And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Laws and Regulation–stupidities’ Category

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.

The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
phone 202.546.4400 | fax 202.546.8328


Advertisements

I thought I was pretty well up on what is happening in our country because I really try hard to keep up and do a lot of reading, but now way was I even close to knowing what is happening to everyday people just like me and you.  This article from the Heritage Foundation is an eye opener and a blood pressure raiser. Be sure and go to all the referred sites for all the information.  The time for We the People to act is now when we have the momentum with the Tea Party and other groups up and moving.  Time for you to get involved too before it has gone too far for the United States and Americans to turn the tide towards tyranny around and defeat those who would imprison us in a country no American wants to live in.  Sincerely, Brenda Bowers  BB

The Government vs. YOU

06/14/2013

Every day, more Americans get trapped by big government. In addition to groups targeted by the IRS, upstanding citizens going about their normal lives are suddenly targeted by law enforcement authorities and charged as criminals. Just a few examples:

 

 

 

USA-v-YOU

These are only a few of the shocking incidents The Heritage Foundation chronicles in our new project, USA vs. YOU. Experts at Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies reveal the stories of 22 people from all backgrounds, races, and income levels victimized by carelessly written laws.

Get the FREE e-book USA vs. YOU now >>

When criminal laws are created to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake, and compel the “right” behaviors, this troubling trend is known as overcriminalization. Ultimately, it leads to injustice for honest, hard-working Americans at every level of society.

Public interest groups from across the political spectrum recognize how this flood of criminal laws violates our basic liberties. Diverse organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Right on Crime, among others, have joined with Heritage to reaffirm the true purpose of America’s justice system: to ensure public safety and protect the innocent.

When was the last time you saw the ACLU work together with a faith-based group like Justice Fellowship? WithUSA vs. YOU, the problem is grave enough to bring together unlikely allies. And we’re delivering this bipartisan message just as the House of Representatives has launched a task force aimed at correcting this issue.

This morning, Heritage Senior Legal Fellow John Malcolm will testify at the first hearing of the Overcriminalization Task Force—shining a spotlight on the scope and severity of this threat to our liberties. Ending the practice of trapping our citizens with unnecessary laws will be no easy task, with an estimated 4,500 criminal law offenses and 300,000 criminal regulations on the books.

Experience the stories of Americans like you treated unjustly – download the FREE e-book now >>

Over the next six months, Members of Congress from both parties will study this issue in depth, hold hearings, and—with the right encouragement—take steps to enact real reform.

This new effort includes tools for you to raise your voice and make a difference in defending our liberties. So explore the documented stories in USA vs. YOU, follow the links, and take real action today to help turn the tide.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Quick Hits:

  • President Obama has changed his policy on Syria, saying that Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons and that the U.S. will provide military support to the rebels.

 

 

 

  • Investigative journalist James O’Keefe has produced some shocking stories of corruption. In a new book, hedetails his undercover work with Project Veritas.

 

  • For decades, inappropriate IRS behaviors have been revealed. Each time, the agency has assured the public that it takes these breaches “very seriously.”

 

This man has so much to say and makes just entirely tooo much sense!  Our problems are indeed great but the answers are relatively simple if we but had the guts and intelligence to take  our medicine after all these years of living high on the hog on a credit card from China and other countries we are now indebted to.  BB

VIDEO: Dr. Ben Carson Speaks Truth to Power at National Prayer Breakfast

Josh Shepherd  (CLICK  NAME OF AUTHOR TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE VIDEO)

February 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Yesterday, world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson presented the keynote address at the 61st Annual National Prayer Breakfast. With President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other national leaders in attendance, Dr. Carson spoke plainly about the great challenges America faces today: “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.”

“One of our big problems right now is our deficit,” Dr. Carson states. “Our national debt, 16 and a half trillion dollars—you think that’s not a lot of money? Counting one number per second, you know how long it would take to count to one trillion—507,000 years.”

Dr. Carson continued:

I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions… What about our taxation system? It is so complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle. That doesn’t make any sense.

What we need to do is come up with something that’s simple. The inherently fair principle is proportionality: you make 10 billion dollars, you put in a billion. You make 10 dollars, you put in one. Of course, you have to get rid of the loopholes.

