Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Deal No Republican Can Support

There's been enough compromise with big government. It's time to raise the compromise floor.

On Friday, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly for a plan that would raise the debt limit a whopping $2.5 trillion.  All but 22 members, including many stalwart conservatives, supported the bill because they were promised that the second installment of the debt limit increase ($1.6 trillion) would only be approved under two conditions: 1) A debt commission identifies at least $1.6 trillion in spending cuts.  2)  Congress (both houses) passes a balanced budget amendment (BBA) and sends it to the states for ratification.

While it is hard to imagine that GOP leaders would suddenly have the courage to hold firm on a BBA next year, after punting on it this year, most rank-and-file members felt compelled to trust their leaders.

While it is credulous to believe that a Simpson-Bowles 2.0 commission would force passage of massive entitlement reform without tax hikes – and that leadership would go to the brink for such cuts; nonetheless, conservative House members got their rumps behind Boehner’s line.  They swallowed their pride, endured much acrimony, and took one for the team.

Now it’s time for Boehner to hold his own line and not leave his men in the field.  Presumably, at the very least, he would not agree to any increase that overshoots the elections, and that terminates the requirement of a BBA as a precondition for such an increase.

Accordingly, any outline of the following plan being reported by ABC should be dead on arrival:
ABC News has learned that Republicans and the White House have struck a tentative deal to raise the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline. It’s not done yet, but here is the framework of the tentative deal they have worked out, according to a source familiar with the negotiations:
  • Debt ceiling increase of up to $2.8 trillion
  • Spending cuts of roughly $1 trillion
  • Vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Special committee to recommend cuts of $1.8 trillion (or whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase)
  • Committee must make recommendations before Thanksgiving recess
  • If Congress does not approve those cuts by late December, automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect, including cuts to Defense and Medicare. (emphasis added)
Shouldn’t it?

Cross-posted to RedState.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pat McDonough Should Run for House, Not Senate

In a move that has surprised many conservative Marylanders, talk radio show host and Delegate Pat McDonough announced that he is considering a run for Senate against Ben Cardin in 2012.  Over the past few months, he was seriously contemplating a challenge to Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, a more surmountable goal.  Pat McDonough should stick to his original plan to challenge Dutch, instead of mounting an untenable campaign to unseat Ben Cardin in a statewide race.

The sad reality is that we cannot win a Senate race in Maryland, even for an open seat.  Based upon the demographics in Maryland, Ben Cardin can be caught with a dead body in his trunk – and still win reelection.  To make matters worse, 2012 is a presidential election year, and although I believe Obama will lose nationwide, he will perform well in Maryland at the top of the ticket.  There is simply no way that anybody, even a spirited conservative like McDonough, has a chance of unseating Cardin.  As such, it would be unwise for McDonough to waste his potential on such an endeavor.

Delegate McDonough should stick with his original plan to challenge Congressman Ruppersberger in the 2nd district.  Although this gerrymandered Baltimore County/Baltimore City district is heavily Democrat, there is a sizable demographic of Reagan Democrats whom McDonough has represented in the legislature for many years.  It would be an uphill fight, but not a losing proposition.

Pat McDonough has definitely become too big a voice for conservatives to remain in the House of Delegates.  He needs to move on; however, he should not ruin his career pursing an incorrigible goal.  Run, Pat, run – against Dutch Ruppersberger.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Here’s the Latest Democrat Plan

Will this ultimately be the best we can get, or will GOP leaders hold their own line?
Well, we really stuck it to the Democrats today.  Instead of passing Cut, Cap, and Balance, a plan that will never pass the Senate and would have foisted the blame of a default upon us (supposedly), we orchestrated a plan to really own them.  We came up with Boehner plan 2.0 that..well, …..will not pass the Senate – and will force a default, unless we agree to a watered down version of the watered down version.

As of late this afternoon, the underpinnings of a compromise Democrat plan were beginning to materialize:
Democrats are aiming for a debt-limit compromise similar to the House Republican plan, with at least one major difference: The second vote on raising the debt ceiling would not depend on Congress passing a broader deficit-reduction package.
The shape of this potential compromise meshes major elements of the proposals offered in recent weeks by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), according to Democratic officials familiar with the negotiations.
Under the possible compromise, Congress could still get a second crack at voting on the debt limit within months. But rather than linking the vote to Congress approving the recommendations of a new 12-member committee — as it would be in Boehner’s bill — Democrats prefer McConnell’s proposal that allows President Barack Obama to lift the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of both chambers override his veto of a disapproval resolution, the officials said. (emphasis added)
So, if this is ultimately the best plan that Democrats will pass, should we support it?  What is the bottom line for GOP leaders, in which they would be willing to keep their a@#$ on their own line?

As we speak, House leaders are going through cerebral gyrations to convince Republicans that this is our last option.  Earlier today, Speaker Boehner refused to say whether he would force his own bill to the brink if and when Harry Reid rejects it in the Senate.

At the very least, these leaders owe the rank-and-file members two commitments:  1)  They will commit to fighting for at least some of the fundamentals of the House-passed budget.  2)  Even though they retreated on Cut, Cap, and Balance and are forcing them to vote for an “imperfect bill,” they will hold the line on Boehner 2.0, reject any further compromise, and tell Obama to get his a@#$ in line.

