Herman Cain Visits Alabama page
7 8 10 13 14
Proposed Commission Districts
Recession & Small Business
SCGOP Honors Judge Joiner Lawmakers Complete Session Oil Spill Accountability
Rick Perry Headlines ALGOP Summer Dinner
McConnell Schools Obama on Debt
TABLE OF CONTENTS 2
Political Bio: Freddy Ard
GOP Hopeful Herman Cain
By Freddy Ard
Herman Cain Visits Alabama
Proposed Commission Districts
Canfield Head of ADO
SCGOP Honors Judge Joiner
10 Lawmakers Complete Session 12 Legislative Session Recap 12 Law Enforcement Will Meet
13 Oil Spill Accountability 14 Rick Perry Headlines ALGOP
15 The Role of Government 15 Gov. Bentley Signs Abortion Ban 16 Van Jones: He’s BAAACK! 17 Jobs and the Punting
19 Recession and Small Business 20 Obama and the
22 McConnell Schools Obama
23 Totalitarianism Systems 24 Obama vs. Obama Editor-in-Chief Freddy Ard Executive Editor Alan Reyes-Guerra Creative Editor Laura Joseph Managing Editors Jeff Vreeland, Andrew Plaster Photographers Tom Fridy, Leigh Bratina Contributing Editors Matt Fridy, Andrew Plaster, Bill Armistead, Mike Hubbard, Kay Ivey, and Randy Mazer
Paid for by the Shelby County Republican Party 1920 Valleydale Road, Suite 154 Birmingham, AL 35244 205-994-6497 • www.shelbycountygop.org
Once more, Shelby County has shown why it is indeed the premiere Republican county in our state. The annual fundraiser of the Shelby County Republican Party, the 2011 Reagan-Lincoln Dinner on July 16 was, by every measure, a huge success. We were proud, grateful, and honored that presidential candidate Herman Cain was our featured keynote speaker. Mr. Cain, with an energetic combination of practical ideas, inspired assessment, and gifted oratory, ensured that no one dare look at their watch. Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin, remarked as we walked together from the ballroom, ”he (Cain) spoke for 45 minutes, never consulted a script or note, without a teleprompter, and never uttered the word ‘uh’” (an obvious reference to our current president). Surely Herman Cain, given the opportunity to speak to voters, compels his listeners to strongly consider him as their choice for president. The presence of a presidential candidate, the first of the 2012 cycle to make his or her way to Alabama, certainly elevated the level of interest in our dinner. I believe every TV station in town, along with each print publication that represents Shelby County sent someone to provide coverage. For the first time, we found it necessary to develop a press/media policy, and issued press passes accordingly. In addition to a flurry of Birmingham-area radio talk shows, the national attention –admittedly because of Herman Cain- focused on this event was enormous and further substantiates the significance of the Shelby County Republican Party. In this space, I want to express my deepest appreciation to all the volunteers that enable our county party, without the benefit of any paid staff, to pull off such an impressive event. Some worked only the day of the event, while others toiled for weeks with the minutia and detail that few will ever acknowledge, except to enjoy a wonderful evening. There are a multitude
of tasks that are not included in the services we obtain from our venue. Flower arrangements, tent signs, sponsorship signage, table assignments, pre-printed name tags, and dinner programs all have to be done in some fashion or another by the SCGOP. There are numerous volunteer assignments including the VIP reception photo op, registration table, press registration, tour guides, traffic flow, and information service that require a lot of people. Additionally, our “master of ceremonies”, award presenters, those providing the invocation prayer, national anthem, and cameo photo record, are all likewise volunteers. Development of video credits, dinner program design and layout, and other visual effects are the creation of talented members of our own steering committee. Finally, it was because of an army of 17 (then another 4 showed up after the project was completed) that converged at HQ on June 14 to assemble, stuff, address, post, and mail invitations that we ever got this thing underway in the first place. All volunteers who assisted in any way with this event, including those contributing with the program, are proudly listed as follows: Gregory Burns, Lisa Byars, Greg Canfield, Cindy Dickson, Judy Flannery, Matt Fridy, Tom Fridy, Margaretha Headley, Brad Hendrix, David Hereford, Lily Jones, Bert Jordan, Laura Joseph, T.J. Joseph, Charles Knight, Jane Mardis, Anne Marshall, Luke Marshall, Cassandra Munoz, Marcelo Munoz, Vicki Page, Dale Peterson, Kathy Peterson, Andrew Plaster, Brad Ray, Cheryl Ray, Dawn Ray, Joan Reynolds, Penny Richards, Joe Sarver, Matt Sarver, Amie Beth Shaver, Deedy Shirley, Susan Todt, Jeff Vreeland, and Melody Warbington. Organizational and logistics functions are guided typically by a small band of
experienced, talented, and dedicated members of our team whose wisdom, insight, and sensitivity are invaluable. Doing the right thing at the right time with the right people is always a formula for success, and that is what they bring to the benefit of the Shelby County Republican Party, and ultimately every candidate that appears on the general election ballot. Those members of the Dinner Committee include: Susan Todt (Chairman), Matt Fridy (Event Producer/Director), Cindy Dickson, Judy Flannery, Charles Knight, Jane Mardis, Kathy Peterson, Andrew Plaster, and Joan Reynolds. While it is difficult to offer commentary on each volunteer, it is essential and advisable to do so for the following: Matt Fridy – One person is absolutely indispensable in the production of this special event, and it is Matt. The 2011 annual dinner was by no means Matt’s “first rodeo”. He has served previously as county chairman, and uniquely understands and grasps every nuance of these special events, the corresponding social function, and the political interaction distinctively characteristic of such occasions, along with, naturally, the purely financial aspects. Consequently, I take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to him for lending his expertise, judgment, guidance, diligence, and tenacity in service to our party and specifically this fundraiser. With a keen attention to every detail associated with this fundraiser, as event producer, Matt Fridy is deservedly commended for the outstanding success and the impressive nature of this highly-visible representation of our county party. Susan Todt – In her normal role (if there is any such thing) is the Treasurer of SCGOP. Additionally, Susan assumed the chairmanship of the Dinner Committee, which meant she took on an enormous task and a multitude of details. While, she didn’t do them all herself, she certainly did a lot of them. The details she didn’t handle personally, she diligently saw that they were completed. In the midst of all that, she had to keep all the money straight, constantly making trips to the bank for deposits, and maintaining accurate records of all that came in and was spent. She recruited an outstanding team of event day volunteers, then
assigned and directed this outstanding team with a host of assignments. Charles Knight – As Finance Director, Charles was always in the loop for each decision related to the dinner. However, his professional expertise produced a fully-staffed security and logistics team that concentrated solely on our guest speaker, Mr. Cain, that were to our great benefit on event day. Complicating that tremendously was an itinerary that included multiple stops in the Tuscaloosa area before making their way to Birmingham for the first of our jampacked sequence of events. Charles and his team of specialists mobilized quickly and constantly adjusted to the fluid and complicated circumstances that confronted them the entire day, all in a truly professional, diplomatic, and unobtrusive fashion. A huge “thank you” is due to Chris McDuff, Michael Odom, Derek Purifoy, and their fantastic staff at The Cahaba Grand Conference Center, who provided our guests and our organizers with exceptional service and attention to every detail. While this was all “paid for” from our dinner budget, we all know you can pay for something and still not be satisfied. Amie Beth Shaver was simply outstanding as our master of ceremonies. For obvious reasons, we usually are very cautious and protective of this role, almost always defaulting to the chairman. Amie Beth, however, is one of our own executive
committee members with the experience, demeanor, presence, and most importantly, someone whom I trusted completely to do this with excellence. She elevated this critical aspect of our program, and we were indeed fortunate that she accepted our invitation. Although not on the dinner program, Representative (and soon to be Director of Alabama Development Office) Greg Canfield filled another extremely critical responsibility. He served as moderator for the Round Table Session with Herman Cain. As with Amie Beth, I was fully confident of Greg’s capability, integrity, and temperament for any role, and particularly as moderator. Both aforementioned functions ideally require the best, and that is what we got for the 2011 Reagan-Lincoln Dinner. Pianist Jon Michael Ogletree was highly recommended to the dinner committee to provide the musical ambiance for this occasion, and his extraordinary talent rounded out the “upgrades” for this year’s occasion. Going back to the beginning of this process, selecting and securing a speaker for these events is a most difficult challenge. Many ideas come forth, and some confidently “think” they can bring big names.While others –myself included- made vain attempts at this, Dale and Kathy Peterson delivered when they secured Herman Cain as our featured speaker. This was a huge development in the success of our event, and they are to be congratulated and commended for this continued, page 6
political bio: FREDDY Serving his second term as Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, Freddy Ard has been considered a fixture of the local GOP since 1983, where he has been prominently involved in virtually every office or position of party leadership. Representing Shelby County on the Executive Committee of the Alabama Republican Party, his is a familiar name there too. The dynamic role of Shelby County in statewide elections, along with Freddy’s continued selection by the past three ALGOP chairman to chair the resolutions committee, have given our party chairman recognition among Republicans around the state.
legislators, school board officials, county council members, judges. His years with the GOP in Shelby County span the rapid transition from the once Democrat stronghold to a place of Republican dominance and significance.
chaired the organization’s annual Strong Kids Campaign. In 2009, he stepped away from the YMCA role in order to accept appointment by Governor Bob Riley to the State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC).
