The Republican Study Committee has had a solidly conservative stimulus alternative out for a week.
And the GOP Whip’s office sends a Republican alternative that will be handed to President Obama:
President Obama asked House Republicans for their input on the stimulus bill. In addition to some of the worthwhile policies already included, such as net operating loss carryback and expensing for small businesses, House Republicans are proposing:
Immediate Tax Relief for Working Families:
Rather than a refundable credit based on payroll taxes, House Republicans propose reducing the lowest individual tax rates from 15% to 10% and from 10% to 5%. As a result every taxpaying-family in America will see an immediate increase in their income with an average benefit of $500 in tax relief from the drop in the 10% bracket and $1,200 for the drop in the 15% bracket. A married couple filing jointly could save up to $3,200 a year in taxes.
Ø The two lowest tax rates in America are 10% and 15%. Every taxpayer pays income taxes beginning at the 10% rate.
Ø 105.2 million tax returns paid tax at the 10% rate, including:
o 44.9 million married couples, and
o 13.5 million heads of households
Ø A married couple pays 10% of their income in taxes on their first $16,700 in income
Ø Lowering the 10% rate to 5% would result in an average tax cut of $500
Ø In addition to the taxes they paid at the 10% rate, an additional 79.0 million tax returns paid tax at the 15% rate, including:
o 37.5 million married couples, and
o 7.7 million heads of households
Ø A married couple pays 15% of their income in taxes on their income between $16,700 and $67,900
Ø Lowering the tax rate from 15% to 10% would result in an average tax cut of $1,157
Help for America’s Small Businesses:
Small businesses (those employing less than 500 individuals) employ about half of all Americans, yet they can be subject to tax rates that siphon away one-third or more of their income. House Republicans propose to allow small business to take a tax deduction equal to a 20% of their income. This will immediately free up funds for small businesses to retain and hire new employees.
Ø Small Businesses, those with 500 or fewer employees:
o Represent 99.9 percent of the 27.2 million businesses in America
o Employ about half of all private sector employees
o In 2005 they created 979,102 net new jobs, or 78.9 percent of new jobs
Ø Irrespective of whether they pay taxes at the corporate or individual level, small businesses can pay up to 35% of their income in taxes to the federal government
o The United States business tax rate ranks the 29th highest (out of 30) among the major economies of the world
o The only country with a higher tax rate is Japan
No Tax Increases to Pay for Spending:
The stimulus proposal pending in Congress includes record levels of government spending that will substantially increase the current deficit. House Republicans are concerned that this level of spending will result in some proposing near-term tax increases on American families. House Republicans are insisting that any stimulus package include a provision precluding any tax increases now or in the future to pay for this new spending. House Republicans believe that any stimulus spending should be paid for by reducing other government spending, not raising taxes.
Ø With a $1 trillion deficit this year – before we even consider a stimulus bill, and with a $10.6 trillion national debt, we can’t afford to borrow money and waste it
Ø Once the additional costs of stimulus legislation are added, the deficit rises to 12% of GDP, twice the current post WW II record
Ø Speaker Pelosi has already stated this year that she is in favor of raising taxes “as soon as possible.” (Paul Kane, “Pelosi Urges Obama To Raise Taxes On Wealthy This Year,” The Washington Post, 1/8/09)
Assistance for the Unemployed:
Incredibly, the Federal Government actually imposes income taxes on an individual receiving unemployment benefits. House Republicans are proposing to make unemployment benefits tax free so that those individuals between jobs can focus on providing for their families.
Ø As a result of the taxation of unemployment benefits, unemployed Americans forfeit approximately 11% of their unemployment benefits to the Federal Government
Stabilizing Home Values:
The real-estate market is paralyzed as potential buyers wait on the sidelines expecting prices to fall even further. This is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to encourage responsible buyers to enter the market and stabilize prices, House Republicans are proposing a home-buyers credit of $7,500 for those buyers who can make a minimum down-payment of 5%.
