White House "Panic Week" Yields No Change in Direction
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Posted by Howard Rich | Columns
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| Friday 29 January 2010 12:57 PM

Barack Obama’s “Panic Week” has come and gone, but did his White House learn anything from the historic repudiation of his leftist agenda? Putting the question another way, has Obama made the necessary course corrections or is he still refusing to hear the message that America is sending him so loudly and clearly?

Given the Democratic Party’s stunning defeat in Massachusetts, its November losses in New Jersey and Virginia and its increasingly bleak 2010 electoral prospects, one would think Obama has no choice but to follow the route Bill Clinton took to the right sixteen years ago when he stared down similar circumstances. After all, with the exception of passing his so-called “economic stimulus” bill, Obama has been unable to get any major legislation through the U.S. Congress – this despite the presence of a sizeable Democratic majority in the House and (until recently) a filibuster-proof Democratic “super-majority” in the Senate.

Imagine how tough he’ll find the sledding now.

Unfortunately, Obama remains completely tone deaf to the will of the people. In fact, the only thing that has changed in his White House as a result of these repeated electoral setbacks is the way he is pursuing his socialist agenda.

“Hope and change” obviously didn’t work, so now it’s time for some good old-fashioned “smoke and mirrors.”

After picking their jaws up off the floor following Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s shocking victory in Massachusetts – a race in which Obama’s intervention actually moved voters away from Democrat Martha Coakley – the very first thing the White House brain trust did was to “elevate the role” of a professional political operative. In fact, Obama’s “elevation” of former campaign manager David Plouffe signaled right away that any attempt on the part of his administration to recalibrate its political compass would be purely cosmetic in nature.

In fact, just three days after his party’s Massachusetts defeat, Obama was out looking for “low hanging fruit,” or a convenient enemy that all Americans – but particularly independent voters – could join him in opposing. He quickly found that enemy in Wall Street bankers, who are the same “fat cats” who then-Senator Obama supported via the TARP bailout, ironically.

Now boasting that he was “ready for a fight,” Obama proceeded to propose a new tax on these financial institutions – one that a recent Rasmussen Reports poll found was supported (conditionally, at least) by 56% of Americans.

Of course that poll also found that nearly 70% of Americans oppose extending the tax to banks that did not receive bailout money – while 72% believe that bailout recipients like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be required to pay any new tax, as well.

Next up on the agenda for Obama’s crass populist propagandists? Spending.

Because polling has consistently shown that independent voters are leery of government’s unsustainable deficit spending, Obama’s next move was to unveil a so-called “freeze” on budget growth. Unfortunately, his “freeze” only applied to 17% of the budget, and whatever “deficit reduction” it purports to accomplish would be completely consumed by growth in entitlement spending – as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments that taxpayers are forced to pick up as a result of our skyrocketing national debt.

Yet while these two populist stories were being pushed by the White House press office, behind closed doors top Obama administration officials were working harder than ever to resuscitate the very radical policies that spawned all this voter angst and distrust in the first place.

Just four days after Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, for example, Obama’s chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel met with a group of Senators at the White House in an effort to revive “cap and trade,” Obama’s massive energy tax hike. Similarly, Obama has been meeting regularly with Congressional leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in a no-holds-barred effort to ram his socialized medicine proposal through Congress – despite its collapsing public support and weakened legislative position.

Clearly a string of defeats for Obama – including a historic setback in Massachusetts – has done nothing to deter him from his leftward march.

Of course the silver lining is that the more stridently Obama pursues these objectives in the face of mounting public and Congressional opposition, the more strident public and legislative opposition becomes toward him.

Goode to propose Council term limits
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Thursday 28 January 2010 2:30 PM

From Philly.com

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The entrenched City Council member would become an endangered species under a term-limits bill that Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. said he will introduce today.

Goode’s bill would limit members to three consecutive four-year terms. Currently, members can seek reelection as many times as they want.

“What this means, in the end,” Goode said, “is creating more opportunities for people to serve.”

If voters approved the measure in November – it requires a change by referendum to the City Charter – current Council members could have up to two more consecutive four-year terms.

Goode said he had considered a proposal to expand terms to six years with a two-term limit. He said he was open to amending the bill after public hearings.

The charter change would also allow Council to expand or even eliminate term limits in the future simply by passing an ordinance, without a referendum.

The bill is sure to meet resistance from Goode’s 16 colleagues, 13 of whom are in their third term – or well beyond it.

