The 529: Record SOTU Backdown + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Wed 01/28/2015 by


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“Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – give us that precious jewel, and you may take every things else! Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.” –Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Convention, 1788


The 529: Record SOTU Backdown

Barack Obama set a new record for backing down on a “fairness” tax increase noted in his State of the Union. A week after Obama proposed “free” community college paid for by taxing 529 college savings accounts, the White House is dropping the idea of the tax. Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lobbied the president to drop the half-baked proposal, warning Obama it was a political blunder. Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Joe Biden, described the tax on 529s as “kicking a ball in your own goal.” Obama must have thought only rich people used 529s, as he put $240,000 into college savings for his daughters in 2007 alone. But according to the College Savings Foundation, the amount sitting in the average 529 is $19,774 – less than a tenth of Obama’s annual contribution. It’s the way 12 million American families prepare for college. You could call it “middle-class economics.” But Robert Tracinski argues that the Left really is anti-middle class: “The truly committed leftist looks upon our private savings as a vast reserve of capital unfairly withheld from its proper function of servicing the needs of the state.” To the Left, all money belongs to the government. More…

Who’s Up for a GOP Immigration Lawsuit?

Congressional Republicans haven’t exactly been enthusiastic about challenging Barack Obama’s executive amnesty. But never fear – House Speaker John Boehner is borrowing a play from his ObamaCare attack: suing the president. The Daily Signal reports, “For Boehner to proceed, the House would have to approve a resolution authorizing him to take legal action on immigration, as it did last July in connection with a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act. According to a House GOP leadership aide, legal options include joining an already filed lawsuit from more than half of U.S. states on Obama’s executive action or filing a separate lawsuit.” The problem with legal action, says Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, is “Obama is not saying that [illegal immigrants] will never be removed. He’s just deferring action.” That could make all the difference in court if a judge gives Obama a wide berth for “prosecutorial discretion.” On the other hand, Obama’s power grab is quite clear – perhaps even clear enough for a judge to see and strike down. Plus, this allows Boehner to tell conservatives he’s doing everything he can to fight the president’s lawlessness. More…

Drilling in the Atlantic? Not So Fast

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that, while it would move to block drilling in significant portions of Alaska, it would seek to open some of the Atlantic Coast to drilling. But lest you celebrate a sane policy shift, The Washington Post reports, “Any drilling would be at least a decade away and likely subject to intense political and legal battles between industry backers and environmentalists worried about the risk of oil spills.” Furthermore, explained Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal, “Secretary Sally Jewell of the Interior Department stressed that this is the broadest plan that they’re going to consider. When it goes final in the next couple of years, they may whittle it down to something smaller than what they proposed today. … So I think the plan can only get narrower and given the president’s commitment to climate change, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ultimately took it out of the final plan, though at this point it’s far to early to say.” Indeed, the Left’s dedication to fighting climate change will derail many economically sound plans in the coming years.

U.S. Economic Freedom Suffers Under Obama

The United States’ ranking in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom rose slightly, but no thanks to the Obama administration. The survey conducted by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal still declares the U.S. only the 12th freest nation in the world, but there were gains when the government slowed its spending. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) says it was because Republicans in Congress, influenced by the Tea Party, reined in government. “I think it’s noteworthy that because of a new Republican Congress that took over in 2011,” Ryan said, “we brought some temper to the out of control spending that was happening here in Washington and as a result, it made us more free. That’s a good step in the right direction with many, many steps to follow.” Since Obama took office, the nation’s rank has fallen from 6th place to 12th, even as the rest of the world grows in its overall freedom. It’s a lesson the world is slowly learning and the Left refuses to recognize: The path to prosperity is through Liberty. More…

Obama to India: We Need You to Fight Climate Change

Speaking in India, Barack Obama returned to one of his favorite themes: climate change. And he needs India’s help. “I know the argument made by some – that it’s unfair for countries like the United States to ask developing nations and emerging economies like India to reduce your dependence on the same fossil fuels that helped power our growth for more than a century,” Obama said. “But here’s the truth: Even if countries like the United States curb our emissions, if countries that are growing rapidly like India with soaring energy needs don’t also embrace cleaner fuels, then we don’t stand a chance against climate change.” He’s right in a sense. Obama can cripple the U.S. economy all he likes, but if India and China don’t go along with his scheme, it’s all for naught in terms of reducing global emissions. But why would they go along? They know their economies can’t afford the huge hit, and, thus, they’ve rejected the deal.