Ø Even though prices on homes have been falling, sales have also fallen
Ø At the current rate that homes are being sold in the U.S. it would take over 11 months to sell all the homes currently on the market, and that assumes no new homes go up for sale
Okay, maybe it’s not that earth shattering, but pretty close!
Rolling Stone Magazine actually published an article that speaks lowly of ::gasp:: Democrats ::swoons::! I know, right? Did you feel the earth move too?
While it’s not ground-breaking, hard-hitting news, here’s an excerpt of what the Ragish – I mean Rolling – Stone has to say about Governor Blagojevich and the Democrats handling of him:
God knows if any of this is the president’s fault, but in their handling of the preposterous scandal surrounding Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic Party leaders under Barack Obama have brought us all hurtling back to the nightmarish prevarication of the Clinton years — those horrifying days when the party’s enduring inability to act decisively allowed Barnum-esque con men like Ken Starr to hold all of America hostage.
From Fox News:
President Obama will issue an executive order on Thursday reversing the Bush administration policy that bans the use of federal dollars by non-govermental organizations that discuss or provide abortions outside of the United States.
Obama will sign the executive order on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.
The policy, known in governmental circles as the “Mexico City policy,” requires any non-governmental organization to agree before receiving U.S. funds that they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”
You can read the rest of the article here.
But even with this refusal is a built in “excuse”.
Vincent Amaluy, director of photography for North and South America for AFP, said he suspected first-day confusion was more at play than an attempt to clamp down on access.
“We are hopeful of negotiating an amicable solution,” Oreskes said.
The Senate Finance Committee is currently made up of:
MAX BAUCUS, MT CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV ORRIN G. HATCH, UT
KENT CONRAD, ND JON KYL, AZ
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM JIM BUNNING, KY
JOHN F. KERRY, MA MIKE CRAPO, ID
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR PAT ROBERTS, KS
RON WYDEN, OR JOHN ENSIGN, NV
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI MIKE ENZI, WY
MARIA CANTWELL, WA JOHN CORNYN, TX
BILL NELSON, FL
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ
THOMAS CARPER, DE
From a New York Times report:
The five senators who voted “no” are all Republicans: Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming.
Mr. Kyl was Mr. Geithner’s chief antagonist on the tax issue. “He has not been as candid with me or the committee as I think he should have been,” Mr. Kyl said.
Mr. Enzi said, “I’m really disappointed that we’re even voting on this,” adding that past nominees for office have been disqualified for lesser infractions.
And here are those who bent over:
Mr. Geithner’s abilities and credentials were never at issue, and even those conservative Republicans who differ with Mr. Geithner ideologically said they were glad to support him.
“I’m not sure he comes from where I come from, but he’s the president’s nominee,” said Senator Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said he was sure Mr. Geithner was “a person of great integrity, even though he’s made these mistakes,” an allusion to the back-taxes issue. Mr. Hatch praised Mr. Geithner as “non-ideological, which to me is very important.”
Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said he was “willing to give Mr. Geithner the benefit of the doubt” on his tax mistakes. But, he added pointedly, he was not willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the so-called “masters of the universe,” apparently meaning the once-mighty Wall Street figures who have borne much of the blame for the current economic troubles.
The other Republicans who endorsed Mr. Geithner were Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and John Ensign of Nevada.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans.
I’m just saying…
At Fox News, inauguration day looked like the first afternoon a Negro used the local country club tennis courts following a legal settlement.
While there were many forced smiles and obligatory discussions of this “historic” day, there was just as much complaining about the size of the event, the expense involved, and the number of celebrities in attendance. We kept waiting for someone to blurt out, “We don’t mind having a black couple in the White House, but do they need to be so uppity about it?”
Now, if by “they” HuffPo means The Obamas – well, I couldn’t agree less. I think the Obamas were extremely gracious through the inauguration. If they mean the Obamamaniacs…. well, let’s just review the definition of uppity, shall we?
From Merriam-Webster Online:
One entry found.
Main Entry: up·pi·ty
Etymology: probably from up + -ity (as in persnickity, variant of persnickety)
: putting on or marked by airs of superiority : arrogant , presumptuous
— up·pi·ti·ness also up·pi·ty·ness noun
Now, shall we take a look at some of the Obamamaniacs?