President Anna C. Verna has been on Council since 1976, Majority Leader Marian B. Tasco since 1988, and Minority Leader Brian J. O’Neill and Councilwoman Joan L. Krajewski since 1980.

Goode is in his third term.

His proposal would not limit a person to three terms. After 12 years, a member could take off a term before coming back and seeking election for three more terms.

Philadelphia has a two-term limit for the mayor’s office. Mayor Frank Rizzo and his supporters tried to change the charter in 1978 to allow him to run for a third term, but voters soundly rejected the move.

As for convincing his colleagues, Goode noted that he had introduced a campaign-finance-reform bill in September 2003 with only one cosponsor, Blondell Reynolds Brown. Three months later, he was able to override a veto by Mayor John F. Street with 12 votes.

Goode said no Council members were aware that he was introducing the bill today. He discussed it only on condition that news of it not be released before this morning.

The bill recognizes “the new independent politics” that brought nonvoters to the polls in 2008, Goode said.

“The issue is simply whether we are representing the people who vote, or who don’t vote, particularly in light of the fact that those people came out to vote for a first-year senator and elected him president of the United States,” Goode said. “That’s the new independent politics.”

Chicago is alone among the nation’s top 10 cities without a term limit of some kind, according to U.S. Term Limits, a nonprofit in Fairfax, Va., that advocates for federal, state, and local term limits.

Support will have to come from the public, said Ray Wotring, spokesman for U.S. Term Limits.

“It’s kind of one of those things – everybody but politicians and lobbyists and special interests,” he said, “love the issue.”

Roswell OK's Term Limits
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Thursday 28 January 2010 11:33 AM

From NorthFulton.com

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ROSWELL – In Roswell Mayor Jere Wood’s first term, after unseating 30-year incumbent W.L. “Pug” Mabry, he thought mayoral term limits would be a good idea. The City Council at the time rejected the idea.

At the start of Wood’s fourth term, he reintroduced a resolution again to limit the mayoral terms. This time the council took him up on it at its Jan. 20 council meeting. Since by statute, term limits cannot be retroactive, Wood’s fourth term does not count. Therefore Wood himself could serve until 2026.

“I think that as an institution, we should limit the terms of the mayor. It is very easy to stay in office if you don’t take any positions. Forty-nine percent of the voters [in the last election] said I should move on already,” Wood said.

Wood said he thought term limits would encourage a mayor to have an agenda and pursue it. Conversely, he did not see the need to limit council positions. He said he has seen a steady turnover on council that allows for a mixture of experience and fresh ideas.

Wood had initially asked for a limit of two terms, but some on the council voiced concerns. Councilwoman Nancy Diamond wondered if two terms were enough for a mayor to accomplish an agenda. Orlans said the mayor and council all had term limits already, set by the voter.

“They are the ones who ought to have the say in goes and who stays,” he said.

In the end, the compromise was for three terms.

All members of Roswell’s appointed members of boards and commissions will also be limited to three consecutive terms. The idea again is to bring fresh blood on board with new ideas.

Former members could return after a hiatus, just as a three-term mayor could after sitting out an election.

A Modest Proposal for the Fed: Term Limits for Chairmen
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Wednesday 27 January 2010 1:05 PM

From Wall Street Journal

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Ben Bernanke’s bloody confirmation battle is yet another sign that Congress, and the public more broadly, are looking for change at the nation’s central bank. Congress is playing with many different ideas for how to do that: 1) Fire Mr. Bernanke by denying him a second term (something that’s looking less likely as pledges of ‘yes’ votes from the Senate trickle in); 2) Strip the Fed of its power to regulate banks; 3) Give Congress’s Government Accountability Office the power to audit Fed decisions; 4) Give Congress more say on the governance of regional Fed banks. Each of these ideas has a flaw … GAO audits, for instance, could invite congressional meddling on tough decisions about raising interest rates. Taking regulation away from the Fed isn’t necessarily going to make regulation better.

Here’s a proposal that hasn’t come up, but maybe ought to be on the table: Term limits for Fed chairmen. Two terms, eight years, and then you step down to a governor’s job, which gets 14 years, or leave.

It has the merit of addressing a problem that may actually have helped to cause the crisis. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan ran the Fed for nineteen years. Critics make the argument that the Fed became complacent during the latter years of his reign, keeping interest rates too low for too long, treating banks with light-touch regulation and underestimating building risks in the financial system. Because the economy seemed to do so well for so long, it became harder over time to second-guess the approach championed by Mr. Greeenspan. One example: Edward Gramlich, the late former Fed governor, tried to raise alarms about subprime mortgages, but he got nowhere.

