Tag Archives: Bush

Free Money

If someone handed you cash would you take it?

In 2008, President Bush pushed through a stimulus package. Taxpayers were given checks up to $600. As I recall, my wife and I each received the maximum.

I did not support that stimulus package. Like all stimulus checks, I find it a complete waste. Management of such programs is expensive. Those costs, slippage, demonstrates the inefficiency of stimulus packages. Tax breaks/credits are far more efficient.

Nevertheless, we cashed our checks. The money sits in a bank account along with the stimulus money Bush returned to us in 2001.

I have no problem cashing the checks. I don’t agree with the program, but if someone is going to give me the money, I am going to take it.

Sure, it’s not really free money. Government takes my money only to return it to me doesn’t make it free. Even so, it would be foolish not to accept it even if I don’t spend it.

Suppose the government were to provide you a tax break that you didn’t agree with. Would you take it? I would. The federal government permits me to write off $250 off the top for expenses for being a teacher. It’s silly. While it’s true I spend lots of money out of my pocket for my job, why should I get a break for it? I am certain other professions do the same. Nevertheless, it would be ridiculous not to take the tax credit, so I do.

Ankle Grabbing

Well, George Bush has assured us all that the United States is not a free market society.

The federal government will enable Detroit’s ailing automakers to survive a little longer by providing $17.4 billion in short-term financing in exchange for concessions from carmakers and their workers.

President Bush said Friday that a bankruptcy was unlikely to work for the auto industry at this time because it would deal “an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans” across the economy.

Hardworking Americans not living in Detroit, however, are left to pay for yet another boondoggle.

Commenter ThatSamIAm over at Michelle Malkin’s site understands what’s going on:

You can’t fix stupid.

Can we put GM and Chrysler on the clock to see how long it takes them to request their next bailout?

The over-under before the airlines come looking for their largess is 1 January 2009.

There is no end to this bailout. All those who supported the initial round of funding this year’s Christmas bonuses are to blame for showing the government it can whatever it pleases.

The cash keeps flowing out of D.C. Neither my arse nor my wallet can take any more of this.

Let them all file for bankruptcy.

Eduwonk Calls for More Federal Education Spending

I have many educational blogs loaded into Google Reader. Most of them present interesting uses of technology in curricula. I find many of the ideas revolutionary and many that seem to push technology just because its technology.

Today I happened to find a post at Eduwonk, which is one of the more popular education blogs out there, whose title; President’s Budget…It’s Not That It Is Small, It’s That It Thinks Small; caught my attention.

President Bush is preparing the budget for next year and each sect is dissecting what pertains to it. As Eduwonk points out, the federal education budget is not small. Spending on education during Bush’s tenure has been astronomical compared to any other administration. There will be those who say one can always spend more, that compared to defense, the ED budget is a pittance, etc., but most reasonable folks acknowledge that a lot of tax dollars have been sunk into education.

The complaint, it seems is:

Rather, the critique I’d level is that this budget is pretty unimaginative. There are plenty of little initiatives but where are the big ideas on par with the scale of the problem?

Wow! Talk about nit-picking. The budget is unimaginative. Hmmm . . .

Increases for Title I are nice, and trying to put a bit more into the Teacher Incentive Fund is fine, too,

That sounds like a call for more money to me.

But what about some big investments in creating new public schools*, R and D, or really attacking the human capital problem? Sort of a snoozer on those issues and they’re hardly minor issues.

More and more spending is called for here.

One juxtaposition worth nothing, the growing emphasis on school improvement is good albeit overdue, but flat funding IDEA is not. Funding IDEA is a good way to free up some funds at the local level.

It sounds like despite the big budget, not enough money is being spent and until it is, Bush is unimaginative. Nice critique there folks.

How come I never hear educators ask for the federal government to butt out of education? Considering the Constitution explicitly states that those rights not reserved for the federal government are reserved to the states. The Tenth Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Look through the US Constitution. Nowhere will education be found. As per the Tenth Amendment, that right is reserved to the states. Think of all the money that would be freed if the federal Education Department were abolished. President Bush is requesting $56 billion for next year!  It’s too bad educators eschew the law of the land in a pure money grab.

Disgusted

Right now President Bush is announcing that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is being replaced by Robert Gates.

One has to wonder how different elections would have been yesterday if this change had been made a month ago.  My wife, among many others, would have been very happy.

The Republican Party, both nationally and here in New Jersey has moved so far away from its principles it has deserved the beating it took.

During the last eight weeks of this year, I will document my move away from the Republican Party and spell out my position on issues.  The GOP needs a wake up call.

Neil Young’s Living with War

Neil Young has released his latest album online for free.

Yes, Living With War is a protest album and on it Neil is highly critical of President Bush.

Let’s impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war
Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones
What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?
Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected
Thank god he’s racking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean
Thank God

The irascible Young obviously has his dander up. The entire album shares his outrage with the war in Iraq and the “supposed” lies of the Bush Administration. Young and I differ on our politics here, that is certain.

But I applaud Neil. One of the things that I have always loved about him is that he is irreverent. He speaks his mind and is entitled to his opinion.

