Archives for April 2012
Whether or you agree with them or not, Republicans in both chambers of Congress have put forward bold and innovative budgets that look for ways to bring the nation back on a path to sustainability.
While Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Pat Toomney (R-PA) have offered their own separate proposals, the budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which has already passed the House, is the vehicle that most Republicans are choosing to reform spending, entitlements, and taxes. What are Senate Democrats pushing? Well, nothing:
April 29 will mark three years since Senate Democrats passed a budget. This dereliction of duty flagrantly violates the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.
“On or before April 15 of each year, the Congress shall complete action on a concurrent resolution on the budget for the fiscal year,” this statute states. Senate Democrats could not care less about this federal law.
This is a milestone in human sloth. While it has taken Majority “Leader” Harry Reid of Nevada and Senate Democrats 36 months to conceive zero budgets, House Republicans have delivered two - one for each year they governed.
Nonetheless, Mr. Reid said on Feb. 3: “We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done. We don’t need to do it.”
“This is the wrong time to vote on the floor,” Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, declared Tuesday. “I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”
Seeking to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats are pushing an amendment to the Constitution that would take away First Amendment protections for corporations and unions:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed a movement announced by other congressional Democrats on Wednesday to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate political speech when it is engaged in by corporations as opposed to individuals.
The First Amendment says in part: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
Television and radio networks, newspapers, publishing houses, movie studios and think tanks, as well as political action committees, are usually organized as, or elements of, corporations.
Pelosi said the Democrats’ effort to amend the Constitution is part of a three-pronged strategy that also includes promoting the DISCLOSE Act, which would increase disclosure requirements for organizations running political ads, and “reducing the role of money in campaigns” (which some Democrats have said can be done through taxpayer funding of campaigns).
The constitutional amendment the Democrats seek would reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In that decision the court said that the First Amendment protects a right of free speech for corporations as well as for individuals, and that corporations (including those that produce newspapers, films and books) have a right to speak about politicians and their records just as individuals do.
This election season I’ve been told by Republican friends more times than I can count that the Independent vote isn’t really important in the 2012 presidential election. They argue that, sure, Republicans would like to have their votes, but they don’t need them to beat Obama in November.
A recent poll from Gallup indicates that these Republican folks may be wrong:
What caught my eye in this is the similarities between the Republicans and Democrats polled. Exactly 90% supported their party’s candidate while 6% supported the opponent and 3% fell into the Neither/Unsure/Refused category. The only difference is the “Other” column where the difference is only about a half of a percent. Republicans and Democrats are literally split 50/50 on the coming presidential election.
The important thing to pull from these results is that it’s another group of people who will determine who wins the election in November. It’s the Independent voter that makes the difference in the end; in this poll, the Independent vote gives the edge to Romney.
But who are these people?
Tea Party people. Since the surge of the Tea Party, more and more people have started identifying as “Independent” when asked their political affiliation. They’ll still vote Republican on a lesser-of-two-evils argument, but calling themselves Independent makes them feel good.
Recently, I authored a series of posts (a series I may continue) on the problems I see with libertarianism. One of the big ones that got a lot of attention was my third post on anarcho-capitalism, the more radical end of the libertarian movement. Yesterday,I wrote a piece responding to a critique of Gary Johnson, which said he wasn’t a libertarian; naturally, I was not supportive of said critique.
One of the comments to my Gary Johnson post was thus:
I like Gary Johnson but the author of the other piece simply did what Kolassa has done on 3 or 4 different blog posts now: calling out a libertarian because he disagrees with some of their views. I actually find this post funny but quite hypocritical.
I’ll admit it. That’s a fair assessment to make. In my anarcho-capitalism post, I laid in a bit too heavily with what I saw were the philosophical problems of anarcho-capitalism, rather than what I felt was the real, major problem.
Basically, I would love it if there was no government, no taxes, and no silly laws, and we all just respected each other and each other’s property. The thing is that I just don’t see this happening—though I am more than willing to be proven wrong on that one—and I see having anarcho-capitalism as the foot we lead with to be counterproductive.
I’m not going to kick anarcho-capitalists out of the movement or call them un-libertarian. (Some may be, but the vast majority are not.) I’m not going to start a purity test. I’ll leave that to the likes of Eric Dondero and people like him, who make fools of themselves every day.
This isn’t new ground for libertarian blogs, but apparently there is still a large disconnect between reality and perception. I don’t happen to have any illusions about this post actually changing that either, but I figured I needed to do something that didn’t involve a bell tower in an effort to curb the insanity.
Ron Paul, and most who describe themselves as libertarian, are non-interventionist. The perception by many is that we are isolationist. We are not, and there are very key differences.
First, isolationists are also the kind of people who want to block importation of goods. Most libertarians oppose efforts to limit imports. We believe in a free market, and part of that means we must compete with goods from outside of our shores. The truth is, Japanese cars made American cars better. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had to compete with the high quality and low cost, and American manufacturers produced better cars than they had in years. This is a good thing, and an example of why libertarians want goods imported.
