the 112th Freshmen to take some serious whacks at spending as much as anybody. In an email thread on the Christopher Beam piece in New York Magazine, I only-half-jokingly suggested a campaign to cut government in half. Have everybody agree that half of what the Feds do is not needed and get to arguing about which half.

But you know what I'd really really like to see? I'd like to see us cut one dollar. Not cut the rate of growth, but spend $1.00 less in FY2011 than FY2010.

We're turning a battleship around. The Captain and senior members of the crew want to keep going. Let's make the growth rate negative.

I think that would: augur well for the election of more tightwads in 2012; show the investment community that the US is worth investing in; and set the stage for popular, future cuts.

It would be huge. Everybody -- and I hear it all over -- who says that $50Billion, $100Billion, &c. is too small is setting up the angels for failure. One dollar -- anybody want to bet a dollar that they will?

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2011 8:05 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

OK, I'm with you as far as looking at this proposal as a short-term win and would be thrilled to see it enacted. You're correct that negative growth of government is going the right way. But, it would be a temporary win at best. Systemic change is needed and I would like to see that as part of DeMint's proposal.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 20, 2011 9:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Here's where the optimism kicks in. The $1 saving signals the capital markets that there's a new sheriff in town. Robust growth returns, raising revenues and causing a substantive reduction of debt.

Then, it kicks in like a teenager who enjoys having $200 in the bank. More responsible legislators can run on success and a virtuous cycle ensues.

This is all predicated on continuing tea party spirit. That's what makes this time different. I'm less enthused about Constitutional or rule changes. One article suggested it is not longer cool to brag about pork. That's our hope.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2011 9:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

How many $billions in cuts are necessary to reduce federal spending by $1 from last year? In the neighborhood of $200Bn. $2.5Tn over 10 years is $250Bn/year - JK's wish fulfilled.

I didn't like that entitlements weren't addressed. But jeez man, give them a chance! It's still the first month of the 112th. The rhetoric is good: "...a $2.5 trillion head start."

I look at it a bit differently. After these cuts don't result in the earth opening up and swallowing the nation's children wholesale it will be harder for demagogues to scare the public about future frugality.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2011 8:39 PM

Jobs in CO-4 Destroyed by Obamacare ... Already

My new congressman voted to repeal Obamacare yesterday. He also rose to make some remarks on the matter.

Sorry to keep rubbing it in, JK. Maybe the 4th CD will include you after redistricting. Most likely not, however. You could always move a bit further east.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2011

Federal Regulatory Reform

President Obama issued an executive order yesterday that "requires Federal agencies to design cost-effective, evidence-based regulations that are compatible with economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness." This is not quite the "reform" language that was peddled in the press but that is ostensibly the goal: Start to get government out of the way of private sector job growth, at least a little bit.

On the same day, Politico reported that Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), incoming chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, sought input from the private sector on what sorts of reforms would be helpful. This led to predictable outrage at HuffPo that Issa intends to mount a "purely partisan crusade" aimed at "protecting big corporations instead of creating middle class jobs." As if it is inconceivable that private sector job growth is the purview of corporations and trade associations.

I found this story while searching for reform ideas. Since I didn't find any I will start, as a public service, a group-sourced list of suggested reforms. My first entries are as follows. Please pile on in the comments.

- Abolish the federal minimum wage.

- Abort EPA efforts to regulate CO2 emissions.

- Eliminate all federal mandates for health insurance coverage and eliminate any federal restrictions on writing policies across state lines.

- Eliminate oil and gas severance taxes and expedite leases on so-called "public" lands outside of the National Parks system.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:19 PM | Comments (15)
But jk thinks:

JG just wants practical, common-sense initiatives that can attract broad public and bipartisan legislative support. That's why he starts his list with "Abolish the federal minimum wage."

It's his world, he only lets us live in it...

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2011 3:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I forgot to mention that the minimum wage elimination idea was dagny's. I thought it was so good though I put it first on the list.

Here's my repeal the minimum wage 'elevator talk.' "You did say you wanted to stimulate job growth, right? Well, the federal minimum wage law lowers employment by outlawing low-wage jobs. It also makes everything more expensive, driving up everyone's cost of living. And most people being paid minimum wage are entry level workers, typically kids, who would have more jobs to choose from without the minimum wage. So let's try getting rid of it and see how it goes, OK?"

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2011 4:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, sorry for the snark. But your talk appeals to the people who scored 66%+ on the civics quiz, and do not watch sitcoms.

On the way down, the person you educated will hear: "They want to let greedy corporations exploit poor people and pay them $1 an hour! -- Do you want to work for one dollar an hour?????"

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2011 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I'll try again.

"Americans at every career stage, from entry level to expert, are finding jobs to be scarce. When new jobs as police officers or WalMart greeters are advertised the applicants for those few jobs stand in lines that stretch around the block. Througout American history, corporations and entrepreneurs have hired people because they could make more money from employees' output than they had to pay in wages, benefits and taxes. But in many jobs today this is no longer the case, and the minimum wage law is one big reason. Repealing it will result in more jobs for those people standing in line."

And for those who believe government is great and corporations are "evil" I ask, "How many jobs can government create without corporations to tax? And how many corporations rely upon taxing the government to create their jobs?

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2011 11:48 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm glad you're still on it. I think it's important.

John Stossel talked about minimum wage in his "unintended consequences" special. He quoted a Pew poll that said 86% of Americans supported the recent raise. I looked a little for a link but did not find it.

I think you'll find it's up there if not that high. Your argument is solid, airtight, accurate, and compelling. But you will never win. The hope is to keep it so small that it does little damage.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2011 11:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yours is the safe bet. But dagny's suggestion and my defense are meant to swing a pendulum the other way more than achieve a policy goal in the current congress. Rome wasn't built (or destroyed) in 2 years.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2011 11:50 AM

The "New Tone" of the Left

Joe Lieberman announced his intention to retire from the Senate at the end of his current term. Slate's Emily Bazelon shows her newfound respectful approach with political foes in Good Riddance, Joe Lieberman - Why I Loathe My Connecticut Senator.

"Why do I loathe, loathe, loathe my 68-year-old four-term senator? My feelings are all the stronger for being fairly irrational."

Geez, they even wear their irrationality on their sleeve, like a badge of ... something.

Not much more is worth quoting but she uses the terms "hate" and "failed to bury" and "kill the Democrats' proposal." She described a Connecticut cocktail party game called, "I hated Joe Lieberman before you hated Joe Lieberman." But what really, really chapped her, um, hide, was when Joe did something good.

"And then, most infuriating of all, Lieberman ended the last Congress by doing something good. He resurrected the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in the Senate last month."
Tough room indeed.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2011

Too Tough a Room

The whining continues unabated.

The Republicans have been in charge of one house for a couple weeks and there is still a deficit? Yeah, I know they took one of those weeks off for the memorial. But still...

I groused a little when Reason did it but that seemed par for their course.

John Stossel's weekly column and title of last night's show is "Same as the Old Boss." He ridiculed Speaker Boehner and beat up a couple GOP Congressmen.

Today Kevin Williamson at NRO is on the prowl.

Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas has proposed some reductions in federal outlays -- hoorah! -- that amount to . . . not much: about $44 billion in the next fiscal year, and about $156 billion over the next five years. Okay, fine, do it: Go ahead and cut foreign aid and the Robert Byrd memorial scholarship, and collect those billions in unpaid taxes from federal workers. That, along with some military-spending cuts, covers, oh, about 1 percent of the expected 2011 spending. Which is to say, Brady-s bill eliminates in one year about half of the national debt the geniuses in Washington piled upon us in the month of December alone.

