And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Big Labor Unions’ Category

Dear Readers,  I am sure you will find many of the articles in this month’s  Heritage   Insider-Online   of interest so for those who do not subscribe I am putting them on my blog for you use.    I have gotten emails from many asking why I am no longer blogging.  Frankly because I have said all I can say about the evil of Barack Obama and now can only sit back and cry for my country.  Even if the Senate becomes Republican this November  and a sane President is elected in 2016 there has been so much damage done that it will take decades to just claw ourselves back to the point we were at when this monster was first elected in 2008.  Being an old lady I won’t live to see our America return to the respected place in the world and a country of independent proud people  that I knew as a young woman.

I have watched the downward slide of America from the mid 1960’s  with Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and his failed “Great Society”.  Even at age 23 I knew that Medicare was wrong!  Only 40% of elderly Americans were unable to afford health care insurance but instead of helping those individuals the insurance companies insisted that ALL the elderly must be given health insurance paid for by the younger tax payers.    The same thi9ng is happening now with Obamacare—the only way the insurance companies will accept  everyone with coverage regardless of health or life style or preexisting conditions  is if every0ne  is forced into the system.    So stupid!  Give help to those few who need it and let the rest of us take care of ourselves as independent decent Americans always have.   It is a fact that has been proven over and over: Any thing the government gets into  is badly run, in efficient, full of fraud and outright thievery  and therefore very very costly to the tax payers.  Medicare, Medicaid and student loans are prime examples of this rule!

I watched the schools and universities as an educator  being “dumb down to the lowest common denominator by see and say reading and new math and  rewriting history and replacing it with social studies and social justice.

Now during these past 6 years I have watched a President of the United States again and again ignore and  violate the  laws  stated in the Constitution of the United States and  no one stopping him!   Yes, I  have live thru the down fall of a great civilization and I will not live to see the rise to greatness again, but I have faith in Americans.  We are a unique  nation form by outstanding people who were wise far beyond their times.  We today have the blood of those pioneers beating in our hearts and this is augmented daily by new blood of those who leave the old behind and come to the land of the freedom and rights of man so that they too can soar above the masses in the world in the only country on earth that allows its citizens that freedom. .I have faith that we Americans will walk proud again but after the damage done during these 50+ years it will take decades to return.

You, the readers of my blog are the people who will lead the way.  God bless you.  Sincerely, BB

 

The Heritage Foundation

To Me
Aug 9 at 8:07 AM
Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

August 9, 2014

Latest Studies
34 studies, including a Pacific Research Institute handbook on tobacco taxation, and a Hudson Institute report on Iraq’s second Sunni insurgency

Notes on the Week
The environmental costs of delaying Keystone, What does the strategic trade lit really say about the Export-Import Bank? Is administrative law running off the rails?

To Do
Figure out what now for ObamaCare

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says – The Heritage Foundation
Abolishing the Corporate Income Tax Could Be Good
for Everyone
– National Center for Policy Analysis
Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Pacific Research Institute
Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy – Tax Foundation

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
An Originalist  Future – Federalist  Society
Repression in China and Its Consequences in  Xinjiang – Hudson Institute
Private Property Interrupted: Protecting Texas Property Owners from  Regulatory Takings Abuse –  Texas Public Policy Foundation

Crime, Justice & the Law
Criminal Law and the Administrative State: The Problem with Criminal Regulations – The Heritage Foundation

Economic Growth
The Long-Hours Luxury – American Enterprise Institute
Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance – Cato Institute
Do Labour Shortages Exist in Canada? Reconciling the Views of Employers and Economists – Fraser Institute
“Middle-Out” Economics? – Hoover Institution
How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create? – Mercatus Center
Thomas Piketty’s False Depiction of Wealth in America – Tax Foundation

Education
Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-03 to 2012-13 – Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Setting a Course for Obama’s Rudderless Africa Policy – The Heritage Foundation
The Failure of the E.U. – Hoover Institution
Iraq’s Second Sunni Insurgency – Hudson Institute
The Collective Security Treaty Organization: Past Struggles and Future Prospects – Hudson Institute

Health Care
Changing the Rules of Health Care: Mobile Health and Challenges for Regulation – American Enterprise Institute
Direct Primary Care: An Innovative Alternative to Conventional Health Insurance – The Heritage Foundation
How Obamacare Fuels Health Care Market Consolidation – The Heritage Foundation
A Time for Reform: Close and Consolidate Texas’ State Supported Living Centers – Texas Public Policy Foundation

International Trade/Finance
Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa – Cato Institute
Market Solutions Should Be Central to U.S.’s Taiwan Policy – The Heritage Foundation

Labor
Asserting Influence and Power in the 21st Century: The NLRB Focuses on Assisting Non-Union Employees – Federalist Society

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
“Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the
Economy
– The Heritage Foundation

National Security
Autonomous Military Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for Policy and Law – The Heritage Foundation
Size Isn’t All that Matters – Hoover Institution

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
The Keystone Delay Is Costing us More than Jobs and Revenue – American Action Forum
Who Watches the Watchmen? Global Warming in the Media – Capital Research Center
Rethinking Energy: Supplying Competitive Electricity Rates – Center of the American Experiment

Retirement/Social Security
A Guide to the 2014 Social Security Trustees Report – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033 – The Heritage Foundation

 

 

Notes on the Week

The environmental costs of delaying Keystone: The delay in the Keystone pipeline costs more than jobs and income. There are also environmental consequences that come from shifting pipeline transport of oil to rail transport. Catrina Rorke extrapolates what the costs may be:

If the president had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, it would have prevented the release of an additional 2.7 to 7.4 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 500,000 to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road or shutting down one coal facility. […]

From the State Department report, we know that the rail options emit 28-42 percent more during normal operations as compared to the Keystone XL pipeline. […]

Replacing the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline with rail transport risks additional oil spills and the release of up to 23,318 additional barrels of oil – nearly a million gallons of useful fuel entering the environment instead of the economy. […]

The delay in building the Keystone XL pipeline risks up to 1,065 additional injuries and 159 additional fatalities.

By virtue of serving urbanized areas, railroads carry a certain risk to the public. A July 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec devastated the downtown and caused 47 deaths. Though this tragedy is unique in size, the paths of railways intersect frequently with population centers. The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to minimize this risk, routed to avoid sensitive, sacred, and historic sites, as well as densely populated areas. [American Action Forum, August 6]

Rewarding work: “One factor that is often overlooked in the debate over causes of income inequality is a shift in the distribution of working hours,” writes Tino Sanandaji: “The rich now work more than the poor.”

Between 1979 and 2006, the share of low-wage earners who worked long hours declined from 22 percent to 13 percent. In the same time period the share of high-wage earners who worked long hours increased from 15 to 27 percent. Results were similar when education rather than income is used to segment the labor market. Most of the change is driven by changes in hours worked per employee, not by changes in employment rates. For men lacking high-school education, one-third of the decline in hours is driven by reduced employment rates, while the rest is driven by decline in hours among the employed. Among college-educated men, the entire increase in the long hours is driven by those with employment working more hours.

And the decline of work among the poor is a tragedy, he writes:

In simple economic models, working less and having more leisure increases well-being. A common but mistaken view of this reversal in work inequality is that it has benefited the low skilled because they can consume as much as before without having to work as hard. This ignores the complexity of human psychology.

Humanist theories of happiness, starting with Aristotle, have long argued that the key to life satisfaction is living a purpose-driven life and aiming for higher goals. Modern psychology similarly emphasizes work and purpose for a full life. Abraham Maslow viewed fulfilling one’s potential or “self-actualization” as the pinnacle level of happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow,” or a complete absorption in a challenging and intrinsically motivated activity. [The American, August 4]

What does a gas company have to do with ObamaCare? If you’ve been following the debate about whether ObamaCare creates tax credits in just the state exchanges or in both the federal and state exchanges, you may have heard the word “Chevron.” What’s that all about?

“Chevron” refers to Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council a Supreme Court decision from 1984. Randolph May, observing the 30th anniversary of the decision, describes Chevron’s central holding this way: “When a statutory provision is ambiguous, if the agency’s interpretation is ‘based on a permissible construction of the statute,’ then the agency’s interpretation is to be given ‘controlling weight.’”

When there is ambiguity, why not defer to the agencies? May explains the problem:

Chevron, by virtue of giving agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions “controlling weight,” has facilitated the steady growth of the regulatory state. This certainly is a likely result because of the natural bureaucratic imperative for agencies, granted leeway to do so, to interpret delegations of authority in a way that expands, rather than contracts, their own authority. […]

To the extent that the Chevron doctrine—the counter-Marbury—in fact facilitates aggrandizement of power by government officials all too eager to expand administrative authority, there is a ready remedy. Congress can choose to legislate in a way that makes its intent unmistakably clear. Remember, absent ambiguity in the statute, a reviewing court never reaches the question of how much deference is due the agency’s own interpretation.

Congress legislating with unmistakable clarity? I understand that in the legislative sausage-making process this is an ideal infrequently realized. In many instances, Congress actually intends, whether or not it says so explicitly, to leave “gap-filling” for the agencies. That way, when an agency’s action rouses the public’s ire, Congress can blame the bureaucrats for overreaching. [The Hill, August 8

In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit relied on Chevron analysis to find that tax credits were permissible in the federal exchanges; in Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit decided that the meaning of “an Exchange established by the State,” was plain enough that there was no gap for the IRS to fill. Thus, there was no Chevron analysis needed.

The Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. For the past century or so, the federal government has been using its spending and regulatory powers to “turn states into mere field offices of the federal government,” write Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola. Their article in The Atlantic explains not only how we got here but why we should care:

A common justification for federal overreach is that it allows for administrative convenience, but the Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. Its purpose is to protect the people from government abuse. By leaving most government spending and regulation within the exclusive domain of states, the original Constitution created a dynamic framework of interstate regulatory competition. Citizens and businesses could choose to live in whatever state they wanted, a choice they could make with increasing ease as the nation’s communications and transportation dramatically improved, and states competed to offer an attractive package of services and taxation.

Just like cable-TV providers offer premium channels in pricy packages and basic cable at a cut rate, some states and municipalities offered lots of services and benefits—and higher taxes—while others offered smaller government and a lower tax bill. That larger menu meant more choices.

This interstate regulatory competition could accommodate a wide diversity of approaches, from the progressive safety blanket of Wisconsin to the frontier freedom of Texas. Vigorous interstate competition tended to punish excessive government, leading for example to higher growth rates in states with less restrictive labor laws. It also made it more difficult for special interests to wield government as a tool for extracting benefits from the rest of society in the form of hidden subsidies, cartels, and monopolies. Where special interests reign, market efficiency is lost, leaving everyone worse off.

Even today, states with high taxes, tough zoning laws, and restrictive labor laws tend to lose out to those with a lighter footprint—witness the tens of thousands of people—especially poor people—moving to Texas every year. The easier it is for people to choose between state options, the weaker the case for federal control of markets.

That leaves heavily regulated and highly taxed states at a disadvantage in the competition for people and businesses. Those states have cleverly solved much of their problem by using the federal government to impose higher taxes and regulation across the states. Burdened by often-costly progressive policies, states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York form coalitions in Congress to neutralize the advantage of states like Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. Protection from competition is the strongest impetus for the integration of federal and state governments under an umbrella of overall federal control.

