Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Tax Code Disincentivizes Savings and Investment

The inimitable Dan Mitchell at the Cato Institute has a great flow chart out today.  He explains the perverse incentives of our tax code.  The conclusion?  Our tax system is biased against savings and investing.  In other words, it is anti-growth - and in drastic need of reform:

Read the whole post here.

GOP Plans to Cave on Transportation Spending

We’ve seen this show before.  Republicans propose grand ideas to cut spending and implement free-market reforms; they speak ebulliently about their new ideas, and …they summarily scuttle them and cave to the Democrats.

Earlier this year, Republicans proposed a commendable plan to end the bipartisan pork fest of surface transportation spending.  Instead of continuing the inexorable expansion of transportation spending, House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica proposed a six-year highway bill that actually cut spending from $286 billion to $235 billion.  The bill was supposed to cap spending to the levels of its funding source; the 18.4-cent gasoline tax and the 24.4-cent tax on diesel fuel.  Additionally, this bill would have eliminated 70 duplicative projects and cut spending on mass transit.

Two weeks ago, Republicans agreed to pass an eighth stop-gap highway bill, which will lock in the excess levels of spending until next April.  They also passed the 22nd stop-gap FAA reauthorization bill, which will continue to fund the wasteful rural pork programs until next February.

Now CQ is reporting that Republicans plan to cave on the long-term bill altogether:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Our Ridiculous Corporate Tax Rate

Our highest corporate tax rate is almost 40%, the second highest in the world.  And that might change soon, as Japan lowers its corporate tax.  Here is the chart of the week from the Heritage Foundation:

Remember that the very same politicians who have orchestrated this anti-growth tax structure are the guys who compain about companies outsourcing jobs oversees.  Well, if you factor in the high tax rate, and throw in the cumbersome regulations as well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why jobs are leaving this country.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hold the Line Against Venture Eco-Socialism in the CR

No wonder Democrats casually disregard our budget crisis.  They have a penchant to drop zeros from government expenditures!  Last month, Democrat congressional candidate Dave Weprin thought that the national debt stood at $4.0 trillion.  Now Harry Reid has filed cloture on his version of the FY 2012 CR that has a missing zero from some of the disaster aid expenditures.  According to CQ Politics, Reid’s bill, which contains $3.65 billion in emergency disaster aid – with no offsetting spending – misallocated funding for the Disaster Relief Fund at “$774,000,00,” and “$226,000,00” for the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and coastal emergencies.  These guys have a serious problem with arithmetic.

Senate Republicans must use this error as an opportunity to defeat Reid’s bill, while the House must stand firm on their version of the CR, which contains $1.5 billion in offsets.  House leaders have already compromised on the overall discretionary budget authority in this bill; a $24 billion increase from the universally venerated Ryan budget.  The only saving grace of this bill from a conservative perspective is that it eliminates a $1.5 billion DOE loan program for manufacturers of $100,000 electric cars and the $100 million solar energy loan grant that was responsible for Solar-gate.

On Friday, Harry Reid tabled the House-passed CR, and filed cloture on his own version, setting up a cloture vote for Monday night.  Although Democrats only have 53 votes, several Republicans have already supported an even higher level of disaster spending without offsets.  This is where Harry Reid’s math error will play a vital role.  Under Senate rules, once a senator has forced a roll call, that senator proposing the amendment cannot change the text without unanimous consent.  Harry Reid will need that consent in order to fix his mistake, in the hopes that he can get this done by Monday night and pressure House Republicans to cave, so they can all enjoy their scheduled recess.  Senate Republicans must deny that consent.

To that end, Reid would be forced to file a new cloture vote, thereby overshooting their entire recess – for a green program.  The longer this ordeal drags out the more Reid will be pressured to adopt the House bill.

