Joe Straus Texas House Speaker

Despite statewide polling showing that 89% of Republican Primary voters want more conservative House leadership, and county party organizations - including the Harris, Travis, Dallas, Johnson, Kaufman, Collin, and Tarrant county GOP organizations - formally demanding a conservative House leader, the Texas House Republican Caucus voted overwhelmingly to support incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, who by many is considered to be more moderate. Approximately two dozen members voted for Ken Paxton.

In the end, out of 150 members, only 15 did not vote for Joe Straus, including:

Ken Paxton

Leo Berman

Cindy Burkett

Erwin Cain

Wayne Christian

Dan Flynn

Phil King

Jim Landtroop

Jodie Laubenberg

Tan Parker

Charles Perry

David Simpson

Van Taylor

James White

Bill Zedler

This list was made possible thanks to Rep. Berman (R-Tyler) who required that a record be taken.

Republican Party of Texas, State Chairman Steve Munisteri, issued the following statement following the conclusion of the first day of the new legislative session:

"I congratulate Speaker Joe Straus on his election and look forward to working with him, as well as our entire Republican leadership, to ensure the passage of bills consistent with the principles of our party. I ask for all members of our party now to unite behind the duly elected Speaker, and to work with our representatives in passing legislation consistent with our party platform."

"In the near future, I look forward to meeting with Republican grassroots and conservative activist leaders, as well as Senate Republicans and our statewide elected officials. We will all work towards building consensus on key legislation, and in making this session a success. I am confident that if Republicans put past differences behind us, and focus only on the future, that we will have a very successful session. I am quite optimistic that this can be accomplished, and look forward to the days ahead in the 82nd Legislative Session with Speaker Straus and our House Republican super-majority."

The Real threat of Monitary Inflation

Most financial experts know that keeping the interest rates low and deficit spending high spells certain inflationary trends, as borrowing money is so cheap, it encourages expansion of the monetary supply and thus inflation.  We saw this recently with the Housing market bubble that burst just a few years ago.  People were feverishly buying houses thanks to government rules that encouraged lenders to make thousands of loans that just years ago would have been considered high risk to people who really couldn't afford them.

Today, however the real threat comes from another source.  A source that has been around for decades, but that has over the last couple of years increases exponentially.  President Bush started it, but President Obama has definitely not been out done by any means.  If Obama will be remembered for anything it will be for his deficit spending and increasing of the national debt.

But what's the problem with this?  Can't the government just print more money?  Actually the Federal Reserve (not actually part of the government) already is, along with buying up bonds (causing our debt to be monetized) to keep Mortgage rates low. While all this is certainly unprecedented, and in my opinion quite risky, I don't think this is ultimately the real danger either.

I've heard for years now people yelling, kicking, and screaming that hyperinflation is coming, and soon, but while we certainly have seen relatively high levels of inflation for the last few decades, that has caused some problems along the way, it as of yet has not had a crippling affect on our economy for a number of reasons.  Mostly because the problems have been manageable from within our own boarders because of the dollars unique position in the world; however, that may change, which is the real problem we will face in the near future.

Since the U.S. Dollar is used world wide as a standard world wide currency, the U.S. enjoys a lot of great benefits of relatively cost effective imports, especially when it comes to Oil.  These imports cause a lot of U.S. currency to flow out of the country on a daily basis, and thus the reason why the Fed is printing money, and why the government borrowing trillions of dollars has not caused hyper inflation, or at least not yet.  Think of the housing crisis, and when banks and lending institutions were saying they didn't have enough money to lend.  It came shortly after the Fed raised rates, and gas prices jumped drastically.  Both caused the money supply in the U.S. to decline and we saw the affects of deflation on an already bloated housing market (prices dropped, and very drastically in some areas of the country).

This is why I think the Fed knows what they are doing as they continues to increase the money supply (through low interest rates, monetizing our debt, and giving banks trillions of dollars in nearly free money) to make sure we have enough within our own boarders.  As long as this money continues to flow out of the country we will not see massive inflation; though the rest of the world may, and we will likely to see it increase some compared to past years. But what if all this money suddenly started to flow back into the country?  Why would this even happen?

