Friday, June 19, 2009



By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 4:20 PM PT

George W. Bush: After being pummeled by his successor, the 43rd president ends his silence on America's slide into socialism and timidity. He reminds us leadership is not something that comes off a teleprompter.

Read More: General Politics

Perhaps tired about being publicly blamed by the current administration for all our current ills, Bush spoke out in Erie, Pa., on Wednesday at the 104th annual gathering of the Manufacturers and Business Association.

On the same day President Obama announced expanded policing authorities for the Fed to deal with a "culture of irresponsibility," another move many feel will stifle the risk takers and entrepreneurs needed to grow the economy, Bush extolled the virtues of capitalism and the free market.

The stimulus did not escape his criticism. "It's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in," the Washington Times quotes him as saying. "You can spend your money better than the government can spend it."

As for charges Bush himself opened up the government spigots with the TARP, he defended his comparatively limited actions. "I firmly believe it was necessary to put money in our banks to make sure our financial system did not collapse," he said. "I did not want there to be bread lines, to be a great depression."

Bush isn't the one who is burdening future generations with ever-higher taxes and upwards of $10 trillion dollars in new debt. He is not the one nationalizing the auto industry, banks and health care.

He noted that his administration tried to rectify changes Democrats made to the Community Reinvestment Act and to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bush has been blamed by the current administration for the housing bubble collapse. "We tried to reform (them)", Bush noted, "but we couldn't get it through the vested (Democratic) interests on Capitol Hill."

As for health care, "there are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing (it)," Bush said. "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care."

So do we, seeing how well it's worked elsewhere. We note that when asked, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't name one country where a single-payer system was working.

On the war on terror, Bush said he too would have liked to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. "(But) I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at the drop of a hat, and I don't believe persuasion is going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."

Certainly under Bush, trained terrorists would not be relocated to the beaches of Bermuda, and others wouldn't be getting lawyered up for trials in American civil courts. And no terrorist would be read his Miranda rights under any circumstances.

On the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that Obama has said compromised our moral principles, Bush said he wanted to "use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again." He succeeded.

President Obama has said his wouldn't be a third Bush term. Unfortunately, he has kept this campaign promise. We are paying and will continue to pay the price.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Health Hustle: Obama's Insincere 'Savings' By Rich Lowry

Do The Hustle Van McCoy- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.


June 16, 2009

WHERE does Newt Gingrich go to get his apology?

Back in the mid 1990s, Gingrichproposed slowing the rate of growth of Medicare and Medicaid -- and was clobbered by Democrats and the press for waging war on the elderly and the indigent. Now, almost every other day, President Obama finds another hundred billion dollars to cut out of Medicare and Medicaid.

Over the weekend, Obama announced the discovery of another $313 billion in savings over 10 years, on top of $300 billion he'd already proposed. Soon enough, he'll make Gingrich -- who infamously sought $450 billion in savings over seven years in 1995 -- look like an extravagantly generous steward of the nation's health programs.

No liberal outcry greeted Obama's proposed budgetary savagery because everyone knows it's in the cause of more government spending. Obama must embrace a simulacrum of spending discipline to have any hope of passing a health-care pro- gram that will cost at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. The game is simple: Pretend to cut so you can spend.

Medicare and Medicaid spending has steadily outpaced inflation through the decades, and accounts for 23 percent of the federal budget. Medicare's unfunded liability is an astonishing $89 trillion. As Obama put it in his speech to the American Medical Association yesterday, there's a risk the programs will "swamp our federal and state budgets, and impose a vicious choice of either unprecedented tax hikes, overwhelming deficits or drastic cuts in our federal and state budgets."

Sounds alarming. So why turn around and immediately spend the $600 billion in savings? Shouldn't it be used to shore up the rickety finances of these existing health programs rather than to create a dubiously financed, new health program?

Obama's cost-savings gestures always reek of bad faith. He announced in his speech to a joint address of Congress in February that he had already identified $2 trillion in savings in the federal budget, when they were really far-off expenditures for the Iraq War that never would've taken place anyway and already-scheduled tax increases -- i.e., not new savings at all. He risibly hyped a $100 million spending cut as a meaningful reduction. He called last week for reinstituting "pay-go" rules in Congress, even though the rules exempt 40 percent of the budget.