The Galveston Social Security Plan

The first step in solving the Social Security insolvency crisis is to admit that there is a problem.  Then, we must look at some successful models for personal retirement accounts.  Back in 1981, Galveston, Texas used a loophole in the Social Security Act of 1935 to opt out of the system and pursue personal accounts  -accounts that were more profitable and offered real guaranteed property rights.  The Wall Street Journal did a nice analysis of the plan:

The contributions are pooled, like bank deposits, and top-rated financial institutions bid on the money. Those institutions guarantee an interest rate that won't go below a base level and goes higher when the market does well. Over the last decade, the accounts have earned between 3.75% and 5.75% every year, with the average around 5%. The 1990s often saw even higher interest rates, of 6.5%-7%. When the market goes up, employees make more—and when the market goes down, employees still make something.
But not all money goes into employees' retirement accounts. When financial planner Rick Gornto devised the Alternate Plan in 1980, he wanted it to be a complete substitute for Social Security. And Social Security isn't just a retirement fund: It's also social insurance that provides a death benefit ($255), survivors' insurance, and a disability benefit.
Part of the employer contribution in the Alternate Plan goes toward a term life insurance policy that pays four times the employee's salary tax-free, up to a maximum of $215,000. That's nearly 850 times Social Security's death benefit.
If a worker participating in Social Security dies before retirement, he loses his contribution (though part of that money might go to surviving children or a spouse who didn't work). But a worker in the Alternate Plan owns his account, so the entire account belongs to his estate. There is also a disability benefit that pays immediately upon injury, rather than waiting six months plus other restrictions, as under Social Security.
We need to build off the successes of this plan on a national level.  Yes, we also need articulate leadership on the presidential level in order to promote something like this.  Any takers?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bipartisan Social Security Demagoguery Must End Now

The source of the 76-year old monstrous lie 

The recent Social Security demagoguery that has been propagated by Mitt Romney and other big-government apologists is truly repugnant.  Accusing those who desire to preserve and expand personal retirement – of eliminating Social Security for seniors is akin to an arsonist blaming firefighters for fanning the flames.  It was the very big-government statists like Romney who obfuscated and corrupted the original intent of Social Security; it is the modern day constitutional conservatives who desire to solve the SS insolvency – with a solution that corrects those vices.

On October 29, 1936, in a campaign speech that was rife with virulent class warfare, FDR spoke at length of his one-year old Social Security Act.  He told the assembled crowd of blue collar workers in Wilkes-Barre, PA that their payroll taxes would be “held by the Government solely for the benefit of the worker in his old age.”  He referred to Social Security as an insurance program numerous times throughout the speech, concluding that “in effect, we have set up a savings account for the old age of the worker.” (emphasis added)

It’s a shame Congressman Joe Wilson wasn’t around during the speech.  He would have bellowed out an emphatic “YOU LIE.”  As Walter Williams noted, from the inception of Social Security, its advocates lied to the American people by categorizing the program as a secure savings account or insurance plan, with a defined distribution commensurate to the original contribution, which would be guaranteed as an irrevocable right.  The original government pamphlet on Social Security promised that “Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you. … The checks will come to you as a right.”

It is conservatives – those who criticize its current stewardship as a Ponzi scheme – who seek to preserve and restructure the program to reflect the way it was originally advertised.  Unfortunately, the original Social Security Act was written by malfeasants who deliberately misled the public about the true nature of the law.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Obama at UN: Arabs Build Bombs; Israelis Build Homes -It’s all the Same

Not surprisingly, Obama doubled down on his message of moral equivalence between Israel and the so-called Palestinians in his UN General Assembly speech.  Yes, he tossed out some politically motivated bromides about our deep friendship with Israel, but overall, he continued to view the two sides equally.

Obama’s overarching theme was that peace in the Middle East is “so hard” to achieve.  He asserted that there will be no peace unless “each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes,” and they “sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and fears.”  As he uttered these puerile platitudes, I was attempting to conjure up an image of such a conversation.  It would go something like this:

Hamas/Fatah guy: “I fear those Jews and their settlements with every fiber of my being.  There will be no Jews living in our state, nor will they live in the remaining parts of Israel, once we inevitably destroy them.  Oh, how I hope all those homes will be within missile range.  Oh, how I regret that I have but one body to blow up for my religion.”

