Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pork no longer kosher

This month a Republican senator from Utah, a Democratic congressman from West Virginia and a Republican-turned-Democrat senator from Pennsylvania have been beaten in their bids for re-election . They all have one thing in common: They are members of an Appropriations Committee.

There is an old saying on Capitol Hill that there are three parties -- Democrats, Republicans and appropriators. One reason that it has been hard to hold down government spending is that appropriators of both parties have an institutional and political interest in spending.

Their defeats are an indication that spending is not popular this year. So is the decision, shocking to many Democrats, of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey to retire after a career of 41 years. Obey maintains that the vigorous campaign of a young Republican in his district didn't prompt his decision. But his retirement is evidence that, suddenly this year, pork is not kosher.

It has long been a maxim of political scientists that American voters are ideologically conservative and operationally liberal. That is another way of saying that they tend to oppose government spending in the abstract but tend to favor spending on particular programs.
In the past rebellions against fiscal policy have concentrated on taxes rather than spending. In the 1970s, when inflation was pushing voters into higher tax brackets, tax revolts broke out in California and spread east. Ronald Reagan's tax cuts were popular, but spending cuts did not follow. Bill Clinton's tax increases led to the Republican takeover and to tax cuts at both the federal and state levels but spending boomed under George W. Bush.

The rebellion against the fiscal policies of the Obama Democrats, in contrast, is concentrated on spending. The Tea Party movement began with Rick Santelli's rant in February 2009, long before the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts in January 2011.

What we are seeing is a spontaneous rush of previously inactive citizens into political activity, a movement symbolized but not limited to the Tea Party movement, in response to the vast increases in federal spending that began with the Troubled Asset Relief Program legislation in fall 2008 and accelerated with the Obama Democrats' stimulus package, budget and health care bills.

The Tea Party folk are focusing on something real. Federal spending is rising from about 21 percent to about 25 percent of gross domestic product -- a huge increase in historic terms -- and the national debt is on a trajectory to double as a percentage of GDP within a decade. That is a bigger increase than anything since World War II.

Now the political scientists' maxim seems out of date. The Democrat who won the Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District special election opposed the Democrats' health care law and cap-and-trade bills. The Tea Party-loving Republican who won the Senate nomination in Kentucky jumped out to a big lead. The defeat of the three appropriators, who among them have served 76 years in Congress (and whose fathers served another 42), is the canary that stopped singing in the coal mine.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/The-gathering-revolt-against-government-spending-94603774.html#ixzz0ovqWTIEw

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trolleyites don tinfoil hats

UrbanCincy launched a rambling tirade against The Enquirer, alleging they are "abandoning city interests" by publishing their recent streetcar poll. Read it if you need a good laugh at a 71 word run-on sentence. Or don't; there's really no new content.

Just like UrbanCincy's other tirades, there are lots of excuses for why the facts aren't really the facts, and how the methodology must be flawed because trolleyites dislike the conclusions.

The usual double standard is evident. Apparently Gannett is evil for being headquartered in Virginia, but UrbanCincy being headquartered in Atlanta is just fine.

The Enquirer hired an objective 3rd party pollster to do their study. Back in June another objective study deduced that one part of OTR was the "most dangerous neighborhood in America." UrbanCincy called that one "intellectually dishonest."

However, UrbanCincy has no problem with the streetcar feasibility study conducted by HDR and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Both companies stand to gain millions in fees if the project materializes. Have HDR or PB ever done a study that concluded a city wasn't a good candidate for trolleys? Of course not. But that's OK, because, like them, UrbanCincy also thinks every street should have a streetcar. And so the double standard persists when it comes to objectivity .

Enquirer reporter Barry Horstman's article was balanced and factual. Unfortunately trolleyites don't care. They really want him to editorialize on the news pages to promote their view of "city interests."

Urban junkies even count the number of letters to the editor, pro and con. They don't like those numbers either, and view them as prima facie evidence of a vast suburban conspiracy against the trolley boondoggle.

As we've said before, loser sports teams whine about officiating. Loser restaurants boo-hoo the reviews. Loser theatrical shows blame it all on the critics. And in politics, Helen Thomas says, "The Loser Will Always Blame the Media." Shooting the messenger is always a loser's move.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

America's Hard Right Turn

COAST congratulates member Rand Paul on his well deserved victory over establishment golden boy Trey Grayson in yesterday's Kentucky Republican senatorial primary race.