Or, is that bellicose rhetoric only reserved for fellow conservatives?

Cross-posted to RedState.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What is the End Game for Big Government?

Is the Republican infighting really about strategy, or is it about ideology?

Those Republicans, such as the Wall Street Journal editors and the Weekly Standard writers, who criticize Tea Party opposition to Boehner’s plan, would have you believe that they are just as ideologically committed to downsizing government.  They are just advocating smarter and more politically savvy ways of achieving that goal; one that is supposedly less tendentious to independent voters.  As such, they have an obligation to create a political and policy road map that will reduce government – a goal they purportedly share.  Where is their plan?

We believe that unless we go to the brink, and use our leverage with the budget process to force fundamental and transformational government reform, we will never limit government.  These wizards of smart obviously believe that we will have better opportunities in the future.  What are those opportunities?

Over the last 75 years, and especially during the past decade, liberals have methodically constructed an incorrigible edifice of tyranny.  Their magnum opus, the federal government, has foisted $14.4 trillion in debt and $100 trillion in unfunded obligations on our families; it has promulgated $1.75 trillion in regulatory burdens on our job creators, it has sucked out millions of jobs and trillions in income growth from the “little guy.”  Most important, it has revoked an incalculable measure of liberty from everyone.

Any sane observer of politics, who is willing to learn from the lessons of history, should intuitively understand that a few billion in cuts, along with incremental changes to government, are no match for perennial, self-perpetuating socialism.  It is akin to stopping a speeding bullet train (the last to leave the station, to paraphrase Speaker Boehner) with some twigs.  Boehner’s 2.0 plan, which appears to be gaining traction, does just that.

Our detractors will protest, “but this is not the time and place for such reform; let’s wait until we have control of more than 1/3rd of one branch of government.”

“This is the best we can do, given the extraneous circumstances.”

“Wait for 2012; we’ll take back all of government and really show them.”

“Get your a@#$ in line.”

No, folks, it is we conservatives who have kept our posteriors on the line, while you retreated from it.

Boehner Grounds into a Double Play

Negating our leverage over the debt ceiling and next years' budget in one fell swoop

Late this afternoon, the CBO reaffirmed all of our concerns with Speaker Boehner’s Budget Control Act of 2011 – plus interest (pun intended).

We have asserted ad nauseam that any proposed budget plan that fails to countermand the current prodigal spending levels, including the modestly reduced spending levels of 2011, is not worth the paper it is printed on.  The CBO estimates that Boehner’s $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts will only save us $850 billion over ten years.  This means that Obama’s credit card increase will be higher than the concurrent spending cuts, thus voiding the promise of the dollar-for-dollar agreement.  Moreover, the CBO estimates that all the cuts will be backloaded, as the estimated savings for next year – the only enforceable year – will be a negligible $1 billion!  It turns out that an extra $4 billion in mandatory spending for Pell Grants will ostensibly wipe out any savings from the paltry discretionary cuts.


This plan is worse than a strikeout; it’s a ground ball into a double play.

A mere lousy plan would have destroyed our leverage over the debt ceiling fight; Boehner’s plan obviates our future leverage over the FY 2012 budget fight in late September as well.  The House-passed budget resolution, known as the Paul Ryan budget, authorized $1.019 trillion in non-emergency discretionary spending for FY 2012.  Boehner’s bill authorizes $1.043 trillion.

Additionally, all the reforms in entitlement and welfare spending that were adopted in the Ryan budget (including reforms of Pell Grants) will be jettisoned and exchanged for a grand bargain formulated by the Super Commission.  Yes, I know, it’s a committee; not a commission.

Consequently, when the 2012 budget fight boils over after the summer recess, we will lose our leverage to fight for the Ryan budget.  So, all the hard work that has gone into passing the appropriations bills and fulfilling the mandate from the budget resolution would have been a waste.  The Boehner plan has already overshot the spending levels of those bills.  Democrats will laugh at them during those pretentious days at the end of the fiscal year.

Concurrently, there is another unforeseen vice to this plan.  The two largest non-defense appropriations bills; the Labor/HHS/Education and Transportation/HUD bills, are being saved until after August.  The Ryan budget blueprint achieved the most savings from these bills; $26 billion of the estimated $47 trillion in discretionary savings for 2012.  Boehner’s plan, or any 2.0 version of it, would allow liberal Republican appropriators to reinstate some of the spending to the most pernicious activities of some of the worst government agencies.  Congressman Steve LaTourette, a shill for Big Labor, is already agog over the opportunity to spend more on Labor.

John Boehner, to his credit, is planning to rewrite his bill.  He needs to go for a home run and stick with Cut, Cap, and Balance.  At the very least, we don’t need another double play.

If GOP leaders are serious, they will fight for a deal that upholds the integrity of the Ryan budget, both on the discretionary and mandatory sides of the ledger.

Cross-posted to RedState.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Residual Effects of MD Petition Drive

The unprecedented success of Maryland's petition drive against in-state tuition for illegals will reverberate far beyond the issue of immigration.  The successful execution of the petition drive, in conjunction with the innovative use of the internet, will serve to buttress Maryland conservatives in their inexorable battle against the one-party oligarchy.