Israeli:  “Oh, how I fear for my children, while missiles fly over their schools.  Oh, how I hope there comes a day when Palestinians will love their children more than they hate us; when they will allow Jews to live peacefully and prosperously in “their” land, as they do in ours.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Simple Math of Obama's Ponzi Scheme

Well, 32 months into his presidency, Obama has finally released his jobs and deficit reduction plans.  Surprisingly, he is not attempting to obfuscate his true motivation this time.  As Obama said yesterday, it is “simple math.”

It’s $1.57 trillion in comprehensive tax hikes + $1.08 trillion in non-existent war spending + $430 billion in phantom savings on interest payments + $320 billion in savings from cuts to healthcare providers (the inevitable sequestration will already cut DocFix), throwing granny off the cliff with tighter rules from the death panel, and a magical willingness to cut waste and fraud + $250 billion in other mandatory savings, most of which will never materialize – the $447 billion stimulus 2.0 = $3.2 trillion.

OK, simple enough; however, there is one important detail of the ‘Obamaian formula’ that has not been advertised.  As part of the Stimulus half of the plan, Obama will cut payroll tax revenues by $240 billion, or 36%, of the entire annual revenue (projected at $685 billion) of the so-called Social Security trust fund.   Where is that money going to come from?  How will they fill the SS shortfall, which is already projected to be $50 billion?

You guessed it: general fund revenues.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Republicans Should Stop Reauthorizing Stuff they Denounced

There is an old adage that defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”  What’s worse than insanity is hypocritical insanity, which may be defined as doing the same thing that your opponent did over and over again, while expecting different results.  Unfortunately, that is an apt description of the House GOP leadership of late.

During the 2010 elections, Republicans railed against profligate spending, Obamacare, and growing dependency from things like the Stimulus.  Now, they are extending and reauthorizing many of those offensive policies.  Last April, they continued the entire Democrat 2010 budget with a CR for FY2011 that cut outlays by a miniscule $352 million.  This week, they plan to pass a continuing resolution for FY2012 that will authorize more discretionary spending than their own “Ryan budget” by $24 billion.  This will pave the road for passage of an omnibus mega-bill in November – the very sort of reckless budgeting that they lampooned throughout the Pelosi years.

Last week, Republicans passed the 22nd short-term extension of surface transportation funding and the 8th stop-gap FAA reauthorization bill.  Their tepidness to pick a fight over their own transportation bills has led them to reauthorize Pelosi-era spending levels, along with wasteful public transit and beautification projects that are forced upon the states.  Additionally, they are on the cusp of paying Obama ransom for holding three free trade agreements hostage, by reauthorizing the Trade Adjustment Assistance – a superfluous unemployment handout to Big Labor.  We must also be vigilant of attempts by leadership to pass parts of Obama’s Stimulus 2.0.

On Wednesday, Republicans will be confronted with another opportunity to reauthorize a welfare program at current levels.  Sadly, it appears that leadership will pass it under suspension – without firing a shot.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Week's Legislative Schedule

Here is this week's tentative legislative schedule from Congressional Quarterly.  There are some items of concern, which we will be reporting extensively this week:


Convenes at noon for a pro forma session.
Convenes 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Under suspension of the rules:
HR 2005 — Autism programs
HR 1852 — Children’s hospital education
HR 2646 — Veterans’ health facilities
HR 2944 —U.S. Parole Commission
HR 2189 — Reports on deaths in custody
Convenes at noon Wednesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday for legislative business. Last votes expected by 3 p.m. Friday.
Under suspension of the rules:
S Con Res 28 — Congressional medal event
HR 2943 — TANF extension
HR 2883 — Child and family services
Subject to a rule:
H J Res 79 — Fiscal 2012 appropriations
HR 2401 — EPA rule analyses


Convenes 2 p.m.
Roll call votes expected:
HR 2832 — Trade preferences

Friday, September 16, 2011

We the People: A Constitutional Republic, Not a Democracy

Today, we celebrate the 224th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution (September 17 falls out over the weekend this year).  On this day, it is imperative that we reflect on the importance of our constitution and celebrate the roots of our founding.  As our nation comes under attack from the forces of tyranny within, we must reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of our founders and founding documents.