Some people say, ‘That’s not fair! It’s doesn’t hurt the guy who made 10 billion dollars.’ Where does it say you have to hurt that guy? He just put a billion dollars into the pot!

Similar to Dr. Carson’s ideas, The Heritage Foundation has proposed a new flat taxas part of the landmark reform plan Saving the American Dream.

Growing up in dire poverty, Dr. Carson tells of taking responsibility for his own decisions thanks to “a mother who believed in me, who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened—she never made excuses, and she never accepted excuses from us.”

Carson says his mother paved the way for a better life by insisting he and his brother read rather than watch television:

After awhile, I actually began to enjoying reading those books. I read about people of great accomplishment.

As I read those stories, I began to see a connecting thread: the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you. You make decisions, and you decide how much energy you put behind those decisions. At that point I didn’t hate poverty anymore, because I knew it was only temporary: I could change that.

Dr. Ben Carson, whose life was dramatized in the 2009 film Gifted Hands, recently authored the book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great with his wife Candy.

An annual event in Washington, D.C., the National Prayer Breakfast presents “a call to spiritual mobilization” to Congress and “leaders in our nation who carry great burdens.” As keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, Carson follows in the footsteps of author Eric Metaxas who in 2012 delivered a speech equally as challenging to national leaders.

Related Posts

We Americans believe that we are the truly free people in the world, but this since Obama is a myth,  a lie!  We are not at all FREE because the one thing that made us Free–our capitalist system— has been almost destroyed by Obamanation.  Thru the overwhelming intrusion of the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and Obama’s pandering to the unions with his radical liberal stacked National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) our economy and the business (capitalism) that fuels it has been so handicapped as to be crippled.  The United States now ranks 10th. in the world in the list of  free economies.   Hong Kong and Singapore rank as 1 and 2!    How did we get here?  Why are We the People willing to accept this situation?  When will the workers of America realize that it is in our best interest for the FREE Market to truly be free?   Have any of you ever gotten a job from a poor man?  NO! NO!  It is the rich man who invests in companies which then provide the jobs for all of us to get ahead.  Damnit anyhow.  I am so tired of hearing “tax the rich” and “spread the wealth around”.  The government taxes the rich means the rich do two things:  stop investing  and creating  American businesses  and 2.  move their money out of the United States.  People do you remember the tax payer bail out of Chrysler and the Unions by Obama?  Well don’t look now but Chrysler is now producing JEEPS in China.  Yes!  They took our tax payer dollars and politely moved their operation to a freeier  less government intrusive and union demanding China.  (But don’t you union guys worry because your pensions and benefits have been protected.  Of course your kids and grandkids will not have a decent life and will be paying for your demands,  but who cares , right? )

Well, my rant for today.   Read the following article and weep.  sincerely, BB

 

e America’s Ranking in the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

When we talk about “economic freedom,” what do we mean—and why does it matter?

Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.

Since reaching a global peak in 2008, sadly, economic freedom around the world has continued to stagnate.   (Now refresh my poor memory:  what happened in 2008?  Oh yes, Obama and the Democrats took over the government!  that’s what happened!  BB)

Today launches the 19th edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, produced by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The 2013Index was edited by Ambassador Terry Miller, director of Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics; Kim Holmes, Ph.D., Heritage’s Distinguished Fellow; and Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., Heritage’s president.

What are the reasons for the worldwide sluggishness? As Ambassador Miller writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Particularly concerning are the rise of populist ‘democratic’ movements that use the coercive power of government to redistribute income and control economic activity.”

While “corrupt political and legal environments cause underdevelopment in poorer countries,” Miller writes, “unfortunately, economic favoritism and cronyism exist in advanced democracies, too.” Americans are well aware, and the overall U.S. score has been dropping since 2009. From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. declined from being a “free” economy to “mostly free.” This year, it ranks 10th in the world.

 

The Most Free

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland
6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Denmark
10. United States

One reason for America’s lack of freedom is that its scores on regulatory efficiency—which include business freedom and labor freedom—have dropped. The editors point to the fact that “over 100 new major federal regulations have been imposed on business operations since early 2009 with annual costs of more than $46 billion.”

