Archive

Archive for the ‘Fiscal Policy’ Category

The First Serious Candidate of 2012?

April 26, 2011 1 comment

Unpublished update: I wrote part of this article on Friday, with Ron Paul still “thinking.” Then boom, Monday he gets in. So some of this should be taken with that in mind–I’ve edited it since, but in my mind Paul is just “getting” in, so I haven’t completely made the transition. So I must say something I would have never said in 2008: Paulistas, I apologize.

It’s official: Gary Johnson will be seeking the Republican nomination in the 2012 primaries.

Gary who?

Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. It’s alright if you don’t remember him–his term ended in 2003. You may recall, though, a governor of a smaller western state being one of the highest ranking Republicans (and indeed, official of either party) to call for the decriminalization of marijuana. Yeah, that was him. So why am I getting excited over a candidate that would seem, at face value, to be little more than a historical footnote?

Well, for starters, I see Johnson as the first serious candidate to officially enter the race. Now now, I know what you’re thinking–don’t Tpaw, Mittens, even the Donald have a better chance at this point? Perhaps, but as you’ll hear me belabor over the next six months while I continue to write on the ebb and flow of the race, because, hey, even an unpaid blogger seeks good copy, things change. Nobody could beat George H.W. Bush in the early part of 1991. Nobody.

But when I say serious, I don’t mean an attitude of a candidate that’s “in it to win it.” What I mean is a candidate that is serious about their ideology and has put forth or presents real solutions to the problems facing America. Newt may have once stood on the edge of being that candidate, but nowadays, he’s more “anti” than anything else. Romney, well, we’ve already discussed Romney’s issues–in that there are really few he hasn’t flipped or flopped on. Huckabee, too, is largely a Tea Party cheerleader these days. And although I’ll admit that I’m anxiously awaiting Pawlenty’s alternative budget, right now, he seems more focused on shaking the perception that he’s just too dull to take on the One.

Read more…

Advertisements

Coburn unveils Stimulus Silliness

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Via the Cato Institute we learn that the Senate’s often provocative fiscal watchdogs, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have released a new 100 page report detailing some of the sadly goofy uses of stimulus funds. Some of the lowlights of your (and your children’s, and their children’s) tax dollars at play work include:

  • “Almost Empty” Mall Awarded Energy Grant ($5 million)
  • Water Pipeline to a Money-Losing Golf Course ($2.2 million)
  • Grant to Fund Search for Fossils . . . In Argentina ($1.57 million)
  • Bobber the Water Safety Dog Costumes ($21,116)
  • Developing the Next Generation of Football Gloves ($150,000)

And so much more.

The always hilarious Norm points out that some of the projects lead to this being a “stimulus” in more ways than one:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is using stimulus funds to pay for a year-long $219,000 study to follow female college students for a year to determine whether young women are more likely to ― “hookup” — the college equivalent of casual sex — after drinking alcohol. Researchers will recruit 500 female students prior to their first year of college and contact them monthly over the course of a year to document sexual hookups, noting when there is alcohol involved. It is part of the $7.4 billion the NIH received in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support ―scientific research.

Maybe with all that TARP money rolling back in U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Dem cronies can set up yet another package to help me get a date….

Give this man some air!

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Cal Thomas has a column in the Washington Times, the first of what I’m sure will be an endless stream of copy hailing McDonnell as a new Republican hero.

In a recent interview at his transition office, Mr. McDonnell – who crushed his opponent Creigh Deeds by a 59 percent to 41 percent majority, attracting sought-after independents by a 2 to 1 margin – said that while he emphasized bread-and-butter issues like jobs, transportation and taxes during the campaign, he hasn’t forgotten social issues that are near and dear to the Republican base: “I am a social and economic conservative and have made no bones about it. I have an 18-year record as attorney general and as a legislator of not only supporting, but leading on a lot of those issues … but what I understood people were most concerned about … were quality-of-life and pocketbook issues: jobs, economic development, taxes and federal intrusion into the free-enterprise system.”

…..

Message: If you have a good platform that can improve the economy and promote job creation, independents will give you a pass on your social agenda. That is a reversal of traditional Republican thinking of putting social issues front and center. “I try to [attract Independents] by reaching out and embracing people, not having a covenant of limitations that excludes people.”

Certainly Mr. McDonnell has set up a winning playbook for Republicans to use to their full advantage in 2009, and his team deserves the plaudits it has won over the past few weeks, including at the recent RGA conference. But the time is drawing down for that: now is the time for governance, a task that Mr. McDonnell is fully up to. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll lead by his guiding conservative principles–indeed, he’s doing his homework as we speak–but let’s give them some time to go into effect before we start throwing the man into the national spotlight as a “contender”, alright? He’s got a Commonwealth to run, and the last guy made a pretty big mess of things…..

Our Man Mitch?

December 3, 2009 1 comment

For someone who recently has begun making sport out of saying no to a possible presidential bid, Mitch Daniels sure is making a heck of alot of sense whenever he does speak (though some may argue that commonsense’s natural momentum is away from those seeking higher office). From the Washington Times (h/t Brothers Judd), Daniels of fiscal conservatism as a moral issue:

“The essence of our nation is the protection of individual liberties,” he says in an interview with The Washington Times. “That means, for example, never take a dollar from a free citizen through the coercion of taxation without a very legitimate purpose.