Prior to the petition drive, there was simply no deterrent against the assault on our freedoms, values, and prosperity from Democrats in Annapolis.  They enjoy almost 3:1 majorities in both houses of the legislature and have an unbreakable grip over the courts.  Due to the way the districts are drawn in the state, Democrats never had to fear electoral reprisal or constituent backlash from their pernicious policies.  The petition has changed everything.

While we are not accorded the right to referendum for all budget related issues, thus precluding any usage of the petition against tax hikes, we can petition against any other law.  And the Democrats in Annapolis know this.

During the next (regular) legislative session, O'Malley plans to push for gay marriage.  However, we will no longer sit by and beg Baltimore City Democrats to oppose the bill.  We will now have an opportunity to place the marriage issue before the voters, once and for all.  If they were shocked by the auspicious results of the in-state tuition petition drive, Democrats will be stupefied by the success of a pro-marriage petition drive.  Conservative won't be the only ones to sign such a petition.  Many voters from the large black communities in Maryland will enthusiastically support the effort, in addition to the plethora of Catholic Democrats across the state.

Now that we have the power of the referendum petition behind us, Democrats will think twice before introducing unpopular legislation.  In Maryland, that is huge progress.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Boehner’s Two-Tiered Plan: Trust Without Verification

Give hen house keys to the wolves first, police them later 

Why is Speaker Boehner abandoning Cut, Cap, and Balance for this new, so-called two-tiered plan?  In what way is this plan superior to CCB, either politically or from a policy standpoint?

If Boehner’s rationale for repudiating CCB is that it won’t pass the Senate, thus forcing the dreaded default, which will supposedly be blamed on the GOP, then how does the new plan help?  The Democrats absolutely will not pass a plan that resurrects the debt fight before the election.  Boehner’s watered down plan won’t pass muster with Democrats, unless it raises the debt limit until after the election.  So after the House passes this new plan, and the Senate summarily rejects it, we will wind up in the same predicament.  GOP leaders will still shudder with trepidation from the approaching deadline.  The only difference is that they will be forced to negotiate from a weakened position.  In other words, the new Boehner plan will be the right goal post of the ensuing negotiations, engendering an opening for Democrats to push an even worse deal.

What about the policy virtues of this plan?

Boehner’s plan is being sold as one that upholds the principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance.  The first stage of the proposal calls for $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over the next 10 years, in exchange for a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling.  The plan would also impose spending caps, although the exact figures are still unclear.  Finally, it would call for a vote on a balanced budget amendment by the end of the year, as a precondition for raising the debt ceiling.

The second stage, also tied to the initial agreement to raise the debt limit, would take the form of, you guessed it.. a debt commission, which would identify $1.8 trillion in additional cuts over 10 years, primarily from entitlement reform.  Upon adoption of the commission’s cuts, the debt ceiling would be raised another $1.6 trillion next year.

There is one fundamental problem with the entire plan.  Unlike the actual CCB plan, this proposal would hand the Democrat wolves the keys to the spending hen house first, while promising unverifiable and unenforceable cuts later.  The bottom line is that once we return the federal credit card to the Democrats, they will no longer have any incentive to vote for a balanced budget amendment.

The Unanswered Questions for GOP Leaders from Freshmen

What about Paul Ryan's budget?

Forget the tax issue or the timetable for a moment; any proposed “spending cut” deal that fails to slash funding for discretionary spending and welfare programs to pre-Obama levels, as proposed in Paul Ryan’s budget, is worthless.  As Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL) tweeted earlier today, “debt “deals” that count on 10 years worth of spending cuts are the Mr Snuffleupagus of budget tricks. No one sees them except pols.”

If House leaders fail to stand by their own budget, freshmen members like Ross might pose the following question: was the entire Republican majority of the 112th Congress a waste of time?

A record number of freshmen Republicans were swept into Congress to downsize government in general, and repeal/defund Obamacare in particular.

In April, Republicans had their first chance to fulfill their mandate by passing a continuing resolution for FY 2011 that slashed government and defunded Obamacare.  As the clock ticked down to a government shutdown, GOP leaders retreated in fear.  They forced the conference to pass a spending bill that maintained funding for Obamacare and only trimmed a paltry $352 million from the deficit, thereby abrogating their popular mandate from just five months before.

But we were told that the CR was not our fight, and that we should remain patient until we are presented with real opportunities; the debt ceiling fight and the Paul Ryan budget for FY 2012.

The Ryan budget, unlike the impending debt ceiling deal, more or less fulfills the mandate of the 2010 freshmen by defunding Obamacare and downsizing government to pre-Obama levels.  This is not the RSC plan or a Tea Party plan; it is the plan of the entire conference, supported by leadership.  Ever since the budget resolution was adopted on April 15, the House has worked diligently to carry out the budget blueprint and implement comprehensive cuts in every appropriations bill.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Democrats Threaten FAA Shutdown Over Rural Pork

Democrats support partial gov't shutdowns when it suits them


Amidst the circus surrounding the looming debt ceiling deadline, there is another deadline that is coming due tonight at midnight; funding for the FAA.  The Democrats in the Senate are obdurately refusing to pass either a short-term or long-term extension of the FAA reauthorization, threatening to furlough 4,000 precious union workers beginning Saturday.  Their rationale?  Saving Harry Reid’s rural pork.

