August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 | Commentary on Economy

Pelosi Wants Probe of Anti-mosque Conservatives

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) last week called for an investigation of conservatives who have expressed disgust about plans to build a 15-floor Islamic community center and mosque in New York City near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

“There is no question that there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some and I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” Pelosi said.

Clearly the speaker is out of touch with the average American on this controversial issue. One hopes that the speaker isn’t using her office to propose congressional investigations into the 1st Amendment free-speech right of all Americans to express an opinion on the proposed Ground Zero mosque.

Senator Patty Murray’s Wacko Math

Sen. Patty Murray (D.-Wash.) argued on the Senate floor that the $26.1 billion bailout of state Medicaid and state education programs would save 3,000 teacher jobs in her state. According to the News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., these numbers don’t add up. The paper reports that “a survey of districts conducted by the state Professional Educators Standards Board found that just 445 teachers statewide received reduction-in-force letters last spring.” So actually, the $10 billion the bill provides to states for a bailout of education would save only fewer than 450 jobs in Washington State.

The paper theorized that Murray came up with these numbers by using some congressional fuzzy math. “Since Washingtonians are a bit more than 2% of the nation’s population, we’ll get a bit more than 2% of the $10 billion appropriated for teacher jobs. Divide the average pay and benefits for a teacher into the $206 million and you get 3,300 jobs. From that, Murray extrapolates to claim thousands of threatened layoffs.” President Obama declared that this new law saved 160,000 teachers’ jobs nationally. This number was also made up using Washington-style accounting.

 The Obama Tax Increases of 2011

If Congress takes no action by the end of this year, it will be allowing the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. This inaction would lead to massive tax hikes on all Americans that deserve to be called the Obama Tax Increases of 2010. Many congressional leaders fear the political repercussions of allowing higher taxes to kick in, and conservatives should expect this issue to be intensely debated when Congress comes back into session in mid-September.

The President has proposed extending tax breaks for individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples under $250,000 a year, while allowing the 33% tax bracket to move to 35% and the 35% tax bracket to jump to 39%. There would be similar hikes in the capital gains and dividend tax rates. The Democratic congressional leadership is planning on a vastly broader tax increase, all this while small businesses and wealth-creating Americans are having a hard time trying to jump-start economy.

As J.D. Foster of The Heritage Foundation explains, the left believes that extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars because, “money belongs first to the government and citizens are permitted to keep some as an act of governmental beneficence.”

Conservatives believe that “failure to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will in reality cost an average of $366 billion each year over the next 10 years” for “the people who earned the money through their efforts, intelligence, and sometimes good fortune.” Average Americans don’t agree with progressives on the left who act as if taxpayers exist to continue the Obama Administration’s massive expansion of the federal government.

Stimulus for Propaganda

Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, put out a fascinating report last week alleging potential criminal conduct on the part of the Obama Administration. The report accuses the administration of misusing federal money to promote the President’s agenda. The report chronicles instances during Obama’s first year of “misusing the resources of federal agencies to publicize the President’s agenda” on the part of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Justice and Department of Education, among others.

Republican Senators Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John McCain (Ariz.) put out a report titled “Summertime Blues” chronicling 100 wasteful federal stimulus projects, including a study of the effects of cocaine on monkeys and a project to send university students to China to view dinosaur eggs. There is one other revelation in the Coburn-McCain report: that should raise some eyebrows. Stimulus money was also given to a private public relations firm to engage in propaganda for the Obama Administration.

The Coburn-McCain report cited a project (Coburn McCain project number 32) for a public relations firm in New York to promote the President’s health-information technology initiatives. According to the report, “for some time, the administration’s push for health-information technology systems has been facing significant public resistance because of privacy concerns.  In response, the Department of Health and Human Services spent $25.8 million on a contract with Ketchum Inc. to help win over public opinion. Ketchum was criticized before, however, on other governmental work.” Issa may want to check out this project to see if it also runs afoul of a law banning the use of federal monies for propaganda.

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

First appeared in Human Events