Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 2002: Drilling in ANWR Would Take 10 Years to Produce: The Consequences of Inaction

Senate Republicans have release the following video noting Senate floor discussion from ten years ago this week when Democrats were claiming that we can't drill in ANWR because it would take 10 years for the oil to be produced (H/T the Heritage Foundation):

Here we are ten years later, and ANWR is still closed to production, yet the obstruction of liberals who would rather invest taxpayer dollars in solar companies that inevitably fail than reap the tax revenue from a proven source of energy that would also create jobs and provide economic and national security. ANWR is overwhelmingly abundant with both oil and natural gas. ANWR has the potential to produce 1 million barrels of oil a day, which would replace the amount that we import from Iraq. It is slightly larger than the state of Delaware, but would leave a footprint roughly equivalent to LAX (2000 acres). In other words, less than 0.5% of the geographic area in ANWR would be used for development, yet it has the capacity to replace the amount of oil in the 7th largest import nation.

Governor Palin noted in highlighted in her Facebook note yesterday how much energy independence is interrelated with all components of public policy and daily life:
 He fails to understand the fundamental truth that there is an inherent link between energy and prosperity, and energy and security. Oil prices affect everything in our lives, including where we send our sons and daughters in war. Developing resources here grows our economy, decreases our trade imbalance, creates hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, and secures our union by eliminating our dependence on dangerous foreign regimes who use our energy insecurity as a weapon against us. Access to secure domestic energy will make us a more peaceful and prosperous nation. 
Obama doesn’t understand this—just as he doesn’t understand the dangers of his wasteful spending. Our energy policy is also linked with our fiscal and monetary policies. In light of America’s unsustainable $16 trillion debt, there’s more talk about dumping the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, which is the currency used to buy and sell oil. If that happens, we’ll feel the pain of inflation everywhere—especially at the pump. That, in turn, will trickle down to everything in our economy. Those living on fixed incomes and retirement pensions and annuities will feel the pain especially hard. So, this is one more reason to get government debt under control with sound monetary policy that doesn’t try to “inflate away” our debt with currency manipulation and gimmicks like quantitative easing.
There is an interelatedness between our national security and energy security. The 4th largest importing nation is Venezuela--a nation controlled by a dictator closely allied with Iran, who has threatened multiple times recently to block the Strait of Hurmuz where 20% of the world's oil passes through daily. Oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait all are transported through this area, and these three countries are among the top ten importing sources of oil. Drilling here instead of relying on foreign nations has the potential to create a million jobs by 2018. Plus, what could be secure our nation more than to make America our own greatest source of energy.

One thing that Governor Palin understands that very few people mention is the relationship between monetary policy and energy. In fact, Governor Palin warned about how a devalued dollar may lead to the the dollar being dropped as the reserve currency and the relationship of that sobering possibility to both inflation and the debt  two and a half years ago in October of 2009.  This is a point she later echoed when she called out Ben Bernanke on his quantitative easing implementation in November 2010:
 All this pump priming will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher. And it’s not just groceries. Oil recently hit a six month high, at more than $87 a barrel. The weak dollar – a direct result of the Fed’s decision to dump more dollars onto the market – is pushing oil prices upwards. That’s like an extra tax on earnings. And the worst part of it: because the Obama White House refuses to open up our offshore and onshore oil reserves for exploration, most of that money will go directly to foreign regimes who don’t have America’s best interests at heart.
Now, nearly a year and a half later, and oil is over $100 a barrel. This, of course, makes the price of everything higher. Not only is inflation by itself causing consumer items to be more expensive, but high fuel prices (also raised by inflation) are contributing to increased consumer prices as well. But, oh no, we were supposed to listen to our betters who told us ten year ago that ANWR would take too long to develop.

Crossposted here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If This Is a War on Women, Why Do I Feel Like I'm the Grenade?

The Washington Free Beacon reported today that despite President Obama’s “Republicans are waging a war against women” rhetoric the women on his staff are paid less than the men:
Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show. According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000). Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.
That difference in annual salary is more than enough to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control if she were to go to law school three times (using her math)! This is par for the course for President Obama (pun intended) who paid men more than women when he was in the Senate (Senator McCain did pay women equally), as then Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin noted in a speech in October of 2008 (see the7 minute  mark):

  Following that speech from Governor Palin, the Obama campaign attempted to defend his record:
The Palin campaign cited press reports from last month and Senate records to back its claims on Obama’s pay to Senate staffers. The discrepancy, however, appears be that more top level staffers in Obama’s Senate office are men, and therefore have higher pay. The Obama campaign points to the many senior-level female staffers currently employed on the presidential campaign trial.
Nice try, guys, but why are more top level staffers men? Are women not capable of holding top level positions? The White House hasn’t responded yet to the latest news of their pay disparities, but I would imagine their argument is similar for his presidency.

