TeeJaw Blog

Update On British Tea Party

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 28, 2010, 10: 02 AM

It was standing room only at the British Tea Party in Brighton Yesterday, which I posted on earlier. Scroll down to the original post.

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Do Democrats See Defeat In November As An Acceptable Trade Off For Getting Their Government Health Care Enacted?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 28, 2010, 8: 51 AM

Obama’s health care summit was a bust with voters. The latest Rasmussen presidential tracking poll, which tracks likely-voter responses over three consecutive days, two of which were after the health care summit, clearly shows that the Democrats’ plans for a government-run health care system remains as unpopular as ever. In fact, more than ever.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for Obama.

The only other time the Approval Index was this low was in late December just as the Senate was about to pass its version of Obamacare.

Obama’s job approval numbers have also taken another hit and now stand at 43%.

The threat of Obama’s health care take over is clearly a serious threat to Democrat re-election prospects in November. Commentators and pundits are already predicting that the Democrats could easily lose control of the House and while it remains a long shot, even the Senate. Can we therefore assume that Obamacare is dead? A lot of Republicans think so based upon what they assume to be the political instincts of their Democrat colleagues, i.e., the first rule in politics is to get re-elected.

There are two competing theories on this and one of them should scare the snot out of us. Andy McCarthy reminds us that this in not our father’s Democrat party. The Democrat party currently in power is under the grips of the radical left, descendants of the New Left Radicals of the 1960’s. Writing at The Corner, McCarthy says this:

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Dennis Prager is another voice making a similar argument. Pointing out that leftists are True Believers, Prager says:

Leftism is a substitute religion. For the Left, the “health care” bill transcends politics. You are fighting people who will go down with the ship in order to transform this country to a leftist one. And an ever-expanding state is the Left’s central credo.

On a more hopeful side of this debate is Ed Morrissey of Hot Air with the central question: Are Democrat’s Choosing To Run Off The Cliff With Obamacare? First, Morrissey concedes that McCarthy has a point. A party in power that is run by zealots might choose to ram through their fundamental plan to remake the entire relationship between citizen and state, and accept defeat in the next election as an acceptable trade-off. Especially if they assume the Republicans, even after they regain power, don’t have the scones to repeal it.

But Morrissey finds weakness in that argument:

However, that would require all of the politicians of that party to follow suit, and that’s where the Democratic leadership has a big problem. They didn’t gain the majority by elect[ing] over 300 cardboard cutouts of Nancy Pelosi as Representatives and Senators. While Andy is spot-on about Pelosi and her clique being descendants of the New Left radicals of the 1960s (as is Barack Obama), that’s not true for a large portion of their caucus, especially those representing red districts and red states. Not only is political suicide much more likely for them than it is for Pelosi, Anthony Weiner, Jarrold Nadler, et al, they’re temperamentally different from the leadership clique as well.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t get bulldozed into compliance, but it does make it a more difficult proposition for Pelosi to hold her caucus together. We’re already seeing signs of it splintering [Pelosi Losing Grip On The House?] and as this effort gets closer to the midterm elections, that will increase proportionately. Blue Dogs are already unhappy with the direction of ObamaCare — and so are progressives, but for diametrically opposed reasons. The summit may have helped to pull recalcitrant moderates in line, but Democrats got punked at the televised spectacle and have no fig leaf to wear to support a radical mechanism in pushing through a radical bill.

Andy may be right that Democratic leadership has made the decision that political oblivion is an acceptable cost for a one-time remaking of America that Republicans will find difficult to reverse in the next session. However, I suspect that this strategy doesn’t account for the fact that the people who will actually have to end their careers may not appreciate getting forced into marching off a cliff while the leadership stays safely in their rear-echelon bastions of San Francisco and New York City.

There is a twist to this that I have heard. Some Democrats may believe that by giving up on Obamacare the radical left base of the Democrat party may be too disillusioned to vote in November. They may therefore believe that passing Obamacare, while it will devastate them in November, may be better for them because the losses will not be as bad so long as the radical left faithfully shows up at the polls.

I disagree with this take because it ignores history and the fundamental differences between Republican voters and True Believers on the left. Republicans voters do have a long history of staying home on election day whenever they are dissatisfied with the Republican candidates. No such thing exists to any great extent on the radical left. That is where the term “yellow dog” comes from. No matter how much a true believing leftist hates the current Democrat candidate, he or she hates the Republican more. That person would vote for an old yellow dog before any Republican. Nor will that person sit out the election knowing that it will help Republicans. Defeating Republicans is always first and foremost with the radical left.

Democrat politicians know this. That’s why they just passed an extension of the Patriot Act, and Obama quietly signed it this morning, even though their radical left base will be livid about it.

Kevin McCullough is a columnist who predicted Obama’s election to the White House a year before it happened. McCullough has followed Obama since he was first noticed as a community agitator in Chicago. McCullough’s column today is titled Why Obama’s Great Bet Will Fail.

