Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obama Leaves Libya Questions Unanswered


Obama Leaves Libya Questions Unanswered

Last night, nine days after U.S. military operations against Muammar Qadhafi began, President Barack Obama took to the stage at the National Defense University to finally explain his rationale for intervention in Libya's civil war. He described the brutality of the Qadhafi regime, the United States' interests in the conflict, the limited nature of U.S. military involvement, and the role the "international community" would undertake in finishing the job in Libya and rebuilding the country. It was a speech more appropriately delivered at the onset of Operation Odyssey Dawn, and unfortunately it's a speech that leaves a fundamental question unanswered: what's the way forward?

From the outset of operations in Libya, the best option was always "to minimize the commitment of the U.S. military, look after the best interests of Libya's civilian population, and limit the spread of terrorism and instability throughout the region."  While the president promised last night to pursue such a course—the real challenge now begins—and there are still far too few details of how the White House will deliver on these promises.

Harry Reid Chooses Shutdown Over Responsibility

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Harry Reid Chooses Shutdown Over Responsibility

You would think liberals in Congress have nothing better to do with their time. Amid a war in Libya, an effort to aid earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan, a continuing war in Afghanistan, rising gas prices and endless unemployment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate are refusing to accept a modest agreement to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. And time is running short. What's Senator Reid wrangling over? A mere $51 billion in additional budget cuts, which amounts to a few days of government deficit spending.

But Reid's stonewalling isn't just about dollars and cents, or saving federal funding for a Cowboy Poetry Festival. Reid and the Democrats in Congress are setting the groundwork for a partial government shutdown so they can attempt to lay the blame at the feet of the Tea Party and Republicans in Congress and gain politically. They're simply putting electoral politics over the business of our nation.

As it stands today, Congress has until April 8 to reach an agreement on a long-term budget through the end of FY 2011, pass another short-term stopgap budget, or face a partial government shutdown. It might seem shocking that our representatives would cut it so close. But to understand how we got here, it's important to know where we've been.

An Opportunity to Throw Kids A Lifeline

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An Opportunity to Throw Kids A Lifeline

In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, children suffer in a public education system rife with violence and ranked among the worst in the nation. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives took action to give those students some hope when it voted to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (D.C. OSP), which provides scholarships to low-income children, allowing them to attend their school of choice. It was one of the most consequential education votes that Congress will make this year. The program empowers parents, and it rejects the notion that a child should be relegated to a failing public school because they were born in the wrong zip code. Yet, remarkably, the program faces opposition from President Barack Obama and Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

The D.C. OSP was first launched in 2004, and since that time more than 3,300 children have had the chance to escape the underperforming and unsafe D.C. public schools. The statistics are jarring. As The Heritage Foundation's Lindsey Burke notes, the D.C. public school system ranks 51st in the nation. Only 14 percent of 8th graders are proficient in reading, and just 55 percent of students in D.C. public schools graduate. Under the D.C. OSP, though, students have blossomed amid otherwise unfertile ground. Burke writes:
Congressionally mandated evaluations of the D.C. OSP, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, revealed that scholarship students were making gains in reading achievement compared with their public school peers.  The gains in academic attainment, however, have been most astounding.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What Would Democrats Cut?

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What Would Democrats Cut?

As a third temporary spending bill expires next week, the attention of Capitol Hill will once again be focused on producing a permanent spending bill to keep the federal government open and operating. The threat of a government shutdown would not exist had the Democratically controlled 111th Congress passed a budget for this fiscal year. In fact, not only did they fail to pass a budget, but for the for the first time in the history of the budget-making process, last year's Congress failed to even vote on a budget. And now, even as the consequences of their failure are just days a way, the Democrats have still failed to agree on a plan that cuts spending.

Thirty-eight days ago, on February 19, the House of Representatives passed a budget that would keep the federal government open for the rest of this fiscal year. Responding to the overwhelming mandate from the American people delivered last November to cut federal spending, that House budget cut $61 billion in spending from 2010 levels. The Democrats then produced a plan that they said "cut spending," but even The Washington Post Fact Checker found no real cuts.

And they will not even go on record identifying which cuts in the House's bill they are willing to accept. The Post explains why: "Such a move would force Democrats to go on record defending programs that Republicans had identified as wasteful."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Obama's Anti-Drilling Agenda Costs Jobs Across America


Obama's Anti-Drilling Agenda Costs Jobs Across America

President Obama's hometown of Chicago is nearly 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. But like many other communities across the country, it is suffering the consequences of his Administration's anti-drilling agenda.

Illinois accounted for $376.2 million in shallow-water drilling expenditures over the past three years, according to an analysis by 14 oil and gas companies that spend money on vendors and subcontractors. The bulk of that money—$242.2 million—was spent in the Chicago district represented by Representative Danny Davis (D–IL).

