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Today is Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Congress 112th

3 political books I’m reading: Coolidge, The three languages of politics, Act of Congress


Books I'll read this summer because they got good WSJ and Amazon reviews: 

Coolidge by Amity Shlaes.
The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling.

Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, by Robert G. Kaiser.
Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 05/27/13 at 05:01 PM
BooksCongress 112thPermalink

Xcel Energy: Wind power subsidies benefit developers, not utilities nor consumers

Excel Energy, the biggest wind energy producer in America, says that it may not sign up for more wind energy because the subsidies extended as part of the bill that saved 99% of Americans from income tax increases inclluded some $40 billion in pork for developers of wind power farms and their suppliers like General Electric.

The wind production tax credit (PTC) disguises the cost of wind energy and exacerbates the costs of other types of enery sources, Excel's lobbyist said in a statement reported by The Foundry blog, which is part of the Heritage Network..

Excel has raised rates to pay for its "clean energy" investments in Colorado and Minnesota. Many of its wind farms are around our farm in SW Minnesota. That it isn't likely to buy more towers is another reason for us to not put towers on our farm. I've been agaisnt the towers because they're ugly, noisy and likely to be eyesores for decades after they wear out and cease to produce energy. Most important, we don't like being part of an uneconomic enterprise subsidized at the rate of $8.5 billion $10 billion a year by consumers and taxpayers for no good reasons. 


The Hidden Costs of Wind Energy; Why the full cost of wind generation is unlikely to match the cost of natural gas, coal or nuclear generation, By American Tradition Institute.

The hidden costs of wind power, by Institute for Energy Research.

Top wind utility: Wind subsidy benefits industry, not consumers, by Lachlan Markay, The Foundry blog.

Wind turbines 'Only lasting for half as long as previously thought,' by Energy Tribune.

The Democratic war on science, by Steven Hayward at Powerline blog.

Science must be seen to bridge the political divide; Scientists in the United States are often perceived as a Democratic interest grouip. For science's sake this has to change, by Daniel Sarewitz @

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/07/13 at 02:31 PM
AgricultureFarmingCongress 112thStocksEnergy StocksTaxesPermalink

Sen. Mark Udall bloats Defense Dept. spending with green energy mandates

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is a leading spend and tax environmental extremist who is bragging about inflating the Defense Dept.'s budget with an amendment that will force it to waste billions on uneconomic green energy. 

In a letter to constituents, he wrote:

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 in favor of my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, authorizing the Defense Department to continue its efforts to develop and use alternative fuels. I worked across the aisle to secure this bipartisan victory. Passage of this amendment, when signed into law, will ensure that our military has the resources it needs to develop and use advanced alternative fuels that bring down costs, improve mission capabilities and reduce the strategic vulnerabilities associated with a reliance on foreign fossil fuels.

Udall's up for re-election in 2014. Sadly, the GOP doesn't seem to have a strong challenger in the wings. So Udall can safely   promote unwise government spending and higher taxes to pay for that spending.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/04/12 at 01:11 PM
ColoradoElections '14UdallEnergyLegislationPoliticsCongress 112thEnvironmentClimate ChangeGlobal WarmingTaxesPermalink

Time for Moocher Nation Obama Democrats to pay the price of going over the fiscal cliff

The greedy Moocher Nation voted for Divider-in-Chief Obama. Now he is signalling that he is taking them over the fiscal cliff.  If Obama takes us over the cliff, way less than 47% of Americans will not pay income taxes. And most of those who will write income tax checks for the first time in years will get what they voted for. Going over the cliff will cost most of us a lot of money.  So be it. Downsize government. Tea Party II will win in 2014.

The "monied suburbs" voted Obama. Let them pay for their Moocher Nation greed.

Young parents voted Obama. Let them give up half of their child tax credits.
Fortune 500 members of the Moocher Nation publicly support Divider in Chief Obama. Let them get negative returns on their greedy investments.
Unionized employees of the government and industrial companies supported Obama. Let them feel the consequences.
Greedy liberal academics and health care providers supported Obama Democrats. It's time for them to pay for their hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty.
Blue State governors are Obama Democrats. Let them see what it's like to be off the federal dole and pay for unfunded federal mandates.
Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/04/12 at 09:10 AM
Congress 112thTaxesPermalink

Fiscal cliff: Would Obama tax hikes mean end of 47%, more pay taxes, end of GOP?

