bush administration

The Case For Lower Taxes: By Obama's Top Economic Adviser

Liberals always scream at any tax rate reductions. It doesn't matter if the rates are across the board and equitable. The contrived and demagogic class warfare card gets pulled out faster than a Las Vegas dealer. We're at that point again. This New Year's Eve, the tax rate reductions from 2001 and 2003 will expire and rates will sky rocket, further hammering the economy and deepening the Obama recession. Liberals in Washington, including the president, say with a straight face the revenue gained from the automatic tax increase will bring in more than $700 billion over the next several years, money needed to close the deficit. Apparently spending $787 billion in one year isn't a problem, however, as he did with the so-called "stimulus" bill, which was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent. (Not to mention today's $26 billion federal bailout of the national teacher union's pension fund.) (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog.)

(By the way, in a move that eerily presages the future under ObamaCare, it will be better to die on New Year's Eve if you are planning to leave an estate to a loved one. On January 1, that loved one will get hit with a massive tax increase, as the death tax itself rises from the dead.)

But some Democrats are lobbying for an extension of the tax cuts, such as Evan Bayh of Indiana (Washington Examiner). Of course, it won't happen because the president is busy demonizing every action by the Bush administration as evil, and extendin the tax cut are politically untenable . . . for him. Never mind the bogus premise that raising taxes beyond a certain point increases tax revenue, because it decreases revenue, while lower tax rates increase it as history has shown time and again.

Don't believe me? Then try this one on for size. One of Virginia's most quoted economists, Christine Chmura, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch yesterday, wrote about a study on tax rate reductions by two University of California-Berkeley economists (not your most conservative campus). The study was a bit different because it examined a broad scope of federal taxation as well as four categories, including reducing the deficit and economic growth. Their findings?

The resulting estimates indicate that tax increases are highly contractionary.

Then, Chmura summarized the rest of their findings:

The large effects are driven considerably by a sharp reduction in investment.

Other parts of the economy, such as consumer spending on goods and services, as well as imports, also are negatively impacted.

However, the economists also found that tax increases to reduce a persistent budget deficit leads to a reduction in real gross domestic product. ...

She urged Congress to heed the study, published in 2007. But perhaps so should the president. It was written by professors David Romer and his wife, Christine — Mr. Obama's very own Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

From Of All Places, The ACLU: Another Reason To Oppose ObamaCare

The ACLU produced this a few years ago as a protest as to what it thought was an invasion of privacy by the Bush administration in its attempt to fight terrorism. However, ironic karma has it that it's a much better prognosticator of what ObamaCare will do if it is wrought upon us. You think the health police and White House snitch Web sites (see John Rosenthal at The American Spectator)  are bad now, just try ordering a pizza in 2012. Come to think of it, why isn't the ACLU opposing ObamaCare?

Fat taxes, instant background checks, telling you what to eat, buy and how much is good for you, brought to you (graciously, of course) by ObamaCare. It's for your own good, after all.

If Only Wagner's Revenue Projections Were As "Clear," Or, A Campaign Without Communication . . . Yet!

If you haven't heard it by now, and you want a good laugh, listen to Democrat lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner's interview this morning with WRVA's Richmond's Morning News host Jimmy Barrett (click here). Barrett gets right to the point and asks the former Kaine administration finance secretary about her missed revenue projections, which have resulted in consecutive budget deficits and multiple budget cuts. I'll give her some credit for her answer — she's at least learned something from the Obama administration, and that's the one thing it's good at: blame, blame and pass the buck, with a litany of boilerplate liberal excuses:

» It was the Bush administration's fault (at least twice);

» At least Virginia isn't as bad off as some other states (that'll make people feel secure);

» Passed the buck to economic forecasting agencies, business leaders and groups, and General Assembly leaders (how about that, Dick Saslaw?);

» But the 6.6 percent revenue growth projection in a slowing economy never gave her pause, even as many in the General Assembly warned the Kaine administration it was too high (she emphatically was "not overly optimistic"); and 

» Repeatedly said, "Let's be clear," (to the point where Barrett mockingly repeated it himself).

Not to mention her defensiveness when Barrett tried to loft her a softball about her campaign — she thought he was trying to blame her for the recession, for which she blamed George W. Bush (again).

