federal spending

While Obama Cuts The Military In Virginia, Raises Taxes On Everyone, Why Not A Fat BRAC?

Nothing unites Republicans and Democrats faster than a pair of magnets than military base closures in their states. Last week was no different when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would close (see Army Times) the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk as part of a pare down in defense spending. On cue, a bipartisan group of Virginia's Congressional delegation, including both senators, rushed to JFCOM's defense (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). At risk is as many as 6,000 jobs in Virginia. (The conspiracy theory is that Virginia is being targeted by the Obama administration for its aggressive legal challenges to the health care law and the unilateral cap and trade policy implemented by the EPA.)  Secretary Gates has the unenviable task of convincing Congress (other states will face cuts as well) — during a recession his boss has exacerbated, if not created — that the Defense Department's mission is to protect the country and not create jobs. He may well be right, but while JFCOM may or may not be needed, while he's cutting fat out of the military, why isn't his boss cutting fat everywhere else

Several years ago, Congress created the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to target base closings to save money and submit those recommendations to Congress for an up or down vote, because the normal appropriation process presented a more formidable barrier than the Great Wall of China. Congressmen would trade votes to protect bases in each others' districts, regardless of the merits. Political cowardice aside, it still amazes me that Washington insiders are willing to cut the military to save a few billion dollars out of a nearly $3.5 trillion budget, of which $1.5 trillion is borrowed money, while not cutting anything nearly as important

If Congress can pass the buck to a commission to cut the fat out of the Pentagon, then why not create a commission to cut the fat out of non-defense spending? Call it the Fat BRAC. There are numerous reports by think tanks and watch dog groups, as well as individual congressmen, of deplorable spending (see McCain-Coburn Report). A commission easily could mold these findings into a package of cuts for an up or down vote.

While the Obama administration wants to raise taxes on almost everyone in the middle class and up by letting the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions expire, to generate $700 billion over several years (assuming the tax increase doesn't jack up the unemployment rate above 10 percent), it increased spending more than one trillion dollars in one year — $787 billion in one fell swoop with the so-called stimulus bill (more when you factor in interest on the additional debt it created.) That's arrogance and irresponsibility of the highest order. The waste in that bill (and other bills) is of deplorable and unprecedented proportions.

There is something you can do, however. As we mentioned in this post, House Republicans started YouCut, a chance to tell Congress what programs you want to see it eliminate. Each week House Republicans post a list of programs citizens want cut. The GOP Conference brings to the floor the one with the most votes. Hundreds of thousands of people vote each week. We have a permanent link to YouCut on the lower right side of this site. We encourage you to take an active role in this and make your voice heard. Then think about writing your representative and Virginia's two senators, and tell them you want a BRAC for Big Fat Federal Spending.

What Can You Do? Take Real Citizen Action At YouCut!

We live in a time unlike any other in American history. People are as depressed as the economy. Optimism and employment are down, there is an environmental catastrophe, the country is near bankruptcy, basic issues of life and family are either being ignored or worse, attacked and redefined; and government is expanding at the expense of freedoms and fruits of labor. Americans are frustrated not because we face problems — we love to rise to the occasion — but that our own government is creating these problems. It leaves hard working, law abiding, God worshiping Americans despondent. "What can I do?" is the despairing refrain.

One thing is vote. Elections do have consequences. Make an informed decision and work and vote for candidates who best reflect your views. Support organizations (such as The Family Foundation, shameless plug) that work for the principles in which you believe. Get others involved. Be a force multiplier. Then stay on those elected to live up to their promises.

Of course, we live in a we want it now society. Instant satisfaction, if not gratification. We want results and we want to see them — now!

Okay, already. Since we believe in the positive change and equalizing nature of the new media and Internet, here's something you can do now and have an impact. Not just impact anywhere, either. Impact in Congress. The House of Representatives in particular.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) started YouCut, an online program where five areas of wasteful federal spending are highlighted each week. Citizens can vote for the one they most want to see cut. The "winning" program then will be brought to the House floor for an up or down vote (see BigGovernment.com). The program was launched a few weeks ago, but already is attracting millions of online voters. It's so simple it's brilliant. Not only does it involve citizen input, which average people desire in an age when we are governed by elitists, it is, quite frankly, great politics. It also puts on record members of Congress so we can see who genuinely wants to reduce the scope of federal spending. The fear of embarrassment of supporting such waste may actually result in some good votes.

