Posts belonging to Category 111th Congress



Cash for clunkers: Nothing like using Chinese money to boost Japanese businesses.

Not that I have anything against the Chinese or Japanese — alright, I might have something against the Chinese government — but it’s absolutely hilarious that the United States government is using Chinese money (from the debt they buy) to boost sales of Japanese businesses (from the Financial Times):

The US’s cash-for-clunkers scheme, designed to bolster Detroit’s embattled carmakers, is turning out to be an even bigger boon for their Japanese rivals.

According to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday, Americans are using the scrappage incentives to buy more vehicles from Toyota than any of the three Detroit carmakers

Toyota has an 18.9 per cent share of vehicles bought so far, putting it ahead of General Motors with 17.6 per cent and Ford with 15.4 per cent. Chrysler is in fifth place, after Honda.

Getting the government you deserve every day since January 20, 2009…

H/t: Matt “threat to democracy” Drudge.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Case in point: Watch a perfectly good car be destroyed.

This Volvo decides to resist (kinda long, you might want to just skip to the end):

Ace of Spades (which also gets a hat-tip for the video) reports that the dealers are pouring sodium silicate into the gas tanks.

Gotta wonder what all that oil is going to do to nearby rivers and steams. Oh well…

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

House of Representatives approves an additional $2,000,000,000 in corporate welfare.

Because the “Car Allowance Rebate System” (CARS) program (commonly referred to as “cash for clunkers”) needs a bailout after receiving higher than expected interest. The Obama Administration and Congress were shocked — shocked, I tell you — that when the government starts handing out $4,500 to anybody, they get a huge response!

It’s bad enough that there was $1,000,000,000 originally dedicated to this program but now the House, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that it needs another $2,000,000,000. And to make matters worse, 77 Republicans voted for this most recent monstrosity of corporate welfare (roll call vote). At least all the Republicans in Virginia’s Congressional delegation voted against it.

The only thing that would make this whole situation halfway rewarding is if all the cars are being sold by Ford and foreign automakers so Government Motors (GM), Dodge, and Chrysler don’t receive anymore welfare payments.

And this has to be one of the saddest pictures I’ve seen in awhile:

Autos Cash For Clunkers

Yes, I know it’s a gimmick ad by some car dealer but it represents perfectly what the government is doing. They’re paying for the destruction of vehicles, not because they don’t work, but because a couple of businesses need another bailout and the government has the ability to throw away money by the billions. Cars that cost thousands of dollars, and which hundreds of people spent dozens of hours building, are being destroyed by government fiat.

And think about this: What happens when someone just out of college, or someone that has been saving money for a year to buy a used car, goes out and tries to buy a car and finds out to his surprise: “What the heck! Used cars are a lot more expensive than they were a year ago!”?

Why? Because the government has interfered with the free market and worked to destroy the existing supply of used cars.

I’m halfway through reading Atlas Shrugged, and it’s amazing how much this country is starting to look like the situation in that book…

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Gee, thanks Eric: Cantor opposes privatization of interstate rest stops.

Delegate Bob Marshall has been on the frontlines of this issue and has been keeping his mailing list up-to-date on it:

Congressional Efforts
Congressman Frank Wolf offered an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations Act to keep Virginia rest stops open by allowing Virginia, like other states, to contract with private restaurants to operate the rest stops and provide motorists services.  The Wolf Amendment narrowly failed in the Appropriations Committee 32 nays -26 yeas.

The Wolf Amendment would cost not one dime of tax money! This amendment may come up this week on the House Floor when the Transportation Appropriations Bill is considered on Thursday, July 23 and possibly another bill!  AAA has said that closing these stops will contribute to more interstate traffic accidents.

Eric Cantor Opposes Wolf Amendment
I was interviewed by WRVA’s Jimmy Barrett (7-16-09) who informed me that Rep. Eric Cantor OPPOSED the Wolf Amendment because it would lead to competition with existing businesses just off the interstates.  I received a call (7-21-09) from an authoritative Congressional source that Congressman Eric Cantor actively worked to defeat the Wolf Amendment for the reasons that existing business near interstates OPPOSE commercial ventures at these  eighteen Interstate Safety Rest stops.

I emailed a letter to Rep. Cantor (7-20-09) and also spoke to his Chief of Staff about this and left my phone number with her.  I have received NO answer to my inquiry from Rep. Cantor or his staff.  (Gov. Kaine supports the Wolf Amendment.)

Stifling business competition is a normal Republican policy.  IF WRVA Radio and my congressional source are accurate, the bottom line is that protecting businesses is apparently more important than protecting lives on the Interstates.