If the Fed chairman were subjected to a limit of two terms it could help ensure that one person or set of views wouldn’t come to dominate the central bank again. It would be a simple move that voters would understand and populists would likely appreciate. It’s hard to see how it would threaten the Fed’s cherished independence – if anything it would insulate the Fed from political meddling because a chairman would know that there would be no point to pleasing political masters because the job runs out after eight years. The presidency of the European Central Bank runs for eight years – and that seems to be working well.

It fits in with the more consensus-driven approach that Mr. Bernanke has built over four years. On a personal level, if he gets another four years on the job, it’s hard to imagine him wanting even more after that.

“It would accomplish the goal of giving the public a greater sense of oversight without creating undue political influence,” says Simon Gilchrist, a Boston University economist and specialist on central banking. “It would also have the benefit of forcing the Fed to be more articulate about its specific goals and policies,” he said, because it would de-emphasize the power of single chairman.

Marvin Goodfriend, former director of research at the Richmond Fed official who is now a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, is less enthusiastic. “Imposing term limits on a central bank chairman is not necessary or sufficient to produce effective monetary policy independence,” he says.

School Choice Advocates: Beware Washington
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, School Choice
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| Thursday 21 January 2010 1:30 PM

From The CATO Institute

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The Brookings Institution will release a new school choice policy guide on February 2nd, and from the sound of it, children, parents, taxpayers, and the authors themselves should be concerned.  The guide will provide:

a series of practical and novel recommendations for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including national chartering of virtual education providers; expanding the types of information collected on school performance; providing incentives for low-performing school districts to increase choice and competition; and creating independent school choice portals to aid parents in choosing between schools.

The goals these recommendations are meant to achieve are entirely laudable, but there are three reasons for serious concern:

1)  The Constitution delegates to the federal government no power to provide or regulate education services

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, except in the execution of its explicitly enumerated powers. So the Supreme Court can ensure that state education programs abide by the Fourteenth Amendment, for example, but Congress cannot “charter virtual education providers.” Of course the federal government has been transgressing the limits on its education powers for more than half a century, but no one who supports the rule of law can condone that transgression, much less its expansion.

2)  From a regulatory standpoint, Washington is the worst level of government at which to implement an education program

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. National education programs impose a single set of rules on every participating provider in the country. Get those rules wrong — either up front or down the road — and you not only hobble the effectiveness of every single provider, but you eliminate the possibility of comparing outcomes between providers operating under different sets of rules. In essence you lose the ability to distinguish between different “treatments” — to determine what helps and what is harmful to the service’s overall success.

3)  We have ample evidence about the quality of education programs implemented by the federal government. For example, after 45 years and $166 billion, Head Start has just been proven entirely ineffective

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. (See also the NCLB paper linked to in “1)”, above). Once again, this problem is exacerbated by the all-encompassing nature of federal programs. Get them wrong and you get them wrong for every participating student, everywhere in the country. With variation in programs among states, by contrast, we not only have the ability to compare the merits of alternative approaches, we have powerful incentives for states to get their programs right. Just as tax competition drives businesses from one state or nation to another, so, too, can education policy competition. States with better policies will attract businesses and more mobile residents from states with worse ones, eventually compelling the inferior policy states to redress their errors.  We’re just beginning to see the prospects for this now, as school choice programs proliferate and grow at the state level, and introducing national programs that might well interfere with this process would be a disastrous mistake.

I hope that school choice advocates, including those who have contributed to the forthcoming Brookings report, will weigh these concerns.

Obama’s “Kiss of Death” In Massachusetts
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Posted by Howard Rich | Columns
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| Thursday 21 January 2010 9:03 AM

It’s been a time of Tea parties throughout America, but did anyone really believe that the limited government movement that’s sweeping across the country would arrive at the site of the original Tea party so soon?

Massachusetts? In “red?”

No matter how hard his diminishing flock of supporters tries to spin it, you can thank Barack Obama for that – not only for advancing an overreaching socialist agenda that has galvanized supporters of freedom and free markets like never before, but also for failing to motivate voters inclined to support him and his candidates.

In fact, his campaigning in Massachusetts backfired from the start – turning his endorsement into the “kiss of death.”