Obama's Medicare and Medicaid savings will be sustainable over time only by beggaring doctors and hospitals. Compared with the private system, Medicare pays only 81 cents on the dollar for health expenses; Medicaid pays only 56 cents on the dollar. Obama relies on the tried-and-true practice of cutting the payments more. This means there will be fewer doctors willing to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients, and more cost-shifting to the private system to make up for deficient government payments.

When Obama himself says that the federal deficit is "unsustainable," and when the chairman of the Federal Reserve warns that spending cuts or tax increases are necessary "to stabilize the fiscal situation," it's obviously not the time for a new entitlement program and another $1.2 trillion in government expenditure.

In his AMA speech, Obama sold his health program as a cost-saving measure, but the items he touted are his usual litany that would produce little or nothing in the way of savings: electronic medical records, preventive medicine, etc. In a document released over the weekend, Obama even invoked the hoary Beltway chestnut of cutting "waste, fraud and abuse."

If Obama thinks he can responsibly squeeze a couple of hundred billion out of Medicare and Medicaid, fine, he should do it and pocket the savings to improve the long-run fiscal picture. And we can adopt modest reforms to make it easier for people to get and keep health insurance, reforms with zero risk of tipping the country further toward fiscal ruin.

Obama will then have more time and energy to devote to repairing the government's balance sheet. Newt Gingrich ought to have some ideas how to do it.

Moral Clarity and the Middle East By William J. Bennett


Jul 22, 2003

The terrorist attacks against us on September 11, 2001 taught us a great many lessons. One of the lessons we learned - or relearned - was that democracy is not just disliked by Islamists, it is hated. And one way to give in to terrorism, rather than fight it, is to concur with the basis for that hatred and weaken democratic institutions, and democracies.

We in the United States did no such thing. Rather, we decided to brook no tolerance for terrorism, and we sought to root it out by going after cells in our own country and elsewhere and by changing the terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We may yet have to change other regimes, we may not. But one thing we will not do is consent to weakening our resolve, our defenses, or our national commitment to the democratic way of life.

We also learned who our true allies were on September 11 and its aftermath. They are the countries that expressed their sympathy with us and help us in our war against terrorism. We will never forget the strength and resolve evidenced by the leadership of some of our European allies, allies whose own countries' very existence is not threatened. But one ally does live under the cloud of daily extinction and has lived so since its very creation: Israel. Israel, ironically, is also one of the world's greatest exemplars of democracies.

In the wake of September 11, many argued that we brought the attack upon ourselves because of our support for Israel. Even were this true, we should no more end that support than we should eliminate religious freedom and women's rights in our country - hallmarks of our democracy that also engage the wrath of the terrorists who attacked us. And it beggars belief to think our support for Israel played much of any part for the attack upon us.

First of all, complaints about Israel ranked low with Osama bin Laden until he realized that ratcheting up those complaints to the top of his list would earn him more support within the Arab world. Second, if Israel is responsible for Islamist or Arabist wrath, I cannot imagine just what Israel did to encourage Syria to swallow Lebanon, to encourage Saddam Hussein to unleash a bloodbath against Iran, to encourage Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, to encourage Kuwait to expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, to encourage the Taliban to destroy the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan, to encourage the slaughter of Christians in the Sudan, to encourage the bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, or to encourage church bombings in Pakistan.

An honest look at Islamist or Arab wrath (or both), requires an honest conclusion: Israel's existence, or our support for it, simply cannot be responsible for the terrorism and violence we have born witness to over the past several decades - or, for that matter, the terrorism we suffered on September 11. What these terrorists and thugs hate above all is liberal democracy, religious freedom, and any alternative claim to God or land that they, themselves, claim. This list includes America, Israel, Christianity, moderate Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. It is a long list, a list which makes our task all the more difficult but also a task that makes our resolve all the more important.

When it comes to "Peace in the Middle East," most people think immediately of Israel and Israel's requirement to make peace with its Arab neighbors - even as its Arab neighbors seem to have a very hard time of making peace with themselves. Nonetheless, Israel does stand out; and it stands out for three reasons: 1) It is the only country in the region that has a majority of Jews; 2) It is the only country in the region that gives people of all faiths and nationalities full religious, civic, and political freedom; and 3) With two exceptions, it is not recognized by any other Arab states.

