1.) Obama’s budget blows — “The President will today propose a budget for 2012 in which the U.S. government would take in $2.627 trillion and spend $3.729 trillion,” reports ABC’s Jake Tapper. “At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it’s taking in.” Things the proposal does not include: Serious cuts to entitlement spending or any of the other bitter pills suggested by Obama’s not-cheap deficit reduction commission. According to budget spiritualist Jacob Lew, Obama’s proposed budget counters the argument–made by absolutely no one–that “we can do this painlessly.”
2.) Chrysler, GM go hog wild with manager bonuses — “Bonuses for Chrysler’s 10,755 salaried workers will average about $10,000, with a small group getting as much as half of their salary,” reports Bloomberg News. “GM plans to pay bonuses to most managers equal to 15 percent to 20 percent of their annual salary and as high as 50 percent to less than 1 percent of its 26,000 U.S. salaried employees, said one of the people, who asked not to be named revealing internal plans.” Managed by the type of delusional idiots who think it wise to follow an unprecedented $9 million Super Bowl ad with bonuses that would make a banker blush, Chrysler and GM risk earning the ire of not just the UAW, but also American taxpayers, who still own 500 million shares of GM through our esteemed Treasury Department. According to Bloomberg, the Treasury would need to sell its GM stock at $53.07 a share to break even. Currently, the company’s stock is trading at $36.17.
3.) What if SCOTUS doesn’t rule on Obamacare along party lines? — Conventional wisdom says that Supreme Court watchers are really watching Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 5-4 rulings, the court splits left and right, and the difficult-to-categorize Kennedy validates one side’s politics over the other. Could Obamacare be different? “Those who try to divine the law’s future by looking at the court’s past consider a list of constitutional decisions in which the court has ruled on seemingly random actions,” writes WaPo’s Robert Barnes. “Creating a national bank (yes); imposing crop quotas (yes); prohibiting guns near schools (no); federalizing the crime of domestic abuse (no); regulating homegrown marijuana (yes).” Each of these decisions, says Barnes, lies at the intersection of Congress’ two most ambiguous powers: Regulating commerce, and making laws that are “necessary and proper.” As evidence that the nation’s highest court will forgo a partisan ruling, Barnes points to the left’s new constitutional Messiah, Charles Fried, who told the WaPo reporter, “I don’t see Roberts as going for this tea party stuff.” Because challenging power grabs by the federal government is now explicitly “tea party stuff.”
4.) Haley Barbour has some skeletons in his lobbying closet — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour may have left his lobbying resume incomplete during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “We represented Switzerland,” Barbour said. “We represented Macedonia because the Clinton administration asked us to because of what was going on in the Balkans. But I am perfectly glad to look at the clients that I worked with when I was there….And I am willing to have my record in front of everybody.” There was one client Barbour failed to mention: Mexico. According to Time, “Mexico decided to retain Barbour’s services on August 15, 2001, to work on, among other things, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for foreigners living illegally in the United States—what opponents of immigration reform call ‘amnesty.'” In 2001, amnesty wasn’t a dirty word to Republicans–just ask Sen. John McCain or former Pres. George W. Bush.
5.) Why isn’t Ron Paul president? — Rep. Ron Paul won CPAC’s presidential straw poll again this year, meaning that in a just world, he would be president. Unfortunately–or fortunately, depending on a whole slew of factors including whether or not you secretly like entitlement spending–Paul will probably not come close to winning the GOP primary ever. Meanwhile, the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, would like attendees and the media to continue to believe that the straw poll says something or other about the GOP presidential field. “Outgoing American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene also appeared to downplay the significance of the topline results before the official announcement,” reports The Hill. “Keene told the crowd that while the media likes to focus on the straw poll winner, the more significant answers are typically contained within the poll’s other questions.” The second-place winner, for those who stopped listening after hearing the name “Ron Paul,” was Obamacare muse Mitt Romney.
6.) The silver lining in Obama’s budget — Buried in the fatty folds of Obama’s budget is a germ of an idea whose time has come: A drastic reduction in price-inflating higher education subsidies. “Administration officials confirmed that to keep the maximum Pell Grant at its current level of $5,550 for 2012, the president’s budget plan would call for reversing the 2008 change that allowed students to get multiple Pell Grants in a single year and for eliminating the benefit in which the government pays the interest costs on student loans for graduate students while they are in school,” reports Inside Higher Ed. In defense of the program modifications, a Department of Education flack said the changes would prevent cuts to the Pell Grant “at a time when the cost of college is skyrocketing.” This is akin to a drunk driver, who upon being stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint, tells the officer who pulled him over to keep an eye out for drunk drivers.