"I have a message from the tea party," said Paul at his victory speech. "We've come to take our government back." He added: "this tea party movement is a message to Washington that we are unhappy and we want things done differently.".

Former PA senator Arlen "RINO" Specter was never a real Republican, but his record finally caught up with him. Realizing he could not be reelected as a Republican, he switched to the Democratic party to try for a sixth term. They rejected him too, electing Joe Sestak to face Pat Toomey in the general election.

President Obama campaigned for Specter and three others, all of whom were defeated. Fiscal conservatives who ran or governed as such did very well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Strickland Scares Job Creators

In the last 5 years Ohio dropped 24 places when ranked by corporate CEOs in Chief Executive Magazine's Best & Worst States To Do Business issue. With only 51 contestants, thats's quite a precipitous decline...practically half the field.

Otherwise the list exhibits very little volatility. There was no change in the bottom five. The top ten shuffled around a bit, but largely included the same players.

"After employee work ethic, CEOs most highly prize lower tax rates and perceived attitudes toward business." Ohio didn't do half bad in workforce quality and living environment, the two things Governor Strickland might legitimately be able to pin on his predecessors. But our taxes and regulation drug us from middle of the top to middle of the bottom. And these have been fully under the Strickland Administration's control.

James Rhodes was widely ridiculed as being "in the pocket of big business." But he landed Honda's north american headquarters, and most of their manufacturing plants. Under Strickland, Honda built their latest plant in Indiana.

COAST has been a vocal critic of Governor Bob Taft, and his profligate tax and spend policies. But even Taft realized that driving away businesses would eventually kill the money tree.

The Strickland administration's hostility to those who would give us jobs is killing our economy. Substituting big government boondoggles like Third Frontier for real individual entrepeneurship makes matters worse.

We need a governor who knows how to make a buck in business. It's time to elect John Kasich.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Honest and Refreshing

From the Wall Street Journal:

Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

How do we get a bunch of guys like this around here?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The death of common sense

Two rail proposals find paths to funding for same contractor

In the “death of common sense” category, COAST notes that the Ohio Controlling Board several weeks ago approved spending $26 million on a study of the slooow-speed 3-C diesel train line with engineering contractor Parsons-Brinkerhoff, categorizing it as an “operating expense,” to avoid the need for a 5th Controlling Board vote. 
                A day earlier, Cincinnati City Council approved a $2.6 million study of the Cincinnati Trolley, calling it a “capital expenditure,” so they could justify the monies as not being available to put more police on the streets.  You guessed it: the Cincinnati study monies also go to Parsons-Brinkerhoff.  For those following the bouncing ball of public contracting, Parsons Brinkerhoff was the contractor for the failed, still-vacant Riverfront Transit Center.  That brilliant feat of engineering is a $42 million train station that cannot get trains to it and that has sat unused now for seven years. 
By the way, State Representative Louis Blessing has a new video out on the Slooow-speed 3-C train, here.

Banks failure – not a single tenant yet

            The City, County and State have spent hundreds of millions of dolalrs in public subsidy for the Banks project in Cincinnati’s Riverfront,.  However, COAST noted this little diddy (that happened not to get a mention in the pages of the Enquirer) that showed that despite the massive public subsidy for the project, not a single tenant has signed onto the project yet. 
Maybe, just maybe, the for-profit marketplace knows a thing or two that bureaucrats and politicans do not about return on investment.

Estate tax, Health Care Petitions advance

            COAST is supporting petition drives to repeal Ohio’s Estate Tax and to prevent Obamacare  from being implemented in Ohio.  Click on the links above to learn how you can help with these important initiatives.

Portune’s Charter plan is massive power grab

Liberal democrats Todd Portune and David Pepper have empaneled a “Reform Commission” that appears to have been charged in advance with recommending that the County adopt a County Charter with a new “County Executive,” (like a Mayor) and a “County Council” (with more members than the current 3-member Commisison).  However, more pernicious than these dramatic structural changes would be massive new “home rule” legislative and taxing powers.  The new form of government is designed to accelerate the tax, spend and regulate desires of the Commission’s majority.
COAST will be testifying in opposition to the power grab on Monday, May 17th.

What a primary election day!

