Friday, September 16, 2011

Boehner: Tax Increases Would Destroy Jobs

House Republican leader John Boehner on Thursday said America needs to “liberate the economy from the shackles of Washington” and called for changes in the tax code, entitlement reform, and less government regulation.
Speaker Boehner said the key to jump-starting the economy is to get government out of the way and remove barriers to private-sector job growth.
Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner urged the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — the so-called “super committee” charged with proposing big deficit cuts by November — to pursue tax reform by developing “principles” for closing loopholes and cutting individual and corporate tax rates, and for overhauling Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
He also said tax increases are “off the table” because they would “destroy jobs.”
The speech effectively marked the GOP’s response to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress last week, and his $447 billion stimulus proposal that includes $194 billion in new spending to be paid for with tax hikes opposed by Republicans.
Boehner ruled out a government shutdown or debt default on his watch, called for a highway bill to be combined with U.S. energy exploration, and warned of a spiral of economic and social decline he said is setting in.
“Here in Washington there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the economy, and it’s led to an awful lot of bad decisions,” the Ohio legislator said.
“The reality is that employers will hire if they have the right incentives. But the incentives have to outweigh the costs.
“Private sector job creators of all sizes have been pummeled by decisions made right here in Washington. They’ve been slammed by uncertainty over the constant threat of new taxes, out-of-control spending, and unnecessary regulation.
“Job creators in America basically are on strike.
“My worry is that most of the talk in Washington is about more of the same — more initiatives that seem to have more to do with the next election than the next generation.
“Let's be honest with ourselves. The president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America.
“What we need to do is liberate the economy from the shackles of Washington, and let our economy grow.
Boehner said the three main threats to the economy are excessive government regulation, a tax code that discourages investment and rewards special interests, and a “spending binge that created a massive debt crisis that poses a direct threat to our country’s ability to create jobs.”
He called for a “simpler, fairer tax code,” and closing loopholes because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Boehner expressed skepticism about, but did not rule out, the core of Obama's plan — an extension of a Social Security payroll tax cut — and said he was open to increased infrastructure spending, another element of the Obama bill. He said such spending should be linked to increased development of domestic energy resources.
He also criticized Democrats for “micromanaging” and “offering short term fixes,” which bring “confusion to business owners instead of clarity.”
But he called on members in both parties to end the “name-calling, the yelling and the questioning of others’ motives.”

House OKs GOP bill to curtail NLRB’s authority

The House passed a Republican measure Thursday that calls for curtailing the National Labor Relations Board’s enforcement power — a move that would undermine a federal complaint against the Boeing Co. for opening a new plant in South Carolina.
The bill would prohibit the NLRB from ordering an employer to shut down plants or relocate work, even if a company is found to have illegally retaliated against unionized employees.
“The Republican bill simply says that forcing a business to close its doors and relocate to another part of the country is an unacceptable remedy for today’s workforce,” said Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican and chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
“If the NLRB is allowed to exercise this radical authority, it will have a chilling effect on our economy.”
The House passed the measure largely along party lines by a vote of 238 to 186. Eight Democrats supported the measure, while seven Republicans opposed it. House Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, the lone Democrat in the South Carolina congressional delegation, voted no.
Boeing employees work in the 787 Dreamliner aft-body-assembly building on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Charleston, S.C. The building is the size of 10.5 football fields and can house two 787 Dreamliners wingtip to wingtip. Boeing will be able to deliver three airplanes per month. (Jeremy Lock/Special to The Washington Times)
Boeing employees work in the 787 Dreamliner aft-body-assembly building on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Charleston, S.C. The building is the size of 10.5 football fields and can house two 787 Dreamliners wingtip to wingtip. Boeing will be able to deliver three airplanes per month. (Jeremy Lock/Special to The Washington Times)
The bill is expected to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Republicans and the business community say the NLRB during the Obama administration years have overstepped its bounds by imposing excessive regulations that hurt business. Conservatives are particularly upset over some union-friendly rulings by the board.
The GOP measure was born out of an NLRB complaint in April that accused Boeing of punishing union workers in Washington state by building a new nonunion assembly plant for its 787 airliner in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
The agency filed the complaint after a yearlong investigation of unfair labor practices brought by the Seattle chapter of the International Association of Machinists. The chapter accused Boeing of locating a second assembly line for the 787 aircraft in South Carolina, rather than in Washington state, as retaliation for a 2008 strike.
Democrats and organized labor said Republicans are using the measure to unfairly target unions and stifle collective-bargaining rights. They added that by weakening the NLRB’s authority, companies would have an easier time relocating jobs overseas.
“This is the outsourcers bill of rights,” said Rep. Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey Democrat. “This is a bill that overreaches. It undercuts the middle class of this country.”
Opponents also complained the bill would interfere with ongoing litigation.
“It is not good legislative policy to legislate on individual cases,” said Rep. Rush D. Holt, New Jersey Democrat.
The NLRB says its complaint doesn’t seek to shut down the Boeing plant, but rather would require the company to move the new 787 airliner production lines back to Washington state.
But Boeing officials, who have denied the charges, say the South Carolina facility that opened in June was built specifically for construction of the aircraft and that the NLRB’s ruling effectively would shutter the plant and force the layoff more than a thousand new workers there.