Including thirty-two years experience in management, administration, and support operations of international construction projects, he has been employed continually
While so much of his political “career” has centered on party and election operations for others, he is certainly not without his own public office experience.
with the Harbert family companies since 1972. A constant in his life is Kingwood Church in Alabaster, where for thirtyone years he has been active in various ministries including music, drama, discipleship, and greeting. Over the years, he has been a member of the board of deacons, and has served multiple terms on the school board for Kingwood Christian School. Additionally, he has been a member of the board of directors for the Shelby County Branch YMCA, and
His first attempt at elected office, he ran a successful campaign to be elected to the Helena City Council, and afterwards served as a Shelby County Commissioner.
Growing up in the tiny Florida panhandle town of Jay, Freddy has been a Republican all his voting life, even before that region of the state made the transition to the GOP decades after his departure. His grandfather, William Ard, was one of the few acknowledged Republicans in his Geneva County area, and Freddy credits his GOP heritage to “good upbringing”. He also credits his father, Oakland, a former city councilman himself, for his keen interest in and pursuit of political matters. After graduating Jay High School, he continued his education at Jefferson Davis Junior College in Brewton, Alabama, and afterward earned a B.S. degree in Management from the University of West Florida. He and his wife, Vesta, met while both were in junior college, and were married in 1974. Five years later, a company transfer moved the couple to Shelby County, where they raised their two sons. Both sons are now grown and moved to other areas, but the Ards remain firmly rooted in Shelby County. In addition to his various party duties over the years, Freddy is a veteran of numerous primary and general election campaigns including management, advisory, and strategic roles. That was not always easy. When Freddy moved to Shelby County in 1979, Democrats held every office—state
Avid scuba divers, he and Vesta both hold certifications for Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue Diver. The couple became active ballroom dancers in recent years, and when he gets the opportunity, Freddy enjoys riding Tennessee Walking horses.
GOP hopeful Herman Cain tells Alabama Republicans he’s a ‘problem solver’ By The Associated Press He’s run a pizza chain, served as a radio talk show host and now he’s seeking the GOP nomination for president, telling his latest audience in Alabama: “I’m a problem solver, not a politician.” Herman Cain, the former Godfather Pizza chief executive, spoke July 16 to an audience of Shelby County Republicans at the their GOP’s 2011 Reagan-Lincoln Dinner fundraiser at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. His comments were reported by the Birmingham News. Cain struck up conservative themes, saying the U.S. has become a country of crises, wrestling with moral, economic, immigration, energy and leadership issues. On the current debate in Washington to raise the debt limit: “I can tell you what to do with the debt ceiling — leave the sucker where it is!” Cain said if he were president, he would have dealt with the issue well before it became a crisis. On federal spending: “They’ve put $14 trillion in the caboose” instead of in the economic engine of business. On his lack of political experience: “I’ve been told, ‘Mr. Cain, you don’t have a lot of foreign policy experience.’ This one
does?” He said, referring to President Barack Obama. On Obama: “The biggest crisis we have is a severe deficiency of leadership.” Cain said strict government regulations are stifling business and outlined his vision for changing the nation’s tax structure and making steep cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency. A Cain-led government, he added, would be “more empowerment, less entitlement.” As for Arizona and its stance on illegal immigration, he said: “I wouldn’t have sued Arizona; I would have given them a medal.” Arizona passed one of the nation’s strongest illegal immigration bills in the country. Cain recalled growing up with a workingclass father in Atlanta, and he and his brother wondering whey they “had to live in half a house,” referring to the duplex where the family lived. He said his father worked two jobs to save up enough money to buy the family a “whole house” — his American dream.
“The American dream is under attack. That’s the bad news,” Cain told the audience. “The good news is it’s not too late to take it back. You’ve already started by taking back the state Legislature.” Freddy Ard, chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, said the crowd’s cheers and applause acknowledged Cain was resonating with the audience. Cain had a previous foray into politics with a 2004 unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. He is polling third in most Republican primary polls, behind Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. But Bill Armistead, chairman of the Alabama Republic Party, said he traveled the state with Cain on Saturday and saw many people in the state supportive of Cain’s presidential aspirations. “I have no doubt he’s picked up a lot of support in Alabama,” Armistead said.
Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain Visits Alabama By Bill Armistead, Chairman, Alabama Republican Party
The weekend of July 15-17 has shown me what we already knew; Alabama will be a critical primary state in the Republican nomination contest for President. On July 16 we were honored to have in Alabama Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, all around businessman and Republican candidate for President. Mr. Cain arrived in Tuscaloosa to tour the storm damage and visit with Republican activists. State Representative John Merrill was instrumental in planning the half-day trip in Tuscaloosa. Sheriff Ted Sexton led the group, including Tuscaloosa County GOP Chairman Jim Zeanah, on a tour of the storm damaged area in Tuscaloosa. It reminded us all of how thankful and blessed we are that we were spared from devastation. As we saw the many homes that were completely destroyed we were also reminded that we need to continue to pray for those who lost their homes and were otherwise impacted by the storm. While in Tuscaloosa, Mr. Cain also attended a meet and greet luncheon hosted by Lucy and Lee Sellers of Tuscaloosa for Republican activists. I want to thank them both for being so welcoming to Mr. Cain and his entourage by opening up their beautiful home and allowing so many guests to have the opportunity to talk to Mr. Cain face-to-face. Rep. Merrill and others did a fabulous job of turning out a very large group to meet Mr. Cain on a Saturday afternoon. I know that many Republicans in Tuscaloosa were eager to speak to Mr. Cain, and I’m sure they walked away with a better understanding of what he stands for and hopes to accomplish.
Darius has done a wonderful job of building the Alabama Minority GOP into a thriving club. Mr. Cain was well received by this group and I was told that he came across as a problem-solver, with the experience to back up his vision. Mr. Cain was the keynote speaker at the Shelby County Republican Party’s Reagan-Lincoln Dinner that evening. Shelby County Chairman, Freddy Ard, District 6 Chairman, Matt Fridy, Dale Peterson, as well as many others, all helped put together a successful event. Mr. Cain captivated the audience with a dynamic speech about the need to return our country to the conservative principles upon which it was founded. Judge Michael Joiner was honored at the Reagan-Lincoln dinner as Shelby County’s Republican of the Year. Judge Joiner was appointed by Governor Bentley in February to the state Court of Criminal Appeals after previously serving as presiding judge for the Shelby County Circuit Court. Mr. Cain is the first Presidential candidate to visit Alabama, but he will not be the last. As we approach the primary season, I look forward to welcoming other Presidential candidates to Alabama to share their message with us. Alabama will be a critical state and I look forward to working with you to help elect a Republican President in 2012.
Afterwards, we headed to Birmingham so that Mr. Cain could attend a meeting with the Alabama Minority GOP, hosted by their Chairman, Darius Foster, and our State Party’s Senior Vice-Chair, George Williams. It was heartening to witness such an amazing turnout of this quickly growing organization.
Chairman’s Corner, continued most valuable contribution to our event. They did not stop with that, however, and remained involved throughout the entire process, became members of the Host Committee, and Dale provided the introduction of Mr. Cain before he addressed our gathering. Speaking of introductions, I want to express my gratitude to a dear friend, Bert Jordan, for his presentation remarks on behalf of our annual award honoree. While not a volunteer, words of appreciation to Judge Michael Joiner are appropriate here, because he was a deserved and gracious recipient of the “Shelby County Republican of the Year Award”. While that was near the conclusion of the program, I was deeply appreciative of Aubrey Miller, who delivered a most-inspired and anointed prayer. Mike Vest, who appeared again by special request to bring his uplifting and patriotic singing of our national anthem, is always appreciated and has become a “fixture” for our annual dinner. Finally, we are indeed grateful for our honorary co-chairmen – Representative April Weaver and County Commissioner Rick Shepherd - whose names were critical to the formation of our host committee and to the great response from our sponsorship. I know this is quite a lengthy “Chairman’s Corner”, literally double the content I normally submit for this publication. Nevertheless, the quantity of words is insufficient to express my appreciation for all those wonderful people, dear friends, and dedicated servants whose efforts combined to make our fundraiser dinner a success. While I may not have recognized every single duty that were performed by some of those listed heretofore, (impossible in the case of Matt and Susan), hopefully the message of gratitude is conveyed, as is the magnitude of what, together, we are able to pull off. The 2011 Reagan-Lincoln Dinner is the talk of the state, is second to none, and has again placed Shelby County in national prominence. That should make us all proud to be Shelby County Republicans. Freddy Ard is Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, a member of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, and has served as Shelby County Commissioner and Helena City Councilman
Photo: Leigh Bratina, Photographic Memories
County holds public hearing on proposed commission districts By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer Shelby County Reporter
Shelby County held a public hearing July 18 at the County Administration Building to discuss the redistricting of the county’s nine commission districts. With a 2010 population of 195,085, the ideal population size of each of the nine commission districts is 21,676. The public hearing gave county residents a chance to comment on the proposed districts. Eric Womack, of the county’s department of development services, gave a brief presentation of the proposed districts, once at 5 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. During the 5 p.m. hearing, Alabaster City Administrator George Henry said Alabaster was opposed to the new districts. Henry said under the proposed districts the city would be divided among five commission districts. Alabaster Councilman Rick Walters also spoke against the proposed districts. Noting he was speaking for himself and not the city, Walters seconded Henry’s opinion. Walters said the proposed districts would split Alabaster among too many commission districts. Pelham was scheduled to have a representative present during the 7 p.m. hearing. Earlier in the day during a work session, the Pelham City Council agreed to send Councilman Bill Meadows to the 7 p.m. hearing. Other council members said the
proposed districts would divide Pelham among too many county commissioners. The proposed new districts:
In District 6, represented by Larry Dillard, population would increase from 21,250 to 21,298, including a minority population of 3,784.
