Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26th, 2012 Edition

3 Reasons Why the Scott Walker Wisconsin Recall Election Matters
by Mary Kate Cary

May 25, 2012 

Political junkies are watching the June 5 recall election in Wisconsin very closely, but what about the rest of us? The subject of the recall campaign, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is ahead in the polls and is looking like he'll survive. Democrats are now doing everything they can to convince voters that there's nothing here to see. But here are three good reasons why the recall election should matter to those of us who live outside of the Badger State:

1) Walker is proving that struggling states can turn theireconomies around, and that fiscal conservatism works.

Walker eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and balanced the budget without raising taxes. He did it by asking public employees to contribute, like the rest of us do, to their healthcare costs and pension funds—a move which prevented teachers, firemen, and police from being laid off. Unemployment in Wisconsin is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008, and joblessness there is now below the national average. Plus Wisconsin's public employee retirement system is now fully funded. Unfunded pensions are a big deal in many states, and could cost taxpayers in many states millions in new taxes.

2) The recall election spells big trouble for unions, especially public employee unions.

When recall supporters first garnered nearly a million signatures in order to get on the ballot, the unions were ecstatic. They've poured millions into the state and bussed in thousands of volunteers, but as the issues in the race became clear, the union position came across as greedy and unreasonable. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Politico that if Walker wins, it will be "a significant blow to the labor unions," and will definitely embolden other Republican governors to take on labor unions in battles over collective bargaining.

3) The recall fight exposes the flaws in the Obama campaign strategy.

Here's how Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the leading union-backed anti-Walker coalition put it a few months ago to Politico: 
"Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin's working families, dividing the state like never before," Steele said in an E-mail. "This historic recall is a ... victory for Wisconsinites united to take their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme agenda."
Sound familiar? Might as well be a page out of an Obama speech. 

Are We Going Over a Cliff?
by John C. Goodman
May 26, 2012

Did you know the economy is going to fall back into another recession in the first half of next year? That’s the sad news coming from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in areport released this week.

If current law remains unchanged, on January 1, 2013 American taxpayers will be hit with a whopping tax increase (mainly the expiration of the Bush tax cuts) and a major decrease in government spending (the result of last year’s budget deal) as well. 

All told, we’re looking at a $500 billion double whammy. But aren’t economists recommending the opposite medicine? Won’t higher taxes and reduced spending dampen economic activity and slow down the current recovery? Exactly. You can think of the January 1st fiscal tsunami as a New Year’s Day "anti-stimulus" package. The CBO is predicting that the price we will pay for that package is a "double dip" recession.

But here is something even more disturbing. It turns out that uncertainty – not knowing what Washington is going to do about all this is worse than the reality. Will President Obama and the Congress agree to put off the tax increases? Will they agree to delay the spending cuts? Not knowing the answers to those questions appears to have more impact on the decisions of businesses and consumers than if everyone simply agreed to go ahead and let the bad things happen.

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The Tea Party's Senate Insurgency Hits Texas
by Stephen Moore
May 25, 2012

Will the tea party deliver another knockout to an establishment Republican on Tuesday? Tea-party groups like FreedomWorks have recently contributed to upsets in Indiana and Nebraska. The next victim of conservative voters' rage against the GOP machine may be Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is seeking his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.

A year ago, when Kay Bailey Hutchinson announced she would not run for re-election to the Senate, Mr. Dewhurst—who has managed the Texas Senate with an iron fist for a decade—was all but measuring the curtains for his new office in Washington, D.C. But that was before former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz threw his hat in the ring.

Now, in the final frantic days of the primary race, Mr. Dewhurst has dumped another $6 million of his own money into his effort to ward off Mr. Cruz (after an initial amount of at least $2 million). Mr. Dewhurst is stalled at 40% support among likely Republican voters, according to a University of Texas poll, with Mr. Cruz gaining ground at 31%. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas football star Craig James trail further behind. If Mr. Dewhurst fails to win more than 50% on Tuesday, he's headed to a runoff in late June.

"If we can get Dewhurst in a runoff, we win," Mr. Cruz predicts. A former state solicitor general and clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the 41-year-old Mr. Cruz has become a conservative cause célèbre. "First Class Cruz" was the title of a National Review magazine cover story last year, and columnist George Will calls him "as good as it gets."

Mr. Cruz is a staunch defender of states' rights, or what he calls the "forgotten Ninth and 10th amendments." He was the lead lawyer representing Texas before the Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas (2008), after the International Court of Justice had tried to override Texas's justice system, and in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) he wrote the amicus brief on behalf of 31 states challenging a gun-control law on Second Amendment grounds.

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