Much like highway and surface transportation expenditures, the FAA is typically funded by long-term authorization bills that allocate funding for four years at a time.  The funding comes from taxes on airplane passengers, cargo, and jet fuel. However, as with the highway funding, the Democrat majorities from 2007-present have failed to pass a long-term bill.  The most incompetent majority party in American history has relied upon 20 short-term extension bills to fund the FAA over the past four years.  A short-term bill is their preferred method because it locks in all the wasteful spending and avoids the scrutiny that is endemic of long-term extension bills.

When Republicans took over the House, they passed a long-term bill to reauthorize the FAA until FY 2014.  Not surprisingly, Democrats balked at the modest spending cuts and forced the passage of several more clean clean short-term extension.  On Wednesday, the House passed another short-term extension funding the FAA through September 16 (the House must act first because the bill raises revenue) to preclude a shutdown Friday night.  However, frustrated from Democrats’ stubborn opposition to spending cuts, House Republicans inserted a provision that offers modest cuts to the Essential Air Service (EAS).  The EAS is essentially a rural pork program that subsidizes airlines to provide service to communities where such service, due to geography and population, would otherwise be unprofitable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There Are No Spending Cuts Without Downsizing Government

$1.5 trillion from Biden + $3.7 trillion from the Gang=0. There is no compromise. 

Republicans and conservatives have correctly asserted that the federal government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.  However, a more trenchant summation of our public policy vices would go something like this: we don’t have a spending problem, per se; we have a big government problem.

While such a characterization might sound redundant, the Orwellian language used to describe spending cuts throughout the debt ceiling debate exposes a huge bifurcation between “spending cuts” and government reduction.  The very same politicians who increased the debt $3.7 trillion in just two and a half years, and have condemned us to a future trajectory of $10 trillion more over the next ten years, are now tossing out spending cut bids to the tune of trillions, as if we were sitting at a Barney Frank foreclosure auction.  Obama and the Democrats promote numbers like $4 trillion in cuts; no, $6 trillion; the Gangters of Six are staking their claim on $3.7 trillion.  Finally, we are all told that, at the very least, there is consensus around $1.5 trillion in cuts from the Biden bunch.

So how can the very people who increased spending by trillions just last year suddenly exhibit such gaiety in cutting spending?

As we have seen from the Gangrene proposal, these “spending cuts” – to the tune of $2.7 trillion – will magically materialize, without eliminating a single agency or department from discretionary spending, or a single welfare program on the mandatory side. The only definitive and consequential cuts will be incurred by the military.  Even after the most unprecedented era of prodigal spending that added $3.7 trillion in real debt, the Gangrene proposal would use phony and conflicting baselines to save $3.7 trillion over ten years, even while concurrently adding trillions more in debt.

The Gang plan, as well as every other negotiated proposal, achieves these spending cuts through slowing the rate of “straw men” baseline projections of growth.  Even the caps on rate growth might not take effect until closer to 2015.   Hence, we have spending cuts without downsizing one iota of government, along with all its pernicious effects on the private sector.

GOP Freshmen Take on MSNBC

The inimitable Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) strikes again.  He has a penchant for straight talk and producing epic videos, in which he articulates unvarnished conservatism in a provocative way.  His latest hit took place during an interview with Chris Matthews.  When Matthews began to get rude with Walsh, the good congressman put him in his place:



In a separate altercation between a MSNBC host and GOP freshman, the anchor intimated that Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) didn't understand the economy because he lacks a degree in economics.  The problem is that Brooks does indeed hold a degree in economics - in addition to a political science and law degrees.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Fuzzy Math from Gang of Six

A plan that is all things to all people, but vapid of details and coherence

As a rule of thumb, any idea coming from a gang is not a good one.  This holds true in the real world; it is certainly true in the gangster world of the U.S. Senate.  Members of the media are agog with glee over the supposed Gang of Six deal to cut the deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years.  There is much hype over the fact that more than half the Senate attended the unveiling of the proposal, with many Republicans – including those in leadership – offering robust praise for it.  Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) is calling for a vote on the plan, even though most of the details don’t exist.

The festive atmosphere at the press conference prompted bearded Marxist Senator Chris Coons to observe that “if Sen. Durbin and Dr. Coburn can both endorse it, this may be just the tough discipline fiscally and the balanced path forward that we need.”  So the questions begs, just how can such an ‘austere budget plan’ garner the support of liberal luminaries like Coons and Durbin?

The answer is very simple: the budget plan is devoid of a roadmap to achieve the alleged $2.7 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in revenue gains.  Furthermore, the proposal relies upon the passage of some conservative reforms, which if seriously drafted, will never be supported by a majority of the Democrat Caucus, including Gang members like Dick Durbin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

End Baltimore Beverage Tax a Year Early

Last year, the Baltimore City Council passed a 2-cent tax on all bottled drinks sold in the city.  They failed to anticipate the obvious pernicious effects that it would have on the local economy.  Immediately after the tax was implemented, Pepsi closed down their production of soda in the city, costing local residents more than 70 jobs.