I know we would all like some bold cuts. But the blog pragmatist is concerned that the perfect will be the enemy of the good. If the libertarians and tea partiers are disappointed with anything less than a return to 1880, it will play into the hands of collectivists, either with third party challenges or just general disillusionment (cf 2006, 2008).

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2011

I thought I was hearing things

I heard this on FOXNews Sunday. When I went to blog, I thought I might have misheard -- and I did not want to add the violent, hate filled rhetoric that poisons our political discourse. But CATO's Gene Healy heard it too. Congressman James Clyburn's take away from the horrific tragedy in Tucson is that he should not have to stand in the airport security line with the hoi polloi he represents.

For his part, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., called for beefed-up congressional security and special treatment by the Transportation Security Administration at airports (currently available only to top congressional officials, like the speaker). Clyburn complained that "we've had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else" -- easily the most positive news I've heard about the TSA since its inception. Flexibility is in order here, Clyburn argued, because Congress is "held to a higher standard in so many areas."

Airports are "where we feel the most ill at ease," Clyburn stated, without explaining why congresspeople would feel especially threatened in areas where they're surrounded by security officials already on the lookout for hidden weapons.

What a fine American Rep. Clyburn is. I wish nothing but the kindest regards for him for this extremely helpful suggestion.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:55 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Congress is "held to a higher standard in so many areas."

Held to a higher standard in precisely what way: morally? Ethically? Legally? And which members of Congress are we talking about? They set the bar any lower, they're going to trip over it.

Current administration notwithstanding, I'd venture a guess that Congressional shenanigans are overall more pervasive than they are among Presidents. I have no desire to see any more members of Congress shot (without the due process of law), but I find myself wondering whether Mr. Clyburn has a reason to fear the hoi polloi, or if it's his allergy to chicken feathers, roofing tar, and fence rails that is prompting this.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 11, 2011 6:24 PM

January 9, 2011

"America's Gun Culture," Driven by TEA Partiers, "Claims It's Latest Victims"

It was predictable that frustrated gun-grabbers would leap at the opportunity to villify handguns provided by the tragic shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and numerous bystanders yesterday. But they're making it a two-fer by blaming the TEA Party movement at the same time. The first such conclusive leap I saw was posted on the same day as the shooting - 'Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What's the Matter with My Arizona?' Wherin Jeff Biggers cites Gregory McNamee-

"What is clear to me, at this chaotic moment, is that no one should be surprised by this turn of events. The bullets that were fired in Tucson this morning are the logical extension of every bit of partisan hatred that came spewing out during the last election, in which Gabrielle Giffords---a centrist, representing well and faithfully a centrist district---was vilified and demonized as a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a job-killer, a traitor, and more.

Anyone who uttered such words or paid for them to be uttered has his or her name etched on those bullets."

And Biggers himself-

Now in Arizona--and the nation--do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun?

The Huffpo headlines are even more inflammatory today:

'Giffords Shooting Is an American Tragedy We Need to Urgently Address' by Paul Helmke (President, Brady Campaign)-

"While we are all still learning details about this shooting, and particularly the 22-year old responsible for this horrendous act, we should find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence."

'Congress Must Rein in Gun Industry in Response to Giffords Assassination Attempt' by Josh Sugarmann (Exec. Dir., Violence Policy Center)-

"America's gun culture claims its latest victims."


"If the attempted murder of one of their colleagues does not force Congress and President Obama to face the gun issue, what will?"

Perhaps worst of all is this, from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart who I have to believe truly knows better: 'Words Have Consequences'-

"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. (...) We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.

So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric (...) so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.

That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:03 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If Gifford is a "centrist" or "moderate," then what does "liberal" mean anymore? I shed no tears.

Leftists decry any availability of guns, but it's their desire for disarmament that made Gifford a sitting duck. If this had been a conservative gathering, the shooter had a 100% risk of leaving in a bodybag after firing just one bullet, and a high probability of getting blown away just for drawing his gun?

Killer's rants on a social network page, check. "Semi-automatic" weapon, check. "Extended clip," bonus! Innocent bystanders were killed, check. But the intended victim survived...

Getting "close" to Gifford, the killer still managed no more than a non-fatal head wound. This couldn't have been better for leftists if they had done it all themselves. And I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 9, 2011 2:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If we come to learn that the killer had a liberal political motivation I will be just as completely shocked as if he is proven to be a TEA Partier. The act was the sick manifestation of an incoherent mind.

You make an excellent point about conservative crowds though. If Giffords had attracted any such citizens to her event they might have stopped the shooter before he emptied his first magazine, at the very least. Perhaps she's not as centrist as some want to believe.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2011 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Glenn Reynolds nails it in a guest WSJ editorial today:

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2011 10:32 AM

January 7, 2011

Tweet of the Day

MSNBC's Jansing: Const authority citing req "complicated". No, but time-consuming for Dems searching for "b/c we said so" clause -- @fredthompson
Posted by John Kranz at 4:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2011

Dodged a Bullet

Not only is Scott Brown a capable Senator from the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts ("Commonwealth," harrumph!), but this lady is not:

Today the Bay State is a liberal bastion, so you might think that "Banned in Boston" is an anachronism. But on Thursday the state's highest court will consider a case involving censorship of truthful speech. The target of state Attorney General Martha Coakley and this modern Watch and Ward Society: financial information disseminated to the general public by a hedge fund.
The Bay State is not contending that any information on Bulldog's website was false or misleading. Instead, in echoes of the state's puritanical censors of the past, officials are trying to suppress truthful information because it "arouses" the public. The website, they say, "even though not couched in terms of a direct offer," may still "condition the public mind or arouse public interest in the particular securities."

The legal team for Phillip Goldstein, the cofounder of Bulldog, will argue that Massachusetts' broad definition of "offering" violates the First Amendment. Among his lawyers is Laurence Tribe, the liberal Harvard Law professor who has just finished a stint as senior counselor for access to justice in the Obama Justice Department.

For those of you who have not given Sir Rupert his tribute this year, the problem is that, while hedge funds are limited to $1Million+ clients, the website was out there on the Internets, where a poor person or a minority -- or even maybe a child -- could see its investment advice.

Thankfully, Ms. Coakley was not seated in the 112th Congress and can protect the good people of Massachusetts.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2011

1000 Words

And every third is "awesome."


Hat-tip: "Tea Party Patriots" on Facebook.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Pity there's no corresponding plaque we can show being removed from the G5 jet she whined for. Poor little thing's gotta fly commercial now!

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 7:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop! Yer killin' me!

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2011 8:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Br'er jg: she's still got her broom.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 5, 2011 8:42 PM

A Great Day

Madame Speaker gives the big gavel back.


More serious commentary available on the WSJ Ed Page: The GOP Opportunity

Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

WSJ's best advice:

"The other advice we'd offer is to keep in mind that Republicans did not run in 2010 to be national accountants. While cutting spending to reduce the deficit, they should keep the political and policy focus on promoting economic growth and private job creation. This should be the larger avowed purpose of their cuts in spending, their scrutiny of new regulations, their proposals for tax reform, or their questioning of the Federal Reserve." (Read: Not "deficit reduction.")