It's fresh evidence that Obama's anti-drilling agenda is having a ripple effect across America since last year's oil spill, claiming jobs not just in Louisiana and Texas but also in communities far removed from the shipyards in the Gulf of Mexico.

The study from the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition paints a picture of the nationwide economic ramifications. Obama can't even be blamed for playing politics. Five of the states that benefit most from shallow-water drilling backed him as a candidate in 2008. And Democrats represent many of the congressional districts that stand to lose millions.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GOP Breakfast Saturday morning

Breakfast will be at Applebee's
In a message dated 3/23/2011 2:53:02 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:
GOP Townhall Breakfast
Saturday, March 26
8:00 am -  10:00 am
Join Congressman Ralph Hall
Erwin Cain
George Lavender
Judge Brian Lee
Judge Paul Lovier
The Republican Women of Northeast Texas will be serving breakfast.  
 While you are enjoying a cup of coffee you'll have a chance to ask questions
 and talk with our elected officials.
This is a fundraiser for the Republican Women of Northeast Texas PAC.  
Tickets are available at the door, $5.00
Hope to see all of you there!

Detroit's Liberal Nightmare

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Detroit's Liberal Nightmare

What happens when a city buys the liberal dream hook, line and sinker? Just take a look at the City of Detroit. The once-great city lost 237,493 residents over the last decade according to the 2010 Census, bringing it to 713,777 – a population plunge of 25%. That's its lowest population since 1910, and it marks the city's fall from a 1950s peak of two million, over 60%. And that's just the people who can afford to leave.

Detroit, once known as "the great arsenal of democracy," has made headlines of late for its notorious fall from grace. The "Big Three" automakers are no longer the biggest, falling behind their overseas rivals, and the Michigan economy lost 450,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years all while Detroit lost population. And while the Motor City suffers unemployment from a decimated automotive industry, it suffers crime, high taxes, poor city services, plummeting home values, and a public education system in shambles with a $327 million budget deficit and a 19 percent dropout rate. Is it any wonder people are leaving in droves?

But to understand why folks are really leaving Detroit, its worth looking where they're headed. As Detroit suffered a population loss, its neighboring suburban counties with lower crime, better schools and an improving economic outlook saw their population increase. One former Detroiter told The Detroit News, "Detroit just got too messy for me ... I was not getting the benefits of those tax dollars. The city services are poor and I could not use the school system. And you look at the cost of living and the corruption, we had to leave." In other words, bad government drove her out, and she's seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Obamacare's Failed First Year


Obamacare's Failed First Year

"I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular," then-White House senior advisor David Axelrod promised David Gregory about Obamacare last September. That same month, the Health Information Campaign, founded by high-profile leftist activists including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, spent $2 million on a national television ad campaign touting Obamcare's first insurance mandates. Now, six months after Axelrod's promise, and a full year after the bill was signed into law, the results are in: Obamacare is more unpopular than ever.

Look at any poll and you'll see that Obamacare has only gotten less legitimate. Last year at this time Newsweek showed 40 percent of Americans supporting Obamacare and 49 percent opposing it. Today, only 37 percent support it while 56 percent oppose. According to Quinnipiac, after Obamacare passed last year, 44 percent of Americans approved of President Obama's handling of health care while 50 percent opposed. Today, only 44 percent approve while opposition has grown to 56 percent. And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after Obamacare passed, 62 percent of Americans thought the law would either have no effect on them or make them worse off. Today that number is up to 69 percent.

The reason why President Obama and his liberal allies have failed to turn public opinion around is simple: The major claims made by the President in the effort to pass Obamacare have all been exposed as frauds, and the early implementation by his Administration has been a complete disaster.

Mid-Session Update from Rep. Erwin Cain


We are half way through the 82nd Texas legislative session and things are moving quickly.  As a member of the committees on Corrections and Government Efficiency and Reform, I've had the opportunity to drill down into state government for greater efficiencies on behalf of Texas taxpayers.  As a member of the Policy Committee for the Republican Caucus I have a voice on the direction Republicans will be taking on important legislation.  I was sent to Austin to help put our fiscal house in order and the legislation I have put forward this session reflect my commitment to that principle.

Budget Transparency

The first step is to make our state budget more easily accessible for taxpayers and lawmakers so we can more easily determine where our dollars are being spent.  Since 1993, the state budget has been formatted in such a way that even those with advanced degrees have difficulty navigating it.  It's called "strategic budgeting" and it obscures the actual cost of state agency expenditures in favor of broad objectives and long-term strategic visions.  Fiscal responsibility requires we have a simple and transparent program-by-program accounting of state government.  I have introduced HB 2804 which moves us from a strategic budgeting format to a line item format.  This will make state government more transparent and offer more opportunities to identify waste, fraud, and abuse.

