Nobel peace prize: Norwegians incensed over Barack Obama’s snubs


Nobel peace prize: Norwegians incensed over Barack Obama’s snubs

Barack Obama speaks in the White House rose garden about winning the Nobel peace prize. The president will donate the $1.4m prize money to charity.Barack Obama has turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

Barack Obama‘s trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children’s event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre.

He has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway.

According to a poll published by the daily tabloid VG, 44% of Norwegians believe it was rude of Obama to cancel his scheduled lunch with King Harald, with only 34% saying they believe it was acceptable.

“Of all the things he is cancelling, I think the worst is cancelling the lunch with the king,” said Siv Jensen, the leader of the largest party in opposition, the populist Progress party. “This is a central part of our government system. He should respect the monarchy,” she told VG.

The Norwegian Nobel committee, which awards the peace prize, dismissed the criticism. “We always knew that there were too many events in the programme. Obama has to govern the US and we were told early on that he could not commit to all of them,” said Geir Lundestad, secretary of the committee.

Although Obama will not lunch with King Harald, he will see him on a visit to the royal palace.

Peace activists opposed to the Afghanistan war are planning a 5,000-strong protest in Oslo.

The visit will test Obama’s rhetorical skills as he seeks to reconcile acceptance of the Nobel peace prize with sending an extra 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan.

White House officials said that Obama, who was planning to work on the final draft of his speech on his flight from Washington to Oslo, would directly address the issue of the irony of being awarded the peace prize while escalating the war.

The Nobel peace committee has been criticised for awarding Obama the prize before he has any major accomplishments in international relations.

A White House official said that it was not necessarily an award that Obama would have given himself.

The Individual Mandate in Obamacare is Unconstitutional

The Individual Mandate in Obamacare is Unconstitutional

Tomorrow, The Heritage Foundation will host an event with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) discussing the constitutionality of the personal mandate to buy heath insurance. Also, Heritage will be releasing a paper authored by Randy Barnett, Nathan Stewart and Todd Gaziano arguing that this mandate is both unprecedented and unconstitutional. No where in the constitution is Congress granted the authority to mandate that individuals enter into a contract with a private party.

The argument is that a mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal government action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. Both the House and Senate versions of Obamacare would change this, creating a new precedent that the federal government can force you to buy a private service. These mandates would force all citizens to purchase a specified service that is heavily regulated by the federal government. This new mandate takes federal power to a new, unprecedented level. We all need to remember that the federal government is of limited powers and the Constitution does not authorize members of congress to take force citizens to buy heath insurance.

Ruth Marcus wrote a defense of the mandate in The Washington Post on November 26th where she claimed that “the power to regulate interstate commerce and the power to tax” in the Constitution grant Congress the power to force citizens to buy health insurance. Marcus wrote that “the individual mandate is central to the larger effort to reform the insurance market. Congress may not be empowered to order everyone to go shopping to boost the economy. Yet health insurance is so central to health care, and the individual mandate so entwined with the effort to reform the system, that this seems like a different, perhaps unique, case.” Marcus seems to claim that people choosing not to purchase health insurance, failing to participate in the commerce of health care services, somehow grants the federal government the power to force citizens to engage in health care commerce.

If that argument does not work for you, Marcus argues that the power to lay taxes is another potential source of authority for the mandate. The problem with that argument is that Congress is fining individuals for not having health insurance; they are not levying a tax in the traditional sense. Either way you slice it, the individual mandate seems unconstitutional and this debate would be great to have on the floor of the United States Senate during this important debate.

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) has an amendment to provide for an expedited constitutional review of the individual mandate and this issue may become the center of the debate on the Senate floor for a day during the Obamacare battle currently underway in the Senate. There are rumors that a Senator may make a constitutional point of order against the individual mandate to force a vote in the Senate. Either way, the constitutional basis for a mandate should be part of any Senate debate on Obamacare.

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Mark Penn’s two firms got $6 million from stimulus for PR campaign

By Alexander Bolton – 12/09/09 12:00 AM ET

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn

 -Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was issued to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.

Federal records also show that a former adviser to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign received nearly $70,000 from that contract to help alert viewers in difficult-to-reach communities that their televisions would soon no longer receive broadcast signals.

The adviser, Alfredo J. Balsera, who heads a public-affairs firm based in Coral Gables, Fla., helped craft Obama’s Hispanic advertising message.