President Obama wants to kill the Republican Party by getting the House GOP to renege on its 20-year-old pledge to not raise taxes. There is a 25% to 35% chance he may get them to commit political suicide. If the House GOP caves on the fiscal cliff, a lot of economic conservatives will stay home in 2014. But there are some interesting questions about  the fiscal cliff and what would happen if we went over it next year.

1. Whose tax credits, tax loopholes, depreciation schedules, government contracts and government subsidies is Norquist protecting?
2. If we go over the cliff, what percent of working Americans will NOT pay income taxes? 47%, 35%, 30%, or what?
3. If we go over the cliff, wouldn't it advance future tax votes if more Americans had to pay the increased taxes and pressed Congress to NOT raise taxes again?
4. If defense is cut another $500 billion, what welfare programs, health benefits, retirement benefits and pork for contractors would be cut first?
5. What kind of security threat would it take to get Congress to reinstate most defense spending? Isn't the Middle East mess enough as it is?
6. Since the fiscal stimulus bill of 2009 and ObamaCare upped spending some $1 trillion over 10 years, maybe $2T, wouldn't it be easy to cut spending under sequestration?
7. If Sequestration made Obama stop picking energy winners and losers with his crony capitalism spending on his favored few ethanol and wind tower makeris, wouldn't we see revivals in petroleum exploration and coal? Wouldn't markets work?
8. With sequestration, would infrastructure spending increase and use up the increased tax revenues? Or would the need to pay down the debt, House refusals to spend on infrastructure unless defense spending was increased again cause more gridlock and help reduce all spending? 
9. While stock markets might drop 5% or so if we went over the cliff, would there be enough certainty for businesses to begin investing and hiring again as the economy recovered?

If we go over the cliff, I blame Obama more than the GOP. Obama Democrats are so greedy for political power that they'll do anything to win it, including putting lots of Americans out of work in the process. Obama Democrats are just like the Hostess union leaders who fund them.

The problem is that few trust or believe Obama Democrats or Republicans. That makes it hard to get anything done. The markets have to clear out the dead wood in a bunch of markets before there can be a recovery.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/24/12 at 09:51 AM
Congress 112thEconomyTaxesPermalink

President Obama’s jobs speech the same old song; what a disgrace!

President Obama's cry for help in a feeble campaign speech to a joint session of Congress probably hurt him politically more than it helped him. It will do nothing for the American economy.

What a disgraceful pander to public sector and construction unions. How empty can a presidential suit look and sound? Now we've see and heard one of the weakest and most self serving speeches a president has ever delivered in an appearance before Congress.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 09/08/11 at 05:52 PM
'12 PresidentCongress 112thEconomyPermalink

How Eric Cantor Republicans can stimulate consumer spending, jobs

U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) is promising to work with President Obama to stimulate consumer spending that is needed to create jobs, and he asked for comments on his response to Friday's dismal jobs report. I doubt that President Zero really wants to work with Cantor or the Republicans, because that would cost him the support of the House Progressive Caucus and the Hard Left.

I posted this comment, which I've edited and expanded a bit:

How to stimulate consumption that will cause businesses to hire more people:

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 09/02/11 at 09:40 PM
Congress 112thEconomyTaxesRead More

13 ways to cut Medicare costs

Over the last 35 years, there have been a lot of attempts to slow the growth in Medicare expenditures, which have continued to soar unabated because of poor policy making by both parties. 

Although the Budget Control Act of 2011 (S. 365) says the Joint Budget Committee that will try to agree on the next round of budget cuts won't be allowed to change Medicare's benefits, I think it should.

Here are some ideas for changing Medicare that would give consumers and providers strong financial incentives to increase access to care and higher quality care at lower costs per patient and per enrollee:

Cutting physicians’ incomes wrong way to cut Medicare costs and expenditures

The Budget Control Act signed by President Obama today creates a Joint Committee of a dozen members of Congress. It's job is to cut the budget by Thanksgiving.

Everyone expects that the committee, which will be comprised of six members of the Senate and six members of the House with six from each party, will target Medicare, Medicaid and other health services for savings.