It’s a fascinating debate. Well, it would be if it were not so disgusting. If it’s true that Democrats are now operating in the mode of the Japanese Army at Saipan, it could get bloody. The next six weeks will tell.

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Unemployment Map — County By County 2007 — 2009

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, February 27, 2010, 12: 44 PM

“We’re IN the Moneeeey…..Come ON, Honeeeey….. We never see headlines or redlines…..and when we see the landlord we look that guy right in the eye…We’re IN the Moneeey…Come ON Honeeey…”

This interactive unemployment map of the United States shows the growth of unemployment from January, 2007 through December, 2009, on a county by county basis for the entire country.

Fade to Black.

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“Taxed Enough Already” — Tea Party Movement Spreads to Britain

Posted in Uncategorized by TeeJaw on Saturday, February 27, 2010, 9: 57 AM

Daniel Hannan, MEP from South East England, and others are organizing a British Tea Party movement with its first rally at Brighton today at 10:30 A.M. MT in the U.S., 5:30 P.M. in Brighton. Hannan appears on Fox News occasionally and is known in America for his conservative criticism of the way Gordon Brown has run up a deficit in Britain to 12.6% of GDP. Greece is facing a major economic catastrophe with a deficit of 12.7% of its GDP. The 2010 deficit for the U.S. is projected to be 12% of GDP, same as 2009. The highest it was during the Bush years was 3.48% of GDP in 2004.

Hannan states the simple truth that lefties in Britain and in the United States never seem able to grasp: “You can’t tax your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt”.

If you haven’t seen Daniel Hannan on the American “teli” you can get to know him with this video from March 24, 2009:

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Update on Wyoming CCW Reciprocity

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights by TeeJaw on Friday, February 26, 2010, 1: 20 PM

In a prior post, Possible New CCW Reciprocity Law in Wyoming, I reported that a new law in the Wyoming State Senate, SF 26 sponsored by Senator Cale Case of Fremont County (Lander), would widen CCW reciprocity in Wyoming by taking away the ability of the State Attorney General to limit reciprocity to those states deemed to have CCW laws “similar” to Wyoming’s CCW statute. This was a severely limiting factor because when 50 states enact laws on any subject they are likely to be dissimilar in their details no matter how similar they might be in scope and general purpose.

SF 26 passed the Senate by a vote of 30-0 last Friday and was sent to the House. In the House it passed third reading today by 56-2, with 2 votes “excused.” The nay votes were from Mary Hales of Natrona County (Casper) and James Byrd of Laramie County (Cheyenne). That means it is on its way to the Governor to be signed into law. Given the margins that it passed in both houses it would seem unlikely to be a candidate for a veto. UPDATE: Way back on January 16th Governor Freudenthal announced that he supports this bill. I must have missed it. That makes it a done deal.

If so, that will soon mean that Wyoming will recognize CCW permits from all states that recognize Wyoming permits.

At present, 28 states recognize Wyoming permits. Here is a list: AK*, AL, AZ, CO, FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT* This list should expand in the coming months as more states reciprocate with their recognition of Wyoming permits. Some of this recognition will be automatic in a state with a law like Wyoming’s. It will work in reverse as well. For example, under the new law, assuming Governor Freudenthal signs it, Wyoming will recognize Nebraska permits because Nebraska presently recognizes Wyoming permits. Heretofore Wyoming has not recognized Nebraska permits. That has been a rather stupid policy given that Eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska are essentially one community.

*VT and *AK allow carry without a permit. So soon will Wyoming [probably], but it will be restricted to residents (not all stupid policies are being overturned at this time). VT and AK allow non-permit carry by visitors as well as residents. Idaho allows carrying without a permit “outside of a town.”

The use of the word “reciprocity” in the title to this and my previous post is actually not reciprocity but “recognition.” So far as I know Wyoming does not actually have any written reciprocity agreements with any other state.

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Heartbeat Detector

Posted in Uncategorized by TeeJaw on Thursday, February 25, 2010, 11: 33 PM

You can get an option with the Volvo XC70 that includes a heartbeat detector. That is, when you return to the parking garage your keyless entry will tell you from 300 feet away if someone is in your car. These devices may not be new but they were to me.

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Paul Ryan Understands Obama’s Healthcare Bill — And Gives Obama A Little Schooling On It

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, February 25, 2010, 10: 51 PM

Ryan:

“And we’ve been talking about how much we agree on different issues, but there really is a difference between us. And it’s basically this. We don’t think the government should be in control of all of this. We want people to be in control. And that, at the end of the day, is the big difference.”

Amen. This video is about 3 minutes and it’s good.

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“Loser Revenge” Laws Being Pushed Back In New Mexico

Posted in Gun Rights by TeeJaw on Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 3: 43 PM

This is good news. A notorious “loser revenge” law may be repealed in New Mexico. What, you say, is a “loser revenge” law? I’ll answer that, but a bit of history first.