Additionally, like most new taxes, the beverage tax was an inane revenue raising tool.  The city only generated $4.8 million in revenue from the tax.  The simple fact is that most of the population lives close enough to Baltimore County that they can purchase all of their beverages tax free.  Instead of generating revenue for the city, the beverage tax has harmed many supermarkets within the city limits.

Originally, the tax was set to expire two years from now, on June 30, 2013.  Thankfully, two members of the City Council, Belinda K. Conaway (District 7) and Warren Branch (District 13), are introducing a bill to repeal the tax a year earlier, in 2012.  While we would prefer immediate repeal, this is probably the best we can hope for in this one-party oligarchy.

Please help spread the message and call the other 12 members of the council.  Tell them to support repeal of the beverage tax and stop hurting job growth during such bad economic times.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maryland GOP Redistricting Map Receives More Attention

Last week, we highlighted the new redistricting map from the Maryland GOP.  While many in the media scoff at the notion that Republicans are relevant enough to get a seat at the table, especially when their proposal would net more Republican seats, they miss one major point.  The GOP map is the only one that respects the geographical boundaries of natural communities, counties, and demographic orientations.

Proposed 2012 map from GOP
Today, St. Mary's College political science professor Todd Eberly penned a great opinion piece in the Washington Post endorsing the Republican map.  He offers one of the most compelling arguments against the egregious gerrymandering of Maryland congressional districts at the hands of the state's Democrats.  He also provides a solid historical background of the congressional districts.

"It is important to consider how Maryland’s bizarre congressional districts came into existence. Before the 2001 redistricting, the state’s congressional delegation included four Democrats and four Republicans. That split was unacceptable to Glendening and state Democratic leaders, given their party’s sizable registration advantage, so they drew lines to dilute Republican counties and expand the reach of Democratic strongholds.
The goal was clear — elect more Democrats — and it was met. But there was a cost. Rather than respecting political diversity and natural community boundaries, districts were designed solely to maximize Democratic influence."[...]

"Meanwhile, state Republicans have proposed a map with compact districts that treat the borders of counties and communities with respect. Only Baltimore County would occupy more than two districts. A badly needed Baltimore City district (a new District 7) would be created by adding a sliver of Baltimore County’s population to the city’s 631,000 residents. Harford would occupy one district. Anne Arundel would be in two districts not four. Montgomery and Prince George’s would each be included in two districts — the minimum possible given their large populations."

Please read the full article here.

Time to End Bipartisan Profligacy of Transportation Spending

One of the preferred methods liberals use to tax and spend is to create special "trust funds" for particular expenditures, with the intent of hiding the funds within the Treasury's general fund.  The system goes something like this: levy a tax that is supposedly earmarked for a specific expense and impounded in a trust fund (lock box); gradually purloin the fund by using it for general expenditures, while using general fund monies (and debt) to overspend on the trust fund expenditures; demand that taxpayers contribute more to the trust fund that has gone broke.  This is ostensibly what has happened with the Social Security Trust Fund.  It's also what Big Business and Big Labor desire to do with the Highway Trust Fund, which was modeled after the SS fund.

The Highway Trust Fund, much like the SS Trust Fund, is maintained by money from the general treasury that is credited to the fund.  It was established in the '50s to fund the Interstate Highway System.  Beginning in 1983, Congress began siphoning off some of the gas tax revenue for the great inviolable sacred cow; the urban mass transit system.  Today, mass transit receives $10.2 billion in annual appropriations.

The extent of the credit from the general treasury was supposed to be commensurate to the revenue generated by the gas tax, paid by all motorists and users of the highway system.  Not surprisingly, the demarcation between revenue sources became muddled over the years, and as pork barrel spending grew ubiquitously among our esteemed leaders, the funding authorized for the trust fund far outpaced the revenue from the gas tax.  In 2008, the trust fund was completely depleted, compelling Congress to replenish the fund with an additional $35 billion over the past few years.

The authorization for funding the Highway Trust Fund is typically renewed every six years in a transportation reauthorization bill that creates six years' worth of mandatory spending that is not subject to the annual appropriations process.  The Department of Transportation then takes this money and doles it out to the states.  States with more aggressive porkers inevitably receive more funding.  These bills were always bipartisan endeavors of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as both parties enjoyed unlimited pork and goodwill with their constituents.

The 2010 elections and the Tea Party changed all that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Conservatism on the Ascendency, According to New Poll

Elected Republicans in Washington must realize that Obama has done for conservatives what no Republican leader has ever done; he has galvanized conservatives and converted independents to our cause.  According to a new Rasmussen poll, a record number of Americans consider themselves fiscal conservatives, while a plurality, albeit a smaller percentage, consider themselves social conservatives.

Voters remain slightly more conservative when it comes to fiscal policy than they are on social issues, while 29% still say they are conservative in both areas.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 10% of Likely Voters claim to be both fiscal and social liberals.  A majority (61%), however, are some other combination. [...] 

Forty-four percent (44%) of voters classify themselves as conservative on fiscal issues such as taxes, government spending and business regulation.  Nearly as many (40%) view themselves as moderate on these issues, while 12% feel they are fiscal liberals. 
On social issues like abortion, public prayer and Church-state topics, 40% of voters consider themselves conservative.  Thirty-one percent (31%) feel they are liberal in these areas, while 26% see themselves as socially moderate. 

