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.
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.
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?
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.
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”:
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.
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.
As Mitt Romney tries to do more to appeal to the tea party movement, a sizeable and influential voting bloc looking to make its mark on the Republican primary, FreedomWorks is putting a target on his back:
A top tea party organizing group, FreedomWorks, is planning to protest Mitt Romney’s appearance this weekend at a New Hampshire stop of a bus tour intended to encourage tea party sympathizers to participate in the Republican presidential nominating process.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is among the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination but is viewed warily by tea party activists, who believe him to be insufficiently conservative and particularly blame him for the Massachusetts state health care overhaul he signed into law.
And Romney, for his part, hasn’t focused much energy on appealing to the movement. So it attracted considerable attention — both within the tea party and among the GOP operative class — when it was announced Tuesday that he intended to speak at a Sunday evening rally being staged by the Tea Party Express in Concord, N.H., as part of a cross country bus tour set to culminate in Tampa, Fla., ahead of a Sept. 12 GOP presidential debate co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express and CNN.
FreedomWorks, which had been participating in the Tea Party Express’s tour and had helped turn out activists at rallies during prior stops, decided it could no longer be affiliated with the tour, said Brendan Steinhauser, a lead organizer for FreedomWorks.
President Barack Obama announced yesterday that Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University, would succeed Austan Goolsbee as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. It’s not a surprise that Krueger will bring nothing new in terms of this administration’s approach to the economy:
Alan Krueger, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will likely serve as an administration advocate for more aggressive government intervention to revive job growth.
“Our great ongoing challenge as a nation remains how to get this economy growing faster,” Mr. Obama said Monday at the White House announcement of Mr. Krueger’s nomination.
He served as assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy in the first two years of the Obama administration, where he helped design the “cash for clunkers” program to boost auto purchases.
“What you’re likely to see is, he does believe the federal government can do more to help in this economy,” Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University economist and former CEA member, said of Mr. Krueger. “He will be a voice for more investments.”