Archives for August 2012

Romney backs Federal Reserve audit

Ben Bernanke

While Ron Paul isn’t going to be the Republican Party nominee in 2012, it looks as though a part of his platform has been adopted by the guy that will carry the GOP banner this year. According to the Washington Times, Mitt Romney has endorsed an audit of the Federal Reserve:

“Very plain and simple, the answer is yes. The Federal Reserve should be accountable. We should see what they’re doing,” Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said at a town hall in New Hampshire.
[…]
Mr. Romney said he doesn’t want Congress to meddle too much in the business of the Federal Reserve, which is the independent agency the government set up to manage the country’s monetary policy. But he said it should be audited as part of a push to know more about the connections between the government and wealthy campaign contributors.

The GOP’s platform committee begins meeting later Monday, and Mr. Paul is seeking to have a Fed audit included as an official position of the party. Gov. Bob McDonnell, the platform committee’s chairman, told The Washington Times last month that he supported accountability at the Fed, and said the committee was looking at a number of Mr. Paul’s ideas.

Grover Norquist: Put defense spending on the table

Grover Norquist

“Conservatives need to remember that just as spending money on something called ‘education’doesn’t mean people are educated, and spending money on ‘welfare’ doesn’t mean it adds to the General Welfare. Calling something ‘national defense’ doesn’t mean it is. It may not be. It may undermine national defense if it’s a waste of resources.” - Grover Norquist

As Mitt Romney and Republicans complain about cuts to defense spending as a part of the sequestion agreement that agreed to last year, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Caleb Brown of Cato Institute in yesterday’s daily podcast that these spending cuts need to be on the table.

By the way, if you’re not already subscribing to the Cato Daily Podcast, you should, either via iTunes or by RSS.

Defund REAL ID

REAL ID

Written by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Lots of other stories have dominated the headlines lately, so people have paid little attention to news that House and Senate leaders have settled on a plan to fund the government for the first half of fiscal 2013 through a continuing resolution.

Senator Reid’s press release states that the agreement “will avoid a government shutdown while funding the government at $1.047 trillion.” If only that were true. The president’s most recent budget estimates that federal outlays will be something more like $3.8 trillion.

Whatever the case on the total figures, this is a good time to be asking just what will be in that six-month extension of government funding. And I’m particularly interested in whether it will continue to fund our national ID law, the REAL ID Act.

WaPo Poll: Americans want limited government

United States Capitol

There is a lot of uncertainty headed into the fall. Will voters re-elect President Barack Obama, keeping him in the White House for another four years. Or will they choose a different course for the country with Mitt Romney. It’s hard to say where the minds of voters are at the moment in that regard, but a new Washington Post poll shows that Americans do want limited government:

A survey of 3,130 American adults conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation between July 25 and August 5 discovered that large majorities of Americans favor a smaller federal government and believe the government controls too much of our daily lives.
[…]
The poll asked: “Would you say you favor a smaller federal government with fewer services, or larger federal government with many services?”

Among all those polled, 55 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 40 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.

Among just the registered voters in the poll, 58 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 37 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.

The poll also asked: “Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statement. Government controls too much of our daily lives.”

Geithner Favors Fannie Mae Debtholders over Taxpayers … Again

Tim Geithner

Written by Mark A. Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

You have to give Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner some credit for spin: today the Treasury announced “Further Steps to Expedite Wind Down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” The only problem is that the steps announced largely put the taxpayer at greater risk in order to protect holders of Fannie and Freddie debt.

Essentially, the Treasury has amended its agreements with Fannie and Freddie so that the companies no longer have to pay a fixed dividend to the U.S. taxpayer, but instead “every dollar of profit” from the companies to the taxpayer. The problem is that the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) have never had a year where their profits would have covered the dividend payments, so while we can debate if the taxpayer will recover anything from the GSEs, shifting to just collecting profits definitely means the taxpayer’s potential recoupment is lower.

The GSE’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was at least a little more honest in its announcement of the changes, stating that, “as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shrink, the continued payment of a fixed dividend could have called into question the adequacy of the financial commitment contained in the PSPAs.”  Read “financial commitment” to mean protecting debtholders from loss.