Miller explains that what happens in Washington affects not only every corner of America, but of the world:

It is no exaggeration to blame the recent slowdown in economic liberalization around the world on the lack of U.S. leadership. Trade flows—the engine of world growth—have declined as the U.S. economy has stagnated. Protectionism threatens consumers and businesses with higher costs and restrictions in supply. Ill-conceived banking regulations such as the Dodd-Frank law generate uncertainty and anxiety. And investment freedom declines in the face of higher costs and new legal and tax liabilities such as those introduced by ObamaCare. These misguided U.S. policies hurt Americans first, but others feel the harm as well.  (READ this paragraph again and again until you understand it!  Dodd-Frank and Obamacare  are bad news for Americans!  BB)

North America continues to be the world’s freest region, though Mexico was the only economy that improved its Index score over the last year. The region boasts two “mostly free” economies (Canada and the United States) and one “moderately free” economy (Mexico). It leads the world in terms of rule of law, regulatory efficiency, and open markets, but is getting worse where government spending is concerned.

About the Index

Launched in 1995, the Index evaluates countries in four broad areas of economic freedom: rule of law; regulatory efficiency; limited government; and open markets. Based on an aggregate score, each of 177 countries graded in the 2013 Index was classified as “free,” “mostly free,” “moderately free,” “mostly unfree,” or “repressed.”

The broader areas are broken down into 10 measures: property rights, freedom from corruption, fiscal freedom, government spending, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom.

The New Website

The updated website, launched today, is interactive:

  • Compare up to three countries of your choice on all 10 measures of economic freedom with an interactive, color-coded chart feature.  (Do this now to see how America has fallen in all areas since Obama!  BB )

Each country’s profile includes quick facts such as its population, gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rate, and the amount of foreign investment flowing into the country—and you can embed this data in your blog or website.

Visit the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

Heritage Foundation has done an excellent job out spelling out just how Obamacare is going to destroy the healthcare system of the United States which is considered the best in the world.  At the same time it is now beyond a doubt going to be the most expensive health care system in the world.  AND YES, it will indeed have the  Death Squads that the Republicans warned us all about where unelected  non-medically trained desk jerks have the power to tell us and our doctors what medical procedures we can have.  I have all  of the details here in this final article that Heritage termed the 12 dsays of Obamacare. I chose toi keep the individual articles until this last one and then leave it to you to educate yourself.  I have been actually sickened by the details of each article.   You can read them all and see for yourself.  Of course by electing Obama to a second term we Americans are stuck with this monster.  BB

 

12 Days of Obamacare Surprises: An Optional Medicaid Expansion

Alyene Senger

December 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

(0)

Not all surprises are good. When it comes to Obamacare, the original projections are turning into unfortunately different realities. For the past 11 days, Heritage has highlighted one of the various changes in Obamacare projections (e.g., cost, enrollment, etc.) from when the law first passed until now. This Christmas morning will be the last day in this blog series and will highlight a positiveObamacare surprise.

In 2014, Obamacare expands Medicaid eligibility to able-bodied, childless adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). If a state chose not to expand, the federal government would stop funding their existing Medicaid programs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that by 2016, Obamacare would drive an additional 17 million Americans into Medicaid.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion was unconstitutionally coercive, ensuring state that chose not to expand would not lose existing federal assistance. Due to the Court’s ruling, the CBO now estimates that 6 million less Americans will be enrolled in the failing Medicaid program in 2022.

Surprise: While additional federal funding is available to those states that expand, the states will be burdened with the true cost. At least 20 states are planning to not expand or are unlikely to expand their Medicaid programs, according to Politico. The Supreme Court’s decision dealt a major blow to Obamacare and shifted a great deal of power to the states. This Christmas, in light of Obamacare’s many other mandates and requirements, this optional part of the law is certainly something to be thankful for.

12 Days of Obamacare Surprises:

11. Unlikely deficit reduction…

10. Unelected bureaucrats on IPAB…

9. Increased employer penalties…

8. More cuts to Medicare…

7. Loss of employer-sponsored insurance

6. A 50/50 split on enrollment estimates

5. More uninsured Americans

4. Increased exchange subsidies

3. Big tax increases

2. The small business tax credit

1. And the individual mandate.

I wondered why the Federal Reserve would order banks to take a “stress test”  that would determine how well they were able  to withstand  a sudden and severe drop in the stock market unless they were anticipating such a drop.  Guess my wondering is in good company a contributor to Big Government blog had the same wonder but he put his into perspective as to what this would do to the country.  Interesting post.  I might advise you all to buckle up and hang on out there.   At least that is what I am doing! BB

Fed Warns Unemployment May Double Great Depression

by Chriss W. Street

I warned last week that a recession and higher unemployment were about to hit the U.S. economy. On Tuesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis cut their estimate of growth in the third quarter ending September from 2.5% to 2%. Then on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve rocked financial markets by forcing America’s 31 largest U.S. banks to “stress test” balance sheets to determine their capability to withstand an 8% drop in the economy; which would cause home prices to plunge by 21%, and unemployment rate to jump to 13%.