That process undercuts one of the great advantages of a modern economy: the choice that mobility offers to families and businesses. It hastens the erosion of one of our most essential constitutional protections, the separate domains of federal and state governments, each confined to its proper sphere of authority. [The Atlantic, July 31]

The courts aren’t on board with the plan for unrestrained executive power—at least not all of them, yet. To hear liberals tell the story, the most important thing to know about Halbig v. Burwell is that the D.C. Circuit Court denied ObamaCare subsidies to millions of people in the 36 states that chose not to establish an exchange. The detail that the law says the subsidies are available “through an Exchange established by the State” gets second billing if it shows up at all. Liberals thus blame the court for striking down that which Congress failed to create. What an odd way of looking at judicial decisions. As Michael Greve notes, the acceptance of the government’s arguments as at all plausible is a signal that administrative law is coming apart at the seams. He writes:

[W]ould we actually be having this overwrought discussion over a perfectly straightforward Administrative Law and statutory interpretation question—and a perfectly conventional judicial resolution—if Halbig were about something other than Obamacare? Hardly.

By way of illustration, take a look at Sierra Club v. EPA, 536 F.3d 673 (D.C. Cir. 2008), a case over Title V permitting under the Clean Air Act. In defense of a regulation that took some liberty with the language of Title V, the EPA argued that (1) the statutory language (“each” permit) didn’t quite mean what it said, when read in connection with other provisions; (2) the statutory context warranted a more latitudinarian reading; and (3) EPA’s “programmatic” reading would better serve congressional purposes. In substance, that’s the government’s Halbig defense. Sierra Club rejected all three arguments; and you can clip entire paragraphs from the opinion and paste them into Halbig without anyone noticing. (Judge Griffith wrote both opinions.) No, it’s not a conservative cabal: in Sierra Club, the enviros won. And no, it’s not an outlier: some Administrative Law textbooks excerpt Sierra Club as an example of how Chevron(Step I) analysis works.

And:

Why isn’t the supposed error precisely a case for a “we-messed-up-and-here-is-what-we-meant” statutory override, of the sort that Congress has enacted time and again for civil rights laws, Medicaid, Medicare, and any number of other entitlement statutes? In short, why isn’t Halbig obviously right? And why isn’t that answer congenial to liberals who, from the New Deal to infinity and beyond, have extolled statutory and even constitutional litigation as a “dialogue” between the Court and the political branches, especially the Congress?

Because they no longer believe it. Obamacare was no inartful compromise; it was a brutal cramdown. There’s no kicking this back to Congress; the judges’ rulings, Obamacare supporters wail, spell the life or death of the statute. And when in doubt, the liberals say (for once), choose life. [Library of Law and Liberty, August 6]

Video of the week: Economics is everywhere, including between the goalposts. The start of football season is less than a month away. From Steve Horwitz and Learn Liberty, here’s a look at how the game’s concussion crisis reveals an important lesson about public policy:

footballconcussion.jpg

Pulling back the curtain on Healthcare.gov: Remember the fiasco that was the launch of Healthcare.gov? The Government Accountability Office has looked into the matter and the agency recently told Congress that, indeed, there was a fiasco. Peter Suderman reports some of the details of the GAO’s testimony:

One of the big problems was that federal health bureaucrats kept changing their minds during the development process. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), which was charged with building the exchange system, “incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality.” These delays were largely due to “changing requirements that were exacerbated by inconsistent oversight.” The dithering cost time, and it also cost money. Between September 2011 and February 2014, development cost estimates blew up, from about $56 million to $209 million for the federal marketplace. Costs for the data hub, another key part of the exchange, went from $30 million to $85 million.

It was a classic bureaucratic circus. No one knew who actually had the authority to tell contractors what to do, so contractors got jerked around and sent on fruitless tasks, or asked to do work that they shouldn’t have been doing. The GAO report says that CMS improperly spent $30 million on bonus features that it didn’t technically have the authority to order.

Delays and costs piled up, with some held off until weeks before launch, and when it came time to flip the switch, no one knew if it would work. “CMS launched Healthcare.gov without verification that it met performance requirements.”

But don’t think all the problems are in the past:

CMS Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said this morning that “there will clearly be bumps” when the exchanges open for all business again in November, according to a report in Politico.

Slavitt also confirmed that the exchange still isn’t built yet, with key backend payment systems that have already been delayed multiple times still incomplete. Slavitt said that the administration doesn’t expect work to be finished on those systems until next year—after the second open enrollment period is over.
[Reason, July 31]

 

 

To Do: Figure Out What Now for ObamaCare

Assess how the legal challenges to ObamaCare’s subsidies and mandates will unfold now that two federal courts have issued contrary rulings. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and Case Western Reserve University’s Jonathan Adler—the guys who noticed that ObamaCare doesn’t allow subsidies in
federal exchanges—will discuss the Halbig and King decisions. The discussion will begin at noon on August 12 in Room B-354 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

• Experience one young man’s harrowing journey to secure his life and liberty in a repressive future society. The Heritage Foundation will host a private advance screening of The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, at 7:00 p.m. on August 12. To attend, RSVP to enoren@crcpublicrelations.com.

Shoot guns, eat BBQ, and smoke cigars. The second annual Northwest Freedom Shootout is a fun afternoon event where you’ll meet other fans of the Second Amendment. The Shootout will begin at noon on August 16, at the Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club in Littlerock, Wash.

Make your own declaration for Think Freely Media’s Great Communicators Tournament. Shoot a video in which you describe a policy issue using moral arguments to support a free enterprise or limited government. Submit it by August 15. The prize for first place is $10,000!

Get an update on the right-to-work movement. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel featuring two teachers and a home healthcare provider grappling with union power in California, Michigan, and Minnesota. The event will begin at noon on August 12.

• Save the dates: Americans for Prosperity’s 8th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit will take place on August 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The Mont Pelerin Society will meet August 31 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong Hotel to discuss the future prospects for liberal reform in Asia.

To my Readers,  I am sorry to have been so very lax these past months in keeping up with my blog, but it just seemed that the news was so very depressing.  More and more scandals which our President and his cohorts refused to do anything about or even to investigate.  Remember the Presidents words that “there is not even a smidgen of evidence” of wrong doing by anyone in the IRS!  when all know that Americans rights were being trampled and denied and the President and all involved were lying.   Remember Benghazi and  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s outburst of “what dopes it matter?”  when 4 people died while everyone who could have possibly come to their aid had orders from on high to stand down!   And it goes on and on!     Those of you who follow FOX NEWS know what is going on and my comments would not have added anything.    I would sincerely suggested  that if you do not subscribe to  Heritage Online  you do so as an added source of  in-depth information.   Here is the latest issue.

 

I hope and believe that the American people have finally awakened to the evil monster that Obama is and will vote in a Republican Senate this year so that we may begin to undo some of the great damage he and his appointees have done to our country.  It will of course take decades to rec0ver from this assault on our nation and values, and in some areas we may never become the America that we once were .  I do have hope however.    First we must vote in a Republican Senate and then in 2016 a Republican President.  Then we MUST begin to replace the old dogs in both the House and the Senate who have grown lazy, complacent and greedy with power with younger Americans who are trying to remember what our country stood for when formed: a government by the people and for the people.  Yours sincerely, Brenda Bowers

 

 

 


Updated daily, InsiderOnline (
insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

May 31, 2014

Latest Studies: 28 studies, including a report from the John Locke Foundation on what helps schools succeed, and a report from the Fraser Institute on the deadly consequences of rationing health care via wait times

Notes on the Week: Over 1 million restrictions in federal regulations, reasons an Article V convention wouldn’t work, The Insider looks at Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, and more

To Do: Remember the victims of Tiananmen Square, examine China’s human rights practices

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
Four Myths about American Taxes – Independent Women’s Forum
A U-Turn on the Road to Serfdom – Institute of Economic Affairs

Crime, Justice & the Law
New York’s Next Public Safety Revolution – Manhattan Institute

Economic and Political Thought
Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy (Revised Second Edition) – Institute of Economic Affairs

Economic Growth
Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed – Encounter Books
Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation – Independent Institute
Machines v. Lawyers – Manhattan Institute
The Economic Situation, June 1, 2014 – Mercatus Center

Education
Educational Freedom Works – John Locke Foundation
Blended Learning: Leveraging Teachers and Technology to Improve Student Outcomes – Maine Heritage Policy Center
How to Address Common Core’s Reading Standards: Licensure Tests for K-6 Teachers – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment – Encounter Books

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Al Qaeda Isn’t ‘On Its Heels’ – American Enterprise Institute

Health Care
The Effect of Wait Times on Mortality in Canada – Fraser Institute
How to Sustain Sound Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Hudson Institute
The Political Roots of Health Insurance Benefit Mandates – Mercatus Center
Specialty Drugs and Pharmacies – National Center for Policy Analysis
The Biggest Myths of ObamaCare – National Center for Policy Analysis
The VA Health System Is a Tragic Warning Against Government-Run Health Care – Reason Foundation

Immigration
The ENLIST Act: A Back Door to Instant Citizenship – Heritage Foundation

Labor
Why the Earned Income Tax Credit Beats the Minimum Wage – Independent Women’s Forum

National Security
From Black Boots to Desert Boots: The All-Volunteer Army Experiment Continues – Foreign Policy Research Institute
Reforming DHS Through the Appropriations Process – Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
Ending Ex–Im Would Remove Wasteful Energy Subsidies – Heritage Foundation
Property Rights Save the Environment – Hoover Institution
Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong – PublicAffairs

Regulation & Deregulation
Evaluating Regulatory Reforms: Lessons for Future Reforms – Mercatus Center

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
The Case Against Reparations for Slavery – Hoover Institution

 

Notes on the Week

Image of the week: Federal regulations now contain over 1 million restrictions.

How many of those regulations are beneficial on net? How would anybody know? As Patrick McLaughlin and Richard Williams point out: “The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance […] .” [Mercatus Center, May 27]

Maybe the federal government should take a cue from Minnesota and hold an “unsession”:

It’s no longer a crime in Minnesota to carry fruit in an illegally sized container. The state’s telegraph regulations are gone. And it’s now legal to drive a car in neutral – if you can figure out how to do it.

Those were among the 1,175 obsolete, unnecessary and incomprehensible laws that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature repealed this year as part of the governor’s “unsession” initiative. His goal was to make state government work better, faster and smarter.

“I think we’re off to a very good start,” Dayton said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference.

In addition to getting rid of outdated laws, the project made taxes simpler, cut bureaucratic red tape, speeded up business permits and required state agencies to communicate in plain language. [St. Paul Pioneer-Press, May 27]

As the governor said: A very good start.

 

 

The dose of Rachel Carson makes the poison. May 27 was the 107th birthday of Rachel Carson, and Google decided to devote a doodle to celebrating the environmentalist on its homepage. Carson is most famous for her 1962 book Silent Spring, which warned of the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment. Carson’s warnings were particularly influential in curbing the use of DDT, an insecticide that had been widely used in agriculture and to control mosquito-spread malaria and typhus. The book is not without its critics, including Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institute. In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, Miller wrote that the book was “an emotionally charged but deeply flawed denunciation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects.” Miller continued:

In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”

In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of “Silent Spring.” As he explained in “The Lies of Rachel Carson,” a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans.” He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications.

