The infamous words "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste" were first uttered by President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last year, when he laid bare his intention to use the credit crisis to reorder the U.S. economy. It now seems to animate the President's own intention to introduce economy-crushing climate legislation on the back of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, while somehow blaming Republicans and, yes, the Bush Administration for what may be the worst environmental disaster in the history of our nation.
Meanwhile nearly 48 miles out in the Gulf, and a mile below the surface, oil continues to gush out the sea floor every second, threatening the environment and the economy of the southeast United States. Hope is fading that the oil flow can be stopped in any short order. Roughly 1,200 miles away, confusion over command and control continues to build in Washington, where the White House debates cancelling official trips to Asia, but not unofficial trips to Chicago.
What the nation needs is better organization of the effort to cap the spewing well and aggressive action on the clean up front. But yesterday, the President didn't go on the offensive against the gushing oil; he went after Republicans.
Obama suggested that the GOP's deregulatory attitudes were the core problem faced in the Gulf. Obama said congressional Republicans have a "sincere and fundamental belief" that government has "little or no role to play in help this nation meet our collective challenges…If you're a Wall Street banker or insurance company or oil company, you pretty much get to play by your own rules, regardless of the consequences to everyone else."
Actually, in the case of the BP oil spill, the involved parties—the companies and regulators—did not uphold their responsibilities to ensure safe operations or to adequately prepare for a worse-case scenario. But this failure was likely not the result of insufficient regulatory quantity: Getting a lease to drill offshore is already an onerous regulatory process, and once drilling operations commence, the lessee is subjected to constant monitoring and inspection.
It was more likely the case that the current regulatory regime confuses responsibilities, undermines incentives for market-based safety solutions, and creates conflicts of interests between the regulator and those being regulated.
The opportunity the President sees here is to pass economy-crushing global warming legislation. The Heritage Foundation and most conservatives don't see diversifying our energy supply as a problem, but do see a problem when it cripples the economy and imposes top-down, Big Government mandates and restrictions which produce worse results.
Moreover, global warming legislation would do nothing to improve cleanup and very little to prevent future spills, but would distract from the very efforts to cleanup and stop the oil that must be top priority now, not to mention raise energy costs for families and kill much needed jobs. In Louisiana itself, the effect of the Waxman-Markey global warming bill would mean a loss of over 15,000 jobs, gas price hikes and skyrocketing consumer electricity rates. Subsidizing experimental energy sources doesn't become more attractive merely because oil pollutes our waters; and the problems they carry should be fully debated, not crammed through as a way to vindicate the President's command and control agenda.
And pretending that our economy can survive without a commitment to safe oil operations is naïve at best. It is binary: If we don't drill, we import. And if we don't open drilling to easier sources such as onshore deposits and shale, we limit ourselves to riskier exploration a mile below the ocean floor. Despite the president's assertions at his press conference earlier this week, billions of barrels of "easily accessible" oil have been turned into "impossible to access" oil by federal regulations and moratoria - including the President's own actions - that block any access.
What the President should do is examine the red tape that may have contributed to the failure to contain the environmental disaster. Were there missed opportunities to burn off more of the leaking oil because of overblown air pollution standards? What were the holdups in the use of dispersants? Did federal permitting delays stop Louisiana from creating the artificial barriers it needed? The answers to these questions appear to be yes, and that responsibility lies with the President. He and his team should make it top priority to waive any regulatory barriers that continue to slow cleanup and recovery efforts.
We agree with Obama—the buck stops with the president. The Deepwater Horizon platform sat on federal waters and was under federal jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that the leased space is not a threat to public health or safety. And it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the clean up efforts in the Gulf are appropriately managed. Coordinating the best experts in the world (outside Hollywood film directors) to work with BP to stop the leak is priority #1.
Coordinating the cleanup is equally imperative so that our ecosystems, wildlife, economy and industries can experience as little disruption as possible. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizes the president to oversee the cleanup efforts of the responsible parties, and offshore this duty falls to the U.S. Coast Guard. Yet, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had to lobby the White House for weeks to get engaged on this front.
Make no mistake, the actions of BP should be reviewed, but not simply by a criminal investigation designed for show. BP has a spotty safety record that needs to be examined. The company needs to account for any warning signs that may have been missed, and whether a corporate culture that focused on "Beyond Petroleum" contributed to the neglect of oil and gas operations.
The Obama administration's resort to criminal investigation and possible prosecution of BP is not only premature, it is predictable. In the wake of accusations that Obama has failed to take decisive action, his administration is taking the path of "nothing shows that you are 'doing something' like prosecuting someone."
It is possible that criminal wrongdoing occurred, but the current approach—one that all but announces that criminal charges will be brought and then seeks to identify the crime and who will be designated as criminal—undermines the criminal justice system and Americans' respect for the law. Whenever high-ranking law enforcement officials select their targets in this manner, it evokes disturbing echoes of a statement one Harvard law professor recently attributed to the head of Stalin's secret police, Lavrenti Beria: "Show me the man, and I'll find you the crime."
BP is financially responsible. BP has unlimited responsibility for the cleanup. It also must pay liability damages. That price tag will likely be higher than the $75 million cap, and could be higher than the additional $1 billion provided through the Oil Liability Trust Fund. BP has said it will pay beyond the $75 million cap, but lawmakers are understandably skeptical. Creating a contract with BP for these damages would make sense. What would not make sense is using this as an opportunity to raise gas prices for Americans with increased oil taxes, thereby shifting the costs of the spill to the consumer.
