Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Polls and Taxes

Rasmussen Report’s most recent Presidential poll shows that only 31% strongly approve of President Obama’s job as President. See the full report here. This clearly shows BHO's support waning.

Beyond the implications of continually moving toward the nanny-state model of government by the Obama Administration, we belive that this is also due to more accurate media coverage.

Traditional media as well as special interest groups are starting to seriously consider the tax implications of President Obama’s policies. As a newly minted President, Obama was given a grace period as the media is prone to do. It appears that the honeymoon is now over.

The AP ran a story confirming what we reported here on Sunday that Obama advisor Axelrod is in spin mode regarding taxation. Previously, Obama had pledged not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 annually. Now, that seems impossible. In an effort to keep everyone honest, the Commonwealth Foundation is circulating a pledge to Senators and Representatives asking them to honor the pledge of the President-even if he seems unwilling or unable to do so. Grassroots PA has the pledge here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday News Show Recap

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod refused to recommit to Barack Obama’s previous pledge to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 annually.

The issue was raised when discussing taxing healthcare. As you probably remember, Barack the candidate attacked John McCain for suggesting such a thing. Now, Barack the President is considering doing that very thing.

Another popular topic was the dalliances of Governor Mark Sanford. On Fox News Sunday, Mitch McConnell was asked about Sanford and if he should resign because of his affair. McConnell did his best to dodge the questions. Contrast that with CNN’s State of the Union. Republican Tim Pawlenty had no problems smashing Sanford. Pawlenty, being a governor himself (Minnesota) said that a Governor’s staff should always be able to reach the Governor. He also commended Sanford’s wife for not standing by him at his press conference.

The other big subject was the House’s Cap and Trade bill that was passed. Democrats Holden, Altmire, Carney, and Dahlkemper of PA’s Congressional Delegation voted against it. More about that later…

SCOTUS Tosses Sotomayor’s Ricci Decision

Former La Raza member and Obama nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Sonia Sotomayor has been reversed by the Court she wishes to serve on.

La Raza, if you are unfamiliar with it, is a council which “works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans five key areas: assets and investments, civil rights and immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. Sotomayor’s Senate questionnaire discloses this description as well as her many years of membership. You can view her full questionnaire here.

La Raza is widely known for espousing an open borders policy and identity-politics type positions.

In its decision to overturn the Ricci Decision, the court ruled that Sotomayor was wrong in her findings in the case and that several white firefighters were in fact unfairly denied promotions because of race. The full decision can be found here.

This is a serious slap to Sotomayor, hailed as one of the most brilliant minds on the appellate court. In particular, the decision faults her for failing to consider the constitutional issues in the case (failing to consider the 14th Amendment, equal protection issue.) The timing is also less than perfect. This will likely reinvigorate the discussions on her previous dealings as it relates to race culminating in her confirmation hearing.

Some highlights to expect are rehashing her very controversial statement claiming that a wise Latina woman is better as a judge than a white male judge. I would also not be surprised to see some of her previous scholarly works come under review. One such review was done of her Senior Thesis at Princeton. The review was largely flattering but did contain some “jarring” statements. You can read it here and follow the links if you want to read the full review.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Victory for Private Property Rights

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court has given a major victory to private property rights in Pennsylvania. The Court’s ruling departs from the Kelo Decision, making it far more difficult to seize property for economic development purposes.

Previously, a “blight” standard was incorporated into the decision process as a means to force the condemnation/seizure of private property.

Now, the courts have set a new reasonable personal standard when determining if seizure is allowed. This standard cannot consider solely the anticipated benefit from the intended future use.

The case is In re Condemnation by the Redevelopment Authority of Lawrence County, 962 A.2d 1257 (December 22, 2008).

PA Democrats Hit Snag in Proposed Tax Increase

According to the Daily News, Democrat Governor Ed Rendell’s tax-increase plan is getting the cold shoulder from many in the House and the Senate.

The Democrats are proposing raising the state income tax from 3.07% to 3.57% for three years. Skeptics question whether the tax would actually be repealed after three years. The Democrat sponsored proposal would hike taxes by approximately 16%.

Many argue that Rendell’s spending has been a major catalyst in the budget deficit. Others also look at our rising unemployment rates and troubled economy and question the judgment of raising taxes during economic turmoil. In either case, balancing the budget on the back of working families is never a politically expedient decision.

The Commonwealth Foundation points to $1,300,000,000 in savings that Rendell simply is refusing to cut.

Another issue raised by Senate Republicans is that the budget is still $28.9 billion, despite a lagging economy. That means it is a 4% increase in spending, despite a $3.7 billion dollar budget deficit and a troubled economy. Senate Republican argue that the Democrats are not cutting enough to live within their means. Pennlive.com quotes Republican Senate Leader Dominic Pileggi as saying “the cuts (proposed by Rendell) have been completely overbalanced by additional spending.”

The Scranton Times reports that Democrat House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, and Democrat Representative Ken Smith support raising taxes. Republican leaders are against it.

The Times Leader reported that Democrat Senator Bob Mellow also advocates a major tax increase.

A serious deadline looms on the budget. The state requires that the budget be passed by June 30.

Mellow and the entire State House will be up for re-election in 2010.

I guess it is possible to understand how Democrats could think hiking taxes would be ok now. If you listen to Democrat Vice-President Joe Biden’s recent statements regarding the economy, you would think it was all butterflies and rainbows. Apparently, Biden missed the memo. Umm…we actually lost 345,000 jobs in May ALONE. The US unemployment rate jumped from 8.9% to 9.4% in May ALONE. What happened to creating millions of jobs with the Porkulus Crap-Sandwich?