Now is not the time for tepidness on the part of the GOP.  There is a clear ascendance of conservatism, precipitated by animus towards Obama's radicalism, that must be harnessed.  Now is the time to connect with the commonsense conservatism that is uniquely inherent in most Americans.  There is a reason why the public overwhelmingly opposes raising the debt ceiling.  Don't listen to the doom and gloom from the media, as they attempt to resurrect the ghosts of the '95 gov't shutdown, which was allegedly calamitous for the GOP.  We are clearly living in an unprecedented time; one in which most voters are finally attuned to our unsustainable state of profligacy and dependency.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Entire Premise Behind Debt Negotiations is a Farce

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Taylor of Caroline, November 26, 1798

Obama and the Democrats have no intention to cut spending in any long-term, meaningful, and consequential way.  To do so, they would need to abrogate the very essence of their being and the dependency state along with it.  As such, they will never agree to cuts that will reduce the deficit.  Period.  As Congressman Louie Gohmert said, "quit believing the president."  So why does the GOP continue to parley with Obama in secret?

Some Republicans are impugning supporters of the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan for being suicidally intransigent.  They charge that our insistence on a deal that Democrats will not support will lead to a stalemate and an eventual default, which will invariably hurt Republicans, of course.  The problem with this rationale is that it overlooks the fact that Democrats will never support any meaningful shrinkage of their $3.7 trillion federal government behemoth.  It's not just a balanced budget amendment they oppose; they will vote down any authentic spending deal that cuts trillions - in real cuts.

The entire brouhaha over Obama's willingness to cut $4 trillion over 10 years, so long as the GOP acquiesces to tax increases, is a fraud.  Even if Republicans agree to massive tax increases tomorrow, Obama will never accede to a deal that substantially cuts, let alone eliminates, one major dependency program or government department (or even agency).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MD Petition: Over 100,000 Signatures and Counting

From the incipient stages of the petition drive, I always knew that we would surpass the requisite 55,000 signatures to win a ballot referendum against the Maryland Dream Act.  However, none of us ever dreamed that we would be so successful.  According to the latest figures released by the Maryland Board of Elections, 102,338 signatures have been validated.  Aside for the profound alacrity to sign the petition, these figures show how competently and efficiently MDPetitions carried out the process.  This has been the most successful public policy push by conservative in Maryland history!

Here is the breakdown of the figures by county:

COUNTY TOTAL_VALID_SIGNATURES TOTAL_INVALID_SIGNATURES
Allegany 994
Anne Arundel 13,045
Baltimore City 2,592
Baltimore County 24,257
Calvert 1,778
Caroline 1,130
Carroll 10,494
Cecil 2,503
Charles 770
Dorchester 922
Frederick 7,469
Garrett 289
Harford 12,431
Howard 5,070
Kent 608
Montgomery 4,969
Prince George's 2,338
Queen Anne's 1,250
Saint Mary's 718
Somerset 431
Talbot 1,379
Washington 5,478
Wicomico 879
Worcester 544
TOTAL 102,338 

Those astounding numbers from Baltimore County should serve as a lesson for Maryland Republicans.  There is a lot of potential to pick up elected offices in BC, if we would only try.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Much Needed Straight Talk from Rep. Walsh: Quit Lying, Mr. President

There has been much ink spilled trying to determine the best political strategy for Republicans in dealing with the debt ceiling.  Throughout the process, many Republicans have ceded ground to Obama by credulously buying into the premise that failure to raise the debt ceiling will spell disaster for the country.

Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), one of those unvarnished freshmen conservatives, cuts thought the clutter and reminds Obama and fellow Republicans why people like himself were elected to Congress.  While everyone is focused on the fight over tax increases, many Republicans are forgetting that the $2, $3, or even $4 trillion in supposed spending cuts are nothing but unverifiable accounting gimmicks that will be based upon some contrived baseline.  Even if they would represent real cuts, the $4 trillion in deficit reduction would only extirpate $400 billion annually from a $1.4-1.6 trillion yearly deficit.
 

This three-minute video message should serve as a model for all Republicans as they "negotiate" with a proven liar:



This is what real conservative leadership looks like.  Are you watching, Senator McConnell?

Cut, Cap, Balance - or bust!

Cross-posted to RedState.com

Quit Believing the President, Mr Boehner

That was the admonishment from Congressman Louie Gohmert to Speaker John Boehner.  There is simply too much credulity among the Republican leaders if they believe that Obama has any intention of enacting meaningful and consequential cuts that would vitiate any part of the dependency empire - the empire that feeds the Democrat party.

Republicans need to rally behind Pat Toomey's bill to ensure that interests payments are prioritized.  They should also pass Michele Bachmann's bill to prioritize payments to military personnel (HR 2496).  Once they secure the short-term pitfalls of not raising the debt, they will have nothing to lose by fighting for a balance budget amendment; the only real long-term solution.

Watch the full press conference of Reps. Gohmert, King, and Bachmann here:



(HT: CNS News)

Bonus Video:  The Republican Study Committee came out with their latest video pushing for Cut, Cap, and Balance:



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MD Legislature: Beware the Tax Binge in Special Session

In September, the state legislature will meet to consummate the new legislative and congressional maps for the next decade.  While the liberals in Annapolis will invariably be focused on gerrymandering the scant Republican districts in the state, they will also have another, more insidious, priority on the agenda; raising taxes.

