Category archives: Economics

Stimulus” Update

by Family Research Council

February 13, 2009

The House passed the Stimulus bill with all Republicans and 7 Democrats voting against it (except for two Republican absences who would have been NO and one Democrat, Rep. Lipinski, (D-Mich.) who voted PRESENT)

The Democrats voting yes (or switching from the last vote):

5 switched NO to YES: Reps. Boyd (D-Fla.), Cooper (D-Tenn.), Ellsworth (D-Ind.), Kanjorski (D-PA) and Kratovil (D-Md.)

6 stayed NO: Rep. Bright (D-Ala.), Griffith (D-Ala.), Minnick (D-Id.), Peterson (D-Minn.), Shuler (D-N.C.) and Taylor D-Miss.)

1 switched YES to NO: DeFazio (D-Or.)

Representative Boehner gave an impassioned speech (no crying though) on the House floor, you can watch it here

Senate update:

The Senate will vote at 5:30 pm tonight on the Stimulus Conference Report. The vote will be on a motion to waive the budget point of order (must achieve 60 votes) and under the order the vote on the motion to waive will count as final passage of the conference report.

Keep in mind this vote will be held open for a bit in order for all Members to have a chance to record their vote.

That 78-cent Bogus Bill

by Robert Morrison

February 11, 2009

With great fanfare, President Barack Obama last week signed his first bill.  The White House was the backdrop for a celebratory East Room signing ceremony.  The bill, backers acknowledge, “overrules a Supreme Court ruling.” The subject was a favorite of feminists: equal pay for equal work.  Now, the sight of a roomful of liberals cheering when Congress and the President overrule the Supreme Court ought to make any of us happy.  But I wish the President had not repeated that old feminist line:  women make just seventy-eight cents to every one dollar men make. 

The fact is true, but it is also misleading.  Liberals claim that it is because of job discrimination that women are relatively disadvantaged.  This is not the case.  The reason that the average woman earns 78% of the what the average man earns is because the average woman spends part of her adult life outside of the paid workforce or working only part-time (generally while bearing and raising children), whereas the average man works full-time for all or nearly all of his adult life. And there is no injustice in paying workers (whether male or female) more money when they have more work experience.

On the very day the President made his East Room statement, my daughter called me to announce she was quitting her job.  Despite her fine education and her excellent promotion prospects, my daughter and son-in-law had decided that she would stay at home with their newborn son.  I thanked God for their decision.  Our daughter was exercising her freedom to choose.  I thought liberals were in favor of “a woman’s right to choose.”

The falsehood of the 78-cent comparison could be seen at my own breakfast table.  For most of the 30 years that my wife and I have been married, I earned 78 cents for every dollar she earned.  That’s because she was a senior military officer and I have worked for Washington-based non-profits.  Again, we were exercising our freedom to choose. 

The only way there can ever be a complete parity of pay for all women in relation to all men is for women to reject the high calling of full-time mother and homemaker.  Granted, tens of millions of women are pursuing careers, many of them contributing greatly to the nation’s economic life.  No one wants to hinder them.  When women choose, however, to raise families full-time, that choice should be honored, supported, even applauded.  Such families deserve equitable treatment in our tax code.  There should not be government pressure-real or implied-to push them into the paid labor force.  And that’s just what canards like the 78-cent fallacy are designed to do.

Stimulost Update

by Family Research Council

February 10, 2009

The substitute “compromise” made cloture* tonight with a vote of 61-36. Beyond the Terrible Trio (Senators Collins (R-Me.), Snowe (R-Me.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.)) no Republicans voted for the measure. No Democrats voted against cloture. Senator Cornyn (R-Tex.) missed the vote, but one can safely assume he would have voted against it, and Senator Gregg abstained because he is going to be the next Commerce Secretary (I am assuming he is getting a head start on abstaining from all fiscal responsibility for the next four years.)

From the Senate: “Under the previous order, at 12:00pm tomorrow (Tuesday), the bill will be subject to another 60 vote hurdle by either waiving a budget point of order (if it is raised) or a 60 vote threshold on the amendment. If the amendment is agreed to, the Senate will then proceed to final passage of the Stimulus bill.

Majority Leader Reid also said this evening that additional votes on Executive Nominations may occur tomorrow.”

