The Week Just Past
"We reached a dubious milestone this week - the first anniversary of President Obama's trillion-dollar 2009 "stimulus' legislation. Of course, we all wish this bill was having a positive impact on the economy but no more so than the record 16 million Americans who are unemployed today.
"Unfortunately, the facts are these:
"Jobs disappeared in 49 out of 50 States.
"The unemployment rate rose in 48 out of 50 States.
"The number of people collecting unemployment checks rose in every State, reaching a record 12 million in January.
"And while these facts are not in dispute, the Administration's claims about the "stimulus' are. I will not list all the wasteful, duplicative or downright crazy projects the "stimulus' has funded, such as the turtle highway crossings in Florida or the skylights in a Montana liquor warehouse or the forest firefighting project in Washington, D.C. which has no forests! The list goes on and on, but frankly, I don't have room in this eNews. But I will underscore two points highlighted in the media:
"First, USA Today reported this week that "More than $3.5 billion in economic stimulus funds are going to programs that President Obama wants to eliminate or trim in his new budget.' Read the full story here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-02-17-stimulus-funds_N.htm .
"Second, ABC News reported this week that "A $5 billion federal weatherization program intended to save and create jobs has done little of either. Only 9,100 homes had been weatherized nationwide as of Dec. 31, according to the new report by the Government Accountability Office. The Department of Energy, which runs the program, said it actually weatherized more than 22,000 homes last year with Recovery Act funds. Either way, it's a far cry from the 593,000 that the government plans to complete during the course of the Recovery Act, which runs through March 2012.'
You can read the full report here:
"The American people took on record amounts of debt to fund the Administration's trillion-dollar "stimulus' and a year later the nation's unemployment rate is near 10 percent. Taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth and struggling families and small businesses are rightly asking "where are the jobs?'
"Instead of spending more and sticking future generations with the tab, Washington should be focused on unleashing the hard work and entrepreneurship of the American people for a change.
"Congress's Number 1 job is JOBS -- private sector jobs! As a solid beginning, Congress should stop spending taxpayer funding like there is no tomorrow. Next, we should allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, let small businesses join together to purchase health insurance for their workers the way large businesses and labor unions do, and lower taxes for all taxpayers by reducing the current 15 percent income tax rate to 10 percent and reducing the current 10 percent rate to 5 percent. This will provide an immediate increase in income to every taxpaying family in America and free up capital to help small businesses hire more workers."
Recommended Reading: Vikas Bajaj in Tuesday's New York Times: "India Worries as China Builds Ports in South Asia," China is investing millions to build ports, furthering an ambitious trading strategy in South Asia that is reshaping the region:
Take what China is doing in that region with the construction of new ports and the opening of new markets and multiply it around the world in the defense, natural resources, strategic minerals and capital availability. And Congress and the Administration fail to have a "wake-up call"!
The Nine Lives of the Pelosi-Reid Health Care Effort
We're just a few days away from the "bipartisan' White House health care summit, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continue to scramble to salvage their massive government takeover of health care. Americans want them to scrap this massive bill and start over on common sense reforms that will lower health care costs for families and small businesses. This latest potential backroom deal also comes with a plan to jam the bill through to the President's desk through "reconciliation" - a procedure used to short circuit the normal legislative process to avoid a filibuster and pass a bill with a mere 51 votes in the Senate.
The American people don't want another trillion-dollar, 2,000-page backroom deal that raises taxes, slashes Medicare, destroys jobs, spends $2.5 trillion, and puts federal bureaucrats in charge of their health care.
A productive, bipartisan conversation on health care starts with a clean sheet of paper. Americans want to slow down, and take a step-by-step approach to health care reform that begins with reducing costs.
Recommended Reading: Lara M. Dadkhah in Thursday's New York Times on the lack of air support for our soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan:
Clearly, coalition forces must work to avoid civilian casualties. However, one has to wonder if our own tough "rules of engagement," placing tight restrictions on our air power, puts our own troops at unnecessary risk.
Good Idea of the Week: Growing Nuclear Power
President Obama stepped off on the right track this week when he endorsed the construction of new nuclear power plants. Calling for a "new generation of nuclear power," the President offered $8.3 billion on Tuesday in loan guarantees to help build the nation's first commercial nuclear reactors in nearly three decades.
"Nuclear power must be a key component of America's energy security strategy and I welcome the President to this effort," said Rodney, the Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. "Along with more domestic oil and gas exploration, the increased use of renewable energy and greater emphasis on conservation, nuclear power holds great promise to break this nation's dangerous addiction to foreign sources of oil. Increasing our use of nuclear power is a national security imperative and I am glad the President says he agrees."