Archives for November 2011
For the last few days, Republican leaders have been dodgey when it comes to whether they will support tax hikes as part of deal that comes out of the Super Committee. It’s not hard to see the writing of yet another betrayal on the wall.
The deal that was on the table from Republicans on the Super Committee would have increased revenues by over $400 billion by closing loopholes. Part of the reason Republicans are proposing tax hikes is because they are so insistant that defense spending cuts, roughly $600 billion over 10 years, that would come if no deal is reached. Keep in mind that defense spending is at its highest level since World War II.
Over at the American Enterprise Institute, economist James Pethokoukis gives us five reasons why raising taxes, which many Republicans seem intent on doing, is an incredibly dumb idea:
1. The economy stinks. From Wall Street to Washington, the baseline economic case for 2012 is miserable 1-2 percent growth and around 9 percent unemployment. (Indeed, Federal Reserve research finds that when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recessions follow within a year 70 percent of the time.) Beyond that … not much better. The IMF, for instance, sees sub-3 percent growth through 2016, resulting in continued high unemployment. And this all assumes the eurozone financial crisis doesn’t get much worse, which it likely will. Hardly the time for raising taxes and turning America permanently into slow-growth, no-growth Europe.
With ObamaCare headed to the Supreme Court and Democrats supporting repeal of damaging tax and regulatory provisions in the law, Americans continue to sour on President Barack Obama’s key legislative accomplishment; according to a new survey from Gallup:
Given a choice, 47% of Americans favor repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 42% want it kept in place. Views on this issue are highly partisan, with Republicans strongly in favor of repeal and the large majority of Democrats wanting the law kept in place.
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would review the healthcare law’s constitutionality, a case that is likely to be heard in March, with a ruling issued by next summer. Thus, the law’s ultimate fate may now be in the court’s hands, rather than in Congress’, although it will continue to be a dominant issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. Republicans and conservatives have continued to level criticism against the law since it was passed in March 2010, while President Obama has been just as vigorous in defending its objectives and future benefits.
Here’s something that I haven’t seen get more airtime: Ron Paul moves into top-tier in Iowa Caucuses, Now a 4-way Dead Heat:
The Iowa caucuses are just seven weeks away, but Republican voters in the nation’s first presidential nominating state seem as torn as ever over the GOP field.
A new Bloomberg poll of likely caucus participants shows a four-way tie in Iowa, with Rep. Ron Paul joining Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in the top tier of candidates. Underscoring the uncertainty in the race, 60 percent of respondents said they could be persuaded to back someone other than their first choice for the nomination.
The poll, conducted November 10 - 12 by the West Des Moines-based firm Selzer & Co, shows Cain in the lead with 20 percent, while Paul comes in at 19 percent. Romney wins 18 percent support, and Gingrich earns 17 percent. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.
While Christian conservatives have more influence in Iowa than they do in the rest of the nation, only a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social issues are more important this year than economic issues. As many as 71 percent say they’re voting on issues like jobs and taxes.
It’s the economy, stupid, Ron Paul edition.
We’ve noted here over the last few weeks that the Occupy Wall Street movement and its ancillary groups in other major cities had been quickly waning in popularity. The latest survey from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, only drives home that point:
The Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement’s support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street’s goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.
Voters don’t care for the Tea Party either, with 42% saying they support its goals to 45% opposed. But asked whether they have a higher opinion of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movement the Tea Party wins out 43-37, representing a flip from last month when Occupy Wall Street won out 40-37 on that question. Again the movement with independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding with the Tea Party 44-40.
Last weekend in Denver, I watched as protesters blocked off a street, claiming ownership of it and refusing to let traffic pass — that is before police pushed them back. Acts of civil disobedience or even violence may seem like justifiable means to these so-called “Occupiers,” but Americans don’t smile on that.
Rick Perry, looking to get back on top of the GOP primary, has unveiled a new reform plan that will “uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions,” as he puts it:
Blasting the congressional “creatures of Washington” for being overpaid and detached from the struggles of the people outside the Beltway, Texas Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry vowed Tuesday to eliminate federal agencies, set term limits for federal judges and push for a part-time Congress where both members’ pay and office budgets are sliced in half.