We encourage you to check it out. We now have a permanent link to YouCut on the bottom right corner of this blog. (Perhaps we can get the state government to do such a thing.) It is something you can do . . . and truly make a difference.

Citizen action in its purest form, with real results. YouCut is a program where you can decide what federal spending gets cut.

Virginia News Stand: May 6, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations A Goode Two-Pary Man

Former U.S. Representative Virgil Goode not only shocked the political world yesterday, he confused it as well, saying he joined the Constitution Party, but will remain a Republican. A new twist on political double speak?

We can't seem to stay out of the news, which is good. People, including the Mainstream Media, are paying attention to us. Case in point: The Richmond Times-Dispatch's ace capitol reporter, Jeff Schapiro, based the first article linked below largely on an e-mail alert we released yesterday. It's nice to know that even the Mainstream Media knows who to go to to get the pulse of Virginia's conservative movement. On the other hand, we remain a target for others, as Michael Paul Williams takes fruitless aim. But, unlike the old days, we can respond

I encourage you to take a gander at all that's here. It's one of our best News Stands ever, with lots of state news, including a fair interview with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli from WSLS-TV, and the reporter Jay Warren's observations of the AG in his blog. In the "What is our country coming to?" category, check out Phil Klein in Commentary. Some students were sent home from school for wearing USA shirts on Cinco de Mayo. We also have columns from such stars as Michael Barone, who discusses the important elections in Britain; Larry Kudlow on the debt crisis (here and abroad); and Michele Malkin on terrorists gaining U.S. citizenship. 

In National News, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund decided to get involved in the Kentucky primary after all, especially have Dr. James Dobson was misled about one candidate's pro-life record. Also, the judge who ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional comes under scrutiny.

On a more uplifting note, we hope you all had a meaningful, thoughtful and reflective National Day of Prayer. We all need it right now.

News

*Top conservative activist sees McDonnell victories, work ahead (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Commentary: Cuccinelli flap a sign of religion encroaching on government (Michael Paul Williams/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Ex-Rep. Goode joins a third party, not leaving GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Goode joins 3rd party (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Goode explains why he joined Constitution Party (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Goode joins Constitution Party (Politico.com)

Louisa social worker to run as Democrat against Cantor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

AG led food drive: 1.7 million pounds of food donated by Va. lawyers (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell wants jobs panel’s recommendations in October (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gov. McDonnell: Virginia won’t create high-risk health pool (AP/WSLS.com)

Virginia's love-hate relationship with federal spending (Washington Post)

Video

Ken Cuccinelli sits down with WSLS to talk about first 100 days in office (5:03) (WSLS-TV10/WSLS.com)

Analysis

AG Cuccinelli’s first 100 days in office . . . what have we learned? (Jay Warren/Jay's Take Blog WSLS.com)

National News

Ruling won't stop National Day of Prayer this year (CNN.com)

Judge who struck down Day of Prayer criticized (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama wants work on immigration reform this year (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bennett appeals to GOP to let him keep Senate seat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Consumer rules, Fed audit next on Senate agenda (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Sen. DeMint endorses Paul in US Senate race in Ky. (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Banned in the USA (Philip Klein/American Spectator Blog)

A Spend-and-Borrow Debt Mess (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

In Downcast Britain, a Pox on All Three Parties (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

The Jihadists' Deadly Path to U.S. Citizenship (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Englin's Folly: Frivolous Web Site

Far left liberal Northern Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) has pursued some real follies in the General Assembly — and that's putting it politely. Bills to punish people by raising gas taxes and restoring the death tax, to name a few. So pardon us if we think it more than slightly ironic that he, of all people, is complaining about the cost of the suit filed in federal court (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog) today by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to overturn, as unconstitutional, the government takeover of health care, made official with President Barack Obama's signature a few hours ago. Delegate Englin launched a Web site that will connect, by phone, government-run health care supporters to complain to the AG (I guess looking up the phone number or e-mail address is too much yeoman's work for certain elitists). Quote the delegate:

This is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that could stop Virginians from enjoying the benefits of health-care reform.