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:07 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The deficit is a symptom, not a cause. If 112 follows this prescription, the deficit will take care of itself.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2011 2:40 PM

January 4, 2011

Starting to like these guys...


When House Republicans unveiled details of their plan to impose a 5 percent cut on funding for legislative offices and committees, it included an additional slash at the budget of the House Appropriations Committee. The appropriators asked for and received a 9 percent cut in their budget as part of the resolution, which is expected to be approved by the full House later this week.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:30 PM | Comments (0)

Constitutional Citation

Cato's Roger Pilon has a great guest editorial in the WSJ today. I'd say he shares both our hopes and our fears about keeping Congress on a Constitutional track.

First, they'll have to keep the debate focused on the Constitution, not simply on policy or practicality.

Second, they'll have to reject without embarrassment the facile liberal objection that the courts have sanctioned what we have today, and thus all a member need do when introducing a bill is check the box that says "Commerce Clause," "General Welfare Clause" or "Necessary and Proper Clause."

If these clauses in the Constitution enable Congress to enact the individual health-insurance mandate, then they authorize Congress to do virtually anything. The Supreme Court was wrong in allowing Congress to exercise power not granted it by the Constitution, and courts today are wrong when they uphold those precedents--even if they're not in a position today to reverse them until Congress takes greater responsibility.

Third, Congress has to start taking greater responsibility. Congress must acknowledge honestly that it has not kept faith with the limits the Constitution imposes. It should then stop delegating its legislative powers to executive agencies. Congress should either vote on the sea of regulations the executive branch is promulgating or, far better, rescind or defund those regulations, policies and programs that never should have been promulgated in the first place (rescission may not be possible during the next two years, but defunding is). And of course Congress should undertake no new policies not authorized by the Constitution.

Pilon provides interesting history from my beloved Madison quote that the President could not "undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Federal Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." He cites case law from the new deal and takes a good whack at 20th Century Progressives.

Only a negative reference to San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers could have made it better [leave it alone, jk, the season's over...]

Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome article. Must reading. I intend to contact my Representative and verify that he's read it, and ask him to work with his fellow Republicans to defund the Administrative branch to the fullest extent possible. CO2 regulations and "death panel" implementations are fertile ground for beginning the deficit reduction.

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2011 3:43 PM
But dagny thinks:

The season is over and we get a really great draft pick. Much better than the Chargers. :-)

Posted by: dagny at January 4, 2011 7:33 PM

December 16, 2010

Fix it in the 112th

There's an old recording adage/joke. You ignore errors and move on, saying "we'll fix it in the mix." Kevin Mahogany did a funny song about it.

I suggest we try that in Congress, firmly putting myself in the Bill Kristol camp. Why not let the 111th pass this porkfest and split town? Then the 112th can come in and rescue us in January. HB 1, Kristol suggests, rescinds spending from the 2011 budget.

The WSJ Ed Page is pretty concerned about the omnibus:

The 111th Congress began with an $814 billion stimulus that blew out the federal balance sheet, so we suppose it's only fitting that the Members want to exit by passing a 1,924-page, $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill. The worst Congress in modern history is true to its essence to the bitter end.

Think of this as a political version of the final scene in "Animal House," when the boys from the Delta frat react to their expulsion by busting up the local town parade for the sheer mayhem of it. Bluto Blutarsky (John Belushi) did go on to be a U.S. Senator in the film, and a man of his vision must have earned a seat on Appropriations.

I suggest the GOP sit on their hands and let it go through. Beyond Kristol's (and Jennifer Rubin's) appreciation of opening the session with a huge spending cut, I suggest that the GOP will be hard pressed to show big cuts in two years. Considering a Democrat Senate and White House plus impure appropriators on Team Red, there is a danger of 2012 ads saying that the Republicans did not trim much. Why not start from a high baseline?

Posted by John Kranz at 3:06 PM | Comments (12)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If Republicans block the omnibus and call it a "2000 page, trillion dollar abomination in the dead of night," it will ring of all that people hated about the healthcare bill and the 111th. If we can get the dead duck, er, lame duck RINOs to hold ranks one more time, then Harry and Nancy will have no choice but a continuing resolution.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 16, 2010 4:52 PM
But jk thinks:

@ka: Ask President Gingrich.

@br: One is reminded of the Republicans in the 85th who kept sending President Cleveland bills to give $25 to Civil War widows. He repeatedly vetoed them and seemed to pay no price (ahh, Nineteenth Century liberty...) I think Chairman Ryan -- likin' the sound of that -- could yank a dozen of these porcine earmarks into a weekly cut that would be difficult to oppose.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 4:55 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Although 52 bills highlighting aggregious earmarks would be entertaining, it would be symbolic, at best. Even if all earmarks are repealed, we're talking just north of $8 billion. Not chump change and worth attacking, but insignificant in a $1.1 trillion budget. We need real reductions, not symbolism.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 16, 2010 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

How about $200 billion in cuts the first week, as a down payment, and then $8 billion a week for 52 weeks? I figure if you put Energy, Education, HUD and a half-dozen other agencies into the chipper-shredder, followed it with the ethanol subsidy as a chaser, and then just kept going through the org chart with a chainsaw, we could probably have a balanced budget by next October or so.

That wouldn't be merely symbolic.

By the way, I nearly forgot that today is the 237th anniversary of an obscure act of anti-regulatory civil disobedience. Happy anniversary, everyone...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2010 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup -- happy Tea Party Day, everyone. Raise a toast to Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Roger Ailes tonight for making it all possible!

I think you've got me, br. If the omnibus dies, I'll be 100% contented. If it lives, I suggest we view its r3ecision as a challenge.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Br wins! Insty points out we pulled a billion out of Obamacare.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2010 10:28 PM

December 8, 2010

Behind Every Silver Lining...

George Carlin, in the guise of Al Sleet, the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, reminded us that "Behind every silver lining, there's a dark cloud!" So, in fairness to Brother br, I link to James Pethakoukis's post on why Sen. Jim DeMint opposes and may filibuster the tax deal:

But if this new trillion dollar bullet doesn't work as promised, the power of the tax-cut message would be greatly undermined. And there is good reason to think the results will be disappointing:

1. DeMint thinks America needs a "permanent economy," not a temporary one. Milton Friedman would agree. Uncle Miltie's Permanent Income Hypothesis says short-term changes income don't change spending habits, changes in long-term expectations do. PIH has been backed up by numerous studies (such as here and here and here) and argues for permanent tax cuts, not ephemeral ones.

2. The much-hyped payroll tax cut is not a supply-side cut. The Institute for Policy Innovation nails it:

One of the proposed provisions in the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts is a temporary 2 percentage-point reduction in the Social Security payroll tax, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Tax cuts that stimulate real economic growth operate at the margins--affecting an additional dollar of income, or an additional dollar of savings and investment--not the first dollar of income. Supply-side tax cuts encourage additional production by stimulating additional work, saving and investment.

A payroll tax cut is not a supply-side cut and won't have much impact on economic growth. Rather, it embraces the Keynesian idea that the economy is stimulated by putting a few hundred dollars in people's pockets so they can consume more. ... If there has to be a payroll tax cut, it actually makes more economic sense to give it to the employer half of the payroll taxes than to the employee. That would at least mitigate some of the risks of hiring new employees that have been imposed by Obama administration policies.