I’ve talked to several offices and between this and the David Ogden nomination Senate offices are getting swamped with phone calls - so keep them coming. It inspires those on our side and sends a strong message to those who are not.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new estimate tonight on the “compromise.” CBO estimates that the package will cost $838.2 billion (not including interest which puts it over a trillion dollars). This is $18.7 billion more than the House-passed bill.

I also updated the greatest quotes (HERE) with the help of some FRC and Senate staffers.

*Cloture is the process by which debate can be limited in the Senate without unanimous consent. When invoked by roll call vote - three-fifths of those present and voting - it limits each senator to one hour of debate.

Senate Stimu-less? Don’t Buy It

by Family Research Council

February 7, 2009

Friend from the Hill sends the following:

On Saturday the Senate will be in session from 12:00 - 3:00 pm for members to speak and there will be no roll call votes. Also on Saturday cloture will be filed on the Collins/Nelson amendment and the cloture vote on the amendment will occur on Monday at 5:30 pm. If cloture is invoked on the amendment post cloture time will run until noon on Tuesday. At noon on Tuesday the bill will be subject to another 60 vote hurdle by either waiving a budget point of order or achieving 60 votes on final passage.

The Senate will not be in session on Sunday.

Why is Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the Senate taking so long in building bipartisan support to pass the bill instead of just passing it without Republican support like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats in the House did? Well one, the Democrats in the Senate do not yet have 60 Members to defeat any filibuster from the Republicans and secondly, as the blog Hot Air points out, a new CBS poll shows “eighty-one percent of Americans say the stimulus bill should be a bipartisan effort. Just 13 percent think it is okay for a bill to be passed with only the backing of the Democratic majority.”

This new bill still has a good chance of passing, especially if liberal spending Republican Senators like Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Olymia Snowe (R-Me.) vote for the bill. So please contact your Senators today. The phones have been lighting up so you might have to try a few times. Many of the problems we have documented (religious institutions, money to ACORN, etc.) remain in the new bill.

Some news reports are calling the new Senate legislation a streamlined bill. Mark Hemmingway over at the Corner has a list of a few of the cuts - however the bill is still full of pork and payoffs. Additionally the Senate Republican Policy Committee have sent around numbers disputing that this bill is more frugal:

Cost of deal: $780 billion

Cost of amendments added on the floor: $47 billion

Total cost of Senate bill: $827 billion

Total estimated cost with interest: $1.2 trillion

Senate bill is $7.5 billion higher than the House bill

Additionally, as Senate Minority Leader Mith McConnell (R-Ky.) points out “According to the figures I’ve been given, the House bill is about $820 billion. The Senate bill, under the compromise, we believe, would be about $827 billion. Bear in mind the interest costs on either of those proposals would be $348 billion. So we’re really talking about a $1.1 trillion pending measure.”

What Would You Buy With a Trillion Dollars?

by Family Research Council

February 3, 2009

CBO estimates that the Senate version of the so-called stimulus plan will top at least $1.1 trillion. Trying to wrap my mind around that I found some interesting figures what you trillion.jpgcould get with a trillion dollars. Some examples:

If you stack up $1,000 bills, $1 trillion would need a pile that is 80 miles high.

$ 1 trillion is more than the combined gross revenues of Wal Mart, Exxon, General Motors and Ford Motors.

Assuming the United States consumes about 17 billion barrels of oil a year and assuming the cost of a barrel of oil is about $65, a trillion dollars will buy an entire year’s worth of oil for the USA.

You could buy a thousand Queen Mary 2 with accommodations for 2,620 passengers

With a population of approximately 300 million people, you could give away $1 trillion by giving every man, woman and child in the U.S.$ 3,400 each.

We could buy everyone on Earth an iPod.

We could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with 23.5-karat gold leaf.

We could buy 16.6 million Habitat for Humanity houses

We could hire 1.9 million additional teachers

In my search I found a great website that helps you buy luxury and charitable items trying to add up to a trillion dollars. It was based on the spending involved with the Iraq War, but it works with out of control spending too. Here is the list I came up with:

You could buy:

8,700 Porsche 911 Turbos ($126,000 each): $1,097,940,000

New York Yankees: $1,200,000,000

New York Mets: $482,000,000

Every NFL Franchise: $8,600,000,000

Dracula’s Romanian castle: $140,000,000

1,000 60SE Lear jets ($11,595,000 each): $11,595,000,000

Denver International Airport: $4,822,000,000

10 Picasso’s (113,400,000 each): $1,134,000,000

Hard Rock Casino in Vegas: $770,000,000

Hong Kong Disneyland: $3,500,000,000

South Pacific Island of Katafanga: $38,900,000

Buy the whole world 100 cans of Coke: $650,000,000,000

Buy 50 Super bowl ads ($2,600,000 each): $130,000,000

Build 1,001 Habitat for Humanity houses (at $60,000 each): $600,060,000

Build 2,000 miles of Metro rail ($150,000,000 per a mile of track): $300,000,000,000