Consider for a moment the political impenetrability of this Democratic stronghold: Until yesterday, Massachusetts hadn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972. Not a single member of the state’s Congressional delegation was a member of the GOP. Barack Obama carried the state by 26% just fourteen months ago, and he ostensibly enjoys a 60% approval rating there.

That’s as blue a state as you’re ever going to find, and polling numbers leading up to this year’s U.S. Senate special election gave no indication that anything was going to change.

As recently as three weeks ago, in fact, underfunded and largely unknown Republican State Sen. Scott Brown trailed popular Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley by 17%. Back in November – when voters in Virginia and New Jersey were making their voices heard regarding the Obama agenda – Brown trailed Coakley by 31%.

Clearly the rest of America was slipping away from Obama and his Congressional allies, but not Massachusetts. Never Massachusetts, right?

Over the last two weeks, though, something amazing happened – an “independent voice” began to be heard, first faintly, but soon growing louder and ultimately reaching such a crescendo that it drowned out a noisy din of far left attack rhetoric.

Obama turned independents turned into “decideds” against Coakley – as these voters turned a deaf ear to him and to the millions of dollars worth of desperate noise coming from his political machine, which was supposed to be above that sort of “partisan politics.”

In addition to silencing Obama’s left-wing attack dogs, this “independent voice” also drowned out the “popular” President himself, as Obama’s last-ditch effort to save the flailing Coakley campaign resulted in the sudden, decisive end of a filibuster-proof “Obamajority” in the U.S. Senate.

When Obama made the decision to lay it on the line and campaign in Massachusetts, the race was a statistical dead heat, with surveys showing Coakley ahead by one or two points. By the time Obama had returned to Washington, D.C., Brown had opened up a nine-point lead – a margin even Obama’s vaunted union volunteer army and ACORN-led ground game would be unable to erase.

Clearly, the 40% of Bay State residents who claim to oppose Obama turned out to vote in droves, while a significant portion of the 60% who claim to support him either stayed home or ignored his advice.

To fully appreciate Obama’s “kiss of death” in Massachusetts, we need to back up and look at the broader, national picture.

In November 2008 Obama won Virginia by 6% – yet a year later Republicans stormed to a 60-40% victory in the state’s gubernatorial contest, a 26% swing. In 2008 Obama won New Jersey by nearly 16% – but a year later Republicans unexpectedly captured the state’s Governor’s Office by 5%, a 21% swing.

In New Jersey, Obama campaigned aggressively on behalf of incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine, who promptly went on to become the first Democrat to lose a statewide office in the Garden State in 12 years. The same dynamic was at work there: Anti-Obama voters came out in force, while Obama supporters stayed home.

Obviously, much has been made of the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts by a 3-to-1 margin.

That’s true, but independent voters outnumber supporters of both parties. In fact, 51% of Massachusetts voters describe themselves as “unaffiliated” compared to 37% who call themselves Democrats and 12% who describe themselves as Republicans.

According to the results of a new nationwide poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC, Obama’s job approval rating among independents has slipped to 41% – or 12% below what it was a year ago. 1

“My message to my clients? Jump ship now,” one Democratic pollster told the Washington Post. “Obama can’t help you.”2

Indeed. At this point, his support is the “kiss of death.”

Choice Education Chiefs
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, School Choice
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| Thursday 21 January 2010 7:16 AM

From Wall Street Journal

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Kudos to the country’s two newest governors, Republicans Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Chris Christie of New Jersey, who have tapped strong school choice advocates to head their state education departments.

Last week, Mr. McDonnell chose Gerald Robinson to become Virginia’s next Secretary of Education. Mr. Robinson currently heads the Black Alliance for Educational Options, a national nonprofit that backs charter schools and performance pay for teachers. Meanwhile, Mr. Christie has picked former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler to serve as his state’s next education commissioner. Mr. Schundler is an unabashed supporter of using education vouchers and charter schools to improve the plight of urban school districts.

This is good news for all school children in both states, but it’s especially auspicious for low-income kids stuck in failing schools who have the most to gain from a state education official who is unafraid to shake up the establishment. Virginia has a grand total of three charter schools, one of the lowest numbers in the nation. New Jersey spends more money per pupil than all but two states, yet test scores in Newark and Jersey City are among the worst in the country.