Next, let’s look at the dreaded “outsourcing” of American jobs. Now, I hate calling up a tech support line and hearing a thick foreign accent saying, “Thank you for calling technical support. My name is ‘Bob’. How may I help you?” We all know his name probably isn’t Bob, but they somehow think they’re fooling us or something. So be it. However, American companies get better rates from call centers located outside of the United States, which lets them grow in other areas. That growth can lead to new jobs that pay better than the outsourced jobs that are now gone.
Leading into the Utah GOP convention on Saturday, many were predicting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would manage to avoid a primary contest, and by extension the fate of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, in 2010. And while Hatch didn’t lose his bid for re-election, he will face Dan Liljenquist in a head-to-head matchup:
Sen. Orrin Hatch, forced into a primary election by a narrow vote of delegates at a weekend Utah Republican convention, heads into a nine-week campaign hoping his advantages in money, organization and name recognition will allow him to overwhelm a lesser-known opponent.
Mr. Hatch needed 60% of the convention vote to avoid a primary, but he fell short by 32 out of 3,908 cast. That means he will face his first primary opponent since he won election to the Senate in 1976. His rival will be former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who received just over 40% of convention delegate votes.
Mr. Liljenquist and his supporters, including tea-party activists, cast the result as a big win and an important step in their nationwide efforts to unseat Republicans they consider insufficiently conservative.
Dave Hanson, Mr. Hatch’s campaign manager, said Sunday the senator had overcome difficult odds, given that tea-party activists two years ago unseated Sen. Robert Bennett, another Utah GOP incumbent, at the convention that year by depriving him of a spot on the primary ballot. Republican Mike Lee went on to win the general election.
While many would rather avoid discussing Operation Fast and Furious, Ted Cruz, a conservative candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, has put out a very good web ad on the issue and the failures of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to properly investigate the matter:
Despite the recent failure of the Buffett Rule in the Senate, a ruse wedge issue for Democrats, we’re still debating the merits of higher taxes. At the end of the year, the 2001 and 2003 taxes cuts are set to expire and there has been no movement from the White House or Congress to extend them — even the cuts for the middle class.
Of course, not extending the tax cuts could be harmful to the economy — what some are calling “Taxmageddon.” Some Democrats think we should go back to the incredibly high rates tax rates of decades ago, which is truly a terrible idea. Higher taxes, however, will not balance the budget, in fact, they will slow our economy down:
Democrats also continue to claim that cutting spending will set the economy back. This is a claim that President Barack Obama and his economic advisors have made many times. However, new research concludes that spending cuts lead to economic growth:
Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous With Destiny and Reagan’s Revolution, is not very fond of the Republican establishment. Nor is he particularly pleased with Mitt Romney’s treatment of The Gipper:
Romneyism—like Bushism and McCainism—is about wiping Reaganism away from the Republican Party.
Romney has made it clear in the past his abhorrence of Ronald Reagan. Romney is about personal power, plain and simple.
Shirley thinks Republicans may have hit a new all-time low, stating that Romney “could be the most despised choice since Richard Nixon.” He does have an alternative though, suggesting that “conservatives will seriously consider walking away and looking at the candidacy of Gary Johnson.”
With the Republican primary effectively over and Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee, it will be interesting to see if any prominent conservatives buck the GOP and endorse the Libertarian candidate, or if they all collectively hold their nose and support Mitt Romney. There is another option, of course, and that is to refrain from endorsing anyone. This was the option taken by Gary Johnson himself when he became the only sitting Republican governor not to endorse George Bush in 2000.
Are you pro-peace or pro-war? This is a question not only every politician should have to answer but also every American should ask themselves.
Most Americans would answer that question by saying that in their daily lives they are Pro-Peace and as a corollary they would agree that Force should only be used to defend a person’s life or Property. Why is it then when these same Americans, whose daily lives are built upon Peaceful interactions with their fellow human beings vote for politicians who are decidedly Pro-War?
Everyone around the world is just trying to live the best they can. That includes those folks in this country who not only advocate for Collectivism but also advocate for war. In this country the citizens who advocate for war overseas and “Obamacare” at home really believe that this is the best way to better their own lives and the lives of their families.
“To subsist to better one’s condition to bring up a family are not affairs of time, or place, or taste, or opinion, or choice, they are the daily constant and unavoidable concerns of all men at all times and in all countries” Frederic Bastiat
There are only two ways to gain what you desire in this world, that is from free and voluntary exchange or by appropriating it from others by force. Those who are Pro-Peace believe hat the best way for them and everyone else in the world is to improve their lot in life is through peaceful Free Trade. Those who are Pro-War believe in forcibly taking what another has produced by force or as Bastiat called it “spoliation” or “plunder”.