Rand Has No Confidence In Geithner

Let’s have a vote of “no confidence.” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called on the Senate to pass a vote of “no confidence” in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “I see no reason and no objective evidence that any of his policies are succeeding,” Rand said. It would be interesting to get every member of the Senate on record on this question: especially with one-third of them facing re-election next year.
What do you call a group of congressmen? The English language has some very interesting ways to describe multiples of things. A group of geese is a “gaggle.” A bunch of fish is a “school.” Several sheep are a “flock,” while many cows are a “herd.” There’s also a “parliament” of owls and an “dole” of doves. But do you know what you call a group of baboons? Believe it or not, the correct word to use is a “congress.” That can’t be a coincidence, can it?
Don’t believe everything a friend says. Especially if they say it on Facebook or Twitter. USA Today reported that “nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say they are not honest on social networking sites.” Only 31 percent said they were “totally honest.” Twenty-six percent said they “fib a little.” Even scarier, more than one in five, or 21 percent, confessed to posting a “total fabrication.” And another 22 percent said they wrote a “flat-out lie.” Hey, USA Today, what’s the difference between a total fabrication and a flat-out lie?
The high cost of bread and circuses. In today’s Straight Talk, I mention how costly Obama’s “stimulus” program has been. Figures released by the White House Council of Economic Advisers reveal that every new job it allegedly created has cost taxpayers $277,500. It turns out the “circus” part of our bread and circuses is getting mighty expensive, too. Cable channel ESPN just signed a $15.2 billion contract to win the rights to carry Monday night NFL games for another eight years. At least our amusements are paid for by private enterprise, not public tax money.

House Debates Bill To Legalize Gun Permits Across State Lines

Legislators in Washington, D.C., are considering a House bill that would grant Americans who have gun permits from their home State the right to carry firearms across State lines, Fox News reported.
Though many States have previously entered into voluntary agreements with each other in regard to these permits, a national law has yet to emerge that would grant these rights. A bipartisan bill that is co-authored by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Representative Heath Shuler (D – N.C.) seeks to change that notion, according to the news outlet.
Advocates for the bill have argued that this type of national legislation would be the only way to ensure that their 2nd Amendment rights were protected while crossing State lines, reported Fox News.
“It cuts across Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives — even President Obama’s base is strongly in favor of this legislation,” Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, said in a statement.
The Associated Press reported that a group of city mayors from left-leaning States are opposed to the legislation. They wish to retain control over firearms allowed in their States concerning firearms.