Until a few years ago New Mexico had no provision for citizens to get permits to carry concealed firearms. Carrying a concealed firearm was against the law for everyone except police officers and federal agents. Breaking this law was a misdemeanor, though. Not that it mattered all that much, law-abiding citizens obey laws without regard to whether the penalty is stiff or light. But it is important to understand the definition of “loser revenge laws” that I will give below to remember that when it was illegal to carry a concealed firearm, the penalty for violating it was relatively light. Assuming no other violation an otherwise honest citizen could expect a fine and little more.

But then New Mexico joined the growing number of states that were adopting “shall issue” concealed firearm permit systems. Under a “shall issue” system a citizen who meets certain objective requirements which include a criminal background check and usually some form of training will be entitled to a permit to carry a concealed gun. There are always lists of places where the permit does not authorize the holder to carry his or her gun, however. This varies widely from state to state.

When a proposal to allow concealed firearms is presented in the legislature of a state that has not previously allowed it, the proponents and the opponents are hotly divided. The opponents are usually convinced that allowing citizens some method of obtaining permits would be just about the worst thing that could ever happen. So when the law passes, as it has in about 38 states so far, those who are opposed can be extremely bitter. They will often come back to the next legislative session not with repeal proposals but with some new restrictions on those who have taken advantage of the new law and obtained a CCW permit. Those restrictions can be draconian in nature. I call them “Loser Revenge Laws” because they have all the markings of a sore loser seeking revenge. They are advanced by people who are angry and out to get even, not to promote public safety and general welfare.

That is exactly what happened in New Mexico. First, the losers were successful in enacting a new law making it a FOURTH CLASS FELONY for a CCW holder to carry his or her concealed firearm into any establishment that sold alcohol. At first it included a convenience store that sold beer. It was not limited to establishments selling liquor by the drink for consumption on the premises. So if you stopped at the 7-11 for a loaf of bread on the way home and forgot to leave your gun in the car you had committed a felony. Had you been successfully prosecuted you would lose your right to possess firearms for the rest of your life. All this for doing something that was a minor misdemeanor before New Mexico adopted the new CCW law. See why I insert the term “revenge” in my description of these laws? This was not a law to address an important issue of governmental concern. It was an effort by some mighty pissed off politicians and bureaucrats aiming to “get even” with people they don’t like.

Fortunately, the law was soon changed to apply only to establishments selling liquor for consumption on the premises. And now it appears the law will be changed again to allow CCW holders to carry their guns into restaurants serving beer and wine.

The new law passed the New Mexico House by 53-13 and a similar bill has passed the Senate. When the two bills are reconciled it will go the Governor where I hope it will be signed into law. The vengeful ones are in the minority, where they belong.

None of this means a CCW holder can be alcohol impaired while in possession of a firearm. That is still against the law in New Mexico, as it is most other states. Maybe all other states. I would assume it to be so without any need to be sure of it. Responsible gun owners don’t drink when they are carrying, and statistics consistently show CCW holders as a group to be the most responsible of all citizens. Even though they don’t drink while carrying a firearm, they do eat and the best restaurants usually serve liquor. We who refuse to be a victim of a criminal attack should have as much right to a place at the table as anyone.

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Political Cartoons Get Directly To The Point

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 1: 35 PM

Cartoonist Thomas Nast was thought to have played a pivotal role in bringing down Boss Tweed of New York City’s Tammany Hall in the 19th Century. Referring to an immigrant population many of whom did not read English, Tweed was reported to have said of Nast, “People may not be able to read but they can sure look at those damn pictures!”

(Click to Enlarge)

Cartoons that work penetrate to the heart of the matter:


Lisa Benson


Gary Varvel


Glenn McCoy

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Blue Dog Democrat

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 12: 29 AM

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Principles, Not Ideology

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 12: 04 AM

I’ve always been uneasy with the notion that liberalism and conservatism are competing ideologies. Conservatism differs from an ideology, I’ve always thought, because conservatism is based in experience in the real world, and not upon theoretical abstract beliefs. Conservatism is an intellectual pursuit. Liberalism is overly emotional and not well thought out. When I say this it drives liberals mad. Sorry about that if you’re a liberal. No offense intended.

But I can’t help it, liberals are the ones who cling to their beliefs in spite of facts and evidence that tend to show much of what they believe “just ain’t so.” Such as man-made global warming, or that minimum wage laws help low-skilled workers, or that the War On Poverty helped poor people when in reality it destroyed the two-parent Black family in America and 30 years after it was first enacted there were more people counted as poor than before it was enacted by the Lyndon Johnson administration. I could go on and on. Such as liberals believing it is a reasonable trade off to turn off the water in the Salinas Valley of California and throw thousands of their fellow citizens out of work on the highly theoretical notion that it might help an obscure fish called the delta smelt. As with AGW, when the scientific evidence comes in and shows that the delta smelt will do just fine without turning off the water, liberals will not accept it. In fact, they will argue even more forcefully for the delta smelt. When liberal dreams turn into nightmares, liberals redouble their efforts.