Contact Congressman Cantor today and ask him to support the Wolf Amendment to allow Virginia to contract with private vendors at Interstate Safety Rest Stops to keep them open.
Richmond:  p: (804) 747-4073 | (800) 438-3793 | f: (804) 747-5308
Culpeper: p: (540) 825-8960 | f: (540) 825-8964
Washington:  p: (202) 225-2815 | f: (202) 225-0011

Eric Cantor votes to give a company (which he owns stock in) a government-enforced majority control of their market until the end of time.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that my idiot brother (shameless plug: check out his two hate-blogs, On The Right and Orange, VA Independence Day Tea Party) brought Cantor’s vote to my attention.

I speak of the recently passed bill that will give the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products. Ironically, the bill was supported by the biggest cigarette maker out there: Philip Morris. Why? Well, check out what National Review Online had to say:

Last week, overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, authorizing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products. The New York Times proclaimed the bill an “enormous victory for public health.” President Obama, himself a sometime smoker who reportedly struggles with nicotine addiction, declared that the legislation “will protect our kids and improve our public health” and is expected to sign it later this week. The bill grants the FDA expansive new regulatory authority, but more regulation does not guarantee greater protection of public health — or the public good.

Anti-smoking groups, such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, have long sought FDA regulation of tobacco products and called passage of the bill a “historic victory.” Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Henry Waxman, the bill’s primary sponsors, have sought greater tobacco controls for years. Sen. Dick Durbin proclaimed that the legislation will “protect children and protect America” from the scourge of cigarettes and nicotine addiction. Interestingly enough, the bill also had support of the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturer, Philip Morris, and its parent company, Altria. That alone should clear away some of the euphoric haze surrounding its passage.

[…]

Manufacturers will be required to place expanded warning labels on their products and to provide the government with more detailed information about cigarette contents and smoking by-products. The law also bars flavored cigarettes — save for menthol. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Menthol cigarettes are initially exempt from the ban because of demands from the Congressional Black Caucus. About 75 percent of African-American smokers buy menthol brands.” The leading maker of menthols is Philip Morris.

[…]

Limiting tobacco advertising and stalling the development of new tobacco products won’t help public health, but it will certainly benefit the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturer. Government regulation is the most tried-and-true way for incumbent firms to squelch smaller competitors, which helps explain why Philip Morris supports the bill and smaller tobacco companies oppose it. Harder to fathom is why public-health advocates who should know better celebrate the law as a major advance.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is revealed as yet another Beltway deal for Big Government and Big Business. Those who proclaim it a victory for public health and the public good are blowing smoke.

And here’s what Forbes had to say about the bill:

Their [Philip Morris’] reasons for cheering aren’t all so high minded. The bill, already passed by the House of Representatives, will change the face of the tobacco industry by giving the FDA the authority to restrict tobacco product ingredients, impose nicotine caps and limit advertising campaigns. It solidifies the position of the producer with the greatest market share–Altria–which makes 50% of all cigarettes in the U.S.

Because the domestic cigarette market is shrinking every year, manufacturers are competing fiercely for customers. Companies like R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco argue that under FDA regulation, they’ll have trouble convincing people to switch to their brands because of stringent advertising restrictions. That means no more sponsorship of sports and entertainment events, color or photo ads in publications with significant teen readership, or free gifts with tobacco products.

“Bringing new products to market will be extremely difficult,” says Maura Payne, a spokeswoman for Reynolds America, which owns R.J. Reynolds, maker of Camel, Winston, Doral and other cigarette brands.

Anyway, to get to the the point of my post, check out these two pages of Eric Cantor’s most recent personal finance disclosure form available via OpenSecrets.org (PDF):

cantor_page04

cantor_page12

Yeah folks, he owns between $15,001 and $50,000 in stock of Philip Morris and between $1,000 and $15,000 of stock in their parent company Altria Group. So, Eric Cantor voted to give a government enforced majority market share to a company that he has a financial interest in. Isn’t that a violation of the House’s ethics rule? If it isn’t, it sure as heck should be.

And here’s a bigger issue. A couple weeks ago Cantor was at the Republican Party of Virginia convention talking about how he wanted smaller and less intrusive government and blah blah blah, but when it comes down to an vote that will increase the size and scope of government and benefit a company that he has a financial desire to do well, that goes out the door.

And if cigarettes are so dangerous and so bad that they need to regulated by the government, why is he making money off their production and sales? Isn’t that like accepting blood money?

Up Next: Let’s correlate campaign contributions and how politicians vote…


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