3. All of these temporary tax cuts will do little to lower policy uncertain among business and investors. There is still plenty of reason to worry about taxes and spending in the near future. Business is already sitting on a mountain of cash, and even Goldman Sachs wonders if the expensing provision will do much in this environment:

The proposal includes expensing of business investment in 2011, similar to the policy that the president proposed in September. This should reduce corporate taxes by about $100 billion next year if enacted, but would increase corporate tax liabilities in future years. Given low interest rates and significant spare capacity, this proposal is likely to have a limited effect on corporate behavior.

4. The 13-month renewal of emergency unemployment benefits will almost certainly keep the unemployment rate higher than it would otherwise be. Research from the San Francisco and Chicago Federal Reserve banks suggests the unemployment rate would be 0.4 percent to 1.7 percentage points lower if not for the extended unemployment benefits.

Republicans didn't own the Mega-Stimulus. They will own Mega-Stimulus 2.0 in the eyes of the public. Before they sign off, they may want to seek a second opinion Dr. DeMint.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:56 PM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoops - she highjacked my 'remembered personal info' again. That was me agreeing, not dagny.

My first impression of the "compromise" was positive - at least the first derivative of tax rates wasn't positive. But if R's let D's get away with just "not raising" taxes after the biggest rejection of big government in American history then the D's will have dodged the injury that should have come with their insult.

The first derivative of tax rates needs to be a negative number in order to: Restore a healthier market economy; Demonstrate that lowering tax rates is a chief factor in doing so.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2010 9:05 AM
But jk thinks:

As they say in my country: tough room.

Are you both suggesting that the Republicans should not support the deal a'la Senator Jim DeMint? Or are you just disappointed that I'm so danged happy about it?

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2010 10:27 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JK, neither one, really. I'm just not ready to party like is 1999. The Bush tax cuts revived the economy post-9/11, because they represented a real improvement in rates with eight years of certainty. However, they are now the status quo and the status quo has gotten us a muddled economy over the past 18 months. What would lead anyone to believe that no change will suddenly jump-start economic activity?

The 2% FICA reduction will be no more stimulative than the $1200 per family "stimulus" that Bush gave (two seperate $600 checks, if you recall). In fact, it may be worse - the amount is about the same, but the FICA scheme trickles over 12 months. Moreover, you have to be a Keynesian to think it will work, and Keynesians are pretty rare in these parts.

At this point, the problem is not marginal tax rates - it is out-of-control government spending. (Although raising marginal tax rates would be a disaster.) Nothing good can happen until Congress significantly reduces spending to allow the private sector to use those resources productively. Lowering the corporate income tax would stimilulate the economy more than personal tax rates. Companies that are not making money aren't paying taxes anyway - give 'em a kick start!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 9, 2010 12:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It never bothers me to see you happy, brother. But DeMint has the right idea - don't compromise to give more Keynsianism in return for merely no-change to tax rates, especially if you don't have to. The surviving D's aren't going to raise taxes in a recession. Why give them more of the statist economic poison they've pumped into the US economy for the past 2 years in return for ... zip?

Lowered tax rates will unequivocally result in higher tax revenues. Thomas Sowell explains it has been proven over and over for 80 years.

How can that be? Because high tax rates on paper, that many people avoid, often does not bring in as much tax revenue as lower tax rates that more people actually pay, after it is safe to come out of tax shelters and earn higher rates of taxable income.

The investors do this because it makes them better off, on net balance, even after they pay more money in taxes on incomes that have gone up. More important, the economy benefits when there is more investment in things that create more jobs and rising output.

But the public doesn't know this because the D's are better demagogues than the R's are leaders. Robert Reich explains the situation as a choice between "extending benefits for jobless" versus giving "tax cuts to the rich" who "don't need the money." Whether intentional or not, Reich obscures the fact that letting the "rich" keep more of the money they earn and invest it without fear will result in more tax revenues AND more jobs for the jobless.

So DeMint is the lone R voice in Congress saying we shouldn't be happy with this deal. In the new year the 112th Congress will bring many more who will join him. I'm happy that the Democrats canceled the vote on the deal. The best scenario is for it to fail now (as D's cut off their noses) and also to be seen as the Democrats' fault. Then we get a principled tax reform in the new year. Bully!

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2010 2:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Summarizing The Refugee's plan for economic recovery: reduce spending (going to 2008 levels is a nice start) and reduce the corporate income tax to 20%.

Mr. Preznit, if you're listening, this is your roadmap to the renewal of your lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even with Obamacare weighing heavily on the economy.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 9, 2010 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We will soon see just how much Obamacare actually winds up weighing on the economy. The 112th will repeal, in full or in part.

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2010 10:57 AM

December 7, 2010

Elections Matter!

I'm calling this the first scalp of the 112th: an awesome deal on extending the Bush tax cuts. Plus 100% expensing. Plus two points off FICA. I'm giddy.

WASHINGTON -- Brushing past Democratic opposition, President Barack Obama announced agreement with Republicans Monday night on a plan to extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.

Maybe he will "pull a Clinton" after all. Did I mention the Korean trade agreement?

I'm all in on my 2009 IRA today -- I don't care if it's up a thousand. Happy Days, here again.

Yeah, I know about the unemployment benefits extension. The cost of doing business. The net is overwhelmingly positive.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

The news broke just as Kudlow was coming on, and I thought they were going to have to "tranq" him. I'd have preferred more cuts and I'd've preferred some spending cuts. No, this is not the end-all.

But without the November tsunami, we would be looking at huge marginal rate gains on the top earners. Instead, we got preservation of the Bush rates, plus 100% expensing and a payroll cut. Not to be the ThreeSources rent seeker or anything, but the expensing will be a huge boon to my employer and the payroll cut will be a nice hunk of malprinted Benjamins in my pocket.

Totally agree with you on '12. President Obama will have to campaign on a big tax increase or "four more years of failed Bush policies!" Yesterday was the greatest day for Republicans since Appomattox.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 10:35 AM
But jk thinks:

The difference to 2010, br, is that the economy is trying to recover and can look forward to reduced interference from Washington. And you don't have to be a Keynesian to think those QEn dollars will give us at least a temporary lift.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 10:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Also worth mentioning is the compromise on the reinstituted inheritance tax.

"Obama said he reluctantly made another concession to Republicans, concerning the estate tax. It would tax estates worth more than $5 million at a rate of 35 percent, a GOP goal. Democrats favored a $3.5 million threshold, with a 45 percent tax on anything higher."

But yes, I agree with JK: Obama is doing this because he intends to take credit for "saving" the economy. The good news is that, contrary to prior evidence, he apparently is NOT bent on destroying the USA if that is what it takes to wipe out capitalism.

Posted by: johngalt at December 7, 2010 11:13 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Nevertheless, I go back to my argument that this means things won't get worse, not that it is highly stimulative. Most businesses will take the more favorable tax treatment and return it in the form of dividends and bonuses. Not that that's bad, but no business will take a one-time tax break and turn it into a hiring event that is a long-term commitment.

The lowering of payroll taxes is also good, but someone making $75,000 per year will see about $60 per month more in their paycheck - not enough to really be stimulative of anything significant.

If Congress really wanted to stimulate hiring, they would lower the corporate income tax from 35% to 20% (or maybe zero). Business managers would then use the money to buy equipment and/or hire employees as needed. Now that would be stimulative, but good luck getting it past the most liberal president in history.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

One more try to bring my blog brother to Oabamanirvana with me: the slope of the curve.

