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Archive for November 7th, 2012

Tea Party Conservative Renee Ellmers Cruises To Re-Election

Expect to see and hear more from Rep. Renee Ellmers as the U.S. House of Representatives fights the big-spending, government-centric policies of the president and U.S. Senate. She won her race handily, 56 to 41 percent. Conventional wisdom from the D.C.-centered chattering class says Tea Party conservatives like Ellmers are obstructionist. I say they are one of few brights spots in the  fight against the generational theft that is $16 trillion in debt — and rising. One of Rep. Ellmers’ first challenges will be the Farm Bill, a bloated, pork-laden piece of legislation. Earlier this year, my husband wrote about the Farm Bill, and the facts are stunning.

More than 80 percent of crop policies sold to farmers guarantee income, according to a complex U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formula that – you guessed it – tends to favor larger, established farmers over smaller, newer growers.

With revenue insurance, a farmer can harvest a bumper crop, get a good price that leads to a tidy profit…and still receive an insurance check.

Such a sweet deal doesn’t come cheap. So, Big Ag convinced Congress to force you and me to help pay the premiums. It’s quite a chunk of cash.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calculated that American taxpayers picked up 63 percent of crop insurance premiums for farmers. That totaled $7.4 billion. But the subsidy doesn’t stop there. We also kicked in another $1.3 billion to help insurance companies write these policies.

Farmers harvested a bumper crop of cash from this arrangement. Last year, claims hit an all time high of $11 billion. What a country!

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Transit Tax Hike Passes In Orange County, And For What?

Orange County progressives have once again dominated the political landscape. Despite data showing that light rail is an expensive and poor transportation tool for a low-density, urban-suburban community such as the Triangle, Orange County voters approved a half-cent transit tax by 59 to 41 percent.

Since Durham County voters have already passed the tax hike, the firewall against this misguided policy is Wake County, where the Board of Commissioners rightly is asking many questions about the plan’s effectiveness and cost.

Here’s what JLF’s former research director, Michael Sanera, wrote about the plan a few weeks ago:

A draft plan written by the area’s transit and regional planning agencies provides glowing verbiage about rail transit’s benefits. “These investments would positively impact traffic congestion,” it proclaims.

But promises of a “positive impact” on congestion have not panned out in other cities that have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on rail transit. Of the 33 U.S. cities with some form of rail transit, only six account for more than 1 percent of the passenger miles traveled in the region, and 22 carry less than one-half of 1 percent. Does Orange County want to be like San Jose, where rail makes up 0.42 percent of passenger miles traveled? How about Denver (0.44 percent) or Dallas (0.26 percent)?

And what about the cost? Sanera lays out the facts.

Orange County rail transit supporters argue that state and federal taxpayers will pick up 75 percent of the construction costs. In today’s political climate, that is a very risky bet. The U.S. House opposes funding additional rail projects; a recent compromise transportation bill included funding — with tighter eligibility standards — only because of the Senate’s demands. 

Given the new standards, Orange County’s size and population density, and the project’s cost, it is unlikely federal funds would be forthcoming. State funds are also questionable. The General Assembly is looking long and hard at funding rail projects, especially as unemployment remains high and state budget dollars scarce. 

Thanks, but no thanks.

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Headline Of The Day: “a conservative shift in state policies”

At the federal level, we sadly now face four more years of leftist policy that has dragged the country down and imposed government into more and more aspects of daily life. At the state level, however, we now have the prospect of a return to economic vitality and belief in the power of the individual.

Let the reform begin.


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