Welcome to 2009: Watch Your Wallet

Welcome to 2009. Now watch your wallet.

With the economy in the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, higher taxes are precisely what we don’t need to restore jobs and growth. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that President-elect Obama seems to understand this and is proposing tax cuts as part of his stimulus package. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that some of the nation’s governors don’t seem to get it. They’re still eager to take more of your money, recession or no recession.

If you live in New York, Governor David Patterson (D) wants new taxes on everything from the soda you drink to the clothes you buy and the movies you see.

New York is proposing to nickel and dime its tax-payers with a total of 137 new taxes and so-called “fees.” For a complete list, go to

The New York Times (Still) Wants to Raise Your Taxes

If you live in California, your politicians are proposing a whopping 39 cents per gallon gas tax, more than doubling the already staggering tax Californians pay when they fill up.

And of course, not to be outdone, the New York Times (still) wants Washington to raise your taxes.

In an editorial last weekend, the Times lamented that President-elect Obama seems to be having second thoughts about raising taxes in the midst of the economic crisis. The newspaper urged the incoming President to stick to his original plan to tax the “rich,” if not this year, then soon.

Some things never change.

Albany, Sacramento and Washington Need Reform as Much as General Motors and Chrysler

But here’s a fact that Governor Patterson, Democrats in the California legislature, and the editorial writers of the New York Times might find hard to swallow: The governments in Albany, Sacramento and Washington, that are eager for more of our money, need reform at least as much as General Motors and Chrysler need reform. More tax-dollars to these monstrosities is throwing good money after bad.

Our state and federal governments need to be smaller and more effective, not larger and less efficient. As I’ve argued before and will argue again big government isn’t just expensive and inefficient; it’s corrupting.

Add to the recent Rod Blagojevich (D) and Ted Stevens (R) scandals this latest news: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) asked the taxpayer-rescued insurance giant AIG for a donation to a school being built in his honor at the same time his committee was considering legislation that would save AIG millions of dollars a year.

Like I said, big government breeds big corruption.

The Four Things to Look for in the Stimulus Package

As Congress and the President move forward to pass an economic stimulus package later this month, here are four things to watch for:

1. How does it affect small businesses and the self-employed? Small businesses are the job creation engines of our economy. Any stimulus package should focus first and foremost on them.
2. How are entrepreneurial start-ups supported and encouraged? We should have our economic eye on the General Motors of the next thirty years, not the last thirty years.
3. Does the plan maximize the rate of investment in U.S. companies? By making the United States the best place to invest, we will make it the best place to create new jobs.
4. Does the package encourage growth in productivity? Making American workers more productive not only increases our ability to compete with foreign competitors, it also increases incomes.

Will Congress Display Lincoln’s Bible in the Capitol Visitors Center When Obama’s Done With It?

I was happy to hear that President-elect Obama is planning on using Abraham Lincoln’s Bible to take the oath of office when he is sworn-in as president. Barack Obama placing his hand as president on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible is a wonderful symbol of how far our nation has come in the ensuing 148 years.

It’s ironic to note, however, that Congress has refused to include the very same Bible in its display in the new Capitol Visitors Center.

As Rick Tyler of Renewing American Leadership notes in his ground-breaking report on the new Visitors Center, although the designers of the center include in their display the table that Lincoln used to hold his Bible, the Bible itself is conspicuously absent.

Will Congress return Lincoln’s Bible to its place in the Capitol Visitors Center? Or is President-Elect Obama more respectful of religious belief than the members of the House and Senate?

What Would You Do If Someone Was Firing Missiles Into Your Neighborhood?

I want to end today by asking those who are criticizing Israel for attacking Hamas terrorists in Gaza this simple question:

What would you do if someone were firing missiles into your neighborhood?

Those critics who claim that Israel’s response to years of sustained missile launches deliberately aimed at its civilians is “disproportionate” have it exactly wrong. The problem is not that Israel is doing too much; the problem is that it’s doing too little.

No peace is possible — no diplomatic solution is reachable — as long as Hamas maintains its capacity to launch missiles at Israeli civilians. And anyone who is not willing to demand that Hamas immediately and permanently stop this aggression has no moral standing to judge Israel.

Just ask yourself: What would you do?

Your friend,

P.S. Speaking of the Stimulus Package — Will Democrats Honor “No Earmarks” Pledge?: Obama economic advisor Larry Summers has declared that there will be no pork barrel earmarks in the upcoming economic stimulus bill and on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he agreed. So the gauntlet has been laid down: Will congressional Democrats honor this commitment and not turn the stimulus bill into a festival of pork? For House Republican Leader John Boehner’s take on the stimulus, see here.

P.P.S. Also on the Agenda: Taking Away Your Secret Ballot: Hoyer also confirmed on Fox that Democrats will press ahead with legislation to take away the right to a secret ballot in union elections. It’s hard to imagine that the first African-American president in American history would go along with taking away the right of American workers to vote in free and fair elections. Still, it’s time to take this threat seriously. For more information, go to