In District 1, represented by Corley Ellis, population would increase from 16,907 to 21,720, including a minority population of 3,716.
In District 7, represented by Lindsey Allison, population would increase from 18,401 to 21,350, including a minority population of 3,406.
In District 2, represented by Tommy Edwards, population would increase from 19,838 to 21,568, including a minority population of 7,956.
In District 8, represented by Rick Shepherd, population would decrease from 25,600 to 21,873, including a minority population of 2,876.
In District 3, represented by Jon Parker, population would decrease from 23,625 to 21,897, including a minority population of 4,631.
In District 9, represented by Robbie Hayes, population would decrease from 28,983 to 21,963, including a minority population of 2,632.
In District 4, represented by Daniel Acker, population would increase from 18,818 to 21,777, including a minority population of 6,090.
These districts were approved by the Shelby County Commission.
In District 5, represented by Joel Bearden, population would decrease from 21,663 to 21,639, including a minority population of 3,623.
Shelby County GOP honors Judge Joiner
Vestavia’s Canfield Named New Head of ADO
By: BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer The Shelby County Reporter
Judge Michael Joiner was honored July 16 as Shelby County’s Republican of the Year.
By: Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
Joiner was presented the award at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center during the annual Reagan-Lincoln Dinner, a Shelby County Republican fundraiser.
Gov. Robert Bentley announced Rep. Greg Canfield, R-Vestavia Hills, will be the new director of the Alabama Development Office, replacing Seth Hammett, the former speaker of the house who agreed to lead the state’s economic development agency for a short term. Canfield, who turns 51 later this month, works for J.H. Berry Insurance Co. in Birmingham. He is a member of the governmental affairs committee for the Birmingham Business Alliance and was on the board of directors for the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce for six years and was the chamber’s president in 1997. In the Alabama House of Representatives, Canfield chairs the commerce and small business committee. Canfield also served two terms on the Vestavia Hills City Council starting in 2000 and was the council president before getting elected to the Legislature in November 2006. Canfield is a Birmingham native who graduated from Huffman High School in 1978 and attended the University of Alabama until 1981 before earning a
bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Canfield was a member of the 1997 inaugural class of Leadership Vestavia Hills and served on its board of directors and its president. He was a member of the 2005 class of Leadership Birmingham Class. He and his wife, Denise, have two children and are active members of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood. Hammett agreed in January to take the ADO director’s job for a short period after being asked three times by Bentley. Hammett has been working with Bill Taylor chief executive of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, to formally align the two organizations. Hammett is expected to resume his job as vice president of business development for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in Andalusia.
Joiner was appointed in February to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, after previously serving as presiding judge for the Shelby County Circuit Court. “When I got the call from the governor about being on the Court of Criminal Appeals, I had to think hard about that opportunity,” Joiner said. “I was serving as a Circuit judge in a job that I truly loved and felt called to do. I served with some of the best people in the state.” Joiner said he went to Montgomery with “some trepidation.” “But I realized soon there that I would also encounter other individuals of great intellect and integrity that I would serve alongside,” he said. Joiner said he’s not a “Republican judge” when he puts on the judicial robe. “I’m just a judge,” he said, “and I will seek justice for all people.” Joiner cited a passage from the Bible: “Evil men do not understand justice,” he said, “but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” “I certainly do not claim to understand it completely, in a sense that I always get it right,” Joiner added. “But I will pledge to you, as I did as a Circuit judge in Shelby County, serving on the Court of Criminal Appeals I will always seek justice and to judge fairly and impartially, and that’s all I can do.”
House Vacancies By Bill Armistead, Chairman, Alabama Republican Party
When a vacancy occurs in the Alabama Legislature, it is the Governor’s responsibility to call a special election to fill the vacancy. In just the last few weeks, two vacancies have occurred in the Alabama House of Representatives, both in the Jefferson County area. The Alabama Republican Party lost a beloved legislator when Representative Owen Drake (HD 45), of Leeds succumbed to his battle with cancer and went on to be with the Lord. Owen had been a faithful member of the Alabama Republican Party for many decades, as well as a true public servant to the people of Alabama, and he will be greatly missed. Drake was elected to the House in 2006. Governor Robert Bentley said of Drake, “He was a dedicated public servant throughout his life, not only serving as an elected official, but also serving his country in the Air Force. Rep. Drake was a true servant of the people, but most of all, he was a great friend and will be greatly missed.” Earlier this month, Representative Greg Canfield (HD 48) of Vestavia, another faithful member of the Republican House Caucus who has served in the House since 2006, was tapped by Governor Bentley to become the new director of the Alabama Development Office. In his role as Director of the ADO, Canfield will head up the state’s economic development efforts. Gov. Bentley’s main campaign theme when he was running for Governor, and after he was elected Governor, was creating jobs for Alabamians. Greg Canfield will serve the Governor and the state of Alabama well in this job. Both of these events left two House vacancies in the Jefferson County Area, leading Governor Bentley to call for special election races and naming Tuesday, August 30th as primary dates for both races. Rep. Canfield will vacate his seat on or before August 1st and there are two candidates who have qualified to run in that Republican Primary. Jim Carns formerly held that seat, which includes parts of Jefferson and Shelby counties,
before retiring in 2006 to run for the Jefferson County Commission, from which he retired in 2010. He will face Craig Sanderson, who is a retired federal government employee, and currently a City Council member in Irondale. No Democrat qualified for this seat, so the winner of this primary will take their place with the Republican House Caucus in Montgomery. The seat held by the late Representative Owen Drake, includes parts of Jefferson and St. Clair Counties, including the towns of Leeds and Irondale. We have three candidates who have qualified to run for this seat in the Republican Primary. One of the candidates, Dickie Drake, is the brother of the late Owen Drake. Dickie is retired and lives in Leeds. Tommy Joe Alexander, mayor of Irondale, has also qualified to run for this seat. Michael Sumners, Jr, also from Irondale and vice-president of Richardson Construction, is the final candidate. If none of the candidates receive a majority vote on August 30th, a run-off election will be held on October 11th, pushing the general to November 29th. If no run-off is necessary, then the general election will be held on October 11th. The Republican Primary winner in District 45 will face the only Democrat who qualified to run in that district. No matter whom the Republican candidate is I highly encourage all Republican voters to rally behind the winner as it is imperative that we make sure District 45 remains in Republican hands. The Jefferson County delegation would swing to a Democrat majority should the Democrats pick up that seat. These special elections will be a great opportunity for us to continue the Republican wave we watched sweep across Alabama last fall. It is critical for our state and for future generations to make sure we hold the line on the progress we’ve made as we go into the special election races. If Republicans turn out to vote in this special election, I am confident we will have two new members joining their Republican colleagues in the Alabama House of Representatives.
By a Margin of 2 to 1, Independents Favor Repeal By: JEFFREY H. ANDERSON, The Weekly Standard By a margin of 32 points (63 to 31 percent), independents favor the repeal of Obamacare, according to the latest Rasmussen survey of likely voters. Independents who feel “strongly” (one way or the other) support the repeal of Obamacare by a margin of 31 points (52 to 21 percent). Likely voters as a whole favor repeal by a margin of 15 points (54 to 39 percent), while those who feel “strongly” (either way) support repeal by a margin of 17 points (43 to 26 percent). Moreover, as Rasmussen writes, “Most voters…believe [the overhaul] will increase the federal deficit at the very time President Obama and Congress are trying to find ways to make significant cuts in government spending.” By a margin of better than 3 to 1 (52 to 17 percent), Americans think Obamacare — which would cost over $2 trillion in its real first decade (2014 to 2023), and far more in future decades — would “increase,” rather than “reduce,” deficits. However, despite Americans’ overwhelming support for repeal and their clear belief that Obamacare would increase deficits, President Obama has refused to allow Obamacare even to be on the table during the debt ceiling negotiations.
We are now on Wikipedia! Search for Shelby County, Alabama Republican Party! 9
Lawmakers Complete Historic, Productive Session By: Mike Hubbard, House Speaker, District 79
The Alabama Legislature ended the 2011 Regular Session in historic fashion, putting the finishing touches on what will go down as the most productive legislative session in decades, if not ever. In the first session under the leadership of House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, lawmakers worked together to complete an ambitious agenda focused on boosting the Alabama economy by jumpstarting job growth and enacting long-needed government reforms. “I’m incredibly proud of our Members for taking on so many difficult issues and finding reasonable, sensible solutions,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Folks in Alabama aren’t accustomed to seeing a lot of productivity and responsiveness from the Legislature. We vowed to change that, and we lived up to our promise.