The best analysis, argument or explanation of the difference between ideology and principle I have ever read is Ronald Reagan’s speech at CPAC on February 6, 1977:

I have always been puzzled by the inability of some political and media types to understand exactly what is meant by adherence to political principle. All too often in the press and the television evening news it is treated as a call for “ideological purity.” Whatever ideology may mean—and it seems to mean a variety of things, depending upon who is using it—it always conjures up in my mind a picture of a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality. We have to recognize that in this country “ideology” is a scare word. And for good reason. Marxist-Leninism is, to give but one example, an ideology. All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin. If the facts don’t happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded.

I consider this to be the complete opposite to principled conservatism. If there is any political viewpoint in this world which is free from slavish adherence to abstraction, it is American conservatism.

When a conservative states that the free market is the best mechanism ever devised by the mind of man to meet material needs, he is merely stating what a careful examination of the real world has told him is the truth.

When a conservative says that totalitarian Communism is an absolute enemy of human freedom he is not theorizing—he is reporting the ugly reality captured so unforgettably in the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

When a conservative says it is bad for the government to spend more than it takes in, he is simply showing the same common sense that tells him to come in out of the rain.

When a conservative says that busing does not work, he is not appealing to some theory of education—he is merely reporting what he has seen down at the local school.

When a conservative quotes Jefferson that government that is closest to the people is best, it is because he knows that Jefferson risked his life, his fortune and his sacred honor to make certain that what he and his fellow patriots learned from experience was not crushed by an ideology of empire.

Conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of ideological fanaticism that has brought so much horror and destruction to the world. The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way—this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before.

The principles of conservatism are sound because they are based on what men and women have discovered through experience in not just one generation or a dozen, but in all the combined experience of mankind. When we conservatives say that we know something about political affairs, and that we know can be stated as principles, we are saying that the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations—found through the often bitter testing of pain, or sacrifice and sorrow.

One thing that must be made clear in post-Watergate is this: The American new conservative majority we represent is not based on abstract theorizing of the kind that turns off the American people, but on common sense, intelligence, reason, hard work, faith in God, and the guts to say: “Yes, there are things we do strongly believe in, that we are willing to live for, and yes, if necessary, to die for.” That is not “ideological purity.” It is simply what built this country and kept it great.

Private Eye Nero Wolfe is the protagonist in the Rex Stout mystery novels. Whenever he is asked how he knows something he will explain his investigative insight as based upon “intelligence guided by experience.” Amen.

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The Time’s Are a Changin’

Posted in Global Warming Hoax by TeeJaw on Monday, February 22, 2010, 10: 38 PM

The facts are winning. The True Believers are now fodder for comedy.

The time’s are a changin’

H/T Rossputin

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Spain’s In The Tank — Zapatero Blames Bush

Posted in Economic Theory, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 21, 2010, 11: 18 AM

Story at Pajamas Media.

Spain GDP fell 3.6% in 2009, and unemployment stands at 20%. So when socialism fails, what is to blame?

Why, capitalism, of course. And the conservative thinking preached by George W. Bush, too. [when did Bush ever do that?].

Nah, this won’t fly, Spaniards. You voted for socialist government and this is what you get. We in the United States are wiser, we would never vote for our own undoing. Would we?

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Guns Legal in Parks Tomorrow — It’s About Time

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 21, 2010, 11: 01 AM

Tomorrow the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 goes into effect. That means, of course, that beginning tomorrow, if you can legally carry a firearm in a particular state, you may also carry your gun when you enter a National Park situated in that state (though not into the Park visitor’s center).

What did I say? What do credit cards have to do with guns in National Parks? Well, nothing. So? Heh, read Howard Nemerov’s piece appearing today at Pajama’s Media, which traces the interesting legislative maneuvering in Congress that has produced this result.

Here is the conclusion:

After the final House vote, Scot McElveen, President of the Association of National Park Rangers, came out against the new law, justifying himself by turning green:

Park wildlife, including some rare or endangered species, will face increased threats by visitors with firearms who engage in impulse or opportunistic shooting.

It bears noting here that every time a state liberalized its concealed handgun laws to allow more people to carry in public, gloom-and-doom pontifications multiplied like mushrooms in the forest, claiming that blood would run in the streets as people shot each other over parking spaces and fender benders.

FBI crime data shows that in 2008, states with liberalized concealed carry laws (more handguns in public) average 34.2% lower violent crime rates — and 52.6% lower murder rates — than states which severely restricted law-abiding citizens’ right of self-defense. This correlation is consistent and dates back to at least 2001.

Meanwhile, the rangers’ association web site states:

The National Park Service is facing a critical shortage of field personnel — a shortage that is predicted to get worse over the next five years.

While acknowledging their inability to protect you from a growing crime problem, park rangers won’t support your right of self-defense. This attitude underscores the correlation between anti-rights voting in Congress and public employee union campaign contributions: Their jobs take priority over your safety.