Thus we come to how we can help broker a peace deal between Israel and her neighbors as well as Israel and the Palestinians. First, we need follow the principle of the Hippocratic oath: Do no harm - we should not put any pressure on Israel (a democracy) that it believes it cannot handle in negotiating with those who show very little respect for democracy. Second, we should require a signed affidavit - in English and Arabic - from Yasser Arafat declaring that foreign policy, peace negotiations, and security are under the sole bailiwick of the prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas. Third, Abbas needs to make guarantees to the settlers in what will become the Palestinian state: At a minimum, they should be given the choice of where they want to vote - in Israel or in Palestine. Arabs in Israel-proper, after all, vote for and serve in the Israeli parliament. Fourth, Abbas needs to cleanse all official maps, and all state-sponsored schoolbooks, of the lie that his state, proposed or otherwise, encompasses Israel in toto.

These requirements would go a long way toward clarifying much confusion about what a new state in the Middle East will be, and look like. Israel, after all, will be making an ultimate sacrifice: land. Palestinians should, thus, be willing to make these much less painful adjustments. If they cannot, statehood and the conveyance of land from a democracy to a who-knows-exactly-what should not take place.

Finally, the United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its embassy and ambassador in Jerusalem. That sentence comes from the 2000 Republican-party platform. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. That sentence comes from the 2000 Democratic-party Platform. Just so, in the 2000 election, both major parties in America articulated their commitment to the only democracy in the Middle East - a commitment that had, by then, become a commonplace understanding. Indeed, most Americans today would be surprised to learn that, in fact, the U.S. embassy in Israel is not in Jerusalem. If we, as a nation, want to maintain our moral clarity in supporting democracy, we should be very clear that we will not tolerate any other capital for Israel, and we shall not maintain any other location for our embassy. If the United States would comply with what both major parties in this democracy have agreed to, that would send the most morally clear message we could: Israel is our ally, Jerusalem is its capital, and we will not cave in to the demands of terrorists.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why Obama Scares Me, Too by Chuck Norris



The New York Times passed on the opportunity to publish a great op-ed letter to President Barack Obama from Lou Pritchett, a former vice president of Procter & Gamble. Pritchett worked for that company for 36 years, until his retirement in 1989.

Confirmed by the Internet watchdog Snopes, here's a sample of what Pritchett wrote:

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me. …

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll. …

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves. …

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals. …

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

Thank you, Mr. Pritchett, for your love for America, honesty and willingness to risk your reputation by speaking up to this administration.

Now let me add a few of my own fears to yours:

President Obama:

You scare me because so many amazing corporate and American leaders, such as Lou Pritchett, are saying you scare them.

You scare me because after you initiate more government borrowing and bailouts than all presidents combined, you then require Congress to follow a system that is "pay-as-you-go."

You scare me because you really do believe that going into massive amounts of debt can remedy our economy in the long run.

You scare me because your actions don't reflect the federal governmental constraints and fiscally prudent principles of our Founding Fathers and Constitution.

You scare me because you repeatedly still play the blame game with the Bush administration but never blame the Clinton administration, even though it was responsible for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac subprime fiasco via the proliferation of loans to unqualified borrowers.

You scare me because you buy and run the banking, automobile and (soon) health industries with taxpayers' money but refuse to call it socialism.

You scare me because you claim to be a fighter for minorities and the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness yet do not defend the unborn. What greater minority is there than those in the womb, against whom you already have enacted more pro-abortion laws than anyone since the Roe v. Wade decision?

You scare me because you promise to defend the U.S. against all potential enemies yet pacify those harboring terrorists, fight for the rights of combative detainees, and enable the enemies of Israel.

You scare me because you deny America's Judeo-Christian heritage before other countries of the world, espousing "the promise of a secular nation" during an age in which religious revisionism is on the rise. (Thank God for Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and others like him, who even now are trying to preserve America's religious history by proposing the passage of a bill that would create "America's Spiritual Heritage Week." Call or write your representative today to support it.)

You scare me because your media team (including the mainstream media) seeks to label as radical, quarantine socially or in some way penalize any opposing conservative voices (such as conservative talk show hosts, news agencies, columnists and actors, such as Jon Voight).

You scare me because your media team does not address or diminish in any way your deification before the world, epitomized by the editor of Newsweek who stated this past week on Chris Matthews' MSNBC show: "In a way, Obama's standing above the country, above the world. He's sort of God." (How much scarier can it get than representative statements like that in a republic that once stood for a balance among political powers and a government "by the people, for the people"?)