“I’m particularly proud of the progress we made passing job-growth legislation. With so many Alabamians still without work, it’s up to us to innovate and keep finding ways to jumpstart private sector jobs in Alabama. We have to continually re-examine our laws and policies to ensure
we are giving new and existing businesses an opportunity to succeed. I’m proud we were able to pass a bill to give existing companies incentives to hire unemployed workers, and another that gives Alabama a unique competitive advantage in recruiting international companies to Alabama.” Those two bills were: The “Made in Alabama” Job Incentives Act (Senate Bill 447), which allows the state to offer temporary state income tax incentives to offset build-up phase tariff costs for international companies bringing jobs to the state. Alabama is the first state in the nation to implement this idea, which was originally proposed by House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s Commission on Job Creation.
said keeping their promise to pass these landmark reforms demonstrates a new era of responsive government in Alabama that seeks to build trust with the people. “Most voters are used to hearing politicians say one thing on the campaign trail, and seeing them do something else once elected,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Today we can say that we have delivered on the promises we made to enact conservative, good-government reforms and look out for Alabama taxpayers. We’ll continue taking on the tough problems our state is facing, working to move Alabama forward, and never back.”
The Full Employment Act of 2011 (House Bill 230), which allows the state to offer a $1,000 tax credit to companies who hire workers off the unemployment rolls.
Several “Handshake” bills passed in last December’s Special Session on anticorruption reform, including measures banning money laundering between political organizations, setting strict limits on lobbyist gifts and ending the practice of “Double Dipping.” The remaining reforms, which have now been passed, are:
The Legislature also completed work on all bills promised in the “Handshake with Alabama,” a series of reforms Republican candidates vowed to pass during the 2010 election cycle. Speaker Hubbard
The Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act (House Bill 56), which gives local law enforcement the authority to verify the residency status of those they detain, requiring business owners to vet
new hires with the “E-verify” system and mandating that recipients of taxpayerfunded public services be legal U. S. residents. The Responsible Budgeting and Spending Act (House Bill 57), which mandates state revenue estimates be based upon a 15-year rolling average, absorbing cyclical economic changes and enabling lawmakers to pass “proration-proof ” budgets. The Public Official Transparency Act (House Bill 58), which requires public disclosure of the names of public officials or candidates or spouses of public officials or candidates who are employed by the state or who have a contract with the state. An amendment to the Constitution of Alabama which, if ratified, will prohibit any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system (House Bill 60). The Health Care Tax Incentives for Small Businesses and their Employees Act (House Bill 61), which would allow small business employers and employees to deduct 200% of the amounts they pay in health insurance premiums from their state income taxes The Alabama Ethics Commission Protection Act (House Bill 62)., which prevents political retaliation on the Alabama Ethics Commission by ensuring that its annual appropriation is an amount equal to .1% of the total funds appropriated from the State General Fund An amendment to the Alabama Constitution which, if ratified, would ensure Alabama remains a “Right-toWork” state by guaranteeing the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot on attempts to unionize (House Bill 64). The Legislature dealt with many other substantial issues during the 2011 Legislative Session, including: Redistricting: Lawmakers took on the daunting task of redrawing Congressional and State School Board seats in the middle of a Regular Session. This Constitutionally-required responsibility is usually handled in a special session because of the complexities involved. In an effort to save taxpayers the at least
$500,000 it would cost to hold a special session, lawmakers successfully passed redistricting plans Repealing DROP: The Legislature repealed the costly Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, which incentivized government workers to delay retirement by allowing them to participate in a luxurious benefits plan in the latter part of their careers. This “come one, come all” luxury benefits plan was excessive, unnecessary and counterproductive to the state’s educational goals. (Senate Bill 72) “Students First” Teacher Tenure and Fair Dismissal Reform: This new law keeps tenure protection for teachers while giving local school systems and community colleges the authority to fire bad teachers and problem employees for justifiable causes. The bill also removes the costly and time-consuming federal arbitration for termination appeals and replaces it with a fair, common-sense appeals procedure that guarantees due process for teachers while ensuring cost savings for local schools. (Senate Bill 310) Requiring Photo ID to Vote: Currently, citizens may show non-photo bearing items ranging from utility bills to bank statements to paychecks in order to gain access to the voting booth. Recognizing that this system continues to invite fraud, lawmakers passed a bill that would require citizens to present a valid, governmentissued photo ID before being allowed to vote in elections. (House Bill 19) Transparency and Accountability: The Fiscal Transparency Act (House Bill 25), requires the state Finance Department to post monthly reports detailing the condition of the state’s General Fund and education budgets so the people know exactly how much money the state has every month. Another reform (Senate Bill 136) will require more frequent reporting and posting of campaign finance reports, as well as requiring them to be filed electronically. This will make it easier for the public to know exactly who is funding political campaigns and make it harder to hide political contributions. Tort Reform: Four bills making the civil litigation system more fair and consistent were passed by the Legislature and signed
into law: The Alabama Small Business Protection Act (Senate Bill 184) protects Alabama retailers from lawsuits aimed at product manufacturers Post-Judgment Interest (Senate Bill 207) brings Alabama’s post-judgment interest on jury-awarded rulings to the Southeast average rate of 7.5 percent, Wrongful Death Venue Reform (Senate Bill 212) prohibits the practice of “venue shopping” in wrongful death actions by mandating that a suit can be brought only in the county where the deceased could have filed suit. Junk Science Reform (Senate Bill 187) brings Alabama up to date with the federal rules of evidence and prevents the use of “junk science” testimony in civil litigation. Tornado Relief: In the wake of the devastating tornadoes that ravaged Alabama communities in April, the Legislature enacted laws that will protect storm victims and offer affected school systems flexibility in making up instructional days. The Alabama Homeowners and Storm Victims Protection Act (House Bill 179) protects the homestead exemptions of those whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged, ensuring storm victims won’t be subject to an unfair property tax increase Senate Bill 271 allows the at least 18 local school systems damaged or destroyed by the storms to make up missed school days by adjusting the number of instructional hours in a day and authorizes the State Superintendent of Education to excuse days for schools in extraordinary circumstances. Speaker Hubbard said lawmakers can return home to their districts with a proud list of legislative achievements few could even imagine in previous years. “If just one of these reforms became law this year, it would have been a tremendous accomplishment. Enacting all of these reforms in such short order is a triumph of historic proportions for the people of Alabama.”
Legislative Session Ushers In a New Era of Common Sense Governing By Bill Armistead, Chairman, Alabama Republican Party History was made in Alabama last year on the night of November 2. For the first time in 136 years, we elected a Republican Lt. Governor to work with a Republican Governor, and we also elected a Republican majority in both the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate. These candidates all ran on the premise that if they were elected, things would be different in Montgomery. Every single promise contained in the Republican Handshake with Alabama was fulfilled. We saw sweeping ethics reform come to Montgomery. A new voter ID bill is now the law of the land. Alabamians will be able to say no to the individual mandate contained in the over-reaching federal healthcare law. Taxpayers and small businesses will be protected from the negative effects of illegal immigration. Alabama will no longer be referred to as “tort hell” because of the new tort reform package signed into law by Governor Bentley.
Because of the hard work and dedication of the Republicans in Montgomery, we have leaner, more transparent government that works on behalf of the people, and not at the whim of special interests. I’m confident that our Republican leaders will continue to deliver good government to the people of Alabama because there is more to accomplish. The people of Alabama deserve good jobs and it’s become more obvious than ever that Obama’s fiscal policies are doing more to harm the economy than help it. In May, national unemployment rose to 9.1%, well above the predicted level his administration promised with the passage of the stimulus bill. Only 54,000 jobs were added in May... the lowest number in 8 months. We’ve spent $2.8 trillion in borrowed money since 2009, but have lost 2.8 million jobs. Definitely not a sound investment.
Like most career politicians, Obama doesn’t understand that government does not create jobs. Private enterprise does, and the best thing that Obama can do to help stimulate the economy is to lower the tax burden and regulations on small businesses in our country. Small businesses are responsible for providing over 70% of the jobs in Alabama. Thankfully, our citizen law-makers in Alabama, many of whom own and run small businesses themselves, understand these economic principles. Several of the laws passed in this session were designed to help small businesses weather this economic storm and help keep Alabamians employed. I’m thankful for a legislative season in Montgomery that has established common-sense governing as the new statusquo. Now if only Washington, DC would learn from our example.