House gun control proponents were equally dismayed after the final vote:

We have a Democratic president, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, and we’re passing more gun legislation than when there was a Republican in the White House,” said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), a gun-control advocate. “It’s disappointing.”

Anti-rights politicians accept special interest money and, along with government employees, derogate your right of self-defense. Perhaps the biggest insult is that your tax dollars pay their salaries.

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Obama and The Democrats Are Coming For Your 401K

Posted in Economic Theory, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 21, 2010, 10: 27 AM

Writing in U.S. News and World Report on October 23, 2008, Would Obama, Dems Kill 401(k) Plans?, James Pethokoukis said:

I hate to use the “S” word, but the American government would never do something as, well, socialist as seize private pension funds, right? This is exactly what cash-strapped Argentina just did in the name of protecting workers’ retirement accounts (Efharisto, Fausta’s Blog). Now, even Uncle Sam isn’t that stupid, but some Democrats might try something almost as loopy: kill 401(k) plans.

House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created “guaranteed retirement accounts” for every worker.

The next day, October 24, 2008, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program:

I want to talk to all of you who have 401(k)s or SEP/Keogh plans, some kind of pension plan or retirement plan. The first thing I want to do is share with you something that Joe Biden — he the one given to rhetorical flourishes, according to Obama — on the campaign trail in Colorado, and he was out there doing full-fledged Democrat Party playbook 101. He promised a full-scale attack on corporate greed if he and Obama win. Biden vowed to target executives of failing companies who draw big salaries. “Their pensions go first,” he told the cheering crowd. Now, folks, I want you to stop for a moment and very seriously consider what you just heard Joe Biden say. Here he’s got a roomful, an auditorium full of rabid Obama supporting Democrats, they are there for whatever reason, they support Obama, they are filled with class envy, and here is Joe Biden telling this crowd that these CEOs of failing companies who draw big salaries, we are going to go get their pensions.

Rush warned against thinking this will only affect CEOs. Your 401K will be next:

I want to remind you, two weeks ago Congressman George Miller from California who chairs some congressional committee, big Democrat, been there for ages, said, “We’re going to have to do something about the tax deductibility of contributions to people’s 401(k)s because government’s losing money. We’re losing money on this,” so he’s going to propose eliminating the deductibility of whatever you contribute to your 401(k).

“A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. … Under Ghilarducci’s plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the US government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration.” In other words, there is a plan that the Democrats are considering to convert your 401(k) to the Social Security Administration, your 401(k) then administered by the SSA, your private retirement plan becomes owned by the government.

Rush played a sound bite by Ghilarducci and then gave his comment:

GHILARDUCCI: And what’s amazing about this is that it’s actually, um, doesn’t cost the government anybody. (sic) I’m just rearranging the tax breaks that are available now for 401(k)s and spreading — spreading the wealth.

RUSH: Spreading your wealth. But did you also notice the amazing thing is it doesn’t cost the government any money! It doesn’t cost the precious government any money! It’s gonna cost you money.

On November 5, 2008 a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show ask about the Democrats plan for her 401K. Here is the transcript of that call:

RUSH: Here’s Darcy in Dallas. Darcy, it’s nice to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, and dittos from Dallas.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: I need a little bit of education. I thought you might be the perfect person.

RUSH: Fine.

CALLER: (giggles) I thought there would be enough people with common sense so I wouldn’t have to ask this, but can we address this whole thing about my 401(k) and everybody else’s going away?

RUSH: Can you answer a question for me first?

CALLER: Sure.

RUSH: Do you know what’s going to happen to you? We don’t know what’s going to happen, but do you know what the Democrat plan for your 401(k) is?

CALLER: I believe it has something to do with circling the bowl.

RUSH: (laughing) Circling the bowl. You mean like flush it?

CALLER: Yeeeees.

RUSH: But seriously, how much do you know about it? You’ve just heard about it, or you want me to repeat what you know to other people?

CALLER: Please repeat, because like I said, since I knew I wasn’t going to vote for Obama, I said, “I don’t need to worry about it.”

RUSH: Let me give it to you very briefly. So far, this is not Obama yet, but this goes straight to my point about all of the idiots on our side and in the media expecting Pelosi and Reid and Obama and everybody to govern from the center. The 401(k) was a central plan, a central tenet to get people to save for their own retirement in addition to Social Security. It came into play during the Reagan years, and it was designed to supplement your own investment program, dollars that you have earned in a retirement plan that was independent of Social Security. And, of course, the way it works, your company offers you the 401(k). You can take a percentage of the gross, your gross pay every month and put that in your 401(k). It reduces your taxable income.