Build 250 hospitals in Third World nations ($41,300,000 each): $10,325,000,000

Produce your own Hollywood movie: $150,000,000

Buy the Maltese Falcon, the world’s most expensive yacht: $100,000,000

Buy 2 Napa Valley wineries ($34,000,000 each): $68,000,000

Buy 26 McDonalds’ franchises ($1,000,000 each): $26,000,000


Total: $1,000,000,000,000

Try it yourself here

Speaker Pelosi’s Pork and Payoff bill updated - That’s not all folks!

by Family Research Council

January 29, 2009

When you have a huge bill like Hr. 1, the so-called stimulus bill, sometimes it takes a while for things to come out. I’ve found some updates on political pork being directed towards theporkypig.jpg author of the bill’s, Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), son. Also the unions are given a sweet deal and, in what could possibly be called a bailout for the porn industry, the National Science Foundation gets $1.2 billion.

Read the updated list here.

Rangel Rule: Tax Cheats Given A Pass

by Family Research Council

January 29, 2009

wesley-snipes-crazy.jpgWe have a new contender for my favorite Congressman of the 111th Congress, not sure if this is in time for Wesley Snipes though (my new nominee for Treasury Secretary):


New Bill Would Eliminate All IRS Penalties and Interest for U.S. Citizens

Congressman John Carter to introduce “Rangel Rule” Legislation Wednesday

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) will introduce new legislation tomorrow to eliminate all penalty and interest charges by the Internal Revenue Service against U.S. citizens. The bill is designed to provide the same treatment for all U.S. taxpayers owing back taxes as that enjoyed by House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Obama May Need Environmental Waivers for Spending

by Chris Gacek

January 12, 2009

A recent Los Angeles Times article makes clear that President Obama’s enormous stimulus/spending plan may run into a huge GREEN roadblock - the nation’s environmental laws and, in particular, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA was signed into law on January 1, 1970, and as Wikipedia puts it: “NEPA’s most significant effect was to set up procedural requirements for all federal government agencies to prepare Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). EAs and EISs contain statements of the environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions.”  If significant environmental effects are found, the government has to propose adequate ways of mitigating the harms to be caused by the project.  Spending vast sums on construction, roadway, and other infrastructure projects are certainly going trigger NEPA reviews. 

To spur jobs Governor Schwazenegger is attempting to clear environmental hurdles to various road projects that he believes “would give the state a $1.2 billion economic boost and create 22,000 jobs over the next three years.” The Governator wants to bypass environmental objections to get the projects moving.  In doing so, he “has infuriated the Sierra Club and other groups with such proposals and with a letter he sent to President-elect Barack Obama last week asking that federal environmental reviews be waived on the highway projects.” (my emphasis)

As I read this, Schawarzenegger wants the Obama administration to waive the NEPA requirements.  California’s request here is understandable, and if President Obama wants his stimulus explosion to effect the economy quickly, the Congress, the president, and the primary federal agencies for each “action” may need to waive these laws.  Otherwise, each project could get bogged down.  As Schwarzenegger noted, ” ‘What is important here is not to have projects ready [ ] three years from now, which can happen with the environmental approvals and other kind of red tape that you go through.’”

Having some familiarity with NEPA and related laws, I was beginning to wonder how its requirements were going to be met if the Obama Administration decided to seek a crash building & spending program.  Well, the article from California makes it abundantly clear that environmental regulation of the stimulus spending is going to be a real problem that the Congress will probably have to address statutorily.


by Michael Fragoso

October 30, 2008

Jon Last has a fascinating article at the Weekly Standard on the depressingly sad state of the Icelandic economy-which historically hasn’t done all that bad ever since Erik the Red and his Viking cohorts settled the place a thousand or so years ago. As one might expect, inept government interventions and political posturing played very large roles in the collapse. I, for one, hope it gets better, given that Icelanders with no work or money are going to be looking for something to do. When someone descended from Vikings named “Magnusson” is looking for something to do, it’s time for some people to get worried-yes, I’m talking to you Newfoundland, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Normandy.