Sunday, March 17, 2013

President Says Cheap Oil a Destroyer, Not Creator of Jobs (would he lie?)

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 16 Mar 2013 | John Semmens

President Obama elaborated on his argument against the Keystone Pipeline project by making the case that cheaper oil would not increase jobs in America.
“Let’s just consider one example,” the President suggested. “The portion of this oil that would go into fueling transportation would clearly have a negative impact on employment. Your typical motor vehicle engine has over 100 horse-power. That means if we didn’t have the means to fuel these engines we’d have to use 100 horses to achieve the same transportation result. Is there any question that breeding, raising, feeding, and housing 100 horses would employ more people than tending to one motor vehicle?”
Obama argued that “the neglected alternatives to fossil-based fuels would all offer far more job opportunities. Besides the jobs that would be required to maintain horses, the slower travel speeds would mean more jobs for teamsters on any given haul. Then there’s wind power. Ships relying on this ultra-green source of energy require much larger crews to repeatedly adjust the sails. Couple this with the slower travel speeds and I think you can appreciate the potentially huge increase in the number of man-hours of employment there’d be.”
Representative Lee Terry (R-Neb) called the President’s remarks “disturbing. It’ looks as if he has no grasp of the concept of efficiency or economic progress. Simplistically, the President is right, it would take more time and effort—more jobs, if you will—to move goods by horse than truck. But it would also price many goods we take for granted out of reach for the average person. Taking advantage of technology, like cheaper oil via the Keystone Pipeline, is what enables today’s average person to live like the kings of bygone eras.”

Obama's prayer breakfast critic considers a run for office (Ben Carson)

The Hill ^ | 3/16/13 | Alexandra Jaffe

Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who drew conservative attention following his controversial National Prayer Breakfast speech, said on Saturday that he's retiring from medicine and suggested he could enter politics.

In a question-and-answer session following his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Carson announced that he is retiring from medicine because he wants "to quit while I'm at the top of my game, and there are so many more things that could be done."

Asked whether he planned to run for office, he demurred, saying he wants to focus on education — but at one point added, "but who knows what will happen?"

Carson, during his speech, received a standing ovation and enthusiastic applause from the crowd when he speculated what might happen if "you magically put me in the White House."

Carson emerged as a player in the conservative movement after his speech at this year's National Prayer Breakfast, during which he criticized a number of President Obama's policies as the president sat nearby.

Critics called the remarks inappropriate at an ostensibly nonpartisan event, but Carson defended them, saying that "I don't believe that expressing your opinion, regardless of who's there, is being rude."

The Ryan Budget: Is Returning to Clinton-Era Levels of Fiscal Restraint Really Asking too Much?

Townhall.com ^ | March 17, 2013 | Daniel J. Mitchell

It can be very frustrating to work at the Cato Institute and fight for small government.
Consider what’s happened the past couple of days.
Congressman Paul Ryan introduces a budget and I dig through the numbers with a sense of disappointment because government spending will grow by an average of 3.4 percent annually, much faster than needed to keep pace with inflation.
But I don’t even want government to grow as fast as inflation. I want to reduce the size and scope of the federal government.
“Can’t they shut down even one department?”
I want to shut down useless and counterproductive parts of Leviathan, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, etc, etc…
I want to restore limited and constitutional government, which we had for much of our nation’s history, with the burden of federal spending consuming only about 3 percent of economic output.
So I look at the Ryan budget in the same way I look at sequestration – as a very modest step to curtail the growth of government. Sort of a rear-guard action to stem the bleeding and stabilize the patient.
But, to be colloquial, it sure ain’t libertarian Nirvana (though, to be fair, the reforms to Medicare and Medicaid are admirable and stem in part from the work of Cato’s healthcare experts).
But my frustration doesn’t exist merely because the Ryan budget is just a small step.
I also have to deal with the surreal experience of reading critics who assert that the Ryan budget is a cut-to-the-bone, harsh, draconian, dog-eat-dog, laissez-faire fiscal roadmap.
If only!
To get an idea of why this rhetoric is so over-the-top hysterical, here’s a chart showing how fast government spending is supposed to grow under the Ryan budget, compared to how fast it grew during the Clinton years and how fast it has been growing during the Bush-Obama years.
Ryan Clinton vs Bush Obama
I vaguely remember taking the SAT test in high school and dealing with questions entitled, “One of these things is not like the others.”
Well, I would have received a perfect score if asked to identify the outlier on this chart.
Bush and Obama have been irresponsible big spenders, while Clinton was comparatively frugal.
And all Paul Ryan is proposing is that we emulate the policy of the Clinton years.
Now ask yourself whether the economy was more robust during the Clinton years or the Bush-Obama years and think about what that implies for what we should do today about the federal budget.
At the very least, we should be copying what those “radical” Canadians and other have done, which is to impose some genuine restraint of government spending.
The Swiss debt brake, which is really a spending cap, might be a good place to start.