I'm a math guy and think most things become clearer when you look at the first derivative. Yeah, it's a temporary -- and therefore gimmicky -- payroll credit. But the 112th Congress is going to look at rolling back ObamaCare and not rolling it out. There will be votes taken on lowering the corporate rate. Jeff Flake (R – Awesome) is going to sit on the Appropriations Committee! I can hire on this and think something better is on the way.

Lastly, the free market's natural disposition is to grow, especially after contraction. Government's impeding it just a little less may be all that is required.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 1:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"And you don't have to be a Keynesian to think those QEn dollars will give us at least a temporary lift."

If Keynesianism weren't such voodoo, even Austrians would admit its efficacy in short-term boosts. And we don't. The only possible "lift" is from spending dollars that didn't exist previously. It's paid for dearly by an increase in the public debt, and inflation that robs consumers and savers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 7, 2010 11:07 PM

November 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

What's fascinating about [Rep. Paul Ryan (R - WI)] is that he keeps saying things that should get him into political trouble, but they don't. He wants to rework Social Security. He wants to restructure Medicare. He thinks a cheaper dollar is a bad idea. And he won reelection with 68 percent of the vote in a district that Obama carried by four points. Good ideas expressed well and with conviction are powerful things. -- James Pethokoukis
Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2010

Proud to Be a Republican!

From John Fund:

House Republicans announced last week that they plan to force a floor vote on defunding NPR in response to the firing of analyst Juan Williams last month. House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) said that cutting funds to the publicly subsidized news organization was the winner of the conference's weekly "YouCut" contest, in which the public votes online on spending items they want eliminated. "When NPR executives made the decision to unfairly terminate Juan Williams and to then disparage him afterwards, the bias of their organization was exposed," the two Republicans said in a statement.

Defunding NPR: awesome! Having a weekly "You Cut" contest: Super awesome!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:37 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If they had stopped at "defunding NPR" without tying it to a single thing, that would have been cool.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 23, 2010 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

I loved this part: "NPR says it's 'imperative' that the organization continues to receive federal funding, which is passing strange since NPR also claims it gets no more than 3 percent of its total budget from taxpayers."

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2010 11:31 AM

November 17, 2010

Not the best visual

GOP frosh: Where's my health care?

A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.

Yeah, I could defend this if I had to. But you can understand how much one of my infamous "Facebook Friends" is enjoying this...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2010

Not a Fight We Need

Color me tired of the leadership fight between Reps Michelle Bachman and Jeb Hensarling of TX. This is ginned up in the media (and my Daily Dick Viguerie email) as an important signal that the GOP is embracing the Tea Party.

Merciful Frozen Zeus on a Stick! I mean, I love the work Michelle did with The Guess Who, and some of the BTO stuff is good, but this is a fight we do not need at a time we don't need it. It's not like Hensarling is Jerry Lewis or Ted Stevens. He's a proven leader whom I trust to be very good on spending and limited government.

UPDATE: Maybe it was Randy Bachman who was in The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner-Overdrive. Sorry, I get those guys confused all the time...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2010

The Barney Shuffle

Oh please oh please oh please can this guy win?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2010

Senatorial Courtesy

I know Senator John McCain has few friends around here, but this is beautiful. He goes to San Diego to campaign, forcefully, for Sen. Boxer's opponent.

Ms. Fiorina "will never wave the white flag of surrender the way that Barbara Boxer has tried to do every single time we have been in a conflict," Mr. McCain told an audience at the Veterans Museum in San Diego. "Barbara Boxer is the most bitterly partisan, the most anti-defense Senator in the U.S. Senate today. I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Oooh, poor form Senator. You should have said, "I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with the gentlelady from California." One can never underestimate the importance of protocol (as you rip one's throat out.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2010 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not know that is actually a Senate Rule, not just a charming custom. Robert Caro discusses it in "Master of the Senate." You may not address a member of the Senate by name on the Senate Floor.

Bitchin' in front of some Marines, however...

Posted by: jk at October 19, 2010 3:41 PM

October 12, 2010

Good Political Ad

Rand Paul says "this'll make you laugh." Worked for me!

He'd enjoy a little money to run it...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

Candidate Needs Cash!

Yeah, I know. Stop the presses.

Club for Growth is quickly becoming one of the few political institutions I feel is worthy of my largesse (or, in my case, smallesse...) Chris Chocola writes that the Alaska Senate race is neck-and-neck-and-neck. I find Joe Miller to be my favorite of the Class of '10 tea party candidates, and feel strongly that he would be one of the best voices for ThreeSources values in the 112th Congress.

If any of you could join me, I think it's money well spent: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/action/

Posted by John Kranz at 2:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2010

Et Tu, Stossel?

I have made no secret of my appreciation for John Stossel. Looking for public figures whose philosophy most closely matches my own, Stossel would be in the top five. While his philosophy is pure, I have always sensed an underlying pragmatism.

He sadly left that under the covers at home when he posted Another Useless Republican.

The "UR" is Linda McMahon, WWE doyenne and GOP Senate candidate in the Nutmeg State. Stossel is right to be saddened by McMahon's backtracking on the minimum wage. She came out against, the Democrat Demagogue Machine shifted into gear, and she was forced to proffer one of those mealy-mouthed retractions we've all come to dislike. "I'm sorry I offered good economic theory in the public sphere and I PROMISE it won't happen again!"

Disappointing, yes. But that does not make her useless. She is running against The Devil Incarnate, Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal. Eliot Spitzer without the charm. And at least Spitzer approved of prostitution, Blumenthal has yet to find a business he likes.

So McMahon runs a largely self financed campaign in one of the most heavily blue states in the union against a well known incumbent Attorney General. Guessing here, but I bet AG Blumenthal would vote to double the minimum wage. Because Ms. McMahon will not stake her campaign on lowering it, I am not going to toss her over the edge.

Naive waif that I am, I have been simply-stuperfied at the level of demagoguery in the Colorado Senate Race. Buck once mentioned opposition to the 17th Amendment (page four of the libertarian hymnal). This warranted a frequently run "KEN BUCK WANTS TO REWRITE THE CONSTITUTION! TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!" spot in the "TOO EXTREME FOR COLORADO!" DNSC series.

They drove you out of ABC Mister Stossel. Our ideas are not going to get a fair hearing in the media. Even Rand Paul seemed "neutered" in his FOX News Sunday interview. Not fair to dump on McMahon for backing out of a battle she cannot win.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2010

Political Quote of the Day

A good friend of the blog writes:

The greatest line in politics, ever...."I just dabbled in witchcraft, I never joined a coven." Christopher Buckley must be astonished at how completely real life narratives can swamp the imagination.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

It's a dangerous precedent to give QOTD to Taranto, it's hard to stop. Guitar Player magazine finally had to institute a Hall of Fame so that Eric Clapton and BB King did not win every year. But this brings tears:

Maybe it's time to reconsider Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Frank Murkowski, Alaska's former senator and governor, took little Lisa to work in 2002, and now she refuses to go home. -- His Jamesness

Posted by John Kranz at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2010

The New Devil Incarnate

Now that NYAG Eliot Spitzer is (perhaps) safely ensconced in talkshowdom, we can now focus on CTAG (and Senate Candidate) Richard Blumenthal. Like Spitzer, his prosecutorial career has been one of innuendo, trial by jury, and thuggish pursuit of settlements. The due process oeuvre does not appeal to these types: better to get a subpoena and publish some embarrassing emails.

