Politics: December 2011 Archives


| | Comments (0)

Washington's new congressional districts, as expected, are designed to protect incumbents. (Caveat: while many, including myself, are treating these as though they are final, the commission hasn't voted on them yet, but they are set to do so within days, and I expect them to be approved.)

Rick Larsen, who beat John Koster by only two percent in 2010, was given the 2nd District by removing almost all of its rural areas. Similarly, Dave Reichert's 8th District was made more rural, solidfying his chances of reelection. So the 1st District -- which has no incumbent, as Jay Inslee is running for governor instead -- picks up the rural areas of the 2nd, and some of the more urban areas of the 8th, and kept some of its existing urban areas. And the new 1st happens to be where Koster, 2010's toughest challenger, lives.

Interestingly, although Koster (a Republican) has an Arlington address, he lives outside the city, in the unincorporated area northeast. Larsen also is originally from Arlington, though currently "lives" in Everett. Yet commissioners saw fit to put Arlington -- where Koster beat Larsen by double digits -- into the 2nd. It seems to me like it's a bit of a poke in the eye to Koster by Democratic redistricting commissioner Tim Ceis.

The most offensive part of the redistricting to me, however, is the new map for the ninth, which was carved out deliberately to give "ethnic minorities" a majority. I can't stand this sort of institutional racism.

Yes, I called it racism. This district is designed to get an "ethnic minority" candidate elected. Oh, they don't say it outright, but it's obviously true. They say they want to "[encourage] people of color" to participate, make them "feel their votes matter -- that they have the ability to swing future elections," and that the new representative will "be a champion for their interests." I happen to think that voting for someone -- even in small part -- based on ethnicity is racism. And the Redistricting Committee is making it a part of our electoral institution. So it is, indeed, institutional racism.

Granted, the extremely pale incumbent, Adam Smith, is going to be on the ballot in 2012, but the proponents of this district believe it will become more "ethnically diverse" (read: "nonwhite") in coming years, so when Smith is gone, they hope to replace him with an "ethnically diverse" (I mean, "nonwhite") candidate.

Y'all don't think the proponents of this new district will be satisfied if they continue to be represented by Adam Smith or some other paleface, do you? If they would be, then why bother with an "ethnic minority" district in the first place? It's obvious that Smith can be a champion for their stated interests: comprehensive immigration reform, and disparities in education and health care. So why is this change so important, since they already have someone who is working for their interests? Obviously their interests are not merely in the issues, but in actually having a nonwhite representative.

So if they think that voting based on ethnicity is important, then if no white candidates runs in the new 9th District (in the future, since Adam Smith is running in 2012), I am considering doing so myself (even though I am not certain I am actually white, I appear that way to most people), just to give white resident-citizens of the 9th a choice that the designers of this district map seem to think is so important.

I do not believe that there is any value whatsoever in grouping voters together by race. Some race-lovers may disagree, but I know plenty of conservative "ethnic minorities" who would rather live in a conservative district than a left-leaning one, regardless of its ethnic makeup. Playing to race just further instills in us that "people of color" are different than people of ... white? Non-nonwhiteness? No color?

Honestly, I don't even know what the hell these race-lovers are talking about half the time. But as for me and my house, we will ignore whatever color you think you are and I am.

Funding and Such

| | Comments (0)

Some years ago, Senator John Kerry voted for the Iraq war funding before he voted against it. He got in a lot of trouble because, in the end, his proposal would have funded the war, but in a different way than the bill that was passed, but people took that as him being against the funding. It's hard to keep up with that sort of story line. It's the sort of story that gets caught in the current and carried downstream no matter how hard you paddle upstream.

The Republicans are in the same, swift, boat now. They too are in favor of the policy (extending the payroll tax holiday), for even longer than the Democratic proposal. But because they want it to work differently, they are getting accused of being against the policy altogether. Now, some of them are against it, but there's a majority of both parties sufficient to pass it, if they could work out how to pay for it.

The only difference with Kerry is that there was a majority of both parties who got it passed without him, so the policy moved forward without jeopardizing the timeline. But the timeline is upon us now, and the House Republicans had no more time to get a better bill now.

Of course, this bill lasts only two months. I wonder if this wasn't planned by Boehner, frankly: he waits for the conservatives of his party to go home, he strikes a deal to pass it without them, they return next year angry and ready to fight, and they get a better deal for the remainder of the year. People are saying Boehner and the Republicans lost big here, but I'm not so sure. Yes, they take a small and temporary hit from people who are lied to into believing that they were against the payroll tax extension, but if they can pull off a better bill in two months, that will be quickly forgotten.