Consider, for example, this passage from Edwards’ article: “This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false. Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects. Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result. The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that ‘in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable.’ The World Health Organization stated that DDT had ‘killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance.’”

In addition, DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans. The product was such a boon to public health that in 1948 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Paul Müller for his discovery of the “contact insecticidal action” of DDT. [Forbes, September 5, 2012]

Also in 2012, Roger Meiners and Andrew Morris examined the book in some detail, highlighting the book’s impact on the mindset of the environmental movement. They noted that Carson was inconsistent in claiming on the one hand that she was against only the overzealous application of pesticides while also suggesting that policy should strive to reduce chemical residues to zero. Meiners and Morris:

The problem is that a “no-residue” policy is tantamount to a no-use policy. As Larry Katzenstein explains‚ Carson’s rhetorical question is an articulation of the present-day environmentalists’ version of the precautionary principle. Carson’s view that policy regarding synthetic chemicals should be “no risk” was not uncommon in her time‚ as exemplified in the Delaney Amendment. The policy is not only unrealistic but poses significant harm […] .

The contradiction could be reconciled by striving to balance the risks and benefits of not using pesticides against those of using them. Many of Carson’s disciples‚ however‚ do not favor such balancing of the risks of using DDT versus the risk of abandoning its use. This is evident from their support of a global ban on all DDT uses prior to the signing of the Stockholm Convention’s ban on persistent organic pesticides and the continuing efforts to phase out DDT despite its public health benefits. [“Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic,” by Roger Meiners and Andrew Morris, Property and Environment Research Center, April 2012]

See also: “Rachel Was Wrong: Agrochemicals’ Benefit to Human Health and the Environment,” by Angela Logomasini, Competitive Enterprise Institute, November 2012.

 

 

The Insider: Why the Obama foreign policy has been a disaster: Making the world safe for classical liberal values like individual liberty, free trade, and constitutionally constrained government requires a foreign policy that does more than just not start wars. Our cover story for the Spring 2014 issue takes up that theme. The editor’s note:

If you follow the news, you probably know that a Select Committee of the House of Representatives is investigating whether the Obama administration has been sufficiently forthcoming about the security situation in Benghazi in the fall of 2012 and about how it responded to terrorist attacks on U.S. government facilities there on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. In particular, investigators are trying to determine why the administration downplayed terrorism and insisted that the attack had been merely a spontaneous protest against an Internet video that got out of hand.

Indeed, there are unanswered questions about Benghazi, but one thing we do know is that Islamist terrorism has not gone away. That was clear enough when we learned that the supposed spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi consisted entirely of men bearing rocket launchers driving trucks displaying Ansar al-Sharia logos. Two years later, foreign policy failures abound. Russia is in the Crimea, democratic reformers have been marginalized in the Middle East, and nobody takes our “red lines” seriously, to name just a few.

The problem, as Mackubin Thomas Owens explains, is that the Obama administration thinks peace and order are the natural conditions of world affairs, and that military force is only an alternative to diplomacy not an integral part of an overall diplomatic strategy. These confusions leave the administration unable to meet the challenges of maintaining a world order based on liberal democracy and open trade. And that is a tragedy for the whole world, not merely the United States.

Also in this issue, we have Bob Moffit and Nina Owcharenko reminding us that fixing health care doesn’t mean just repealing ObamaCare; it means implementing the consumer-oriented reforms that conservatives have been championing for decades. Nathaniel Ward and Tim McGovern show how a culture of testing can help you improve your marketing. Mike Gonzalez reveals the Left’s complaints about partisan commentary to be rather, well, partisan. And finally, if you’ve ever wondered what studies actually show about which policies lead to economic growth, then you should read John Hood’s summary of the literature.

 

 

There’s no theory in that theory. There’s something missing from Thomas Piketty’s argument (contained in his bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century) that year-in and year-out the returns to capital exceed the growth rate of the economy as a whole. As Don Boudreaux points out, Piketty offers no explanation for why that must be so:

The entire tenor of Piketty’s volume suggests that he thinks capital reproduces itself, both from the perspective of its individual owners and from the perspective of society at large.

The creativity and fortitude of entrepreneurs, the skillful risk-taking by investors and the insight and effort of managers are all strangely absent throughout Piketty’s performance. These very fonts of modern prosperity are at best assumed to play uninterestingly routine and unseen roles backstage. Onstage, capital—the stuff that is in fact created and skillfully steered by flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs, investors and managers—appears to grow spontaneously, without human involvement. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 27]

Of course, when you attempt to explain economic conditions—like inequality—you run the risk of discovering that capitalism might not be the problem. For example, here is this point from Robert Murphy:

[…] Mother Jones loved this chart showing income inequality soaring in the late 1920s and in the mid-2000s: Look everyone, if we let the 1% earn too much, it sets the world up for a giant financial crash! But actually what happened is that loose monetary policy drove down interest rates, thereby fueling asset price booms, which showed up as huge income (in the form of capital gains) accruing disproportionately in the hands of the wealthy. It’s not surprising that these Fed-fueled asset bubbles eventually collapsed, leading to the Great Depression and Great Recession. To prevent a repeat, the government doesn’t need to confiscate property from the super-rich; instead the Fed needs to stop inflating asset bubbles. [Rare, May 29]

 

 

Beth March, scarlet fever, and Thomas Piketty: One secret to Thomas Piketty’s success in selling Americans his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is his embrace of great literature. Piketty retells key moments in Honore de Balzac’s Pere Goriot to illustrate the importance of inheritance in the 19th century and draws on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park when he discusses the value and the vexation of overseas investments. Piketty’s insight is that books capture the sense and flavor of their era—and occasionally report typical prices and incomes.

The writers of the past are equally valuable for illuminating the astounding progress of economic growth in the past two hundred years, a fact Piketty acknowledges but to which he devotes little ink. Reading Capital, one comes away with the impression that the distribution of wealth and income is the central fact of each era: He reports most statistics as percentages of national income. But when per-person national income was doubling every generation, it was surely a more noticeable phenomenon than a few percentage points of national wealth more or less in the portfolios of the top centile.

Long-term comparisons of income levels are tricky: How many buggy whips is an iPhone worth? Stories of human life under different conditions can help us appreciate the immensity of growth.

In One Thousand and One Nights, hilarity ensues when characters meet in the dark and fail to recognize one another. Artificial light was expensive. Roger Fouquet and Peter J. G. Pearson estimate that a dollar’s worth of lighting in the year 2000 would have cost $3,000 two centuries before. Like all long-term economic growth, the cheapness of modern light comes from applying free enterprise to technological innovation. At times, the British government stood athwart history, taxing windows and Dutch whale oil. [“Seven Centuries of Energy Services: The Price and Use of Light in the United Kingdom (1300-2000)“ by Roger Fouquet and Peter J.G. Pearson, The Energy Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1 (2006)]

In Little Women, Beth March dies of strep throat (scarlet fever) despite being an affluent New Englander. Today, an antibiotic would have cured her quickly, and the entire episode might warrant a few Facebook status updates. Oliver Twist is thrown into a life of poverty and loneliness by the death of his mother in childbirth, a common occurrence in 19th-century London. The advances in medicine alone make the era of enterprise and innovation a success.

Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days celebrates the breakneck speed of an era of dynamic growth and technological progress. Steam, rail, and telegraphy remade the world in a generation.

Although Piketty has introduced some new data on the distribution of income and wealth in different eras, we should not lose sight of the great progress that has lifted all standards of living since the times of Charles Dickens and Jules Verne. —Salim Furth

 

 

A note from Martin Feldstein: A couple of weeks ago, we pointed to some analysis by Martin Feldstein on the inequality argument put forth by Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Feldstein had pointed out that Piketty was looking at U.S. income tax return data, which is misleading because the tax reforms of 1986 encouraged high earners to increase the amount of income reported on individual income tax returns. The income didn’t change so much as how it was counted on tax forms.

Dr. Feldstein has let us know that his article, originally published behind a paywall at Wall Street Journal, is now available ungated at www.nber.org/feldstein/wsj05152014.pdf.

Piketty’s book, we see, is still in the news—perhaps more so this week than in previous weeks—because of some questions about his data. Those who are following the argument should be sure to read Dr. Feldstein’s contribution.

 

 

The contradictions of European union: A report on Greece, from Alexander Skouras:

Golden Dawn’s rise from a tiny group of radical Hitler-sympathizers to the third largest party in Greece occurred when the Greek economy was collapsing. The origins of this crisis are well-known and well-documented: excessive borrowing, low productivity, corruption, and a profligate welfare state. At the height of the crisis the entire nation was angry; the people felt betrayed by their political elites. The Nazi party arose from the need to blame outsiders and to feel special. […]

In this political climate Golden Dawn rose from 0.3 percent of the vote in 2009 to approximately 7 percent in the 2012 national elections. For the last year many analysts thought that the prosecution of Golden Dawn members on charges of organized crime and the imprisonment of many of its elected leaders, including General Secretary Nikos Michaloliakos, would keep the party from further electoral success. But the May 18 municipal and gubernatorial elections and the May 25 European ones told a different story. Golden Dawn received 9.4 percent of the European parliamentary vote, enough to elect three members. Among them there are two former high-ranking army officers. The week before that, in Athens, the country’s capital and largest city, Golden Dawn’s municipal candidate and MP, Ilias Kassidiaris, who made global headlines when he slapped a female communist MP on live television, gathered 16 percent of the vote, securing him fourth place in a close election. Ilias Panagiotaros, Golden Dawn’s gubernatorial candidate in Attica, the region that includes Athens and its suburbs, won 11 percent and also finished fourth.

From these results it is safe to assume that Golden Dawn is no longer merely the beneficiary of a protest vote. The Greek electorate has been fully informed of the party’s Nazi affiliation, Holocaust denial, anti-immigrant slurs, and raw violence in the streets of Athens. We can now safely conclude that Greece has a viable, robust, and dangerous national socialist political force. [AtlasOne, May 28]

Wasn’t preventing a rebirth of nationalist parties the point of a united Europe?

 

 

Video of the week: Reasons an Article V convention would not give conservatives what they want: The main problem with the country’s constitutional set-up, says Trent England, is not the words of the Constitution but a lack of fidelity to what those words mean. Amending the Constitution will just give liberals different words to ignore. England is the Executive Vice President of the Freedom Foundation, Washington State’s free-market think tank. Talking with the Daily Caller’s Ginny Thomas, England outlines some other reasons conservatives should be wary of an Article V constitutional convention.

For one thing, says England, the convention would not necessarily work the way conservatives imagine it would work. Convention delegates would have their own constitutional standing, and their work could not simply be constrained by an act of Congress. Furthermore, says England, sitting federal judges—most of whom are not conservatives—would likely play a bigger role than Congress in shaping any convention.

Also, it’s not easy to amend the Constitution and conservatives might be wiser to invest their resources pushing other levers of change (e.g., the Senate). And England notes that it’s probably a good thing that the Constitution is hard to amend because the Left has bigger dreams of changing the Constitution that conservatives do; there’s a lot of freedom that could be lost at an Article V convention, too.