Chuck Norris

America, it's time to awaken from your slumber. Quit looking to the government for answers, and start looking to reputable sources. I recommend starting with Lou Pritchett's 1995 business book, "Stop Paddling & Start Rocking the Boat."

Obamacare Will Make America Sick by Carol Platt Liebau


June 15, 2009

Perhaps the most revealing moment of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy came in the ABC debate conducted on April 16 of last year. Charles Gibson asked the then-senator why he would possibly consider raising the capital gains tax rate, when doing so results in decreased tax revenue. Obama replied that he “would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

That same impulse toward social leveling is at work in the President’s health care plan. Advocates of Obamacare are pushing to achieve universal health care coverage by offering a “government option” for health insurance. That plan will eventually result in a health care system that is more “equal” in its treatment of all Americans, those with the means to pay and those without them – but the new, uniform standard of care will be much lower for everyone.

Here’s why. As with the current Medicare and Medicaid systems, under the “government option,” the government will simply decide what it will pay doctors, hospitals and other health care providers for labor, products or services. And that’s all the doctors, hospitals and other medical personnel will get, regardless of the actual costs or value of the services they offer to those in the government plan.

Right now, of course, a deficit exists between the cost of caring for those on Medicare/Medicaid and what the government will spend on it. Accordingly, those with private insurance simply pay more to keep the hospitals solvent and the doctors working. In other words, even after paying taxes, those with private insurance subsidize the government program yet again.

But if Obama succeeds in imposing a “government option” on America, the privately insured will be forced to pay even more to compensate for the government-created cost/payment shortfall as the rolls of those in the government plan expand. As a result, the cost of private insurance will ultimately become untenable. And then – there will be only government-administered health care for all.

Without privately insured Americans subsidizing Medicare and Medicaid, there will have to be another way to close the deficit between the cost of treatments and the below-market payments government offers for them. The answer, of course, will be health care rationing. Rather than the free market – or health care consumers’ economic and personal choices – driving the distribution of health care, the government will do it.

This prospect doesn’t seem to bother President Obama or many other Democrats – which makes sense, from their perspective. For powerful government officials, the plan would work well. Their political influence will guarantee that they (and their friends) will receive the finest treatment available under a government-run system.

For other Americans, however – including regular people without “pull,” who have nonetheless worked hard to have the means to buy good private coverage – the prospect should be profoundly frightening. A government bureaucracy controlling your medical care is likely to combine the efficiency of the post office with the compassion of the IRS. Imagine a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles – but to secure lifesaving treatment for yourself, a spouse or child, rather than simply to obtain a driver’s license. What a nightmare.

Nevertheless, proponents of the “government option” continue to operate on the assumption that the laws of supply and demand can be suspended at their whim. Just last week, President Obama simply decreed that federal payments to hospitals will be cut by $200 billion over the next ten years. How, exactly, is that supposed to work? And, more fundamentally, in a capitalist country of free men and women, when did it become permissible for the government to ignore the free market, and dictate what it would pay for specific products and services regardless of their actual cost or value?

Certainly, at present, better health care is available to those with the capacity to pay for high-quality private insurance. But will anyone be better off if that inequality is remedied by President Obama’s social leveling, where there will simply be a single, lower standard of health care for everyone – except for powerful politicians, of course?

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near Los Angeles. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.

A Fast One On An Ally

Peter Cetera After All - Funny video clips are a click away


By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Diplomacy: Should the U.S. scrap its special relationship with the U.K. to fulfill an ill-considered campaign vow? That's the trade-off the Obama administration made by secretly foisting terrorists onto Bermuda. It's wrong.

Read More: Europe & Central Asia

The British Foreign Office had a right to be angry at the U.S. transfer of four Uighur terrorists from Guantanamo detention to the U.K. colony of Bermuda without its knowledge.

After all, Britain is a sovereign state and, like any nation, has a right to know who's on its territory. Instead, it got treated like some banana republic. It didn't learn of the move until after the four Gitmo detainees were set to land on the island.

Britain is our top ally, having a long-term "special relationship" that has been carefully built over 200 years. Seen in this context, the U.S. move is unprecedented and will likely cost the U.S. more than just Britain's trust.

Any nation pondering an alliance with the U.S. will think twice after seeing how the U.S. treats its best allies when it's in a pinch.

The root of this pickle is the Obama administration's ill-considered campaign promise to shut down Guantanamo detention camp, in a bid to win far-left voters unconcerned about terrorism.

