The Cutest Community Organizer to whom I am married and I had a great time at the Doubletree in Little Rock at the Defending the American Dream Summit put on by Americans for Prosperity and American Majority.
Great speaking by Herman Cain, WSB Atlanta talk show host and ex-Godfather’s Pizza CEO (When’s this guy’s show going to go national?)* He defined the three tactics of liberals as “SIN.” Shift the subject, Ignore the facts, Name calling.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform spoke of the “coercive utopians” who develop lists of rules longer than the Book of Leviticus. Norquist is truly brilliant and has a great way of illustrating points. Among the Norquistisms:
We need to stop feeding the government spending beast. Government types like to gnaw on taxpayers. If they can’t gnaw on taxpayers, they’ll gnaw on each other, every one of them trying to protect their share of the shrinking amounts of money.
Politically we’re divided into two groups. The “leave-us-alone” coalition of conservatives and libertarians and the “takings” coalition of big government types.
There are only two strategies to shrink government and only one of them works because it is measureable and binary [yes/no]: 1) Don’t raise taxes (measureable) and 2) don’t spend so much (subjective, unquantifiable). Norquist says focus on the first.
Coca Cola is a brand. We know the brand, we trust it. However, if we find a rat’s head in a bottle of Coke, we’ll never again trust the brand. The brand is damaged. “Republican officials who vote for tax increases are rat heads. They damage the brand.”
“Tax increases are what politicians do if they don’t have the guts to govern.”
George W. Bush in some respects duped conservatives. “Bush said: ‘I’ll leave your faith alone, but I’m going to spend too much. I’ll leave your guns alone but I’m going to spend too much…’” and conservatives didn’t walk away from him. That’s changed with the Tea Party movement. Tea Partiers, according to Norquist will walk on spending.
Conservatives tell their representatives to have a backbone when they go to the capitol. That’s humanly impossible, according to Norquist, when every person they come in contact with wants them to spend more money on some special cause. Conservatives, he said, need to be the exoskeleton of their representatives, protecting them and shielding them from the pressures to spend.
“Democracy is 51 percent of the people stripping the property rights of the remaining 49 percent.”
For American statists, “the value-added tax (VAT) is the next shoe to drop. They can’t get to European levels of government without the value added tax. They hadn’t intended to let us know they’re planning it, but people who talk about such things privately tend to say the same things on talk radio. It was too early to reveal it, but they did. It’s just like if you have a potty mouth in private, you’ll have a potty mouth in public. The November election will determine the VAT tax.”
“Lobbying is a 3 billion dollar weather vane.” It goes in the direction of whoever is in power.
One of my favorite columnists, Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, spoke. What a down-to-earth enjoyable guy. According to Moore:
“I’m normally cheerful but every day, following the news, I’m getting depressed. Everything government has done for the last 24 months has been exactly wrong. We’ve spend $2.5 trillion to put us out of a recession. That’s an obscene waste of money. With that kind of money we could have suspended all of the corporate and individual income taxes for two years. Think of how our economy would be roaring then!
How much is a trillion dollars? The NBA’s LeBron James makes $40 million a year. He would have to play 25-thousand seasons to make a trillion dollars.
We’re going to borrow $10 trillion over ten years. That’s more than was borrowed the entire time from 1776 to 2005.
We are facing a tax tsunami when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year: A 60 percent increase in the capital gains tax, a tripled dividend tax, the estate tax will go from 0 to 55 percent (and they are talking about making it retroactive). “I agree with what Steve Forbes says: ‘No taxation without respiration.’” Consider: if a person dies in 2010, their heirs pay nothing. Come January 1 [above a certain threshold] they pay 55 percent of their inheritance. It’s going to get ugly in nursing homes come November and December of this year. “Eighty to 90 percent of the estate tax comes from family-owned business. The estate tax is the first of the ten tenets of the Communist Manifesto.”
Politicians cry “Tax the rich!” Who pays the taxes? The top 1 percent of earners pay 40 percent of the taxes….the top 1 percent pay more in taxes than the lower 95 percent. The bottom 50 percent pay less than 3 percent of the taxes. Further, 70 percent of the rich are small business owners/operators. They’re the ones who create jobs.
When the Bush tax cuts expire, the average household will see an annual tax increase of $2,500.
“I am one of the few people in Washington who read the health care bill, all 24-hundred pages.” The bill says nothing about medical malpractice, yet that wastes 100 billion dollars in health care costs. Three positive reforms for health care would be 1) malpractice reform, 2) health insurance sales across state lines 3) health savings accounts (most Indiana state employees have gone to health savings accounts – they love ‘em).
Cap-and-trade [or as Steve and many of us call it “cap-and-tax”[ is based on the “greatest fraud,” the idea of global warming. It will destroy American manufacturing. The cap and trade bill ought to be named “The China and India Full Employment Act.”
In a panel discussion Arkansas State Representative John Lowry (D-El Dorado) rued the “arrogance of Washington. What you find there is not what you find in rural Arkansas.”
Coming from an area of energy producers, Lowry spoke knowingly of America’s need for energy reliability, fewer energy imports, and the need to convert to affordable, accessible energy comparable at the retail level, BTU for BTU, with what we have now. Under what he called “the global warming hoax” a small refinery in his area would have to invest $185 million to comply with cap-and-trade. That would be impossible, he said. It would cost 4-thousand jobs in an area already with 10 percent unemployment. Given massive natural gas supplies current technology is producing, Lowry said we need to move to converting vehicles to natural gas. Also, new technology can allow extracting of lignite as an energy source of which Arkansas has a large supply. We need expanded nuclear power, too.
French Hill of Delta Trust & Banking Corporation called for more outsourcing of government jobs. State and federal employees tend to cost in excess of 12 dollars per hour more than private workers, plus they get twice the health care insurance and three times the benefits.
Thanks to Teresa Crossland-Oelke of Americans for Prosperity and Laurie Lee Masterson of American Majority for organizing the Little Rock event.
And a good time was had by all.
*Check out what happened during a Q&A with Herman at a Douglas County (Georgia) Tea Party event.