The meaning of the May 4 primary election will not be known for years to come, but it appears from COAST’s perspective to be momentus.  COAST-endorsed candidates Chris Monzel (County Commission) and Shannon Jones (Ohio Senate) won in hard-fought primary fights.  Tea Party founder Mike Wilson won a tough three-way primary for the right to oppose liberal democrat Connie Pillich in the 28th Ohio House District, and two new COAST-endorsed State Central Committeemen won from this area – Bob McEwen and Joann Kemmerer. 
COAST would like first to thank the opposition in these races – Leslie Ghiz, Michelle Schneider, Tom Weidman and Vicki Zwissler as they advanced important messages of limited government and lower taxes in their races, despite their losses.
These local victories combine with important national events to give COAST real hope that 2010 will be fundamentally different – we might actually roll back the size and scope of government when it is all over.  In Utah, conservatives have already unseated hopeless moderate Bob Bennett.  In Pennsylvania,  Arlen Specter – already run out of the Republican Party – is behind for next Tuesday’s democrat primary election.  In Florida, Charlie Crist turned tail and ran from the Republican primary election against new-comer Mario Rubio.  And in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has unveiled dramatic and needed proposals to finally rein in state spending.
Now COASTers turn their eyes to the fall election when these important wins can be finalized and legislative solutions begun.

Council finds yet another way to waste money

                In another example of government arrogance, Cincinnati City Council continues to fight a private developer’s efforts to bring jobs and economic development to the historic industrial riverfront in Cincinnati. 
                Queensgate Terminals has been working for more than five years to build a rail barge port in the City of Cincinnati.  The project, once completed, would bring dozens of good-paying jobs and reduce transportation costs for producers and consumers in the region.  Council has said no – responding not to the long-term needs of the community, but to neighborhood activists who don’t want to see development next door.  
                The result they seek not only deprives our community of jobs from the project, it also would result in the City’s having to pay millions of dollars to Queensgate Terminals to compensate it for its loss of property rights.  Those are tax dollars that otherwise could be going for basic City services or to balance the City’s budget.

Join County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, Price Hill businessman and community leader Pete Witte and the Western Hamilton County Development Corporation in supporting the Queensgate Terminals project.  Write your Councilmembers and urge them to put this lawsuit behind the City and get this project underway.  

City Council lemmings

Cincinnati City Council at Finance Committee on Monday marched 6-2 (NO = Monzel + Winburn) off a cliff of debt, by voting to issue $64 million in bonds to build the trolley.  The Enquirer reports on the foolhardy plan here.

                Additionally, during a line of questioning initiated by Councilman Chris Monzel, the City Administration admitted they have no plan in place for operating costs of the system (Plan?  We don’t need no stinkin’ plan!) but instead threw up some suggested resources that could be used to operate the trolley, including the farebox, advertising, trolley-stop sponsorships and -- get this – special  assessments (new tax) on property owners. 
As if in slow motion, Council is irretrieveably driving itself into deeper and deeper financial trouble, unable to break the cycle of debt that is gripping our City, State, and Nation.  It’s like they're living in Candy Land and playing with Monopoly money. Taxpayers be damned.

                The issuance of the bonds will voted on by the full Council this Wednesday, May 12 at 2:00 pm.

Three important events this week!

COAST encourages it members and readers of COAST News to attend these three rallies promoting conservative causes and candidates over the coming week:
Americans for Prosperity “Regulation Reality Tour”
~ This evening! ~

            This evening the Americans for Prosperity “Regulation Reality Tour” comes to Harrison Ohio featuring AFP President Tom Phillips.  The event if hosted by Joe Maas, Vice President of Manufacturing and Production at J.T.M. Food Group and will feature both George Brunemann, Community Leader for Cincinnati Tea Party and small business owner and Jason Gloyd, Chairman of Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.  Free barbecue and refreshments will be served.
Date and Time:          Tuesday, May 11
at 5:30 pm
Where:                        J.T.M Food Group
205 Industrial Lane
Harrison, Ohio 45030
            The Cincinnati area stop is part of AFP's "Regulation Reality Tour," which is making five stops in Ohio May 10 and 11.  The Ohio events are in Medina, Dover, OSU in Columbus (for students only), Marysville, and the Cincinnati area.  The goal of the Tour is to educate citizens on how the EPA is trying to regulate "climate change" without a vote of Congress and how the regulations will effect Ohio's businesses, energy prices, and economy.  AFP will be asking citizens to contact their elected officials and ask them to stop this power grab by the EPA.  Our website for the Tour is www.regulationreality.com
Kasich for Governor Rally, Thursday!
The first post-primary event for the Republican nominee for Governor, John Kasich, comes to Clermont County this Thursday night, May 15.  Please join this important event:
Date and Time:          Thursday, May 13
at 6:00 pm
Where:   Union Township Amphitheater
(Clermont County)
4350 Aicholz Road

