Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Stimulus Bill

National Review Doesn’t Speak For Me

Arthur C. Brooks – Why the Stimulus Failed

Ask most Americans about the big-spending government policies of the last few years, and they will tell you the programs have failed. In a February 2012 poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Americans said the federal government is having a negative impact on the way things are going in this country (versus 22 percent who say the impact is positive). A majority disapproves of the president’s 2009 stimulus, and according to a 2010 CNN poll, about three-quarters of Americans believe the money was mostly wasted.

National Review Covers Jan-Jun 2008

National Review Covers Jan-Jun 2008 (Photo credit: AlaskanLibrarian)

This, I agree with. I’m glad to see, according to the polls at least, that more and more Americans also agree: government stimuli didn’t stimulate.

What I disagree with is Brooks’ contention buried later on in the article about conservatives (I generally consider myself one, if defined properly) and safety nets:

Conservatives today understand the importance of a reliable safety net for the truly indigent and the necessity of dealing with certain market failures.

Further, there is universal support on the political right for opportunity-equalizing government policies, such as publicly funded education (ideally, administered for the benefit of children as opposed to rent-seeking bureaucrats and teachers’ unions).

Wow! I didn’t realize that I believed in and supported all these things! But this is National Review, the supposedly “conservative” voice of reason in today’s world.

The most reliable safety net in the world is…are you ready…the family. That’s why socialists the world over consider the family as the enemy of the state: everyone must be dependent on the state or else their socialist plans fail.

And “universal support” for “publicly funded education?” All I see is that the more that is spent by governments on such education is lower scores and more acceptance of big government on the part of the kids.

So somewhere along the way I got off the bus on “conservatism,” at least the style supported by National Review.

Big Losses for Taxpayers as Another Green Company Turns Rotten

High Voltage Power lit by dawn light, with a r...

Beacon Power, the beneficiary of the endless flow of taxpayer guarantees emanating from the Department of Energy, went into bankruptcy in just over two years, leaving lawyers from the Justice Department crying foul.

On the surface the idea of developing flywheel energy storage capacity for utilities that would kick in during peak load periods and then recharge during slack times appeared to have merit. In fact, Beacon Power had invested more than $200 million in the technology since 1997, mostly from banks and private investors. But when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), it became a rich source of funding with loan guarantees backed by the U.S. government and Beacon was one of the first to apply for some. In July of that year, Beacon received $43 million in guarantees to help fund construction of a 20 megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.

It took just 28 months for Beacon to burn through its government-guaranteed loans and declare bankruptcy. Said Beacon’s CEO William Capp in October of 2011: “The current economic and political climate, the financing terms mandated by DOE [the Department of Energy], and Beacon’s recent delisting notice from Nasdaq [resulting from its share price dropping from $25 a share in late 2007 to under a dollar in 2011] have together severely restricted Beacon’s access to

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Government Uses “Blunt Instrument” to Extract Taxes

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Rep. Rick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, told the Washington Business Journal last week that “instead of rewarding those small businesses that choose to compete and win contracts, the government essentially pre-accuses them of cheating on their taxes and withholds 3 percent of all payments. This is flat-out wrong and this burdensome requirement should be repealed.”

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$4 Trillion in Cuts Proposed by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

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During an interview on “Fox News Sunday”, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committeeoutlined many of the details of the GOP‘s 2012 budget proposal that will officially be announced on Tuesday. He said, “We can’t keep kicking this can down the road. The President has punted. We’re not going to follow suit. ” Implying that the proposal would cut the deficit by “much more than” $4 trillion over the next decade, he offered a synopsis of what to expect on Tuesday:

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Trillion-dollar Tax Holiday Sought by Multinationals

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Claiming that granting a “tax holiday” for her company (and other large multinationals) would be beneficial to the United States, Oracle president Safra Catz said that such a holiday would allow earnings sitting in idle accounts abroad to be “repatriated” and freed up for better use here in the United States. “It’s an absolute no-brainer,” she said. If the money flows back to the United States, “it will

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Bernanke Issues Warnings, Accepts No Blame

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s address to the National Press Club on Thursday was a remarkable blend of hubris, claimed innocence, and warnings.

His opening remarks were condescending and patronizing to the journalists assembled:

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Is Breakfast Now a Luxury Item?

Breakfast - By the time I got around to eating...

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With the wholesale prices of orange juice and coffee increasing by 20 percent and 41 percent respectively just over the past six months, it’s not surprising to see the reflection in increased prices for them on grocery store shelves. Keith McCullough of Hedgeye asked “What’s for breakfast?” and then answered “Inflation.”

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Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report: Classic Misdirection

Money

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After nearly two years of investigation, reviewing millions of documents and conducting hundreds of interviews, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCICreleased its report, pinning the blame for the Great Recession largely on Wall Street and alleged deregulation of the financial markets in the 1990s.

The report of the panel of 10 (six Democrats and four Republicans) was delayed by a month as the final report became more of a partisan attack on Wall Street and a push for more regulation of the financial markets. The Republicans ultimately decided not to endorse the report, but instead issued their own report on the cause of the financial crisis.

According to the official report issued today by the FCIC, blame for the financial meltdown beginning in 2007 can be placed on:

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Federal Deficit Outrage

A lot of digits

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Back in August of 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the federal deficit for 2011 to be $1 trillion. On Thursday, after revising its assumptions, the CBO announced they missed the mark by $500 billion.  The deficit number has been revised upward to $1.5 trillion, and could bring the national debt to $20 trillion by 2021.

