Morning Briefing for March 30, 2009

MARCH 30, 2009

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Weekly Political Update is accessible here.

1. The White House Lays An Easter Egg. Shuts Poor Families Out of Easter Egg Roll

Obama Administration rejects 100 years of tradition in favor of denying the poor a fair chance of getting into the Easter Egg Roll

2. Obama Surrenders on Middle Class ‘Tax Cut?’

His Budget Director Says Tax Increases May be Necessary

3. This May Be Crumbling Faster Than We Expected….

The ultimate limit on these “spending plans” is the viability of the debt auctions….

4. Mike Pence: Real Republican Principles are the Path to Economic Recovery

Let the debate begin.

5. Statism cloaked as “National Service”

A Snapshot of Republican Failure

6. Fannie Mae Hack is Army’s New Top Lawyer

Why is the White House Hiding His FNMA Experience?

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1. The White House Lays An Easter Egg. Shuts Poor Families Out of Easter Egg Roll

Obama Administration rejects 100 years of tradition in favor of denying the poor a fair chance of getting into the Easter Egg Roll

The new administration, having decided that the old system of having people engage in the time-honored tradition of physically camping out in line for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll was somehow “unfair,” instead decided to make the registration process online. The process didn’t work properly – Shock! Surprise! – so people got tickets essentially via being lucky enough to be able to register before their session timed out.

Wait, it gets better. They did this distribution way earlier than they did the previous, physical ticket distributions – so, quick? What happens when you’ve got a scenario where you have:

  • A resource for which there’s a higher demand than supply;
  • Sufficient time to make people without that resource aware that you have it;
  • And a national communications channel that anybody can access?

Well, if you’re NBC News, or anybody else with a triple-digit IQ, you immediately reply “You have a scenario where people start scalping the tickets.” Which is happening even as we speak; a block of six went for a thousand bucks on E-Bay. That number’s just going to go up, by the way. But don’t worry: the Washington Post assures us that a “spokeswoman for the White House said it was working with Internet sites to prevent ticket sales.” Which means that the White House hadn’t actually thought about the possibility beforehand. So… a local tradition of using a first-come, first-served distribution system that actually worked got thrown overboard in favor of an untested, fatally flawed, unfair system that is now encouraging people across the country to engage in ticket scalping – which is, by the way, illegal. And now there are a bunch of little kids who are going to be sad because their parents didn’t have the money to make sure that they got to go to the White House Easter Egg roll.

SOURCE

2. Obama Surrenders on Middle Class ‘Tax Cut?’

His Budget Director Says Tax Increases May be Necessary

President Obama’s budget chief hinted Wednesday that the president’s signature campaign issue — a middle-class tax cut — will not likely survive a budget battle with Democrats on Capitol Hill.

The president stresses that despite tough times, things will improve.

On a conference call with reporters in advance of the president’s trip to the Hill to speak before the Senate Democratic caucus, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag indicated that, while 98 percent of the budget mark-ups in the House and Senate are on par with the administration’s budget blueprint, some campaign trail promises, like middle-class tax cuts, may get left on the cutting room floor.

Greg Mankiw notes a historic parallel.

As Obama is constantly saying, he’s being forced to make tough choices. One of them seems to be to double the federal debt even if it means surrendering on his transparent promise to give a rebate to those who don’t pay income taxes. It’s just another example of him choosing Washington-knows-best central planning over allowing Americans to spend more of their own money.

SOURCE

3. This May Be Crumbling Faster Than We Expected….

The ultimate limit on these “spending plans” is the viability of the debt auctions….

A couple weeks back, your humble correspondent was on a conference call organized by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). One of his guests that day was Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

The most fascinating part of the discussion was Rep. Kirk’s description of his visit to the Bureau of the Public Debt to watch a debt auction…. and his discussion with folks there about the implications that would flow from the failure of such a debt auction (follow the above link to read the description of it all – it’s quite fascinating).

If you read that through, you’ll get to the “nightmare scenario” (in 90 seconds) associated with such a failure.

And perhaps that nightmare scenario is closer than we have expected.

SOURCE

4. Mike Pence: Real Republican Principles are the Path to Economic Recovery

Let the debate begin.

These are very difficult times in the life of our nation.

I’ve seen the impact of this recession firsthand, meeting with farmers and small business owners throughout my district. They are practicing the kind of fiscal restraint necessary to get through these difficult times. And they want Washington to do the same.

Americans are working hard to preserve a secure and prosperous future, but the President’s budget would add nearly $1 trillion to the national debt every year for the next 10 years—for a total of $9.3 trillion. Instead of controlling spending, this Administration seems intent on spending money we don’t have and piling massive debt on our children and grandchildren.

Americans deserve better. That is why House Republicans laid out our blueprint yesterday for economic recovery that curbs spending, creates jobs, lowers taxes, controls debt and is built on principles of growth.

The “Republican Road to Recovery ” is a blueprint for a substantive, comprehensive budget alternative that will be introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives next week. The Republican budget will be built on the values Americans nationwide are practicing every day.

SOURCE

5. Statism cloaked as “National Service”

A Snapshot of Republican Failure

Republicans often find themselves trying to figure out the primary reasons for the Party’s collapse since its high point (at least on paper) in 2004. And while there are a lot of good arguments… one needn’t look much further than last night’s vote on the “Serve America Act” to get a glimpse of the Party’s rot at its core.

This pathetic vote shows you how far the Party has slid from principle toward expedience and mediocrity. This is what the Party has become… a group of Washington insiders more interested in self-promotion and feel-good talking points than in promoting freedom, personal (and familial) responsibility, self-reliance, limited government, local control, and private enterprise (be it for profit or for charity).

The bill passed by a vote of 79-19-1… that is, with a majority of Republican Senators (22). So a majority of Republican Senators are perfectly comfortable inserting Washington – that great paragon of efficiency and productivity – into the great American tradition of charity, and doing so at unprecedented levels.

SOURCE

6. Fannie Mae Hack is Army’s New Top Lawyer

Why is the White House Hiding His FNMA Experience?

Donald Remy’s bio is not specific; it seems he was at Fannie Mae from 2000-2006. I wonder what fell within his purview as ‘Senior VP for Housing and Community Development.’ Given the glaring omission of this work from the White House announcement, I’d be surprised if it didn’t include some of the risky lending practices that led to Fannie Mae’s collapse. After all, the White House is leaving out 6 years of work experience for someone just 40 years old or so; wouldn’t it have to be because they’re not especially proud of the stint?

It’s my understanding that Remy’s new position requires Senate confirmation. I hope the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are prepared to ask questions about the collapse of Fannie Mae.

SOURCE

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Erick Erickson

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