There are a multitude of other examples, but most of those who would bother to look at them have already seen them and know what I’m talking about.
I’m just saying…
Oh, that evil, uppity, white man!
Our country? The black race? Just who is this “our” whose future is just now starting?
I think we just ended being a nation and started a civil unrest. So much for the quality of unity present in our 44th POTUS.
I’m just saying…
The New York Times Reports:
Obama Is to Report on Blagojevich Contacts
By JEFF ZELENY
Published: December 22, 2008
HONOLULU — President-elect Barack Obama plans Tuesday to release an internal review of the communications that his advisers had with the office of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, who is accused by federal prosecutors of seeking favors in exchange for filling Mr. Obama’s vacant Senate seat.
Did anyone else notice they did not continually refer to “His Oneness” as The President-Elect, but as MR. ??
Mr. Obama, who is on vacation with his family here in Hawaii, is not planning to answer questions or speak publicly about the report. The review, prepared by lawyers for the Obama transition team, will highlight the telephone calls and contacts that a small circle of Mr. Obama’s advisers had with aides to Mr. Blagojevich last month. It is scheduled to be released Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, aides said.
The report, according to three people familiar with its findings, is a memorandum that will lay out a narrative in about a dozen paragraphs the limited contact Mr. Obama’s advisers had with the governor’s office. Mr. Obama said last week that it was “frustrating” not to be able to answer questions, but said his review had found that his advisers were not involved in any inappropriate talks about the Senate seat.
Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman selected by Mr. Obama as his White House chief of staff, had a handful of contacts with the governor’s office. At least two other names also are expected to be mentioned in the review, including Michael Strautmanis, a longtime aide to Mr. Obama who once worked for Mr. Blagojevich.
Valerie Jarrett, a close friend to the Obama family who is a co-chairwoman of the transition effort, could also be referred to in the report. Her name was raised as a possible candidate for the Senate seat, but she withdrew from consideration last month and took a position in the White House.
The report, and the timing of its release, was a product of cooperation from the office of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who is leading the federal investigation into Mr. Blagojevich. But according to people familiar with the report, lawyers who compiled the Obama review did not have access to wiretapped telephone conversations between Obama aides and the governor’s office.
Last week, Mr. Fitzgerald asked the Obama transition team to delay the release of its report so prosecutors could interview witnesses in the Blagojevich investigation. The office had yet to complete its interviews late last week, people familiar with the case said, and asked the Obama team not to release its report on Monday.
It is unknown whether one of the leading unanswered questions will be resolved: Did Mr. Obama, through his aides, give Mr. Blagojevich a list of preferred candidates for the Senate seat?
At a news conference three days after the election, Mr. Obama said he was staying out of the matter. “There are going to be a lot of good choices out there,” he said, “but it is the governor’s decision to make, not mine.”
Gregory B. Craig, the incoming White House counsel, helped prepare the report that is set for release on Tuesday. He has worked with the United States Attorney’s Office, which has repeatedly suggested that Mr. Obama’s staff is not suspected of any wrongdoing.
But wait! Here’s the VERY BEST PART!
The Obama report may not be the final word on the case. The review was compiled from memory by Mr. Obama’s aides, rather than from recordings of any phone calls.
I know, right? I SNORTED when I read that part!!
The taped conversations, which were picked up through the court-approved wiretapping of Mr. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, will not become public until the case moves through the courts or goes to trial. Mr. Emanuel believes he was taped on a court-approved wiretap as he discussed the Senate seat, but has told associates he did not engage in any deal-making with Mr. Blagojevich.
And even THIS won’t appease the far-left. Now they are unhappy because Obama has invited Rick Warren to speak at his inauguration.
Another case of people wanting to be equal – only more so.
I’m just sayin’…
The trouble with Obama’s energy czar
by Michelle Malkin
Yet another Clintonite has been wheeled out of the political morgue to serve in the Obama administration. Carol Browner, a neon green radical who headed the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993-2000, is widely rumored to be the president-elect’s choice for “energy czar.” But an ethical cloud still hangs over Browner’s EPA legacy. It doesn’t take a team of Ivy League-degreed lawyers to figure out that this is one more headache the Hope and Change crew doesn’t need.
