Heritage Foundation

Winning elections by eating steak, eggs and whiskey

Far be it from me to argue with the wisdom of the Iron Lady…but here is the diet of champions who win elections.

As Baroness Thatcher plotted her victorious election campaign of 1979, one key part of her strategy was so closely guarded that it has never before been revealed: her crash diet.

For two weeks in the run-up to her historic win, the Iron Lady stuck rigidly to an Atkins-style regime which included 28 eggs per week, steak, salad, and her favourite tipple, whisky.  Read more »

Learning the lessons of the NRA

Smart operators watch the NRA in action and see that politicians fear them. I blogged about this yesterday. Other lobby groups are now picking up on the robust tactics of the NRA.

One organisation now moving to create fear and loathing is the Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation has decided it is better to be feared than loved.

The conservative think tank conducted private market research on Capitol Hill between 2008 and 2009, asking respondents whether they were ever worried about being on the wrong side of Heritage’s position.

“Overwhelmingly, nobody cared,” said Tim Chapman, now the chief operating officer of Heritage Action, the organization’s three-year-old advocacy arm.

To combat this, the think tank created Heritage Action to knock some skulls around. But by doing so, Heritage upset the traditionally cozy relationship the Heritage Foundation had with congressional Republicans.  Read more »

Are farmers the world’s biggest bludgers?

Quite possibly they maybe…the world over they are rent seekers, always demanding the taxpayer cough for this or for that, and expect everyone to feel sorry for them when some weather event stuffs up their livelihood:

In the US crop insurance is highly subsidised…and is causing major problems:

 The worst drought in 50 years could leave taxpayers with a record bill of nearly $16 billion in crop insurance costs because of poor yields.

The staggering cost of the program has drawn renewed attention, as the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans wrangle over ways to cut the deficit. Last month, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said that reducing farm subsidies was one way that the administration could cut government spending. But Congress has resisted.

The Agriculture Department, which runs the program, said that the total losses from crops harvested last year would not be known for weeks, but that costs from the program were estimated to be $15.8 billion, up from $9.4 billion in 2011.

Separately, a record $11.4 billion in indemnities for crop losses has been paid out to farmers, and officials say that number could balloon to as much as $20 billion. In 2011, a then-record $10.8 billion was paid out in indemnities.

The crop insurance program has drawn criticism from a wide range of groups, including the Environmental Working Group and the conservative Heritage Foundation, two Washington research groups, which say that the costs need to be reduced and that the program mainly benefits insurance companies and large farmers. Farmers’ net income for 2012 is expected to be $114 billion, down 3 percent from 2011 but still the second highest in 30 years.

So farmers are making more than ever but expecting taxpayers to subsidise their insurance?

Thomas P. Zacharias, the president of National Crop Insurance Services, an industry trade group, defended the program, saying that the record crop losses last year showed the need for insurance.

“This year, most farmers will be able to rebound from historic drought, thanks to crop insurance,” Mr. Zacharias said.

The federal crop insurance program dates to the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, when Congress created the taxpayer-subsidized insurance to protect farmers against crop losses. Today, the government pays about 62 percent of the insurance premiums. The policies are sold by 15 private insurance companies that receive about $1.3 billion annually from the government. The government also backs the companies against losses.

Government documents show that taxpayers have paid nearly $7 billion so far to subsidize premiums for 2012. The documents also show that taxpayers could pay another $7 billion to underwrite losses by the insurance companies and other costs.

“Essentially, taxpayers are hit twice by the cost of the program,” said Bruce A. Babcock, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University.

President Obama has proposed cutting crop insurance subsidies and reducing the amount paid to insurance companies, saving $4 billion over 10 years.

What is it with farmers, always expecting the government to bail them out. Why can’t they get insurance from the private sector like the rest of us.

Still more reasons why Canada isn’t falling off the fiscal cliff

The Huffington Post article on Canada that I blogged earlier is fascinating…we have already looked at the role of big government in stuffing everything up and then attempting to fix it.

But what about the role of debt:

Governments must lead by example when managing their own debt and spending. Low debt is the result of low spending. Federal government spending as a share of the overall economy is 15 per cent in Canada (2) and 24 per cent in the U.S. (3). The numbers are not merely the result of prodigious U.S. military spending, though that is certainly a factor. Non-military federal government spending is 14 per cent of Canada’s economy (4), and 18 per cent of America’s (5).

Just as cause equals effect, spending equals debt. Net government debt as a share of the Canadian economy is 36 per cent. In the U.S., it is 83 per cent. America’s gross government debt is now bigger than the entire U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Treasury Department website, Mainland China holds $1.1 trillion of it. To quote Mark Steyn: “If the People’s Republic carries on buying American debt at the rate it has in recent times, then within a few years U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese armed forces.”

Read more »

Trevor’s global reach

ᔄ The Telegraph

Trevor’s early onset dementia probably means he doesn’t remember organising this:

Labour has distanced itself from a series of Tweets apparently sent by supporters calling for celebrations on the death of Baroness Thatcher.

The frail 86-year-old was unable to attend a lunch for former prime ministers at 10 Downing Street with the Queen to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee last week due to ill-health.

Last night, Louise Mensch, the backbench Conservative MP, called on Labour to respond after being sent a message by a follower who claimed to have worked for the Party inviting her to a party following Lady Thatcher’s death.

Her message triggered a Twitter storm, with other critics of Lady Thatcher sending abusive messages about the former prime minister, calling her a s— and other crude names.

However, other Labour supporters told Mrs Mensch that they deplored the remarks, and insisted that the Tweets did not represent the views of most party members.

Later, the MP called on the party to issue a statement condemning the Tweets and threatening to expel members who issued them.

She said: “Hi there, @UKLabour! can you disassociate yourselves from [a Facebook user] who’s just invited me to party when Lady Thatcher dies?”

A spokesman for Labour has now responded, saying: “Language like this has no place on politics or civilised society. No one should be wanting to celebrate the death of anyone.”