Morning Briefing for July 15, 2010

RedState Morning Briefing

For July 15, 2010
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1. This is Like Season 4 of 24, But With the Economy Instead of Terrorism

In Season 4 of the television show 24, President John Keeler is on Air Force One as it is blown out of the sky. Under the 25th amendment, power transfers to the Vice President, Charles Logan.

But Logan is unable to deal with the demands of national security, so his Chief of Staff convinces him to bring former President David Palmer back to handle all the national security issues.

Well, 24 has become reality. Except instead of terrorism and stray nukes we’re talking the economy. Barack Obama brought back Bill Clinton to handle the economy.

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2. I have reservations with Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap”

I like Paul Ryan. He is an above-average conservative who can often articulate good policy, even though his actual voting record sometimes does not reflect his conservatism. These days his “Roadmap” is all the rage in conservative policy circles, and people continue to ask me what I think about it.

To be sure, the Roadmap has some very good ideas in it. Personal accounts within Social Security, an optional two-rate flatter income tax, and the sort of entitlement reform that turns Medicare and Medicaid into defined contribution programs. Outstanding.

But unfortunately, the plan makes some extremely questionable strategic decisions, which given the fact that it is meant to be “comprehensive” in nature, make it difficult for me to support as a whole.

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3. A Good Year to Die

It’s been pointed out that George Steinbrenner’s heirs saved about $500 million in estate taxes because of the timing of his death. Unlike every other year since 1916, there is no federal estate tax in 2010. In 2009, the estate tax rate was 45% and next year, without Congressional action, it will be 55%. The one-year tax-free gap is the result of Congress’s refusal in 2001 and again now to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Something I haven’t seen pointed out – perhaps because most commentators have better taste than I – is that while fortuitous good timing is always welcome, enormous financial incentives to hasten the death of your wealthy relatives is not a good thing. I’m not saying that the death of four U.S. billionaires in the last five months is tied to the 2010 incentives, but it would be naive to think that the four billionaires and their heirs were unaware of the historic tax advantages of dying this year.

Did their awareness influence how aggressively the four elderly billionaires and their heirs sought medical treatment? We’ll likely never know.

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4. Breaking Ranks When The Heat Is On: What Happens When Amateurs Go To War (With Each Other)

I have long maintained that while this administration is great at running campaigns, it is a miserable failure at actually running an administration. It has become rudderless with too many people competing to steer the ship.

One minute Rahm Emanuel calls the shots. The next it is Valerie Jarrett or David Axelrod or Robert Gibbs. Then back to Rahm and over to Patrick Gaspard, etc.

Save for Emanuel, we see a group of amateurs sailing the ship of state and fighting on the battlefield of policy and politics. And we are beginning to see what happens when the heat is on, the metaphorical bullets are flying, and the amateurs are in charge. They break ranks, cut, and run.

And along the way, they are throwing the President of the United States under the bus.

Consider three stories out today.

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5. Remember when Stupak held out for that executive order against Fed abortion funding?

Obama’s exectuive order has been effectively rendered a useless piece of paper.

“The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill.”

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6. The NAACP vs. Black Americans

The NAACP has made it official: The Tea Party is racist. The attacks are driven by nothing but fear – the Democrats are terrified of the results of the November elections, and are in a visible tizzy. Black voters aren’t nearly as revved up without Barack Obama on the ballot, and stirring up racial tensions turns out Black voters, which helps Democrats. I reckon they figure that if they keep pounding this home, eventually it’ll stick – and Lord knows they’ve saturated the media with the meme.

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7. Illegal immigrants invent invisibility!

…at least, that’s probably going to be Harry Reid’s excuse today for his rather bizarre claim that illegal immigrants aren’t part of the Nevada construction industry. When a local reporter pointed out that American citizens were out of work because it’s currently easier in many ways to hire illegal immigrants, Reid replied:

“I think that any information you have in that regard is absolutely without foundation”

According to a Pew survey, 17% of construction workers nationally are illegal immigrants, and 12.2% of the Nevadan workforce are illegal immigrants.

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