For more, visit Right Hooks.


A special word of gratitude to my friend, June Scobee Rodgers, whom I profiled in a column, “Silver Linings.” Today marks the 29th anniversary of that day when our nation lost the STS-51L Challenger crew, and June lost her husband, Commander Dick Scobee. But June turned that tragedy into triumph, launching Challenger Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Learning Centers across the nation. Today also marks the 20th anniversary of Chattanooga’s Challenger STEM Center, a joint partnership with the University of Tennessee. More than 160,000 young students have now had their sights set high, and 46 other centers have been established. June is a model mentor for seeking and finding silver linings. Today we honor the crews of STS-107 Columbia and Apollo 1, and their families.


The Big, Bold Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke at Saturday’s Iowa Freedom Summit, where he repeated the need for “common sense conservative reform” and the need to “go big and go bold” if Republicans are to win in American politics today. His bold speech met an equally bold reception, and make no mistake: He’s launching his presidential bid.

The Hill headlined the event as “Scott Walker Takes Iowa by Storm,” and Rush Limbaugh complemented Walker’s “pedal-to-the-metal, wall-to-wall conservatism with charisma and bold ideas and solutions based on his own policies.” Walker’s message was music to the conservative crowd’s ears. He preached conservative principles, and his audience loved it.

Walker spoke about his experience with education in the Badger State, saying that now schools can hire the best teachers, and the teachers can be paid commensurate with their performance. He discussed the burden of excessive government and reducing red tape and enforcing common sense regulations. He also spoke about the need for tort reform, concealed carry and the castle doctrine.

Walker is known for his success as a conservative governor in a blue state. He turned the $2 billion budget deficit he inherited into a $1 billion surplus. And he did it the old fashioned way – by cutting taxes and cutting spending. Walker’s policies helped reduce unemployment from nearly 8% to 5.5%, created 100,000 jobs and raised per capita income by 9%. Furthermore, he achieved what most Republicans believed to be impossible: ending teacher tenure and collective bargaining for government employees.

And while he’s been governing his state, he’s also experienced the hellish heat of the Left’s most vicious attacks. Despised by the Leftmedia, he’s been a target any time he’s offended their sensibilities. His ending collective bargaining for public sector workers earned virulent hatred and even death threats against his family.

This may, however, work to Walker’s advantage. Few of his GOP primary opponents will have the experience standing up to a fierce Democrat assault to destroy his governorship and even to jail him.

In 2012, Democrat district attorneys launched a secret investigation of Walker. Their goal was to prove that “John Doe,” the code name they used for the governor, had received illegal campaign contributions. Walker and dozens of his friends and associates were smothered with subpoenas.

The investigation was nothing more than a witch hunt led primarily by Milwaukee DA John Chisholm. The pitch-fork-wielding mob took two shots in court, and two judges threw out charges citing a lack of evidence and misuse of prosecutorial powers.

Striking back, the Wisconsin Club for Growth filed a federal civil rights suit, alleging the DAs’ secret investigation and tactics are an unconstitutional abuse of Walker’s civil rights. But the DAs claim they’re immune from being sued. Meanwhile, the Leftmedia continue running misleading headlines about the “scandal” surrounding Walker.

More well known than the attempt to paint Walker as corrupt was the recall leftists mounted against Walker in 2012. With the media against him and out-of-state interests pouring money in to defeat him, it’s astounding that Walker defeated Tom Barrett by an even wider margin than his original election. In 2014, Walker was again victorious, this time over dishonest challenger Mary Burke.

He beat them in the polls, he beat them in the legislature and he beat them in the courts. Still, they aren’t finished. Walker’s desperate opponents are asking the Seventh Circuit Court to let them reopen the campaign investigation.

While Walker has yet to officially join the 2016 Republican field, we expect him to put up a good fight. He doesn’t have the support of the GOP establishment, which should encourage conservatives. Unfortunately, the lawsuit cost him and the conservative groups that support him a great deal of the money needed to fund his campaign. Walker will definitely appeal to conservative voters, especially over other candidates who are conservatives in name only. But money greases the way to power, and Walker’s lack of it makes his success questionable.