All these excuses inevitably led to contradictions. Follow this bit of illogic: If it's the federal government's fault when things are bad, she must then credit it when things are good; if so, we have no reason for state government. So why is she running? She also got defensive when Barrett mentioned the recession came into focus a year ago, and rudely interrupted him to say she wasn't in office then, as well as when he simply asked how forecasts might be improved in the future.

But we still haven't heard the classics from her! Here goes:

On the grossly inaccurate revenue forecasts: 

"If I'm powerful enough to be personally responsible for that, then you want me to be your lieutenant governor."

Then, the absolute best for last: On the Public Policy Poll (a liberal pollster) that shows all three Democrats behind by double digits:

"The Democratic candidates have not yet begun communicating with the public yet and we will be doing that as the campaign moves along." 

So, that entire primary thing back in June was a what? Those television ads she ran . . . ? Those campaign appearances and interviews . . . ?

There you have it. It has nothing to do with her previous job performance, but that she and her ticket mates haven't yet communicated with the public. Don't worry, though. They plan on it. But with interviews like this, Ms. Wagner may want to delay that communication as long as possible.

Help Maintain Medical Conscience Protections!

Thanks to our friends at The Virginia Catholic Conference — who do fantastic work keeping up with federal issues, especially regulatory matters that don't require Congressional action and therefore aren't in a big a media spotlight — we have an urgent reminder that the Obama Administration is losing no time in trying to force medical workers of faith into providing services they find objectionable. On February 27, it announced its intention to remove current regulations, put in place by the Bush Administration late last year, that protect conscience rights in health care. On March 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a formal proposal to rescind these regulations, thereby activating a 30-day period for the public to submit comments. 

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment has devised an Action Alert explaining why the regulations should be retained and providing directions on how to submit comments to HHS (click here). E-mail messages can be sent directly through the NCHLA Action Center. A preset message is provided, to which the sender can add personal comments. 

Please submit your comments before the April 9 deadline! 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a special Web site with that provides a wealth of information and resources on conscience protection (click here), including a link to the NCHLA Action Center message. We encourage you to visit that site and others to fully arm yourself on the issue.  

Churches are encouraged to display the NCHLA and USCCB links on their Web pages. Highlighting the critical importance of the current conscience regulations, Cardinal Francis George, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said:

They are "one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers — for doctors, nurses and others — who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith in God." 

Removing these conscience regulations "would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism."

The Obama HHS promises to be as destructive as ever toward the unborn. Its secretary-designate, Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, was the most pro-abortion-on- demand governor in the country before her nomination. He extremist policy positions prompted Archbishop Raymond L. Burk to call her an "embarrassment" (Catholic News Agency). It will take every possible effort to counter the new adminstration's pro-abortion initiatives. Pro-life Virginia activists responded in numbers to impress upon the Bush Administration how important these medical professional conscience protections are (see previous commentary). A redoubled effort is required to convince the Obama Administration to retain them.

Planned Parenthood’s Congratulatory E-Mail

Planned Parenthood (see CNS.com article here), the nation's number one abortion provider (and recipient of your state and federal tax dollars), sent a congratulatory e-mail to its members last week. It is posted below, verbatim. After reading it, please consider joining us at The Family Foundation of Virginia Annual Gala, to be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 20, (more details here) at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who was named a "domestic terrorist" by Planned Parenthood, is our keynote speaker (see videos of him speaking about life here and here and click here to see an interview with him and Laura Ingraham.)  Ticket information is available by clicking here, by calling 804-343-0010, or by e-mailing dan@familyfoundation.org.

Letter From Planned Parenthood To Its Supporters

From:   Cecile Richards, President                 Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Subject: THIS IS WHAT IS FEELS LIKE

Dear xxxxxx,I've been wondering what it would feel like to know that the president of the United States supports women — it's been a while — and I must say, it feels amazing.

People around here are finally exhaling, after eight long years. Just think, the massive amount of time, energy, and resources that the Planned Parenthood community had to spend shielding women and teens from the harm caused by the Bush administration can now be directed to expanding women's access to the reproductive health information and services they urgently need.

Not only that, we also defeated anti-choice ballot initiatives by decisive margins in California, Colorado and South Dakota. Thank you so much for helping us protect women's reproductive rights this election — your support and the hard work of people in those states made the difference.

