A recent comment from a reasonable, fiscally conservative Republican state legislator in Georgia became a facepalm moment for me. Rep. Chuck Martin, (R-Alpahretta) who co-chairs the Budget Committee addressing a $1 BILLION shortfall in the State budget told department heads: “This is not personal, this is not anybody questioning your professionalism, but we’re in a very difficult time here in Georgia. We are frankly in a position where we have to do more for the same or less money.”
Did you catch that? Did you see where he went exactly WRONG? With all due respect to Rep. Martin, you don’t have to do more –you have to do LESS. You have less money. Do less. Shrink government. Cut services, programs, employees and pay.
Amidst all the hand wringing about the “budget woes” plaguing every state, county and municipality in the nation, nearly none of the coverage reports an actual shrinking of the size and the scope of government. The news media dutifully reports that elected officials are “wrangling,” having to decide between “modest” tax hikes or “Draconian” budget cuts. Well, it’s time for less modesty and more Draco.
It can be done. Residents in Tracy, California have been given a choice –pay $48 per year to call 911 whenever they want, or skip the annual fee and pay $300 for each time you call. Colorado Springs asked the voters of that city (population 400,000) to pony up for a tax hike (the largest in the that city’s history) –which voters rejected. City leaders are closing parks, shutting off every third streetlight and auctioning off police helicopters. Yet somehow, the sun is still rising in Colorado and California.
How’s the for a great use of taxpayer funding. The United States will be dropping $1 billion to build a moat (you read that right) at the embassy in London:
The United States has unveiled plans for its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London — the most expensive it has ever built.
A moat 30 metres (100ft) wide and rolling parkland will separate the building from the main road, protecting it from would-be bombers and removing the need for the blast barriers that so dismayed the people of Mayfair.
The State Department sought to play down the cost of security measures, noting the expense of London building work. But the price puts the London embassy above the US’s most fortified missions, including the Baghdad embassy, which cost $600 million (£390 million) but required a further $100 million of work on air conditioning, and the Islamabad embassy, still under construction, which has cost more than $850 million.
It also does not include the 17.5 per cent VAT demanded by the Treasury on all buildings in Britain and which the US has refused to pay.
Um, this is ridiculous.
Many thanks to Russ Roberts for this cartoon.
One of the obstacles for President Barack Obama and Democrats in passing ObamaCare is the abortion language in the new proposal laid out yesterday by the administration:
With all the twists and turns of health care legislation, the trickiest practical problem now seems to be in the House, and whether Nancy Pelosi has the 218 votes required ot pass the bill.
Nobody seems to have a hard answer, with her margin of 220-215 now reduced to the bare minimum by Murtha’s death and Wexler’s retirement, and one more by Joseph Cao’s apparent signal that he won’t vote for the bill. Another Democrat, Neil Abercrombie, plans to retire at the end of this month.
And abortion, an issue whose political salience seemed pretty much gone by 2008, is again central. The Stupak-Pitts amendment is gone, and with it an unclear number of Democrats. Abortion foes are again organizing with the demand of an “explicit exclusion of public funds for abortion,” which they don’t see in the accounting mechanism Ben Nelson negotiated.
Democrats in House have zero room for dissent among the ranks, and still may kill the bill, which would be good news. Hopefully this time, Republicans will not let the anti-abortion lobby help them pass ObamaCare like they did back in November.
Liberty Slate is a collection of candidates ranked by their adherence to five core principles, their likelihood of winning, and the quality of their website. Recently, they coordinated a “moneybomb” for their slate of candidates.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee explains why he did not attend this years CPAC gathering:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday as outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement.
Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential contender and potential 2012 candidate who had spoken at the conference for years, said the reason he blew it off this year was that the meeting has become dominated by libertarian activists.
“CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year,” Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show.
He was responding to a question about whether he was upset by his single-digit showing in the conference’s straw poll, which was won by libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Huckabee has ripped libertarians. Back during the 2008 campaign, he referred to libertarianism as the greatest threat to the Republican Party.
Additionally, as James Joyner notes, Huckabee actually makes a point that he didn’t intend to:
As you probably know, President Barack Obama released his health care proposal yesterday (you can read it here), outlining what he sees as “reform,” in attempt to bridge the divide between the House and Senate versions of the bill:
The White House today unveiled President Obama’s health care overhaul bill, which it says will expand health insurance to 31 million more Americans and reduce the federal budget deficit by $100 billion in the next 10 years.
The White House also released the changes Obama wants to see in the Senate Democratic health care bill. Even before its release, the White House’s plan had already met with fierce Republican resistance.
Administration officials call the health care bill a “starting point” point for Thursday’s televised, bipartisan discussions on health care overhaul.
“I think it’s a starting point in as much… as Republicans come to Thursday’s meeting with constructive proposals that they’re willing to discuss,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
Obama made sure to pander to his constituencies, such as labors unions, and while the Cornhusker Kickback is gone, other vote buying provisions, such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Medicaid provision for Florida, are still included in the proposal.
I’ve been talking with some of my friends about this story. Here’s a comment they made about what happened in Austin last week:
…the media is going to take what he did and sweep it under the rug as bat shit crazy and ignore the point he was trying to make. To a godless man in a godless world that was his best option in his mind. He wanted to hurt the government like they hurt him, but he instead hurt innocents that had nothing to do with it. But how do you strike back at something so big and abstract as government? I’m sure he was right when he said he wouldnt be the last. If people don’t take notice of how the government is [screwing] its own citizens we are going to have more and more incidents like this. Basically, America will become its own terrorists.
I want to unequivocally condem the murder Joe Stack committed by flying an airplane into an IRS building. Joe Stack was a fed up man, who thought he was out of options and wanted to make a point. It’s too bad that he decided to take his life and endanger others to make his point.
Read his suicide note. It’s very well written. He worked within the system, as best he could, obeying the rules and finally concluded the tax system is biased, so biased that it cost him:
$40,000+, 10 years of [his] life
What should we take from this act of violence? Anything? Why was Joe Stack compelled to take his life? That’s a scary place my mind rejects it out of hand.
Economist Greg Mankiw offers his comments on President Barack Obama’s new commission to tackle budget deficits and what conservatives should hope to accomplish, which the Wall Street Journal calls the “VAT Commission”:
[L]et’s suppose that you are a conservative and you want the fiscal commission to succeed. You will have to agree to higher taxes as part of the bargain. But what should you aim to get in return? Here is my list.