 

 

The point of federalism is to protect the rights of the people, not the rights of states. Noting the rash of stories about new federal requirements for school lunches, David Corbin and Matt Parks point out how inadequate is the Republican waiver-based defense of federalism, which they say “simply shovels a little less dirt on [federalism’s] grave”:

Approximately one out of every fourteen Americans is a government employee today, compared to one in twenty-two Americans in 1955. The greatest part of the total increase of government employees amounts to the enlargement of state and local government employment. It matters little if the lunch lady pouring chocolate milk down the sink and serving fruits and vegetables is a local government employee if her job ultimately depends on monies slopped out by federal bureaucrats wielding carrot sticks.

Which brings us to the third part of Madison’s argument as to why the proposed federal republic was a great improvement over the earlier confederation; namely, its powers would be “few,” “defined,” and “exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Madison likely never could have imagined the Federal government adding management of sodium intake to this list as the American people sat listless on the political sidelines.

As troubling as the death of federalism is, we need more fundamental reform, as the Republican response to the school lunch mandates makes clear. There is, after all, an even more important third leg to the governing stool, implicit in Madison’s argument, but made explicit in the 10th Amendment: the people. Often conservatives read that Amendment as if it is meant to protect the rights of the states. But it is much better understood, both textually and historically, as an attempt to protect the people’s distribution of powers among themselves, the states and the national government. If we really want to restore 10th Amendment government, we’ll need to work much harder at removing power from both state and federal hands than at replacing the divine right of the Washington King with the divine right of state Barons. [The Federalist, May 26]

Michael Greve made a similar argument in a recent issue of The Insider:

The balance question isn’t just beside the point; it is an assault on the foundations of the republic. To quote Madison’s impassioned language in Federalist 45:

Was … the American revolution effected, was the American Confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety, but that the government of the individual states, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty?

The answer he is trying to evoke is: Hell, no. […]

States are Purely Instrumental. If they can advance the “real welfare of the great body of the people,” good for them. If they stand as a hindrance, ignore them or get rid of them. That is the fundamental calculus and the irreducible premise of the United States Constitution. The cartel federalism we have is profoundly state-friendly: It serves the interests of the political class. The constitutional, competitive federalism we need is citizen-friendly: It would discipline government, not help it grow. [“But What Kind of Federalism?“ by Michael S. Greve, The Insider, Winter 2013.]

 

 

And speaking of states doing the wrong things … Low-income people in Arkansas used to be able to get their teeth cleaned cheaply, thanks to Dr. Ben Burris. Now, instead of paying $99 (or $69 for children), they have to pay hundreds of dollars for a cleaning. Burris, who is a dentist, had to stop offering the cleanings because the state board of dental examiners told him that he couldn’t offer basic dental services.

According to the board, Arkansas law says dentists can’t offer dental services if they are also licensed as a specialist. Burris is a licensed orthodontist. Orthodontists, by the way, normally employ dental hygienists who clean teeth, and that’s all perfectly legal as long as the teeth getting cleaned also get fitted for braces later.

Of course, the restriction on specialists offering services outside their specialty has nothing to do with protecting consumers and everything to do with limiting competition in basic dental services—so that dentists can charge more. No patients had complained about Burris’s service. At a hearing of the dental board, notes the Institute for Justice, “Board members and general dentists condemned Ben for offering the cleanings. There was no allegation that Ben had endangered, much less harmed, anyone.”

On behalf of Burris and his colleague Elizabeth Grohl, IJ filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the board of dental examiners. The lawsuit contends that the restriction against specialists offering basic dental services serves no purpose except to protect general dentists from competition, and that the restriction thus violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection, Due Process and Privileges or Immunities Clauses.

 

 

To Do: Remember the Victims of Tiananmen Square, Examine China’s Human Rights Practices

Learn about the human rights situation in China on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will talk with American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks. The conversation will begin at 1:45 p.m. at the American Enterprise Institute on June 3.

Examine the connection between liberty and character. The Beacon Center of Tennessee will host a talk by Lawrence Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education. Reed will speak at the Nashville City Club on June 3 at 6 p.m.

Show what a great communicator for liberty you are by entering Think Freely’s Great Communicators Tournament. All you have to do is make a one- to three-minute video in which you take the moral high ground while making an argument for liberty. Submissions are due by July 15. Twelve finalists will be selected to compete in the Great Communicators Tournament at the State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting in Denver in September.

Discover whether administrative law is even lawful. Philip Hamburger, Professor of Law at Columbia University, thinks it is not, and he’ll explain why at the Cato Institute at noon on June 5.

Find out how sex education courses have become caught in the crosshairs of the “war on women” debate. Valerie Huber, President of the National Abstinence Education Association, will speak at the Family Research Council at noon on June 4.

Learn how the Left want to amend the First Amendment so they can stifle criticism of elected officials. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion featuring Bobby Burchfield, who argued the recent and important McCutcheon case before the Supreme Court; Don McGahn, former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission; and Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The discussion will begin at 2 p.m. on June 2.

Cartoonists, get your submissions in for the Center for International Private Enterprise’s 2014 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition. Hurry—the submission deadline is June 2.

• Check out The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation’s new media platform, launching June 3.

(Want more stuff to do? Check out InsiderOnline’s Conservative Calendar.)

Have a tip for InsiderOnline? Send us an e-mail at insider@heritage.org with “For Insider” in the subject line.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/InsiderOnline.

Looking for an expert? Visit PolicyExperts.org.

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The lastest today:  Catholic priest and Protestant ministers in the military will be arrested if they perform any services  even tho they would be volunteering their time since they are not being paid.  None of our military are being paid.  Also the commissaries which are totally self supporting  have been closed.  The President is doi8ng every thing he can to make this as unpleasant on people as possible.  Stupid, petty thing like the above and like shutting down the out door WWII Memorial for Gods sake.  It is outside with no charge to get in and walk around!   And still the Democrats and the President refuse to sit down and talk to the House of Representatives to resolve their differences as our Constitution was set up to require.  I sincerely hope the American people are finally waking up to the monster who we let into our White House.

 

Much great information in the following Newsletter from the Heritage Foundation.   You can pick and choose the articles that interest you most.  Be informed People!  BB

 


Updated daily, InsiderOnline (
insideronline.org ) is a compilation of publication abstracts how-to essays events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.


October 5, 2013

Latest Studies: 92 new items, including the Fraser Institute’s “Economic Freedom of the World” report, and a report from the Rio Grande Foundation on how New Mexico could manage its federal lands better than the federal government

Notes on the Week: Somebody was worried the shutdown wouldn’t hurt, the last shutdown was good for the economy, the federal income tax turns 100, and more

To Do: Learn the truth about gun control

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
• Tax Reform, the Family, and the Pursuit of Happiness – American Enterprise Institute
• Could Dan Snyder End Publically Financed Stadiums? – Cato Institute  (These stadiums financed by you the tax payers are built for millionaire  owners for million air players to play in and then the public is charged an arm and a leg to get in to watch the games.  About time the People refused to subsidize millionaires.  Let them build and  finance their own stadiums just as movie theaters owners have to build and finance their own theaters or  bar owners have to build and own their own bars!  BB)
• Tax Reform Should Eliminate the Deduction for State and Local Taxes – The Heritage Foundation  (Tax reform from top to bottom needs done NOW.  The IRS is corrupt to the core and the middle class has to carry the burden of taxes as a share of their income while the rich have all kinds of loop holes and at the other end 47% of Americans pay no taxes at all.  This is wrong.  We need a tax that is fair to all and where all pay.  BB)
• Average Government Pensions in Illinois (Illinois Policy Institute  This is shocking!   Tell your kids to get a government job and get on the gravy train.  You can never be fired no matter how bad you do your job or how corrupt you are and the pay is outstanding.  BB) BB)
• State Pension Contributions: Taxpayers Bear the Brunt of Increasing Pension Costs – Illinois Policy Institute
• Tax Reform 2013: Setting the Stage for Economic Growth – John Locke Foundation
• A Tale of Two Labor Markets: Government Spending’s Impact on Virginia – Mercatus Center
• New Evidence of the Effects of City Earnings Taxes on Growth – Show-Me Institute
• Building on Success: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Tax Reform for Nebraska – Tax Foundation
• How Tax Reform Can Address America’s Diminishing Investment and Economic Growth – Tax Foundation
• The Effects of Terminating Tax Expenditures and Cutting Individual Income Tax Rates – Tax Foundation

Economic and Political Thought
• Hayek, the End of Communism, and Me – Cato Institute
• Kludgeocracy in America – National Affairs

Economic Growth
• The Inequality Illusion – American Enterprise Institute
• Economic Freedom of the World 2013 Annual Report – Fraser Institute
• It’s the Government, Stupid – Hoover Institution
• What Economic Recovery? – Hoover Institution
• Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism – Manhattan Institute

Education
• Protecting Students and Taxpayers: The Federal Government’s Failed Regulatory Approach and Steps for Reform – American Enterprise Institute
• The Most Interesting School District in America? Douglas County’s Pursuit of Suburban Reform – American Enterprise Institute
• Expanding College Opportunities – Education Next
• Graduations on the Rise – Education Next
• Understanding Illinois’ Broken Education Funding System: a Primer on General State Aid – Illinois Policy Institute
• 60 Questions About Common Core – John Locke Foundation
• The Missing Half of School Reform – National Affairs
• Veterans and Higher Education – National Center for Policy Analysis
• How to Correct Our Schools of Ed – Wisconsin Policy Research Institute

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Honduras under Siege – American Enterprise Institute
• Framework for Removing Syrian Chemical Weapons: Reasons for Skepticism – The Heritage Foundation
• India: Congress and White House Should Have Modest Expectations for PM Singh Visit – The Heritage Foundation
• International Affairs Budget Needs Stronger Congressional Scrutiny – The Heritage Foundation
• Sri Lanka: Northern Provincial Council Election Could Be Step Toward Reconciliation – The Heritage Foundation
• U.S.-Japan Security Agreement Enhances Allied Goals – The Heritage Foundation
• Syria and American Leadership – Hoover Institution
• The Perilous Future of Afghanistan – Hoover Institution

Health Care  (Need to read all of these People)
• Health Care Exchanges Impose $5.3 Billion in Costs, 16 Million Hours – American Action Forum
• Premium Increases for “Young Invincibles” Under the ACA and the Impending Premium Spiral – American Action Forum
• More Consolidation and More ‘Political’ Competition, Less Patient-Centered Market Competition – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part II – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part III – American Enterprise Institute
• Obamacare: Destined to Flop? Part IV – American Enterprise Institute
• More Good News as the Medicare Drug Benefit Approaches Ten Years – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges: “Private Coverage” in Name Only – The Heritage Foundation
• Part-Time Illinois: Work Hours Have Dropped Since ObamaCare Signed into Law – Illinois Policy Institute
• Reforming Medicaid with Technology – Institute for Policy Innovation
• Conservative Health-Care Reform: A Reality Check – National Affairs
• The Uninsured Crisis under Obamacare – National Center for Policy Analysis