Ivey: Law Enforcement Will Meet The Challenge
By Steve Alexander, WKRG Mobile Alabama Lieutenant Ivey said, “Everything will be a challenge, Governor Kay perhaps, but, I assure you, our law Ivey said she enforcement folks will be up to the thinks police challenge.” will be able to enforce the State Senator Ben Brooks of Mobile said, state’s new “The bottom line position was, and many immigration Democrats voted for this: if the federal law. government is not going to do something, then the states are left to try do something Ivey and others spoke about the issue on their own as best they can.” before a meeting of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee Monday Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said night. he’s waiting to get some more details on the best ways of enforcing the immigration But, the law continues to cause law. controversy. Cochran said, “I don’t want to venture Ivey said, “This bill was done with the a guess of how its going to impact us. Its intent to remove the financial incentive such a politically charged issue, and we, of of employment for illegals to come to the course, are going to just follow the law.” area.” But pastors at churches like Forest Hill Can it be enforced? Church of God have concerns about the law.
Pastor Derwood Perkins said, “We feel like what they are trying to do is not necessarily all that right as far as Kingdom-minded work. We’re about what the word (of God) says, and that’s treating your neighbor as yourself.” Outreach pastor Kenny Vega said, “How we are going to work, especially we as ministers? Of course, we are not any police agent or immigrant agent that we’re going to be asking for papers.” But, Ivey also said she thinks a lot of people haven’t read the law. She said, “This is about illegal immigrants. And, then, years from now, these same people would look at Kay Ivey and say, ‘Why didn’t you do something about it?’ “ Alabama now joins Georgia, Arizona, Utah, and Indiana in defending their tough immigration laws in federal court.
AG Luther Strange: BP Oil Spill Accountability No. 1 priority; immigration law ‘golden opportunity’ By David Ferrara, Press-Register State Attorney General Luther Strange, tapped as the lead attorney for all states filing claims against BP for last summer’s oil spill, told a group of south Baldwin County leaders that his top priority is to ensure that the oil giant remains accountable as the area continues to recover from the disaster.
we need to get this behind us and move forward.”
Strange referenced the company’s own acknowledgement of responsibility in the spill and its pledge to make victims “whole” again.
“I think it’s outrageous that they would say that,” Strange told the Press-Register after the speech. “I was very sorry to see them make that statement. It’s ridiculous.”
“That’s what we’re after, holding them accountable to that promise,” Strange said at the Foley Civic Center. “They can either do it voluntarily or the court’s going to make them do it, we’re going to make them do it.”
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft asked whether Strange would have a role in determining how much money would be distributed to Alabama for Clean Water Act violations.
Strange called the litigation to determine the liability for the spill “one of the most complex” in U.S. history, though he expected the process to move swiftly. A federal trial is set for February in New Orleans. “This won’t be an Exxon Valdez situation where we’re sitting here 25 years from now, worrying about, ‘When are we going to be getting our money?’ and appealing this case,” Strange said during his speech to the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. “Everybody wants to get this settled quickly, brought to a conclusion quickly, because we need the money,
Last week, the oil giant asked the Gulf Coast Claims Facility to reduce damage payments because of the recovery of the tourist economy and fishing industry. Strange called the request “ridiculous.”
“That is a real important pot of money for this community because it is more eligible for use that is extended to business and economic losses,” Craft said, referring to businesses that have yet to receive claim payments. “So that’s the one that we’re paying close attention to for our businesses and our recovery. So I hope your number’s a big one.” The distribution would be determined by federal officials, Strange responded, but the attorney general said he would push for the state to receive as much money as possible. “It’s going to be big,” he said. “It’s going to be very big. It’s going to be embarrassingly big.”
Strange later said he did not have a specific figure in mind, but it could reach the billions. The wide-ranging speech also touched on the ongoing bingo vote-buying trial in Montgomery. He said illegal bingo casinos remain problematic in other parts of the state, and his office was handling the issue “in a low-key manner.” “What I think has been the case all along, that these so-called charitable bingo halls are not legal,” Strange said. “And they’ll have to move on to some other way of extracting money from people.” The attorney general also addressed Alabama’s immigration reform, saying his job was to defend laws passed by the state Legislature. “If the intention of the bill was to get people who were here out of the state, I think that’s working,” Strange said. “I met with a group of minority businessmen yesterday, and I think it’s a great opportunity to help lower the unemployment rate in our own citizens’ certain communities. It may be a golden opportunity to break a cycle of dependence on government assistance, if we can get people trained and into the work force.”
Rick Perry a big draw for Alabama GOP in 2012 presidential election sweepstakes By George Talbot, Mobile Press-Register
The hottest ticket in Alabama politics is the August 12 Republican Party summer dinner. The annual gathering became a can’t-miss event after the sudden emergence of its featured speaker — Texas Gov. Rick Perry — as a potential candidate for president in 2012.
Credit party chairman Bill Armistead, who booked Perry months ago, for recognizing the Texas governor as a rising star.
Perry, 61, has yet to announce whether he’ll make a run for the White House but has said he’s giving it “serious consideration.” A decision could come in the next couple of weeks.
“I just knew he’d be a great speaker,” said Armistead, a former state senator from Columbiana. “He wasn’t on many people’s radar, but I’d watched him and knew he’d be a hit with our members.”
Interest in Perry is surging as conservatives look for a challenger to take on President Barack Obama next year. While there’s a long line of Republicans applying for the job, none so far has captivated GOP voters.
Timing is everything in politics, and the Aug. 12 dinner could become a national media story if Perry moves ahead with a campaign. The dinner falls on the eve of the Iowa straw poll, and could offer a high-profile stage for Perry to steal momentum from Romney.
The current favorite, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, finished a distant third in Alabama’s 2008 Republican presidential primary, and the field so far lacks a viable Southern conservative, with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee out of the race.
The event, initially booked at the 600-seat Ross Bridge Resort in Birmingham, is being shifted to the 2,000-seat Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.
That’s led many GOP activists to look to Perry as a potential champion, and early indications are he could be formidable in Alabama. Demand for seats at the dinner is so great — at $150 a plate — that party officials are moving it to a bigger venue.
Armistead and other Alabama party leaders said there’s a lot to like about the tough-talking, square-jawed former cotton farmer. Perry was an early backer of the Tea Party movement and has strong credentials as a social and fiscal conservative. A native of Paint Creek in west Texas, he’s a former Eagle Scout, Air Force pilot and yell leader at Texas A&M. As a candidate, Perry would have to mend a few fences in Alabama.
He was a vocal supporter of Boeing Co. in its bid for the U.S. Air Force tanker contract, a win that cost Mobile a $600 million aircraft assembly plant. He angered many in Tuscaloosa when, in the days following the April tornadoes, he complained that Obama should pay more attention to wildfires in Texas. He’s also a former Democrat who once served as Texas chairman of Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign. Perry switched parties in 1989 and won a series of statewide races as a Republican, including his election to a third term as governor in November. Ross Ramsey, a veteran political reporter in the Lone Star state, said Perry has won praise for his handling of the Texas Legislature and his oversight of a booming state economy. He described Perry, a fiery critic of the federal government who once suggested that Texas could secede from the U.S., as a maverick - “but he’s not Sarah Palin. He doesn’t have all the baggage.” “I wouldn’t underestimate him,” said Ramsey, managing editor of the Texas Tribune. “The national (attention) has happened kind of fast, but he’s had a long career in politics and he can handle himself. Republicans don’t have a clear standard-bearer and he seems to fit the bill.”
The Role of Government By Bill Armistead, Chairman, Alabama Republican Party Celebrating Independence Day led me to consider the origins of our country, the intentions of our Founding Fathers and how far off the path our government has strayed. Its valid role of protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizens has slowly changed to an insidious encroachment upon those fundamental rights endowed by our Creator. Thomas Jefferson once said, “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” I sometimes wonder if Jefferson and his contemporaries would be welcome in our modern Washington, D.C. Or if perhaps they would wonder why the principles that guided them to start the War for Independence have seemingly been abandoned by their descendants. In many cases, the actions taken by our current over-reaching federal government are producing the opposite results they claim to be pursuing. Last week as I was vacationing with my family I was doing some reading and came across the below list of “The Ten Cannots” which really got my attention. I take no credit for coming up with this list but it expressed my sentiments exactly. Actually, the list was authored by William Boetcker, a minister and motivational speaker born in the late 20th century. Read them for yourself and see if you don’t agree. “The Ten Cannots” You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves. Such common-sense should be just thatcommon. But so many of the laws passed in Washington, D.C. are based on ideology rooted in a very different view of what the role of government should be. And that’s the question we all need to ask ourselveswhat are the legitimate functions of government? Perhaps the answer can be found in Alabama’s own ConstitutionObjective of government: That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression. Alabama 1901 Constitution, Article 1, Section 35
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Signs Bill Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks By The Associated Press Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has signed into law a bill that bans abortions from being performed at 20 weeks or later into a pregnancy. Bentley said he signed the legislation because he made a commitment “to protect the life of an unborn child.” The new law will take effect on Sept. 1. In addition to banning abortions at 20 weeks, it also establishes new record-keeping requirements for abortion providers concerning the number of and types of abortions being performed. Opponents have said the new law adds another layer of bureaucracy for abortion providers and is mostly unnecessary since the large majority of abortions currently being performed are done before 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The bill passed the Legislature during the closing minutes of the 2011 session.
