Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | December 10, 2008

Becky FengerPardon alert | Summit tidbits

U. S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Compean will not be pardoned by President George W. Bush before he leaves office.

That admission was made last month by Shannon W. Coffin, a D.C. legal adviser and former chief counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney, who is privy to the inside scoop but is not free to divulge the reasons behind Bush's refusal to act. Instead of giving up after hearing this depressing news, I suggest we raise a big stink by flooding the White House with calls to 202-456-1414 and faxing until our machines smoke. If there is a shred of compassion in your veins, go to www.grassfire.org/home.shtm and follow the instructions. The fix may be in to let Ramos and Compean serve out their 11 and 12-years sentences, but Bush should hear our roar as he turns his back. There are any number of gripes I have with President Bush, but not pardoning these two good men would be one of his blackest marks.

In a story in the Washington Times in May, the writer notes that if President Bush would simply pardon them, "we could all rest much easier knowing that in the United States, a foreign drug smuggler's word does not prevail over the word of federal agents in the line of duty."

It's difficult not to giggle every time we are reminded that Gov. Janet Napolitano traveled hither and yon during the campaign speaking as a surrogate for Barack Obama on economic issues. After all, she is a big part of the reason that Arizona ranks worst in the nation, second only to California, for bleeding red ink in our budget. Pity the next state legislature that has to deal with this mess.

The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity held their "Defending the American Dream" summit last Saturday and a fine job they did. State Treasurer Dean Martin talked of the $1.5 billion budget deficit we face this year, and the $2.5 billion looming next year. "We are officially a welfare state now," he said. "If we just kept all the prison guards and fired every other state employee, it still wouldn't solve the budget deficit," Martin noted.

But things could actually be far worse than reported. A close friend of mine was on a business trip several weeks ago, and was sitting in a room with some New York City bankers – the real "big boys" of finance. They were busy categorizing the states of our great land according to the size of their deficits and what sort of shape they may be in for 2009. Based upon the rankings, they would know what states to avoid, businesswise. And where did Arizona land? We were down on their charts as having a $4 billion deficit!

Another speaker at AFP's summit was Dr. Eric Novack, who was chairman for Proposition 101, the "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act." He was encouraged by the fact that the initiative lost by a mere four-tenths of a percent. The comments he heard after all the recounting was finished seemed to say the same thing: The public didn't really understand what it was. Maybe we can avoid socialized medicine yet, if that is the case. We'd better wake up, because Arizona spent $45 billion on health care last year. That's four times the entire state budget!

Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal told the audience that he was considering a medical procedure some time back and asked his physician what was the cost. His doctor was unable to even hazard a guess, despite doing the procedure on many patients over many years. "When neither the doctor or the patient knows the cost of care, you have a dysfunctional health care system," Moore stated.

As to tax rates, Moore said that around the world every country is adopting Reaganomics and cutting their corporate tax rates. I doubt President Obama will do so. But you can bet that the uninformed will be yelling about bringing back the jobs that have gone overseas. Why should corporations hurry home to high rates when other countries have gotten the message Ronald Reagan used to good effect?

Quote of the Week:
"Suing bureaucrats is an utterly recession-proof business."
~ Clint Bolick of Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation on why the economic slowdown won't halt their pursuit of rascals.