Boswell earns 100% score on the “Pelosi Index” 1

By Tom Quiner

By and large, Iowans are sensible and frugal.

Yes, Des Moines and Iowa City have their fair share of big-spending liberals. But most Iowans have been blessed with some common sense.

That leads me to Central Iowa’s Congressman, Leonard Boswell.  I think Mr. Boswell is a good guy.  Having said that, I disagree with him on most major political issues.

I spent some time on The National Republican’s Trust website, and they produced an interesting index.  It’s called The Pelosi Index.  Here’s what the site says about it:

THE PELOSI INDEX, analyzes and tracks every member of Congress’ true voting record and details how often these self proclaimed moderates vote to support Pelosi’s radical transformation of America.”  It tracks the votes cast on 12 key Pelosi legislative initiatives.

Get more details here:

Congressman Boswell, a Democrat, earned a perfect score of 100 percent.  So did other Iowa Democrats, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsback.

By contrast, Republicans Steve King and Tom Latham earned a zero rating.  I commend them for voting against these bills.  The legislation included in The Pelosi Index tripled the Bush deficits in one year.

America cannot sustain that much spending without creating financial instability and prolonged economic hardship.

This November, we have a golden opportunity to do something about our deficits: elect a Republican Congress.  According to the late, great economist, Milton Friedman, spending declines most when we have a Democrat in the White House and a Republican controlled Congress.

Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich were a dream team in some respects.  Let’s give Congressman Boswell a much deserved retirement.  We need fiscal restraint, and Congressman Boswell has demonstrated he’s not about to provide it.


Dear Abby’s dilemma reflects America’s dilemma 4

By Tom Quiner

Did you read Dear Abby on Saturday?

Read it here:

In a nutshell, a young couple are experiencing difficulties in their relationship due to significant political differences.  The writer poses this question:  “How can we learn to have a mutual respect for our political opinions while not compromising what each believes?”

The question reflects a deeper problem facing America.  Political differences were manageable as long as both sides share some basic values.  Those values were stated in the Declaration of Independence:   that each person has God-given fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Both political parties agreed on this value system until this generation.

Today’s Democratic Party has moved away from the value system that served America so well. Instead, today’s Democrats pointedly reject the notion that a person has a fundamental right to life.

Their position on that issue today is certainly reminiscent of their position in 1860 when they rejected the notion that certain human beings had a right to freedom, a right to their own life. President Lincoln’s famous warning is relevant today:  “a nation divided against itself cannot stand.”

What a chilling thought.

There’s hope.  Polling data shows America is becoming more pro life.  Technology lets us see into the womb in wondrous way.  Anyone willing to look sees the beauty of humanity unfold from the moment of conception.

The spark of creation is dazzling.  One peek and the case for Life becomes compelling and the case for abortion becomes sickening.

Just as the couple in Dear Abby are having a tough time, America is faced with a huge challenge as long as one political party wishes to impose their radical vision on the rest of us.

Neither side has any respect for the other’s view.  We’re at war with each other.  None expressed the dilemma more eloquently than a famous Senator: “While the deep concern of a woman  bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion-on-demand is not in accordance with the values our civilization places on human life.  Wanted or unwanted,  I believe that human life even at its earliest stages has certain rights which must be recognized.  The right to be born; the right to love; the right to grow old.”

The late Senator, Teddy Kennedy, said it so well.  Yes, you read correctly.  Senator Kennedy later changed his mind for political reasons.  My hope is that Democrats will change their mind again for political reasons as a growing number of Americans realize what is actually in the womb:  a person.

The Democrats were on the wrong side in 1860.  They are again in 2010.

What Should We Do About Global Warming? 1

By Tom Quiner

As seen in the Des Moines Register on November 29, 2009

Two heartbreaking tragedies hit Great Britain earlier this decade.

Tragedy #1 killed 2,000 people .   Tragedy #2 killed 25,000.

If you went by the media coverage, tragedy #1 was worse.  Those people died from a heat wave that swept the entire European continent back in 2003.  Media coverage positioned the cause of the catastrophe as global warming.  Press coverage was huge.

What was the cause of tragedy #2?  Excess cold.  It received minimal coverage.  In fact, cold temperatures  account for about seven times the number of deaths in Europe  overall  than heat-related deaths.  BBC coverage was modest.  International coverage was nonexistent.

If global warming is real, what will it do to us?  For one thing, it will help reduce deaths related to cold temperatures.

Former Vice President and global warming activist, Al Gore, told us “the debate is over” when it comes to global warming.  And yet recent and surreptitiously obtained correspondence from global warming scientists reveal some have been manipulating and suppressing data to support their cause.

What is one to think other than the debate isn’t over?

The subject of climate change raises three legitimate questions:

  1. Is the earth in fact warming?
  2. Is it caused by man?
  3. Can we do anything about it?

These questions are debatable, and the debate rages.

There is another question that isn’t discussed enough:  is this problem the best place to spend limited resources?  In other words, are there other problems, big problems, that are more fixable than global warming?

Let me introduce you to The Copenhagen Consensus (  They assembled eight top international economists (including three Nobel laureates) to crunch numbers on the world’s biggest challenges.  Specifically, they assigned a cost/benefit ratio to a wide-ranging list of problems.  Since resources are limited and all of our problems can’t be fixed, countries are forced to prioritize.  These economists give us a fresh, analytical way to approach the challenges we face.

The video clip below gives you a quick introduction to the Copenhagen Consensus:

The results were surprising.