This is a slightly revised piece I'm posting on comments sections and on Facebook:

Can Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann sell spending cuts?


Will Paul Ryan or Michelle Bachmann speak for voters who gave the GOP control of the House when they reply to President Obama's state of the union speech Tuesday night?

The answer will not be known until we hear one of them articulate the GOP's missions to cut spending and taxes in terms that will resonate with voters.

If all they do is talk about cutting spending without explaining the benefits of such cutting, Obama will win the day.

Instead of harping on cutting spending "for our children," Republicans must talk about cutting spending that favors General Electric, General Motors and General Dynamics and members of public unions.

Spending must be cut to put lobbyists like GE's Jeffrey Immelt out of the business of using his political clout to win advantages for GE over Americans who don't work for GE, GM, GD or federal and local government agencies.

Only when government subsidies and tax credits for those with highly paid lobbyists are eliminated will all Americans be able to play on a level playing field. 

As long as Obama's government favors one type of energy producer over another and favors producers of goods and services over consumers, only the Democrats' favored few—the General Electrics of the world— will enjoy opportunities to share in the American dream.

Democrats have long dismissed the "trickle down" theory of economics. And they've been right. Pouring money into the pockets of GE, GM, GD and public sector unions will not bring prosperity to all. 

Yet, Democrats are trying to sell the "trickle down" theory that they despise. They're saying that if the government spends billions that it doesn't have on infrastructure, favored energy producers and education, everyone will benefit. 

That simply is not true. Obama's spending and taxing proclivities will only make his friends rich and the rest of us poor.

So Republicans in the House will stop Obama Democrats from paying off their favorite lobbyists. Sorry, GE, GM, public sector unions and the bloated higher education and health care industries. 

Like all thinking Americans, Republicans believe that we must minimize government spending so that we can cut taxes and give every American worker and consumer an equal opportunity to prosper.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/24/11 at 02:43 PM
Congress 112thPermalink

Mike Coffman supports full repeal of ObamaCare

Rep. Mike Coffman says on his web site that he supports the full repeal of ObamaCare. The Denver Post reported yesterday that "Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican who has not committed to repeal, said he agrees with some aspects of reform but thinks President Barack Obama's push was "the wrong way to go. I look forward to working with Secretary Sebelius on meaningful, market-based health care reforms that expand access and lower costs," said Coffman, in Washington preparing for the new Congress." Of course, ObamaCare is not going to be completely repealed.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/07/11 at 05:38 PM
ColoradoElections '14CoffmanCongress 112thPermalink

Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton on House Natural Resources Committee

There are only four Republican members of the U.S. House and three of the four are on the Natural Resources Committee. Doug Lamborn (CD 5) is the fifth ranking Republican on the committee, Mike Coffman (CD 6) is ninth and and Scott Tipton (CD 3) is the most junior member. Lamborn is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The Democrats haven't named their members of the committee.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/07/11 at 05:29 PM
Congress 112thPermalink

2-page text of bill to repeal ObamaCare

The Weekly Standard says this is the text of the two-page "Repealing the job-killing health care law act" that would repeal ObamaCare (Public Law 111-148).

Has Mike Coffman been denied spot on House Intelligence Committee?

Has U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (CO R CD-6) been passed over for a seat on the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which he has been seeking since the Nov. 2 elections? It looks like more senior and prominent members got the job instead of Coffman, who's completing his first term in the House.

On Friday, the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, appointed three new members of the committee for the 112th Congress, which opens Jan. 5. They have announced their appointments in press releases. Coffman hasn't announced his appointment, which indicates he didn't make the committee. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) yesterday announced their appointments to the prestigious committee. Because Congressional offices are closed on weekends, I won't be able to get a comment from Coffman until next week. Coffman serves on the House Armed Services, Natural Resources and Small Business committees in the 111th Congress. 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/18/10 at 08:09 AM
Congress 112thPermalink

Cory Gardner names Mike Bennett, Natalie Farr and Rachel Boxer to senior staff

Rep.-elect Cory Gardner (CO CD-4) named three more members of his senior staff. Mike Bennet district director, Natalie Farr legislative director and Rachel Boxer communications director. Press release is after the jump.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/17/10 at 11:31 AM
Congress 112thRead More
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