cap-and-trade

Cost of Obama’s State of the Union Address? $83.4 billion

You mad, bro?

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was filled with promises and various other costly legislative items at a time when budget deficits are still running high. According to the National Taxpayers Union, President Obama’s agenda would cost taxpayers $83.4 billion per year:

In President Obama’s most expensive and widest ranging State of the Union Address yet, his proposals weighed in at $83.4 billion worth of quantifiable agenda items, according to National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) annual line-by-line analysis of the speech. This figure could grow much higher depending on what the President aims to do to avoid the sequester. In either case, if the President intends to follow through on his promise that his speech would not “add a dime to the deficit,” individuals and businesses may be facing another round of tax increases.

“The speech gave the President the opportunity to preview his forthcoming budget,” said NTUF Director of Research Demian Brady. “And although he said his agenda items would not increase the deficit, he spent far more time detailing new spending initiatives than how they would be ‘paid for.’”

If the sequester plan that the White House has put forward were passed, it would raise the cost of the spending proposals to $100.4 billion. The most costly program that President Obama wants enacted is his cap-and-trade plan, which would cost $56.5 billion each year. NTU also notes that more than half of the proposals mentioned by President Obama in the State of the Union address “could not be quantified.”

You can see the costs of each proposal here.

Obama lays out a starkly leftist tone to begin his second term

Obama takes oath of office

Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address, symbolically beginning the start of his second term in office (he was actually sworn in on Sunday in a private ceremony, per constitutional requirements).

The ceremony was filled with the usual pomp and celebration that we’ve come to know with presidential inaugurations. Hundreds of thousands descended on the Mall in Washington to watch Obama take his oath and listen to his second inaugural address. Many stuck around to watch the inaugural parade, which went on into the evening.

The celebration, as Doug Mataconis explains, “places far too much of an air of monarchism around the Presidency.” Seeing the lengths we take to celebrate one branch of our government — one that is supposed to have only as much power as the legislative and judicial branches — is ridiculous; not to mention incredibly costly. But I digress.

For all of the celebrating that took place in Washington yesterday, President Obama’s inaugural address left much to be desired.

It was a well-delivered speech, but there wasn’t much there on substance. While he talked about the unifying, there was nothing in the speech that came even close to hinting that Obama is ready to work with Republicans in Congress. He couldn’t have delivered that message any clearer.

Merry Christmas, Suckers

Just in time for Christmas, Washington has a gift for all of you feeling the joy and optimism of the season… a giant, economy killing, power grab by the EPA.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  The polar bears will continue to thrive while Americans suffer record unemployment and poverty!

In a perfectly timed press release, the EPA announced their intention to begin limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants to combat so-called climate change late last night.   While most people aren’t going to pay much attention to this story, it’s going to have significant affects for all of us.  Almost half of the electricity generated in this country comes from coal-fired power plants, so even if your personal power bill doesn’t see an immediate and significant increase, you can certainly expect the price of many of your “Made in the USA” products to increase substantially.  Until the exact provisions are released to the public, however, we can only speculate how much this massive power grab is going to cost each of us, but know that it is going to cost you.

Obviously, if these regulations are adopted, they certainly aren’t something that will aid our economic recovery, to say the least.  It is going to be sadly interesting, however, to see how detrimental these new regulations will be to the economic recovery in specific regions of the country.  For example, why would a company that is building a new factory ever consider an area where the cost of electricity has been artificially and unnecessarily inflated by the geniuses in Washington?

Tax Hike Mike Huckabee plans 2016 bid

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee announced on Friday that he has quit his syndicated radio gig in what some are calling a clear sign that he is planning a bid for Republican presidential nomination in 2016, telling followers on his Facebook page to “[s]tay tuned” for announcements on his “new endeavors.”

Huckabee, who served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, has been talking like a candidate for some time. Supporters have been pushing polling out of early primary states — Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives tend to do well — that shows him ahead of other potential Republican candidates.

