Marco Rubio Knows How to Appeal to Conservatives

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.

Here’s Some Money – Now Sue Me

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.

Please Smoke

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.

Protest at Houston HEB Over “Sanctuary Cities” Lobbying

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.

Happy Independence Day

Dave Carter wrote an excellent post at Ricochet entitled, “The Audacity of Independence”:

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.”

Deep Sea Rare Earths

China began cutting its export quotas for rare earth metals last year, driving up prices for the raw materials and the high tech products that depend on them. Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado introduced legislation to encourage U.S. production of rare earths, and Molycorp plans to restart production at a rare earth mine in the Mojave Desert, the largest such mine outside China. Now Japanese geologists claim they’ve discovered high concentrations of rare earth metals in mud deposits in deep water areas of the Pacific Ocean. If the discovery is confirmed and it’s technically feasible to recover and process the material, it could have a huge impact on the rare earth market, where prices doubled in a two week period last month.

This isn’t the first time Japan has contemplated deep sea mining. They discovered deposits of methane hydrate (methane trapped in frozen water) off their coasts in the 1990s, and in 2008 signed an agreement with the U.S. to develop commercial technology for recovering it. The first test wells are scheduled to be drilled this year.

Economic Freedom in the U.S.

I like this YouTube video produced by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (yes, he’s one of the Koch brothers that liberals have been treating as boogeymen):

According to Caleb Brown at the Cato Institute, this video draws on the Economic Freedom of the World: 2010 Annual Report from Canada’s Fraser Institute. The Heritage Foundation conducts research on economic freedom, too, and arrives at the same conclusion as the video: economic freedom in the U.S. has been on a steep decline since the 2008 financial market meltdown and the laws and policies that were enacted in its aftermath—TARP, the un-stimulating stimulus, the GM and Chrysler bail-outs, the Frank-Dodd bill, etc. Piling on the regulatory burdens and costs associated with Obamacare didn’t help.

We in the private sector can’t regain our economic freedom (and the quality of life and other freedoms derived from it) until the federal government relaxes its regulatory grip and reduces spending to a meaningful degree. Barack Obama and Harry Reid show no signs of taking action here—in fact, according to Chuck Schumer, the administration is exploring how to justify ignoring the debt limit (they’re even studying the Constitution!). It’s crucial that the Congressional Republicans stand tall on the debt limit issue—it’s the only lever they have that can force reductions in federal spending before the 2012 election.