Recent Posts From Matt Wittlief
In case you are interested in the decisions being made on Capitol Hill and not too caught up in the Michael Jackson circus, I’d like to provide a summary of a very interesting day in the House. As you may have heard, the House passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This is also referred to as “ACES”, “Waxman-Markey”, or the cap and trade (cap and tax) legislation.
The short summary of the bill says that it will “create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition [the US] to a clean energy economy.” The official long summary is quite long. The GOP will tell you that it will destroy our economy.
The failure of the U.S. auto industry has been a dominant news story over the last few months. Today, GM filed for bankruptcyand it appears Chrysler will emerge reorganized soon after Judge Arthur Gonzalez rejected opposing arguments. Over a couple of articles, we will discuss some of the basic nuts and bolts of bankruptcy, a few of the key opponents of the Chrysler reorganization, and some general comments on the entire process.
Let’s dive in.
This is a very complex subject with strong emotion on both sides of the argument. I’m going to try to keep this post relatively short and open-ended. But, this is a subject worth considerable debate - so, upon introduction, I’ll leave it to readers to think and reflect before further discourse.
I read a story this week (which I will introduce in a moment) which cuts straight to the heart of the issue of the family and the state. Perhaps more specifically, I should say the family vs. the state. I have made my feelings well known in this blog that I believe that the family should have governance authority over the state. Indeed the state should have limited authority beyond the protection and guarantee of basic rights to life, liberty and property.
The Obama administration made it clear this week on Thursday that staying on message is far more important than embracing diversity and individual choice. Vice President Joe Biden appeared on the Today show and played the role of concerned father and husband by saying,
I just caught an alert on C-SPAN that they will be airing coverage tomorrow of the House Energy and Commerce hearing on college football tomorrow. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled, “The Bowl Championship Series: Money and Other Issues of Fairness for Publicly Financed Universities.”
Are you kidding me?
Yesterday, Arlen Specter (?-PA) made big news by announcing that he will run as a Democrat in his bid for re-election to the Senate in 2010. I consider this to be pretty big news - we don’t see politicians switching parties that frequently. This is likely to give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (assuming Al Franken is seated as Senator of Minnesota). I would not be terribly surprised to see Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and/or Susan Collins (R-ME) switch affiliations at some point either.
It should not be terribly surprising that Earth Day was first established by a U.S. politician. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) was the driving force behind the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. I suppose I’m not terribly surprised that the government maintains an official Earth Day website at EarthDay.gov - from the site:
President Barack Obama held his first cabinet meeting today. He “made clear that relentlessly cutting out waste was part and parcel of their mission to make the investments necessary for recovery and long-term stability.” The ruthless fiscal disciplinarian called for his cabinet to cut a collective 100 million dollars in the next 90 days. The White House blog has the story here and the fact sheet can be found here.
Now, Obama has admitted already that this is a drop in the bucket. However, he did say, “cumulatively they would make an extraordinary difference… $100 million there, $100 million here, pretty soon, even in Washington, it adds up to real money.” How long would it take to add up to real money?
Earlier this year, Congress passed H.R. 2 - the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 or CHIPRA (an expansion of S-CHIP). It was signed into law by Obama on February 4 after sailing through both the House (on January 14) and the Senate (on the 29th). According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on January 13 which analyzed the bill as it was submitted by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the legislation will add an average of $6.4B per year (yes, only ten digits!) to the federal budget. This will be offset by excise tax increases on tobacco products.
I’m in the middle of working on another post, and The Rachel Maddow Show is on in the background. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is not-so-affectionately nicknamed by conservative radio host Mark Levin as “Chucky Schmucky”, is making an appearance. He was just discussing how he hopes that more of the “mainline conservative” Republican Senators will be willing to break party ranks from the “hard right” and vote their conscience.