Just in Time for Hillary to Declare: Bill Clinton and the Retroactive Application of Mitchell’s Golden Rule

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

 

It’s amazingly simple to reduce the burden of government spending. Policy makers simply need to impose some modest spending restraint so that government doesn’t grow faster than the economy’s productive sector.

In a display of humility that can only be found in Washington, DC, I call this Mitchell’s Golden Rule.

And, amazingly, even the International Monetary Fund agrees that spending caps are the most effective strategy for good fiscal policy.

Since I’m not a fan of the IMF, this is definitely a case of strange bedfellows!

Let’s look at some case studies of what happens when there are limits on the growth of government.

A review of data for 16 nations reveals that multi-year periods of spending restraint lead to lower fiscal burdens and less red ink.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are Staking Out the Same Ground, Just Not Exactly in the Same Way

paul and cruz

While there are varying opinions about just how much support Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul may — or may not — have in regard to running for president in 2016, those opinions begin to coalesce when it comes to what kind of policy position both men may be staking out in the run-up to that contest. Mostly because the men themselves are already taking a stand:

In the brouhaha last week over Sen. Rand Paul’s defense-spending amendment (with offsetting cuts), an interesting dynamic got a bit overlooked. And that is: Outside of the blatant trolling exercise of the budget-amendment process, when it came time to pass a budget resolution for 2016 and the next decade, the only GOP senators voting “no” were Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

Apparently Cruz would like to see a long-term reigning in of entitlement spending, Paul is more interested in making sure that whatever defense spending we alot funds toward, we are responsible in actually paying for it, rather than just kicking those costs down the road.

Radical stuff, folks. Making sure we can afford what we’re buying and actually paying for it. What madness is this?

Time to Sell Economic Growth

lower taxes for dummies

While many people like to pay attention to polls so that they can end up offering tidbits of information to their friends with relatively easy to understand numbers, when it comes to activists, polls often guide policy decisions. Right now, activists that are concerned with the concept of promoting small business growth should be leaping to sway the public and politicians toward initiatives involving tax reform. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, public opinion is trending toward cutting government spending, and decreasing taxes.

This is a concept that Libertarians and free market activists have been pointing out forever, and it seems the public is getting the message, since 52% of voters now believe that cutting government spending helps the economy. However, there is a minor dissonance in these results, since about 47% of voters would support a candidate that would tax the rich more, while dropping taxes for others - that number is up from 44% in December. So, while people are getting that taxes hurt the economy, they aren’t quite comprehending that the governmental definition of “rich” as far as taxation is concerned could include the family-owned coffee shop down the street that only employs a handful of people.

FCC Net Neutrality Ideology Out of Step with Internet Reality

monopoly

“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!” Apple advertisement, 1984.

There are now two Internets. The Internet envisioned by the ideology embodied in the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, and the Internet as it exists in reality. The “net neutral” Internet is “a garden of pure ideology” where content companies “are one people … with one cause” and network congestion is merely a figment of the imagination. The real Internet is different — congestion is commonplace and the interests of content owners are divergent.

Mandatory Voting a Disastrous Proposal

If you ever hear Obama talk about transforming America, you can bet your last red cent that he is proposing something that will undermine American liberty and the rule of law.

This time is no different. Last Wednesday, speaking to a civic group in Cleveland, Obama responded to a question about the negative impact on money in politics by going on a tangent about voting rights and about making it easier for people to vote. He declared “If everybody voted, it would completely change the political map in this country.”

Ummm, yes, that is correct, but is that “change” for better or for worse? Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” America if elected, and so he has…millions more Americans unemployed, median income down thousands, millions more on food stamps and welfare, and a complete disregard by Obama of limitations to his power. Not all change is good.

Obama Solving Voter Apathy by Antagonizing Voters

vote or die

If you’re looking for a solution to voter apathy, the last place you should look is anywhere that involves legislation. Barack Obama predictably suggested that it might not be a bad idea to make voting madatory in the U.S. Anyone that didn’t see this coming must have missed the new Oregon law that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they apply for or renew driver’s licenses and I.D.’s.

While it might be tempting to suggest that Obama simply wanted to outdo Oregon with his proposal, it probably has more to do with the fact that just making sure that more people are registered to vote won’t necessarily increase the number of people that actually cast ballots. The real issue is apathy, and the president’s solution is to simply force people to the polls. More cynical observers will also point out that the step after that would be to inform people who they must vote for in a given election.

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

Chairmen of House and Senate Budget Committees Propose Good Budgets, Particularly Compared to Obama’s Spendthrift Plan

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a budget that would impose new taxes and add a couple of trillion dollars to the burden of government spending over the next 10 years.

The Republican Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees have now weighed in. You can read the details of the House proposal by clicking here and the Senate proposal by clicking here, but the two plans are broadly similar (though the Senate is a bit vaguer on how to implement spending restraint, as I wrote a couple of days ago).

So are any of these plans good, or at least acceptable? Do any of them satisfy my Golden Rule?

Here’s a chart showing what will happen to spending over the next 10 years, based on the House and Senate GOP plans, as well as the budget proposed by President Obama.

Ayn Rand and the Nature of Net Neutrality (Among Other Things)

markcuban

Most politically-minded people, from all corners of the spectrum, are familiar with Ayn Rand, particularly her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, where society’s “producers” drop out and create a new society distinct from the machinations and manipulations of the “looters”. In fact, the Occupy Wall Street group, in some weird parody of Rand’s ideas, tried to do something similar, if almost exactly inverse, to what Rand’s Galt’s Gulch group managed to achieve. They failed in New York, however, because they forgot the most basic rule: you can’t be a looter and achieve success on your own. Looters and moochers must, by definition, take from others. Hence, Occupy Wall Street, a dirty collection of the most useless layabouts seeking an easy way to be subsidized in their effort, was an abject failure.

Mark Cuban, inarguably an entreprenurial producer of high caliber, surely knows this. And so it’s a little surprising he’s a little surprised that the effort to regulate the internet and socialize online interaction looks so remarkably like what he’s read in Rand’s novels. Because, as Robert Tracinski of The Federalist points out, Net Neutrality is just the latest in a long line of regulatory regimes that Rand predicted with almost scary accuracy lo these many years ago.

The Ferguson Report Should be the Catalyst for National Criminal Justice Reform, and Conservatives Should Lead

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After briefly flirting with using the DOJ report on the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson police department to continue tone deaf whining about the #HandsUpDontShoot protest slogan, conservatives are finally coming to realize the real importance of the report. It should be the catalyst for nationwide criminal justice reform, and they should lead that effort.

This week, leading conservative publications RedState, National Review, and Commentary all have long posts explaining in depth the horrific actions of the Ferguson PD and why conservatives should be leading the charge for reform, not making excuses.

For example, the police department, allegedly a public safety organization, was primarily used to pad the city budget:

 


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