Government to Require Individuals to Purchase Healthcare Insurance

According to the Scranton Times, The new Obama Healthcare Plan will be compulsory if US Senator Bob Casey has his way. In a story appearing on June 16, 2009 US Senator Bob Casey advocated making enrollment in the Obama Healthcare Plan mandatory, unless you already have healthcare. The plan will cost taxpayers approximately $1,000,000,000,000 over ten years. Casey refused to discuss how this would be paid for (remember Pelosi incessantly touting pay-go?)

The 615 page proposal will exempt people that have employer-based plans. Everyone else would be required to purchase insurance. There will be assistance to help pay for this for low income families and individuals.

Casey is quoted as saying “If someone has health care that they like or are satisfied with, they get to keep it," he said. "But if they want a different plan or they don't have any health insurance at all, obviously, we want to make sure they have a choice to get coverage.”

What choice is there in making a policy compulsory? Perhaps a family will have the benefit of choosing which government-sponsored bureaucratic nightmare they would like to employ and pay for to insure their family. But, when the government knocks on your door and requires that you purchase something, it can hardly be called a “choice.”

America was built on a foundation of individualism and self-reliance. We grant you that many have forgotten that and fallen into the loving arms of the nanny-state. But for those with the strength, focus, and perseverance to take care of themselves without government assistance, they should be allowed to chose nothing.

It is bad enough that the taxpayers will be saddled with a trillion dollar bill to cover this proposal. We respectfully ask that our United States Senator not also vote to strip away our rights by REQUIRING that anyone participate in this plan.

One interesting question that the reporter failed to ask was the penalty for non-compliance with this most recent government mandate. What will the penalty be if someone chooses not to enroll in this boondoggle? Or, if someone refuses to pay for something they feel they do not need, will the government imprison them? Will there be a resurrection of the debtors prison for those that fail to pay for their mandated healthcare insurance?

The Democrat plan shreds rights and wallets. The Republicans have proposed an alternative. Karl Rove recently wrote about the GOP alternative plan in the Wall Street Journal. The bill is called the Patient’s Choice Act. Instead of mandating that you buy insurance, the Republican plan pays you to get it. Basically, the Republican Plan:

Leaves in place the current tax credits that companies receive for giving benefits to their employees.

Gives $2,200 to $5,700 in the form of a tax credit to allow families and individuals to buy their own insurance.

Increases portability so that even if you change employers, your insurance goes with you if you are in their plan.

Helps those on medicaide because it allows them to pick a plan instead of being forced into the one-size-fit-all plan currently afforded them.

Helps the chronically ill or those with pre-exsisting conditions because it passes risk sharing across all insurance companies producing lower premiums.

Other Republican suggestions for the bill are allow purchasing out of state and extend the same benefits companies get for offering insurance to workers to individual taxpayers.

$1,000,000,000 in new spending or real choice and tax cuts…seems like a no brainer!

Conservatives Still Running Strong

New Polling Suggests Conservatives on the Rise

The Gallup polling organization has released a new poll regarding trends in popular opinion. According to the poll, self-identified Conservatives have returned to their previous high of 2004 levels (40%). This once again maintains self-identified conservatives as the single largest voting block in America.

Those that self-identified as Liberal have decreased to 21%.

Most startling, was the attrition suffered by self-identified moderates. Moderates fell to 35% from their previous 43%. An eight-point drop is certainly significant.

Conservatives have maintained their strength and not diminished in numbers, despite liberal talking points. Liberals, while in the minority, gained ground. That gain however clearly keeps them still below even ¼ of the population. Moderates are hemorrhaging support.

One obvious condition identified by this poll is the further polarization of American voters. With moderates loosing 8% in a single year, clearly the catalyst is the new president and his administration. The Obama administration attempts to nationalize the automotive industry, his attempts to further nationalize the financial industry, and his attempts to nationalize the health insurance industry are very large changes in a short period of time. This rejection of “change” could lead to further polarization in 2010.

ABC...Another Government Takeover?

According to Matt Drudge at the Drudge Report, ABC will officially be in the can for the Obama Administration on June 24.

In an unprecedented move toward the infomercial, ABC will host their news reports directly from the Whitehouse. The subject will be Universal Healthcare.

Because ABC will not allow any dissenting opinions (read Republican alternative) to be part of their “reporting,” RNC Chief of Staff Ken McCay sent a letter to ABC essentially asking for equal time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Great Visual Aide to Porkulus Crap Sandwich

Another Democrat-Sponsored Tax Hike in Scranton

The Scranton Times wrote an op-ed regarding the Democrat-controlled Scranton School Board’s proposal to raise taxes by as much as 6%. We previously reported on the Scranton School District’s history of hiking taxes.

Three of the past tax-hikers are on the ballot in November. Democrats Frank Brazil and Bob Lesh won nominations of both the Republican and Democratic Party, Democrat Brian Jeffers won only the Democratic nomination.

Newcomers Bob Sheridan and Steve Scarpetta also won nominations in the 2009 Primary. Sheridan won both the Republican and Democratic nomination, Scarpetta competed for and won the Republican Nomination.

This situation (appearing on both ballots) allows a candidate to have their votes cumulated from both sides of the ballot. This virtually assures a victory for Brazil, Lesh, and Sheridan. The only real contest will be with Jeffers on the Democratic side and Scarpetta on the Republican.

Scranton, being a Democratic town, will likely elect Jeffers to another term despite his history of raising taxes. Scarpetta can and should take issue with the tax situation in Scranton.

This is the worst possible time to raise taxes. School District taxes are based on your property, not your income. With unemployment skyrocketing to a 25 year high, you really have to question the judgment of any elected official that thinks raising taxes is a good idea.