Republicans on Tuesday criticized the federal spending on the advertising project as a waste of taxpayer dollars. They noted that the advertising campaign took place on May 5, only 39 days before the digital television transition was scheduled (June 12)

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) held a news conference Tuesday to blast 100 “wasteful” projects funded by the $787 billion economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year, concluding that at least $7 billion of the $217 billion spent through November was wasteful and mismanaged

The GOP senators highlighted the direction of the stimulus funds on the same day Obama outlined a new series of proposals for creating jobs that Republicans view as another stimulus measure. The proposals include tax cuts for small businesses, tax incentives for employers to hire new workers and infrastructure spending.

The need for additional measures has raised questions over the efficacy of the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

White House officials have said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the stimulus helped to create 1.6 million jobs. White House aides also have noted that the national employment report for November showed dramatic improvement compared to early this year.

A White House spokeswoman on Tuesday responded to the GOP report by saying Coburn’s previous reports on stimulus spending have been filled with “false or misleading claims.”

“In the end, even if there are a few unwise projects, it is only a handful out of the over 50,000 projects that have been approved to date,” said Liz Oxhorn, a White House spokeswoman. “The real question here is whether Recovery Act critics will at long last acknowledge that well over 99 percent of the projects are sound, effective and working as promised.”

McCain and Coburn did not show any indication that they knew two Democratic political strategists received funding through the grant.

A review of federal records by The Hill revealed Penn and Balsera received money from the economic stimulus program.

Burson-Marsteller, which Penn heads as CEO worldwide, won the $5.97 million contract through Young & Rubicam. (Burson-Marsteller has been a part of Young & Rubicam Brands since 1979.)

A contract award summary posted on, the government website that tracks stimulus spending, states Burson-Marsteller was awarded a competitive contract by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help prepare “unready households for the DTV transition.”

The purpose of the campaign was to “bolster the reach, penetration and impact of the FCC’s DTV readiness messages in selected markets, specifically among the groups that had been determined to be the most at risk.”

Cassandra Andrade, a senior associate with Balsera Communications, said, “I can see where there’s concern, but the contract was strictly based on our merits. We’ve been working on multicultural outreach for many years.”

Andrade said her firm worked to contact Hispanic television viewers in Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Andrade noted that according to Nielsen, a media-research company, there was a sharp decline in the number of unready homes in the week leading up to the digital transition and that 97.5 percent of households were ready for the switch.

A spokesman for Penn, Schoen & Berland and a spokeswoman for Burson-Marsteller did not respond to a request for comment.

Penn received scrutiny during and after the 2008 presidential campaign for the role he played in Clinton’s unsuccessful White House bid. Some Clinton supporters questioned whether his service was worth the millions in fees he billed to the campaign.

Penn’s firm billed the campaign $5 million for polling and at least $8 million for sending out direct-mail pieces, according to Time magazine. Clinton’s campaign finally paid off the debt in July.

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the three jobs saved at Burson-Marsteller represented a poor value for taxpayers.

“It illustrates a very poor way to create jobs,” Kyl said.

 Kyl said the appropriateness of Democratic strategists receiving funds “depends on whether they exerted some influence.”

The digital television advertising campaign ranked as No. 3 on the list of 100 projects that GOP senators on Tuesday highlighted as “pure waste” in the billions of stimulus funds spent this year.

At the top of the GOP list is a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy to create a geothermal energy system for the Oak Ridge City Center shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The main problem with the project, say Republicans, is the fact the mall has been losing tenants for years and is mostly empty.

GOP senators also blasted a $1.57 million grant to Penn State University to search for fossils in Argentina and a $100,000 award to a liberal-leaning theater in Minnesota for socially conscious puppet shows.

Two million dollars in stimulus money went to build a replica railroad as a tourist attraction in Carson City, Nev.

A dinner cruise company based in Chicago received nearly $1 million in funds to combat terrorism.

Half a million dollars went to Arizona State University to study the genetic makeup of ants to determine distinctive roles in ant colonies; $450,000 went to the University of Arizona to study the division of labor in ant colonies.

The State University of New York at Buffalo won $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana. The National Institutes of Health got $219,000 in funds to study whether female college students are more likely to “hook up” after drinking alcohol.

The University of Hawaii collected $210,000 to study the learning patterns of honeybees, and $700,000 went to help crab fishermen in Oregon recover lost crab pots.