VAN JONES GETTING COZY WITH PELOSI, HOUSE DEMS Radical who resigned in disgrace now welcome on Capitol Hill By: Aaron Klein, The Weekly Standard, with research by Brenda J. Elliott The House Democratic Caucus hosted communist revolutionary-group founder Van Jones just one day before he spoke to a student group funded by billionaire George Soros.
national conference that began yesterday for a group that calls itself Campus Progress. Other speakers include former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
“Why are Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrat Caucus seeking out Jones’ counsel?” asked Guy Harrison, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a fundraising email yesterday.
Campus Progress is a “project” of the Center for American Progress, or CAP, which is heavily bankrolled by Soros. CAP, reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House policy, is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chairman of Obama’s presidential transition team.
“They say a person can be judged by the company they keep, and that holds true for the Democrat caucus as well,” Harrison wrote in a fundraising email. In September 2009, Jones resigned as President Obama’s “green jobs” czar after it was exposed he founded the communist revolutionary organization Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM. It was also reported he signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
Jones was a featured speaker at a two-day
Jones himself is a CAP fellow. On CAP’s board is Carol Browner, who directed the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy until earlier this year. When her appointment to the Obama administration was announced in January 2009, Browner was listed as one of 14 leaders of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society of Socialist International, the world’s largest socialist umbrella group. SI calls for “global governance” and a world socialist order.
Jones starting ‘anti-Tea Party’ As WND reported, Jones launched a new organization two weeks ago that seeks to counter the tea party while petitioning for a progressive agenda that includes “making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share.” The organization, dubbed “The American Dream Movement,” is partnered with a slew of radical groups funded by Soros. WND was first to report the movement was introduced using subversive tactics, particularly a hoax Youtube video in which it appeared the ticker outside News Corporation’s Manhattan headquarters had been hacked and reprogrammed with an anti-Fox News script calling for revolution. The Soros-funded MoveOn.org admitted it set up fake identities for the alleged hackers and even released a misleading video in which a man, with his face disguised, purported to confess he was behind the Fox News hacking.
Jones officially launched his American Dream Movement at a New York City event co-sponsored by MoveOn.org two weeks ago. The movement has been described as a grassroots progressive group seeking to emulate the success of the tea party. The movement, however, is anything but grassroots. It is already partnered with two of the nation’s largest unions, the AFLCIO and the SEIU, which boast an army of millions of public employees. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recorded a Web video for the campaign. Also signed on to the movement are the Soros-funded groups, Campaign for America’s Future and the Center for Community Change. Campaign for America’s Future was co-founded in 1996 chiefly by Robert Borosage, who previously served as director of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies. The CCC boasts a board filled with radicals, including socialist activists. Jones, meanwhile, outlined his movement’s policies in a Huffington Post piece: Wrote Jones: “The steps needed to renew and redeem the American Dream are straightforward and simple: “Increase revenue for America’s government sensibly by making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share. “Reduce spending responsibly by cutting the real fat – like corporate welfare for military contractors, big agriculture and big oil. “Simultaneously protect the heart and soul of America – our teachers, nurses and first responders. “Guarantee the health, safety and success of our children and communities by leaving the muscle and bone of America’s communities intact. “Maintain the American Way by treating employees with dignity and respecting their right to a seat at the bargaining table. Continued, page 18
Jobs and the Punting of Responsibility By: Jeff Sessions & Paul Ryan
Today’s shocking jobs report represents a modern record of 29 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent, and falls on the 800th day since congressional Democrats have passed a budget. This report is more proof that job creation in America is nowhere near where it needs to be for a strong recovery to occur, and that immediate action is needed to change course. Reports recently issued by the House Budget Committee and the minority staff of the Senate Budget Committee demonstrate that the federal government’s dramatic overspending and enormous debt burden are directly hurting job creation. Employers large and small know that today’s excessive borrowing will be tomorrow’s tax hikes and interest-rate increases. This lack of confidence in the future puts a chilling effect on hiring and investment right now. A study by University of Maryland economist Carmen Reinhart and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff, endorsed by Treasury Secretary Geithner, shows that when a nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 90 percent, economic growth is reduced by one to two percentage points. The president’s Council of Economic Advisers estimates that a one percentage point loss in economic growth translates into one million jobs. Today, the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is 95 percent, having crossed the dangerous 90 percent threshold months ago.
head-on, 800 days — and $7.3 trillion dollars — have come and gone since the Democrat-led Senate has adopted a budget. Not only is a budget a concrete fiscal plan, but it expresses a philosophy of governing. Democrats’ refusal to pass a budget — and refusal to put their biggovernment economic theories on paper — is of extraordinary significance. Making matters worse, the only budget submitted by the president is a fundamentally unserious plan that doubles our debt and speeds us to economic decline. The House-passed budget cuts $6 trillion in government spending, lifts the crushing burden of debt, strengthens the social safety net, saves Medicare from bankruptcy, and helps spur job creation with pro-growth reforms. The United States Congress has a moral — and legal — obligation to propose and pass budgets that tackle our generation’s greatest challenge. Allowing 800 days to pass since Senate Democrats even bothered to produce a budget is an egregious and inexcusable lack of leadership. America’s job creators want certainty and confidence in the economy — which requires a credible plan to cut spending, prevent future tax hikes, and reassure our creditors that we’re restoring fiscal discipline. What is certain, is that more spending, more taxes, and more punting of responsibility will only mean more weak job reports.
While the House has passed a serious, credible budget that tackles this debt crisis
“He’s Back” Continued from previous page “Rebuild the middle class – and pathways into it – by fighting for a “made in America” innovation and manufacturing agenda, including trade and currency policies that honor American workers and entrepreneurs. “Stand for the idea that, in a crisis, Americans turn TO each other – and not ON each other.” “We think we can do what the tea party did,” Jones said in an interview with The Fix. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.” The far-left AlterNet, whose board has included Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, summarized Jones’ new movement: The goal is nothing less than a broad “open source” movement of millions who, via organizing, house parties, events, technological savvy, and electoral activity, will attempt to shift America’s focus away from the budget-cut mentality and the protection of big corporations and banks, to the human and economic support of tens of millions of unemployed and downsized Americans, including returning war vets and young people. We’ve been hugely disappointed in the Obama administration for not mounting a more populist, people-oriented challenge to the corporate and banking dominance of our economic system, which has resulted in both the bailout of the banks, and the obscene shift of wealth to an increasingly small number of super-rich Americans. Jones hopes to offer an answer. The idea of Jones’ movement is not new. The progressive group Netroots Nation featured a panel discussion at its July 18, 2008, convention entitled “Growing the American Dream Movement.” Soros group admits it “hacked” Fox News The movement was first introduced to the world using a hoax Youtube video in which it appeared Fox News had been hacked.
The YouTube video, titled “Fox News Got Hacked. Real,” has garnered more than 340,000 views since it was posted last month. It shows several people emerging from a subway outside the Manhattan headquarters of News Corp., the parent of the Fox News Channel. The video focuses on the changing Fox News ticker, which is apparently reprogrammed to read: “We are being lied to. Right wingers are destroying the middle class and trying to kill our unions. The country is not broke.” Continues the supposedly hacked ticker: “We are the richest country in the world. USA is twice as rich as China. Our economy is bigger than most of Europe combined. We are not broke. We are being lied to. We will rise up We will fight back. We will spread the truth.” The video was posted by a YouTube user named “hiropro999,” which has now been exposed as MoveOn.org. In an interview with the Huffington Post, leaders of MoveOn not only admitted their group was behind the video but revealed the organization crafted the video in less than two months, consulted hackers and made an elaborate identity for hiropro999. MoveOn set up online accounts, an email address and even a fake “explainer” video in which an unidentified man takes credit for being the “hacker.” The organization reportedly swore everyone involved to secrecy and declined media requests addressed to hiropro999. “I was alternatively thrilled and worried,” one MoveOn staffer involved in the project told the Huffington Post. “The bottom line is, we are in an ever-changing frontier in terms of how people communicate online. You have to take risks within reason in order to have an impact.” The bottom of the YouTube video promoted a website, June23.org, which now forwards to MoveOn’s new site for its “Rebuild the Dream” project with Jones. That site also admits Moveon was behind the Fox News hoax. “MoveOn Civic Action released a faux Fox News hack video to send the message: We are being lied to. The American people have the right to know that the
country is not broke and we shouldn’t be cutting vital services families depend on,” states the site. The site said that on June 23, “Van Jones will be joined by The Roots, artist/ DJ Shepard Fairey, and other celebrity guests in New York City to kick off the movement to rebuild the American Dream.” Radical communist Speaking to the East Bay Express, Jones said he first became radicalized in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots, during which time he was arrested. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,” he said. “By August, I was a communist. “I met all these young radical people of color – I mean really radical: communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ I spent the next 10 years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary,” he said. Succeeding revelations about Jones by WND included: One day after the 9/11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as what he called the victims of “U.S. imperialism” around the world. Just days before his White House appointment, Jones used a forum at a major youth convention to push for a radical agenda that included spreading the wealth and “changing the whole system.” Jones” Maoist manifesto while leading the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, was scrubbed from the Internet after being revealed by WND. Jones was the main speaker at an antiwar rally that urged “resistance” against the U.S. government – a demonstration sponsored by an organization associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party. In a 2005 conference, Jones characterized the U.S. as an “apartheid regime” that civil rights workers helped turn into a “struggling, fledgling democracy.”