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Military Spending: The New Third Rail

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When the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 was unveiled by House Republicans Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), U.S. News and World Report called it “eye-popping,” referring to the bill’s attempt to rein in government spending by $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Rep. Jordan, who is the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), explained the need for such sharp cuts:

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Congressional Pushback

Michele Bachmann - Restoring Honor rally

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Now that the 112th Congress has been sworn in and subjected to the reading of the Constitution and its 27 amendments, the direction of that Congress is beginning to take shape. In response to pressure from Americanists, Tea Partiers, Constitutionalists, and other limited-government supporters, Congress’ first effort at legislation will be to vote today to cut its own budget by 5 percent. That would result in savings of a minuscule $35 million, but loyalists are taking heart that the “first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest” and that much bigger targets and greater success lie ahead. Repealing ObamaCare is next on the agenda with passage almost assured. Rep. Fred Upton, (R-Mich), new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, predicted not only that such a bill pulling ObamaCare “out by the roots” will pass, but might even be able to muster two-thirds of those voting.

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The 112th Congress: Real Substance, or Just Smoke?

Minority Leader John Boehner

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When the House of Representatives announced new rules for the Congress that convenes on Wednesday, the mainstream media immediately called them “strict” and even “unprecedented.” The first new rule to take effect will be the reading of the Constitution of the United States and its 27 amendments on the floor of the chamber.

Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner told ABC News: “The American people want a smaller, more accountable government—and that starts with respecting the Constitution. That’s why we will read it on the floor next week. It sends the clear message that starting on January 5th, the House of Representatives will be the American people’s outpost in Washington, D.C.

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American Austerity and the End of “Wars of Choice”

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Foreign Affairs, the mouthpiece of the Council on Foreign Relations, is like a 500-pound canary: When it speaks, people listen. Gary North referred to the article in the November-December 2010 issue entitled “American Profligacy and American Power” as “a turning point…the first official announcement…that the Federal deficit is out of control…which threatens the survival of America’s position as the world’s most influential political-military participant.”

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Liberal House Veteran Dingell Expects to Keep His Seat

John Dingell

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In an election year when it appears no incumbent is safe, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is on cruise control. He even pooh-poohs the latest poll showing him 4 points behind his newcomer challenger, Rob Steele. Dingell is the longest serving member of the House and, at age 84, sports a Freedom Index rating of just 5 out of 100.

Representing a district near Detroit with a strong union influence, Dingell has usually won reelection with more than 60 percent of the vote. And he could be reelected again, except for a few troubling details. Michigan’s unemployment rate is the second-highest in the country, he voted for much of the Obama agenda including ObamaCare, and many this year consider “incumbent” a four-letter word.

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Greenspan’s Fear and Trembling

CHICAGO - APRIL 08:  Former Chairman of the Fe...

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Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is worried about many things. In March he worried about the future of the economy. “The important lesson,” he wrote, “is that bank regulators cannot fully or accurately forecast whether, for example, subprime mortgages will turn toxic…A large fraction of such difficult forecasts will invariably be proved wrong…Anticipating the onset of crisis…appears out of our forecasting reach.”

In June he worried about a revival of inflation:

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Third Trillion-Dollar Bailout: The States

Meredith Whitney, CIBC Sr. Financial Instituti...

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It was appropriate for Meredith Whitney to title her latest 600-page report for her investment clients The Tragedy of the Commons. That title was borrowed from an article written in 1968 by Garrett Hardin and published in Science magazine, illustrating the ultimate failure of people hoping to live off the incomes of others eternally.

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Reid’s Lame Duck Session: Just Mopping Up?

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Last Tuesday, September 7, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he intended to focus the current lame duck session on “mopping up” leftovers from the previous session, these included a national renewable energy policy, a small business jobs bill, and another stimulus bill. Reid said, “We are still going to be in Congress, working, after the election…There are things that we have to do. There is a lot of mopping up to do.” Reid failed to mention one small item that his lame duck session is determined to ignore altogether: the Bush “tax cuts” which are set to expire without Congressional action by the end of the year.

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Meet Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s New Top Economic Adviser

Official portrait of CEA member Austan Goolsbee.

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Few were surprised when President Obama replaced Christina Romer, chair of his Council of Economic Advisers, with another statist economist, Austan Goolsbee. Goolsbee is the architect of Obama’s failed economic policies and programs, having served as the executive director of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from the beginning.

A bright student at Yale where he enjoyed membership in the exclusive and elitist Skull and Bones secret society, Goolsbee went on to get his PhD from MIT, and then immediately became a professor at the University of Chicago. With stints at the American Bar Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research, he was named to Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in March, 2009.

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Why Reich is Wrong

Robert Reich

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When former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offered his solutions for ending the Great Recession in the New York Times, he repeated the same errors expressed in a CNBC debate the week before.

Reich appears to have all the credentials for knowing what he is talking about: degrees from Dartmouth College, Yale Law School, and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. Having served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and then assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, followed by an appointment by President Jimmy Carter as Director of Policy Planning at the FTC, most would accept his opinions and suggestions for ending the recession as useful and relevant.

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Mortgage Summit: No New Ideas

Dogbert

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When Kevin Hall, writing for McClatchy Newspapers, said “the Obama administration got what it was looking for at its summit on the future of housing finance,” he was very close to the truth: No matter who spoke at the summit or what “new” ideas might be proposed, nothing would change—the government would remain fully in charge of mortgage financing for the country.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.