But even as Huckabee, an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP nomination in 2008, begins making moves toward a 2016 bid, some conservatives are raising awareness to his record, which is checkered with tax hikes, spending increases, and support for nanny state policies. These policies earned Huckabee the nickname, “Tax Hike Mike.”

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that advances pro-growth economic policies, sent out an email blast to reporters on Friday in which they called attention to a 2007 white paper on Huckabee’s fiscal record.

The white paper (below) outlines how Huckabee repeatedly raised sales and excise taxes and increase spending by 65.3%, triple the rate of inflation. The number of state workers increased by 20% on his watch and Arkansas’ debt obligations rose by $1 billion. He also supported and signed a minimum wage increase into law.

Obama to give major speech on climate change

Over the weekend, the White House released a video laying the groundwork for a major speech to be given by President Barack Obama this week on the “growing threat of climate change.”

President Obama telegraphed the move during his recent visit to Germany. During a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin called climate change the “global threat of our time.” But nearly five months after giving his second inaugural address, in which he briefly discussed climate change, President Obama will discuss what measures his administration will take on the issue in a speech tomorrow at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

“In my inaugural address, I pledged that America would respond to the growing threat of climate change for the sake of our children and future generations,” said Obama in the video released by the White House. “This Tuesday at Georgetown University, I’ll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go: a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.”

President Obama said that climate change is a “serious challenge — but it’s one uniquely suited to America’s strengths.”

Tea Party movement influences the Republican platform

Tea Party Movement

Ahead of delegates gathering in Tampa next week for the Republican National Convention, some GOP delegates are busy this week putting together the party’s platform. To many this process can be uninteresting, but many Tea Party activists saw it as an opportunity to make the Republican Party more friendly to its ideas. And, according to Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks notes, it looks like they were successful.

FreedomWorks put together 12 economic/limited government issues to be considered for the GOP platform, ranging from repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes to energy independence, opposition to cap-and-trade, and auditing the Federal Reserve. Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Policy at FreedomWorks, explained (via Ribali) that the only the plank calling for the elimination of the Department of Education was rejected:

We did not secure approval for ‘Eliminate the Department of Education’ – which, to be honest, was always the plank we regarded as most difficult to achieve. But the document’s education section does contain good language on the need for local control and a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers. So we rate this section as a partial victory.

Ribali also notes that the plank calling for a “flat tax” wasn’t fully achieved, though the Republican platform will call for a “flatter tax.” That’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately, since the need for tax reform is so great.

EPA official suggests crucifying oil industry

We’ve often wondered why President Barack Obama and his administration have had such a hostile view of oil companies. He insists that drilling up during his term, but Obama is taking credit for policies enacted by his predecessor. But much like his attacks on higher-income earners, Obama has targeted the oil industry and speculators with harsh rhetoric in attempt to distract Americans from his own failed energy policies.

We know that Obama’s own Energy Secretary is on record supporting higher gas prices. Obama has said himself that he didn’t have a problem with the cost of gas, rather that they rose too quickly. So we know where the rhetoric and proposed regulations are coming from. But there is something deeper here?

Via the Heritage Foundation, a video has surfaced where a regional administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the treatment of oil companies in the regulatory agency is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years”:

How backdoor cap-and-trade hurts small business

See Video

EPA to impose new emissions rule on coal plants

While Barack Obama says that his administration is concerned about rising energy costs and has an “all of the above” energy plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new carbon emissions regulations new coal plants:

The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.

The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.

Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.

Romney unveils economic proposals

Just two days before President Barack Obama is set to give his jobs speech before a joint session of Congress, Mitt Romney laid out his proposals to get the economy moving again. Here is the red meat from Romney’s editorial in USA Today:

Only the individual initiative of entrepreneurs, workers, investors and inventors enables companies, and our economy as a whole, to flourish. We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker.

First, President Obama has raised or threatened to raise taxes on both individuals and businesses. I would press hard in the opposite direction. Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated. Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense. I will fix these problems with permanent solutions. Ultimately, I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation.


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