For Small Businesses, Recession Isn’t Over BY: DANA MATTIOLI And SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN, The Wall Street Journal
Many big public companies are likely to report strong second-quarter profits, but that isn’t the story on Main Street, where small businesses are grappling with jittery customers, rising costs and tight credit. The owners of many small businesses say economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures have led them to delay hiring and capital expenditures. Seventy percent have no plans to expand their staffs over the next 12 months, according to a recent U.S. Bancorp survey of 1,004 U.S. companies with annual revenue of $10 million or less. While about half projected higher revenue a year from now, 78% said the U.S. economy is still in a recession, and many expected it to remain there next year. In May, for the third month in a row, the optimism index of the National Federation of Independent Business declined. At big public companies, cost-cutting and a rebound in sales, particularly overseas, have provided a boost. But because small businesses account for more than half of private-sector employment and gross domestic product, their owners’ caution bodes ill for the broader economic recovery. Last year, Tribute Inc., a developer of inventory-management programs, thought it was seeing a rebound when the time required to close deals improved. But by the end of the year, sales had leveled off and the recovery had faded. Now, getting new contracts across the finish line is taking as long as six months. “Given what our customers perceive as a flattening in the economy, they’re being very cautious on capital expenditures,” says Tim Reynolds, president of Tribute, which is based in Hudson, Ohio, and sells its software to small industrial distributors. Tribute is continuing to require its 35 employees to take a day of
unpaid vacation every month, a policy it implemented during the recession, as it waits for sales to pick up. Mr. Reynolds is also delaying investment, putting off buying software that would help him manage his sales prospects and customers but could cost as much as $50,000. “Small businesses aren’t hemorrhaging, but they’re still waiting for that significant uptick,” says Todd McCracken, chief executive of the National Small Business Association. One issue is credit. Small businesses are still having a hard time getting bank loans. Lending to them fell 2.4% in the first quarter, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy reported last month. BleachSafe Towel Co. negotiated a larger line of credit in August, but it was only enough to keep the business afloat, not to help fund more hiring, beef up inventory or make other long-term investments. “Small business is really affected by the bank teller,” says Morris E. Sitt, founder of the New York company. “I’ve never seen banks like this. It’s so hard to get the proper financing.” The company is also juggling rising commodity costs. BleachSafe expects its revenue to rise 20% this year, but its cotton costs are up 30%. The company, which has its towels made at a factory in China, is also grappling with the strong Chinese yuan, which is pinching margins. With these pressures on profit, Mr. Sitt says he’s waiting for further improvement in the economy before investing in more workers. BleachSafe, which has 21 employees, recently hired one part-time employee rather than the two full-time salespeople it wanted, and Mr. Sitt cut back on an order for a new spa product he’s testing.
“These days, I’d rather take it slow than go out like gangbusters and have a problem six months from now,” he says. Phoenix Products Inc., an Avon Lake, Ohio, faucet maker, is also proceeding with caution, putting hiring, system upgrades and product updates on hold to conserve cash in case of another downturn. “Things are OK right now, but I’m acting as if we’re in the midst of the recession because of all of the economic uncertainty,” Phoenix President Raymond Arth says. His caution stems from recent unemployment and housing-market data, as well as the growing federal deficit. Phoenix’s main customers make recreational vehicles and factory-built housing, and if RV buyers get spooked by bad economic news, he worries that orders for his faucets will eventually suffer. So far, sales are up 7% from a year earlier. But Phoenix’s copper costs have increased 35% during the period, and prices for the plastic it uses are also rising. In May, the company pushed through its first price increase in three years, but it’s reluctant to raise prices further even though its input costs continue to rise. “If we increase prices again, we’re afraid it will affect sales,” Mr. Arth says. Small companies also aren’t as adept at tapping the fast-growing emerging markets that larger companies are relying on to increase sales. Tribute’s Mr. Reynolds says he couldn’t expand overseas without rewriting all his software first. “We only sell domestically,” Mr. Reynolds says, “so I don’t have the opportunity like a public company does to exploit foreign markets that are growing faster.”
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OPENS FORMAL CONTACTS WITH THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD By: Andrew McCarthy, The National Review Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides explaining what the Muslim Brotherhood is and has always been, the major point of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the West Sabotage America was to warn that this day was coming. And so it has come: Reuters reports that the Obama administration has established a policy of formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the world’s most important Islamist organization. It is openly, unabashedly committed to the destruction of the United States and the West. In typical Obama fashion, this disastrous decision to engage America’s avowed enemies has been couched as the mere continuation of prior policy: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have confirmed that the U.S. would “resume” contacts which had “occurred in recent years.” But make no mistake about it, this is a new policy. The contacts that have occurred in recent years have been outside of U.S. policy — at the urging of leftists in the State
Department, the intelligence community, the commentariat, and, in particular, the Obama White House. They have long campaigned for a policy of “engagement” with the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas, the terrorist organization that is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch). They’ve needed to do this campaigning because it was American policy not to deal with the Brotherhood — dealing with the Brothers empowers them, bolstering their status as leaders of mainstream Islam and legitimizing their agenda, which calls for Islamicizing societies, ultimately establishing a global caliphate, destroying Israel, and incrementally expanding sharia throughout the West. This day has been coming since President Obama’s first day in office. In 2007-08, the Brotherhood was proved by the Justice Department to be engaged in what the Brotherhood itself describes as a “grand jihad” aimed at the “elimination and destruction of Western civilization from within” by “sabotage.” The title of my book was not my words but theirs — taken from their internal memoranda,
seized by the FBI from the home of a Brotherhood official. The Brotherhood’s anti-U.S. strategy was not news to anyone who follows Islamist movements, but the proof for all to see came during the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, during which several defendants were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Supporting Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel has been the Brotherhood’s highest priority in the U.S. since Hamas was formed, and trial evidence showed unmistakably that the leading Islamist organizations in the U.S. — almost all either formed by or having ties to the Brotherhood — were complicit. Among the most important of these is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which was designated as an unindicted coconspirator by the Justice Department and shown by prosecutors to have housed the HLF in its offices and to have helped it transfer money to Hamas fronts overseas. Yet, only a few months after the convictions, the Obama administration dispatched Valerie Jarrett, the president’s close friend and top political adviser, to
give the keynote address at ISNA’s 2009 convention. This was only the most notorious of the administration’s outreach episodes involving groups (such as CAIR) which were shown to be Brotherhood affiliates and Islamist apologists. Indeed, by the time of Ms. Jarrett’s appearance at the ISNA convention, ISNA president Ingrid Mattson had been chosen to speak at Obama’s inauguration ceremonies, and Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Arif Alikhan (who has referred to Hezbollah as a “liberation movement”) was named assistant secretary for policy development at Obama’s Homeland Security Department. At around the same time, at his 2009 Cairo speech — which was one big “outreach” to Islamists — the administration infuriated the Mubarak regime by inviting Brotherhood members to attend, even though the Brotherhood was then a formally banned organization under Egyptian law. Ultimately, of course, the administration pushed Mubarak aside even though it was clear by then that his fall would usher the Brotherhood into power. That will happen in the upcoming fall elections, the Brothers having successfully lobbied for a rapid election schedule that will prevent the formation of any meaningful secular opposition. In the meantime, the administration has worked feverishly to whitewash the Brotherhood’s extremism and support of terrorism. As I have argued, Obama officials were preparing the ground for the Brotherhood’s ascendancy. They understand the political consequences of this catastrophe for the president … if the American people come to recognize what the Brotherhood is and how deeply it despises America and the West. Thus, as the uprising in Egypt intensified, Obama adviser Bruce Reidel was quick to pen an essay called “Don’t fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood” (to which I responded here on NRO). James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, then proceeded to insult Congress’s intelligence — and badly damage his reputation for seriousness — by branding the Brotherhood as a moderate, “largely secular” organization. (Besides being known as the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization’s motto remains, “Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and
dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope — Allahu Akbar!“) Only a few months before Clapper’s testimony, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Muhammad Badi, called for “jihad and sacrifice” in confronting the United States and Israel. He proclaimed that America is “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading toward its demise.” The enthusiastic endorsement of violence, particularly against Israel, would be surprising only to those who drink the Obama Kool-Aid that claims the Brotherhood has renounced violence. As I have repeatedly pointed out — and as Barry Rubin argues in this excellent analysis of the new Obama policy — the Brotherhood has always favored violence where it would advance the Islamist cause; it tactically renounced violence against the Egyptian regime because it would have prompted ruinous retaliation from Mubarak and because the Brotherhood was making progress through the political process and influence over Egyptian institutions. Quite apart from its long history of violence, the Brotherhood has long endorsed terrorism (which it calls “resistance”) against Israel and against Western forces operating in Islamic countries. The Brothers also favor an inside/outside strategy against the U.S. and Europe — exploiting the atmosphere of intimidation created by Islamist terrorists like al Qaeda to exercise outsize influence over American and Western policy-makers while advancing the sharia agenda through “peaceful” political means. It was not surprising, then, that the Brotherhood’s former Supreme Guide, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, praised Osama bin Laden as a “mujahid” (a jihad warrior) in a 2008 interview — adding that, though the Brotherhood objected to al Qaeda’s targeting of civilians, “I support its activities against the occupiers,” and concluding that bin Laden deserved praise for his “sincerity in resisting the occupation,” a point on which the al Qaeda leader was said to be “close to Allah on high.” The Brotherhood’s approach is popular in Egypt and throughout the Islamic Middle East. Indeed, shortly after Mubarak fell, the Brotherhood’s leading jurisprudent, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, was given a
hero’s welcome in Tahrir Square, where he had been banned from inciting Islamist revolutionaries for 30 years. The sheikh is the most influential Islamic cleric in the world. Drawing on classical sharia teaching, he instructs that Islam and secularlism cannot co-exist. Moreover, Qaradawi has promised that Islam will “conquer” America and Europe, he calls for the annihilation of Israel by violent jihad, he incited the murderous rioting over the Danish cartoon depictions of Mohammed, and he has issued fatwas approving suicide bombings and the terrorist murder of American troops and support personnel in Iraq. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that the State Department has nevertheless long regarded Qaradawi as an “intelligent and thoughtful voice from the region” who is “an important figure that deserves our attention” (to quote Alberto Fernandez, State’s director of public diplomacy in the Middle East during the Bush years). Since Mubarak’s fall, the Brotherhood has worked toward formally reestablishing Egypt’s ties with Iran and for ending the peace agreement with Israel. The Brotherhood is also behind the “Peace Flotilla” expeditions in which Islamists and Leftists join together in efforts to break Israel’s blockade against Hamas in Gaza — the American part of the effort is being spearheaded by such old Obama friends former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, Code Pink founder Jodi Evans, and Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn — and the planned U.S. ship is called, yes, The Audacity of Hope. Meanwhile, the Obama Justice Department has pulled the plug on further prosecution of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates identified as coconspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case. And now we’ll be formally engaged with the Brotherhood overseas just as we’ve been formally embracing its operatives in our own country. The Grand Jihad is right on schedule. FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad and most recently The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. He blogs at National Review Online’s The Corner.