Future Tax Hikes In The Works In Proposed Jobs Plan

The jobs stimulus plan that President Barack Obama has put forth as a solution to the nation’s economic woes contains tax increases that begin in 2013, and may continue to last through the rest of the decade, according to The Washington Times.
After the White House submitted the bill to Congress on Monday, many Republican leaders noted that although the plan cuts taxes in the next couple of years. The measures are funded by raising taxes by more than $448 billion over the rest of the decade, reported the newspaper.
“This would literally be tax and spend. That’s what this is — literally raise $450 billion and spend it,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who now runs the American Action Forum, told the Times. “It’s one thing to say they’re paid for. It’s another thing to say I’m going to spend it now and pay for it after the election.”
The initial proposal was well received, as a broad measure, but after the fine print of the legislation was examined, the tax hikes for wealthy Americans after 2013 came into light, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Obama’s Dishonest Jobs Infomercial

Did you listen to Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8? Remember? It had to be squeezed in after the Republican debate but before the start of the professional football season.
What, you decided to skip it? You weren’t alone. While I haven’t seen any stats from the various survey companies, I suspect Obama’s speech was one of the least-viewed Presidential addresses. When it comes to Presidential promises to revive the economy, I suspect the public mood has gone from “let’s hear what he’ll do” to “I don’t believe a word of it.”
The very first sentence in the lead story in The Wall Street Journal the next day referred to Obama’s peroration as “what might be the White House’s last chance to change its political fortunes before the 2012 campaign kicks into high gear.”
What a bunch of hooey. The President’s speech didn’t presage a campaign stump speech; it was a campaign stump speech. In fact, it was little more than a 50-minute infomercial — except without the attractive models or clever graphics.
Obama’s oration was a classic example of the misleading rhetoric we’ve come to expect from him. The most glaring example is the number of times the president lectured his captive audience on the need to “pass it now.” I’m not sure how many times he used that phrase or something close to it; I lost count at a dozen.
But the point is, there was nothing for Congress to pass. In their haste to get the promiser-in-chief in front of the TV cameras, White House staff members forgot one little item: Nobody had written the doggone legislation he was going to demand Congress approve.
Oh, they came up with a name for it: the American Jobs Act. There were plenty of elements its booster-in-chief could brag about. But, as far as a proposed piece of legislation that Congress could analyze, debate, modify and then vote on, there was no such thing. That pretty much made a mockery of Barack Obama’s stern enjoinders to “pass it now.”
Something else missing from the President’s remarks were words like “stimulus” and phrases such as “tax increase.” The brainy boys and girls who are in charge of massaging their master’s message realize the vast majority of Americans don’t like these words or the people who use them. So the word has gone out: From now on, don’t say “stimulus.” Use words like “investments” instead. In place of tax increases, talk about “revenue enhancements.” Or better yet, promise that something will be paid for by future spending reductions.
This last one has been a favorite of politicians since Rome first became a republic. Our current President didn’t hesitate to pull that ancient rabbit out of the hat again on Sept. 8. Why, if you believe him, more than $1 trillion in spending has already been slashed from the Federal budget!
Of course, if you believe that, you’re an idiot. What he’s talking about — what politicians always prefer to talk about — are reductions in spending that will occur sometime in the foggy future. After all, with increases of nearly $1 trillion a year already built into the Federal budget, if you promise to reduce the increases by just 10 percent — voilĂ ! — you can claim that you will reduce spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. That’s how the game is played, folks.
The High Cost Of Obama’s Jobs
But enough about what was missing from Obama’s speech. Were there any specific promises in the President’s address? Sure enough. Just as soon as Congress passes Obama’s jobs bill, the spending spigot will be turned on for another $447 billion.
What will we get for the money? You will not be surprised to learn that the lion’s share of it will go to three of the Democrats’ most popular and most powerful constituencies: teachers, labor unions and the unemployed. If you’re an unemployed teacher who belongs to a union, congratulations! You just hit the Federal trifecta.
The President wants to invest a few hundred billion dollars into repairing and building schools, bridges, highways, high-speed rail, solar power and a bunch of other things. Happily, there was no talk of “shovel-ready” projects, since we learned with the last stimulus package how misleading that description was.
Oh, and speaking of misleading, did you see the White House report on how effective the previous stimulus package was? I doubt it, since it was released by Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers on a Friday afternoon, right at the start of the Fourth of July weekend. That’s what you do when you want to make sure a story receives absolutely minimal coverage.
Hey, these folks are no dummies; they knew the numbers didn’t look good. The Administration says the $666 billion it spent to create jobs “added or saved” some 2.4 million jobs in America. Since there is no way to substantiate the numbers (how do you prove you “saved” a job?), we’ll never know the actual number.
But even using its own figures, that works out to $277,500 per job. Think of it this way: If the government had simply sent a check for $100,000 to those 2.4 million people, they would have had the best payday of their lives. And we taxpayers would have saved $426 billion.
But $277,500 per job is cheap compared to Uncle Sam’s solar efforts. Just before Obama’s great jobs oration came the news that the government’s favorite solar subsidy, a solar-panel maker named Solyndra, was closing its doors. More than 1,000 employees lost their jobs when the company filed for bankruptcy. Since Solyndra was the beneficiary of some $527 million in federal loan guarantees, that works out to over half-a-million dollars per job.
On that basis, Obama’s newest jobs program is a great deal. Its supporters say that the $447 billion they want to spend will create 2 million new jobs. If my calculator is correct, that works out to $223,500 per job. By Federal standards, this is a bargain, folks.
News flash: As I added the paragraph above to this column, the White House proudly announced that it had a bill ready to submit to Congress. No one on the Hill has had a chance to read it, of course. But neither had anyone read the monstrosity that created Obamacare before it was rushed through the House and Senate.
I can confidently predict that the American Jobs Act will be a hodgepodge of half measures, none of which will make much of a difference to the massive unemployment (and underemployment) in the United States.
I’ll have more to say about all of this, including the President’s laughable promise that his various make-work projects won’t add a penny to the deficit, in future columns.
In the meantime, you and I know the best way to create more jobs: It’s for government to get the heck out of the way. Reduce regulations, lower taxes and reward people for taking risks. Let people keep more of the fruits of their labors, and you can bet on a bigger harvest. It’s that simple.
By the way, not only does that produce more jobs, but it also produces more tax revenue. Does anyone want to bet whether this White House will give it a try?