Fiscal Scrutiny

I firmly believe that taxpayer dollars should not be used to support illegal activity.  That's even more true in our current fiscal environment where every dollar is being scrutinized carefully.  I was surprised to learn that Texas spends millions of dollars every year on college scholarships and grants to those who are in the state illegally.   Texas is one of only two states still engaged in this practice.  That's why I've introduced HB 1387 to eliminate state grants and scholarships to illegal aliens. 

Unfunded Mandates on Schools

As educators will tell you, the increasing cost of public education is due in large part to unfunded state mandates on schools that turn teachers into government compliance officers.  I have introduced HB 3463 which repeals several mandates affecting school districts and modifies others to give districts greater flexibility.  This legislation will save our school districts valuable staff time and dollars.  You can read more about my agenda for refocusing our priorities on Texas classrooms here.


I am also working on legislation that allows Texans to vote on whether to opt out of ObamaCare without incurring penalties; reforms of the process state agencies follow when they purchase from outside vendors; and identifications of general cost-savings, efficiencies, and consolidations throughout state government.  Like-minded members have joined me in my effort to change the culture in Austin toward one that is more accountable and fiscally responsible with your money.  As we move forward with the 2012-13 budget, you can be sure I will be working hard at every turn to wring inefficiency out of state government. 


Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives.  You can always contact me at 512-463-0650 or 


God bless,











Copyright © 2011 Erwin Cain Campaign, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Failure is Obama's Strategy

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Failure is Obama's Strategy

On March 2, President Barack Obama anointed Vice President Joe Biden as his lead negotiator on coming to an agreement with congressional conservatives on this year's federal budget. Biden then spent half a day on Capitol Hill talking with Republicans before jetting off to Europe. The next week, Senator Joe Manchin (D–WV) attacked the President on the Senate floor: "Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations—our president—has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?" What Manchin doesn't seem to realize is that failure is Obama's plan.

After an unprecedented two-year spending spree, President Obama is not looking to change Washington's bad habits anytime soon. However conservatives got the message in last November's elections. The American people want them to take substantive steps towards scaling back an out-of-control government. House Republicans passed a seven-month continuing resolution to keep the government operating that cut $61 billion in spending and blocked funding for a host of terrible policies, including Obamacare. This was a good first step. A modest step Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Obama are unwilling to take. In response, Reid and Obama have offered only the status quo.

The White House strategy is clear as day: It knows the American people do not currently trust President Obama on federal spending. Not only do 62 percent of Americans currently disapprove of President Obama's handling of the federal budget deficit, but for the first time in recent memory, more Americans say they prefer the approach of Republicans in Congress (47 percent) on "cutting programs to reduce the budget deficit and still maintaining needed federal programs" than President Obama's (43 percent) approach. The White House knows it has to improve these numbers before President Obama can negotiate short- and long-term spending deals that protect his big-government spending priorities. So how is the White House planning to change these numbers? Two words: government shutdown.

Monday, March 21, 2011


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Yesterday, American B-2 stealth bombers, F-16s, F-15s, and Harrier attack jets bombed both Libyan air and ground defenses including Colonel Muammar Qadhafi's massive residential compound in Tripoli. "We judge these strikes to have been very effective in significantly degrading the regime's air defense capability," Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday.

But the fact that these operations could be successfully undertaken by coalition forces was never in doubt. The problem is that these operations by themselves will not be decisive in either eliminating the regime or fully protecting civilians. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the U.S. expects to turn control of the Libya military mission over to a coalition (headed by the French? the British? or by NATO?) "in a matter of days." What happens if Qadhafi is still in power by that time? The United Nations mandate authorizing these strikes is extremely broad, permitting anything but "occupying" Libya. The coalition has yet to state specific goals for the operation. What does protecting civilians mean?

Qadhafi's next move will be to try and exploit the ambiguity the Obama Administration's leadership failure has created. Within hours of the attack there were already signs that support from the Arab League was weakening. "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," said Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. These fissures will only grow if Qadhafi retains power and operations become protracted.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Monday! The House votes on VOTER ID BILL

 Fellow Grassroots Texans:

 Senate Bill 14, the VOTER ID BILL, will go to the Texas House Floor Monday morning (via the Texas Tribune):

The House Calendars Committee voted this evening to place the voter ID bill, SB 14, on the House calendar for Monday. Gov. Rick Perry declared the item an emergency issue just days after the Texas Legislature gaveled in two months ago...

 The measure would require voters to present photo identification — like a driver's license — at the polls in order to cast a ballot.

 Asked why the item was scheduled for Monday and not later this week as some members expected, Hunter said it was just a matter of timing.

 "I can't tell you much more other than we just got the paperwork today," he said.

If you have an opinion on this bill, you are encouraged to share it with your State Representative. and share it with your fellow grassroots Texans HERE.

You received this message as a member of the TEXAS location.


