You can stop the health care bill today!

Yesterday Erick reminded us that 4 Blue Dogs are selling out to liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman on health care. We are hearing that the Energy and Commerce Committee may vote on the bill out today.

You can stop the health care bill. You can stop a government take over of health care now.

Contact your Representative here: http://www.redstate.com/action.

Tell your family, your friends, your neighbors, people at your church, whoever. Get them on the phone. Send them that link.

Now is the time to act.

Why is Charlie Rangel bailing out the rum industry?

Remember Charlie Rangel? The Congressman illegally renting multiple apartments in New York City subject to rent control who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee? Back in the 70s, he beat his predecessor, Adam Clayton Powell, in a primary over, among other things, shady dealings in the Bahamas. Now Rangel appears to have his own shady dealings in the US Virgin Islands.

The long and short of it is that Chairman Rangel is defending a provision of the bailout that allows the government of the Virgin Islands to subsidize (paid for with US excise taxes) the building of facilities for Diageo, the makers of Captain Morgan rum. Oh. And Rangel has a lot of donors in the Virgin Islands.

This one is a little complicated. So let me walk you through it.

There was a provision in the Bailout (aka TARP) that  allows “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to pocket $192 million in federal excise taxes collected from rum-makers,” a substantial proportion of which is then handed out by the territories to rum-makers who maintain operations there in the form of “marketing subsidies and production incentives.”

Or at least it is by the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico was apparently not giving Diageo, the maker of Captain Morgan rum, enough money from the public coffers.  So as of 2012, Diageo will be moving to the Virgin Islands, whose government is more willing to subsidize the company (which, you might be interested to know, had a £2.2 billion operating profit in 2008).  Under the deal cut between Diageo and the Virgin Islands:

…the Virgin Islands is to build Diageo a $165 million, state-of-the-art plant on the island of St. Croix. After assuming a $500 million debt obligation associated with the plant’s construction, the Virgin Islands will hand over the keys and title to Diageo. The Virgin Islands will tap its portion of the rum tax revenue to pay the $18.4 million in annual financing costs.

The 30-year agreement also gives Diageo a $2.1 billion marketing subsidy…

So what, right? Well … Chairman Rangel has a pretty good fundraising network in the Virgin Islands, and this wouldn’t be the first time he championed legislation benefiting Virgin Islands-based Rangel donors:

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has proposed legislation that would effectively halt some current tax audits of people who get a tax break for living and operating a business in the United States Virgin Islands.

Many beneficiaries of the tax break are campaign contributors to the lawmaker, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, according to data collected by CQ MoneyLine, which tracks political contributions.

So what, right? Well … Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, wants to put a stop to corporate handouts like this.  Sure, he’s got a good, in-my-backyard kind of reason, but it actually sounds like good policy. According to Reuters, Pierluisi “proposed legislation seeking to establish a special rule blocking Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from using rum rebates to provide ‘unreasonable’ subsidies to rum producers.  The bill defines an ‘unreasonable’ subsidy of more than 10 percent of the rum rebate funds a jurisdiction receives.” This legislation, which goes through Rangel’s committee isn’t moving.

So the question is why Rangel is so determined to give billions in corporate welfare in the Virgin Islands?

Maybe his donors there have an idea.

Or maybe he just “got a in little captain” in him and he’s just “standing up for what” he drinks.

No vote on health care in House before recess

The Politico’s Glenn Thrush reports that Republicans are circulating emails that there will not be a health care vote in the House before recess. That’s the top-line story. But the second story may be even more striking and damaging for Nancy Pelosi and House Republicans. There still isn’t a plan to get the bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

You will recall that HillaryCare never “got out of mark-up”. Will Obamacare get trapped there too?

Here’s an email circulating amongst Republicans on Capitol Hill:

From: Cavicke, David
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 4:51 PM
To: REDACTED
Subject: Schedule

Democratic Leadership has told Mr. Boehner’s staff that there will be no vote on Health on the Floor before recess and we will leave Friday.
We still have no confirmation of plans to resume or end the Committee Markup.

David L. Cavicke
Republican Chief of Staff
Committee on Energy and Commerce

PA-GOV: Fumo’s corruption creates opportunities for GOP

In March, I wrote about the GOP opportunities that follow from the conviction of South Philly machine Democratic State Senator Vincent Fumo. The recent news of Democratic corruption out of New Jersey (mayors, rabbis, and body-parts, oh my!) and the emerging consensus that this fundamentally damages Jon Corzine’s already difficult re-election, when combined with outrage at farcically light sentencing creates real opportunities for Republicans.

Let’s go over the facts and see how much this helps Pennsylvania Republicans in 2010:

1. Pat Meehan, one of the Republican candidates for Governor got the initial indictments against Fumo. Tom Corbett, the other one, has his own story to tell about indicting Fumo and his operation. If Chris Christie ends up winning in New Jersey, there will be a ready-made media narrative comparing New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

2. That narrative will be a little emphasized because southern New Jersey is almost entirely in the Philadelphia media market. It will be non-national political news relevant to both parts of the the Philly media market.

