EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for January 31, 2012
the Morning Briefing every morning at no charge.
More and more polls show two things: (1) tonight Mitt Romney will win Florida and (2) Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will combined get more votes. In fact, moving forward, the Romney campaign will probably engage in a concerted effort to prop up Rick Santorum because as long as he stays in the race, Gingrich will find it very difficult to stop Romney. More interestingly, if Santorum drops out and Newt Gingrich starts winning, suddenly the establishment will have to take seriously the idea of finding someone to replace Mitt Romney.
I get repeated calls asking me to ask Rick Santorum to get out of the race. I doubt he would even listen and, unlike Rick Perry, Rick Santorum actually won a state. Today he is going to get badly, badly beaten. And it’ll probably be downhill from there. But there’s no more reason to ask him to get out of the race than Gingrich. He can decide to stay in and help Romney or get out and help Gingrich.
After Florida, the decisions become more crucial.
As part of their ongoing “jobs agenda,” House Republicans will unveil this week and soon consider the American Energy & Infrastructure Act (AEIA) to reauthorize transportation spending for five years. The “highway bill” promises a host of reforms (consolidating programs and streamlining red tape) and includes increased oil and gas exploration. But unfortunately these reforms are meant to distract from the overall size of the program, and the fact that such spending will require a massive bailout from federal taxpayers.
[Before getting into the proposal, let’s first reflect on something. What does it say about a Republican Majority when their number one priority heading into an election year is to pass a massive federal infrastructure bill? I know Republicans are split on the issue, and that many burn all of their anti-Keynes stimulus talking points to give transportation spending a special dispensation as a government “job creator.” But really? This is what they want to fight on and draw stark differences with the other party? That is depressing.]
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.
Yesterday I wrote an article on why I view the inevitability of an Obama defeat at the hands of Romney to be less than inevitable. Mostly I attributed this to weakness on a core issue: Obamacare. From my view, Romney cannot adequately take on this topic so long as he insists on defending the principles put forth in Romneycare.
His state’s rights position plays ok with the base, but I believe it will be less than compelling to the general electorate when it comes time to decide what separates Obama & Romney on this issue.
In passing, I mentioned that Gingrich, who previously supported the mandate as well, has since determined that he was wrong and will take that to his debates with Obama should he win the nomination.
As the implementation of Obamacare rolls into high gear, we’ve been given insight into how it will be implemented in general. On January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would not exempt health plans provided by non-profit religious employers from the requirement to provide “contraceptive services.”