Immigration
• Biometric Exit Tracking: A Feasible and Cost-Effective Solution for Foreign Visitors Traveling by Air and Sea – Center for Immigration Studies
• Remittances Abet Mexican Officials’ Irresponsible Behavior – Center for Immigration Studies
• Shaping our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and its Politics – Crown Publishing Group

Information Technology
• Consumers Would Benefit from Deregulating the Video Device Market – Free State Foundation
• No Picking Favorites: The Proper Approach to the Upcoming Incentive Auction – Free State Foundation
• Proposals Like the AT&T/Leap Merger Promise Consumer Benefits – Free State Foundation
• Two Sides of the Internet’s Two-Sidedness: A Consumer Welfare Perspective – Free State Foundation

Labor
• Above the Law: Unions are Often Exempt from Laws on Extortion, Identity Theft, and Whistleblower Protection – Capital Research Center  (This is especially true concerning the public sector or government workers unions.  These are the people who are paid with your taxes but do not have to conform to the same rules you have to conform to on your job.  The “rubber room” teachers in New York who can not be fired so they sit all day in a room and read newspapers or play cards while still getting paid.  Other cities and states have “rubber rooms” too!   Also if you have been watching the farce of the IRS hearings you know that government workers don’t even have to answer to Congress!  BB)

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation  (more heart-burn news you should be aware of.  BB)
• What Now for Monetary Policy? – American Enterprise Institute
• Dodd-Frank Strikes Again – Hoover Institution
• Fannie, Freddie, and the Crisis – National Affairs

National Security
• AQAP’s Role in the al Qaeda Network – American Enterprise Institute
• DHS Acqusition Practices: Improving Outcomes for Taxpayers Using Defense and Private-Sector Lessons Learned – American Enterprise Institute
• NATO at Sea: Trends in Allied Naval Power – American Enterprise Institute
• Biofuel Blunder: Navy Should Prioritize Fleet Modernization over Political Initiatives – The Heritage Foundation
• Kenya Attack Reminds the U.S. of the Need to Maintain Effective Domestic Counterterrorism Programs – The Heritage Foundation
• Kenya Attack: Vigilance Required to Combat al-Shabaab’s Resurgence – The Heritage Foundation
• U.S. Counternarcotics Policy: Essential to Fighting Terrorism in Afghanistan – The Heritage Foundation
• The Strategic National Stockpile: Vital to Maintain, Critical to Improve – Hudson Institute
• Journalism or Espionage? – National Affairs

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Small Business Implications of Greenhouse Gas Regulation – American Action Forum
• Climate Data vs. Climate Models – Cato Institute
• The Energy Wealth of Indian Nations – George W. Bush Institute
• Congress Should Stop Regulations of Greenhouse Gases – The Heritage Foundation
• A Tale of Two Parks – PERC – The Property and Environment Research Center
• The Economic Possibilities of Unlocking Energy Resources on New Mexico’s Federal Lands – Rio Grande Foundation
• A Texas Capacity Market: The Push for Subsidies – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Does Competitive Electricity Require Capacity Markets? The Texas Experience: A Summary – Texas Public Policy Foundation

Philanthropy
• ACORN International: Wade Rathke Shakes Down the Whole Wide World – Capital Research Center
• Philanthropy by the Numbers – Manhattan Institute

Regulation & Deregulation
• Insurance as Gun Control? – Cato Institute
• Kosher Certification as a Model of Private Regulation – Cato Institute
• Reconceptualizing Corporate Boards – Cato Institute
• Government Overreach Threatens Lives – Hoover Institution
• Reinvigorating, Strengthening, and Extending OIRA’s Powers – Mercatus Center

Retirement/Social Security
• Reforming Old Age Security: A Good Start but Incomplete – Fraser Institute

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
• Concealed Carry: Illinois Supremes Catch Up on the Second Amendment – The Heritage Foundation
• Protecting the First Amendment from the IRS – The Heritage Foundation
• The Fourth Amendment and New Technologies – The Heritage Foundation
• Real Judicial Restraint – National Affairs
• The Libertarian Challenge to Obamacare – Reason Foundation

Transportation/Infrastructure
• Government Shutdown and the Future of Transportation Funding – The Heritage Foundation
• Why the DOT’s Role in Funding and Regulating Transportation Should Be Reduced – Mercatus Center

Welfare
• A New Approach to SSDI Reform – Cato Institute

 

Notes on the Week

Somebody was worried the government shutdown might not hurt enough. The tactic of government officials impairing the most highly visible and valuable services in order to make funding cuts really hurt is so well known that it has a name and even a Wikipedia entry: The Washington Monument Syndrome. That means us rubes just might look it up and realize what’s going on this week during the government shutdown—or, as Fox News more appropriately calls it, “government slimdown.”

In theory, a total lapse in funding shouldn’t be an opportunity for bureaucratic game playing: Services are either essential and remain functioning as per the Anti-Deficiency Act, or they are closed. But under the Obama administration, shutdown means finding ways to turn off things that don’t have an off switch or don’t require work to maintain. A few examples:

The National Mall: The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget instructed the National Park Service to put up barriers to the monuments on the National Mall. That included the World War II Memorial (funded mostly by private money, by the way). On Tuesday, a group of World War II veterans arrived to visit the memorial as part of the Honor Flight program. The barriers carried the message “Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are CLOSED,” but someone moved the barriers aside, letting World War II veterans visit the World War II Memorial.

The group had appealed for help arranging its visit directly to the White House, but was turned down. [Daily Caller, October 1] The Park Service also told one Honor Flight group that was planning a Friday visit that its members faced arrest if they tried to enter the closed monument. [NorthWestOhio.com, October1]

On Wednesday, as Paul Bedard notes, more federal employees were sent to re-fortify the barricade at the World War II Memorial than were detailed to stop Islamic terrorists attacking U.S. embassy personnel in Benghazi, Libya. [Washington Examiner, October 2] Later on Wednesday, the Park Service announced that the World War II Memorial would be opened—but for veterans only!

Park Service Police are still on duty because they are deemed essential employees. They are essential, we gather, for telling citizens to leave open-air spaces that are not normally patrolled. That’s how shut down this government is!

Claude Moore Colonial Farm: The Park Service also shut down Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Va., even though it is entirely funded by a private non-profit organization. The Park Service says it has to shut down the site because it sits on federal land. However, Anna Eberly, Managing Director of Claude Moore Colonial Farms, told supporters by email that the Farm had never been closed down during previous budget impasses. Eberly continued: “You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money.” [Townhall.com, October 2]

Bus turnaround lane at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. George Washington’s Mount Vernon is also operated by a private foundation, and the Park Service can’t close it down because it doesn’t own the land either. But the service still did what it could to make itself a nuisance by putting up barriers to the bus turnaround lane just outside the site. The bus turnaround lane is on land owned by the Park Service. Check out the photo posted by Newt Gingrich:

a

Government websites. A number of government websites are carrying the message: “Due to a lapse of federal government funding, this website is unavailable. We sincerely regret this inconvenience.” But if you go to a government page and get that message, then you’re still on the government page. Nobody turned anything off; they just changed the content. Does that make sense? Julian Sanchzez says it’s possible but unlikely there is a security reason for walling off the regular content. He notes:

The main page at NASA.gov redirects to a page saying the site is unavailable, but lots of subdomains that, however cool, seem “inessential” remain up and running: the “Solar System Exploration” page at solarsystem.nasa.gov; the Climate Kids website atclimatekids.nasa.gov; and the large photo archive at images.jsc.nasa.gov, to name a few. There are any number of good reasons some of those subdomains might be hosted separately, and therefore unaffected by the shutdown—but it seems odd they can keep all of these running without additional expenditures, yet aren’t able to redirect to a co-located mirror of the landing page.

Still weirder is the status of the Federal Trade Commission’s site. Browse to any of their pages and you’ll see, for a split second, the full content of the page you want—only to be redirected to a shutdown notice page also hosted at FTC.gov. But that means… their servers are still up and running and actually serving all the same content. In fact they’re serving morecontent: first the real page, then the shutdown notice page. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome and don’t mind browsing in HTML-cluttered text, you can even use this link to navigate to the FTC site map and navigate from page to page in source-code view without triggering the redirect. [Cato Institute, October 1]

Bonus shutdown melodrama: FLOTUS’s fingers furloughed from tweeting:

Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited. #Shutdown

— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) October 1, 2013

FLOTUS, of course, is the Twitter handle for First Lady Michelle Obama.

It might be that a lot of inessential government really is inessential. The political prognosticators say the 1995/1996 government shutdowns show that budgetary impasses are a bad idea, but the economics, says Tim Cavanaugh, tell a different story:

Despite the greatly ballyhooed furloughs of government employees, unemployment stayed even at 5.6 percent during November 1995, the period of the first spending gap, which ended when a deal cut by President Bill Clinton and Republican legislators allowed government to stay funded at 75 percent.

Unemployment actually dropped to 5.5 percent during the second spending gap, which was more complete than the first.

Unemployment continued to plummet in the months following the shutdown, as a hamstrung Clinton allowed the rate of government spending increases to slow and headed toward the eventual budget surpluses that became the highlight of Clinton’s legacy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment dropped half a percentage point within a year of the first shutdown and had dipped below five percent by the spring of 1997.

More surprisingly, gross domestic product increased during both quarters covered by the Clinton-era shutdowns. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP began the fourth quarter of 1995 at $7.7 trillion and ended the second quarter of 1996 at $7.9 trillion. By the end of the second quarter 1996 GDP had topped $8 trillion.

Personal consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment and personal income also increased during and immediately after the shutdown.

The GDP numbers are particularly striking because government spending is given outsized weight in GDP measures, which assume that every dollar in federal spending results in a full dollar’s worth of economic activity. Nevertheless, GDP continued to climb despite the suspension of transfer payments. [Daily Caller, September 29]  ( if 800,000 government workers are considered  “non-essential” for this shut down then it makes one wonder just how many are non-essential  for good doesn’t it??  This is especially true when these government workers make on average 30% more than those of us who pay their salary and the fact that their performance of their jobs whether good or bad is protected by government employee unions so they can’t be fired no matter what they do or don’t do.  BB))

A glitchy MacGuffin: This week Democrats in the Senate shut down the federal government in order to keep Obamacare open. But Obamacare is not exactly open in the way that its supporters were hoping:  (READ ON:)

The Borinquen Health Center in Florida said only about 5 percent of the nearly 400 people who sought guidance in a 48-hour period were able to access Healthcare.gov, the website portal for consumers in 36 states where the federal government is operating exchanges, also known as marketplaces. [Insurance Journal, October 4]

Even MSNBC had trouble:

But beyond the software glitches is an even bigger problem with the online portals. John McAfee, a pioneer in anti-computer virus software, tells Neil Cavuto:

There is no central place where I can go and say, “OK, here are all the legitimate brokers, the examiners for all of the states” and pick and choose one.