It's genuinely exciting to think about what we can achieve if we pull together. But we have to make a special commitment to one another. We have to pledge to seize our new opportunities with as much energy and tenacity as we've used to fend off the risks and challenges of the last eight years.

President-elect Obama said it so well last night, "This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were."

It's up to us to take up that challenge and urge Barack Obama to act on his deep commitment to women's health and reproductive freedom by reversing the global gag rule, restoring funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and acting quickly to overturn any dangerous last-minute anti-choice regulations that the lame-duck Bush administration may seek to put in place. We'll be asking for your help on these issues soon.

Today, we are determined to turn the new climate of hope and possibility into real change for the women Planned Parenthood serves . . .

Imagine — being able to reach out to the generation of young women and teens that Bush administration policies have left without access to comprehensive sex education and affordable birth control.Imagine — reducing our tragically high rate of teen pregnancy and the disastrous spread of sexually transmitted infections, currently affecting at least one in four teenage girls in America.

Imagine — being able to help patients overcome rising barriers as more and more women turn to Planned Parenthood for their health care needs.

Yes, there's hard work ahead to achieve our vision for a healthier America and a healthier world for women. But making that vision a reality is now, happily, ecstatically, within our grasp.xxxxxx, I want to extend my gratitude to you. You stepped up when women were besieged from all sides by anti-choice hardliners, and you saw those women and Planned Parenthood through every challenge. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Update On Medical Conscientious Objectors

At the beginning of this month we wrote about efforts the Bush administration is making to protect the rights of people in the medical profession who do not want to be forced to participate in any way, shape or form in providing, aiding or abetting abortion. Of course, all the predictable howling was heard from the wolves on the left who reserve choice (so-called) for one thing and one thing only — abortion. (School choice? Nyet! Social Security choice? Nyet! Choice in joining a union? Nyet! Type of car you drive, food you eat and medical treatment you get: Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! Or at least if they get their way. But you get the picture.)

But there is some good news to report. In late July, the Virginia Catholic Conference faxed letters to members of the U.S. House of Representatives asking them to sign a letter by Representatives Dave Weldon (R-Florida) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tennessee) that supports the conscience rights for health care providers and the new proposed regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services. (For more information about the issue, click here.)  

Before the fax went out, only 60 Representatives had signed the Weldon-Davis Letter, none of them from Virginia. However, within a few days, 72 more Congressmen signed on, including Virginians Eric Cantor (R-7), Thelma Drake (R-2), Randy Forbes (R-4), Virgil Goode (R-5), Bob Goodlatte (R-6), Rob  Wittman (R-1), and Frank Wolf (R-10).

Unfortunately, Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-9), Tom Davis (R-11), Jim Moran (D-8) and Bobby Scott (D-3) inexplicably did not sign the letter. Mostly predictable. Still Disappointing. The hypocricy abounds: The left wants to force people who don't agree with — in polite terms we'll call an elective procedure — to provide support for it. What country is this?

We applaud the Virginia Catholic Conference, Representatives Weldon and Davis, the Virginia Congressmen who signed their letter, the Bush administration, and all who work diligently to ensure this most basic right to those in the medical profession.

The New Conscientious Objectors

Conscientious objectors usually are celebrated, especially by the left, as standing on religious and moral conviction to oppose a government action, notably military combat, because of their beliefs that all killing is wrong. But there's a double standard when it comes to medical professionals who do not belief in abortion.

The Bush administration, through draft regulations at the Department of Health and Human Services, is considering denying federal funding to any medical facility that does not recognize and allow its personnel to opt out of providing birth control or emergency contraception because of their religious beliefs and moral convictions.

The predictable hackles are being raised by the radical pro-abortion types (abetted by the incredibly misinforming mainstream media) who are trying to make the issue one of defining when pregnancy begins. Nothing could be more disingenuous.

It doesn't matter what the government, or anyone, says about when life begins. If a medical professional believes life begins at a certain point, whose right is it to force that professional to provide services with which he or she morally, ethically, religously and/or scientifically disagrees? Why should they be forced into breaking their oath of doing no harm if they believe abortion does great harm?

Aren't professionals free in this country to practice their chosen trade within their chosen profession's ethics? Why do pro-abortionists think the medical community is the exception?