Rand Paul for United States Senate Rally, Saturday!
            COAST endorsed Rand Paul for Senate in the early days of his race, and now he is leading the polls for the May 18 Republican primary election on Tuesday, May 18 by double digits.  His candidacy will rock the Washington establishment on its heels.
            Senator (and renowned Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher) Jim Bunning will be on hand for the event.
Join Rand Paul and other lovers of liberty for this critical last push for votes:

Date and Time:          Saturday, May 15
at 1:00 pm
Where:        Rand Paul for U.S. Senate
8184 mall Road
Florence, Kentucky

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5 Reasons to Oppose Leslie Ghiz

In the race for Hamilton County Commissioner there is a stark difference between the two Republican Primary Candidates. Chris Monzel, the COAST endorsed candidate, has been a consistent supporter of fiscally responsible government during his time on Cincinnati City Council. His opponent, Leslie Ghiz, has been a complete and utter disappointment to the conservative movement. With the primary election approaching, we'd like to point out just how much of an obstacle to conservatism Ghiz has been with our Top 5 Reasons to Oppose Leslie Ghiz in the Republican Primary election.

5) Ghiz's outrageous support of the Freedom Center
Leslie Ghiz agreed to the inclusion of a larger taxpayer subsidy for the failed Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the City of Cincinnati's budget. Ghiz voted yes on a motion to give $800,000.00 in hard-earned taxpayer dollars to ultra-wealthy CEO John Pepper's failed museum. Not surprisingly, Pepper responded by donating thousands of dollars to Ghiz's political campaigns. Even this year, extremist liberal Francie Pepper donated to Ghiz's County Commission campaign. When Chris Monzel introduced a motion to redirect the Freedom Center money towards needed infrastructure repairs he received no support from bought and paid for Leslie Ghiz.

4) Ghiz's long-time support of the Cincinnati Streetcar
Ghiz conveniently claims to oppose the Cincinnati streetcar now that she is running in more conservative Hamilton County, but her record speaks differently. While running for office in the more liberal City of Cincinnati, Ghiz claimed to be "100 percent behind" the streetcar, and backed up her claim by voting to approve the expenditure of taxpayer dollars in support of the sure boondoggle. Furthermore, when the citizens of Cincinnati had the opportunity to kill the trolley folly at the ballot box by supporting Issue 9 Ghiz once again joined with liberal Democrats Mark Mallory, Roxanne Qualls, Todd Portune, and David Pepper to work against them.

3) Ghiz's record as a Tax-hiker
Ghiz was a vocal opponent of COAST in our victorious fight against Todd Portune and David Pepper's Super-sized $777 million sales tax hike in 2007. As you may recall, the Democrat County Commissioners, in a cowardly fashion, attempted to impose this massive tax increase without a vote of the people. When given the opportunity to stand with the people of Hamilton County in opposing this egregious abuse of power and waste of taxpayer funds Ghiz refused, and chose instead to align herself with liberal Democrats like Mark Mallory, Todd Portune, and Roxanne Qualls. Does anyone see a trend here?

2) Ghiz's Endorsement of David Pepper
In 2006, ultra-liberal Democrat David Pepper defeated the conservative candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner in a hard-fought race. Leslie Ghiz endorsed, and openly campaigned for tax and spend David Pepper in the race. When asked about her traitorous support of a liberal tax-hiking Democrat Ghiz repsponded by stating the now infamous, "Just because I'm a Republican doesn't mean anything." We couldn't agree more with Ghiz's statement. Core conservative values mean nothing to her.

1) Chris Monzel is a vastly superior candidate
In his time on City Council, Chris Monzel has often been the lone voice of reason on a Council hell-bent on foolish spending, and tax increases. Monzel has fought annually to preserve the property tax rollback, and has vigorously opposed the new trash tax push by the City Manager. He has been a staunch supporter of COAST's efforts to defeat the Pepper/Portune sales tax, eliminate intrusive red light cameras, and kill the foolish streetcar boondoggle. Monzel Gets it. That's why he's been endorsed not only by COAST, but by the Ohio Tea Party PAC, Buckeye Firearms Association, Cincinnati Right to Life, Family First PAC, and dozens of leaders in the conservative movement. We urge you to visit Monzel's website, and encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to support Chris with their votes.

Don't forget, the primary election is Tuesday, May 4th!!!