 The hypocrisy is just as much of a problem as the issue itself as the president points fingers at everyone else while he is doing the same or worse himself. This is what he has done by jetting all over the country while condemning Americans for driving SUVs or while he and Mrs. Obama eat junk food while lecturing citizens about the need to eat healthy. This “war on women” is not an issue of policy, but of politics.  It is an election year after all. The politicization of this issue though demeans women, rather than empowers us on multiple levels.  By promoting this war on women in conjunction the discussion of the forced coverage of birth control, liberals belittle the intelligence of women by assuming we vote with our uterus, rather than our brain. Furthermore, it assumes that we don’t seek the personal economic empowerment needed to pay for our own birth control if our employer’s insurance doesn’t cover it.

 The war on women has in reality turned women into grenades in a partisan battle, and it is divisive. In addition to the class warfare that President Obama has waged throughout his presidency, most recently in his absurd claim that President Reagan would support the Buffett rule which would raise taxes on the very wealthy, he has tried to divide on racial lines and other “identity politics” groups.  Such rhetoric dilutes the liberty of the individual. Margaret Thatcher once said, “ [t]here is no such thing [as society]! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.”  When people are divided into groups of society, their identity lies in that group and subsequently so does their liberty, or lack thereof, and they are not free to provide for themselves. Businesses are stymied by overbearing regulation which makes them less free to hire people. Unemployed individuals who could be hired by overregulated business don’t have the freedom and resources to provide for their families. Those with jobs have less financial freedom because of the increased cost of consumer products due to that overregulation, bad energy policy, and poor monetary policy that has devalued the dollar. This all happens when a political war is waged in the foreground, while the president’s economic illiteracy is pushed to the background.

 This war on women (or whoever is the identity politics flavor of the month) has turned women into grenades in a partisan battle, and the political war at large waged by our President has taken individual freedom hostage.

Crossposted here and here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thank you for your service, Representative Johnson!

News emerged this evening that central Illinois representative Tim Johnson would not seek re-election in the Fall after winning his primary race just a few weeks ago. Representative Johnson's record has been one of principle and independence. He hasn't always toed the GOP line and perhaps always hasn't been as conservative as some would like, but he has voted his principles and above all, has always been responsive to his constituents.

Representative Johnson was my representative until I moved out of his district almost five years ago. One thing that I've always appreciated about him is that he stood for what is often an ignored minority, the minority that represents 20% of the American population--rural America. He fought for rural communities and agriculture. While that meant he stood for the less-than-conservative ethanol subsidies, he still stood for the people themselves, not just their vote, and was a very critical voice in the questioning Jon Corzine when he "lost" millions of dollars of farmers' money.  Representative Johnson is known for being very connected to his constituents. He always is on the phone with constituents, and often times he would go to the local mall to walk, which served as a great way to stay in touch as well. In fact, one of his unofficial "advisers" and walking buddies was a nice older gentleman whom I attended church with, a retired agronomy professor who was head of the local senior Republican group.

 One thing that I particularly appreciate about Representative Johnson is that he took the time to come and speak to Community Health students when I was in grad school. My Seminar class included developing a lecture series where we invited individuals to come and speak about health care practice and policy. Our class had invited then Senator Obama and our local Congressman, Tim Johnson, and various other individuals. Obama never responded, but Johnson did. He came and spoke at one of those lectures and talked about health care spending, tort reform, and things like personal savings accounts. It was one of the few exposures that my classmates and I had to conservative health policy, much to the dismay of our liberal professors.

There are a few other things in particular that I will praise Representative Johnson on. The STOCK Act  was signed into law today by President Obama with much of the impetus coming from the great research done by Peter Schweizer.This law bans insider trading by Congress, and although it doesn't go as far as it should, it is a start. Prior to the revelations of Schweizer's book, legislation banning insider trading by Congress was tossed around, but of course, most legislators never took it seriously nor supported it. Representative Johnson, though, was one of the co-sponsors when such legislation was first considered in 2006.  Johnson isn't known for going along to get along. He was of the few, if not the only, Illinois Republican (who chose to endorse) who did not endorse Mitt Romney for President. He endorsed Ron Paul in part for his independence, a trait they both share. They both also share a propensity to either purchase ill fitting suits or not seek the services of a tailor.  I appreciate his willingness to continue to buck the Establishment in Illinois--one that does't get bucked often enough.

I certainly hope the GOP can find someone solid to run in his place, but whatever the case may be I appreciate his service to the people of central Illinois.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wisconsin Flashback: Governor Palin Stands with Us

With Wisconsin’s primary election this week and with recall elections for several Wisconsin officials coming this summer, I can’t help but be reminded of Governor Palin’s epic speech at a “Tax Day” Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin nearly a year ago.  On a cold, snowy Saturday last April she gave an amazing speech during a pivotal time in Wisconsin’s battle for public sector union and budgetary reform. On the day of that speech, I made the drive up to Madison from Springfield, Illinois to attend the event and to help out with some Organize4Palin’s early efforts in Wisconsin, an experience I recounted here.