George Miller, who heads the House committee that deals with 401(k)s, about a month ago said, we have to eliminate this tax subsidy. The government is losing $80 billion a year. We can’t afford to lose this kind of money. There are too many people that don’t need this tax break anymore. So what we’re going to do, we’re going to take away the whole notion that you get to deduct from your gross whatever you contribute to your 401(k). The government needs that money. So one of the big incentives for having a 401(k) came under assault. Then that same committee two weeks later brought in an economist from the New School in New York called Teresa Ghilarducci. I’m having trouble with her name, and not on purpose but her idea is even worse, Darcy.

She wants to basically eliminate the 401(k), and the way she wants to do it is she wants to go to people who have a 401(k), who have seen its asset value plummet because of the market plunge. So she wants to go back to August levels. Everybody that has a 401(k), we’ll take you back and we’ll give you money. We’ll restore the value. The government will. We’re just going to print some money here, and we’re going to restore your 401(k) to its August amount. Then we’re going to take it. We’re going to take your 401(k), and we will put it in your Social Security account that the government is monitoring for you, and we will invest every year 3% in government bonds. We’ll buy government bonds so that your 401(k) will grow at 3% every year adjusted for inflation. The most that you will be able to contribute to your 401(k) every year is 5% of what you earn.

And then when you retire, your 401(k), and plus there’s a $600 annual addition that she formulates here because she finds it inequitable that some people get a 36% tax deduction and some don’t because the various income tax rates that affect how much of a deduction you get. So the bottom line is, they’ll take your 401(k) and put it in Social Security. They give you 3% a year plus 5% of your gross added, and then at the end when you retire, you get one check. Your Social Security check plus whatever your 401(k) is. The government takes over your 401(k). Not so much flushes it, they just take it, like they’re going to take some pension money. Now, this is not centrist. This is not moderate. This is George Miller, and this is the kind of thing that Reid and Pelosi will go for.

I don’t know where Obama will stand on this, but the odds are that it will sound attractive to him because these people are all about expanding government coffers. And that’s what they’re going to do. So that’s what’s ahead for people’s 401(k)s if the Democrats get their way. They may not, but that’s what their planning is. And it’s a great indication of where we’re headed, and this was all known by people who listen to this program. The Drive-By Media didn’t talk about this because they knew that it would be devastating.

Now fast forward to last Wednesday, February 17, 2010, and this article in Investor’s Business Daily:

Class Warfare’s Next Target: 401(k) Savings

You did the responsible thing. You saved in your IRA or 401(k) to support your retirement, when you could have spent that money on another vacation, or an upscale car, or fancier clothes and jewelry. But now Washington is developing plans for your retirement savings.

BusinessWeek reports that the Treasury and Labor departments are asking for public comment on “the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams.”

In plain English, the idea is for the government to take your retirement savings in return for a promise to pay you some monthly benefit in your retirement years.

They will tell you that you are “investing” your money in U.S. Treasury bonds. But they will use your money immediately to pay for their unprecedented trillion-dollar budget deficits, leaving nothing to back up their political promises, just as they have raided the Social Security trust funds.

We can invest our 401K in U.S. Treasury bonds on our own, voluntarily. We don’t need the government forcing us to do it. But that’s not the point. The point is for the government to get control over the money we worked for and chose to save rather than spend.

This comes at a time when Obama and the Democrats have so over-extended the government deficit they may soon no longer be able to finance their wild spending by selling government bonds. The foreign governments that have been buying them are getting skittish, and the demand for U.S. Government debt is declining. The politicians need more money to spend and the billions, perhaps trillions, sitting in private 401K plans look like low-hanging fruit.

El Rushbo was, as always, a prescient prognosticator:

This proposal follows hearings held last fall by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., of the Ways and Means Committee focusing on “redirecting (IRA and 401k) tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute,” as reported by InvestmentNews.com.

The hearings examined a proposal from professor Teresa Ghilarducci of the New School for Social Research in New York to give all workers “a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government” in return for requiring workers “to invest 5% of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration.”

If you are retired or if you think you might be retired someday, this is especially important for you. More from the same article in IBD:

This is just the latest chapter in what is developing into a war by the left on America’s seniors. All that class-war rhetoric about “the rich” ends up targeting seniors, who tend to have accumulated the most in savings and investment on average because they have been around the longest.

President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid targeted seniors for hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts to finance expanded Medicaid for the poor and other new entitlements in the ObamaCare health care takeover legislation. If you liked your health insurance, you were supposed to be able to keep it, except for the 25% of seniors who had chosen Medicare Advantage private health plans for their Medicare coverage.

Even the Medicare actuaries estimated that most of those seniors would lose their Medicare Advantage coverage because of all the ObamaCare cuts for those plans. Obama has even begun rationing for seniors under Medicare by slashing payments to heart and cancer specialists serving seniors under that program.

The major author of the plan to steal our 401K’s, Teresa Ghilarducci, has had the chutzpa to write a book with the title: When I’m Sixty-four: The Plot Against Pensions, And The Plan To Save Them. Written by the plotter in chief.