President Obama's Only Ride he Actually Drives: Golf Cart One

There's all sorts of presidential rides with official names like Air Force One (airplane), Marine One (helicopter) - and other vehicles with nicknames like the "Beast" (limo), and "Bus Force One" (the newly minted presidential bus). And now enter "Golf Cart One," which holds the distinction as the only vehicle that President Obama actually gets to drive himself.
At an event honoring Jimmie Johnson for his 5th NASCAR Spring Cup Championship, the president noted he doesn't get to get behind the wheel much anymore. Of course as president, he has members of the military carting him around.
"I was just telling these guys I'm not allowed to drive much these days -- basically just my golf cart at Camp David -- which is called Golf Cart One. True," Obama said.
He added that being near Johnson's car can be pretty tempting. "[I] will say that it's pretty tough to look at Number 48 and not want to jump in and take a few laps -- although I'm sure Jimmie would not be happy if I was doing that," Obama said.
In a joking mood, a day ahead of his big speech to Congress unveiling his jobs plan, Obama said a NASCAR year is similar to being in the Oval Office.
"NASCAR is a sport where anything that can go wrong will go wrong at some point during the season -- similar to being president. That's true even for the best drivers. And with so much extraordinary talent that is going bumper to bumper in every race, just making the Chase is hard enough, let alone winning the whole thing," he said in praising Johnson's achievements.
The president also highlighted NASCAR drivers for their dedication to the troops. He noted how they toured Walter Reed medical center last month, served dinner to wounded warriors and how Johnson went to the Pentagon earlier Thursday.
Johnson presented Obama with some special gloves in a framed glass. Obama joked he could wear them with the NASCAR helmet he got previously. Johnson suggested he could use them in Marine One, but Obama quipped, "no, Golf Cart One!"
"I had to ask. Be safe, "Johnson advised.