William Saletan offers a crueler assessment than I. He thinks we should hold him up to his own standards:

Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, has a problem. He's running for the U.S. Senate, and he's been caught on video implying falsely that he served in Vietnam. He'd like your understanding as he explains that he simply "misspoke" about his service. He'd like you to give him a break.

But Blumenthal has never given anyone a break. He has made a career out of holding others to the strictest standards of truth--and mercilessly prosecuting them when they fall short.

May he be smacked down in November by Ms. McMahon.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2010

Elections are Powerful Things

Ron Wyden (D OR) [no, no joke, he's a Democrat from Oregon] is one of the more enlightened Democrats, but he was a good team player and voted for ObamaCare®. With an election looming, he now suggests a "State Mulligan." WSJ Ed Page:

Last week Mr. Wyden sent a letter to Oregon health authority director Bruce Goldberg, encouraging the state to seek a waiver from certain ObamaCare rules so it can "come up with innovative solutions that the Federal government has never had the flexibility or will to implement."

One little-known provision of the bill allows states to opt out of the "requirement that individuals purchase health insurance," Mr. Wyden wrote, and "Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature."

Now, that's news. One of the Democratic Party's leading experts on health care wants his state to dump the individual mandate that is among ObamaCare's core features. The U-turn is especially notable because Mr. Wyden once championed an individual mandate in the bill he sponsored with Utah Republican Bob Bennett. We have differences with Wyden-Bennett, but it was far better than ObamaCare and would have changed incentives by offering more choices to individuals and spurring competition among providers and insurers.

With serious consideration of extending the Bush Tax Cuts, and a key leader deserting ObamaCare®, there is a delicious irony of a party coming to its senses and yet repudiating everything it campaigned on. We're going to keep those "tax cuts for the rich -- that 'drove us into the ditch?'" And that great Health Care victory "well that's okay for the other 49 states."

Next week: Public sector unions are destroying the economy!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2010

JK's Dark Thought of the Day

No doubt I will run out of these items soon. Surely this won't be a daily feature!

Those wild eyed lib-er-alls at the New York Times take some whacks at Tea Party darling Sharron Angle for avoiding unfriendly press:

Ms. Angle, a Nevada Senate candidate and Tea Party darling, has steadfastly refused to talk to reporters here, leading to some unusually aggressive behavior by local television stations. In a segment fit for TMZ, one intrepid reporter chased her on foot outside a restaurant this month, repeatedly asking why she had once said that “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” She ignored the questioner and tried to outpace him, in a video clip replayed across the state.

My dark thought of the day is that this might be a good strategy. She was weak in the friendly environs of a Larry Kudlow interview last night.

Kudlow started the interview with a softball: what would she do, were she elected, to restore growth. (Hint: lady, this is Larry Kudlow's show, maybe something about lower taxes or less regulation or something...) Ms. Angle gets rabidly partisan: Well, Larry the first thing to do is unseat Harry Reid! He's a job killer, we have 17% unemployment! And...

And Larry breaks in. Yes, but if you win, which might be your first legislative goals?


[Deer in the headlights]


"Repeal ObamaCare!" [Good answer, Would've been better 24 seconds ago, but we can edit that out on YouTube, Show some cute kittens playing with a toy for a while...]

I am being a bit harsh but it was not a good interview. And this was not Katie Couric or Charlie Gibson trying to trip her, this was Larry Kudlow.

I sent her $50 way back when she started. She was a tea party candidate who knocked off a "conventional GOPer" in the primary. Was that a mistake? And how many times did/will this happen this cycle?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, this one is easy. Not all "TEA Party darlings" will be Mister Smith, and oh by the way, Mister Smith had Frank Capra, a Hollywood script, and as many takes as it ... took ... to get it right. But the plot still works:

"A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down."

Hopefully Sharon and other TPDs will take a page from Ken Buck who said, "I'm not sure I will win but I am who I am." Voters are looking for more of that these days.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2010 2:51 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


Is it too early for a "told you so"?

Posted by: T. Greer at July 1, 2010 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Not a function of time, tg. You said they would be ineffectual and I have been waiting for a "TYS" on efficacy.

If all the Tea Party candidates win their primaries and are so ill fitted to politics that hey lose the generals, then I will serve one up with whipped cream, chocolate chips and a cherry.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2010 4:07 PM

June 30, 2010

JK's Dark Thought of the Day

-- now there's a potential franchise!

I have had this in the back of my mind on occasion, but it was punctuated last night. Watching Kudlow, all the Bulls and Bears were in full agreement that the economy is going to heck in early 2011 when the Bush tax cuts expire. Our beloved nation will be pushed to the very edges of the Laffer curve. I'd add that invoices for the regulatory arm of Obamanomics will start coming due at nearly the same time.

Bad stuff, huh? What else will be happening next January?

Why the new, overwhelmingly Republican, Tea Party, tax cutting, limited government, fiscal responsibility 112th Congress will be installed. The one we've been dreaming of around here. Whom will the media blame for this? Wait a minute, let me think about that a while...

Now, I don't recommend losing -- and there is every chance we night. And there might be some hope that business feels the burden of uncertainty lifted and releases that $1.5 Trillion sidelined on corporate balance sheets. But it is numerically impossible to gain enough seats to fix what's broke. Aren't we in huge danger of being at the wheel when all the tires fly off?

Apologies for the metaphor count and the use of the plural first person, kimosabe. But I’m distraught.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 PM | Comments (3)
But T. Greer thinks:

Oh, more than just the tax rates bodes ill for next year's economy.

For what it is worth, my friends on the left are also predicting another recession next year. Following the lead of Mr. Krugman, they are placing the blame for it on insufficient stimulus. Funny how that works, isn't? We are already arguing over the cause of an economic downturn that has not happened yet.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 30, 2010 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear you, tg, but there are always gloom-n-doomers ("predicting 14 of the last three recessions...")

A range of different folks last night on Kudlow -- yet none could see how we will establish growth in 2011. The tax cuts will take 2-3% off GDP growth and we may not have 2-3% to spot them.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 5:33 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This theory/prediction has wide currency. To TG's point, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough people believe it. However, it's hard to see how the fundamentals don't point to seriously rough water ahead, to put it mildly.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 30, 2010 6:34 PM

June 3, 2010

On Partisan Hackery

I shall not be supporting the candidacy of iconoclastic blogger Mickey Kaus in California.

It has been a long time since I was this tempted to send money to a "D," but I will, as George Will says about "liberal thoughts," just calm down and wait for it to go away.

I like the Mickster a lot, and though he agrees with the rest of ThreeSourcers on immigration, I see many other things his way. His TV spot was the best I've seen a long time. I sense a surprise between Kaus and Professor Reynolds that Internet fundraising has not exploded for his candidacy.

I hesitate to offer my reaction as majority viewpoint, but this time I think I can. Kaus is running as a Democrat with Republican ideas. This is not an original thought, I have seen Internet comments stating this rather forcefully. But he is asking for my help to beat Barbara Boxer (hey, I said I was tempted), but if he succeeds and gets elected, we'll have -- oh boy! -- another Blue Dog. And howzthatworkinoutforya?

The real story here is that the Blue Dogs again rolled over to abet their liberal party leadership. Early last week the Blue Dogs joined Republican complaints that the original "jobs bill" from Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin was too expensive at $191 billion. But instead of insisting on spending cuts to pay for unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and corporate welfare, House leaders cleverly split the spending and tax package into two separate bills so the debt totals would look smaller.

