America's budget process is broken. Our economy and American families are struggling, and the country needs bold reforms and major restructuring, not tinkering at the margins. Obamanomics has left one in six Americans in poverty, and one in four children on food stamps. Millions seek jobs and others have given up.
Meanwhile, my opponent in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, had a last-minute conversion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, poor job creation, and aggressive pursuit of earmarks, he now says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates.
It's a good start. But it doesn't go nearly far enough. He says his proposed tax cuts would be revenue neutral and, borrowing the language of Occupy Wall Street, promises the top 1% will pay for the cuts. No pro-growth tax policy there, just more Obama-style class warfare.
By contrast, in my first 100 days as president, I'll submit to Congress and work to pass a comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family Economic Freedom Agenda. Here are 10 of its main initiatives:
• Unleash America's energy. I'll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America's domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.
• Stop job-killing regulation. All Obama administration regulations that have an economic burden over $100 million will be repealed, including the Environmental Protection Agency rule on CO2 emissions that's already shut down six power plants. I'll review all regulations, making sure they use sound science and cost benefit analysis.
• A pro-growth, pro-family tax policy. I'll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I'll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty.
• Restore America's competitiveness. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5%. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. I'll take the lead on tort reform to lower costs to consumers.
• Rein in spending. I'll propose spending cuts of $5 trillion over five years, including cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. I'll propose budgets that spend less money each year than prior years, and I'll reduce the nondefense-related federal work force by at least 10%, without replacing them with private contractors.
• Repeal and replace ObamaCare. I'll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states. I'll work with Congress to replace ObamaCare with competitive insurance choices to improve quality and limit the costs of health care, while protecting those with uninsurable health conditions. In contrast, Gov. Romney signed into law RomneyCare, which provided the model for ObamaCare. Its best-known feature is its overreaching individual health-care mandate. But it shares over a dozen other similarities with ObamaCare and has given Massachusetts the highest health-care premiums in the nation, and longer waits for health care.
• Balance the budget. I'll submit to Congress a budget that will balance within four years and call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which limits federal spending to 18% of GDP.
• Negotiate and submit free trade agreements. Because many Americans work for companies which export, I'll initiate negotiations in the first 100 days and submit to Congress five free trade agreements during my first year in office to increase exports.
• Reform entitlements. I'll cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states—as I did as the author of welfare reform in 1996. I'll reform Medicare and Social Security so they are fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people.
• Revive housing. I'll submit plans to Congress to phase out within several years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose mortgages are "underwater" to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to get a fresh start in difficult economic times.
I'll work with Congress and the American people to once again create an economic environment where hard work is rewarded, equal opportunity exists for all, and families providing for their children can once again be optimistic about their future.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
"...calling on Justice Elena Kagan to disqualify herself in the ObamaCare litigation because of her role, as Solicitor General, in preparing its constitutional defense. These calls have intensified with the release of recent emails. Justice Kagan’s supporters respond that she testified in her confirmation hearings that she had nothing to do with ObamaCare.
First, her phraseology was much more precise. She said she would only recuse herself from any case in which she “officially formally approved something,” or “served as counsel of record” or “played any substantial role.” But the statute requires disqualification if Kagan, as a federal employee (she was the former Solicitor General) “participated” as an “adviser” on a matter, even if she did not give any formal advice. She also must disqualify herself if her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
In March of 2010, there are a series of emails to or from Kagan; the subject line of all of them is “Health care litigation meeting.” The DOJ refused to disclose these emails because they discuss legal arguments for the “expected [health care] litigation.” If Kagan hermetically sealed herself from discussions on shaping defenses for ObamaCare litigation, why is she repeatedly sending and receiving emails shaping defenses for ObamaCare litigation? The Government refuses to release these emails, on grounds of a litigation privilege, while claiming that it erected such a solid wall around Kagan that she never would send or receive such emails. This wall must have more holes than Swiss cheese. If we can read theses emails, we will learn if the legal theory developed in those meetings is the legal theory that Kagan adopts when she rules on the case.
A week after the president announced her nomination to the Supreme Court, a DOJ press officer emailed the Deputy Solicitor General and asked if Kagan had been involved in the preparations for health care litigation. Notwithstanding these earlier emails, he responded, a minute later: “No she never has been involved in any of it. I've run it for the Office, and have never discussed the issues with her one bit.” A few minutes later, he forwarded that email to Kagan.
One would think, if Kagan’s Deputy was correct, that Kagan would simply say, “of course,” or, perhaps nothing. But that is not what happened. Less than two minutes later, Kagan wrote: “This needs to be coordinated. [the DOJ press officer], you should not say anything about this before talking to me.” What is there to “coordinate”? Why would Kagan suggest that they have to get their stories straight? And why “talk” instead of using emails (which leave a paper trail)?"
"... a 2009 op-ed Romney wrote for USA Today has recently surfaced in which he urged President Obama to adopt his program, including an individual mandate, for his federal healthcare makeover. The Obama administration has claimed it used Romneycare as its model for Obamacare."
His advisors/staff specifically helped the Obama Administration to draft ObamaCare from the RomneyCare model.
Ultimately, the question will hinge on whether the Commerce Clause has any limits. If the federal government can compel a private citizen, under threat of a federally imposed penalty, to engage in a private contract with a private entity (to buy health insurance), is there anything the federal government cannot compel the citizen to do?If Obamacare is upheld, it fundamentally changes the nature of the American social contract. It means the effective end of a government of enumerated powers — i.e., finite, delineated powers beyond which the government may not go, beyond which lies the free realm of the people and their voluntary institutions. The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy...Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
"I think it was clear from the context of his remarks that Santorum was not expressing his own thinking, but expressing the thinking of general election voters. And I think he is absolutely right, which is also why I think Romney makes such a bad nominee...
"I think Santorum was spot on in describing how voters would see the race in November. Why would they want to give up a guy many of them like, but who don’t much care of his job performance, for a guy they don’t like whose own campaign admits is like an Etch-A-Sketch."
Friday, March 09, 2012
The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).Coverage during the time periods differed not only in quantity, but in tone as well. During Bush’s tenure, gas prices were a huge economic threat and cause of suffering. The networks also used the high gas prices to attack the administration. In 2012, the networks aired mostly matter-of-fact stories on the rising gas prices, and worried primarily that they would hinder the economic recovery, not that they are making people suffer.
Fewer Americans bought new homes in December. The decline made 2011 the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back nearly half a century.
The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.
About 302,000 new homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making last year's sales the worst on records dating back to 1963. And it coincides with a report last week that said 2011 was the weakest year for single-family home construction on record.
The new fee is a minimum of one-tenth of 1 percent on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans, and is likely to go much higher. It will be imposed for the next 10 years on most mortgages and refinancings and it lasts for the life of the loan. For every $200,000, it amounts to an extra $15 dollars a month. The $35.7 billion collected in fees won’t go into the Social Security fund to replace the lost payroll tax. It goes to the general treasury where Congress can spend it however they please.
Fannie Mae the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, said on Wednesday it would seek $4.6 billion in additional federal aid after reporting a fourth-quarter loss.
Earlier on Wednesday, the government-controlled mortgage finance company posted a loss of $2.4 billion for the quarter ended December 31. That pushed Fannie Mae's loss for 2011 to $16.9 billion from $14.0 billion a year earlier, the company said.
Fannie Mae's pre-2009 book of soured loans and declining home prices continue to make it difficult for the company to turn a profit.