In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, let me dust off the cobwebs and help out all the smarty-pants vetters on the Obama team with a little background on Browner’s stained past:
On her last day in office, nearly eight years ago, Browner oversaw the destruction of agency computer files in brazen violation of a federal judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. This from a public official who bragged about her tenure: “One of the things I’m the proudest of at EPA is the work we’ve done to expand the public’s right to know.”
Asked to explain her track-covering actions, the savvy career lawyer Browner played dumb. Figuratively batting her eyelashes, she claimed she had no clue about a court injunction signed by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on the same day she commanded an underling to wipe her hard drives clean. Golly gee willikers, how could that have slipped by her?
According to testimony in a freedom of information lawsuit filed against EPA by the Landmark Legal Foundation, a Virginia-based conservative legal watchdog group, Browner commanded a computer technician on Jan. 19, 2001: “‘I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files.” Not coincidentally, the Landmark Legal Foundation had been pressing Browner to fully and publicly disclose the names of any special interest groups that may have influenced her wave of last-minute regulatory actions. Two days before she told her technician to purge all her records, EPA had gone to court to file a motion opposing the federal court injunction protecting those government documents.
Plausible deniability? Not bloody likely.
Incredibly, Browner asserted that there was no work-related material on her work computer. She explained she was merely cleaning the hard drive of computer games she had downloaded for her son, and that she wanted to expunge the hard drive as a “courtesy” to the incoming Bush administration. How thoughtful. Later, her agency admitted that three other top EPA officials had their computers erased despite the federal court order and ongoing FOIA case (the record is silent on whether Browner’s son was playing games on their desktops, too). A further belated admission revealed that the agency had failed to search Browner’s office for public documents as required by Landmark’s public disclosure lawsuit.
Not only were all the top officials’ hard drives cleared and reformatted, but e-mail backup tapes were erased and reused in violation of records preservation practices.
After a two-year legal battle, Judge Lamberth finally held the EPA in contempt of court for the systemic file destruction – actions Lambert lambasted as “contumacious conduct” (obstinate resistance to authority). As is typical in Washington, Browner weaseled out of any serious repercussions. Lamberth inexplicably decided that slapping the agency as a whole with contempt – rather than any individual – would deter future cover-ups.
Is this a gamble the Obama administration wants to take? Browner has crossed the line and violated public trust before in her capacity as eco-chief. Early in her first term as EPA head, Browner got caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to over 100 grassroots environmental lobbying organizations. Browner exploited her office to orchestrate a political campaign by left-wing groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform. These are the very same groups – anti-business, anti-sound science, pro-eco-hysteria – that Browner would be working arm in arm with as Obama’s “energy czar.”
This is regression we can’t afford.
The President’s Cabinet
The purpose of the Cabinet is to advise the President on matters relating to the duties of their respective offices. As the President’s closest and most trusted advisors, members of the Cabinet attend weekly meetings with the President. The Constitution does not directly mention a “Cabinet,” but the Constitutional authority for a Cabinet is found in Article II, Section 2. The Constitution states that the President “may require the opinion, in writing of the principle officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.” The Constitution does not say which or how many executive departments should be created.
Who makes up the Cabinet?
The Cabinet traditionally includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments-the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General. Cabinet-level rank has also been given to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; the Director of the National Drug Control Policy; the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; and the U.S. Trade Representative.
When requested by the President, other officials are asked to attend these weekly meetings including, the President’s Chief of Staff, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, the Counselor to the President, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations.
How does one become a member of the Cabinet?
The 15 Secretaries from the executive departments are appointed by the President, and they must be confirmed by a majority vote (51 votes) of the Senate. They cannot be a member of Congress or hold any other elected office. Cabinet appointments are for the duration of the administration, but the President may dismiss any member at any time, without approval of the Senate. In addition, they are expected to resign when a new President takes office.