According to an Associated Press report on Friday, President Obama has rejected the recommendation of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (who, by the way, is a Republican) to consider seeking a vehicle miles-traveled (VMT) tax as a replacement for the federal gasoline tax. A VMT tax would be levied based on the number of miles driven per vehicle, as opposed to the amount of gasoline purchased. A number of factors are said to be behind such an idea. According to the AP report:
Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation’s transportation system moving, LaHood told the AP.
In the aftermath of the Michael Phelps saga the issue of marijuana has been brought back into the public conversation and at least according to recently published Rasmussen Reports polls, legalization of marijuana (40% support) is more popular than the recently passed stimulus package (38% support).
In a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, Americans are closely divided on the question of whether marijuana should be legalized: 40% say it should be, while 46% disagree. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure which course is better.- Rasmussen 02/19/09
60 Minutes correspondent, Scott Pelley, recently interviewed former World Savings employee, Paul Bishop, who claims that the banking industry was completely aware that offering loans to unqualified borrowers could lead to the current banking crisis.
The executives are of course denying Bishop’s claim that-
Everybody that could qualify, anybody that could fog a mirror, anybody that could just breathe, you know, and qualify at any level had basically been refinanced once, twice, three, sometimes four times.
While this is disturbing and, in my opinion, criminal, I find one of the quotes of the “victims” equally mind-boggling.
Trouble is, some of their money came from people like Betty Townes, who is financially ruined after being sold a series of World Savings mortgages she couldn’t afford.
From the floor debate in the Senate on February 7 regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
Incidentally, let me share with a few of my colleagues why this is sort of this old ideology versus new. The Senator talked about the tired ideology of the past. What is it? Well, I think today Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, made a statement on behalf of the Republican Party. He said:
For the last 2 weeks, we have been trying to force a massive spending bill through Congress under the guise of economic relief.
Well, we are having votes. This is a democracy. We are not forcing anything. We are trying to get the job done because there is an urgency to getting it done.
But then he says:
Another of President Obama’s nominations has sunk like a rock:
ANOTHER day, another blow for Barack Obama’s hopes for a “new politics”. On Thursday February 12th, Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire announced that he had withdrawn as Mr Obama’s proposed secretary of commerce. Mr Gregg is a Republican—and one, to boot, who once voted for the Commerce Department to be abolished. Bringing him into the cabinet had been billed by the Obama team as an important sign of Mr Obama’s commitment to government from the centre. Mr Gregg would have been the third of Mr Obama’s “post-partisan” appointments: his transport secretary, Ray LaHood is a Republican, and his defence secretary, Robert Gates, served in the same job under George Bush (though he does not describe himself as a Republican).
If you’re curious as to how much pork the “spendulous” package is sending your way, StimulusWatch.org has put a list together that breaks it down by state and then project.
Glancing through Alabama’s list, it looks like quite a bit is going to street and bridge repair, but I do question how giving a million dollars to Bessemer’s Drug Task Force and Cold Case Unit is going to help stimulate the economy. But what I find mind-boggling is the $729,137,800 (yes, that’s almost 3/4 of a billion dollars) going to the Mobile suburb of Prichard- pop. 27,963. That’s over $26K per resident. Tuscaloosa’s share comes out to about $211 per resident. Considering that the average federal tax burden for residents of Tuscaloosa County is $12,340, compared to Mobile County’s average of $10,112, there’s no denying that this is a massive transfer of wealth.
In an opinion piece from last month, Maureen Dowd elaborates on the sort of excessive acts being committed with government handouts:
Bartiromo also asked Thain to explain, when jobs and salaries were being cut at his firm, how he could justify spending $1 million to renovate his office. As The Daily Beast and CNBC reported, big-ticket items included curtains for $28,000, a pair of chairs for $87,000, fabric for a “Roman Shade” for $11,000, Regency chairs for $24,000, six wall sconces for $2,700, a $13,000 chandelier in the private dining room and six dining chairs for $37,000, a “custom coffee table” for $16,000, an antique commode “on legs” for $35,000, and a $1,400 “parchment waste can.”
The left screamed about the Bush administration using fear. It’s being used again in this same way—to get packages through Congress. The same way Bush and Cheney did it, now Obama and Biden are doing it. You don’t hear a word from the left. I mean, I’m sitting there going, ‘Am I in the Twilight Zone here?’
There’s no denying that the Bush Administration used policies of fear in an inappropriate manner to convince Americans that it was necessary to allow our civil rights to be ignored and abused in order to provide security for our nation. But O’Reilly is correct- using these same tactics in order to pass the largest spending bill in history is equally reprehensible.
Oniomania (from Greek onios = “for sale,” mania = insanity) is a medical term for the compulsive desire to shop. Oniomania is the technical term for the compulsive desire to shop, more commonly referred to as compulsive shopping, compulsive buying, shopping addiction or shopaholism. Wikipedia
The consensus coming from Washington DC is that the solution to the coming recession is more of what got us here in the first place- borrowing and spending. Not only does Congress and the White House plan on continuing this dangerous trend, they’re encouraging all Americans to be good citizens and do the same. So, apparently, what the economy needs are a few million oniomaniacs and banks brave enough to issue them credit.
As many regular readers of this site know - I’m a big fan of Rep. Tom McClintock. He’s one of the most consistent fiscal conservatives I’ve ever known, and has a deep, profound and expressed reverence for the principles of the founders.
Yesterday Rep. Tom McClintock gave a floor speech where he outlined, quite clearly, the cost of Barack Obama’s stimulus plan to each American.
That’s $6,500 of new debt for every man, woman and child in the United States today – or $26,000 for an average family of four. This is not a theoretical number. That family will have to repay that $26,000 – plus interest – from their future taxes just as surely as if it appeared on the bottom of their credit card statement this month.