The Washington Examiner reports that Democrats are already floating trial balloons about raising a variety of taxes.  They are once again reverting to the most regressive taxes, such as sales taxes on services and other vital items that are currently exempt, such as food and medicine.

Maryland lawmakers plan to weigh new taxes on snack foods, medicine and online sales, as well as an increase in the state's gasoline tax, as they prepare for a special General Assembly session in the face of a
$1.1 billion structural deficit.

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will consider various revenue-generating proposals at its next meeting later this month, committee members told The Washington Examiner.
In preparation for the meeting, the committee has asked the Department of Legislative Services to draft a list of items that are exempt from the state's sales tax. The main items on the list include consumer services, such as accounting and landscaping, and necessities -- such as food and medicine, including prescription and nonprescription -- said legislative services director Warren Deschenaux.
The good news is that Maryland Democrats will be more judicious in raising taxes, in light of the successful petition drive against in-state tuition for illegals.  Either way, we must prepare for battle because they will privately focus on one tax, while using the others as red herrings.  Our vigilance must be in full gear come September.

Friday, July 08, 2011

New York GOP Should Pick Bob Turner for CD-9 Special Election


 

On September 13, there will be a special election in New York's 9th congressional district to fill the vacant seat of progressive champion, Anthony Weiner.  After squandering the past three special elections, New York Republicans should redeem themselves by appointing a stellar candidate.  Unfortunately, there are no primaries for special elections in New York, so we must rely on the local central committees to appoint a worthy nominee. 

As always, the selection process is marred by controversy.  This New York City-based district is split between parts of Brooklyn and Queens.  Consequently, the local party officials of both jurisdictions must agree on the nominee.  Not surprisingly, they are currently divided on their preference.  While Democrats already rallied around radical leftist Assemblyman David Weprin, Republicans are split between 2010 GOP and Conservative nominee Bob Turner and Giuliani administration official Juan Reyes, with the Brooklyn GOP supporting Turner and the Queens GOP leader backing Reyes.

Local Republicans need to put an end to this and rally behind Bob Turner.  Turner, an Army veteran, is one of us.  Commenting on the Weiner scandal, Turner said, "One thing is telling: Scandals, no matter their nature, are not the problem. They are a symptom, representing something more dangerous: liberalism. Many liberals in Congress feed off of power. They feel entitled to dictate society's rules, yet selectively exempt themselves from the enforcement."

He was the quintessential Tea Party candidate who ran a stronger than expected campaign, despite being a political neophyte.  Turner has the support of the only elected Republican in Queens, Councilman Eric Ulrich, and the Conservative Party is set to endorse him later today.  He ran a solid conservative campaign last time and there is no reason to dig up a new name who never expressed interest in running until recently.  Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long told me that he knows nothing about Reyes or the forces behind the sudden push to find an alternative to Turner.

Although CD-9 is a Democrat district, it has swung sharply to the right in presidential elections in recent years.  Charlie Cook rates it D+5, the least Democrat NYC district, aside for the Republican seat in Staten Island.  It is an uphill battle, but a battle worth fighting, especially in a low-turnout special election.  Weprin is a machine-backed radical with plenty of baggage.  New York Republicans should unite behind Bob Turner and redeem themselves from their dismal failures of the past.

Cross-posted to RedState.com

There is Only One Fair Redistricting Map in Maryland

It's that time of the decade again.  The Democrats plan to use their unchecked power to splice up the map and make the congressional districts even more favorable for them than before.  The MD GOP put out their own proposal that would preserve the geographical and demographic integrity of the districts.   Yes, it would benefit Republicans, but anyone who knows Maryland can appreciate that it is the only fair map.  The bottom line is that Baltimore City, with its declining population of 630,000, can easily fit into one congressional district.  There is no reason to divide it into four district to suit the Democrats' electoral dreams.  Here it is:



Thursday, July 07, 2011

OK President Obama, Let’s Raise Revenue

Time for real bi-partisan compromise
President Obama is intimating that the GOP’s opposition to “increasing revenue” is the sole obstacle to achieving a deficit reduction plan.  We should call his bluff and put forth proposals to increase revenue.  Then, there will be no excuses for opposing a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Obama has complained that we are overlooking the “spending through the tax code.”  He is correct.  There are a lot of handouts ensconced in the tax code; it’s just a shame that he is indifferent to them.  In fact, he has increased their size and scope by leaps and bounds through his stimulus bill, denying the treasury much-needed revenue.

The Marxists have always had a way with words.  In their dyslexic world view, they refer to tax cuts as handouts and handouts as tax cuts.  Concurrently, they view tax hikes as spending cuts and spending cuts (real revenue increases) as tax hikes.  As such, it is no surprise that Obama seeks to punitively eliminate universal tax deductions that are broadly available for real taxpayers, like the charitable tax deduction and the depreciation tax credit for oil companies, while blithely ignoring the selective handouts to those who don’t pay taxes, such as the (un)earned income credit, ethanol tax credit, and the green industry life support.