It's funny to me that so many people are accusing Boehner of being short-sighted, but they themselves can't see that just two months down the road, Boehner has an opportunity to turn it all around.

Public Policy and Private Behavior

| | Comments (0)

Many people say that uncertainty in public policy -- taxes, regulation, and so on -- is holding back the private sector. Other people say, that's dumb: if something makes sense for a business, the business should do it, regardless of the public policy.

Now, on its face, the latter argument seems silly. If I can get some equipment for $10 million, but it will only provide me $10 million in revenue over its lifetime, then that obviously makes no sense. But if government will give me a $5 million tax credit for it, well, now it might make sense for me, depending on what other costs are associated with it.

But it also makes no sense based on the other behaviors of government, in particular the tax code: most of the tax code is designed to manipulate private behavior, whether it's through encouraging home ownership, or charitable contributions, or changing the windows in your home. So on the one hand the politicians use public policy every day to manipulate behavior, and then when it gets to the point that those policies become uncertain, they tell us that their policies don't affect behavior.

Actions speak louder than words: if they ever get rid of all of these manipulative features of the tax code, I'll believe them when they say that they don't believe policy affects behavior.

School Funding in Washington State

| | Comments (0)

All of you students and parents and teachers who are upset about K-12 education being cut: if you think that these cuts constitute having less than an "ample provision" for education, then please tell Governor Gregoire that her proposed cuts violate the Constitution.

She would likely tell you that we need more revenues to continue to make that ample provision the Constitution requires. In fact, what the Constitution requires is, essentially, to make ample provision for education first, and pay for everything else afterward. So if anything else is being funded, then they have literally no excuse for not making ample provision for education. No extra revenues are required, as long as other expenditures exist.

The Democrats are trying to get kids and parents and teachers to hate on the Republicans and others who don't want to raise taxes, and to convince them that supporting tax increases is the only way to fully fund education. They are counting on you to be ignorant of their constitutional obligations. Don't let them get away with it!

Newt and Michele and Freddir

| | Comments (0)

I think Newt Gingrich would be a terrible nominee for President, and a pretty bad President. I think he doesn't lead effectively, I think he's essentially an American statist (not that government is the answer for everything, but that it is a big part of the answer for many, if not most, things), and I think he is erratic and prone to errors that can hurt the country.

But for the life of me I don't understand the hubbub over this Freddie Mac thing. Yes, it paid him a lot of money for his insights, whatever they may be, but there's no evidence he ever tried to convince legislators of anything on its behalf. And there's no evidence that their money influenced his own views or criticisms of the institution. It seems to me if anything that people should be upset with Freddie Mac for wasting its money on Gingrich.

And while I have some admiration for Michele Bachmann's tenacity and values and intelligence, my view of her character has taken a recent hit when she tried to convince debate viewers that the proof that he was "influence-peddling" was that he "took the money." So if you take money for A, that means you did B? Heck, taking money for A doesn't even mean you did A, let alone B. It's utter nonsense, and she knows it.

[Edited to change "Fannie Mae" to "Freddie Mac."]

Rick Larsen and the Detroit Tigers

| | Comments (0)

I think Rick Larsen owes the Detroit Tigers an apology. I've seen his staff's offensive tweets next to the Detroit Tigers logo -- which at least one of his staff chose for their Twitter picture -- for a couple of days now. I'm not even a Tigers a fan, but I feel bad for them having to be associated with Rick Larsen's staff.

"Gangster Government"

| | Comments (0)

Maybe Michele Bachmann was right when she calls our federal government a "gangster government."

The Obama administration apparently didn't even mean it when -- almost two years after the plant was announced -- they said Boeing broke the law in opening a plant in South Carolina. They dropped the lawsuit today, even though nothing changed about that plant since the lawsuit was announced. But Boeing did agree to open its next plant in a union state, and suddenly the South Carolina plant doesn't violate the law?

All along, Obama was just using the threat of a frivolous, but expensive, lawsuit by the federal government to force Boeing to go to a union state with its next facility.

This is part of why the health insurance lawsuit is so important: Obama and the Democrats literally believe they have the right to force anyone to do anything, as long as it has to do in some way with "commerce." Fire your CEO, cut these benefits, increase those benefits, set your prices, build your plant here, provide this service and these products.

It's total insanity. They literally have no right to do any of it.

There Is No Payroll Tax Pledge

| | Comments (0)

Obama and many others on the left are attacking the Republicans for on the one hand taking a pledge to not raise taxes, and on the other opposing continuing the payroll tax holiday.