Most people often mistakenly refer to our nation as the greatest democracy on earth.  They are mistaken because we are not an absolute democracy; we are a constitutional republic.  That is what makes our nation great, for if we were merely a democracy, we would be anything but great.  And to the extent that we no longer function as a constitutional republic, that greatness is rapidly ebbing away.

Why did we need a constitution?  Why are popular elections not a sufficient means of preserving liberty?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Romneycare: A Microcosm of Obamacare, According to Conservative Study

Does government have the right to take over the healthcare sector, thereby infringing on liberty, killing jobs, reducing income, destroying investment, and driving up costs to consumers?  Well, as long as it is promulgated by state government, Mitt Romney thinks there is nothing wrong.

The conservative Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University has done a comprehensive study surveying the devastation of Romneycare – and it’s not pretty.  The study, which was obtained by the Boston Herald, analyzed trends in healthcare costs and employment data before and after passage of this unconstitutional behemoth.  Here are some of the key findings of the Romneycare devastation:
  • cost the Bay State 18,313 jobs;
  • drove up total health insurance costs in Massachusetts by $4.311 billion;
  • slowed the growth of disposable income per person by $376; and
  • reduced investment in Massachusetts by $25.06 million.
Additionally, the study found that much of the higher costs were subsidized by the federal government (national taxpayers) through a Medicaid waiver program.  A previous Beacon Hill study found that Romneycare cost Medicaid $2.4 billion and Medicare $1.4 billion.  It is these very costly state programs that are causing federal Medicaid expenditures to rise from its current level of $280 billion to $574 billion in 2020.  It is these very state mandates that have spiked the cost of private health insurance for years.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

GOP Must Use Political Victories to Oppose Obama's Stimulus in its Entirety

Pass the bill never!

The Democrats have provided Republicans with a historic opportunity to go on offense against Keynesian stimulus, and apply jujitsu against the Democrat 2012 playbook – Mediscare tactics.  They shouldn't blow it.

Last night, Democrats got wiped out in two special elections; losing by 22% in Nevada CD-2 and by 8% in a New York district that hasn’t voted Republican since 1922.  These victories were buoyed by Obama’s record disapproval ratings across every demographic, most notably, whites and independents.

While there have been copious pages of commentary published in an attempt to analyze the source of the GOP’s success, it is clear which tactic was unsuccessful: Mediscare (are you watching, Mitt Romney?).  Both Democrat candidates attacked their opponents incessantly as proverbial killers of Medicare and Social Security.  Although this pathetic line of attack is 50 years old, it was slated to serve as the impetus for Democrats’ 2012 campaign strategy.  Well, their only plan to win in 2012 failed miserably, providing Republicans with a chance to launch a counterattack.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Obama's America

There are three headlines from today that serve as paramount examples of a nation on decline - a nation that has been transformed from one of ownership to one of entitlement, thanks to socialism:

- The U.S poverty rate swelled from 14.3% in 2009 to 15.1% in 2010
- Employment-based health insurance coverage dropped by 1.5 million
- People covered by government health programs rose by 1.8 million in 2010.  31% of the population is now on some government run health program.

How's that 45 year-old war on poverty working out for you?  As the chart below from the Cato Institute shows, it has done nothing but perpetuate and exacerbate poverty.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Congress Should Support Israel's Right to All Land Ahead of UN Vote

The video embedded above shows the jubilant celebrations taking place in Gaza, while we were attacked on September 11.  No, it wasn’t just a few “extremists” who were celebrating; it was the average Joe Palestinian.   Unfortunately, not only have we declined to treat them as an enemy, we have refused to cut off any foreign aid.  Instead, the Bush and Obama administrations have diverted our diplomatic resources towards the insane ‘peace process’ and the inexorable goal of a Palestinian state.