The three-term governor, speaking on a campaign swing in Bettendorf, Iowa, said he would lead by example by cutting his salary as president until the federal budget is balanced, and said that lawmakers who use information to profit from stock trades should go to jail — in what appeared to be a clear reference to recent news reports alleging insider trading involving House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul,” Mr. Perry said, according to prepared remarks. “We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions.”
I’m reading his actual plan right here, and I have to say, there are some good ideas here, and one very bad one.
Newt Gingrich is the lastest Flavor of the Month for the conservative movement, which is feverishly looking for an anti-Romney candidate. But the former Speaker of the House has been forced to fight back against accusations that he lobbied for Freddie Mac, the government-created housing giant:
As he tried to leverage his recent rise in national polls into a full-fledged bid for the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich was badly knocked off message on Wednesday by repeated inquiries about the more than $1.6 million he got in consulting fees from the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which had a role in the housing collapse in recent years.
At a campaign event, Gingrich said that he characterized his work for the mortgage-finance entity as offering “strategic advice” and not as lobbying. He said he provided “strategic advice for a long period of time” after he resigned as speaker of the House in early 1999. The federally backed mortgage lender has been the target of a backlash since the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market and the deep recession in the housing market.
Gingrich said his lucrative association with Freddie Mac as a consultant – he has also said he was paid for his knowledge as an historian – should not trouble voters, he told reporters on Wednesday. “It reminds people that I know a great deal about Washington,” he said. “We just tried four years of amateur ignorance, and it didn’t work very well. So, having someone who actually knows Washington might be a really good thing.”
Looking for a way to encourage transparency in Congress, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has released a new app, WhipCast, for smartphone users to track votes, receive alerts, and track issues that are being tackled in Washington:
After spending a couple of hours at an Occupy site over the weekend, let me tell you that this “movement” is different from the Tea Party in several ways. The biggest is the respect for property, both private and public. The protesters at Tea Party rallies I went to were mostly respectful to the property they were on and those around them. Even the slight hint of criticism of the Obama Administration was classified as anti-government sentiment or hate speech.
But the Occupy site I visited in Denver, one of the organizers rallied some of his follow protesters to march on the evil corporations — including Starbucks and McDonald — at the 16th Street Mall. After all, the employees at those locations are evil bourgeois pigs that should be taken away from the fry line by the proletariat and dragged through the streets of Red Square!
But imagine if tea partyers were discussing taking over the government with aid from members of the military or speaking approvingly about soldiers in Vietnam shooting their superior officers. That’s exactly what was discussed in a meeting at Occupy DC, via Adam Kokesh:
Earlier I noted that this weird Republican primary contest could get even crazier before the first votes are cast in Iowa on January 3, 2012. Over at Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende explains why it’s likely that we’ll see more twists and turns by drawing from the 2008 cycle in both party primaries. Here is an excerpt, but I recommend you read the entire peice for the full understanding of what Trende is getting at:
The Republican primary season seems to have had an endless succession of Republican front-runners and alternatives to Mitt Romney. But history suggests that we’re just getting started. Take a look at the RealClearPolitics average for the Republican contest in 2008:
At this point in the last cycle, the rankings were: (1) Rudy Giuliani; (2) Fred Thompson; (3) John McCain, roughly tied with Mitt Romney; (5) Mike Huckabee. Two months later, it was a McCain/Huckabee race. Giuliani wouldn’t begin to decline for another month, and McCain wouldn’t be in first place until mid-January.
Of course, the national ratings are only a small portion of what goes on in a primary. Iowa and New Hampshire are key. Here’s the RCP Average for 2008 in those two states, with Huckabee bolded for Iowa and McCain bolded for New Hampshire:
Looks like the Occupy movement is becoming increasingly hostile as we are seeing more videos of protesters making violent threats. In the video below via Verum Serum, a protester warns that “in a few days [November 17th] you going to see what a molotov cocktail can do to Macy’s”:
Now, this is only one person (though some around him seem to act appprovingly); however, we are seeing various Occupy movements threaten or use violence as they protest. And no doubt, local officials around the country, including New York City, are concerned about safety with upcoming holiday parades concerned.
If organizers of OWS want to grasp why they are losing control of the narrative and falling out of favor, it’s because everyday Americans don’t like crazy, which from my experience is all that is left of the Occupy Wall Street movement.