If not for that promise, there'd be no such pickle. The president could make an honest reassessment of the promise in light of the absent alternatives but hasn't.

Instead, he's now strong-arming an ally against its own interests, something sure to create resentment.

The four Uighurs now sampling the good life on Bermuda are wanted back in China for terrorism. Britain will now get heat from China — and possibly retribution — for a problem it didn't cause.

No doubt, an angry China could reduce its cooperation with the West in the global war on terror. As China sizes up the West's tough words about fighting terrorism, it sees a spectacle of Uighurs living high on the hog in "free" cottages, splashing around in blue Bermuda waters, savoring butter-pecan ice cream, going bowling, talking of opening a restaurant and looking forward to their new British passports. It's the wrong message to send to other terrorists.

Obama's creation of this situation shows considerable contempt for Britain, and seems part of an escalating pattern of slights.

It started around the time a State Department official said there was no special relationship with Britain, and Britain was just one of 180 nations the U.S. has relations with — a view which, by the way, was first propounded publicly in 2006 by a State Department official now accused of being a Cuban spy.

It then spread to insults directed at Prime Minister Gordon Brown, everything from not holding a joint press conference during Brown's visit to the U.S., to a cheap and useless range of personal gifts. Foisting terrorists onto Britain takes it to a whole new level.

Sure the Obama administration says it's just trying to shut down Gitmo and has justified its failure to inform the Brits as an effort to protect them from China's wrath. Well, it hasn't.

And as far as diplomatic moves go, it wasn't worth it if the result is that the Britons will question whether they can ever trust us again.

It's far more likely to raise bells of recognition that Obama seems willing to throw an ally over the side for political advantage at home.

After all, during his campaign, Obama sent an adviser to secretly assure the Canadians he didn't mean it when he blasted Canada over free trade in public. Instead of affirming Canada's long-standing friendly ties with the U.S., he used our closest hemispheric ally as a whipping boy. The Canadians didn't put up with this and made sure that word of double-dealing got out.

It's likely the British will get wise to this pattern of slights rooted in selfish political expediency and ask if it's worth it to have this alliance. They'll ask if America really wants a special alliance with Britain, and adjust their calculations accordingly.

Shooting The Watchdog


By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, June 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Oversight: The inspector general for the AmeriCorps program is fired after accusing an administration supporter of misappropriating funds. The only thing transparent in this administration is its cronyism and hypocrisy.

Read More: Budget & Tax Policy

After "hope" and "change," transparency was the thing most promised by the new administration. Everything would be above aboard and visible. We wouldn't see things like the Bush administration firing U.S. attorneys for "political" reasons even though it had the right to do so.

Enter — or should we say, exit — Gerald Walpin, who until Thursday was inspector general for the AmeriCorps program, that army of paid volunteers soon to be transformed into an endlessly funded national service program.

Seems that Mr. Walpin did a very bad thing — his job. He followed the money and discovered that the St. Hope Academy in Sacramento, Calif., had misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal AmeriCorps funds.

The nonprofit education group, led by Sacramento mayor and former professional basketball star Kevin Johnson, had apparently spent the money on local politics. Specifically, according to the AP, funds were used "to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car." All this, presumably, was to stimulate the local Sacramento economy.

As a result of Walpin's efforts, Sacramento U.S. attorney Larry Brown reached an agreement with Mayor Johnson and the group to repay half of the $850,000 in grant money it had received, including $72,836.50 that came out of Johnson's own wallet.

So does Walpin get an "atta boy" from the administration? Is a press conference held praising him for his due diligence and the oversight of this administration as it carefully shepherds every single taxpayer dollar through the system? Not exactly.

On Wednesday evening, Walpin was contacted by White House counsel Norman L. Eisen and given one hour to resign or be fired. Walpin refused, saying in an e-mail that it "would be a disservice to the independent scheme that Congress has mandated — and could possibly raise questions as to my own integrity."

If you read the letter of the law that President Obama himself co-sponsored as legislation in the U.S. Senate in 2007, this attempt to intimidate Walpin into resigning was illegal. Unlike U.S. attorneys, who can be fired at will, there's a specific and difficult process to fire an inspector general designed to guard the independence of an IG and block political interference.

The president must first, not as an afterthought, send a letter to Congress declaring his intention to fire an IG and giving the specific reasons why that person should be fired. After the ultimatum, President Obama did send a letter, one saying he no longer "had the fullest confidence" in Walpin and not much else. That's not good enough.

