God Bless Jim Bunning

Not only was a Hall fo Fame pitcher for the Phillies, but now, as a US Senator, he’s fighting hard to stop rewarding the dishonest and/or incompetent who made or took mortgages they couldn’t afford:

According to a summary of all the amendments, Sen. Bunning wants:

“to stop the bailout of the rich”
“to prevent the bailout of illegal aliens”
“to prevent the bailout of homeowners who used their homes as a credit card”
“to stop the bailout of sex offenders”
“to stop the bailout of drug offenders”

Another of Sen. Bunning’s amendments would change the name of the bill from “The Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008” to the “Bailout of Irresponsible Lenders and Borrowers Act of 2008.”

“Mr. Obama seems to think he can repeal the laws of economics.”

Windfall Profits for Dummies – WSJ.com

We tried this windfall profits scheme in 1980. It backfired. The Congressional Research Service found in a 1990 analysis that the tax reduced domestic oil production by 3% to 6% and increased oil imports from OPEC by 8% to 16%. Mr. Obama nonetheless pledges to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, which he says “costs America $800 million a day.” Someone should tell him that oil imports would soar if his tax plan becomes law. The biggest beneficiaries would be OPEC oil ministers.

There’s another policy contradiction here. Exxon is now under attack for buying back $2 billion of its own stock rather than adding to the more than $21 billion it is likely to invest in energy research and exploration this year. But hold on. If oil companies believe their earnings from exploring for new oil will be expropriated by government – and an excise tax on profits is pure expropriation – they will surely invest less, not more. A profits tax is a sure formula to keep the future price of gas higher.

This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion – or perhaps we should say cynicism – of our politicians. They want lower prices but don’t want more production to increase supply. They want oil “independence” but they’ve declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?

Political campaigns usually feature economic illiteracy, but Obama seems to raising it to a new level.

Why do conservatives cheer increased government revenues?

An article at NewsBuster about government revenues setting an all-time record sparked the title question. I’ve actually been pondering this question for a while. What this means is that the government is now taking more money from the people than ever before. Why is that something to celebrate?

My hunch is that conservatives have spent so long arguing that the people are overtaxed, they rejoice at being proven right: tax cuts can spark economic development which will increase government revenues. But in focusing so narrowly on that one issue, they lose sight of the larger: we’re working to reduce the size of government, and giving it more revenues is not the way to do that. They might win this battle, but the rhetoric undercuts our ultimate objective: smaller government. This increased revenue is not a cause for celebration in and of itself, but rather a call for further tax cuts.

Keep your eyes on the ball, guys.

Reports of the economy’s demise are greatly exaggerated

BBC NEWS | Business | US grows by 0.6% in first quarter

The US economy grew by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2008.

The first quarter figure exceeded analyst expectations of a 0.2% growth and eased expectations of an economic slowdown.

Somehow, I doubt the media will be trumpeting these results. To the extent they’re covered, it will be with a “yeah, but…” attitude. Because good economic news under a Republican presidency is no news.

“…last time I checked, NAFTA is five letters.”

The Campaign Spot on National Review Online

“Here, in Youngstown and across America, obviously the answer to our problems is not the siren song of protectionism,” McCain said during a stop at Fabart, a rusting steel-fabricating plant that has only five remaining workers. “Protectionism and isolation has never worked in America’s history.”

According to USA Today, a former AFL-CIO official told McCain that in that region, NAFTA is a “four letter word.”

McCain’s response? “Jack, I am prone on occasion to make mistakes, but the last time I checked, NAFTA is five letters.”

As frustrating as McCain’s been to conservatives over the years, I’m starting to reflect that he’s right on the most important issues that face us today: Iraq, the right to life, free trade, taxes, etc. The issues where we disagree with him and he frustrates us the most are secondary. (Or in the case of his support for global warming remedies can likely be stopped by a determined GOP filibuster in the Senate.)

He’s bothering me less and less all the time. Either that, or the Kool-Aid’s tasting really good.