Republicans go after Obamacare. Again. (Just stop funding and repeal the tax penalties)

washington post ^ | 2/13/2013 | dana milbanks

The nation has moved on, but Ted Cruz has pulled his fellow Republicans in Washington right back into 2010.
Three years ago next week, the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — became law. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld the legislation in an opinion written by the conservative chief justice, John Roberts.
Republicans campaigned for repeal in 2012, but President Obama was reelected, and Democrats gained seats in the Senate and the House and won the popular vote. Since the election, Republican governors have begun to embrace the law.
Here in Washington, though, it is as if tea party activists are still marching on the Capitol. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans supported legislation proposed by the freshman Cruz to defund Obamacare — the 35th attempt, give or take, to abolish the program.
This one failed, like all the others.
Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result, it has been said, defines insanity. But among Senate Republicans, the lunatics are running the asylum. A few of the most junior members, with support from conservative activists, are calling the shots, while the caucus’s nominal leaders, intimidated by the newcomers’ power, have become followers.
(Excerpt) Read more at articles.washingtonpost.com ...

Cruz Sends Scarborough and Maddow of MSNBC Into Conniptions

The New American ^ | Mar. 17, 2013 | Thomas R. Eddlem

Texas Senator Ted Cruz's question to California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein on the Second Amendment in a March 14 hearing forced MSNBC hosts into conniptions!

At the heart of the congressional debate are the questions: Does the Second Amendment prohibit the federal government from passing laws related to firearms, leaving the role exclusively to the states? Or does the Second Amendment grant Congress the authority to pass laws banning guns whenever it believes it appropriate?
The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The term, “the right of the people,” when the framers included it in the Bill of Rights, they used it as a term of art. That same phrase, “the right of the people,” is found in the First Amendment: “the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances.” It's also found in the Fourth Amendment, “the right of the people to free from unreasonable searches and seizures.” And the question I would pose to the senior Senator from California [Feinstein] is, would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or the Fourth Amendment? Namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books, and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the First Amendment?
The Harvard Law School-educated Cruz's question sent MSNBC's Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough into an on-air meltdown, where Scarborough essentially argued that it doesn't matter what the Second Amendment says.
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...

Commander in Chief guts more benefits of hated military members!

Coach is Right ^ | March 17th, 2013 | Jim Emerson

Suspension of military tuition assistance; Obama’s budget cut retaliation up-close and personal

This week the Air Force joined with the Army and Marines in cutting tuition assistance due to “sweeping” federal budget cuts. When faced with a budget crisis—whether real or imagined like Obama’s sequestration—too many politicians will threaten first responders before they cut their own bloated, nonproductive programs. The Armed forces is one of the few constitutionally mandated functions that exists today. Of course, Obama plans to make budget cuts personal so he and Organizing for America can manufacture sob stories making any opposition to his massive spending programs appear cruel. Big Government will not be denied.

Impact
Education in today’s all-volunteer military is a major factor in considering promotions. An unnamed recruiter stated that “College benefits are the absolute main reason they do it, it’s going to be pretty hard,” he said. “You start wondering what else will be cut.” An education will help the service member find a decent job when he leaves the military. Without higher education many troops will have a difficult time starting out as anything more than a Walmart greeter.

The military education benefit cuts are projected to save $600 million, about what the Obamas spent on their vacations over the last couple of years. The current Commander-in-Chief is not setting a good example. With all of the deployment commitments already borne on the shoulders of this all volunteer force, they are now expected to sacrifice even more so low information voters can have their Obamaphones. The main benefit of tuition assistance is to allow service members to obtain a college degree without incurring debt.
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...


The Unions vs. Obamacare

Weeklystandard ^ | 3-17-13 | Mark Hemingway

"I heard [Obama] say, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’ ” John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, representing 260,000 union workers, recently told the Wall Street Journal. “If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law.” Besides Wilhelm, some of the nation’s largest union bosses have taken to publicly criticizing the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, keeping your health care plan, like many Obama-care promises, has turned out to be demonstrably untrue. According to the Congressional Budget Office, about 7 million Americans stand to lose insurance coverage through the law by 2022. But unlike most private-sector workers expected to lose their current health coverage, union workers were a powerful Democratic constituency granted specific exemptions from Obama-care.
Labor leaders are just now realizing that those protections are fleeting, and Obama-care regulations and cost increases will fall on the politically connected and unconnected alike.
The Obama administration has thus far issued waivers from Obama-care’s onerous requirements to unions representing 543,812 workers. By contrast, the administration has issued waivers for only 69,813 nonunion workers. While these waivers are a significant benefit, they accrue to a small fraction of the nation’s 14 million union workers. Further, many of the waivers have been granted on an annual basis, and no waiver has been granted for longer than two-and-a-half years. Eventually even union health plans are going to have to comply with Obama-care regulations.
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...

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Obama phone advocates fight back, but call drops (rife with fraud?)

Bizpacreview ^ | 3/16/13 | Michael Dorstewitz

After the Federal Communication Commission reported this week that 41 percent of those receiving free mobile phones don’t meet the requirements — some because they’re dead — the proponents of the so-called “Obama phone” program are firing back. But they still miss the point.

Ever since GOP Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas announced early this week that Lifeline, a free phone service for low-income families that costs taxpayers $2 billion a year, was rife with fraud, conservative lawmakers and pundits alike have jumped on the bandwagon to bash it.

The program’s supporters are now fighting back.

“Allow me to set the record straight,” said Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission according to The Hill. “Without this program, 15 million low-income families would literally be choosing between feeding their children or going without a dial tone that potentially could save their lives and put them on a better economic path.”
(Excerpt) Read more at bizpacreview.com ...