Friday, December 26, 2003

To Your Health--Tax-free Health Savings Accounts

John Goodman finds a silver lining in the Medicare legislative debacle. I will look into this further and get back.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

The Story Behind the All Night Medicare Vote

Stephen Moore's first-hand account of the Bush Administration's duplicity in the medicare debacle concludes:

"I really believe that if we could have won this vote against the most powerfulwhip operation in the history of House and a popular Republican president, it would have been a shot across the bow at the Republican establishment that conservatives are sick of the spending splurge that is going on inside Washington these last few years. The budget has grown by 27% in two years a faster rate of growth in the budget than at anytime since LBJ’s presidency. Republican leaders in the White House and the Congress seem entirely unconcerned about the orgy of spending and debt. They are in denial. A deserved defeat of this bill would have dropped an ice cold bucket of water on their heads and helped them snap out of it. So close!

"I’m convinced this is a phyric victory for the Republican party bosses. The bill could blow up in the Republicans’ laps when seniors see the details of the carved up turkey they’ve just been served. Worse, the bill threatens to further demoralize fiscal conservative voters who are infuriated by the GOP’s massive expansion of government. I know I’m demoralized. As Mike Pence told me last week, “We Republicans seem to have forgotten who we are and why voters sent us here.”

We now have two big government parties in Washington. And we only have 25 Republicans in the House and 4 in the Senate who are trying to pull the Republicans in an anti-big government direction."

That sounds like things are about as bad for (small government) Republicans as the year 1935 as the fascist New Deal steamroller went full bore. And Bush's domestic policy reeks of the me-tooism of an Alf Landon, the original progressive, compassionate conservative.
Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent

The New York Times story (free registration) starts out as a slam on the USDA for failing to take the mad cow disease sufficiently serious (actually the re-write guy trys to lay it on the administration rather than the careerists, but we know who runs things). Thereafter, the story gives some interesting facts. Conclusion: Eat veal and avoid processed ground beef products.
No limits for House appropriators who pile on pork

Novak reports on business as usual in Washington DC, as our public servants rob the country in order to drive us all into the poor house. Where even the most junior back-bencher learns the first rule of the Potomac: One must go along to get along.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Court Backs IRS Political Disclosure Law

Tax exempt="tax subsidy." To not be taxed is to be subsidized. If you want to assert your 1st Amendment rights, you may be required to give up your "subsidy." Clear enough?

A federal appeals court has upheld a law requiring some nonprofit political groups to report contributions and expenditures to the IRS, saying the Constitution does not guarantee what amounts to a tax subsidy.

"Congress has enacted no barrier to the exercise of the (political groups') constitutional rights," the court wrote. "Rather, Congress has established certain requirements that must be followed in order to claim the benefit of a public tax subsidy."
Billionaire Soros, Independent Groups Target Bush

These are the target groups whose 1st amendment rights are going to go through the wringer.
Court Blocks Changes to Clean Air Act:

A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked new Bush administration changes to the Clean Air Act from going into effect, in a challenge from state attorneys general and cities that argued they would harm the environment and public health.
The rule would have made it easier for utilities, refineries and other industrial facilities to make repairs in the name of routine maintenance without installing additional pollution controls. And people wonder why the US has blackouts. As companies defer maintenance, the actual consequence of the delay -- or denial of the rulemaking -- will lead to dirtier air.
The George W. Bush - Libertymeter

With the passage of the Drug Benefit boondoggle, wrapping up the complete socialization of health care for those over 64 -- or rather the socialization of benefits, the profits remain, temporarily, private, the Liberty Meter drops 2 more points to the Left.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

FEC Leader: Political Groups Face Limits (

AP wire story, quoting the incoming Republican chairman, suggests that the Federal Election Commission may assert its jurisdiction over any organization or group which attempts to influence a federal election. And under the O'Connor ruling there is no longer a "bright line" between explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and mere commenting on current issues -- the mere comment can be construed as attempting to influence the election.

Thus, any such group would be automatically characterized as a PAC (political action committee) and would be subject to the rules, contributuion limits ($5000), reporting requirements, and regulations of the FEC.

What hath O'Connor wrought?

The Supreme Court's Double Standard

Nat Hentoff sums up the Supreme Court's anti-Free Speech decision of the so-called Bipartisan Election Reform Act. That's twice in a month or so that Sandra Day O'Connor has joined with the predictable left-statists to change the course of political history by a 5-4 margin. The other case, involving the Court's approval of racial preferences, is probably the more far-reaching in a negative way as it promises to promote animosity and back-lash reactions among those who perceive they are being wronged by these policies.
The Bush Betrayal

According to David Boaz of Cato, "Federal spending has increased 23.7 percent since Bush took office. Education has been further federalized in the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush pulled out all the stops to get Republicans in Congress to create the biggest new entitlement program -- prescription drug coverage under Medicare -- in 40 years.

"He pushed an energy bill that my colleague Jerry Taylor described as "three parts corporate welfare and one part cynical politics . . . a smorgasbord of handouts and subsidies for virtually every energy lobby in Washington."

"It's a far cry from the less-government, "leave us alone" conservatism of Ronald Reagan."

Sunday, December 21, 2003

In Court v. Congress, Justices Concede One ( (This link probably requires free registration.)

"Legal realist" Cass Sunstein gets it all wrong about the "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002" and the Supreme Court. In the first place, both Congress and President Bush were on public record as being (at best) indifferent as to the act's constitutionality, so the idea of giving any "deference" to their so-called judgment in passing and signing the legislation is completely misplaced.