Archive for the ‘Ernest Istook’ Category

Video: Five Ways to Lower Gasoline Prices

May 1, 2008

Tomorrow, Congressman Istook will have a follow up companion piece on

Video: Istook’s Five Standards for Solving the Mortgage Madness

April 17, 2008

No Housing Recession in Oklahoma – With Commentary on the National Mortgage Problem from Ernest Istook (Updated)

April 3, 2008

Update: See Ernest Istook’s article in Human Events, published March 27th, Mismanaging the Mortgage Mess:

Bad decisions travel in pairs. Worse, they sometimes travel in mobs.

Consider how government is overreacting to our mortgage mess — proving the adage that nothing is so fouled-up that Congress can’t make it worse:

• Taxpayers could be hit with a $300 billion-plus tab to help homeowners who filed false loan applications as well as those just struck by bad luck.

• Mortgage rates could go up and their availability go down if Congress rewrites laws to shift the losses from individuals to companies — which will want to recoup those losses through stiffer terms for future borrowers….Continue Reading >>

Original Story, 3/25/08:

According to Tammy McCullar, president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors (OAR), the Association’s leadership team moved to create the “Good Thing You’re in Oklahoma” campaign in response to some of the national media reports about the U.S. housing market:

Real estate is local, and Oklahomans are not buying or selling their homes in a national housing market. Our ‘Good Thing You’re in Oklahoma’
campaign is designed to present the facts about the Oklahoma housing market, which
remains an affordable, stable and secure source of value as a long-term investment.

Wilson Research Strategies:

Despite the National downturn, the Oklahoma housing market has been solid in 2007, increasing an average of over 1% in value per month over the course of the year. Oklahoma had another strong year in the housing market, with home values increasing by 5.6% in 2007. Oklahoma finished 2007 with the third highest number of homes sold on record.

Lisa Yates, CEO of OAR was quoted in the Oklahoman:

“Half of the people don’t say the market is excellent or good. But it is good, and in some parts it’s excellent,” Yates said. “Extrapolating, half the people in Oklahoma don’t have a very positive view of the housing market.”

And that, she said, casts an emotional cloud over Oklahoma housing that is at odds with price increases and only a slight drop in sales.

In other words, people are spooked unnecessarily, she said.

According to Ernest Istook, former Congressman from Oklahoma, the national economy might not be exactly some Democratic political candidates may have their constituents believe, according to a blogcast he did with the Hertage Foundation, yesterday. Listen below to what Istook, and Heritage Foundation economists think the government can and should do about this.

Congress Will Send Billions to Tax Cheaters

February 4, 2008

By Ernest Istook

Cheaters never win? They’ll win billions from the “economic stimulus” package that’s rushing through Congress. Over five million people who file phony tax returns can expect to receive at least $300 each (and probably more) in checks from the U.S. Treasury.

The claimed purpose is to put money in people’s hands so they’ll spend it and boost the economy. Many in Washington don’t seem to care which of those hands are dirty. There’s another purpose, too: It’s political stimulus, to buy voter support in this fall’s elections. Even these millions of tax cheaters might vote to keep those in office who give them such a windfall.

The $150-billion package includes about $100-billion worth of tax “rebate” checks. By insisting that checks also be sent to those who don’t pay income taxes — but who DO report earning at least $3,000 — liberals push money out the door toward a huge group who already defraud the government each year.

How does this work? Read more…

We can’t afford Congress any more

January 18, 2008

By Ernest Istook

We can’t afford Congress. It’s driving America’s cost-of-living through the roof.

Any tax cut or “economic stimulus” we might get this spring is peanuts compared to how Washington keeps jacking up the price of everything that’s important.

By itself, last month’s energy bill will make food, cars, gasoline and even light bulbs more expensive. Washington is also the culprit behind high medical bills and health insurance, washing machines that have doubled in price, and our wonderful, more-expensive “lo-flo” toilets that don’t flush right.

All this is on top of what red tape already costs us. A 2004 government report admitted that federal regulations cost our economy at least $1.1 trillion each year. That’s $3,666 per person, so multiply that by the number of people in your household. And remember that’s before the 2007 energy bill. And in addition to taxes.

The new energy laws are a leftist’s dream and a supply-sider’s nightmare. As 2008 starts, we’re paying $3 (often more) for a gallon of gasoline. That’s up about a fourth (64 cents) from a year ago. The Heritage Foundation calculates the new energy bill will boost gas prices over $5 a gallon by 2016. Yet rather than let us produce more oil domestically, Congress keeps areas off-limits from drilling that could raise supply and lower prices. Read more…

‘Stimulus’ is code for more bad spending

January 9, 2008

By Ernest Istook

When is $20 billion in pork-barrel spending not enough?

Answer: When “preventing a recession” becomes an excuse for Congress to spend more.

They just gave us a 3,417-page “omnibus” bill, finishing the year with 11,000 special projects earmarks ($20 billion worth!) last year. Now they have a new excuse to add more: economic stimulus.

But one person’s shot in the arm is somebody else’s fear of needles. Even good ideas can be hijacked, and in Washington they usually are.

If President Bush’s State of the Union address opens the door by proposing a stimulus package, then every special interest in Washington will push their pet cause in the name of boosting the economy.

It will be a rerun of 2001 when Congress eventually approved a rebate of up to $300 for every taxpayer. Most Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, opposed it for two reasons: First, because the bill contained permanent tax-rate reductions, including capital gains. Second, because the $300 rebate only went to actual taxpayers. Pelosi and friends wanted to send a $300 government check to everyone, regardless of age and regardless of whether they’d paid taxes or not.

Read More

Ethanol Policy – What A Turkey

December 4, 2007

by Ernest Istook

Ethanol subsidies are raising our food prices – dubbed the “Thanksgiving Tax” because it upped the cost we paid for Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey farmers need almost three pounds of corn for every pound of meat put on the birds. But they must outbid those who buy up the corn to make ethanol, thanks to a 51-cents-per-gallon ethanol tax credit and other federal incentives.

America paid $69 million extra for our Thanksgiving turkeys due to ethanol mandates. That’s what Joel Brandenberger of the National Turkey Federation told a Heritage Foundation audience. But it’s just a small part of what he labeled the Thanksgiving Tax.

Read More

Congress’ Halloween Agenda: Safeguard Cross-Dressing ‘Rights’

October 29, 2007

By Ernest Istook

“Doesn’t Congress have anything better to do?”

Conservatives are asked this when they pursue legislation to curb abortion or pornography. So what have liberals in Congress put on the agenda instead?


They’re fighting about this in Congress, although few media are reporting it.

Self-selected “gender identity” would become the law of the land, supplanting what activists deride as “gender assigned at birth.” Employers would be punished if they didn’t accept cross-dressing. Even to the point that guys dressed as gals could use the ladies’ room. And gals dressed as guys could use the men’s room.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was planning a vote for the week of Halloween. How fitting. But now she and other supporters have gotten spooked.

Read More

States In Rebellion

October 22, 2007

by Ernest Istook

Once again, the states are rebelling against Washington. Fed up with dithering in D.C., states are proving enforcement works. Enforcement not only can prevent illegal immigration, but actually reverse it.

Illegal immigrants by the tens of thousands are leaving states that have adopted tough new laws — Colorado, Georgia, Arizona and now Oklahoma. Local efforts are being launched too quickly to count, involving more than 100 communities so far.

When denied jobs or public benefits, many illegals return to Mexico. Others move within the United States to areas with local amnesty policies. That migration may spark a new outcry from citizens in amnesty cities.

Read More

The Left Loves S-CHIP

October 15, 2007

by Ernest Istook
National Review

Big government pays for many things. One side-effect is the enrichment of groups who get the money, enabling them to afford more lobbying on behalf of even bigger government. Now they’ve joined the most brazen voices of the liberal Left in the S-CHIP debate.

S-CHIP — the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — is actually financed mostly with federal tax dollars, and the issue is whether to enlarge it, costing tens of billions of dollars.

Government already pays for almost half of all health care in America. We’re close to a tipping point where most health care is funded by tax money and government essentially dictates everything to the already-over-regulated health industry.

Read More