I applaud him for releasing the album online as manufactures scramble to prepare CDs. Young recorded this album over the course of a week recently and is trying to get the music out quickly a la Ohio way back in 1970.

In conjunction, Neil has launched a blog and has a MySpace site. It really is something. Neil is 60 and is as hip as ever. Could you imagine the money machine Rolling Stones doing this? Say what you want about Neil, he defines himself rather than others doing it for him.

I am still not certain, however, if I am going to join him on tour this summer with Crosby Stills and Nash. Sometimes you don’t mess with perfection.

Who Is Being Disingenuous?

But only a disingenuous pundit will argue that it is better to lose ground in the elections of 2006 than to maintain or gain ground then. And only a self-deceiving individual will argue Hillary-Obama is getting hurt by this intra-party melt-down.

The above is Hugh Hewitt’s latest argument for why conservatives should not block Harriet Miers’ nomination to SCOTUS.

This is the wrong angle to take. Nominating a justice to SCOTUS needs to rise above mid-term elections. The justice filling Justice O’Connor’s seat will be an integral part of the next generation. That is not something which should be taken likely. The candidate needs to demonstrate more than loyalty to POTUS. Mrs. Miers has no constitutional law background. That is what the job entails: applying the US Constitution.

Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States, –between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Even if Mrs. Miers is a brilliant lawyer, capable and decent, to say she is the best person available discredits others who have worked a lifetime studying the Constitution.

There is zero advantage and plenty of harm in defeating Miers, including the very obvious encouragement of the previously fever-swamp argument that Bush was a lame duck.

It is not so much trying to defeat Mrs. Miers. Rather, it is heralding a call for excellence at every turn, despite poll numbers, mid-terms, and other politically motivated initiatives. SCOTUS deserves the best justice available. Americans deserve the best justice available. Is a White House lawyer who has been in the president’s entourage for the past 15 years the best person available? If not, stop bloviating about what is politically expedient and hold the president, even if of your own party, to the highest standard.

Bush League

I have kept out of the discussion, up to now, of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

During my morning reading, I came across Mister Snitch’s piece commenting on Baldilocks’ post. The premise postulated is that the negative reaction from the right is elitism, not based on the merits of the nomination.

Baldilocks points out that the outrage to Miers’ nomination is because she was not graduated from an Ivy League school.

In short, the Big Boys and Girls are ticked because, after all that hard work they did, they–or one of their number—doesn’t have sole dibs on the spoils.

Interesting. Miers was graduated from Southern Methodist University. Baldilocks would have us believe that because Miers did not attend an Ivy league school, the pundits Will (Princeton) and Coulter (Cornell) have ratcheted up their vitriol against her. I imagine she would also include Charles Krauthammer (Harvard), author of Withdraw This Nominee.

Much like Baldilocks, I am not a lawyer. But all the spirited debate about what college one attended, while interesting, should not be the issue.

The lack of experience Miers has is the issue. She has practiced law, yes. Has she practiced Constitutional law? No. She has not been a judge either. And while sports teams may take a stab at an untested/unproven coach by giving someone “outside” the fraternity of coaches a chance to step up to the plate, is this what we want for one of the nine justices of SCOTUS?

Rather than elitism, it is an issue of effectiveness. Recall that the president’s father nominated Justice Souter who has turned out not to be the “home run” he promised. Conservatives, including me, desire to see the best legal mind on the bench. Ms. Miers has no qualifications to support the president’s claim that she is:

the best person I could find.

She may turn out to be the very best judge ever to grace the Earth. But for her to be confirmed there must be something which can be pointed to. Traditionally, this is the nominee’s record. Miers has no record. All we have is the president’s word she will be a good justice. I am a conservative because I was burnt by trusting the president’s word. I need more. The country deserves more.

This nomination is, well, I’ll say it . . . Bush League.

Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is a defense for our country in time of emergency. According to the Department of Energy the SPR:

. . . provides the President with a powerful response option should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the U.S. economy. It also allows the United States to meet part of its International Energy Agency obligation to maintain emergency oil stocks, and it provides a national defense fuel reserve.

Yes, we are all feeling the pinch at the pump right now. Nationally, a gallon of gasoline is inching toward $3.00. And while no one wants to pay this, we have known for years that our gasoline is underpriced.

Katrina has created a mess. In that mess is more pressure on gasoline prices. Around here, we have seen a jump of six cents per gallon in the last 48 hours. Louisiana and Mississippi are in a state of emergency. It is important to understand, however, that our nation is not in a state of emergency.

During the 2000 campaign, then Governor Bush criticized President Clinton for releasing crude from the SPR as an effort to ease gasoline prices to help Mr. Gore in the campaign as playing politics. Clinton had used the SPR in 1996 to stave off Bob Dole’s call for repealing the Clinton gas tax of 1993. Bush and other critics were correct to criticize such moves with the SPR. Likewise, releasing oil now would be purely political. Bush’s numbers are down. Folks are upset about rising prices at the gas tank. The Gulf coast is a mess. Releasing SPR now would do little to ease gas prices.

Our economy is not threatened right now. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over the last two years. President Bush should not release any oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.