Famous weather scientist: Climategate ‘tip of iceberg’

Famous weather scientist: Climategate ‘tip of iceberg’

‘Conspiracy would become manifest’ if all climate research e-mails unveiled

Posted: December 08, 2009
9:46 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily


The Colorado scientist described by the Washington Post as “the World’s Most Famous Hurricane Expert” says the “ClimateGate” e-mails from the United Kingdom that revealed possible data manipulation are evidence of a conspiracy among “warmists,” those who believe man’s actions are triggering possibly catastrophic climate change.

“The recent ‘ClimateGate’ revelations coming out of the UK University of East Anglia are but the tip of a giant iceberg of a well organized international climate warming conspiracy that has been gathering momentum for the last 25 years,” said Colorado State University’s Dr. William Gray.

His are the annual hurricane forecasts that are the standard for weather prognostications. His work pioneered the science of forecasting hurricanes and he has served as weather forecaster for the United States Air Force. He is Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at CSU and heads the school’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences Tropical Meteorology Project.

He was referring to e-mails and other information that had been obtained by a hacker and posted on a Russian web server that included e-mails among scientists who are part of the cadre of researchers who believe man-made global warming is an impending catastrophe for the world.

One e-mail said: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd (sic) from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”



Another expressed internal doubts: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

Global Warming or Global Governance? What the media refuse to tell you about so-called climate change

Further, an e-mail exchange suggested the suppression of information: “Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re (Assessment Report 4)? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.”

Gray said, “This conspiracy would become much more manifest if all the e-mails of the publically funded climate research groups of the U.S. and of foreign governments were ever made public.”

His comments are in a commentary at the online Climate and were posted just as officials from around the globe are conferencing in Copenhagen on the issue of “global warming” and what taxes should be imposed on those who use energy.

“The Cap-and-Trade bill presently before Congress, the likely climate agreements coming out of the Copenhagen Conference, and the EPA’s just announced decision to treat CO2 as a pollutant represents a grave threat to the industrial world’s continued economic development,” Gray warned. “We should not allow these proposals to restrict our economic growth. Any United Nations climate bill our country might sign would act as an infringement on our country’s sovereignty.”

He said he probably would have been “concerned” over the possibility people are causing serious global climate degradation “had I not devoted my entire career of over half-a-century to the study and foreasting of meteorological and climate events.”

“There has been an unrelenting quarter century of one-sided indoctrination of the western world by the media and by various scientists and governments concerning a coming carbon dioxide … induced global warming disaster,” he said. “These warming scenarios have been orchestrated by a combination of environmentalists, vested interest scientists wanting larger federal grants and publicity, the media which profits from doomsday scenario reporting, governmental bureaucrats who want more power over our lives, and socialists who want to level-out global living standards.

“These many alarmist groups appear to have little concern over whether their global warming prognostications are accurate, however. And they most certainly are not. The alarmists believe they will be able to scare enough of our citizens into believing their propaganda that the public will be willing to follow their advice on future energy usage and agree to a lowering of their standard of living in the name of climate salvation.”

He said there still remains to be an “honest and broad” scientific debate on the influence of CO2 on global temperature, and such models as have been used are flawed.

He cited a global warming of about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century, and that’s “not a consequence of human activities.”

“The disastrous economic consequences of restricting CO2 emissions from the present by as much as 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 (as being proposed in Copenhagen) have yet to be digested by the general public. Such CO2 output decreases would cause very large increases in our energy costs, a lowering of our standard of living, and do nothing of significance to improve our climate,” he said.

Gray launched the practice of seasonal hurricane forecasts – forecasting months in advance what might be included in a coming hurricane season. After the 2005 Atlantic season, he said he was stepping down from the primary authorship of the CSU report, turning over those duties to Philip J. Klotzbach.

He’s long described global warming as a hoax, telling the Post three years ago, “I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people.”

University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit


Myron Ebell, of the website where “cooler heads prevail,” said the e-mails obtained from the University of East Anglia were “shocking.”

“It’s kind of interesting to learn that petty politics seems to be more prevalent in the scientific community than in the political community,” he said.

The documents, he said, “raise a huge number of questions about the integrity of a lot of people in the alarmist community.

“What I’ve seen there is a very strong effort to manage the issue by scientists and not as a scientific issue. It’s very improper,” he said. “One of the criticisms is that we need scientists to be scientists, and policy can be handled in public debate.”

Phil Jones, head of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, confirmed the documents appeared authentic. He later said he was stepping down for a time.

