Archive for March, 2009

Ron Paul’s Tax Credit Misnomer

March 12, 2009

What? Ron Paul not making any sense? Now I have heard everything. The video is from a recent appearance on Neil Cavuto’s show. The main argument of the segment was earmarks. Earmarks are indeed a problem with Members of Congress; they can’t help themselves with their pet projects. There is an old saying that goes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Well, it is very true for earmarks. When legislation was passed, congress had no way to see how the oney they just appropriated was being spent, and often, it was not being spent the way they wanted it to be (shocking, I know). So they decided that the best way to have the money spent where they wanted to be was to put it into legislation and thus, earmarks were born. I am not talking about earmarks though.

No, I am talking about one little quote by Ron Paul at around the 2:00 mark. Where he says that he does not vote for appropriations bills, but he does vote for tax credits. That way he can get “more money back to the people”. Sounds nice. However, it is wrong. You see, if Dr. Paul votes for tax credits, he is voting for more government spending. According to Brookings and the Urban Study Center (neither is a friend to conservatives)

The press has widely reported that the difference between Senate and House stimulus bills is mostly about tax cuts (Senate) versus spending (House).  That’s wrong.  The main difference is about who runs the spending programs-the IRS or program agencies

The Heritage Foundation states:

This kind of credit is actually a spending program because it directs money to a targeted group based on political considerations. Economically, it is no different than if Congress passed a spending bill that simply sent checks in the same amount to the same people. The only difference is that it is run through the tax code.

The Tax Foundation, an organization dedicated to letting people have the most of their money as possible says this about Tax Credits:

While some might consider this a wise compromise, it is not the best solution for from an economic perspective. There is no way hold businesses harmless through tax credits from a minimum wage increase; nor is it equitable to provide tax credits to some businesses that employ minimum wage workers and not others. Targeted tax credits simply cannot accomplish the stated goals and they have a number of negative consequences for the overall economy.

So, it seems that everyone is in agreement that tax credits are spending under a different name. But somehow, Dr. Paul votes for tax credits and votes against spending. Things aren’t adding up here.

Todd Thurman

Advice to President Barack Obama on Judicial Nominees

March 11, 2009

Today at The Heritage Foundation I had the opportunity to attend a panel hosted by former Attorney General Ed Meese. The panel was put in place to give President Barack Obama advice when he chooses his nominations for the Judicial system (the Supreme and Appellate courts). On the panel were Walter Dellinger, Stuart Taylor, and Jonathan Adler.

Dellinger had a bevy of advice for him. They were simple, yet important pieces of advice. The first piece was to select someone who is humble. He said that opinions would be far more persuasive if they were honest. Weighing both sides equally and walking us through the decision making process that lead them to whatever decision they made. Instead opinions are written explaining only their view and we are just supposed to accept it. He also said that Obama should pick judges that play nicely with others. If Justices can get other judges to be more bipartisan, it could help guide the Supreme Court as well as lower courts in future decisions.

Dellinger also stated that diversity is good, but Obama must understand the limits of it. He used the example of Roman-Catholic Judges. Once the third Roman-Catholic is appointed, it is no longer a story. There will always be a “Roman-Catholic seat” from then on. He also said that President Obama can look outside of the judicial world for qualified candidates. Justices do not necessarily have to be judges. Dellinger would nominate Lee Hamilton if he was nominating people. Dellinger wanted to hear a healthy debate on whether or not it is better to have Intellectuals or Practitioners on the Appellate Courts. Lastly, Dellinger stated that he should look for experience rather than someone who is trying to shape the future. He noted that there is a certain type of growth that stops when you are appointed to the bench.

Stuart Taylor echoed the need to nominate judges that had humility. Taylor also suggested that Obama appoint justices that were moderate. Not too far to the left, not too far to the right. He also noted that it will be difficult for Obama to reconcile campaign rhetoric (saying that he will appoint liberal judges) with votes and stances that he has taken. For example, he voted for controversial amendments to the Patriot Act, as well as wiretapping and a national fingerprint registry. A nominee that supports these initiatives will alienate his base, but a nominee that opposses these initiatives will erode his national security policies. (Dellinger disagreed with the notion that Obama had to support his base because he will never have a contested Democratic primary again).

Jonathan Adler was the last to speak. He commented that Obama will have power to shape the Court, but he will have much greater power to shape the appellate courts. He cited a Brookings study that stated that Obama will be able to nominate 1/3 of the Appellate Court judges in his first terms. Presidents usually appoint that many in two terms. Adler echoed humility, but also stressed the need to vett nominees, but at the same time, he cannot allow seats to sit empty. Renominating Bush appointees should also not be off the table. He weighed in on the question that Dellinger asked (whether or not it was better to have intellectuals or practitioners on the Appellate) saying it was better to have intellectuals on the Appellate. (He also applauded Mr. Meese and Reagan for making a conscience effort to get intellectuals like Bork on the Appellate).

The advice to the Senators confirming the Judges was to hang a big sign on the back wall that says : IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!

Here is the video of the event

Todd Thurman