One more vote for Dem leadership and one more vote, when they need it, for the worst tax-and-spend policies. Sorry man, I'm sticking with partisan hackery.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As Mike Rosen says, "Party trumps person."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2010 11:22 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've only been saying since November 2008 that the Blue Dog is a myth. Oh, when the Dems have enough votes, the "Blue Dogs" will be allowed to maintain a pseudo-conservative position for the sake of the next election. But when every vote counts...

Andrew Cuomo, the idiot son of ex-governor Mario Cuomo, is running for governor himself. He's talking like Ronald Reagan, for crying out loud: Albany is too big with too many agencies, spending too much, driving people out of the state. OK, and knowing he's a liberal's liberal like his father, what will he do?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 3, 2010 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It would be like voluntarily joining a labor union then refusing to honor strikes and negotiating your own raises as an individual. Preposterous on its face.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2010 2:43 PM

May 29, 2010

Read and Weep!

George Will introduces us to a Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate, who might be of interest to ThreeSourcers:

Before what he calls "the jaw- dropping" events of the last 19 months -- TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler's creditors, ObamaCare, etc. -- the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson's mind.

He was, however, dry tinder -- he calls Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" his "foundational book" -- and now is ablaze, in an understated, upper-Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh is what the Tea Party looks like.
He gets much of his meat from The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages

And a pro-life Lutheran to boot! Before you weep, jg, read that he wishes "Atlas Shrugged" were longer.

I'm going to claim this as another huge benefit of the TEA Parties. It has been said that "you guys are just yelling and waving signs" but these people and ideas have infiltrated GOP apparatuses

I read Peter Robinson's "It's My Party" a few years ago. He documents the difficulty of recruiting Republican Candidates. He says every Unitarian Minister and school board boss wants to be a Democratic Congressman or Senator, but the good GOP Candidates, like Johnson, can make ten times the money with one-tenth the b******t (sorry, I've been watching Penn & Teller...) in the private sector.

But the times, they are a changin' Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent story on encouraging news. Thanks to JK and George Will for bringing it to us. I don't think JK mentioned that Ron Johnson is likely to run against Russ Feingold. Defeating him would be a huge improvement for economic freedom. ("The most basic right," Johnson says, "is the right to keep your property.") But what does he propose to challenge on first? "I would like to ask Russ, 'Have you ever witnessed a partial-birth abortion?' "

Will says Johnson will "highlight" Feingold's opposition to late-term abortion. I hope that won't be his principal strategy. Lines have been drawn on that issue for ages and aren't likely to put someone other than Feingold back in the office.

Personally, I have no problem with Johnson being pro-life. You may not think so, but I too am pro-life; but I am also anti-coercion, as Johnson certainly is. That and his anti-redistributionist theme should headline his campaign.

I also felt that Atlas Shrugged should have been longer but I have a solution to the problem: Read it again. I'm listening to the audio version now and noticing details that were way over my head on the first pass.

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2010 11:48 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks. I share your concerns. I hope NO Tea Party candidates will highlight anything but limited government. I fear that abortion and immigration might derail all the progress made.

Posted by: jk at May 30, 2010 1:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This blogger at Mother Jones certainly agrees with you on immigration. Polls do show that slowing the influx is highly popular but many also show a slight majority favoring amnesty. I'm not saying amnesty is right, just that immigration is a complex issue electorally. Imagine the irony if McCain defeats Hayworth be being more "retrogressive" on illegals but loses the general to a Democrat in the end.

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2010 6:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, I should probably get a job writing about you retrogressives and Obamahaters at Mother Jones.

We might disagree on who's right (me) but agree on the damage it does to the GOP. Unlike my ideological soulmates at MoJones, I think the problem is the base as much if not more than Hispanics. I can't support JD Hayworth, you can't support McCain. Who'll be surprised if a Democrat gets Barry Goldwa -- I mean the people's seat?

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2010 10:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. I tried to write that last comment neutrally and didn't intend any insulting linkage, though I did note the irony.

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2010 12:23 PM
But jk thinks:

...and you did a great job. It is just hard to qualify "This blogger at Mother Jones certainly agrees with you..."

No harm, no foul.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2010 1:00 PM

May 19, 2010

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

The most satisfying outcome across all parties and ideologies was arguably Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak's comfortable victory over Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary. In defeating the 80-year-old Mr. Specter, voters showed there is at least some limit to partisan opportunism and thus committed an act of political hygiene. -- WSJ Ed Page
Stings a litlle.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (4)
But pquist thinks:

I just hope that the Dems did not find a stronger candidate for November. It does feel good to have Specter's career ended by the voters, but he would have been a sure loser in November. How strong is Sestak for November?

Posted by: pquist at May 19, 2010 2:10 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

A good point, pq. It will be an interesting battle between pure liberalism and pure conservatism. I don't live in the Keystone state, but I intuitively like Toomey's chances.

BTW, the White House's reaction was quite interesting in saying they "got their money's worth" from Specter. It could not be clearer that they viewed him as simply a useful idiot.

It was also telling to listen to Specter blame everyone and everything other than himself for the loss. He's been spinning and saying whatever he needs to say for so long that he can no longer distinguish truth from fantasy.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 19, 2010 2:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It will help Toomey that Specter has promised to do everything he can to help Sestak, who ran away from the O-genda. (This promise by Specter also helps to salve the sting - he doesn't care what happens or who wins, so long as it's not Toomey.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2010 2:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Sad to say you're right, pq, we discussed this a little last week. And, yes, we are celebrating a Democratic Senate seat in November.

But virtue is its own reward sometimes, n'est ce pas?

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2010 3:46 PM

May 12, 2010

Headline of the Day

All Hail Taranto:

2 Down, 533 to Go

Posted by John Kranz at 5:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 8, 2010

Success Has a Thousand Fathers

But I think the Club for Growth can safely crow:

We did it! The Club for Growth PAC defeated big-spending Sen. Bob Bennett today in his bid for renomination by Utah Republicans. It was the first time in Utah history that an incumbent Republican Senator has been denied his party's nomination.

Bennett's defeat also marks the first time the Club's PAC has defeated an incumbent Republican senator. It will set off a political earthquake in Congress.

Bennett's defeat came at the Utah Republican nomination convention this afternoon when Bennett did not even make it to the final ballot, eliminating his chance to run as a Republican for reelection. Under state law, Bennett is also barred from running as an independent.

Bla bla bla, give us some money et cetera et cetera...

Posted by John Kranz at 7:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 5, 2010

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead

She's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead!

It is a great day for liberty!

WASHINGTON – Rep. David Obey, a leading liberal Democrat and chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, intends to retire at the end of his term this year, Democratic sources said Wednesday. It is another blow to Democrats defending their majority in an election season of voter discontent.

UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page is not really crying either

First elected in 1969, the 71-year-old Mr. Obey is one of the House barons who have steered the Democratic Congress to its current level of public esteem. As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he turned the stimulus into a 40-year spending wish list that focused on transfer payments like Medicaid and food stamps and created few new jobs.