Over the past few years, we have given over $600 million a year to this terrorist entity, which receives more per capita aid than any other people or nation.  This includes, direct assistance, weapons, security training, infrastructure, and funds transferred through UNRWA.  In July, Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) introduced the Palestinian Accountability Act (H.R. 2457), which seeks to cut off aid to the PA.  Last week, he introduced a resolution expressing the support of Congress for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria, if the PA unilaterally declares statehood.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Obama’s Fuzzy Stimulus Math

Obama proposes 36% cut to Social Security revenue

Let’s forget the fact that Obama’s entire Stimulus 10.0 is a counterintuitive proposal that doubles down on the very failures that precipitated this speech.  Let’s also disregard the fact that enshrining unemployment insurance as a permanent handout will perpetuate unemployment.  And more union-induced, short-term money drops on infrastructure will do nothing but stimulate traffic jams.  Let’s focus purely on the very numbers that the administration has offered –numbers that would undoubtedly be revised upward, if the plan is passed.

Total package – $447 billion

- 50% payroll tax cut for every employee, dropping the rate from 6.2% to 3.1%= $175 billion
-Obama also proposed cutting the employer payroll tax in half on the first $5 million of a firm’s payroll in 2012. About 98% of firms have payrolls of $5 million or less.= $70 billion
-National infrastructure bank = $10 billion
- Pork project handouts to unions for roads, rails and bridges= $50 billion
-An unprecedented extension of unemployment insurance benefits to be extended for another year, beyond the 99 weeks= $62 billion.
-Handouts to public school teacher unions, even though we already spend more per capita on education than any other country=$35 billion
-Refurbishing schools, a responsibility of local government=$25 billion
-Handouts to community colleges=$5 billion
-Rehabilitate vacant property=$15 billion

Despite the steep cost, Obama claims that it will all be paid for.  How will he pay for it?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Mitt Romney's Political Platform is a Ponzi Scheme

His transient political views are unsustainable in the GOP primary.
Mitt Romney might feel that entitlement reform is an electoral loser, but it is precisely his unprincipled Mittness Protection Program of a political platform that will lose him the nomination.  Republicans are looking for a leader – and leaders show courage by articulating bold solutions to our most consequential public policy problems, such as retirement security; not by ducking behind them and palavering liberal demagoguery.

You see, Romney's political platform, much like Social Security, is a Ponzi scheme.  His convictions, like the Social Security Trust Fund, are vapid of substance.  He supplies his current political platform with capricious policy stances that serve to sustain perceived political benefits in the future.  In that sense, his is the ultimate career politician, albeit an unsuccessful one.

He thinks that by offering 160 pages of tepid fluff, with a one-sentence oblique reference to Social Security insolvency, he will be served well in the general election.  He is also wagering that spewing Mediscare-style demagoguery will carry him through the primary.  Well, it didn't work for his father against Barry Goldwater in 1964; it certainly won't work in the era of the Tea Party and a mature, well-oiled conservative base.

Republican voters are looking for somebody who will lead public opinion, by turning the tables on Obama's Mediscare tactics.  Our nominee must complete his sentences and explain why the fact that SS is a Ponzi scheme – is reason enough to engender full-scale reform.  He must show how Obama's status quo will lead to draconian cuts, higher taxes, and delayed retirement, while his (or her) plan will preserve and expand retirement security through the empowerment of the individual, instead of government schemers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What is Karl Rove's Plan for Social Security?

Karl Rove is joining the left-wing/Romney camp alliance against Rick Perry's candid statements about Social Security in his book, Fed Up.  Even Baghdad Jim McDermott is praising Karl Rove's broadside on Perry Earlier today, on Good Morning America, Rove had this to say about Perry's condemnation of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme in his book:

What they’ve done thus far is, I think, inadequate. Which is to basically say, “look, we didn’t write the book with the presidential campaign in mind.” Well, okay, fine. But they are going to have to find a way to deal with these things. Because, as you say, they are toxic in a general election environment and they are also toxic in a Republican primary. If you say Social Security is a failure and ought to be replaced by a state-level program, then people are going to say: “What do you mean by that?”

Actually, Karl, the Perry campaign hasn't done an inadequate job of disavowing his stance on Social Security.  In fact, he hasn't disavowed it at all; he has doubled-down on it.  Last week, Perry reiterated his convictions by wisely clarifying his Social Security stance as directed towards younger workers: “It [Social Security] is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie.  It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”

We all know that Mr. Rove has a trenchant view of conventional wisdom, but maybe this election won't follow conventional wisdom.  Maybe this time, people are looking for someone to purvey the truth to the American people.