Obama said just yesterday, "I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live. How could it be that the only time there's a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class families?"

But, unfortunately, Obama is lying. They took no such pledge, and there is no "catch." The oath Obama refers to for members of Congress very explicitly does not cover the payroll tax. It reads:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

It only refers to the federal income tax, and deductions and credits on that tax. The payroll tax is separate and not addressed, in any way, by implication or otherwise, in the pledge. This is intentional. If you read the state versions of the pledge, they refer to all taxes, but the federal version is only about the income tax.

Obama and his people are smart. They know this. They are just lying.

A few other points on this payroll tax thing are worth noting:

First, the Democrats have tremendous gall to say that the Republicans should oppose a tax increase on fundamental principle now, while at the same time saying they are just going to increase that tax in the following year anyway.

Second, the Democrats have for years attacked anyone who called preserving an expiring cut a "tax increase." Now they are using that phrase for that purpose every other minute. Of course, some Republicans have switched their language too, but I've not seen one say that it is wrong to call it a tax increase, as the Democrats have done for years. I've actually been called a liar by leftists, several times, for saying that allowing a tax cut to expire is a tax increase. I've not seen any of these same leftists call the Democrats, like Obama, liars for the same language. Funny that.

Third, this is not paid for. Anything that takes ten years to pay for, won't be paid for.

Fourth, it's just bad policy, even if it were paid for. We should be reducing income tax, not payroll tax. Payroll taxes are what pay for Social Security and Medicare, the two most serious financial liabilities our country faces in the future, both of which are in serious trouble. We need to address those entitlements as wholes, and not monkey with it for short-term political gain.

Fifth, and most importantly, the Republicans should address all this by proposing income tax reform that will lower tax rates, or provide deductions/credits, at about the same level as the payroll tax holiday, but will be permanent. That will effectively demolish the dishonest Democratic argument that the Republicans are against helping the middle class, while highlighting that Republicans really believe that the payroll tax holiday is just bad policy. Given the lateness of the hour, maybe concede to a six-month payroll tax extension while the income tax reform is worked on.

No Moral Core

| | Comments (0)

President Obama's people are out attacking Mitt Romney, saying that because he changes on the issues, he has no "moral core." So I guess that means if you say you will pull out of Iraq within a year and three years later we're still there; if you say we will close Gitmo and there's no plans to do so; if you say a health insurance mandate is wrong and then you make it the keystone of your plan; if you say you will end warrantless wiretapping, but then keep using it; if you say you believe the Second Amendment provides for an individual right, then support a ban on individuals owning guns in DC; if you say you will have more open processes and less lobbyists in government, but nothing changes; if you say you are against gay marriage, but then say you are in favor of it ...

Sorry, what was Obama saying about Romney?

I am not attacking Obama's positions and changes on positions here. I just don't understand how people can look at Romney and Obama and say, "yeah, Romney has no moral core because he keeps changing his views, unlike this Obama guy."

Of course, I am begging the question a bit here: Obama's strategy, as I've said for more than a year, is not to make himself look good, but to make his opponent look bad. He doesn't care if he looks even worse than Romney on the things he criticizes Romney for. All that matters is that people who might vote for Romney, don't. Obama knows he has at least as many significant changes in positions -- just in the last four years -- as Romney has had in his career. But it doesn't matter.

Make no mistake: not only is almost all of Obama's foreign policy, and significant parts of his domestic policy, just like Bush's, but his second-term campaign strategy is, too. Bush did something novel in 2004: he didn't really defend his own record much, but instead attacked Kerry. Not only did this dilute Kerry's support among independents, but it scared the voters on the right about the prospects of a Kerry presidency so much, it got them out to the polls in droves. How many people did you know who were voting for Kerry, instead of against Bush? Similarly and more remarkable, many people on the right voted against Kerry rather than for Bush.

(This is why the exit polls were so far off: the left was enthusiastic about opposing Bush, but the right was not enthusiastic about supporting Bush. And because he was not already in power, they were not enthusiastic about opposing Kerry, either. They were just scared Kerry might win, while the left was excited about the chance to remove Bush from power. As a result, the left was more interested in talking to pollsters, thus, the exit polls skewed heavily for Kerry.)

If you want to know what Obama will do next year, just look at what Bush did in 2004. So much for "hope and change." So much for a "moral core." But you all on the left will vote for him anyway, just like we all on the right voted for Bush.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from December 2011.

Politics: November 2011 is the previous archive.

Politics: January 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.