The Copenhagen Consensus believes that mankind is in fact changing the planet’s climate. However, they believe its impact is manageable.  They believe there are some upsides (fewer deaths due to cold temperatures and longer growing seasons) to offset some of the downsides.  But their numbers reveal that the cost/benefit ratio of reducing carbon emissions worldwide is cost-ineffective.  An investment of $800 billion over the next century would reduce temperature increases by just 0.4 degrees.

Is that worth it?  Every dollar spent in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions will generate but 90 cents in offsetting benefits.

On the other hand, the Consensus tells us that each dollar invested in clean energy research and development will generate $11 in results, especially technologies that allow us to store more energy from intermittent energy sources like wind and solar.

They looked at another problem:  disease in third world countries.  Affordable drugs can reduce the consequence of heart disease and diabetes. Malaria is a growing problem in these countries, too, because it’s getting harder to treat.  These problems are fixable with money.  The Copenhagen Consensus says $500 million could save a half a million lives a year, most of them children.  Every $1 spent fighting disease in these countries generates $20 in benefits.

Malnutrition is a big problem in parts of Asia and Africa.  Every dollar spent in research to make technological improvements generates $16 in economic benefits.

In all, the panel identified and ranked 30 international challenges based on prioritization, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.  Carbon reduction finished dead last.  Issues such as expanded immunizations for children, improvements in third world rural water supplies, and microfinancing programs are a few that give a much bigger bang for the buck than cap and trade policies.

Global warming generates the most media coverage.  It’s a movement with big money and celebrities behind it.  It’s the issue of the moment.

Let’s be sure our political decisions are backed up with honesty and sound thinking.


Democrats propose bill to limit conservative free speech 2

By Tom Quiner

The public increasingly rejects the Democrat’s leftward lurchings.  Polls show that the Dems may take a big hit at the polls this November.

What’s a political party to do when the public rejects their message?  How about pass a law that restricts the free speech of the opposition?

That is the net effect of a bill proposed on April 30th by Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats.  The bill is called:  “the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.”  (No, I didn’t make that up, that’s what they’re really calling it.)

For the sake of rhetorical efficiency, let us call it “the Disclose Act.”

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal today, eight former commissioners of the Federal Election Commission voice their opposition to the bill.

Here is what it the bill will do, according to these former commissioners (Joan Aikens, Lee Ann Elliott, Thomas Josefiak, David Mason, Bradley Smith, Hans A. von Spakovsky, Michael Toner, and Darryl R. Wold):

• favors union political free speech over corporate free speech in violation of longstanding campaign finance laws.

• increases the regulatory burdens (and financial costs) on grass-roots movements and low-budget campaigns.

• infringes on First Amendment rights of free association as recognized by the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Alabama.

• increases government regulation of political free speech on the web without touching the Mainstream Media (which tilts Left).

My previous posts talked about the growing dominance of public employee unions.  The Disclose Act will give them more political power at the expense of the little guy.

Groups opposed to the growing size of our government at the expense of working class families are going to find it increasingly difficult to mount political opposition, thanks to the Democrats.

The Federal Election Commissioners summarized the impact of the legislation this way:

“The Disclose Act’s abandonment of the historical matching treatment of unions and corporations will cause a substantial portion of the public to doubt the law’s fairness and impartiality. It makes election law even more complex, more incomprehensible to ordinary voters, and more open to subjective enforcement by those seeking partisan gain.”

Does this bill bother you?  If it does, express your concerns to your legislators immediately.

This bill erodes our precious right to free speech.


Government unions ask us to sacrifice Reply

By Tom Quiner

Here’s what I said on my recent post titled, A Tale of Two Protests:

“Something’s wrong when public employee unions donate lavishly to one political party, the one that keeps the perks and jobs flowing for these unions, while the rest of America sacrifices and suffers.”

Here’s a response I received back:

“I agree with you on this, but it was my impression that you felt that there shouldn’t be limitations on PAC contributions, plus you agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling that there shouldn’t be limitations on what corporations or any private group can spend to influence people or politicians. Isn’t this just what the public employee unions are doing? Exerting their constitutional right to overly influence our politicians?”

My response:  Yes, that is what they’re doing, and I support their right to make PAC contributions without limit.

Having said that, it’s time for push back.

Here’s the dynamic at work:  unionized private companies can’t compete as well with their non-unionized counterparts.  For example, Honda and Toyota increased jobs as General Motors and Chrysler shed jobs.

Unions have successfully organized government workers because government has two huge advantages:  there’s no competition and they never go out of business.

They lobby for higher taxes and increased government spending to pay for their growing perks.

I reiterate:  there is some top notch talent working for government at different levels.  But the recession we’re in shows how out of whack things have gotten:

• Total union compensation grew twice as fast as the private sector’s last year (2.4 vs. 1.2 percent).

• The average state or local government employee earns $39.83 an hours in wages and benefits compared to $27.49 an hour in the private sector (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

• More than 80 percent of state and local workers have pensions while just half of private-sector workers do.

As the Heritage Foundation shows in the chart below, unionized government employees now exceed private union members:

Union dollars pour into the coffers of the Democratic Party.  Democrats are beholden to these unions and have aggressively shifted our tax dollars into government worker’s paychecks,

If you’re okay with this, vote Democrat.

If you’re not, write a letter to the editor or get people to this blog.

If you’re not, donate a few bucks to a PAC that calls for sanity in government spending.

If you’re not, vote for someone else.  It may be a Republican.  But if you do vote for a Republican, make it clear that you demand fiscal accountability.  That includes leveling the playing the field between public and private sector employees.

Government employees work for us, not the other way around.