We Were Warned of Murkowski Betrayal and Did Nothing

from Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review:

Complacent conservatives should learn the Murkowski lesson

Lisa Murkowski

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg | Getty Images

If we are so busy “owning the libs” that we ignore the libs festering within our own ranks to the point where “our party” agrees with 90 percent of what the libs want, isn’t it time we focused on cleaning our own house?

The biggest news of the day outside the Kavanaugh cloture vote in the Senate is that one Republican, Lisa Murkowski from the solid red state of Alaska, voted against him. Suddenly, conservative commentators, writers, fund-raisers, and noisemakers are appalled by her behavior and reminiscing about the 2010 primary, when Joe Miller successfully wrestled the GOP nomination away from Murkowski, only to lose to her in a write-in bid for the general election. Some have focused on GOP establishment figures helping Murkowski behind the scenes to win in the general election. But what everyone seems to miss is that there was another challenge in 2016, after six more years of betrayals from Murkowski, including voting for almost all of Obama’s judicial nominees. The fact that so many of these “professional” activists don’t even recall that election is itself problematic. read more

SOTU – The Good, the Bad and The Opportunities Missed

from Conservative Review:

Trump must commit to ensuring policy overrides personality.

Speaker.Gov | HouseOfRepresentatives

Almost all of President Trump’s prepared policy speeches in primetime have been well written and capably delivered in the proper tenor. While State of the Union addresses in recent years have become less impactful, Trump’s speeches always have the potential to open the ears of more voters to his message because those turned off by him are primarily hostile to his persona, not his message. The fact that he delivers a serious and substantive speech gets him more mileage than a typical president. Thus, there is no doubt, much like last year’s address to Congress, this one will be well received, perhaps more so.

The speech was perfectly written to blend together the president’s unorthodox way of approaching issues together with formal rhetoric, story-telling, and props. Unlike with Clinton and Obama, the fact that this was a lengthy speech was actually a good thing. Americans need to hear this version of Trump more often. And those watching the optics of the speech were entreated to a spectacle where he looked quite moderate and the Democrats looked extreme beyond anything we’ve seen before – where there is no regard for American dreamers, victims of illegal alien crime, success against terrorists, or standing for the national anthem. read more

No Negotiation on Amnesty

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Yesterday, Fox news reported that “The Republican-led House voted Wednesday to overturn president Obama’s immigration actions from last November – and to unravel a directive from 2012 protecting immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children – sending the bill to the Senate where it faces an uncertain fate. The House voted 236-191 to approve the legislation, which funds the Homeland Security Department through the rest of the budget year to the tune of $40 billion. But as part of that bill, Republicans added provisions to gut the president’s immigration directives.”

“We do not take this action lightly, but simply there is no alternative,” House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday. “It’s not a dispute between the parties or even between the branches of our government. This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself.”

Okay – got all that? So our Republican House voted overwhelmingly to fund the precious Department of Homeland Security. Naturally, we can’t muck about with our security. Not with all the threats of terrorism. And we all know Republicans always fully fund the military and Homeland, because we’re all hawks, we revere the military and want to keep the country safe.

But just because the name has “security” in it, doesn’t mean it must be blindly funded. I bet Homeland could get by just fine on half that, but anyone who dares suggest such a notion would be accused of subverting our security. But I digress. read more

American Hyper-Stupidity

Let’s file this one in the , “Could we get any Dumber”, category.

By Daniel Horowitz (The Madison Project):

Much ink has been poured over the fact that 51% of tax filers paid no federal income taxes in 2009. There is less attention directed towards the more outrageous statistic; 30% of tax filers had a negative tax liability that year. In other words, they made money off the tax system.

Those who won the jackpot on tax day benefited primarily from refundable tax credits; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit
(ACTC, the refundable portion of child tax credit), and the now-expired Making Work Pay Credit. In 2011, refundable credits cost the treasury about $94.4 billion. Keep in mind that this is just one small portion of the burgeoning welfare empire, approaching $1 trillion in total federal, state, and local expenditures. While it would be nice to get rid of these redistributive “tax expenditures” for everyone, we could start with illegal aliens.

Last July, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Collection released a shocking report detailing how illegal aliens are able to utilize a filing loophole to obtain billions in ACTC funds. While EITC appropriations are protected from illegals (those who don’t engage in identity theft) because they are only awarded to those who provide a valid Social Security number, the same cannot be said for the ACTC. Illegals can receive the ACTC by merely providing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their 1040 form, which is blithely issued by the IRS. In 2010, according to the report, illegals received $4.2 billion in ACTC payouts. That accounts for roughly 15% of all outlays for that refundable credit.

During the December imbroglio over the payroll tax cut, the House inserted a provision to require a valid Social Security number in order to collect the ACTC. Republicans planned to use the savings as part of the offset package. Now that the bill, HR 3630, is pending before the conference committee, we must ensure that the ACTC provision is part of a legitimate proposal to offset the cost of the extenders package.

Originally, the Joint Committee on Taxation scored the savings as $2.6 billion for 1 year and $9.4 billion over 10 years. However, as Joint Committee on Taxation Politico noted earlier this month, that estimate assumes the Bush tax cuts – along with the expansion of the child tax credit – will expire. If you assume a baseline in which the tax cut is extended ($1,000 per child, instead of $500), the ten-year savings can be as much as $24 billion.

Now, obviously $24 billion over 10 years is not enough to offset even the unemployment and doc fix components of the package for just 1 year (a cost of up to $70 billion for the Senate version). Nonetheless, it is a legitimate offset, and should serve as part of a broader package of spending offsets for the bill. If we can’t force the issue on refundable tax credits for illegals, we will never be able to cut one inch from the welfare empire for the broad populace.