Those of us who don’t live on Animal Farm can easily discern ways to grow revenue without raising real taxes.  This involves eliminating special interest “tax extenders” for selected individuals, industries, or social engineering endeavors – and those “credits” granted to people who have no tax debit in the first place.  We should leave those deductions and credits that are 1) broadly available and 2) do not completely eliminate someone’s tax liability.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Palestinian Accountability Act

 The 'Oslo Accords' is not too big to fail.
 
One of the more intractable components of our foreign policy dating back to the Clinton years has been the obsession of creating a Palestinian state.  The career egghead diplomats in the State Department believed that if we would only send billions in aid to the venerable leaders of the Palestinian Authority and grant them statehood, they would put down their terror toys and sing kumbaya.  To that end, we have given them billions in aid and provided them with military training during the past two decades.

Those of us who lack the credulity of a toddler understand that Mahmoud Abbas is not a dulcet freedom-lover, and the PA/Fatah is not a moderate Muslim boys’ club.  It's time to end the good cop/bad cop charade between the "extremist" Hamas and the "moderate" Fatah – by treating them as co-equal perpetrators of terror.  Abbas has repeatedly called for armed struggle against Israel (in Arabic, of course), glorified suicide bombers, and is closely linked with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an Iranian-funded terror group that rivals Hamas in its ferocity in recent years.

Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) is introducing legislation today that will finally halt the open-ended commitment to the Palestinians.  No, a few hundred million dollars in cuts will not balance the budget; however, we should not be sending one red cent to terrorists anywhere in the world.

Here are some details of the bill from a Dear Colleague letter sent by Congressman Walsh:

Ben Cardin's Radical Eco Agenda Strikes Again

Nothing exemplifies the out-of-touch supercilious demeanor of progressives more than their eco-fascist views.  Due to their radical environmental regulations, which are promulgated at whim, many Americans are forced to suffer from more serious environmental phenomenon.  The case in point?  Pesticides.  

For years, the EPA has hampered the efforts of farmers to deal with crop-killing bugs. They require all sorts of licenses and regulations in order to use basic pesticides that have been in use for many years. Anyone in Maryland can commiserate with the stink bug problem we suffer from, as a result of the bans on pesticides. One of the more onerous regulations promulgated by the EPA is a recent directive requiring all farmers to obtain a permit in addition to a license for the use of a pesticide.


In March, the House voted 292-130 to repeal the permit requirement, garnering overwhelming bi-partisan support. An identical bill was approved unanimously by voice vote in the Senate Agriculture Committee a few weeks ago. Now Ben Cardin plans to filibuster this bi-partisan bill under the false pretenses that the pesticides will….you guessed it, harm the Chesapeake Bay.

Here is the story from the Sun:

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What Does an Obama Recovery Look Like?

For all you policy wonks, the Wall Street Journal has a great interactive chart of metrics detailing the worse recover in American history.



So how's that $4.6 trillion in Stimulus working our for you?  This is another quintessential example of how interventionist policies exacerbate and elongate economic misery.  Sadly, we are all forced to be the guinea pigs for such failed experiments.  One would think that the millions who suffered in the gratuitously long depression of the 30's would have sufficed to prove the vices of Keynesian economics.  We now know that they will never learn.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land on this Independence Day



As Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention, he was reportedly asked by a lady, "well doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"  He famously replied, "a republic, if you can keep it.”

Today, more than ever before, is a time to celebrate the roots of our founding - and resolve to preserve this republic as a paragon of liberty that we may bequeath to future generations.  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.

How unique that we celebrate our national holiday not on the day of our government's founding, nor the day on which the constitution was ratified, but on the day we became independent from tyranny and an over-imposing government.  On this day 235 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the 1338-word Declaration of Independence in which we declared, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

235 years later, we find all of our founding principles under assault.  Many prominent political leaders in both parties seek to destroy our free markets, infringe upon our personal liberties, and abrogate our social values. Unfortunately, they have accrued a high level of success.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

MD-Sen: Allan Kittleman Must Go

We have long argued that Republicans in Maryland cannot win by being Democrat-light.  Aside for the fact that Rinos don't inspire a following and fail to galvanize voters to their cause, they are automatic losers.  Once we adopt the views of the opposition, we have lost, period.  As such, even if we somehow enjoy electoral success, it is irrelevant because, in essence, we are not winning anything.

Nevertheless, that is the type of party which state Senator Allan Kittleman wants us to be.  He is advocating that we accept the most extreme positions of the Democrat Party, including the redefining of marriage to include...well, just about anything.  Kittleman is asserting that we must take cues from the Republican traitors in New York who voted for gay marriage.

It is very sad that we've descended to such moral decadency that we have Republicans who are advocating for such immorality - the degree to which has never been suggested until this generation.  While homosexuality has existed for a long time, nobody ever had the audacity to suggest that such a relationship constitutes a marriage.  One need not be overtly religious to appreciate that the basic legal definition of marriage is a special bond between one man and one woman.

If we are going to attenuate the meaning of marriage to the extent that it can include two men, why not change the other components of marriage, such as the number of parties involved?  Why not recognize polygamist marriages, or man-dog relationships?  I love my one-year-old son to death; can I marry him?  The concept of marriage is really not an enigma, except to those who are biased by their libertine beliefs.