Instead, any hacker can put a website up, make it look extremely competitive, and because of the nature of the system—and this is health care, after all—they can ask you the most intimate questions, and you’re freely going to answer them. What’s my Social Security number? My birth date? What are my health issues? […]  (BEWARE!  BB)

It’s not something software can solve. I mean, what idiot put this system out there and did not create a central depository? There should be one website, run by the government, you go to that website and then you can click on all of the agencies. This is insane. […] [Y]ou can imagine some retired lady in Utah, who has $75,000 dollars in the bank, saving her whole life, having it wiped out in one day because she signed up for Obamacare. And believe me, this is going to happen millions of times. This is a hacker’s wet dream. I mean I cannot believe that they did this.

Video of the week: Another fine entry in the Health and Human Services’ ObamaCare Video Contest. You know who takes no prisoners when it comes to ObamaCare? Remy:

September 30 was a good day in the courts for free speech, thanks to the Institute for Justice. The libertarian public interest law firm won two decisions striking down campaign finance regulations in both Mississippi and Arizona that prevented ordinary citizens from speaking out on politics:

In the Mississippi caseJustice v. Hosemann, Judge Sharion Aycock of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi ruled that Mississippi’s campaign finance scheme was an unconstitutional burden on small groups and individuals. Mississippi’s restrictions applied to any individual or group that spent more than $200 to talk about an initiative to amend Mississippi’s Constitution. The law was challenged by five friends from Oxford, Miss.—Vance Justice, Sharon Bynum, Matt Johnson, Alison Kinnaman and Stan O’Dell—who simply wanted to join together and speak out in favor of then-Initiative 31—an effort that would provide Mississippi citizens with greater protection from eminent domain abuse. But Mississippi’s $200 threshold is so low that it was impossible for them to even run a single quarter-page ad in their local newspaper without having to become a political committee.

Judge Aycock found that Mississippi’s campaign finance requirements were so complicated that “a prudent person might have extraordinary difficulty merely determining what is required” and that “potential speakers might well require legal counsel to determine which regulations even apply, above and beyond how to comport with those requirements.”

And:

In the Arizona caseGalassini v. Town of Fountain Hills, Judge James A. Teilborg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona struck down Arizona’s similar regulatory scheme. The Arizona laws had been challenged by Dina Galassini, a resident of Fountain Hills, Ariz., who in 2011 sent an email to 23 friends and neighbors, inviting them to join her in a protest against a $44 million road bond by making homemade signs and joining her on a street corner. “Little did she realize,” as Judge Teilborg noted, “that she was about to feel the heavy hand of government regulation in a way she never imagined.”

Almost immediately she received a letter from the town clerk telling her to stop speaking until she had registered with the town as a “political committee” under Arizona’s campaign finance laws. Represented by IJ, Galassini challenged the Arizona law, securing an injunction that allowed her to hold her street-corner protests.

Galassini said, “I was stunned to learn that I needed to register with the government just to talk to people in my community about a political issue. All I could think was, ‘How can this be allowed under the First Amendment?’”

Now Judge Teilborg has granted Galassini a final victory, declaring that Arizona’s definition of “political committee,” under which she was regulated, is vague, overbroad, and unduly burdensome. [Institute for Justice, October 1]

Happy 100, federal income tax! My how you’ve grown! From Dan Mitchell, here are some snapshots of your younger years, starting in 1913:

The top tax rate was only 7 percent, the tax form was only 2 pages, and the entire tax code was only 400 pages. And a big chunk of the revenue actually was used to lower the tax burden on international trade (the basic tariff rate dropped form 40 percent to 25 percent).

But just as tiny acorns become large oak trees, small taxes become big taxes and simple tax codes become complex monstrosities. And that’s exactly what happened in the United States.

We now have a top tax rate of 39.6 percent, and it’s actually much higher than that when you include the impact of other taxes, as well as the pervasive double taxation of saving and investment.

And the relatively simply tax law of 1913 has metastasized into 74,000 pages of Byzantine complexity. [Cato Institute, October 3]

In case this week hasn’t provided enough liberal media bias, check out the highlights from last year. Last week we were in Oklahoma City for the State Policy Network Annual Meeting, but if we hadn’t been there, we’d surely have been at the annual Media Research Center Gala, featuring the Dishonors Awards. The event is always a hoot for recognizing the worst and the dimmest media personalities of the year for their liberal bias. We’ll point to one highlight: With a quote that you probably remember, Melissa Harris-Perry won the Dan Rather Memorial Award for Stupidest Analysis :

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So, part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.

Charles Krauthammer won an award of a different sort: the 7th Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence. You can see all the fun in the video below:

On the front lines: Last week we enjoyed seeing the State Policy Network hand out three deserving awards at its annual meeting in Oklahoma City.

Fighting for worker rights in Michigan: Joseph Lehman, President of the Mackinac Center, won the Roe Award, which is given every year to a leader “in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.” The award is named after Thomas A. Roe Jr., founder of the State Policy Network. Lehman first worked for the Mackinac Center in 1995, and became President in 2008.

The Center achieved its biggest victory last December when Michigan lawmakers passed right-to-work legislation, which says joining a union can’t be made a condition of employment. The Center had been working for that policy since 1994. Lehman said: “The Roe Award created an occasion to focus attention on the Mackinac Center’s influence on better policies for Michigan, such as freedom to work. I accept the award on behalf of our team and dedicate it to them.” [Mackinac Center, September 30]

The Center has also been at the forefront of fighting the involuntary unionization of home health care and home daycare workers. We interviewed Lehman about those battles and more for our Winter 2013 issue of The Insider.

Promoting liberty in North Carolina: The John William Pope Foundation and the North Carolina-based think tanks the John Locke Foundation, the Civitas Institute, the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, and the N.C. Education Alliance won SPN’s Network Award. The Network award recognizes the accomplishments of state-based organizations promoting free enterprise. These six organizations won the award for their close work together on a variety of issues in North Carolina, from taxes, to corruption, to education. [John William Pope Foundation, October 2]

Fighting backdoor unionization in Minnesota: Jennifer Parrish, an in-home child care provider in Rochester, Minn., won the Unsung Hero Award (sponsored by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation). In 2005, Parrish became active in fighting efforts to unionize home child care workers when a union organizer come to her house and used bullying tactics and deceptive claims to get her to sign a petition for unionization. Eventually, Parrish become a leader in the anti-unionization movement—all on her own time and using her own resources. [PostBulletin.com, September 27]

To Do: Learn the Truth About Gun Control

• Check out the new film, Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire, which explores the racial and class biases of gun control proponents and shows how those biases still operate. The film is narrated by rapper and actor Ice-T. You can catch a special screening of filmat 7 p.m., October 8, at the Muenzinger Auditorium at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session featuring Second Amendment scholar and Independence Institute research director David Kopel.

• If you’re in the D.C./Northern Virginia area you might consider visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon—since it’s open! It’s unaffected (mostly) by the government shutdown, because it is funded entirely by private money. It also happens to be one of the best of the presidential historical sites.

• Get ready for the Values Voter Summit, which will be held October 11-13 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme: “Standing for Faith, Family and Opportunity for All.” Among the confirmed speakers: Ryan Anderson, Star Parker, Sen. Rand Paul, and Cal Thomas.

• Learn how GMO labeling laws spread consumer misinformation. The Heritage Foundation will host a discussion with Gregory Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, L. Val Giddings of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, and Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women’s Forum. The discussion begins at noon on October 8.

• See a movie about a real-life American hero. Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, chronicles the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates and the ensuing standoff in which Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage aboard a lifeboat. The film opens nationwide October 11.

• Help honor Vaclav Klaus, former President of the Czech Republic who helped guide his country from Communism to freedom. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will award Klaus its Truman-Reagan Freedom Medal at a ceremony at the George Town Club in Washington, D.C. on October 8. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. with a reception to follow. For more info or to RSVP, email info@victimsofcommunism.org.

People this is where the rubber hits the road and we are going down the drain.  Warnings are coming from everywhere that the United States is on the skids and when we go there will be no  way back.  And when we go the world will rip us to pieces—-you better believe it.  Top dogs are always ripped apart when they finally fall.  Our economy is the only one in the world failing because of Obama’s policies.  the rest of the world managed to come thru the bad time  of the 2009 crash and are are the rebound.  The United
States is still staggering around and losing businesses and therefore jobs daily.   The government is telling us that the economy is growing however slowly.   That is a lie!   47  million  Americans are on food stamps for God’s sake.   Only 24% of these are children so when the Progressives yell about starving children  just don’t believe it!    Many of these people are not really in need but have gotten on the gravy train because Obama lowered the requirements to get on.   There is no work requirement for able bodied people before they can get on welfare in our country today.   Obama did this by making things like “reading library books” a so-called “work fulfillment”.  And when the reports come out about how many people are unemployed the numbers do not include the people who have simply given up and are no longer even trying to get a job.  The real unemployment rate is near 17% which is almost as high as that of the Great Depression!  All this due to Obama.  Call and write your Congressman to stop Obama.  Also tell them to rollback his Presidential Decrees.   So many bad things have happened because Presidents have the right to make laws all by themselves without Congress.

We are in the mess with Public service (government workers) unions right now not from a law by Congress but because President Kennedy allowed it with a Presidential Decree!    President Nixon took us off the gold standard where our money was backed by gold  instead of the word of our government which isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.  From that time the dollar has lost value and so has your standard of living and the wages you earn.  You are making more money than you Dad but it is worth less!

The Federal Reserve ( a private company!)   is printing money at the rate of $85 billion dollars a month in order to keep the economy from a total melt down.  This money being printed is worthless—totally worthless , and at some point the house of worthless dollars will fall taking us into a hole we can never get out of because of the debt our government has saddled us with.

The following article should help you see what is happening.  BB

Morning Bell: What You Need to Know About the Debt Limit

The Congressional Budget Office just dropped a budget update on Washington, and it’s not good. The U.S. government is spending recklessly—and Obamacare is adding fuel to the fire.The new report comes at a crucial time, as negotiations over the debt limit are starting up again. Here are some basics to help you cut through all the political spin.

What is the debt limit?

Yes, it’s the legal limit on federal government borrowing—but the debt limit is a wake-up call. It’s a chance for Congress and the President to stop the spending insanity.

Share this graphic on Facebook to spread the word

Why does it matter?

Government spending is accelerating with no end in sight as long as entitlement programs keep expanding.

Entitlement spending is the biggest driver of skyrocketing debt. In only 10 years, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will devourhalf of the federal budget.

Of course, Obamacare’s new entitlements only add to this mess. Think health care spending is out of control now? “Obamacare is the single biggest factor driving the growth in mandatory health care spending over the next decade,” warns Heritage expert Alyene Senger. The insurance exchanges, the Medicaid expansion… it’s all adding to our spending problem. (continues below chart)

BL-LTBO-2013

What should Congress do?

In a new Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of Americans “favor a federal budget that cuts spending.” Right on. Congress should cut spending, reform these programs that are ballooning the debt, and put the budget on a path to balance within 10 years. Facing the debt ceiling gives them the opportunity to correct the catastrophic course we are on.

Could have seen this one coming:  Chicago and Detroit both Obama strongholds are using Obamacare to help bail them out of their fiscal woes by using Obamacare exchanges to dump theri public sector employeees into the Obamacare exchanges and off of their gold plated health care policies.  Look for more big cities to do the same and dump their profligate spending off on the federal  tax payers to bail them out.  Ironically the public employees of these cities don’t care for what their leaders are planning and just may be the instrument that will finally put an end to Obamacare.  Wouldn’t that be just dandy.  The very unions who put and kept this abomination in office to turn against him and his signature piece of destruction of the American way of life!

Washington has always been a city filled with crooks but never to the extent it has now risen to under Barack Obama with his Chicago style governing.  At this point with any other President doing what Obama has done to our  laws and Constitution  the President would have been thrown out of office by election if not impeached, but  the first Black President and his entire administration and departments have a pass for any thing he wants done.  I hope We the People come to our senses before too much more damage is done.  Obama and his Chicago gangland thugs are responsible for all the scandals now hitting Washington.  and People stay tuned because the Pandora’s Box has just been opened and there are many more to come!   The following article explains just one more.  BB

The Obamacare Big City Bailout

July 6, 2013 at 7:00 am

Newscom

Newscom

Bloomberg reports this week on the latest Obamacare trend sweeping across the country: Cities and states may soon attempt to unload unsustainable health costs on the federal government by dumping employees and retirees onto exchanges.

Both Chicago and Detroit have explored using the exchanges to reduce massive budget shortfalls, and it could set an example for others. Bloomberg quotes one expert from the Rockefeller Institute of Government: “We can expect other cities to pick up on this.… I expect [employee dumping] to mushroom.”

The incentives for cities—or even states—to dump their workers onto exchanges are significant. Bloomberg notes that reducing retiree health costs could save Detroit approximately $150 million per year—at a time when the city faces a $386 million budget deficit and $17 billion in long-term debt.

Of course, these budgetary maneuvers aren’t really “savings”—they merely represent a shift of unsustainable costs from cities and states onto the backs of federal taxpayers. If more individuals than expected—particularly retirees, who are likely to be older and sicker than the population as a whole—require federal exchange subsidies, the cost of Obamacare could rise by trillions. And if cities and even states set an example by dumping their health care obligations on the federal government, private-sector employers could well follow suit.

The spokesman for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called the city’s retiree health system “fiscally unsustainable,” but merely shifting that responsibility to Washington may be about as effective as moving deck chairs on a budgetary Titanic.

Meanwhile, like other Americans losing their coverage due to Obamacare, retirees themselves appear none too keen on getting dumped onto the exchanges. Bloomberg quotes one retired Detroit police officer expressing his outrage:

Imagine if they said tomorrow your Social Security, your Medicare is going away and you’re going on Obamacare.… How would you feel?

Many Americans may soon find out.

The huge Farm Bill was defeated.  80% of the Farm Bill was for Food Stamp spending and only 20% related to farms and farming.  The  Republican led House is now proposing to split the Food Stamp program or SNAPS from the Agriculture Department so that a closer watch can be kept on this outrageous spending.  Of course they were put together in the first place in order for both farm and rural congressmen and Food Stamps which are primarily urban Congressman would vote together to pass these outrageous bills.  This is a favorite  Washington ploy: buying the votes!  Just look at the Immigration Bill and how the Senators loaded it down with pork ( or pay offs) for everyone before it got passed.  Remember the Republican House refusing to pass the first version of the  Hurricane Sandy Bill to help the hurricane victims in the northeast to rebuild because on 30% of the funds allotted were to go to the hurricane victims while the 70% of pork funding in it was for things as unrelated as a new roof for a building in D.C.  Many, including Gov. Christie of New Jersey blamed the Republicans for stopping this outrage and believed that anything  the greedy big spending Democrats wanted was okay as long as something went to the right people.  It is this kind of thinking and this kind of voting that has gotten our country to the brink of bankruptcy!  This is the name of the game in the Farm Bill which the Republican House members voted down and it is the same game being played with the Democrats Senate version of an Immigration Bill.

The following newsletter from heritage has some very good information from various writers on these topics.  Also more information on Obama’s plans for raising all of our energy prices which will not only affect our  electric and gasoline bills but our food and clothi8ng bills as well because all industry requires the use of energy and if energgy costs go up the cost of all goods and services must aslo go up.  Check them out>  BB

Heritage Hotsheet

Experts on the Day’s Hottest News

Contact An Expert
MEDIA INFORMATION LINE:
Phone: (202) 675-1761 | Email: Broadcast Services

Items for Friday, June 28th, 2013


Immigration Bill Riddled With Pork
Breitbart.com

Jim Carafano
Derrick Morgan
Genevieve Wood
Jessica Zuckerman

Family Fact of the Week: What the Record-Low Marriage Rate Means for Americans’ Well-Being
Heritage.org

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
John Malcolm

Gay rights clash: Obama, African host are at odds 
AP

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson 
Charlotte Florance

Abortion tables may turn in Texas on Monday
Politico

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
Andrew Walker

House Leaders Consider Splitting Food Stamps From Farm Bill
Bloomberg

Diane Katz
Daren Bakst
Rachel Scheffield

Obama refuses to barter for Edward Snowden
BBC.com

Steven Bucci
Paul Rosenzweig
Ariel Cohen
Peter Brookes
Jim Carafano

 

Latest Heritage Research:


Issue Brief
History Suggests Social Security Insolvency Is Coming Sooner Than Projected

Issue Brief
Energy Production on Federal Lands: Handing Keys Over to the States

Issue Brief
Cost of a Climate Policy: The Economic Impact of Obama’s Climate Action Plan

The following article is from the Heritage Foundation and is a listing of studies made by various groups on the state of our government and social programs.  I found many of them informative and felt that perhaps my Readers would also.  Just check out the listings and click on the topics that interest you.   You may also wish to subscribe and have the Insider Online newsletter delivered to your home page.  sincerely, BB

 

Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstractshow-to essaysevents, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.


June 22, 2013

Latest Studies: 38 new items, including a Manhattan Institute report on the student debt problem, and an American Legislative Exchange Council report on environmental overcriminalization

Notes on the Week: Not even low-income workers can count on benefiting from ObamaCare, things to know about the CBO’s immigration scoring, and more

To Do: Keep an eye on Russia

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
• Four Tenets to Less Government Spending – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• The Municipal Government Debt Crisis – Heartland Institute
• Proposed New Farm Programs: Costly and Risky for Taxpayers – The Heritage Foundation
• Soaring National Debt Remains a Grave Threat – The Heritage Foundation
• Taxing Online Sales: Should the Taxman’s Grasp Exceed His Reach? – The Heritage Foundation
• The Big Choice for Jobs and Growth: Lower Tax Rates Versus Expensing – The Heritage Foundation
• The Many Real Dangers of Soaring National Debt – The Heritage Foundation
• The Simple Economics of Pro-Growth Tax Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Turn Down the Heat, Switch On the Light: A Rational Analysis of Tax Havens, Tax Policy and Tax Politics – Institute of Economic Affairs
• The Best Solution from Both Budgets: “Reverse Logrolling” Shows the Best Option for Government Spending and Tax Reform – John Locke Foundation
• Creating a Fair Property Tax System: Is it Possible? – Public Interest Institute
• Kansas 2013 Tax Reform Improves on Last Year’s Efforts – Tax Foundation
• New Zealand’s Experience with Territorial Taxation – Tax Foundation
• A Review of the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Virginia Economic Forecast 2013-2014: State to Add Jobs Despite Sequestration – Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Crime, Justice & the Law
• Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse, But It Is Reality – The Heritage Foundation
• Comeback States Report: Reducing Juvenile Incarceration in the United States – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Scientific Evidence in State Courts: Florida Reform as a Model – Washington Legal Foundation

Education
• Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education – Hudson Institute
• College Credit: Repairing America’s Unhealthy Relationship with Student Debt – Manhattan Institute

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Beyond the Border: U.S. and Canada Expand Partnership in Trade and Security – The Heritage Foundation

Health Care
• The Right Way to Fight Obesity – Hoover Institution
• An Analysis of the Proposed Medicaid Expansion in Michigan – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Veterans Affairs Fails to Curb Suicide Epidemic – National Center for Policy Analysis

Immigration
• Advancing the Immigration Nation: Heritage’s Positive Path to Immigration and Border Security Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Senate Immigration Bill Does Not Require Payment of All Back Taxes – The Heritage Foundation

Information Technology
• FCC Must Maintain Open Eligibility for Incentive Spectrum Auction – Free State Foundation

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
• Rethinking the FHA – American Enterprise Institute
• Recent Arguments against the Gold Standard – Cato Institute

National Security
• Obama’s Wish to Cut Nuclear Arsenal Undermines National Security – The Heritage Foundation
• Preventing the Next “Lone Wolf” Terrorist Attack Requires Stronger Federal–State–Local Capabilities – The Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Efficiency Policy – American Action Forum
• Five Solutions for Addressing Environmental Overcriminalization – American Legislative Exchange Council
• Improving Incentives for Federal Land Managers: The Case for Recreation Fees – Cato Institute
• Denial of Supreme Court Review Leaves Ninth Circuit ESA Case Intact – Washington Legal Foundation
• Ohio Court Limits Localities’ Authority over Energy Exploration – Washington Legal Foundation

Transportation/Infrastructure
• Paint Is Cheaper Than Rails: Why Congress Should Abolish New Starts – Cato Institute
• Moving the Road Sector into the Market Economy – Institute of Economic Affairs

 

 

 

Notes on the Week

Rector on CBO on immigration: The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that letting large numbers of immigrants into the country and changing the status of those currently here illegally will be great for the economy and the federal budget. Robert Rector has a few things to say about the CBO’s scoring of the Gang of Eight immigration bill. Here are the highlights:

[T]he immigration coming in under this bill looks like previous immigration in the sense that its predominantly lower-skilled plus the fact that you’re taking 11 million illegal immigrants and giving them access to the welfare and entitlement states. They have an average education of 10th grade, so it’s very difficult to imagine that those households would somehow pay enough in taxes to equal their benefits […] .

The trick is the CBO 10-year budget window. […] For mysterious reasons, when an amnesty bill is written, the amnesty recipients become eligible for everything under the sun in about the 11th year. So that they pay taxes in the first 10 years and they don’t get additional benefits for some mysterious reason until you move outside the CBO budget window. […]

[T]he federal government, because of Social Security and Medicare, inherently transfers from the non-elderly to the elderly. State and local governments kind of do the opposite. If you just look at state and local governments you would find that they transfer from the elderly to the non-elderly to pay for education. The elderly pay a lot of property tax; they don’t get any education benefits any more. […] Of course immigrants are not elderly themselves. For a limited period of time they pay in but then they take out more than they have paid in. It’s important to put both flows together because the opposite process is happening down at the state and local level. […]

One of the interesting things that CBO does tell us is that the number of illegal immigrants who will enter the country over the next 20 years goes down by only 25 percent. There would have been, they estimate, 10 million illegal immigrants entering over the next 20 years. They estimate that that will drop to 7.5 million illegal immigrants entering the country […] . The net cost of those illegals alone would be about $400 billion over that period. […]

When you look at the Gang of Eight explain their bill they always say: Oh, we’re shifting from low-skill immigration to high-skill immigration. You can trust us. That’s what we do. But in fact the numbers from CBO show exactly the opposite. Roughly 80 … 85 to 90 percent of the individuals getting green card status are not skill-based. [The Foundry, June 21]

 

 

Turn on, tune in, pay up. Online learning may transform higher education someday, but right now it serves mainly as a prop in the familiar university system, say Andrew Kelly and Frederick Hess:

Many online programs generate large revenues because most colleges charge the same price (or more!) for students enrolled online as for those on campus. A survey of 199 universities by the educational technology arm of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education found that 93 percent of universities charged the same or higher tuition for their online programs. This is bizarre, given that online courses are less costly to deliver than in-person courses. But instead of competing on price (meaning that cost savings get passed to the student), institutions have maintained in-person prices for online courses—even as the cost of delivery has fallen.

What do colleges do with that extra revenue? They cross-subsidize activities on the brick and mortar campus: unfunded research, student life, institutional aid programs, and so on. Put more genteelly, they “reinvest” it in their traditional campus.

Real innovation, as Kelly and Hess point out, is about unbundling the research-based university, and that’s not going to happen until the government regulations, subsidies, and accreditation policies that protect that model from competition are reformed. [“Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education,” by Andrew P. Kelly and Frederick Hess, Hudson Institute, June 2013.]

 

 

Not even low-income workers can count on coming out ahead under ObamaCare. Some low-income workers could end up paying a lot more for health insurance than they paid before ObamaCare became law, reports Jillian Kay Melchior. ObamaCare requires employer-provided health insurance to cover at least 60 percent of health-care costs while not costing employees more than 9.5 percent of their household incomes. Since low-income households may have multiple sources of income, it can be difficult for companies to figure out if a particular plan is sufficient to avoid penalties. The federal government has proposed “safe harbor” standards in order to provide clarity: Companies offering plans that have a $3,500 deductible, a $6,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs, and premiums of $90 or less per month would put companies in the clear of any penalties. Under those standards, says Melchior, a low-income worker not eligible Medicaid has few good options:

He could take the employer’s plan — but if it’s a safe-harbor plan, it would cost, at minimum, $1,080 a year. And that’s before the deductible is even factored in. For someone who earns $28,725 a year, falling at 250 percent of the poverty level, these costs are sizeable.

Option two: He could shop around on the health exchange for an alternative. But because his employer provides a sanctioned plan, he’s disqualified from any subsidy he might have received to help offset costs. Even a very basic plan would cost up to $2,316 a year in premiums alone.

Option three: Forgo insurance altogether and pay the steadily increasing penalty to the federal government. In 2014, for an individual, that’s $95 for the year or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. But by 2016, it will rise to either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. And that’s not even factoring in whether the worker has kids. In that case, he could face an annual penalty of $2,085 or more by 2016. […]

Before, many employers who paid by the hour offered limited medical plans. These policies often got a bad rap because of their lack of catastrophic coverage. But to their credit, they were inexpensive and contributed to health-care costs immediately, without workers needing to first meet a deductible.

Now, these low-wage hourly workers would be forced to spend at least $5,300 before their coverage really begins to benefit them. [National Review, June 17]

 

 

Who elected those guys? ask teachers in Kansas. Last week, teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, did something that almost never happens, report James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti: They voted to decertify their union:

Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them accountable. Workers can remove an unwanted union only by filing for decertification. But bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult to hold a vote on decertification. The hoops Deerfield’s teachers had to jump through illustrate this problem.

Joel McClure, the teacher who led the effort, submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Kansas Department of Labor in November 2012. But Kansas teachers can request a vote only in a two-month window every three years. KNEA officials contested the petition by claiming that the teachers missed the December 1 deadline. (The Department of Labor had misplaced the initial petition paperwork.) Then the KNEA objected that the teachers’ attorney was not certified in Kansas and that they did not have enough signatures. However, the teachers prevailed and voted out their union—in June, just eight months after the initial submission.

When asked why they went through such protracted effort, the teachers said their union ignored their concerns. They wanted instead to be actively involved in negotiations and work collaboratively with the school district. “The desire is for teachers to participate at the [bargaining] table, to have free access to information,” McClure said. “In our little school district, there’s no reason we can’t sit down at the table and work out our issues.” [The Foundry, June 18]

Did we mention that next week is National Employee Freedom Week?

 

 

The death panel is coming. Last week, a federal judge in Philadelphia blocked the enforcement of an age-limit rule on lung transplants, thus allowing a very sick 10-year-old girl to obtain a new set of lungs. Doctors had said the girl, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, would live only three to five weeks without new lungs. Earlier, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius had said she would not to intervene in the case by overturning the rule.

When the ObamaCare-created Independent Payment Advisory Board is up and running in two years, it too will make decisions on matters of life and death, but unlike Sebelius’s decision on lung rules, the decisions of the IPAB cannot be reviewed by courts. Those decisions are also protected from politics in some extraordinary ways. As David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley explain, the IPAB set-up is certainly unconstitutional, but likely not challengeable in the short run because no one would have standing to sue:

Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures—featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees and other steps of the process, and supermajoritarian voting requirements. The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths supermajority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15. If the board fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by HHS Secretary Sebelius or her successor. […]

The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.

In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized that, in seeking assistance to fill in details not spelled out in the law, Congress must lay down an “intelligible principle” that “confine[s] the discretion of the authorities to whom Congress has delegated power.” The “intelligible principle” test ensures accountability by demanding that Congress take responsibility for fundamental policy decisions.

The IPAB is guided by no such intelligible principle. ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop.

These actions will limit seniors’ access to care, causing them to wait longer or forego care—the essence of rationing. ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.

Moreover, authorizing the advisory board to make rules “relating to” Medicare gives the board virtually limitless power of the kind hitherto exercised by Congress. For instance, the board could decide to make cuts beyond the statutory target. It could mandate that providers expand benefits without additional payment. It could require that insurers or gynecologists make abortion services available to all their patients as a condition of doing business with Medicare, or that drug companies set aside a certain percentage of Medicare-related revenues to fund “prescription drug affordability.” There is no limit. [Wall Street Journal, June 19]

 

 

What is candy? Depends on which state wants to tax it online. Forcing online retailers to remit sales taxes to the state where the purchaser resides, as the federal Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) does, is not going to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. Rather, as James Gattuso explains, it will tilt the playing field heavily against online retailers—especially smaller ones:

While the legislation does require states to provide retailers with free software for managing tax compliance, that software need only cover the individual state. Retailers are left on their own to get nationwide software, unless they want to integrate 46 individual software packages. No compensation is offered for recurring costs incurred by retailers, such as accounting services or online tax management services.

In addition, internal staff time would be needed for an array of tasks, including handling claims by tax-exempt customers, fielding inquiries from tax authorities, and addressing the inevitable glitches.

Even the simple act of classifying the item being sold can be problematic, with thousands of idiosyncratic distinctions and definitions through each state’s tax code. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin flag as well as the U.S. flag is not subject to tax. All other flags are taxable. Unless they are bundled with flagpoles, in which case the rules change yet again.

Similarly, candy is defined—under the “streamlined” sales tax agreement, as “a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients in the form of bars, drops, or pieces.” But sellers beware: “‘Candy’ shall not include any preparation containing flour and shall require no refrigeration.” Thus defined, states still vary on whether the concoction is taxable or not.

The problems do not end with the sale. Each of the 46 state tax authorities with which retailers would have to deal directly require tax returns to be completed, on an annual, quarterly, or even weekly basis. To ensure that it is all done correctly, sellers would be subject to audits from each of 46 states. (If tax authorities on Indian reservations are included—as they are in the MFA as passed by the Senate—the number of tax forms and potential audits jumps to the hundreds.) [The Heritage Foundation, June 19]

 

 

Carbon taxers forget the externalities of not using cheap, abundant energy. One reason putting a tax on carbon in order to price its negative externalities is not a free-market idea:

[E]ven if SCC [social cost of carbon] estimates were not assumption-driven hocus-pocus, their use by activists, policymakers, and agencies would still be biased and misleading, because proponents of “climate action” always ignore the social costs of carbon mitigation.

As Cato Institute scholar Indur Goklany explains in a recent study, fossil fuels are the chief energy source of a “cycle of progress” responsible for the amazing improvements of the past 250 years in life expectancy, health, nutrition, safety, comfort, human capital formation, and per capita income. The cycle of progress is to no small extent a “positive externality” of fossil fuels. Thus, policies that suppress the extraction, delivery, and consumption of fossil fuels, or that make fossil energy less affordable, have social costs in addition to whatever compliance burdens and economic losses the policies entail.

For example, the more stringent the carbon mitigation scheme, the more severe the impacts on household income and job creationNumerous studies find that poverty and unemployment increase the risk of sickness and death. Carbon tax advocates never acknowledge this side of the ledger.

Given the continuing importance of fossil fuels to human flourishing and the undeniable connection between livelihoods, living standards, and life expectancy, carbon taxes can easily do more harm than good to public health—even if one accepts the IPCC’s version of the science.

That’s from Marlo Lewis’s excellent summary of the recent R Street-Heartland Institute debate on the carbon tax. [GlobalWarming.org, June 16]

 

 

Progressives make use of rights that progressives think should not exist. It’s a good thing for progressives—and everybody else—that one particular progressive idea hasn’t been adopted, observes Wendy Kaminer:

If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed.ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”

“The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities,” the popular People’s Rights Amendment declares. [The Atlantic, June 17]

Arthur Koestler’s protagonist in Darkness at Noon referred to the first-person singular as a “grammatical fiction” because it conflicted with the logic of self sacrifice demanded by the party. Today’s real progressives are now trying to subvert the plural form. By insisting that only individuals, not corporations, have rights, they elide the fact that corporations are made up of individual people. Individuals can’t fully exercise their rights if the things they choose to do cooperatively with others do not have the same protections as the things they choose to do alone. Maybe the American Civil Liberties Union can spread the word.

 

 

To Do: Keep an Eye on Russia

• Find out what Russia is up to with its efforts to construct a Eurasian Union. The Heritage Foundation will host a half-day conference on June 27 in Washington, D.C.

• Reflect on the Battle of Gettysburg and its meaning for the nation, which happened 150 years ago this July. Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College will make remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., at 4:30 p.m. on June 26.

• If you are a young, professional, conservative woman, come meet other young, professional, conservative women at the Network of enlightened Women’s National Conference. The conference will be held June 27 – June 28 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Christina Hoff Summers will deliver a keynote address.

• Request a free copy of the movie Amazing Grace, which tells the true story of William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery. The offer is part of the Foundation for Economic Education’s Blinking Lights Project, which educates about the importance of personal character as a vital element of free society. Be sure to check that out, too.

• Don’t forget that next week is National Employee Freedom Week, “a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.”

• Save the dates! These events are no longer classified, are they?
—The annual IEA Hayek Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, talking on “The Leave Us Alone Coalition vs. The Takings Coalition: The On-going Struggle” at 6:30 p.m. in London;
—The 42nd National Fourth of July Soiree, featuring barbeque, blue grass, balloon artists, and more at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Va., on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
—The Heritage Foundation’s annual Scholars & Scribes review of the Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term, July 11, in Washington, D.C.;
Freedom Fest, the largest gathering of free minds, July 10 – July 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas;
—and Cato University, July 28 – August 3 at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

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