Despite the advocacy of a financially vested former vice president, Al Gore, and others, public opinion about whether mankind is causing an ultimately catastrophic rise in global temperatures is shifting.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has urged members of Congress to consider the joint opinion of nearly 32,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s, who believe humans likely have little or nothing to do with any “global warming.”

The Petition Project, launched some 10 years ago when the first few thousand signatures were gathered, has steadily grown without any special effort or campaign.

But in the last few years, and especially because of the release of Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” the campaign has been reinvigorated.

“Mr. Gore’s movie, asserting a ‘consensus’ and ‘settled science’ in agreement about human-caused global warming, conveyed the claims about human-caused global warming to ordinary moviegoers and to public-school children, to whom the film was widely distributed. Unfortunately, Mr. Gore’s movie contains many very serious incorrect claims which no informed, honest scientist could endorse,” project spokesman and founder Art Robinson has told WND.

Robinson, a research professor of chemistry, cofounded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine with Linus Pauling in 1973, and later cofounded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Paul later cited the petition results in  statement to Congress.

“Our energy policies must be based upon scientific truth – not fictional movies or self-interested international agendas,” Paul said. “They should be based upon the accomplishments of technological free enterprise that have provided our modern civilization, including our energy industries. That free enterprise must not be hindered by bogus claims about imaginary disasters.”

The petition states: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Robinson has warned of serious political and economic consequences of assuming “global warming” results from mankind’s actions.

“The campaign to severely ration hydrocarbon energy technology has now been markedly expanded,” he said. “In the course of this campaign, many scientifically invalid claims about impending climate emergencies are being made. Simultaneously, proposed political actions to severely reduce hydrocarbon use now threaten the prosperity of Americans and the very existence of hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries,” he told WND.

Obama Points Finger at GOP for Economic Mess

Obama Points Finger at GOP for Economic Mess

December 9th, 2009


 The Buck stops… over there with the Republicans

President Obama used his speech rolling out a stimulus-style jobs program Tuesday to point the finger at Republicans for allegedly facilitating the economic crisis and then foisting it off on his administration to solve.

While praising his own team for pioneering “ambitious” financial reform and “sweeping” economic recovery initiatives, the president took some pointed shots at Republicans who are now blasting the latest package as a spend-crazy “stimulus two” that will drill deeper into the deficit.

“We were forced to take those steps (to jump-start the economy) largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that had led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve,” Obama said, starting his address with a history lesson on the roots of the recession.

Republicans, however, slammed Obama for dipping into the federal piggy bank once again to finance a jobs program that might or might not work.

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The Medicaid Nuclear Option Think Medicaid is wasteful? Wait till you see what comes next, courtesy the House bill.

December 09, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

The Medicaid Nuclear Option
Think Medicaid is wasteful? Wait till you see what comes next, courtesy the House bill.

By Michael G. Franc

The legislative process inevitably fathers unintended consequences. The more complex and ambitious the legislative endeavor, the more numerous are its by-blows.

Recently, Heritage analysts Dennis Smith (who ran the federal Medicaid program for seven years in the Bush administration) and Ed Haislmaier uncovered a doozy in the House’s health-care-reform bill: a previously unnoticed unintended consequence that could hike federal spending by well over half a trillion dollars in just the first few years after its enactment. Buried amid the bill’s technical gobbledygook are several provisions that, acting in concert, could induce many, if not most, states to terminate their Medicaid programs and stick Uncle Sam with the full cost of providing health care to some 60 million low-income Americans.

As Smith and Haislmaier explain:

Congress is about to set off a chain reaction that it has not planned for and will not be able to contain.

The health-care legislation currently in Congress not only imposes new costs on states through expansion of the Medicaid program; it also preempts state authority in management of the program. Faced with becoming merely an agent of the federal government, states will likely take the rational and reasoned approach of simply ending the state-federal partnership known as Medicaid.

But hold on just a minute. States have long complained about Uncle Sam’s heavy-handed role in Medicaid. Yet, to date, they’ve never pulled the trigger and opted out, and for a very understandable reason. Opting out would mean leaving literally billions of federal Medicaid matching dollars on the table and picking up the full cost of providing health services to their Medicaid populations. As burdensome as Medicaid mandates and other federal regulations may be, the trade-off (the advantage of being able to design more efficient state Medicaid programs vs. the burden of having to assume their full costs) has always convinced states to remain in the program. Better to stay hooked up to the federal cash spigot, the thinking goes, and endure all the burdens that accompany it.