The Ballad of Julian Assange

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed in up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for about two months now. The British government is trying to have him arrested and have him extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations. Well, the Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum, but the British government has made it very clear that they will not allow him safe passage to Ecuador and have surrounded the embassy with armed policemen. This is an issue where there is a lot of passion, especially among Assange’s defenders who see him as a crusader against the imperialism and the war crimes of the Western world and particularly the United States. In this passion, there have been been a lot of confusion about the facts involved in this case. I will do my best in this piece to shed some light on what this case is all about.

Unemployment up in swing states

While we have gotten off on another distraction thanks to Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and rape, swing state voters may wish the national focus of the election was back on the economy. According to recent jobs numbers, the unemployment rate went up in 44 states, including many that will play a factor in determining the presidential race:

The jobless rate climbed in July in nine of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, even though employers added workers in most of them.

The unemployment rates rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The rate also increased very slightly, in Colorado and North Carolina, and held steady in Ohio, ending 11 months of declines there, the data show.

Nevada’s 12% unemployment was highest among all 50 states. Michigan’s rate hit 9% for the first time since January, and Florida’s rate, now at 8.8%, increased for the first time in more than a year.

The state figures largely tracked the national jobless rate, which ticked up to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.

Separately, Gallup notes that 56% of voters in swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago. Only 40% say they are better off. The number of voters who say they aren’t better off is up slightly from when the same question was asked back in January. Who do they blame? Twenty percent point their finger at President Barack Obama, while only 7% blame his predecessor, George W. Bush.

US Prison Population: Largest in the World

History of Democrat Racism…Hope and Chains

Joe Biden

Earlier this week, President Obama’s best guarantee against harm, the hair-plugged, gaffe-prone buffoon we know affectionately as Vice President “Bumblin’Joe” Biden, addressed a mostly black audience in Danville, Virginia (or as Biden would say, “North Carolina”) and proclaimed the election of Mitt Romney would mean big banks running roughshod over helpless blacks. In a horrific, cringe-inducing attempt at a Southern drawl (reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s 2007 pandering murder of an old gospel hymn, where she proclaimed in a faux-black preacher accent, “Ah don’t fee-yull noways tahrd. Ah’ve come too faarrr from where I started fruum…”), Uncle Joe declared that blacks must fear Romney and the Republicans because “They’re gonna put ya’ll back in chains.” I suppose we must at least listen and consider the verity of Biden’s words. After all, who knows more about putting black people in chains than the #2 guy in the Democrat Party? This is the same Joe Biden that, in a 2006 interview, bragged about his home state of Delaware having been a slave state.

Many conservatives, initially including myself, were outraged at yet another claim of racism against Republicans peddled by Democrats and parroted by their liberal media sycophants. However, I realized that rather than getting indignant and angry, this should become, as Obama himself might say, a “teachable moment.”

Sherrod Brown- Wrong on Energy, Wrong for Ohio

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has been a busy statist.

First, he attacked his Republican opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for promoting his Tea Party credentials.

What was Josh’s sin? It certainly wasn’t a lack of conservatism. Mandel, a rising conservative leader, is Endorsed by FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. Josh once represented a portion of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s district in the Ohio House of Representatives while standing firmly to the right of the Republican caucus.

Josh’s fault was noting in a television ad an endorsement from a dubious conservative group. Brown’s crack team of communications wizards must have spent hours digging through Archive.org’s snapshots of my now-defunct Ohio blog before sending my 2010 commentary to the Talking Points Memo.

Then, Team Brown attacked Mandel for dropping his vowels and sounding “southern” at a Romney rally.

While I’m flattered by the attention brought to MY TWO YEAR OLD BLOG POST during a competitive U.S. Senate race, it is sad to watch an incumbent Senator be so desperate.  After spending his entire adult life in elected office, Sherrod must have serious issues to discuss, right?

Wrong! As the Senate’s most liberal member, Sherrod knows his rigid ideology and environmental radicalism put him so far out of Ohio’s mainstream, voters would toss him out of office if they find out the truth.


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