In short, which side always accuses the other of forcing their believes and values on the rest of us and which side is actually trying to do that by resisting and attacking these commonsense proposals?

Interview With DPV Chairman Dickie Cranwell, Part 1

We are pleased to post here our interview with former House of Delegates Majority Leader Dickie Cranwell, chairman of the Democrat Party of Virginia. We will post it in two parts, concluding tomorrow. The questions and answers appear exactly as submitted. We think you will find his comments very interesting and worthy of discussion and debate. We look forward to your feedback. With this interview, all three men who are, or will be, leading the Commonwealth's two major parties for the next year are on record on this blog. Previously, we posted an interview with Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Hager (click here for part one and here for part two) as well as one with Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge) who is challenging Mr. Hager for the RPV chairmanship. Click here to read that interview.

familyfoundation.org: You've had a distinguished career as an attorney, legislator — the House Majority Leader, in fact — and party chairman. With the Democrats making so many gains in Virginia over the last few years, why retire as party chairman now?

Chairman Dickie Cranwell: I never sought the position of Chair of the Democratic Party. Governor Warner asked me to fill the unexpired term of Kerry Donley. I agreed to serve until a new Governor was elected. Governor Tim Kaine's vision for restructuring the Democratic Party agreed with mine so I agreed to stay on until Donley's term expires in 2009. Hopefully the changes in the Democratic Party which have occurred during my tenure have made the party stronger and more candidate friendly.

We have taken back the State Senate, elected the last two governors and a U.S. Senator. And, I anticipate Virginia will elect Mark Warner as its next U.S. Senator and at least one new Democratic member to the House of Representatives this year. I also believe Virginia will be in play in the Presidential race, something that has not occurred since Lyndon Johnson.

The party is in good shape and I have boys, ages 8 and 10, so there is a lot of baseball and soccer to occupy my time. I am just stepping down. I am not retiring from the field of battle. There is a wealth of talented people in the party who can carry on the work of the Chair. I look forward to those folks' continued success.

familyfoundation.org: U.S. Senator Barack Obama has said we are now entering a post-partisan era. Does that mean that parties no longer will be partisan? Do you agree, and if so, what does that mean for political parties? (For example, what will it mean for the parties' ability to organize, recruit candidates and fund raise?) If not, what are the parties' role in policy debate in general?

Chairman Cranwell: I believe you either misstated or do not understand Senator Obama's message. He says we have to get beyond the Beltway mentality; that Democrats and Republicans need to work together to rebuild a shattered economy, end an ill-conceived war, save working people's homes from foreclosure, rein in the oil companies to drive down the price of gasoline and stop the hemorrhaging of debt inflicted on us by the Bush Administration which has mortgaged the future of every child in America.

Senator Obama's message is that we are Americans first and foremost and, if we work together, nothing is beyond our reach. I believe in the two-party system and believe it will continue to serve America well, but the parties must be willing to work together for the American people.

Governor Mark Warner proved this by working with the Republican majority in the General Assembly during his term. As a result, a $6 billion hole in the budget was fixed. 

Along the way, Warner chaired the National Governors Association, leading a national high school reform effort to meet the challenges of a global economy. He was named among Governing Magazine's "Public Officials of the Year" in 2004, TIME Magazine's "America's 5 Best Governors" in 2005, and Newsweek's "Who's Next" issue in 2006.

While Warner was governor, Virginia was named "the best managed state in the nation by Governing Magazine, and the "runaway winner" in the new "Best State For Business" ranking done by Forbes, based on the tax structure, education system, and bipartisan fiscal management the Warner administration had put in place. Education Week Magazine named Virginia as the best place for a child to be born in terms of educational opportunity during Warner's tenure as Governor.

familyfoundation.org: We see Senator Obama and Senator Clinton trying to answer the concerns of values voters, a demographic Republicans typically win. What do Democrats in Virginia and nationally have to do to appeal to people with concerns over abortion, marriage and pro-family issues?

Chairman Cranwell: Voters who are pro-family should be flocking to Democrats. Democrats understand that having a good paying job is central to any family. Democrats understand that we must act to protect the largest investment of most families (their homes) from foreclosure. Democrats want world-class health care and education for every American. Families want to know that if their home and life is destroyed by natural disaster, their government will not take years to help them rebuild their communities. They know they can count on Democrats to make FEMA really work for the working man and woman.