Friday, March 18, 2011

State Rep. Erwin Cain: Refocus on the Classroom

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Refocus on the Classroom

By Erwin Cain

I'm a product of public schools.  My wife is a trained educator, and my three children attend East Texas public schools - so I have huge personal stake in ensuring that our education system is successful.  Every day in classrooms across Texas, teachers tirelessly inspire and motivate their students to pursue academic excellence.  Like me, you probably also know some of these teachers.  There is simply no substitute for the central link between student and teacher inside the classroom. Yet in many places across Texas, bureaucrats and school administrators have lost sight of the fundamental mission of public education and where the rubber meets the road—in the classroom. 


A disturbing trend has developed over the last several decades.  Armies of support aides, administrators, and auxiliary staff  have grown in our school districts.  Over years, the natural character of this bureaucracy becomes self-preservation rather than focus on the classroom.  The predictable result is that fewer and fewer dollars make their way to the classrooms where they are most needed. 


Texas has more public school employees than any other state in the nation, including California, despite having 1,000 less schools and 1.6 million less students than the Golden State!  Forbes Magazine has found that if Texas school districts were a single company it would be the fifth largest employer in the world, just short of the United States Postal Service. 


It was not always this way.  In the 1970s, for every 5 teachers employed in Texas public schools there were 2 non-teachers.  Now that number is nearly 1-1.  Since 2004, non-teachers have been hired at nearly 3 times the rate of in-classroom teachers.  Adjusted for inflation, Texas spends nearly double per-pupil what it did a decade ago.  Over the last 20 years, per-pupil costs have exploded from $3,600 to more than $11,000. 


At a time of fiscal uncertainty for many Texas teachers, the average Texas school superintendent earns six figures and a majority received raises last year.  More than 70 Texas school districts pay their superintendents upwards of $200,000 a year, and more than two dozen superintendents with salaries of a quarter-million dollars a year or more.  The highest paid Texas superintendent earns $347,000 a year.  It is easy to see how payroll accounts for fully 60% of public school expenditures.  While our local superintendents do not make lavish salaries, all Texas taxpayers are on the hook for those who do.  Yet when economic conditions compel lawmakers to find efficiencies all across state government, too many school administrators recommend that classroom teachers be the first to go.  This is an unwise approach.  Instead of putting teachers on the chopping block we should be prioritizing them.


We have to get back to basics in public education.  Texas can no longer afford to spend 50 cents of every education dollar outside of the classroom.  After decades of experimentation, objective observers now know that layers of bureaucracy—however well intended—do not result in better outcomes for students.  We must eliminate unfunded mandates that turn teachers into government compliance officers and I have filed legislation that would help accomplish that while giving school districts greater flexibility.  Results must be analyzed, every dollar scrutinized, efficiencies zealously sought, and old premises reexamined.  The Legislature is operating under self-imposed 10% staff budget cuts this year.  It was a small measure considering the budget challenges we face, but it was a signal that we are serious about fiscal responsibilities.


Texas has abundant resources.  The problem lies in our desire to spend more than we have.  Texas citizens do not conduct their household budgets that way.  Neither should Texas.  For example, even a modest reduction in non-teachers to a 3-2 ratio with in-classroom teachers would net a $3 billion savings.  Were non-teaching staff reduced only to 2004-05 levels, Texas would save $1.5 billion.  That would allow school districts to save many teachers' jobs.


It is important that everyone understand lawmakers in Austin do not cut teachers' jobs.  School boards, superintendents, and principals make the final  decisions on how education dollars are spent in their district.  I strongly encourage those decision makers to focus their belt-tightening on non-teachers in order to preserve our classroom teachers. 


Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives.  Please contact me with your thoughts at 512-463-0650 or at 


Attorney and businessman Erwin Cain represents the 3rd District in the Texas House of Representatives.  He serves on the Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform, the Committee on Corrections, and was elected by fellow members to serve on the Republican Policy Study Committee.



Copyright © 2011 Erwin Cain Campaign, All rights reserved.

Five Questions Obama Has Not Answered on Libya


Five Questions Obama Has Not Answered on Libya

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council voted 10–0, with five abstentions, to authorize military action in Libya. Specifically, the resolution "authorizes member states ... to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack." Celebrations erupted across Benghazi after news of the vote reached rebels. A 17-year-old rebel told The Wall Street Journal: "I give Qadhafi a maximum of two days." If only.

In reality the U.N. resolution is nothing more than a "feel-good" palliative measure that is not likely to decisively affect the fighting on the ground in Libya. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified last week: "Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That's the way you do a no-fly zone. And then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that's the way it starts." But is that what the Obama Administration is planning? Even if the Administration has a plan on Libya, it certainly has not communicated it to the American people. Here are just some of the fundamental questions the Administration has failed to answer as our military stands on the brink of a new and costly commitment: