2010 Year in Review: A List of the Pluses And Minuses of This Year
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It’s been quite a year. With 2010 coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of our pluses and minuses. We are hopeful that the New Year will bring even more victories that will restore economic freedom for all Americans.
February 5-10–Snowpocalypse Shuts Down Federal Government.
In the beginning of the year, Mother Nature dumped multiple blizzards on Washington, D.C. which shut down the federal government for four days. This “Snowpocalypse” likely saved taxpayers billions of dollars by keeping federal bureaucrats at home instead of implementing new taxes and regulations.
February 17- One Year Anniversary of Failed “Stimulus.”
Back in February 2009, the Obama administration promised that the new $862 billion spending package would keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. In late 2009, the unemployment rate reached double digits with the “stimulus” enacted and has hovered around 10 percent ever since. In February 2010, the Labor Department reported that the economy lost 36,000 net jobs in that month alone.
February 27- One Year Anniversary of Tea Party Protests.
On February 27, 2009, countless Americans joined the first round of Tea Party protests to rally against big government. These protests sparked a national movement to support limited government and personal liberty. Exactly a year later, Americans celebrated the anniversary of the modern day Tea Party protests by taking it to the streets again to protest the bailouts, TARP and ObamaCare. This set the momentum for the April 15th Tax Day Tea Party protests across the nation.
March 16-21- Code Red Rally Against ObamaCare.
FreedomWorks joined other free market organizations and concerned citizens in efforts to kill the health care bill. Tens of thousands of citizens showed up in the nation’s capital to let their voices be heard. These grassroots activists met with their representatives to discuss why government run health care would take away our liberties. We had sign making parties. We held candlelight vigils. We used bull horns to get our message out. We protested in front of the Capitol until the final passage of the massive bill at near midnight on March 21st.
March 23- ObamaCare Signed Into Law.
After a long 15 month battle, the government takeover of our health care system is signed into law. We did everything in our power to stop this unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of all Americans. But the fight is not over yet. The majority of the American people still disapprove of ObamaCare. We have the passion and dedication to repeal this misguided law. Throughout the health care debate, we warned of ObamaCare’s devastating consequences. By the end of the 2010, our predictions have come true. Here are just a few examples:
April 15- Tax Day Tea Party.
All across the nation, millions of Americans attended tea party protests to rally against big government. These patriotic Americans made it clear that we’re fed up with the out of control spending and taxation. In Washington D.C., we hosted a tea party protest on the Washington Monument grounds in view of the White House. Tens of thousands of concerned citizens showed up to be heard and to hear speeches from activists who support lower taxes, less government and more freedom.
April 28- Charlie Crist Decides to Run as Independent.
For years, Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist has pandered to radical environmentalists by proposing limits on carbon emissions. He even supported the massive $862 billion “stimulus” package. Last year, he announced his intention to run for senator on the Republican Party ballot. Tea Party activists throughout Flordia protested his senatorial run. In July 2009, FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey endorsed his more fiscally conservative opponent Marco Rubio. We were one of the first national groups to recognize Rubio back in 2007 with our legislative entrepreneurship award. Due to the rising polls for Rubio, Crist decided to run as an independent candidate. He eventually lost the election to Marco Rubio who will bring his long record of fighting big government to Washington.
May 3 - International Monetary Fund Bails Out Greece.
Ever since the late 1990’s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has regularly put American taxpayers on the hook to bail out foreign nations with poor economic policies. In May, the IMF announced their largest bailout to date. American taxpayers paid billions of dollars to profligate Greece. The nation had long been living way beyond its means. Greece’s failure to cut their bloated public sector and lavish welfare programs left them bankrupt. We were forced to pay for their mistakes.
May 8- Senator Bob Bennett Loses GOP Primary.
The ouster of Sen. Bob Bennett, the three-term Utah Republican, represents a triumph for the Tea Party movement. Throughout his time in office, Bob Bennett voted for legislation that expanded the size of government. He was unable to survive his TARP vote while facing GOP primary voters. Constitutional lawyer and FreedomWorks PAC Champion of Freedom Mike Lee, the first signer of the Contract FROM America, won the Utah primary by pledging to limit the size and scope of government. This was a harbinger of things to come. The Tea Party’s success in Utah sent a warning. We will take on both Democrats and Republicans that spends with no regard for the nation’s future.
May 10- Elena Kagan Nominated to Supreme Court.
This day, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. During her confirmation hearing, she made it clear that she sees no limit to federal power. Her response to a question from Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was the most revealing glimpse at her judicial philosophy. Senator Coburn asked, “If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day, and I got it through Congress and it’s now the law of the land…does that violate the Commerce Clause?” While she said it sounded like a dumb law, she refused to say that it violated the Commerce Clause. As we said in May, anyone who is unsure whether or not the Constitution grants the federal government the power to tell us how much of what type of food to eat is clearly unfit for the Supreme Court.
July 21- Dodd-Frank Financial Overhaul Signed Into Law.
The Dodd-Frank law is a huge mistake. It will likely set the stage for future financial meltdowns by giving banks an incentive to partake in risky and high-reward lending choices by making others responsible for their failure. Due to the law’s permanent bailout authority, American taxpayers are on the hook for poor decisions made by Wall Street. It is embarrassing for Congressional leadership and unfortunate for the American people that this law did not do anything to rein in key instigators of the current economic fiasco: Fannie Mac and Freddie May. Instead of fixing Fannie and Freddie, the federal government will continue to allow them to function without consequences.
July 22- President Obama Signs Unemployment Extension.