3. Corruption is the sort of thing that suppresses Democrat-leaning independent turnout in formerly Republican suburbs in Bucks and Montgomery countes, and, to a lesser extent, in Chester and Delaware counties. And the South Philly turnout operation that Fumo was so effective at selling is probably somewhat reduced in effectiveness. Democrats can’t win statewide without huge margins out of southeast Pennsylvania. You couldn’t build a better script for reducing those margins.

Grab the popcorn. This will be fun to watch.

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PA-GOV: Fumo’s corruption creates opportunities for GOP

In March, I wrote about the GOP opportunities that follow from the conviction of South Philly machine Democratic State Senator Vincent Fumo. The recent news of Democratic corruption out of New Jersey (mayors, rabbis, and body-parts, oh my!) and the emerging consensus that this fundamentally damages Jon Corzine’s already difficult re-election, when combined with outrage at farcically light sentencing creates real opportunities for Republicans.

Let’s go over the facts and see how much this helps Pennsylvania Republicans in 2010.

1. Pat Meehan, one of the Republican candidates for Governor got the initial indictments against Fumo. Tom Corbett, the other one, has his own story to tell about indicting Fumo and his operation. If Chris Christie ends up winning in New Jersey, there will be a ready-made media narrative comparing New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

2. That narrative will be a little emphasized because southern New Jersey is almost entirely in the Philadelphia media market. It will be non-national political news relevant to both parts of the the Philly media market.

3. Corruption is the sort of thing that suppresses Democrat-leaning independent turnout in formerly Republican suburbs in Bucks and Montgomery countes, and, to a lesser extent, in Chester and Delaware counties. And the South Philly turnout operation that Fumo was so effective at selling is probably somewhat reduced in effectiveness. Democrats can’t win statewide without huge margins out of southeast Pennsylvania. You couldn’t build a better script for reducing those margins.

Grab the popcorn. This will be fun to watch.

(Cross-posted from The Next Right)

Obama’s new rule: When the math doesn’t work, reject math and shoot the messenger

We now have a pattern on our hands. When the math behind Barack Obama’s health care plans doesn’t work, Obama attacks math. Now, he doesn’t do it directly. He gets Peter Orzsag to debase his intellect for Obama’s political ends. First, he did it with the IMF score. Then this week he pressured the CBO scorers early this week after their math provided defeat after defeat to his healthcare dreams. And then this weekend, Orzsag has attacked Doug Elmendorf, the CBO director.

Case 1: The IMF. At a G-20 meeting earlier this year, Barack Obama came away empty-handed. The only success was to send money to the IMF. $100b. This wasn’t going to pass on its own, so they attached it to the Supplemental that paid for our troops. And claimed that $100b leaving the treasury costs nothing. According to the Politico, Orzsag had a totally unprecedented meeting with the OMB scorers putting political pressure on them to cook the books. Only a little comment at the time. Oh … and no one bought Orzsag’s nonsense, and the amount became a focus of attention as a bailout of European banks.

Case 2: CBO Whitehouse meeting. Earlier this week, the President meant with the Director of the CBO. According to Jake Tapper, there was a lot of pushback against the unprecedented nature of the meeting:

Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky: "I noticed that the CBO director was sort of called down to the White House yesterday. It strikes me as somewhat akin as the owner of the team asking the umpires to come up to the owner’s box."

McConnell said that "if the CBO is to have credibility, they’re the umpire. They’re not players in this game."

CBO is tasked with providing “objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget.”

Case 3: Keith Hennessey puts it nicely, "CBO Kills the President’s Medicare Comission Proposal". You see, the CBO found that Obama’s great plan to limit costs was to create a commission only saved $2b. One half of one percent of the total cost. So what happens? Orzsag goes after Elmendorff in all but name:

A final note is worth underscoring. As a former CBO director, I can attest that CBO is sometimes accused of a bias toward exaggerating costs and underestimating savings. Unfortunately, parts of today’s analysis from CBO could feed that perception. For example, and without specifying precisely how the various modifications would work, CBO somehow concluded that the council could "eventually achieve annual savings equal to several percent of Medicare spending…[which] would amount to tens of billions of dollars per year after 2019." Such savings are welcome (and rare!), but it is also the case that (for good reason) CBO has restricted itself to qualitative, not quantitative, analyses of long-term effects from legislative proposals.  In providing a quantitative estimate of long-term effects without any analytical basis for doing so, CBO seems to have overstepped.

What is going on is crystal clear. The CBO is not caving to extended political pressure. After weeks of Pelosi "scolding" and Baucus aides "expressing frustration" it has come to open attacks on the CBO, its director, and the institution’s integrity.

Well. I have to say, finally Barack Obama is bringing change I can believe in. Chicago-style change.

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Obama’s new rule: When the math doesn’t work, reject math

We now have a pattern on our hands. When the math behind Barack Obama’s health care plans doesn’t work, Obama attacks math. Now, he doesn’t do it directly. He gets Peter Orzsag to debase his intellect for Obama’s political ends. First, he did it with the IMF score. Then this week he pressured the CBO scorers early this week after their math provided defeat after defeat to his healthcare dreams. And then this weekend, Orzsag has attacked Doug Elmendorf, the CBO director.