After being introduced by the late Andrew Breitbart, Governor Palin spoke to thousands of Tea Partiers and many noisy union protestors as well who were blowing on their vuvuzelzas and banging on their drums like they were attending the Socialist World Cup or something.  I spent some time before the event handing out Organize4Palin palm cards and asking if people were interested in joining Organize4Palin’s email list.  Throughout this time and during Governor Palin’s speech, I would tweet something about the event or tweet a picture. I remember one tweet arrived in my mention column that particularly struck me.  That tweet said something to the effect of “if Governor Palin runs for President, Wisconsin will remember that she stood with us”.

 I completely respect and trust Governor Palin’s decision not to run for President this cycle, but that tweet still rings true. Where were the current GOP candidates when Wisconsin needed someone to stand with them? They weren’t there because it wasn’t politically expedient for them. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum were in the early primary state of New Hampshire that “Tax Day” weekend . Newt Gingrich was in his home state of Georgia at a GOP event, and Mitt Romney was in critical electoral state of Florida meeting with donors and holding a public campaign event.  Governor Palin was on the frontlines in the battle—Wisconsin. Governor Palin wasn’t fighting for herself; she was fighting for us and with us.  Last summer, I wrote a post entitled “Governor Palin, George Washington, and the Battle for Our Country” where I discussed Governor Palin’s stance with Wisconsin:
Governor Palin’s prescience shone through once again in recognizing the importance of the political battle in Wisconsin as the “frontlines in the battle for the future of our country”. Earlier this week, recall elections were held for six Wisconsin state senate seats that the unions hoped would flip to break up the Republican’s legislative majority. Despite the fact that recall supporting groups spent at least $30 million for these elections, the Republicans still maintained their majority. These victories come on the heels of other victories for Wisconsin: the re-election of Justice Prosser, a WI supreme court judge (whom Governor Palin endorsed) and the budgetary  victory passed by the WI legislature signed into law by Governor Walker, which Governor Palin spoke of in her speech. These recent political victories may prove to be a precursor to the 2012 elections. 
Governor Palin’s speech in a fierce physical and political climate during a heated period of politics is just one example of Governor Palin’s participation in the battle for the future of our country. In the Spring of 2010 during the impassioned debate over Arizona’s immigration law, Governor Palin stood with Governor Jan Brewer in support of her effort to secure Arizona’s southern border. When the Tea Party was accused of essentially being an accomplice to murder after the horrific action of a madman in Tucson, Arizona, Governor Palin stood side-by-side with the Tea Party while others felt they “didn’t want to get in the middle of [it]”.Several days following the Tucson shooting, Governor Palin released a video where she said, in part:
President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.
Most recently during the debt ceiling debates, after some felt it necessary to pejoratively refer to the Tea Party as “hobbits”, Governor Palin challenged Congressional freshman to“remember the ‘little people’” who elected them.  She has stood for and fought with the Tea Party every step of the way. In short, Governor Palin has been on the front lines of the battle for the future of our country. She has been the leader of the Tea Party, not because she deemed herself the leader, but simply because she has acted as the leader. Whether it was standing with conservatives in Wisconsin or Arizona, supporting Tea Party candidates in the 2010 elections, giving speeches at Tea Parties around the country, or defending the Tea Party against scurrilous accusations and derogatory rhetoric, Governor Palin has been the one leading the fight and battling in the trenches.
Fast forward to 2012, and Governor Palin is still fighting with the reformers in Wisconsin, even when the local and national establishment is, as she describes it, “sitting on their thumbs”. Last week, Governor Palin wrote a strong message of supported for Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch:
She’s being thrown beyond the wolf pack – she’s also under the GOP establishment’s bus because this Tea Party “Mama Grizzly” beat the establishment candidate when she got elected. (And dang, it’s uncomfortable under that chassis!) Rebecca must be thinking, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Worse than seeing radical Leftists attack and make things up about a Conservative female opponent is when supporters on the Right sit on their thumbs and act as if there’s nothing they can do to help. Come on! When all else fails you can at least tell the truth! Tell other voters why you supported Rebecca in the first place. Explain her campaign promises and how she has stuck to them and – surprising in today’s political world – is actually fulfilling them. She promised to help balance the budget, cut taxes, build a sound fiscal environment, and provide job opportunities for all Wisconsin residents – not only our union brothers and sisters. She’s setting an example for every other state in the union because responsible state and local governments will be the entities that defend our Republic at a time when there is less and less reason to believe our big centralized federal government will address its self-perpetuated economic problems. 
The far Left has targeted Lt. Governor Kleefisch in particular because they know she’s been busy working and hasn’t raised anywhere near the money Governor Walker has to weather his recall. And get this: they are hoping to keep her off the same ballot as Governor Walker, and instead they would love to put her on a ballot during a Democratic primary in order to give her the worst voter turn out possible. It’s vicious. She’s in the fight of her political life for doing nothing more than what she and Governor Walker were elected to do. If Wisconsin sees either of these two go down in defeat, it will have a chilling effect on any public servant having the guts to do what’s right.
This stance is what separates Governor Palin from most political figures. She stands for what’s right regardless of whether or not it’s political expedient, or whether or not she does so in office, as a potential candidate, or as a private citizen.

Crossposted here and here.