To extend President Obama’s gun analogy, the Republicans have only one bullet they can use to slow down the Administration’s ruinous spending rate, and that’s the debt ceiling vote. Senator Mitch McConnell’s proposal loads two more rounds into the gun and hands it to Obama. It some alternate political universe this may be clever, but it’s sure as hell not smart.
Keith Hennessey wrote the best explanation I’ve found of Senator Mitch McConnell’s proposal for increasing the federal debt ceiling. I understand how the proposal works and I understand McConnell’s motivation for writing it, but offering this proposal is an act of cowardice. This year’s federal budget deficit will total around $1.4 trillion—not coincidentally, about the same as last year’s. McConnell’s proposal empowers President Obama to borrow another $2.5 trillion to cover deficits through early 2013, and given Obama’s demonstrated reluctance to cut federal spending, there’s little doubt he’d borrow and spend all of it. Meanwhile the national unemployment rate is 9.2% and the employment participation rate has fallen to 64.1%. Private sector businesses are drowning in thousands of pages of new regulations as the administration’s bureaucrats implement Obamacare and the Frank-Dodd financial regulatory “reform” bill, not to mention the EPA’s never ending efforts to expand its dominion. We’re drowning in federal debt, unemployment, and regulations, and the best the beltway political establishment can do is concoct schemes for deflecting the blame for their failure to address the root causes. If the political establishment believes the Tea Party has “unsettled” the political status quo, they haven’t seen anything if the McConnell proposal, or anything resembling it, becomes law.
Rush Limbaugh interviewed Marco Rubio on his show today:
RUSH: Yeah. You know, that’s exactly right. We always thought Social Security was in a lockbox.
SENATOR RUBIO: Well, maybe a Chinese lockbox because that’s what we’re borrowing the money from. The point is if that comes to pass or he’s threatening to do that, then the wake-up call and the message to Americans is, hey, your Social Security benefits, your Medicare benefits, what we’re paying soldiers in the field, all these things that are being cut off, this is borrowed money. This is not money we have or money we saved for you. This is money we are borrowing from your children and your grandchildren, and we have no way of paying it back, and that alone should send a chill up the spine of millions of Americans.
Investor’s Business Daily reports that the EPA regularly provides grants to environmental groups that turn around and spend the money on lawsuits—against the EPA. The EPA will even provide a guide on how to do this:
The EPA even tacitly encourages such suits, going so far as to pay for and promote a “Citizen’s Guide” that, among other things, explains how to sue the agency under “citizen suit” provisions in environmental laws. The guide’s author — the Environmental Law Institute — has received $9.9 million in EPA grants over the past decade.
And, to top it off, critics say the EPA often ends up paying the groups’ legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
The article quotes Jeffrey Holmstead, a Bush era EPA official, as saying, “Often the suits involve things the EPA wants to do anyway. By inviting a lawsuit and then signing a consent decree, the agency gets legal cover from political heat.”
The fact that this makes the slightest bit of sense to anyone in the federal government is nauseating.
I’m amused when governments become dependent upon revenue from sin taxes, then find themselves in trouble when the taxes do what they always do—produce less of the taxed activity. Today’s example is Arizona, which depends on tobacco settlement money to pay for Medicaid. Cigarettes are heavily taxed, so fewer people are smoking, so the tobacco industry is earning less money, so Arizona collects less lawsuit settlement money to pay for Medicaid. Now the state needs to shrink the program, but may not be able to given the wording of the proposition that created the Medicaid payment scheme.
Arizonans, light one up for your state’s budgetary health.
In a follow-up to the Texas Businesses Opposed to the “Sanctuary Cities” post, Ramparts360 reports there will be a protest at an HEB store in Houston on Saturday, July 9, drawing attention to Charles E. Butt’s lobbying against the “sanctuary cities” bill. I suspect this will be new territory for HEB.
And what of our young President who energetically leads the charge down the road to serfdom? This is a man who jets and copters about like no president before him, who vacations and relaxes, who golfs and shoots hoops, who throws lavish dinners and concerts, yet who on occasion manages to rouse himself and threatens to commit an act of governance against the lot of us. A head of state who remains a student of collectivist academic rubbish, he sees his people harassed and robbed by agents of the government over which he presides, and then goes straightaway to Martha’s Vineyard. A contemporary potentate, he stuffs down a greasy cheeseburger while his executive agencies draft regulations ordering grocery manufacturers and restaurants to retool their recipes on everything from cereal to bagels, fruit juice to menu items, or face advertising restrictions that could have crippling ripple effects on a huge swath of the private sector.
I’m not quite as pessimistic as Dave, but I agree that the Fourth of July should be “a call to action rather than an empty nod to what we once had.”