Archives for December 2011
We have another poll coming out of Iowa. This one comes from Rasmussen Reports, a GOP-leaning firm. If you’re a Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich supporter, then you’re not going to like the results.
While the previous three polls out of the state — from Iowa State University, Public Policy Polling, and Insider Advantage — showed Paul with a anywhere from a 3-6 point lead, Rasmussen shows Romney building on his lead from the survey they conducted last week.
- Mitt Romney: 25% (+2)
- Ron Paul: 20% (+2)
- Newt Gingrich: 17% (-3)
- Rick Perry: 10% (—)
- Rick Santorum: 10% (+4)
- Michele Bachmann: 6% (-3)
- Jon Huntsman: 4% (-1)
- Other/Not sure: 9%
That’s not to say I don’t believe Rasmussen, but it looks like most are conceeding that Paul will win the Iowa caucus; though his chances for winning the nomination are still very low. The problem for Romney is that a Paul win in Iowa could have influence on the New Hampshire primary, where he needs to do will in order to not worry about South Carolina.
And let’s keep in mind that Iowa is a caucus state, which is different from a traditional primary. Campaign organization is key here, and we know that Romney is investing a lot of resources there — but he isn’t giving up on it either. Gingrich, from what I’ve heard, is struggling to build a solid team. And we shouldn’t underestimate Santorum, though we all want to. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish ahead of Gingrich.
Many politicians in Washington rail against wasteful spending. It’s become a convenient part of campaign rhetoric and in communications back in their districts and states. Few, however, have actually done anything to rein waste, fraud, and abuse more than Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). While he has done much in the last year to make fiscal conservative uneasy, Sen. Coburn has been on the forefront of cutting waste.
Yesterday, Sen. Coburn released a new report, Wastebook 2011, that documents and outlines some $6.5 billion in wasteful spending, which are described as “unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.”
Here some examples of waste in the report, as provided by Sen. Coburn’s office. Keep in mind as you’re reading these example and the full report, that the budget deficit for this year was well over $1 trillion and our national debt is current $15 trillion. Granted, the money saved by eliminating these projects wouldn’t make a dent in the deficit, it’s the principle of the matter:
Hooray! From Politico:
Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.
The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire, will make the announcement at a press conference in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Libertarian state directors will be informed of Johnson’s plans on a conference call Tuesday night, a Johnson campaign source told POLITICO.
The Republican Party, although it has paid lip service to the notion of limited government and free markets for decades, has completely turned its back on such things. And that, as we have seen, has led the GOP to make a mockery of itself, and while it may win some temporary victories in 2012, long term, it does not bode well. The only other one in the race who has any sense is Ron Paul (and maybe John Huntsman), but as we seen from this circus, both the GOP Establishment and much of the base simply has no clue what’s happening.
Gary is making a good choice getting out of the GOP. It’s a sinking ship, and unless they get it back on real limited government principles and jettison the religious conservative wing, it’s going to go all the way to the bottom. I suspect many voters and perhaps even politicians will follow Gary—maybe not today, and maybe not necessarily into the Libertarian Party, but they will in the future.
This week marked the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights. Many Americans today would be surprised to learn that the Bill of Rights was adamantly opposed by some of the Founding Fathers, including Alexander Hamilton. Why? Hamilton explained in Federalist No. 84, declaring “I…affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous…For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” This alluded to the rule of “inclusio unius est exclusion alterius” (the inclusion of one thing necessarily excludes all others), whereby the very enumeration of certain rights as being free from regulation implied that all others were subject to the general legislative powers of the Congress.
Hamilton understood that the Constitution strictly limited the powers of the federal government, and feared a bill of rights would open the door for expansion of congressional power. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution”, agreed there was not necessarily a need for the Bill of Rights, but was also not opposed to one. As he explained in an October 1788 letter to Thomas Jefferson, “My own opinion has always been in favor of a bill of rights; provided that it be so framed as not to imply powers not meant to be included in the enumeration. At the same time I have never thought the omission a material defect, nor been anxious to supply it even by subsequent amendment, for any other reason than that it is anxiously desired by others. I have favored it because I suppose it might be of use, and if properly executed could not be of disservice.”
Even though the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement has dwindled significantly over the last few weeks, the issue of income inequality isn’t going to vanish. President Barack Obama will no doubt try to use class warfare and wealth envy to further polarize the American public — and likely use your tax dollars in doing so, hoping that this deflection will mask his administration’s failure and help get him re-elected.
Over at the Washington Post, Charles Lane explains that Americans are less worried about income inequality than in the past, and rightfully so:
In a Dec. 16 Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans called the rich-poor gap “an acceptable part of our economic system.” Only 45 percent said it “needs to be fixed.” This is the precise opposite of what Gallup found in 1998, the last time it asked the question, when 52 percent wanted to “fix” inequality.