Case 1: The IMF. At a G-20 meeting earlier this year, Barack Obama came away empty-handed. The only success was to send money to the IMF. $100b. This wasn’t going to pass on its own, so they attached it to the Supplemental that paid for our troops. And claimed that $100b leaving the treasury costs nothing. According to the Politico, Orzsag had a totally unprecedented meeting with the OMB scorers putting political pressure on them to cook the books. Only a little comment at the time. Oh … and no one bought Orzsag’s nonsense, and the amount became a focus of attention as a bailout of European banks.

Case 2: CBO Whitehouse meeting. Earlier this week, the President meant with the Director of the CBO. According to Jake Tapper, there was a lot of pushback against the unprecedented nature of the meeting:

Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky: “I noticed that the CBO director was sort of called down to the White House yesterday. It strikes me as somewhat akin as the owner of the team asking the umpires to come up to the owner’s box.”

McConnell said that “if the CBO is to have credibility, they’re the umpire. They’re not players in this game.”

CBO is tasked with providing “objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget.”

Case 3: Keith Hennessey puts it nicely, “CBO Kills the President’s Medicare Comission Proposal”. You see, the CBO found that Obama’s great plan to limit costs was to create a commission only saved $2b. One half of one percent of the total cost. So what happens? Orzsag goes after Elmendorff in all but name:

A final note is worth underscoring. As a former CBO director, I can attest that CBO is sometimes accused of a bias toward exaggerating costs and underestimating savings. Unfortunately, parts of today’s analysis from CBO could feed that perception. For example, and without specifying precisely how the various modifications would work, CBO somehow concluded that the council could “eventually achieve annual savings equal to several percent of Medicare spending…[which] would amount to tens of billions of dollars per year after 2019.” Such savings are welcome (and rare!), but it is also the case that (for good reason) CBO has restricted itself to qualitative, not quantitative, analyses of long-term effects from legislative proposals.  In providing a quantitative estimate of long-term effects without any analytical basis for doing so, CBO seems to have overstepped.

What is going on is crystal clear. The CBO is not caving to extended political pressure. After weeks of Pelosi “scolding” and Baucus aides “expressing frustration” it has come to open attacks on the CBO, its director, and the institution’s integrity.

Well. I have to say, finally Barack Obama is bringing change I can believe in. Chicago-style change.

Cross-posted from The Next Right.

ID-01: Not all McCain staffers hated Sarah Palin

Much has been written about the fights between Sarah Palin and John McCain’s campaign staffers. Apparently not all of them.

Palin’s mother-in-law and father-in-law both gave to Vaughn Ward, a candidate for the first district of Idaho.

Now, Vaughn would have had a lot of contact with Palin. He was the McCain state director in Nevada, a swing state where Palin spent a bunch of time. And Palin grew up in Idaho, so she might have seen a little bit of herself in him. Or maybe like her son. He is an Iraq vet and a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve.

This could also be a preview of what Sarah PAC looks like.

Just a thought.

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Indiana budget in surplus

Most state budgets are in crisis. The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz notes that state tax revenue has fallen sharply the last two quarters. The left wing Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that "[a]t least 48 states addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the upcoming year."

Not Indiana. Under Mitch Daniels’ leadership the state reported a $1.3b surplus. The State Auditor Tim Berry noted that they even raised school funding:

Berry stood in front of charts Friday that show Indiana increased school funding, avoided a tax hike, and maintained a surplus of about 10%. […]

"Measures that were taken early on by Governor Mitch Daniels to restrain spending have amounted for a large amount of these fiscal reserves," Berry said.

The Louisville paper notes that tax revenue was even down $1.2b below projections:

The state had $1.33 billion in its main checking account and reserves when the fiscal year ended June 30. That’s roughly the same as one year ago, even though state taxes brought in $1.2 billion less than originally projected.

How’s that for successful governance? No wonder there is a draft movement for Mitch Daniels for President.

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Indiana budget in surplus

Most state budgets are in crisis. The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz notes that state tax revenue has fallen sharply the last two quarters. The left wing Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that “[a]t least 48 states addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the upcoming year.”

Not Indiana. Under Mitch Daniels’ leadership the state reported a $1.3b surplus. The State Auditor Tim Berry noted that they even raised school funding:

Berry stood in front of charts Friday that show Indiana increased school funding, avoided a tax hike, and maintained a surplus of about 10%. […]

“Measures that were taken early on by Governor Mitch Daniels to restrain spending have amounted for a large amount of these fiscal reserves,” Berry said.

The Louisville paper notes that tax revenue was even down $1.2b below projections:

The state had $1.33 billion in its main checking account and reserves when the fiscal year ended June 30. That’s roughly the same as one year ago, even though state taxes brought in $1.2 billion less than originally projected.

How’s that for successful governance? No wonder there is a draft movement for Mitch Daniels for President.

(Crossposted from The Next Right)