Now and in the past all of your contributions to your 401K are voluntary. You own every dime in your 401K, you can take it out when you retire, and when you die you can leave what’s left to your family. Isn’t it funny that when the government owns it your contributions will cease to be voluntary and will be mandatory. They know that if it’s not yours you won’t voluntarily contribute to it.

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Climategate May Bring Some Relief From Political Correctness

Posted in Global Warming Hoax by TeeJaw on Sunday, February 21, 2010, 1: 08 AM

I was at the Volvo dealer getting an oil change for my 11-year old Volvo and decided to look at the new cars while waiting. I hadn’t studied a new car brochure for quite a few years. The glossy pages are filled with assurances that the new car you are considering will do its part to reduce global warming, as well as get you from here to there in reliable comfort. It seemed that every page of a 25-page brochure had some sort of reference to saving the planet or climate change or greenhouse gases with a description of several automotive miracles the engineers had performed to ensure that driving the car after you buy it won’t unduly warm the planet.

I’ve believed for 25 years that man-made global warming was a massive fraud and a hoax so these sorts of pandering statements in advertising and owner’s manuals have always annoyed me. I also knew that most people did believe the nonsense that was being spewed in every magazine, newspaper and television channel, so I understood why corporations do this sort of thing. It isn’t that they necessarily believe what they’re saying but they think most of their potential customers believe it and they just want to sell their product so they say what they think we want to hear.

General Electric has been the most politically correct big corporation, leading the charge to convert its light bulb production exclusively to compact fluorescents.

With the revelation that man-made global warming is truly a hoax of massive proportions, maybe this will stop and advertising and sales brochures won’t make me cringe as much. It’ll take a while. Companies big enough to make cars or locomotives and jet engines are huge bureaucracies run by accomplished bureaucrats.

Will we get our incandescent light bulbs back? It would be so cool if the law to go into effect in 2014 were to be repealed leaving GE with a few billion of the curly bulbs now worth less than it cost to make them, as well as having sold off or retired all of its tooling for incandescent bulbs. It’s always dangerous to put all your bulbs into one political fad.

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Glenn Beck Keynote Speech at CPAC

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, February 20, 2010, 9: 27 PM

Here is Part 1 of Glenn Beck’s keynote speech at CPAC on Saturday:

All three parts of George Will’s speech to CPAC are just below. Will gave a terrific speech.

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George Will at CPAC

Posted in Culture, Culture Rot, Government and Politics, History by TeeJaw on Friday, February 19, 2010, 8: 49 PM

Here is the video, in three parts, of George Will’s speech Thursday night at CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] being held in Washington D.C. February 18-20. As usual with George Will, his speech has many good lines. One I like is “Envy is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that fails to provide the sinner with even momentary pleasure.” He has choice words for Rahm Emanuel’s disgusting statement that “One should never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Wonderful speech. I’m looking forward to the transcript so I can read it without having to listen to that cackling woman who was obviously seated too close to a microphone.

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Obama Spreads His Sinister Petulance in Denver

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Friday, February 19, 2010, 8: 52 AM

Speaking at a fundraiser in Denver for Senator (Who?) Michael Bennet yesterday, The One said:

Look, something you got to understand — for those who don’t believe in government, those who don’t believe that we have obligations to each other, it’s a lot easier task. If you can gum up the works, if you make things broken, if the Senate doesn’t get anything done, well, that’s consistent with their philosophy. It’s a whole lot easier to say no to everything. It’s a whole lot easier to blame somebody else. That politics that feeds on peoples’ insecurities, especially during tough political times — that’s the easiest kind of politics. There’s a long, storied history of that kind of politics.

This sort of rhetoric might be music to loving supporters and those were the audience so maybe this doesn’t matter. But if he’s the president of all the people and not just a political hack we might expect that he not stray so far from the truth, especially with the sort of childish petulance that has, sad to say, become his trademark.

It’s the Republicans’ fault!

Byron York at The Washington Examiner was having none of this:

Obama flip flops on his own record

In his speech at a Denver fundraiser yesterday, President Obama repeated what has become a key talking point for Democrats — that the Senate “doesn’t get anything done” and the reason for that is that some Republicans, who “don’t believe in government,” are happy to block the administration’s initiatives because blocking government initiatives is “consistent with their philosophy.”

It’s a charge you’ll no doubt hear more in the coming campaign. But it’s a striking flip-flop from Obama’s earlier statements in which he praised Congress’ ability to get things done. As a matter of fact, at a DNC fundraiser in California last October, Obama said his administration and Congress had accomplished so much that, “If we stopped today, this legislative session would have been one of the most productive in a generation.” And if you go to the White House website, you’ll find the president touting the very things that the administration and Congress have gotten done — bills passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president.

Then Byron York gets right to the heart of the matter. What Obama is really talking about is the Congress’s inability to pass a massive healthcare bill that would destroy the best health care system in the world, and more than 60% of the American people don’t want any part of it.