China and Russia have already requested that the U.S. dollar no longer be used as the international currency.  Many others are also concerned about this out of control spending, and the seemingly loss of strength in the dollar it appears to be creating.  If this were to happen, U.S. dollars would undoubtedly flow back into the U.S. which at first may sound like a good thing, but too much of a good thing leads to inflation; massive inflation - like a skinny guy that decided to start eating nothing but sugar and wonders why he's getting fat.

If we had to suddenly exchange our money to another currency before buying gas, gas prices would double or even triple, which would have a ripple affect on the rest of the economy; and make domestic production a much better idea that would unfortunately take a decade to ramp back up.  Our ability to import goods would diminish, and China probably wouldn't like that as we by so much from them these days, but on the up side, manufacturing would likely return to the U.S., if companies can find a way to deal with the inflation problem, and exports would likely increase as they would suddenly be cheaper.  However, this change would take time, and staring a new business in a time of massive inflation is not an easy prospect.  It would certainly spell hard times for the average person.

The solution?  We need to send a message to our newly elected republican house demanding that they pressure the Senate and the White house to cut spending in half.  Not only can we not expect China to keep buy our Debt, but also we cannot expect that we'll be able to repay what we already have if our economy collapses.

Maybe we need to get the Federal Government onto the Dave Ramsey plan... In all reality though, the Republican House was elected last year on the idea that we need a more fiscally conservative Federal Government, and though they likely will hit road block after road block with liberal Democrats controlling the White House and Senate, they need to go on the offensive, so that a year and a half from now, when we are all deciding on who to vote for, they can make it clear who prevented them from fixing the mess that the the same group had only made worse.

The man with a Choo Choo Train.

There once was a many with a brain
He decided to go buy a train
Not some little choo choo
But a really big mammoth of a laroo
He even bought the tracks
So we could go across the country and back

One snowy night while creeping down the track
He started up a mountain on a highly sloped stack
That took him right next to another's path
What a mistake as the tracks were too packed


- S.J. Hollist

Texas House Speaker Elections - January 11th 2011

The arguably most powerful person in the Texas government, the speaker of the Texas House, will be elected on January 11th. This election is of particular interest due to the newly elected Republican House Representatives that have seemingly renewed and further solidified Texas's conservative leaning propensities; however, the likely winner may be a more moderate favorite of the Democrats.

 The incumbent, Joe Straus, seemed to start off with a definite re-election claiming to have received "pledge cards" from 130 representatives, but many are saying his previous election was due to a larger number of Democrats being in office as he and 10 other Republicans joined with Democrats to oust Republican Speaker Tom Craddick in 2009. After the recent elections 23 new, hopefully more conservative, republicans will be replacing many more moderate to liberal Democrats, it's clear that Joe's moderate views may no longer represents the overall makeup of the house, and thus he should no longer be the speaker.

In Collin County, and many of the surrounding counties, Ken Paxton is making some great headway, and gaining support while being touted as very conservative. Still he may have a lot of work to get done over the next 10 days if he hopes to win the election. He defiantly appears to be a favorite among the Tea Party groups, and many of them will be in Austin on the 11th to rally for a new, more conservative house speaker.

The final candidate, longtime Rep. Warren Chisum, has not gotten as much publicity in the Dallas from what I've seen, but he still may prove to be important to the overall race unless he's finally convinced to step aside. He's not likely to win, but he may end up being seen as a spoiler to Ken Paxton's bid by splitting the conservative vote. Interestingly enough, Chisum entered the House in 1989 as a Democrat, and may not be as conservative as he may like to make himself out to be; despite having led efforts against things like gay marriage, and representing the "Old Guard" among Republicans.

Regardless of who wins, Texas is facing a $20 billion-plus budget shortfall in January, so the Texas House Speaker will have a tough job ahead of them. "It's very important that we pass a balanced budget without raising taxes, and I think I bring some experience to the table that's lacking right now in the leadership role,” Chisum said. Still Straus may be more fiscally conservative then Chisum considering, according to docstoc.com, Chisum increased the Texas budget by 17.9% in 2007, compared to Straus who decreased it by 1.3% in 2009.

As for Ken Paxton, he received a 100% rating from Empower Texans; in contrast to the committee chairmen Straus appointed had an average rating on the Fiscal Index of 54%. Ken also got a 97% rating from the Young Conservatives of Texas and an A+ from the NRA. Paxton has also sponsored legislation to create stronger spending limits, and was the lead author on transparency legislation in 2007.