Deflating Climate Change

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is dominating the headlines amid allegations of cheating in his team’s 45-7 playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts last week. At least he was – Boston still is the subject of most newswires, but for the past two days that was thanks to an ironically well-timed blizzard, not Brady. The real DeflateGate, however, is Barack Obama’s negligence concerning foreign affairs while obsessing over things beyond his control. Last week, Yemen fell hostage to Islamic extremists, the latest in a string of countries whose leadership crumbled to radical uprisings. Nevertheless, terrorism’s expanding influence is not what the president chose to emphasize is civilization’s greatest threat during his State of the Union address. No, that would be a perpetual straw man – global warming.

Shortly after delivering self-congratulatory remarks on his counterterrorism policies, Obama proceeded in his SOTU address to declare, “No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Really, how crazy must one be to worry about getting blown to smithereens or having your throat slit by maniacal fundamentalists when the oceans might rise a bit within the next century? And here we thought the president already had that situation under control. In 2008, the story was that Obama’s inauguration would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Six years later, the world is going up in flames, and it’s not because of a man-made fever.

“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” said the lecturer in chief, a statistic that was the conclusion of a new report by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. According to NOAA, earth’s average temperature last year was 1.24°F above average – sea surface temperatures were the highest on record (1.03°F above average), while land temperatures came in fourth place (1.80°F above average).

Even if we take the government at its word and assume last year was indeed the warmest – since records began in the late 1800s, it’s important to note – the report lacked two particularly big disclaimers.

For starters, last week the Daily Mail revealed, “The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C. … As a result, GISS’s [Goddard Institute for Space Studies] director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted [government officials believe] the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent.” Incredibly, the trumpeted “consensus” appears suddenly irrelevant.

Second, Obama’s ensuing remark is simply unfounded: “Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.” According to Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellite data, the staple of modern temperature recordings, the globe has experienced no observable warming now for more than 18 years. NOAA omitted that inconvenient truth, however, because the nearly two-decade long hiatus doesn’t fit the narrative.

It seems Mother Nature presents a twist every time envirofascists open their petulant mouths – and indeed, drivers on Monday’s snarled I-95 corridor would have enjoyed some global warming. Tom Brady may be tossing under-inflated footballs, but the narcissist in chief has been prematurely spiking the ball ever since he entered the Oval Office, all while destroying our Liberty, one policy at a time. Unless America begins taking seriously the real DeflateGate, the only thing we’ll be left with is a Hail Mary.

For more, visit Right Analysis.


For more, visit Right Opinion.


Philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970): “The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being viewed dogmatically, they are held tentatively, with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”

Economist Walter E. Williams: “This year’s congressional efforts to reduce corporate income tax will create great opportunities for demagogues. The United States has the highest corporate income tax rate among the 34 industrialized nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The effect of high corporate taxes gives corporations incentives to lower their effective tax rates by engaging in activities that lower their competitiveness and to shift profits to foreign subsidiaries. Demagogues will claim that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter, which even MIT economists understand but might not publicly admit, is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in economics, called tax incidence, says the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear the full burden of the tax. Some of the tax burden is shifted to another party. If a tax is levied on a corporation – and if the corporation is to survive – it will have one of three responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends or lay off workers. The important point is that only people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, bear the burden of any tax. Corporations are merely government tax collectors.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “Over the weekend, the same president who boasted about increased oil and gas production days earlier in the State of the Union address … announced he wants to designate part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a wilderness, in effect taking billions of barrels of oil off the table. … A president who believed in negotiating might trade a ban on offshore arctic drilling for opening up ANWR, which would be much safer. He might also consult with Alaska’s political leaders, who passionately oppose Obama’s scheme. If Obama believed in negotiating, he would have used the Keystone pipeline as a bargaining chip. He would trade the higher taxes he (always) wants for tax reform. He would acknowledge that the GOP won an election in 2014 and that its interests matter. But negotiating requires acknowledging that people who disagree with you have a legitimate point of view. And such concessions to reality would take Obama out of his comfort zone. And anything outside of that is a no-go zone for this president.”

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