Hmmmm. Let's do the math on this one: A few thousand budgeted dollars to do what the AG is sworn to do versus more than $1 trillion in new, unbudgeted federal spending for something proven to fail everywhere it's tried, plus more than $500 billion in new taxes, hundreds of new business and job killing regulations, as well as 118 new federal agencies and 18,000 new IRS employees to enforce that we all buy a government approved health insurance policy (unless, of course, we're 26 and still slacking and can mooch of the parents). Which is greater?

Apparently, Delegate Englin thinks it's "frivolous" to defend Virginia law, which is exactly what the attorney general is sworn to do, as if this nation's most serious challenge to constitutionally guaranteed individual rights is a light matter. In this case, he is defending the General Assembly's recently passed Health Care Freedom legislation. To put it another way, repeat the litany above, followed by:

But defending Virginia law: Priceless.

Now, if Delegate Englin wants to make the argument these tens of thousands of new government jobs are part of the "stimulus" plan, he might have us stumped. But if it will put him at ease, we have the Attorney General Communications Director Brian Gottstein's assurance of one of the most economical law suit filings in Virginia history. When asked by the Washington Post why the suit was filed "before the ink (from the president's signature) dries," he replied:

It's more cost efficient to start the process of challenging the bill as soon as possible. There are significant costs in implementing the health care law, so if it is going to be found unconstitutional, then we can save taxpayer money and trouble by making that determination sooner rather than later.

(By the way, experience for yourself the level of fanaticism, hate, extremism and adherence to the god that is government-is-best by today's leftists. Click on the above link and read the comments.) But they don't have to save it for our AG. In fact, more than a dozen (and counting) attorneys general are filing legal challenges (Christian Science Monitor), but none of them is defending a state law. No, Internet games are frivolous, and in this regard, Delegate Englin has topped even his legislative follies, with a Web site designed to hassle and harrass the Office of Attorney General. Talk about wasting tax dollars. We hope, but don't expect, the delegate and his rabid supporters, will own up and admit they were wrong if, and when, Attorney General Cuccinelli and any of the other attorneys general win their cases.

Follow The Smart Money: Falling Obama Popularity And Political Rebuff Reflected In Stock Market Rise?

Kent Engelke is the chief economic strategist and managing director at Virginia-based Capitol Securities Management, and is one of the most quoted market experts in the country. His forecasts largely get it right. I get his daily Early Morning Commentary and today's had some compelling statistics that should alarm everyone. People, take heed. Using the stock market as the predictor it is, he asks why equities have experienced a rally of late. He posits a theory that investors think socialized medicine will not occur. He cites President Obama's own economic team's warnings of financial disaster if the deficit is not reduced substantially. (Of course, they always say that and spend and tax and print money anyway.)

But take this with more than a grain of salt:

The 2009 fiscal deficit was an astounding $1.4 trillion as spending increased from $3 trillion to $3.5 trillion while tax revenue fell from $2.5 trillion to $2.1 trillion. The debt is now at $12 trillion and is expected to grow by another $9 trillion over the next decade. [Dow Jones]

CBO is estimating spending on Medicaid and Medicare will grow over $700 billion over the next 10 years while health care legislation is conservatively estimated to add another $900 billion to the deficit. [Dow Jones]

But most alarming is this:

Incidentally and as per the Organization of Economic Corporation and Development today 42% of U.S. GDP is comprised of federal, state and local spending. Wow! We all know the efficiency of the government.

Mr. Engelke doesn't pontificate political often in his writings, so a letter devoted almost exclusively to our current situation is remarkable. He also notes that since the Obama administration, by general agreement (and even Saturday Night Live) "is steep in hype but low in accomplishments" and asks rhetorically whether the stock  market rally suggests "a backlash in government spending, perhaps even a reduction, because the President’s approval ratings are plummeting?"

According to the Rasmussen Report:

40% strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance. 27% strongly approve. Overall 47% approve of his actions while 53% disapprove, the second lowest ratings for this President. Fifty four percent oppose health care legislation while 42% approve it.

When a normally non-plussed and widely respected market strategist and economist goes to this length, something is up. The stock market often is an indicator of things not only financial, but societal, technological and political, among other trends. Looking at it strictly from a personal stock-holdings point of view doesn't paint the entire picture. You know what they say: Follow the money. Especially if it's smart money. Expect political changes shortly.