The fact is, when you hear the president and Democrats in Congress complain about not being able to get anything done, or about Washington being broken, they’re talking about one thing: their inability to pass a national health care reform bill. Congress can do, and is doing, lots of things — just not sprawling, omnibus “comprehensive” bills that are unpopular with the American people. (The same can be said for cap-and-trade legislation, now dead in the Senate.) If you put aside enormous bills that would re-order the American economy in ways the public does not want, Congress can do things just fine.

You may not like it Mr. Obama, but this is America. This is a representative republic. This is a democracy. The American people get to have a say.

And the people may get the last laugh. If this appearance by Mr. Obama fits with his current track record it will do Michael “Who?” Bennet more harm than good.

Further reading: Bennet only helps himself financially with Obama visit

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Possible New Law On CCW Reciprocity in Wyoming

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights by TeeJaw on Thursday, February 18, 2010, 1: 18 PM

Presently, Wyoming recognizes the CCW permits of 23 other states. A year or so ago the Wyoming Attorney General, pursuant to authority granted to him by the Wyoming CCW Permit law, determined that only six other states had laws “similar to Wyoming’s” and thus only permits from those 6 states would be recognized. A hue and cry developed and the AG backed off. The AG’s office then said that all 23 state permits that had been recognized for years would continue to be recognized while a study was conducted to determine just which state’s had laws “similar” to Wyoming’s laws and could thus be recognized.

Yesterday the Wyoming Senate passed SF 26 and sent it to the House. SF 26 will take away the AG’s ability to determine which states have laws similar to Wyoming’s, and as far as I can tell from reading the bill and the amendment that was attached yesterday it appears that it will place Wyoming along side those states that recognize all other state permits that recognize Wyoming permits. If so, this will be a very good thing for Wyoming residents as it will likely increase the number of other states that will honor Wyoming permits. It will also be a good thing for visitors to Wyoming, increasingly important to the Wyoming economy.

The Federal law that will allow visitors to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks to carry firearms in accordance with Wyoming law goes into effect on Monday (major exception for “Federal facilities” such as the visitors center).

Another bill in the Wyoming legislature will allow carrying concealed without a permit, although a permit may be obtained for those who need one for carrying in other states. If passed Wyoming would join Vermont and Alaska in allowing citizens who may legally own firearms to carry concealed without a permit. Idaho is almost in that group because it allows concealed carry without a permit “outside of a town.” There is one major restriction, however. To take advantage of the law one must have been a Wyoming resident for 6 months. I’m not aware of any residency requirement in Vermont, Alaska or Idaho.

I wonder if the residency requirement is constitutional. This is, after all, a criminal law. It will remain a crime to carry a concealed firearm in Wyoming except as provided in this statute, if enacted. Is it constitutional to have one criminal law of general application for residents and a different criminal law for non-residents? Could Wyoming make a law providing for different speed limits for residents and non-residents? Can different criminal penalties apply to residents and non-residents? Carrying a concealed firearm is not a state concession such as hunting and fishing where the state spends considerable sums to sustain and promote the activity, an area where the Supreme Court says it is OK to treat residents and non-residents differently. But the carrying of firearms?

Apparently, the issuance of CCW permits to residents only is constitutional because many states do limit their permits to residents. And that can make it impossible for non-residents to carry in those states if their home state permit is not recognized. But that seems more like a state concession upon which the state incurs substantial costs to conduct on behalf of its residents. This is a law making an activity either a criminal act or an innocent act depending solely upon one’s status as a resident or non-resident.

Actually, limiting CCW permits to residents may only seem constitutional because it hasn’t been challenged. States cannot limit the granting of licenses to practice law to state residents, although they can certainly require taking of their own Bar Exam as a condition. It would seem that other licenses should be granted on the same basis, subject to a non-resident meeting the same conditions and pre-requisites as residents. In fact, they cannot limit the granting of hunting and fishing licenses to residents. They can charge a different fee for the license, but cannot deny the license solely on residency status. The higher fee passes muster because of the state concession exception, as I understand this area of the law (which is not much).

I don’t claim to know the answer. If anyone reading this does, please post it in the comments.

UPDATE: A bare tad of research brings up such phrases as “interests that are ‘fundamental,’ i.e., bear on “the vitality of the Nation as a single entity.” A fee or tax on pursuing a trade or business is covered. Toomer v. Witsell, 334 U.S. 385, 395 (1948). Differential fees on nonresidents for recreational hunting and fishing are not. Baldwin v. Fish and Game Commission of Montana, 436 U.S. 371 (1978). In general, differential income or property tax rules are covered, since they affect the right to “reside in” or “to pursue trade, agriculture, [or] professional pursuits.” That would explain the rule that states cannot restrict the right to practice law to residents. Does the right to be treated the same by the criminal laws rise to a “fundamental interest” that bears on “the vitality of the Nation as a single entity?” Rationally, you’d think it does. However, one can never understand constitutional issues with common sense. What is “rational” in constitutional law depends upon finding a decided Supreme Court case saying it is rational.

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