Mike Williams is one of the best bloggers I know.
Only he doesn't blog because he doesn't want the hassles bloggers get.
But Mike sends friends electronic letters which are really blog posts. Today I'm going to share some of his most recent letter with you.
Everthing which follows is Mike's except for a few paranthaticals. I come in at the end with a few words.
Now Mike - - -
Yesterday a 19 year-old male, armed with a rifle, opened fire in an Omaha, Nebraska mall. He killed eight people and wounded five others (two critically)before taking his own life.
The mall is a gun-free zone, just like the Trolley Square complex in Utah and the Virginia Tech campus.
[University of Tennessee Law Professor and Instapundit blogger] Glenn Reynolds comments:
It seems to me that we've reached the point at which a facility that bans firearms, making its patrons unable to defend themselves, should be subject to lawsuit for its failure to protect them. The pattern of mass shootings in "gun free" zones is well-established at this point, and I don't see why places that take the affirmative step of forcing their law-abiding patrons to go unarmed should get off scot-free….Meanwhile, Bob Owens offers some timely advice:
You should never have to shop in fear, but yesterday's senseless murders…remind us that violence can happen almost anywhere. Because it can, it isn't a bad idea to have an exit strategy in the back of your mind.It’s a good read if you have some time.
In the very unlikely event that you find yourself in a situation like that in Nebraska yesterday or previous shootings this year in malls in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, and Douglasville, Georgia, there are simple actions you can take to increase your chances of getting out unharmed….
By the way, did you get a chance to watch that Eric Cantor video yesterday? [You can view it here at JinC. It's great fun unless you're a Dem without a sense of humor. ]
If so, you’ll have noticed one of the shots he aims at Pelosi involves the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). (If you’re not exactly sure what the AMT is, you can read all about it here.) So now from this morning’s WaPo we learn:
Eleven months after adopting stringent new rules aimed at reining in the federal deficit, the Senate last night shrugged off its pledge of fiscal rectitude and overwhelmingly approved a measure to spare millions of families from the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax without providing an offsetting tax increase. The Senate's 88 to 5 vote blew a $50 billion hole in the Democrats' promise not to pass any spending or tax measure that would add to the deficit. The outcome brought a furious response from conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House, who assailed the Senate and vowed to block passage of any tax measure that would add a cent to the federal debt. "We run for reelection every two years. They run every six years," fumed Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). "Don't try to tell me the Senate can't take a tough vote." Despite the heavy toll the AMT exacts on some middle-class taxpayers, Congress has been loath to repeal it outright because that would leave a trillion-dollar hole in the federal budget over 10 years….The problem is Paygo, a new “rule” in Congress that requires “spending or tax changes to not add to the federal deficit.” In other words, legislation must be revenue neutral or countered with budget offsets. So back to the WaPo:
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) scrambled last night to come up with a new set of tax increases and loophole closures that could win Republican support. But Rep. Jim McCrery (La.), the tax-writing panel's senior Republican, said Rangel need not bother. "It's not going to happen. It's not going anywhere," he said. That could leave the fate of paygo to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Blue Dog leaders said the speaker personally pledged to them on Wednesday that she will not bring any bill to the House floor that would add to the deficit. If she does, 31 Blue Dog Democrats have vowed to vote against the measure.Captain Ed Morrissey comments:
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), a leading Blue Dog, even said that he would rather see the alternative minimum tax balloon this year then see his party bend on its vow of fiscal discipline. But if Pelosi bowed to pressure and brought an unpaid-for AMT bill to the floor, it would almost certainly pass over such opposition, House Democratic leaders conceded. Overwhelming support from Republicans, coupled with Democratic defections, would probably get the bill to President Bush's desk for a promised signature….
The Democrats in this article act as though they have only one choice in dealing with the AMT, which is to play a shell game and find another way to tax Americans. Even the Republicans in the article, gleeful over forcing Democrats to violate Paygo, seem to forget that other options exist for fiscal responsibility. At Heading Right, I remind Congress that the budget "hole" supposedly blown by the AMT fix amounts to a whopping 1.67% of the federal spending plan for next year. Congressional anguish over fixing the ludicrously broken AMT apparently has clouded their minds so much that they've forgotten about the option to reduce spending 1.67% instead of jacking up taxes by a much larger percentage.Dafydd ab Hugh agrees:
Why not just cut $50 billion in spending from the anticipated $2.9 trillion federal budget? That's a trim of just 1.7%... which doesn't seem so terribly out of reach. Even if we exempt the $717.6 billion in spending related to the military, the war on global hirabah, veterans' affairs, and NASA, that still leaves cutting the remaining $2.18 trillion by only 2.3%.Folks, this is JinC back now.
We can achieve that goal by cutting all other budgets by 2.3% across the board, or by mandating the cut by department and allowing each department head to pick his own victims. Republicans should be happy, because we're not simply robbing small investors to pay people with a lot of kids who live in California. And I'm sure Democrats will be ecstatic over the spending cut, because, as they say, they're only thinking of is fiscal responsibility! All right, problem solved….
"Democrats will be ecstatic over the spending cut, because, as they say, they're only thinking of is fiscal responsibility!"
Democrats ecstatic over a spending cut?
I would never have believed that unless I'd read it at a blog.
But if a spending cut is what it will take, then the Republicans need to step up and do their part to make sure the Dems get their “ecstasy fix.”
A big hat tip to Mike Williams.