It's time for President Obama to exert leadership. If this is his top priority, he must prove it with actions, not rhetoric. President Obama instinctively leans toward an activist government except when every so often he hesitates. Ironically, it is these moments that tend to be the precise times when the federal government's role is most justified, whether that be border security, the war on terror, ceding sovereignty to multilateral organizations, or now in the Gulf. The federal government has a role in the Gulf, and it's time for the president to articulate it to the American people.
I want to share with you, as one of the supporters of the FairTax, an opportunity we have to advance our cause a great deal. A group of supporters with substantial assets has agreed to produce a 30 minute television program on the FairTax, and to put this program on television throughout the United States!
In anticipation of the support of great FairTax supporters like you, the program is already in production. I will be co-hosting the show which will also include economists and leaders such as Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Michael Reagan, and Neal Boortz.
The FairTax television program will have an important Call to Action, the signing of an Official Certified Petition to the U. S. Congress in support of the FairTax by calling 1-800-FairTax and authorizing your name be enrolled on the FairTax Congressional Petition to United States Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.
This film can also be streamed throughout the United States via Google and your own FairTax.org website. It can be posted on YouTube so you and I as well as hundreds of thousands of fellow FairTax supporters will be able to simply and easily email the link to everyone in our address books. There will also be a 5 minute condensed version, to allow Americans everywhere to learn enough about your FairTax Bill in Congress to sign the Petition and become involved.
The group of FairTax supporters producing the FairTax television program has funded the entire cost of its production. They have done so on the basis of my promise, hereby fulfilled, that I will ask our supporters to invest with them. To encourage your investment, and to further strengthen our movement, they have agreed to match every dollar we invest. That means we can double our investment right now. If we can raise $100,000 they will match it with another $100,000 and all of these funds will be devoted to delivering your FairTax television program to the American people.
Your FairTax television program not only calls for action, but it is educational. It explains the damage the income tax, capital gains tax, death tax, minimum alternative tax, tax on small and large businesses, tax on social security, pensions and funds withdrawn from IRA , defined benefit and other deferred taxation investment create for our entire economy and global competitiveness.
Today I am asking you to consider investing $25, or at least $15 to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. Your $25 investment in your FairTax television program will help raise $50 for your FairTax television program and will show it to voters all across America!
There has never been a better chance to bring the FairTax message to a mass of 140,000,000 voters in all 50 states in a form they can relate to and double the effectiveness of our investment at the same time!
So, if you can possibly consider a one-time investment of $25, or at least $15, now is definitely the time to do so. If you are among the fortunate who can consider investing even more, again, this is the time when you can make the maximum impact with a substantial investment. Every dollar is matched, which adds up to great value by giving your FairTax a huge lift just at the right time in our history. The American people are finally recognizing that our federal tax system is our greatest barrier to economic growth, creating jobs, financial and global security, and to the future of our children, and unborn generations of Americans.
I know you want to do everything you can for your FairTax cause—and the cause is no less than creating the greatest transfer of power from the politicians and the political elite to the American people we have experienced since the Declaration of Independence!
Most sincerely yours,
Ken Hoagland, Chairman National FairTax Victory Campaign
P. S. Never before have we had an opportunity like this to raise FairTax awareness so much, so fast with such a small investment please act now. Thank you. Ken.
If only it was that simple. Cut taxes and the economy in Michigan will sprout. For years the state and national GOP have been the one-note party when it comes to taxes. They are not only against taxes, they think if you cut them Michigan's record busting jobless rate would subside like the evening tide on Lake Michigan. Cut taxes is a nifty campaign slogan that can help the GOP win elections, but peal back that slogan and a harsh reality stares you in the face.... ***
Surely the depth we can see is much greater. We speak to the tax cuts of the past like they were substantial. The reality is Michigan is near the highest product producing taxing entity in the world, as is the USA. As to cutting taxes, that is a needed reality, but the cutting of taxes for jobs is in how we tax , not how much per say. If we cut the tax out on income, personal property and Business, we will lower the cost of manufacturing substantially and become the most attractive State in the USA to manufacture, without unique workforce of Michiganders. If we do it at the Federal level, we will get back many of the jobs that we have lost to imports over the past 30 years due to product taxation handicap, through putting the taxes on consumption only. It's time for those who wish to lead this dying State to put the words of healing to work and get it done. It is time to support these words, 'Michigan and USA FairTax please!'
By the way the big bubble of tax revenue from the stockmarket scam in which people cashed in created a huge surplus of tax in Michigan at the time Engler was leaving office. He also created a few extra departments we did not need and still don't. Pare back what we the people should be doing for ourselves and stop being a nanny, Michigan Government.
Subject: Brian Donegan hopes to help Joe Miller too!
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 01:50:25 -0500
As in Iowa and several other states with stalwart and sagacious candidates like Bob Vander Plaats, Brian Donegan of Can-Do Conservatives "sees his way clear" to coming to campaign for Joe Miller and help Joe get to the US Senate to fight for ALL Americans! Please pray and pass along this message:
Brian Donegan hopes to come to Alaska to speak in at least four campaign rallies for Joe Miller in July. He needs your help to pay for travel expenses. Would you be willing to donate Alaska Airline Miles and/or cash for travel expenses and incidental needs, such as meals, for these events?
If you would like to give, transfer, or buy Alaska Air Miles please do so as soon as possible. If you are willing and able, please consider purchasing/transfering/gifting all or part on Brian's ticket to Alaska to mileage plan number 113354382.