I illuminated in my report that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been under-counting unemployment by at least 2%. For a nation reporting 154.4 million workers; this means the 13.9 million reportedly unemployed should actually be 17 million. Given only 12.8 million were unemployed at the 1933 peak of the Great Depression, when the undercounting and the Fed’s stress test are added the total is 23.2 million unemployed; almost double the Great Depression.

(The only reason we are not seeing bread lines and homeless people flooding the streets is that now we have the federal government handing out up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits as well as 47+ million people on food stamps.  during the Great Depression these programs were not available..  Which certainly proves the statement I have been making for decades that the next depression would make the so-called “Great” one look like a Sunday picnic.     Of course the  unemployed as well as the employed and their great grandchildren are on the hook for all the money that is being borrowed to pay for these benefits!  Which brings me to the second difference between now and then:  big business was on the hook and were the ones going into deep debt and bankrupt rather than the people via our government, but during these intervening years Congress has undertaken to protect business  and even banking by taking on the risk of doing business in America while not enforcing the rules that business “help” pay for these protective programs.  One of the most egregious business protecting programs that Uncle Sam has taken from business is the promise to pay retirement benefits if a business is unable to do so.  Companies are suppose to pay into a trust fund for these programs but they don’t and no one is watching the store to see that they do!  Companies do not even have to go bankrupt in order for the government to step up to the plate with our wallets open!  BB)

Formerly bullish top bank analyst Dick Bove in an Bloomberg interview commented on the Fed:

“By taking these draconian views of what could happen in the market, if they in fact force the banks to defense themselves against the outlook that they’ve put up, they’ll cause a recession,”

Consistent with my prediction that the booming production of capital goods would fall hard next year after the expiration of the 100% “bonus depreciation” tax credit; the bad news parade picked up steam this week with reports that U.S. durable goods orders fell 0.7 percent last month and initial jobless claims came in higher than Wall Street analyst’s predictions.

On the always dismal European front, interest rates on German “Bund” Treasury Bonds exceeded the interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds for the first time as traders feared the financial turmoil of Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain (aka the “PIGS”) is causing a financial contagion that may implode solvency of German banks. Peter Cecchini, head of investment strategy at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York reporting on effects of the European financial crisis for the rest of the world: “Evidence is slowly mounting that containment is a pipe dream,”

In the delightful Middle East, the Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush left its traditional theater of operations watching Iran and the Persian Gulf, and moved to the closest point to Syria in preparation for implementing a “no-fly-zone” by American, European, and Arab League forces. CBS also just reported: “The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart “immediately,” and Turkey’s foreign ministry urged Turkish citizens on pilgrimages to “return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria.”

During the month of November the equity shares of the 31 banks the Fed directed to begin their stress test have now fallen 13%; with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America trading at their lowest prices since the lows of the Great Recession in March of 2009. If the economy heads for a sharp recession and unemployment leaps, there will be hell to pay for politicians in November’s election.

And of course with all this happening our Congress men and women in their appointed  Super Committee made up of the greatest brains (?????)  in Congress failed to agree to taking  3 cents out of every dollar the government spends for the next ten years!  There seems to be a movement of saner heads in Congress to bring the President’s appointed deficit Reduction Committee’s  (known as the Simpson-Bowles Committee) recommendations to a vote.  I expect this to happen in the Republican controlled House of Representatives and to pass.  but Democrat Senator Harry Reid will not allow it to come to the floor for a vote in the democratically controlled Senate.  There are i believe now a total of 48 bills  that were passed in the House that are sitting on the shelf in the Senate!  BB

This Week in Government Failure | Cato @ Liberty.