Messrs. Robinson and Schundler have records that show a willingness to butt heads with teachers unions and other protectors of this status quo, but they’ll also need political cover from their bosses. Asked if Mr. Schundler’s selection was intended as a message to the local teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, Mr. Christie replied, “I don’t think the appointment of Bret Schundler sends any signal to the NJEA. The election of Chris Christie sends a message to the NJEA.”

A push to limit government's use of 'eminent domain'
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, Property Rights
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| Friday 15 January 2010 4:14 PM

From The Olympian

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State Attorney General Rob McKenna kicked off his legislative campaign to toughen state eminent domain laws today.

He held a press conference at the Legislative Building with property owners who have had their land taken, and others who want to see state law changed to make it harder for government to take property, then turn it over to private development.

House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, joined McKenna, a Republican, at the event, telling a story about how her sister’s home was condemned to make way for Interstate 5. The government’s actions were a bit heavy handed, to hear Kessler tell it.

House Bill 2425 and Senate Bill 6200 capture McKenna’s proposals for prohibiting the use of eminent domain for economic development. He has proposed it as a response to the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case in Kelo v. New London (Connecticut).

HB 2423 and SB 6199 capture his proposal to take away ambiguous language about “blight” in the Community Renewal Law. He said a 1960s court ruling had opened the door to wider use of it, and more recent instances include a decision by the city of Auburn to condemn a large area for development. He also mentioned a case in Lakewood where the land still isn’t developed despite a condemnation action.

Conservative groups including the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, the Institute for Justice and Washington Policy Center were part of McKenna’s event, and so was John Fuji, whose family owned the infamous “sinking ship” parking garage that the Seattle Monorail condemned for a station and private development (the state Supreme Court sided with the Monorail shortly before voters pulled the plug on the Monorail).

Scott Roberts, property rights director for EFF, said in a news release that McKenna was “slow to the party” on the Kelo case, noting 43 states have done reform since then.

Roberts, a former realty salesman and Thurston County Republican chairman, said he hopes McKenna “continues to work on making condemnation fair to property owners. Issues such as information provided to property owners, damages subsequent to condemnation, and appraisals all need to be addressed in detail.”

Michelle Dupler of our sister paper, the Tri-City Herald, is doing a story on McKenna’s efforts to change the law, which we hope to run in the morning paper.

Time for term limits
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Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
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, Term Limits
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| Friday 15 January 2010 2:25 PM

From The Citizen

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Back to the future — or something like that.

The last time Americans got wound up about the assorted misfeasances and incompetencies of the U.S. Congress, the national conversation opened itself to the possibility of term limits for the members.

That’s to say, no member could serve more than “X” number of consecutive terms. On completing that sacrosanct number, the member would remove from his office all photos, plaques and testaments to his indispensability. He would suddenly become dispensable — another way of saying human.

This was in the early ‘90s, when incrusted Democrats had a choke-hold on the House of Representatives (though not the Senate). There was then a head of steam for measures to make lawmakers quit at a time predetermined so that — as a catch phrase had it — they could return home to live under the laws they had made.

There was a lot of sentimentality and naivete to the notion. First in line was the belief that the turkeys would vote for Thanksgiving. Why on earth should the great and powerful dull their own magnificence by agreeing to quit at a date specified and turn the job over to others?

A second consideration was, why assume they’d go home to live under their own laws when imperial Washington offered so many temptations — contracts, say, for lobbying or jobs in the presidential administration?

Term limits made some headway here and there around the country, e.g., California, but in Washington, all it generally excited was personal pledges and expressions of ambiguous sentiment.

Comes 2010. It would seem time philosophically, leave aside practically, to slap a little paint on the matter and exhibit it once more in the sunshine. Permit an old hand in the term limits cheering section to suggest that members of both parties, in both houses of Congress, would benefit from legal, not just moral, limitations as to the time permitted them in a particular national office. More to the point, the country would likely benefit.

As I say, don’t bet the mortgage on early enactment of term limits. On the other hand, with a Rasmussen poll showing nearly half of Americans believe people randomly picked from the telephone directory would make better laws than the present Congress, let us not overestimate the public’s veneration for ancient behavioral patterns.

The term limits movement of almost two decades ago latched onto a fundamental truth about human nature and politics, to wit, when people stay too long in power, they tend to get rusty, bored and corrupt. They see themselves as politically immortal, when their own feet are just as clay-caked as anyone else’s. At this point, what would refresh them better than rest — a change of scenery and vocation.