And what is the truth about Social Security?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Proposed Questions for the GOP Debate: Time for Specifics

Although a debate stage with eight candidates is inherently conducive to a circus atmosphere, the debate moderators need to focus on questions which elicit substantive answers to specific policy questions from the candidates.  Moreover, the liberal moderators from Politico and NBC should remember that they are overseeing a Republican debate.  As such, their questions should stem from conservative premises, and should provoke thoughtful responses from the candidates – responses that will demonstrate their visions of conservative governance to a conservative electorate.

Another bonus proposal would be for the Reagan Library to screen the audience more carefully to prevent outbursts of cheers and jeers, thereby engendering a more serious atmosphere than the previous debate (yes, we're looking at you, Ron Paul supporters).

Here are some proposed questions:

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sunday, September 04, 2011

They are Mortgaging our Future

So how much indebtedness has each household incurred as a result of the career politicians?  The Heritage Foundation has the answer in their weekly chart:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Illegal Aliens Receive $4.2 Billion in Additional Child Tax Credits

What happened to the balanced approach toward revenue?
Throughout the entire debt ceiling imbroglio, Democrats incessantly regurgitated the talking point about the need for “a balanced approach.”  They were so uniform and synchronized that they sounded like the sheep in Animal Farm.  Ironically, their idea of a balanced approach was singularly focused upon Oil Company and corporate tax deductions, which are negligible compared to the crushing debt.  The targeted oil tax deductions would have brought in $2 billion in annual revenue, while the cancellation of the corporate jet depreciation deduction would have saved only $3 billion over 10 years!

Well, it turns out that illegal aliens, most of which pay zero in net taxes, enjoyed $4.2 billion from the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) last year.  That’s more than the annual revenue from the selected oil tax deductions and corporate jet deductions combined!

Yesterday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Collection released a shocking report detailing how illegal aliens are able to utilize a filing loophole to obtain billions in ACTC funds.  The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and ACTC (unlike the base child tax credit) are totally refundable and can award the recipient with a negative tax balance.  Appropriations for the EITC in FY 2010 were $54.7 billion and $28.3 billion for the ACTC.  While EITC appropriations are protected from illegals (those who don’t engage in identity theft) because they are only awarded to those who provide a valid Social Security number, the same cannot be said for the ACTC.

Here is the punchline of the Inspector’s report:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Nebraska Gov. Heineman to the Left of Obama Administration on Keystone Pipeline

Nebraska Republicans repeating talking points from Al Gore and Hollywood airheads

After three years of cumbersome red tape, environmental impact studies, and endless litigation, the Canadian Keystone KL Pipeline extension project is close to obtaining final approval from the State Department.  This $7 billion pipeline project, when completed, would transport over 700,000 barrels of oil per day from the Canadian tar sands in northeast Alberta to the hungry oil refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.  This project, along with current imports, would deliver 10% of our energy needs from our most friendly ally, by using the safest, most efficient means of transportation; a pipeline.

Due to the international scope of this project, the State Department was required to sign off on its final approval.  Despite the issuance of two favorable impact studies from the State Department, the EPA had refused to issue the requisite permits for this 1,800-mile pipeline – an endeavor that would create close to 120,000 primary and secondary jobs and generate $5.2 billion in property tax revenue for Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Finally, amidst growing pressure from House Republicans, and the threat from TransCanada Corp. to take their business to – you guessed it – China, the administration appeared to be backing down.  Last Friday, the State Department published their revised environmental impact study to satisfy the EPA’s new demands for even more scrutiny.  The report concluded once again that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on local environmental resources.  They also astutely observed that “if the proposed Project is not implemented, Canadian producers would seek alternative transportation systems to move oil to markets other than the U.S.”  Even ultra-greenie Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared to support the project, noting that “it’s certainly true that having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil,”  and that the technology for oil sand extraction is “improving dramatically.” [video here]

Now, as the public ways in during the final 90 days prior to the project’s approval, environmental groups and Hollywood figures are having a meltdown.  Sadly, it appears that Republican Governor Dave Heineman and several other Nebraska GOPers are throwing in with them.