Mr. Obey has long been more liberal than his northwestern Wisconsin district, which is home to middle-class Catholic deer hunters. He's kept his seat with union support, a populist streak and by outspending opponents, but this year he faced a serious challenge from Sean Duffy, the 38-year-old Ashland County district attorney who has raised more than $500,000. Mr. Obey may be retiring before the voters do him the honor.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The Island of Evil Dictators must be getting pretty crowded with all of these democratic politicians pulling out their golden parachutes.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2010 2:14 PM

February 26, 2010

Charlie Rangel: "Spiro Agnew of the Democrat Party"

We know that Charlie Rangel cheated on his taxes regarding investment properties in the Dominican Republic. He claimed that he "didn't understand" the tax laws. We also know that he lied to get four rent-restricted properties in NYC. He claimed that he "unaware." Now, we learn that he violated House rules by accepting a corporately-funded trip to the Caribbean. He says that "there is no evidence that he knew" the trips were funded by a corporation, even though his staff did. (Hey, Charlie - who did you think funded it, the Tooth Fairy?) One could call this the "I'm just a dumb-f***" defense. That may be true enough, but it is clear that Rangel and Spiro Agnew are kindred souls.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I'm tempted to leap in and defend Vice President Agnew...

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2010 4:52 PM

February 15, 2010

Retiring Legislators

I watched a few minutes of Good Morning America yesterday. Merciful Zeus! I may need therapy.

They did a story on Rep Patrick Kennedy's announced retirement, then tied it to Senator Chris Dodd's retirement, and others and... And I am screaming at the TV: "Uh, guys, any common theme (or party) connecting these retirements?"

Then the political analyst comes on and assures us that this is not a case of Democrats retiring in the face of a tough year. And then he says that more Republicans are retiring this year than Democrats.

Scuze me? They had a graphic prepared, so it was not a casual slip of the tongue. Am I truly in an Internet bubble where I only get news I want to hear? I tried a little research and found this gem from 2009 on CNN: "The 111th Congress has just barely begun as Senate Republicans brace for more grueling elections in 2010 that threaten to further weaken the party's influence in Congress." This was on the devastating news that George Voinovich (RINO - OH) was retiring. I had missed that. The news truly gets better and better...

Today, Insty links to news that Senator Evan Bayh is stepping down. Sadly, he is my favorite 'D' but I think that opens the door wide for Dan Coats.

Has anybody seen a list? Anybody else heard that there are more GOP retirements?

UPDATE: Curiouser. The official AP story notes:

The departure of Bayh, who was on Barack Obama's short list of vice presidential candidate prospects in 2008, continues a recent exodus from Congress among both Democrats and Republicans, including veteran Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island.

...then it enumerates four seats that retiring Democrats will have trouble holding. So, it's a bipartisan exodous, it's just not worth noting the Republicans.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

As best I can tell the whole "just as many Republicans are retiring" meme is nothing more than an official talking point. If pressed they'd probably produce an account that starts with Tom DeLay, and runs through about 2008.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 3:45 PM

January 8, 2010

Quote of the Day

Kim Strassel's column, Sean Duffy's quote:

Wisconsin's Mr. Duffy describes it this way: "I'm running because this is the fight of my generation. The prior one fought the Cold War, before that it was World War II. But our fight is becoming one for the principles of free markets and against creeping socialism." He's targeting Mr. Obey for writing the $787 billion stimulus, highlighting Democrats' failed economic program. The DA (who is also a professional lumberjack athlete) is crisscrossing the district to warn about rampant spending, Medicare cuts, higher taxes and overregulation.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

And here we all thought Glenn Beck was making that stuff about Jon Stewart up!

Whatever. I just don't know that we are going to sit back and let a ThreeSourcer mercilessly bash our brave French allies...

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2010 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Silence, when you say "fairness" and "social contract" I sincerely doubt you mean the same thing I would with the same terms. The difference between East Germany and France is the difference between evil and merely "wrong." Yes, this country was founded on a belief in freedom but that means more than just the right to toke up with impunity. As originally founded we had independent states whose citizens could shape to their democratic liking without infringing the rights of any more than their own citizens. That the federal government now does this on a national basis is what makes us little different from France.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 2:29 PM
But PoliticalMe thinks:

Thanks for the welcome jk. There have been many libertarians in the Republican Party. I just want my politicians to be honest about it. He's pushing hard "FISCAL CONSERAVATIVE", and trying to convince everyone he's a total conservative (like this article). Then his team smears anyone trying to reveal his social issues. If he ran as a libertarian, I wouldn’t be posting.

Posted by: PoliticalMe at January 10, 2010 3:56 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Chuckle, yes JG I suppose we would differ on definitions. But, I do suspect that you and I would be closer than either of us to a Frenchman. A very big part of our founding was the concept of social and economic mobility. Religion gets big play as the reason to head to the new world, but in reality there was a much bigger economic draw. Yes the federal government has very much overstepped the bounds originally envisioned, but we still differ significantly by not having a system of lords and serfs in our background. I think that makes it easier for them to hand over authority to lordly government than it is for us. We are just wired a bit differently so our socialist tendencies are different as well.

Hey JK, I always like to point out that this little experiment we call America would have been crushed before it could start without the brave French Navy.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey there PoliticalMe. By "social libertarian" do you mean that Duffy is pro-choice? Scott Brown of Massachusetts is pro-choice but would you prefer to see Martha Coakley take Ed Kennedy's seat?

If you succeed in what I assume is your effort to defeat Duffy with a "total" conservative in the primary, does that candidate have as good a chance against Obey?

The Tea Partiers I met don't want the government spending our money or raising our taxes. Their concerns about taking inflexible positions against a woman's right to control the comings and goings within her uterus are way, way down on the priority list (for those to whom it is a priority at all.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 8:44 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Greetings as well PoliticalMe. Sorry for hijacking this thread, it has been a while since I posted and I got carried away. You will probably find (we hope you will be back!) that a lot of the conservatives around here have some social libertarian in them. But we welcome all views, heck I am an unabashed liberal and they let me play!

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 11:15 PM

December 22, 2009

They can keep Specter


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday he is switching to the GOP, another blow to Democrats facing a potentially tough midterm election.

Griffith spoke to reporters at his home in northern Alabama, a region that relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs.

"I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt," Griffith said as his wife Virginia stood by his side.

The 67-year-old radiation oncologist was narrowly elected last year in a district that includes Huntsville and Decatur. President Barack Obama lost badly there to Republican John McCain.

UPDATE:Rep Griffith speaks out (HT: HotAir)

Posted by John Kranz at 3:37 PM | Comments (0)

He Hate Me


Capturing my thoughts in the wake of the Nebraska (and Louisiana and Vermont and Massachusetts and Connecticut and NEVADA) windfalls.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:17 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

love it. nice XFL connection.

Posted by: AlexC at December 22, 2009 5:27 PM

December 11, 2009

Quote of the Day II

Two Quotes of the Day? At 11:00 Mountain? Boy, this blog is going downhill...

I'm sorry, I tried to be all breezy and cynical about this, but it's time for Democrats to tell Max Baucus that it's time for him to resign. Not because he had an affair with an employee, which doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't bother the employee. But nominating your girlfriend for US Attorney, and then withdrawing the nomination when a paper says they're about to break the story, clearly indicates that you know it's unsavory. Say what you want about Republicans, but they have a much better sense than their opponents of when it's time to grab one of their own and throw him off the sled to the wolves running behind. -- Megan McArdle
Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2009

Lt. Colonel Allen West

Running for Congress in FL-22:

Hat-tip: Ace via Hugh

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Clean, articulate, and not a teleprompter in sight. Inspirational! Thank you brother. (Thank you too brother jk.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2009 1:09 AM