TheDC Morning: Robert Gibbs unfriends Mark Zuckerberg

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Where have all the IGs gone? — Congressional Republicans continue to school Pres. Obama on the basics of good government. This time it’s not Rep. Darrell Issa at the chalkboard, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, who wants to know why Obama has fewer Inspectors General now than he did in 2009. And why the number of cases successfully prosecuted by IGs has fallen 14 percentage points since 2008. “During George W. Bush’s terms, these IG offices were high-profile positions,” writes The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro. “Democratic legislators and affiliated groups used the IGs’ reports to attack the Republican administration. Media outlets also were eager uses of the reports, which ensured a series of politically debilitating media scandals. For example, Glenn Fine, the Justice Department’s IG, was lauded by many Democratic advocates for his investigations into the department’s management during Bush’s terms.” Gassley told TheDC that “independent inspectors general are needed to hold the federal bureaucracy accountable.” Perhaps this is why Obama employs so few of them.

2.) Obama to throw big, juicy bone to campaign finance ‘reformers’ — “The White House last week began circulating a draft executive order that would require companies seeking government contracts to disclose contributions – including those that otherwise would have been secret – to groups that air political ads attacking or supporting candidates,” reports Politico’s Ken Vogel. The White House isn’t alone in its rush to handicap Republican competitors in 2012. The SEC would like to give shareholders a say in corporate donations, and the FCC and FEC “are pushing measures that could make public currently anonymous contributions to outside groups.”

3.) Why is Mike Huckabee defending a big government con artist? — Donald Trump sent a note congratulating Rep. Nancy Pelosi on her coup for Speaker in 2007 and donated to the senate campaigns of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010. If all that weren’t enough to make him persona non grata in the conservative movement, there’s also this, from NRO: “Trump has a track record of using the government as a hired thug to take other people’s property.” That’s right, Trump is a big believer in eminent domain, defined as the right of the rich and politically connected to kick lower and middle class homeowners out on their asses, bulldoze their homes, and build whatever they like, so long as they pay higher taxes. In short: Trump is no more a conservative than Joseph Stalin, who also loved eminent domain. It was the Club for Growth that recently pointed out Trump’s affinity for government-assisted theft. This earned them the ire–and Trump the support–of Mike Huckabee, who is so angry about having been called a “a tax-loving socialist” four years ago that he is apparently willing to bind his reputation to the Donald’s.

4.) Magical thinking behind Obama’s rosy budget claims — “When Obama made his big budget speech last week, it wasn’t at all clear from where his numbers were coming — nor in what direction they were heading,” writes Reuters’ James Pethokoukis. While Paul Ryan used CBO projections for his “Path to Prosperity,” Obama’s 15-page, chart-free proposal cited no institutional figures. “But budget experts think Obama used his own (via the White House Office of Management and Budget) much more optimistic numbers, just as he did in his February budget. From 2012-2015, Obama sees the economy growing at a pace of 3.6 percent, 4.4 percent, 4.3 percent and 3.8 percent. The CBO sees slower growth, 3.1 percent, 3.1 percent, 3.5 percent, 3.8 percent. For the rest of the decade, Obama assumes GDP growth an average of 0.2 percentage point faster than the CBO.” Crafty!

5.) Even the pension problems are bigger in Texas — “The Teacher Retirement System of Texas needs an annual return of 21 percent in the year ending Aug. 31 to maintain an 80 percent funded ratio, the level actuaries consider adequate to cover liabilities,” reports Bloomberg News. “The fund’s investment return was 14.7 percent in 2010, the best among large public pension funds,” according to its CIO. “Even with the gains, the pension’s funded ratio — the portion of promised benefits covered by current assets — dropped to 81.3 percent as of Feb. 28 from 82.9 percent on Aug. 31, 2010, because of trading losses in 2008 and 2009.” In other words, the entire State of Texas is more likely to secede from the Union and become a territory of the Bahamas.

6.) Robert Gibbs unfriends Mark Zuckerberg — Buried in a Wall Street Journal piece about Facebook’s attempt to build a lobbying army in Washington, D.C., and the company’s willingness to appease Chinese censors, is this nugget: “People familiar with the company’s plans said talks to hire former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs to guide the company’s communications strategy, including with Washington, have fallen apart in the wake of a leak to the media that made a deal for him to join the company sound imminent.”

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