Friday, June 26, 2009

Fiscally Conservative (About HR 2454)

UPDATE: The House of Representatives is now debating this legislation under H.R. 2998.

Let us return to fundamentals. What does it mean to be fiscally conservative?

Being fiscally conservative means I do not speculate.

I do not speculate about the outcome of monetary actions. It means that I do not act without foresight. I refrain from borrowing more than I can afford and I make payments on time to maintain my credit in good standing. It means buying a house I can afford and living within my means. But, more than anything, being fiscally conservative means I do not speculate with my precious resources. I respect the hard work, pain and suffering it took to gain those resources, be it debt, capital, credit or equity. It means espousing a rational explanation for the actions I take.

And, what is the opposite of being conservative? It is to speculate on outcomes, take risks, trying lots of things, to experiment with the economy. It means disrespecting resources, spending with abandon, borrowing more than you can afford. It means abusing lines of credit, borrowing from friends and family up to the limit and beyond. At some point, friends and family will say 'enough'. They cut off the irresponsible speculator at some point. His credit is no good. That is the extreme result of speculation.

Sure, sometimes the speculator, the smart speculator is either good enough, or lucky enough (or both) to hit the jackpot. They invent kleenex, ziplock baggies or the iPhone and the speculator hits it big and makes a mint. However the speculator, the risk taker, the inventor, they are accountable for their actions to the shareholder. If he fails, he usually doesn't get a second chance. Criteria for success are colored in either red or black. Either you make a boatload of money, or you are out. Moreover, it usually takes some pretty sound reasoning to convince the wise rich man to invest in your speculative venture. Nor is that wise rich man liable to put all his eggs in your speculative basket; rather, he spreads the risk around investing in many such ventures to reduce his variance.

The So-Called Stimulus Bill: Liberal Speculation with Your Money

The relevance to our national position today is self-evident. We have placed all our eggs in the so-called 'stimulus' basket, and what do we have to show for it but a bunch of broken eggs?

I asked for a litmus test on spending stimulus money -- did anyone ever see one from Obama or anyone voting for stimulus spending? I believe he spoke about 'saving or creating' jobs, which is impossible to measure. Hardly a fiscally sound justification for the biggest spending bill ever in the history of the world. And -- they were wrong. The stimulus didn't work. Congress and Obama used smoke-and-mirrors to rush though a liberal speculative spending bill that didn't work. No wonder they didn't want anyone to read it. The only thing it stimulated was handgun sales. TARP has no exit strategy either, and no criteria to measure the success or failure of that program.

We need to take a short detour to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that criminal defendants have the right to cross examine the scientists who issue forensics reports that are entered into evidence.. I'm shocked we needed the Supreme Court to tell us that... but OK. Thanks Supremes, but what about Congress? No one can cross examine our elected representatives on their lawmaking. There isn't even a law that says they have to tell the truth. There is no accountability. They can lie to us about the reasons they enact laws. Our elected 'representatives' speculate with our money. Our only recourse is to 'throw the bums out'. Which is no solution because the next group of big spenders knows only to pursue power through re-election anyway.

Twelve Hundred Pages of Double Talk

And the experiment continues. Having passed the biggest spending bill in the history of the world (so called stimulus bill) they are about to pass the largest tax bill in the history of the world: HR 2454. This bill is twelve hundred pages long. I opened the bill to a random page -- here is what I found: a revision to the IRS tax code that is about a hundred lines long. An excerpt:
`(C) In the case of an eligible individual who does not file a joint return and has at least one individual qualifying individual--
`(i) If the eligible individual has one qualifying individual, the lowest income level that exceeds the phaseout amount as defined in section 32(b)(2) at which a single individual with one qualifying child is ineligible for the earned income credit for the taxable year.
`(ii) If the eligible individual has two qualifying individuals, the lowest income level that exceeds the phaseout amount as defined in section 32(b)(2) at which a single individual with two qualifying children is ineligible for the earned income credit for the taxable year.
`(iii) If the eligible individual has three or more qualifying individuals, the lowest income level that exceeds the phaseout amount as defined in section 32(b)(2) at which a single individual with three or more qualifying children is ineligible for the earned income credit for the taxable year.
What a bunch of gobbledygook that is. And, I challenge you to find a page that makes more sense. The only revision to the tax code I'd like to see is to tear the whole thing up and replace it with a flat tax.