The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010 extended unemployment benefits to November 30th for the long-term jobless. This extension added $34 billion to the federal deficit. Beforehand, Senate Republicans insisted that any extension of unemployment benefits should be offset with spending cuts. However, Harry Reid blocked any of their efforts to pass unemployment extensions that will not add to the deficit. But as we’ve been saying all along, paying people not to work will not stimulate the economy or create any jobs. As a result of excessive unemployment benefits, people may not be as proactive about searching for jobs or may become pickier on which they jobs they accept.
August 27- Take Back America 2010 Convention.
FreedomWorks PAC members gathered for a Take Back America 2010 Convention where they received Get out the Vote materials and instructions to help volunteer for local races. The event was a huge success. Over 3,000 dedicated activists from all around the country attended to hear speeches from some of FreedomWorks PAC endorsed Champions of Freedom. Glenn Beck even made a surprise appearance right before his “8/28 Restoring Honor” rally the next day. The crowd left eager to make a difference in the upcoming midterm elections.
September 12- Taxpayer March on Washington.
We did it again. Due to popular demand, we hosted another 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington. Hundreds of thousands of citizens marched from the Washington Monument right up to the Capitol building in Washington. Tea party groups had similar protests across the country with the main message—Remember in November!
September 24- The DISCLOSE Act is Defeated.
This was a huge victory for the first amendment. After a long battle, we stopped the DISCLOSE Act which would have restricted Americans political giving and involvement in elections. The act would have forced organizations to disclose even their smallest donors. To quote the American Civil Liberties Union, “The DISCLOSE Act fails to preserve the anonymity of small donors, thereby especially chilling the expression rights of those who support controversial causes.” Campaign finance laws are already so complicated that many well-intentioned citizens have no idea whether they are violating the law or not. The DISCLOSE Act would have further discouraged political participation with ambiguous legalese that only empowers lawyers. Let’s hope this stays defeated.
September 27- Small Business and Credit Act Signed Into Law.
The Small Business and Credit Act or mini-TARP is just as wrong as the original TARP signed last year. Taxpayers should not be forced to bail out any banks that have engaged in risky behavior with their money. Mini-TARP has given the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to make up to $30 billion worth of capital investments in “eligible” institutions. However, there is little to suggest that pumping money into weak financial institutions will necessarily increase lending. The market currently is in a correction, sorting out the missteps of the recent financial crisis. Mini-TARP has distorted this process by exposing taxpayers to even greater liabilities.
November 2- Election Day.
For the past two years, the Democrat-controlled Congress ignored the will of the American people. At Tea Party rallies across the nation, we shouted “we will remember in November!” On election night, we celebrated a great number of victories from our champions of freedom including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and Tom Graves. A total of 70 Contract FROM America signers won seats in the House and Senate. Republicans will gain control over the House in January of 2011. We will continue to hold them accountable to ensure that they rein in out of control government.
November 3- Federal Reserve Announces QE2 Plan.
In early November, Ben Bernanke announced yet another round of “quantitative easing.” In plain English, this means that the Fed will increase inflation by firing up their printing presses to create more money. This will only amplify our economic woes. No matter what the Fed does, the economy will suffer for a period of time. However, the Fed must step back and finally allow the recession to run its course. It will be a costly and painful process but Fed action will only make the situation worse in the long-run. In order to experience a true lasting recovery, the Federal Reserve must stop tampering with the market and allow the free market to self-correct itself.
November 11-12- Legislative Entrepreneurship Retreat.
For two days, FreedomWorks held a retreat for soon to be members of Congress to educate them on free market principles. The panel topics included teaching parliamentary tactics, how to analyze legislation, and the inner workings of Congress, monetary policy and economic theory 101 and how to keep your family together while you are in Washington. These legislative entrepreneurs were able to form bonds before heading to the Capitol. We should see these freshmen make some positive changes in the 112th Congress.
December 7- Sound Money Panel on Capitol Hill.
The sound money debate took center stage on Capitol Hill. FreedomWorks and Atlas Economic Research Foundation hosted a panel discussion entitled “Sound Money and America’s Global Economic Leadership.” The event coincided with the official launch of Dr. Judy Shelton’s educational pamphlet A Guide to Sound Money. The panel included politicians, academics and non-profits leaders who are committed to advancing the Austrian perspective in the monetary policy debate. We could see a push for sound money in the 112th Congress. Soon after the panel, it was announced that longtime Fed critic Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will be leading the House Sub-Committee on Domestic Monetary Policy.
December 13-VA Judge Declare Mandate Unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia struck down the individual mandate in the ObamaCare law which requires all individuals buy government-approved health insurance by 2014. This was a huge victory for liberty. In his 42 page opinion, he writes “neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.” So far, 21 states have brought lawsuits against ObamaCare with more on the way. At this rate, ObamaCare will likely end up in the Supreme Court. It’s clear that no part of the Constitution allows the federal government to force citizens to buy a product against their will.
December 16- Tax Deal to Extend Tax Cuts Passes and the “Omnibus” Spending Bill Fails.
On the 237th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the tax deal passes and the “omnibus” spending bill is defeated. On New Year’s Day, we will not be forced to surrender more money in the form of higher income taxes to the federal government. In addition, we will not have to pay for the $1.3 trillion “omnibus” spending bill which included over $8 billion in earmarks. As we have already noted, the tax deal was full of notable flaws and did not go far enough. We still pay way too much in taxes. But this tax deal prevented the largest tax hike in American history—an estimated $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years. The deal puts us in a better position to achieve the goals of fundamental tax reform. We still have a lot of work to do. From rich to poor, we all deserve to keep more of what we earn.
December 22 – The End of the 111th Congress.
The 111th Congress ends without passing Cap and Trade or Card Check. At the beginning of the 111th Congress, it was commonly predicted that during the first two years of the Obama Administration that these would pass. Thanks to the work of the American people in the November elections, it won’t happen in the next two years either.