American Elephants


Test Cases On a Very Large Scale. by The Elephant's Child

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie paid a visit to the offices of the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, and he had a message for the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.  He  advised GOP leaders to reject funding requests from Governors like him.

“Say no to us in terms of more money, said Mr. Christie. “We’ve got to walk the walk as Republicans… and now that we’ve got 29 Republican Governors, we shouldn’t be lining up with our hands out saying, “We know what we said, but come on, give us a little help here.”

He said that if the new House majority is to be successful, they must define success differently, so that a Representative is no longer measured and valued based on how much federal funding he rings home to his district.  He said he was delivering his message directly to the new Speaker of the House John Boehner.

The earth didn’t shake and lightning didn’t strike, but it is not exactly usual for a governor to suggest that Congress appropriate less money and write smaller checks.

___________________________

Late on Tuesday night, Democrats in the Illinois house and senate rammed through Governor Pat Quinn’s 67% hike in the state income tax and a nearly 50% jump in the state corporate tax.  The increase will add $1,400 to the average family’s tax bill, and it will probably not help job creation in a state that has lost 374,000 jobs since 2008.

Governors in close-by states, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Mitch Daniels of Indiana are happy to welcome Illinois’ departing businesses.  The higher income tax and the increases taxes on small businesses and corporations will make Illinois one of the most expensive places in the world to conduct business.  It does not repair the state’s $150 billion unfunded pension problem, and it authorizes nearly $4 billion in new debt to fund the state’s pension payments this year.

This was all accomplished in a last-minute lame duck session before the newly elected legislature could be sworn in.  It might not have passed if newly elected Republicans were sworn in.

Be a good idea to keep an eye on Illinois, California and New York.  It may well turn out to be an important case study, if the House refuses bail outs, as they should. If you reward mismanagement, you’re apt to get more of it.–



A Fine Speech, Mr. President. by The Elephant's Child
January 13, 2011, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Yesterday, President Obama gave what was probably the  best speech of his career at the memorial service for the victims of the Tucson Tragedy.  It was graceful, presidential, and well suited to the occasion, offering comfort and celebration of the lives of those who lost their lives, and  honor for the heroism of those who helped at the risk of their own. The speech was beautifully written, and well delivered.  The text is available here.

Peter Wehner, who knows a thing or two about presidential speeches, had a graceful reaction:

The president resisted the temptation to offer simplistic explanations for the existence of evil or how to ameliorate grief. He used language that was at times elegant and evocative, including lines like these: “Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” His use of Scripture was appropriate and effective. And the president used the occasion to essentially close an ugly and unfortunate chapter of this debate.

Last night in Tucson, Barack Obama resurrected the best qualities from his 2008 campaign. On a difficult occasion, he showed grace and reminded us of the power of words to unify and uplift. More than at any other point in his presidency, Mr. Obama was president of all the people and spoke beautifully for them.




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