"Nobody Knows How This Is Going To Work"

Even democrats admit "The truth is, nobody knows for sure how this is going to work." Not only that, the whole global warming thing is out the window now. The consensus is that greenhouse gasses are not causing global warming:

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country's new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country's weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

Wow there you have another reason to love New Zealand
The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

Read that entire excellent WSJ article, by the way.
Since the whole 'global warming' thing is out the window, the new ostensible goal for this, from Obama:
President Obama yesterday pushed for passage in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. Though he mentioned the threat of global warming, Obama mostly emphasized non-environmental benefits, such as new jobs in clean energy and reduced reliance on foreign oil.

As Carl says, we are not considering that cap and tax HR 2454 will cool the globe and Obama confirms that; he now says jobs and energy independence are the goals. Since when? How many jobs? How much independence? He's not wiling to say, and the so-called main-stream-media isn't willing to ask. How convenient. Here is an actual Q&A from the Associated Press. These are supposed to be impartial talking points:

Questions and answers about the US climate bill
By DINA CAPPIELLO and ERIC CARVIN – 12 hours ago
Cap-and-trade? Offsets? Pollution credits? The climate bill under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives tackles global warming with new limits on pollution and a market-based approach to encourage more environmentally friendly business practices. But what exactly do the proposed rules mean, and how would they work?
Some questions and answers about the bill, a top legislative priority for President Barack Obama:
Q: What's the purpose of this legislation?
A: To reduce the gases linked to global warming and to force sources for power to shift away from fossil fuels, which when burned, release heat-trapping gases, and toward cleaner sources of energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Q: How does the bill accomplish this?
A: By placing the first national limits on emissions of heat-trapping gases from major sources like power plants, refineries and factories. This limit effectively puts a price on the pollution, raising the cost for companies to continue to use fuels and electricity sources that contribute to global warming. This gives them an incentive to seek cleaner alternatives.
Q: Do most environmentalists support this approach?
A: Most do, at least broadly. Cap-and-trade has had success. Since 1990, the United States has had a cap-and-trade program for sulfur dioxide, the main culprit in acid rain. Democrats have had to make a lot of concessions to win votes for the current bill from lawmakers from coal, oil and farm states. Some liberal environmentalists think these concessions weaken the bill. For instance, the bill's sponsors have had to lower the cap — it originally called for a 20 percent cut by 2020 — to 17 percent. Research suggests that much deeper cuts will be needed globally to avert the most serious consequences of global warming.
Q: Who opposes this approach, and why?
A: Republicans...
Q: Why is it so important to tackle global warming anyway?
A: Left untended, scientists say, global warming will cause sea levels to rise, increase storms and worsen air pollution.
Q: Other than costs potentially being passed along to consumers, will this affect most Americans' day-to-day lives?
A: It fundamentally will change how we use, produce and consume energy, ending the country's love affair with big gas-guzzling cars and its insatiable appetite for cheap electricity. This bill will put smaller, more efficient cars on the road, swap smokestacks for windmills and solar panels, and transform the appliances you can buy for your home.

The AP says this bill will end the country's love affair with big gas-guzzling cars? This Associated Press 'Q&A' reads like a left wing talking point paper. Time to add another notch for Dina Cappiello and Eric Carvin on NewsBusters.

Spain and the rest of the world think we are crazy. Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods that creating green jobs destroys more jobs than it creates.
Spain spent €571,138 ($800,000) to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million ($1.4 million) per wind industry job. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.
So Obama is clearly wrong about creation, it is destruction. As far as reducing dependence of foreign oil, well throwing the economy into a tailspin will certainly do that. And that is what the bill is going to do. From the Congressional Budget Office; Reducing emissions to the level required by the cap would be accomplished mainly by stemming demand for carbon-based energy by increasing its price. Raising the cost of energy to reduce demand, less energy consumed equals smaller economy. It means economic shrinkage. It will kill the economy.

What else does the bill do? It put our government into the climate exchange business, as 70% of climate exchange trades will be executed by the government, also according to the CBO.

So, after the wealth is destroyed by the coming economic collapse from the bill, what will happen? The remaining wealth will be distributed to the non-contributors to the economic base as "households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit." That is right -- the middle class will be soaked. If there is one left. Obama pledged to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and now is doing exactly the opposite. He is experimenting with the economy.

Putting It All Together

Global Warming is a myth, the press is perpetuating this lie to support their agenda. Liberals rushed into spending money we don't have on a 'stimulus' bill that only stimulated handgun sales. Now they are about to pass the biggest tax bill in the history of the world, telling people it is to stop global warming, or perhaps to create green jobs. It will actually destroy jobs. Even though a defendant has the right to question 'forensic' evidence, we cannot cross examine Congress on their 'expert testimony.'