This Week in Government Failure

Posted by Tad DeHaven

Over at Downsizing the Federal Government, we focused on the following issues this past week:

  • It’s darkly comical that the same entity responsible for killing countless private sector jobs with its taxes and regulations operates job training programs.
  • Warren Buffett should put up or shut up.
  • Two polls of likely voters released by Rasmussen Reports indicate that the federal government’s corporate welfare programs should be prime targets for spending cuts.
  • (Wanted to make sure you saw the results of these polls.

    Voters Don’t Support Corporate Welfare

    Two polls of likely voters released by Rasmussen Reports today indicate that the federal government’s corporate welfare programs should be prime targets for spending cuts.

    The first poll found little support for the Small Business Administration’s lending programs:

    • A majority (58 percent) of likely voters said that the federal government shouldn’t guarantee loans issued by private lenders to small businesses. 23 percent said the government should back small business loans and 19 percent were unsure.
    • A majority (59 percent) of likely voters said that reducing government regulations and taxes would be more helpful to small businesses than the government providing loans to small businesses that can’t obtain financing on their own. 22 percent said the government loans were better and 18 percent were unsure.  ( I am definitely among the 58%!  BB)
    • Entrepreneurs particularly believed that reducing government regulations and taxes is preferable to government lending programs. 76 percent of entrepreneurs felt that way and 61 percent opposed government loans to small businesses that couldn’t obtain financing. (These are the people with the ideas People.  So listen to them carefully because they are the movers and shakers of America.  In fact, these people are almost uniquely America because America is (or at least ONCE WAS) the only place on earth where these people with ideas and dreams could make their dreams come true.  Obamanation has brought this to a halt and is working hard to kill the entire idea of anyone in America having an original thought.  BB)

    (See this new Cato essay on why the Small Business Administration should be terminated.) (AGREED!  BB)

    Similarly, the second poll found little support for various federal corporate welfare programs:

    • Only 15 percent of likely voters said the federal government should continue to provide funding for foreign countries to buy military weapons from U.S. companies. 70 percent were opposed and the rest were undecided.  (Where in Hell did they find the 15%!??!  BB)
    • Only 29 percent of likely voters said the government should continue to provide loans and loan guarantees to help finance export sales for large corporations. 46 percent were opposed and the rest were undecided. (See Sallie James’ new Cato paper on why the Export-Import Bank should be terminated.)  (I am sure this undecided vote was because the respondents could not understand the question.  ONLY large well o0rganized and connected companies export their products and these companies surely do not need any tax dollars to do so as they will continue on their own if a profit is being made.  I would like to say this practice will come to a halt after 2012 when we get a person with sense in the White House but congressmen on the company dole are not likely to stop anything that might annoy their buds.  BB)
    • Only 37 percent of likely voters said the federal government should continue providing farm subsidies. A plurality (46 percent) said farm subsidies should be abolished and 17 percent weren’t sure. (See this Cato essay for more on farm subsidies.)   (Just for information purposes:  the so-called “family farm” ain’t the family farm anymore People.  The Family Farm is now BIGGGGGGG Agribusiness and just like any other business it certainly doesn’t need our tax dollars.  But just play hell getting rid of it!  BB)
    • The Washington Post asks for budget plans. We have one.   (No comments from me here because it ALL makes a lot of sense and I hope you go to all the sites referred and read carefully.  BB)
    • Despite Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s role in driving the housing bubble and $160 billion in taxpayer losses (so far), President Obama appears to be considering just putting the same failed system in place.   (Did anyone really expect anything else??!  By the way, Fannie Mae is the outfit that gave  me the deal on my house.  but it really wasn’t a deal at all, it was where the price of the house would have been if government had not gotten into the notion of everyone deserves and has a “right” to own a home and started making sure everyone got one regardless of if they could pay for it.  the government getting in of course made the prices for houses go sky high.  Just as the government getting into anything causes the prices of that good or service to go sky high—-haven’t we learned a thing yet?  Those supplying the goods or service are not dumb and know they will get their price no matter where they set it.  Government got into medical care with Medicare and Medicaid and doctor, hospitals, medical supply companies, health insurance companies and drug companies all sent their  prices  up by double digits for 40 years.  Government got into education and colleges and universities went hog wild at the banquet of federal money via the students.  As sure as the moon follows the sun and the sun follows the moon the big money will follow the government money.  BB)

See topic cloud at bottom of page for specific topics.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 97 other followers

BB’s file cabinet