“And then we have a solemn duty to spend that dollar as carefully as possible, because when we took it we diminished that person’s freedom. Otherwise, that citizen could spend that dollar on something he or she chose. This is an obligation of everybody who serves in government.”

On the issues any 2012 contender will need to address:

For one thing, “a colossally unsustainable [national] debt load — an unfair, even immoral burden we’ve deposited on our young people,” he says.

“The threat of Islamic fundamentalism coupled with its ability to take advantage of modern technology,” for another.

And then there’s “our reliance on energy purchased from people who use the money in ways contrary to American interests.”

And perhaps most refreshing–modesty and austerity (a topic he gave an entire commencement address on this past spring):

A Princeton graduate from a modest family background, he conveys in conversation the image of the quiet-spoken libertarian-populist for whom braggadocio is simply unthinkable. Getting him to talk about his accomplishments isn’t easy. “I want to look to the future,” he says.

….

Ask him to crow about his gubernatorial accomplishments, and he flatly refuses. Press him by asking if there’s anything he’s proud of having done in office, and you learn he is “pleased” he took a state that was in bankruptcy when he came into office “and put it in the best fiscal position ever,” though he acknowledges that holding on to that status is tough in this economy.

The article goes on to cite some of his accomplishments as Governor. He has been able to govern the way Bob McDonnell promises to–conservative principles guiding real results. Through initatives such as privatizing the state’s toll roads and keeping an eye on state payroll (actually managing to REDUCE it, of all things), Daniels has been able to cut property taxes by a third statewide and affect the largest tax cut in state history.

Perhaps his biggest watchword? Accountability. The state’s DMV went from being a joke to winning an award for the best in the nation. The average time spent in an office is SEVEN MINUTES. How was this accomplished? By rewarding good employees and punishing or removing bad ones. Sorta sounds like a business, no? Yet Mitch Daniels seems to be the only one with the courage to do it.

I encourage any conscientious conservative serious about cutting government size and scope to look into this man.  I will admit he has one mark against him–in his first year in office he proposed a 1% income tax hike. But when the state legislature balked, he simply took out his scissors and not only made state government work with less but work better. His humility may prevent him from talking about higher office, but one things for sure: I’d rather spend the next two years convincing him to run only to see him decline than to jump on the Cheney 2012 bandwagon.

Healthcare Providers on the Free Market

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

The always informative Reason magazine has this great video up about how the free market may hold our best hope for real healthcare reform. Inspiration comes from two unlikely but logical places: Best Buy and a Lasik provider’s office.

H/T Below the Beltway

California Here We Come

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Richard Reeves is not someone I would agree with a great deal, but I’m afraid he was spot on in his column last week where he lamented the downward spiral of his home state:

You may have noticed that the governor and legislators of the Golden State finally produced a “balanced” budget with a deficit in double-digit billions. But, hey, who’s counting?

He lays blame at the feet of California’s often insane patchwork of direct democracy. Both conservatives and liberals have abused this system to the point where voters will simulatenously support huge new spending iniatives and giant tax cuts:

Sure, the state’s chief justice, Ronald George, traveled to Cambridge, Mass., to tell the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that the state is “dysfunctional.” His reasoning:

“California’s lawmakers, and the state itself, have been placed in a fiscal straitjacket by a steep two-thirds-vote requirement — imposed at the ballot box — for raising taxes. … Much of this constitutional and statutory structure has been brought about not by legislative fact-finding and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures, often funded by special interests.”

Read more…

Last of the ’09 Victories

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

From up north, from stunning news from Nassau County, New York (better known to the TV watching populace as Long Island), one of the 10 richest in the country. From the New York Times (free subscription):

Nearly three weeks after Election Day, the recount in the race for Nassau County executive is expected to conclude on Monday. Edward P. Mangano, the Republican challenger, has a slight lead over the Democratic incumbent, Thomas R. Suozzi.

Although Mr. Suozzi held a 237-vote lead on election night, out of about 245,000 ballots cast, he has trailed Mr. Mangano since the recount began on Nov. 9. As of Wednesday, with all but a handful of the ballots counted, Mr. Suozzi trailed by 217 votes. Tallying was halted for Thanksgiving and will resume on Monday morning. But the results may not be conclusive.

Although the race certainly didn’t draw a great deal of national attention, the outcome is one to pay attention to as Republicans consider how they will win back the suburban voters they won in the 80’s and 90’s but dawdled away in the earlier part of this decade. As I mentioned earlier, Nassau is one of the ten richest counties in the country, putting it in that same lofty territory as Loudon, Prince William and Fairfax counties here in our own commonwealth. For the Virginia-centric, it is also analgous to Prince William to Fairfax. Just as with Prince William, Nassau was reliably red until the dawn of the tech age*. Nassau has seen its Republican State Senators erode, and county council control shifted to the Democrats. It went for Barrack Obama with 53%, lower than Prince William’s 57% for Obama but still a solid win.

Yet, this year, like Prince William, Nassau County has gone for a candidate (though by smaller margins) that ran on core Republican principles of cutting government waste, fixing tax problems, and generally efficient government. The same can be said for all of the aforementioned exurban counties, along with the urban county of Fairfax. If Republicans want to win in 2010 and 2012, there’s something to be said for the results in Nassau County and Virginia.

*Nassau went for Clinton in 1992 but just by a slim plurality. 1996 was the first year it went solidly for a Democrat, a trend it has continued since.