They propose to reduce energy dependence by killing demand. They will kill the economy to kill the demand.

This is insane.

The false promise of doing our business in the light of day -- ha!

If congress passes this speculative bill, socialism in cap-and-trade clothing, then we need a constitutional convention. The only way to reverse the socialistic slide is to take power away from these bums, not just throw them out.


Carl said...

In Thursday's New York Post, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell calls the cap-and-trade bill a "trojan hearse." See also CEI's Iain Murray in Thursday's Washington Times:

"Under Waxman-Markey, the economic pain would be severe, indeed. President Obama's own aides have admitted that it could cost hardworking Americans up to $2 trillion. The burden, moreover, would fall disproportionately on the poor, who spend a greater proportion of their income on energy -- 26 percent compared to a median-income family that spends 4 percent of its earnings on energy. It would also affect the South and Midwest much more than the West Coast and Northeast. In fact, the effect would be a wealth transfer from the South and Midwest to the West Coast and Northeast. Overall, the bill would cost the average American family $1,500 in increased energy costs.

Those increased energy costs would hit businesses hard, resulting in an average loss of 1.1 million jobs a year. And that is after counting the effect of so-called "green jobs," which would largely be temporary and, according to a recent study, pretty low-paying - most green jobs that have been created to date pay below the average wage.

At a time when America's economy has taken a severe beating, this bill would deal yet another kick to the head."

Bob in Los Angeles said...

It would be our equivalent of Smoot-Hawley, something that will set us back many years.

suek said...

"Take a look at this part of the bill. Someone e-mailed me about it, asking me to check into it, and here's what I found out: Section 432 of the bill--beginning on PAGE 830!--details an "Energy Refund Program for Low Income Consumers." Essentially, what that means is that any family with a gross income of less than 150 percent of the poverty line would receive a CASH REFUND each and every month, direct-deposited into the bank account of their choosing.

That's right -- you and I pay more (consider the estimates I've reported on before as to the increased cost of energy) and CASH WILL BE GIVEN TO POOR FAMILIES. Here's the text of this particular section:"

Quoted from:
HR 2454>

Wry Mouth said...

The Federal Govt, led by a Chicago Pol, aspis to implement CALIFORNIAN-style economic policy nation-wide.

I... I can't keep up. There's no BS pump that's ever been built to deal with this much bilgewater...


Wry Mouth said...

"aspires"... sorry; I was going under for the second time...

bobn said...

Liberals rushed into spending money we don't have on a 'stimulus' bill that only stimulated handgun sales.

Bob, that just isn't true, and you know it.

It stimulated ammo sales, too. ;)

OBloodyHell said...

a) I have to say "Waxman-Malarkey" has to be one of the most appropriate bill names ever.

b) The house passed it... 219 to 212.

Eight GOP Senators voted for it

Wolf Howling has more, including which ones.

I've already fired off a massive nastygram to the GOP, my own GOP reps, and a number of other prominent conservatives.

I'm sick of this crap, and I have had it... I'm no longer choosing between "bad" and "reprehensibly awful".

Until the GOP gets its head out of its rectum and stops supporting the wrong people and the wrong policies, I will no longer vote GOP.

I'm not voting Dem, either, but intend to refuse to vote for either. If there is no viable independent candidate, I will withhold my vote entirely on that elected position.

This bill passing solely because of the support of ANY GOP members is simply flat out inexcusable. No one even vaguely able to validly call themselves "conservative" has any possible business having voted for this bill. The GOP needs to evict such "stealth Democrats" (they aren't even RINOs) and start supporting proper candidates. I don't expect them to match up on all things with the standard conservative position (which I, too, have some disagreements with), but there is no possible connection between a vote for this bill and ANY conservative principles.

It can't even be justified on an "it was going to pass anyway, so I did it for favors" -- It would not have passed without those defective(!!!) congressbozos!!

So that's it. No more GOP for me for the time being.

suek said...

I sympathize with your feelings...but I don't see how they're going to do much good.

I can't vote for/against Bono, for example, and my own rep is very conservative. So is it really smart to not support the GOP?

Although ... changing your registration to Independent might send a message. YOu can still vote for whoever you choose. And if someone consistently doesn't vote conservative, then I agree - what's the point of electing a Republican if same person votes like a Democrat? might as well have the D in office so at least people know what to expect. What if they vote 50/50? What if the GOP agrees that Snow is their Maine candidate?

If your method would work, I'd join you. I'm not sure it will do anything but make you feel better. I wish I knew what _would_ work!