Thursday, September 17, 2009

White House Reality Check/double-checked

The whole "you lie" kerfuffle has become a rallying cry to many Americans not because we're racist (explain the racist component of lying?) but, because - well we're simply sick of being lied to. Case in point:

Over the past several weeks, we've seen with increasing frequency and volume issues raised around the use of "czars" by this Administration. Although some Members have asked serious questions around the makeup of the White House staff, the bulk of the noise you hear began first with partisan commentators, suggesting that this is somehow a new and sinister development that threatens our democracy. This is, of course, ridiculous. Just to be clear, the job title "czar" doesn’t exist in the Obama Administration. Many of the officials cited by conservative commentators have been confirmed by the Senate. Many hold policy jobs that have existed in previous Administrations. And some hold jobs that involved coordinating the work of agencies on President Obama’s key policy priorities: health insurance reform, energy and green jobs, and building a new foundation for long-lasting economic growth

White House director of communications personally called out Lamar Alexander in her piece.

Senator Lamar Alexander has also criticized President Obama’s "czars," calling them "an affront to the Constitution." But during remarks delivered on the Senate floor in 2003, Sen. Alexander said "I would welcome" President Bush’s "manufacturing job czar." That same day in the Senate, he also expressed support for President Bush’s AIDS czar Randall Tobias.

Alexander fired back:

The White House staff should review my full remarks before launching an attack. I made it clear that there have always been a few czars but nothing like the 18 new czars appointed in this administration. Eighteen of the administration’s 32 czars hold new positions that did not exist in previous administrations and were not authorized by law. These czars are unconfirmed by the Senate, unavailable for questioning, and unaccountable to the American people through their elected representatives. They’re the most visible symbol of too many Washington takeovers. The White House should spend less time misrepresenting others’ views and more time answering legitimate questions from Senators Collins, Bennett, myself and others: What are these new czars’ authorities and responsibilities? How are they being vetted? How will they be accountable to Congress?

h/t NRO's Corner.

And, speaking of Czars, there is apparently another one in the pipeline. The Green Education Czar. Doesn't THAT sound exciting?

The bill allocates $4 billion to the "greening" of public school facilities (literally — the bill includes money for building greenhouses and planting trees), and the green schools czar would influence how the bulk of this money is spent. Even though this is primarily a higher ed bill, the green schools portion pertains to K-12. More federal intrusion into local school districts — how exciting!

For budgetary purposes, the $4 billion would come from the "savings" generated by coverting subsidized private lending to direct federal lending, but as the Congressional Budget Office pointed out, nearly half of those projected savings are the result of an accounting trick; they aren't likely to materialize. What savings are realized will come at the cost of reducing competition in the student-loans market by making the government the largest direct lender to college students by far. Obama says he wants greater competition in the health-insurance market: Why the double standard?

This education bill takes $4 billion we don't have and, instead of spending it on education, gives it to a new green czar to spend on environmental projects of dubious value. This kind of thing is becoming so routine one hardly notices anymore. It's just another $4 billion, right?

Why is it the job of the Federal Government to make schools greener? Because, Obama is a statist, of course.

(obviously, that last statement was racist.)