ONE PRESIDENT LEFT BEHIND: MCCONNELL SCHOOLS OBAMA ON DEBT By: Ann Coulter Democrats don’t want to cut any government spending programs, not now, not ever. The country is on a highspeed bullet train to bankruptcy (the only kind of bullets liberals approve of), and the Democrats’ motto is: Spend! Spend! Spend!
Their plan is to keep spending, while blaming tax breaks for corporate jets for the entire $14.3 trillion deficit. The Democrats will never suggest any cuts to a budget that has put the country another $4 trillion in debt only since Obama became president.
Ask Scott Walker and all elected Republicans in Wisconsin who brought on Greek-style riots by suggesting that government employees start paying 6 percent of their own pension contributions and 12 percent of their health care insurance.
Democrats are at an advantage in the “should the U.S. go bankrupt or not?” debate because, based on their economic policies so far, they obviously favor bankruptcy.
So Republicans keep proposing cuts and Democrats keep riling up the increasingly large number of people who get checks from the government.
Ask Rep. Paul Ryan, whose modest proposal to reduce Social Security payments -- starting 15 years from now -has turned him into a national pariah.
Nothing ever gets cut, but more people hate Republicans for having proposed any cuts at all. If you’ve never worked for the government, you have no idea of the vicious campaigns of vilification that will be brought by the recipients of government largesse against the smallest reduction in that largesse.
Ask the next president of the United States, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie. (And ask him nicely -- I hear the guy’s got a temper!)
This allows them to sit back and demand that Republicans propose all the spending cuts and then turn around and scream that Republicans have declared war on the poor and disadvantaged. It’s a nice trick, especially considering Republicans control only the House. Meanwhile, the Democrats control all other branches of our government: the Senate, the White House, and The New York Times op/ed page. What’s their plan?
Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose governorship was finished when he put a series of initiatives on the ballot to make the tiniest reductions in government workers’ benefits.
The problem isn’t with elected Republicans; the problem is that the people want their treats. According to a Gallup poll in January, more than 60 percent of Americans want no cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which currently consume more than one-third of the entire federal budget.
Obama and the rest of his party are determined to keep increasing the size of our massively bloated government, on and on, year after year, without end in sight, until everyone with a job works exclusively to pay taxes to the government. Plan B is for everyone to move to Greece.
$2.4 trillion, over the next 18 months, but only provided Obama proposes equivalent cuts in spending each time.
Republicans can’t cut anything as long as they control only one-half of one branch of government. If purist conservatives on the outside want serious spending cuts, they’d better give the GOP a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress first.
Contrary to some hysterical Republicans, McConnell’s bill does not forfeit any of Congress’ authority: The House and Senate will still have to decide whether to accept Obama’s proposed cuts when they write their appropriations bills.
Finally, the Democrats will be forced to pony up spending cuts -- or default on the debt and crash the economy.
But we will finally get some proposed cuts to federal programs from Obama, and not more nonsense about theoretical savings from “investing” in our children’s future with additional spending on Pell grants and prenatal counseling. McConnell’s deal cleanly takes the debt ceiling issue off the Republicans’ back and puts it on the president’s back. Either the Democrats tell us what they’ll cut or they’ll have to admit: “We will never cut anything. Everything Ann Coulter says about us is true!”
Meanwhile the nation sinks deeper into debt. Republicans tried using the expiring debt ceiling to force the Democrats to agree to budget cuts. But the Democrats still refused to propose any. Obama’s big idea for taming a government with a $3.83 trillion budget and a $14.3 trillion debt is to collect -- in the best-case scenario -- another $300 million a year from corporate jet owners. That would cover .007 percent of the federal budget or .002 percent of the national debt. Is it happy hour yet? Instead, Democrats demagogued the issue, with Obama flying around the country on Air Force One, claiming that if the debt ceiling is not raised, America will default on its debts and the entire economy will collapse. If Republicans cut government spending, recipients of government checks come after them with pitchforks. If the Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling to force spending cuts, the economy collapses. In general, the trend seems to be in the direction of higher spending and endless debt. The government will just keep spending and spending until we’re all on bread lines. But there won’t be any bread because within 10 years, nearly the entire federal budget will go to pay Social Security and Medicare recipients. (On the plus side, a lot of us will be speaking Greek by then.) But now, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has checkmated the Democrats. He has proposed a bill that will allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling three times, up to
“We have to stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian political ideology….Therefore Islam should be compared to other totalitarian ideologies like communism or fascism.” ~Geert Wilders
Obama vs. Obama BY STEPHEN F. HAYES, The Weekly Standard In a 75-minute meeting, President Obama once again demanded that more than $1 trillion in tax increases be part of any deficit reduction package attached to a vote on the debt ceiling. In the session, Obama rejected a Republican proposal to seek $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and reforms, and insisted on higher taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals. It’s a curious position, given the anemic economic growth and rising unemployment. And it’s even more curious considering that Obama himself has warned about the deleterious effects of raising taxes in a struggling economy. In August 2009, on a visit to Elkhart, Indiana to tout his stimulus plan, Obama sat down for an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, and was conveyed a simple request from Elkhart resident Scott Ferguson: “Explain how raising taxes on anyone during a deep recession is going to help with the economy.” Obama agreed with Ferguson’s premise – raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea. “First of all, he’s right. Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes. So I guess what I’d say to Scott is – his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.”
Todd reminded Obama that he had promised to raise taxes on “some of the wealthiest” Americans. Obama responded by reiterating his opposition to tax hikes during a recession and making an argument about timing. “We have not proposed a tax hike for the wealthy that would take effect in the middle of a recession. Even the proposals that have come out of Congress – which by the way were different from the proposals I put forward – still wouldn’t kick in until after the recession was over. So he’s absolutely right, the last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up – take more demand out of the economy and put business further in a hole.” When Obama warned about the consequences of raising taxes, the economy was moving away from recession—growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 was nearly 6 percent. Today, however, economic growth has slowed to less than 2 percent. Even before the horrible June jobs report, economists were warning about the “substantial” possibility of a double-dip recession. Many others agreed after the news last week. “In addition to the shock value…we need to seriously question whether a doubledip is there,” David Ader, chief treasury strategist at CRT Capital, told CNBC. “I would say it’s back on the table.”
If raising taxes in a recession would be “the last thing you want to do,” wouldn’t raising taxes in a struggling economy teetering on a double-dip be the second last thing you’d want to do? Obama made a similar argument in December, when he signed the bipartisan tax relief agreement – a deal that maintained Bush tax rates (even for the wealthy) and included additional tax breaks for businesses. “Millions of entrepreneurs who have been waiting to invest in their businesses will receive new tax incentives to help them expand, buy new equipment or make upgrades – freeing up other money to hire new workers.” If Obama was right and the tax breaks in that deal freed up money for job creators to hire new workers, isn’t the reverse true? Isn’t it the case that new taxes on entrepreneurs and other job creators will leave them with less money to hire new workers? And wouldn’t raising taxes on the “wealthiest” just “put business further in a hole,” as Obama believed just two years ago? His economics were right. So why the change?