Maybe Americans are Okunites — as in Arthur Okun, the late Yale economist and author of the 1975 book, “Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff.”
Okun saw free markets as a source of unparalleled human progress — and of big gaps between rich and poor. Indeed, he argued, markets are efficient partly because they distribute economic rewards unevenly. Government should try to smooth out income stratification, but such efforts risk undermining incentives to work and invest.
In one of the few instances of “good news,” or at least “not that terrible news,” the Stop Online Piracy Act has been delayed until after the winter recess:
WASHINGTON POST - The House Judiciary Committee confirmed Tuesday that it will delay continuing debate on the Stop Online Piracy Act until after Congress returns from its winter recess.
Committee spokeswoman Kim Smith said in an e-mailed statement that the hearing is expected to be scheduled for “early next year.”
Well, that is certainly good news on one front. It at least means they won’t be shoving it down our throat today.
But they’re going to try again. It always happens.
There was widespread outrage when TARP was first proposed, and under that public onslaught, the House of Representatives bucked its campaign contributors and shot the plan down. There was much rejoicing—until they passed it, with even more pork, four days later.
Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily what will happen with SOPA. It may come back and it may be defeated. That is certainly a possibility. But it will come back. The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America—which I have heard sarcastically referred to, combined, as the MAFIAA—have far too much invested in controlling your Internet access and your personal computer. Do you think they’re just going to give up the possibility of more control over your lives? Of course not. No corporation that could obtain such lucrative rents from the government is going to give it up that easily.
As we approach the Iowa caucus, we’re seeing several new polls released that show Newt Gingrich’s lead over Mitt Romney has completely evaporated. Take the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showing both at 30%, with Ron Paul following well behind them in third:
- Mitt Romney: 30%
- Newt Gingrich: 30%
- Ron Paul: 15%
- Rick Perry: 7%
- Michele Bachmann: 7%
- Rick Santorum: 3%
- Jon Huntsman: 3%
- None/No opinion: 5%
The Hill has some important takeaways from the poll, including that 36% of Republican voters could still change their minds before they cast their ballot:
The poll shows Romney might still be winning the electability argument, as 38 percent believed that of all the candidates, Romney “has the best chance to defeat Barack Obama in the general election,” compared to Gingrich’s 28 percent. However, Gingrich wins 43 percent compared to Romney’s 23 percent when voters were asked who “has the best experience to be president.”
Healthcare — and likely his support of the individual mandate in Massachusetts — still seems to be the major obstacle for Romney to overcome with voters, as 36 percent named it a “major reason to oppose” him as the nominee.
With the last couple of polls out of Iowa showing him at the front of the pack (though one of them is within the margin of error) — thanks in large part to younger voters, Ron Paul has rolled out another new ad in early primary states.
The new ad, rolled out like a movie preview, shows Washington as a “lost city” that has “lost hope” where none of the political parties can agree on anything and shift blame on each other for failures. The ad shows Paul emerging as someone that has always remained constant, voting against every tax hike and will pushing for $1 trillion in spending cuts during his first year.
Here’s the ad:
I’m kind of a rare breed of libertarian. I actually believe in the concept of intellectual property. As such, some might be under the belief that folks like me would be in favor of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
Of course, they would be horribly, horribly wrong.
Regardless of ones feelings on IP, the reality is that SOPA is nothing less than a NDAA or PATRIOT Act for the internet.
You see, the internet is the last bastion of freedom anywhere in the world. While it’s entirely possible to render something illegal in one country, it’s virtually impossible to stamp it out. Laws and regulations become meaningless as physical borders mean nothing on a cyberscape free from such lines.
The kick in the butt with this bill, as with many similar bills, is that it really won’t do a whole heck of a lot to combat piracy. Of course, there are some that will argue that what SOPA seeks to do is crush that freedom. That ideas breed in such freedom, and such ideas can not be allowed to incubate.
I don’t know if I would go that far, but what is clear is that SOPA is nothing more than a powergrab. Those that are supposed to support and defend the Constitution have instead decided to just ignore the document completely.
SOPA seeks to require your ISP to spy on you. It seeks to hurt companies like Mozilla that haven’t done what the powerful want it to do. It seeks to rewrite the current laws regarding the internet and remake it into a place where innovation no longer happens.
Now, SOPA may not be all bad. After all, plenty of companies will love to open up their nations to the off-shore dollars that are bound to flee the United States after a SOPA-like bill is passed. While I’m not an opponent of out sourcing per se, I’d prefer it not to be encouraged through idiotic legislation.
In case you missed it, Ron Paul appear on The Tonight Show on Friday evening. Paul was joined by Joe Rogan, a former television host and avid supporter. This is by far one of the best appearances I’ve seen from Paul, who spoke very passionately — but focused — about economics and the Federal Reserve, among other issues.