But not under the House bill.

It creates a new entitlement to health benefits funded with generous federal subsidies. How generous? For those at the lowest income levels, these subsidies will be worth more than $20,000 a year for a family of four.

However, the 60 million U.S. citizens who currently receive health coverage under Medicaid — plus the 15 to 20 million additional individuals the states would be required to cover under the House bill — would be ineligible for these new subsidies. Why? Speaker Pelosi and her allies recognized that giving Medicaid patients unfettered access to these subsidies would bust the federal budget. The new federal subsidies, you see, will cover almost 100 percent of a low-income individual’s health-care costs, considerably more than what Uncle Sam covers under Medicaid (typically ranging between 50 and 83 percent of costs). In addition, technical requirements, known in the trade as “maintenance of effort” provisions, would preclude states from offsetting the cost of these new federal mandates by scaling back their current Medicaid programs at the margins.

To review, then, here’s the situation created by the House health bill:

1. It increases the fiscal burden on the states of remaining in Medicaid.

2. Its “maintenance of effort” requirements bar states from taking incremental steps to reduce their fiscal pain.

3. It creates new federal health subsidies for low-income people that are far more generous than Medicaid benefits but can’t be given to anyone enrolled in Medicaid.

Put them all together and these provisions actively encourage states to exercise what we might dub the “Medicaid Nuclear Option” — opting out of Medicaid lock, stock, and barrel.

The option has no downside, either fiscal or moral. States can shift all their Medicaid costs to Washington and use the savings to balance their budgets, expand other services, or cut taxes. Plus, today’s Medicaid recipients would be in a position to purchase the same private health plans as their middle-class neighbors.

If you are a governor trying to close gaping state budget holes, what’s not to like about that deal?

Smith and Haislmaier conclude:

By piling billions of dollars in new costs onto states and imposing greater federal control over the states, Congress is recklessly increasing the likelihood that states will exert their own authority as sovereign units of government and end their participation in Medicaid entirely.

The savings to state budgets are so enormous that failure to leave Medicaid might be viewed as irresponsible on the part of elected state officials. The federal government, however, would be left holding a trillion-dollar-plus tab.

Indeed, at least one Medicaid director, Washington state’s Doug Porter, has already hinted that his state would jump ship. Porter said: “I can foresee a situation where states would say, ‘I don’t have enough in general funds to put up my share of this new expanded Medicaid program, and I have to get out of the Medicaid program.’”

Smith and Haislmaier calculate that if all 50 states were to exercise the Medicaid Nuclear Option, between 2013 and 2019 states would shift up to $725 billion in spending to the feds. And because of the generosity of the proposed federal subsidies, the total cost to Washington, D.C., would be even greater, approaching $1 trillion. These costs, moreover, would continue to skyrocket in subsequent years.

California alone would be in a position to offload a cool $126 billion (its share of the current MediCal program over that period) to federal taxpayers. In Texas, the shift would total $60.7 billion; in Illinois, $47.3 billion; in New York, $47.2 billion; in Massachusetts, $39.8 billon. And so it goes.

This is but one more of the rapidly expanding number of unintended consequences latent in the massive health-care bills being conjured up by Congress. The Congressional Budget Office ignored — or, more likely, just plain missed — this one in estimating the cost of the House bill. But when the official scorekeeper on Capitol Hill can miss a $725-billion item hidden in the thousands of pages of dense legislative text, you can’t help wondering what other ticking time bombs remain undiscovered.

— Michael G. Franc is vice president for government relations at the Heritage Foundation.

National Review Online –

New Obama Plans: ‘Spend Our Way Out’ of Recession

New Obama Plans: ‘Spend Our Way Out’ of Recession

December 9th, 2009


 The Teleprompter says spend more money

President Barack Obama outlined new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to “spend our way out of this recession” until more Americans are back at work.

Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.

“We avoided the depression many feared,” Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. But, he added, “Our work is far from done.”

For the third time in a week, Obama sought to focus on job creation, noting that the unemployment rate was still at 10 percent in November, though down slightly from its 10.2 percent peak. He said “a staggering” 7 million Americans have lost jobs since the recession began two years ago.

While his proposal did not include the kind of direct federal public works jobs that were created in the 1930s, he said government could set the stage for more job creation by private businesses.

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