As commentator Rush Limbaugh noted on his radio program Friday: "Firing an inspector general is a big deal. If you'll remember, Alberto Gonzales as attorney general fired a couple of U.S. attorneys. He took hell for it. This is bigger. Inspectors general are supposed to be completely above politics."

Walpin was appointed by President George W. Bush and sworn into office in January 2007 after being confirmed by the Senate. Mayor Johnson, as it turns out, is a big Obama supporter and contributor. In August 2007, he gave $2,300 to Obama For America. Hmmm: Bush appointee fired after investigating Obama contributor.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who also co-sponsored with then-Sen. Obama the Inspector General Reform Act, immediately fired off a letter to the president questioning both the firing of Walpin and the way it was done.

Grassley reminded the president of the statutory requirement to submit 30 days' notice to Congress of an IG's dismissal and pointedly noted, "No such notice was provided to Congress in this instance."

We await the righteous indignation of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and the New York Times, as well as all those senators and congressmen who said, "Give us the head of Alberto Gonzales."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The GOP's Energy Alternative: We need more nuclear power By Mike Pence, John Shimkus and Fred Upton


JUNE 11, 2009

While the price of gasoline has risen 50% in the past five months, Democrats in Congress nevertheless seem determined to make our energy situation even worse. Case in point: Legislation sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey to establish a cap-and-trade system that will sharply limit carbon-dioxide emissions and increase energy prices.

Independent analyses by Charles River Associates Inc. and the National Association of Manufacturers predict the Waxman-Markey bill will cost millions of domestic jobs as manufacturers relocate plants to countries with less draconian environmental regulations. Meanwhile, the electricity rates under a cap-and-trade system would, as President Barack Obama said in January 2008 "necessarily skyrocket," by some estimates up to $4,300 each year.

This is not the way to go. Instead, House Republicans this week unveiled legislation that will lead to lower prices, more jobs, a cleaner environment, and greater energy independence. The centerpiece of our American Energy Act is a commitment to increase the production of our abundant domestic natural resources, and not to punish traditional energy producers and consumers.

The cleanest way for utilities to control CO2 emissions is to increase the supply of carbon-free nuclear energy. This is obvious and simple, but in the thousand-page Waxman-Markey bill nuclear power is hardly mentioned.

The American Energy Act establishes a national goal of licensing 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. With 31 announced reactor applications already in the pipeline, this goal can be achieved -- and it will revitalize an entire manufacturing sector, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The bill also streamlines a cumbersome regulatory process by offering a two-year, fast-track approval program for power-plant applications that employ safe reactor designs already approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As for the problem of spent nuclear fuel rods, our bill emphasizes safe storage and fuel recycling. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be allowed to finish its review of a national repository without political interference, and the federal government will be prevented from blocking other storage facilities if a state and locality choose to contract with a private company for that purpose. The legislation also directs the Department of Energy to contract with private sector entities to recycle spent fuel, lessening the demand on Yucca Mountain and other sites.

Nuclear energy is only one part of a common-sense energy strategy. America also needs to develop more of its own natural resources such as oil and natural gas. Yet areas with tremendous energy resources continue to be off-limits.

The American Energy Act allows for exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and for environmentally sound leasing of oil and natural gas fields in the outer continental shelf and on federally owned lands with oil shale in the West. Revenues generated by the leases would fund development of technologies to increase clean, renewable and alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

While ensuring plaintiffs their day in court, our bill stops frivolous lawsuits designed to obstruct energy exploration. It does so by establishing a 60-day deadline on legal challenges and by requiring cases to be filed in the D.C. District Court, which has a particular expertise in energy litigation.

Finally, the American Energy Act encourages personal responsibility through conservation. The bill offers tax incentives for the purchase of new plug-in cars and hybrid vehicles. It also expands the successful tax incentives that have encouraged many people to make their homes more energy efficient.

In the midst of a deep recession, Democratic leaders want to impose higher fuel bills on all of us and relocate American jobs overseas in pursuit of an unproven environmental agenda. Instead, the American Energy Act will produce more energy, lower fuel bills, create more jobs, yield a cleaner environment, and lead to a more secure nation. Can there be any doubt what path is best for the country?

Messrs. Pence, Shimkus and Upton are Republican congressmen from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan respectively.