Cincinnatus, back in the fifth century B.C., had it about right when twice he accepted an invitation to become dictator during local emergencies, then, when everything was under control, resigned — went back to the plow he had earlier left. It was a precedent that George Washington followed, consciously perhaps, when he returned to Mount Vernon upon helping the new republic launch itself.

Renunciation is the virtue that slashes like a kitchen knife when seized. Members of Congress, immersed in their privileges and perquisites, aren’t the renouncing kind. Aides, lobbyists, reporters, sycophants of one sort or another give Sen. A or Congressman B the most subversive gift possible — the big head. Yes, sir (it goes), he’s the man, she’s the woman, gotta stay in there, can’t quit now, no, can’t quit ever, where’s that phone, got to make some fundraising calls.

A term limits law, or constitutional amendment, wouldn’t save the country from egoism, stupidity and the lust for eternal power (cf. California). It might at that mitigate the severest consequences of eternal staying on, in the manner of West Virginia’s 92-year-old Robert Byrd or, for that matter, Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts’ permanent senator until the divine quorum call reached him after 47 years.

As the old saying goes, there oughta be a law. Really.

Green Jobs, Red Ink, Pink Slips
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Posted by Howard Rich | Columns
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| Thursday 14 January 2010 10:13 AM

The “New Socialism” – as columnist Charles Krauthammer adroitly calls the global governmental power grab and wealth redistribution schemes lurking beneath the “green economy” – has kicked into high gear in Washington, D.C. already this year.

Struggling to respond to a surprisingly bad December jobs report – and struggling to explain the clear failure of President Barack Obama’s massive bureaucratic bailout to stimulate the economy – U.S. government officials are turning to a familiar refrain, “green jobs.”

Of course, this familiar song and dance ignores the fact that a huge chunk of the failed “stimulus” went to fund these jobs in the first place.

Undeterred by this lack of stimulation – as well as the ongoing unraveling of the climate change myth – Obama’s “solution” to this crisis is apparently to continue doing what hasn’t worked.

In fact, the red ink had yet to dry on the Department of Labor’s latest disappointing employment data before Obama was in front of a Teleprompter announcing that the U.S. government was going to spend another $2.3 billion on tax credits for “green jobs.”

He also challenged the U.S. Congress to approve $5 billion worth of additional “green manufacturing” tax credits.

Obama is clearly seeking to move beyond picking winners and losers in the marketplace (another proven non-starter), as these sorts of policies represent government manipulation of the marketplace at a very macroeconomic level. In the case of “green jobs,” government is mandating (and subsidizing) the creation of inefficient, unreliable and in some cases totally nonexistent sources of energy – all of which in turn creates a net cost to the economy that isn’t being recouped.

Exacerbating the problem would be the Obama administration’s proposed “cap and trade” energy tax hike and a series of sweeping new EPA carbon regulations. Not surprisingly, these new EPA mandates are likely to become even more sweeping in the event Congress doesn’t give Obama the carbon tax revenue he desperately needs to continue funding his unprecedented government expansionism.

In spite of all this, Obama maintains that “cap and trade” is all about creating jobs, even as it would dramatically increase energy costs on families and small businesses across the country while putting dozens – if not hundreds – of larger companies out of business.

Take the example of Spain, which Obama has repeatedly cited as a blueprint for America’s “green jobs” effort.

According to a recent study from Juan Carlos University in Madrid, the only “green jobs” in the Spanish economy are vanishing ones – specifically the 2.2 jobs that the country has lost for each “green job” that has been created.

“Spain’s experience (cited by President Obama as a model) reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created,” the study’s author Dr. Gabriel Calzada concluded. 1

In other words, “green jobs” are adding to the pile of pink slips in more ways than one.

Not surprisingly, Obama is pushing these positions as another form of payback to the union bosses who supported his 2008 presidential campaign.

For example in Maryland this month, a $4.6 million “stimulus” grant was presented to a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) partnership to fund “new and emerging green jobs in the healthcare industry.” That same week, the Department of Labor doled out $100 million in grants to “support green job training programs to help dislocated workers and others, including veterans, women, African Americans and Latinos, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations.”

Among the recipients of this money? Unions like SEIU, UAW, United Steelworkers and Communications Workers of America, just to name a few.

So while “green jobs” may be replenishing union bank accounts, they’re only drowning this country deeper in red ink while showering pink slips on workers who simply want government to get out of the way so they can get back to doing their jobs.

Only in Washington, D.C. is that called that a “stimulus.”

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