Monday, June 29, 2009

Tea Partiers Unite

Human Events:

Tea Partiers Unite
by Brian Darling

Federal lawmakers returning home for the Fourth of July recess may encounter more fireworks than usual. Voter anger over Congress’s irresponsible spending is growing. It found expression last week in Tea Party demonstrations across the land. And more than 400 such demonstrations have been scheduled for Independence Day.

It’s getting harder for politicians to dismiss Tea Partiers as “fringe” protestors. Their ranks continue to swell, and public opinion continues to turn their way.

Polls show the President’s approval rating has dropped below 60%. Public approval of Congress has slipped to 33%, according to Gallup. Real Clear Politics reports that 53.7% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing and 51.6% of Americans believe the direction of the country is on the wrong track.

Members of Congress should be prepared to do more than wave to parade crowds this 4th of July. Their constituents want to where they stand on new global warming taxes and how they propose to pay for universal health coverage.

National Energy Tax

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised plenty of hackles last week when she strong-armed a destructive national energy tax, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, through the lower chamber. Her efforts were abetted by the Congressional Budget Office, which provided an “economic analysis” of the bill that ignored one small topic: how the bill would affect the national economy.

Instead, CBO produced an accounting analysis, showing how money raised by selling carbon dioxide “allowances” would flow. By remaining silent on the larger question of how this would affect economic growth, employment, consumer prices and the like, the CBO report created the false impression that the bill would inflict only marginal economic pain.

Representatives who voted for this bill may find voters asking questions they’d rather not have to answer. Questions like:

• How much should I expect to pay more for my electricity as a result of this bill?

• Which companies/industries lobbied you to lower the bill’s cost for them and what did you give them?

• What are you going to do with all the money raised by these new taxes -- reduce the deficit or spend it on other big government projects?

• When can we expect global warming to end as a result of this legislation? The bottom line: It’s another new tax and another example of the government picking winners and losers.

Conservative Health Care Reform

The best way to fight President Obama’s push toward a government-run health system is to push a better idea. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has one.

Among other things, his plan would:

• help Americans who have employer-based coverage (and like it) keep it;

• help those without job-based coverage purchase insurance by providing vouchers -- $2000 for individuals and $5000 for families;

• help reduce cost by letting individuals to purchase health insurance over states lines – you can’t do that right now.

The trillion dollar question is: How do you pay for all this?

DeMint would repeal the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the mega-bailout program) and use that money to fund health care vouchers. He’d also lower costs by restricting frivolous law suits against physicians and hospitals. And he would give every health care consumer access to price information prior to treatment so they can make financially-sound decisions about their health and money.

Sure beats a federal takeover of health care.

Freedom for the People of Iran

“Only I am President of the United States.” Mr. Obama has said. But last week our proud president seemed remarkably thin-skinned when some Members of Congress and the chattering class accused him of being soft on Iran’s mullahs.

His initial mild, dispassionate language concerning the Iranian government’s brutal stifling of dissent disappointed many at home and abroad.

The President seemed loathe to do more than state the obvious, delivering “measured” bromides such as “We deplore violence anywhere.”

It was only last Tuesday -- after 10 straight days of violence--that our only President was able to bring himself to "condemn" and "deplore” the mullahs’ mayhem.

Better late than never. Still, it would have been far better had he made a strong statement in support of freedom for the people of Iran on day one. His failure to do so only fed the growing perception throughout the world that Mr. Obama is uncomfortable with having America fill its traditional role as a bulwark of democracy and freedom.

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

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