Hey, Leftists, “economic patriotism” should mean getting government out of the way for business owners to succeed

Business owners will do anything to make sure their businesses are successful.

A strong feeling of apathy, sometimes, is the natural consequence of having experienced too many obstacles in the process of getting your idea off the ground. Every now and then, would-be entrepreneurs become frustrated and walk away. Others end up looking for diverse, creative ways of getting around what they deem too complicated.

What all business owners have in common is the urge to make things happen: a kind of acute dedication harbored only by people fired up by a strong sense of purpose. They are everywhere, from your favorite food truck’s owner to Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk. They will go to great lengths to get things done.

While on my trip to Detroit for a series of panels and interviews facilitated by the Virginia-based Franklin Center, I had the opportunity to talk to the owner of a small tavern in the downtown area known as Greektown.

The Firebird Tavern, Tony Piraino said, had gone under a series of small changes to its structure to please the ever-changing city health codes. Every now and then, the city’s health inspector appears to come up with a new thing the owner must do to make sure the place is up to date with the local regulations if he wants to continue to operate legally.

The latest changes, however, cost Mr. Piranio a couple of thousands of dollars. A quantity of cash not all small business owners have at their disposal with ease. And what was so pressing that needed such an urgent change? The doors inside of the tavern, which is housed by a Victorian style building with creaky wooden floor and charming, thick, exposed brick walls, needed panic bars. Were the doors not opening and closing before that just with a slight push?

Obama’s drones program needs some real congressional oversight, and Ted Yoho’s Drone Reform Act would make that happen

The Central Intelligence Agency has, for years, been engaged in a secret drone war, carrying out operations in the Middle East to hunt down terrorist leaders. While it’s understandable that some measure of secrecy is needed to carry out its duties, for far too long Congress has been unable to perform any meaningful oversight of the Agency’s activities.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) is trying to change that.

Yoho introduced the Drone Reform Act (H.R. 5091) earlier this month. This legislation would consolidate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, or “drones,” as they’re known to most Americans) into the Department of Defense.

“The CIA’s main mission is intelligence collection and analysis. It should not be in the business of military strikes. This legislation will bring our armed drone fleet under the jurisdiction of the DOD, where it should be,” Yoho said in a press release announcing the legislation. “If our national security requires drone strikes abroad, then one agency should be held accountable to the American people.”

Original cosponsors of the Drone Reform Act include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Conyers (D-MI), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The Drone Reform Act, Yoho’s office explains, would mean more accountability in the budgetary and appropriations process. The CIA’s budget is heavily redacted, even to members of Congress, meaning that lawmakers cannot properly account for funding and resources.

Today in Liberty: House GOP slams Harry Reid’s dictatorial Senate rule, voters remain skeptical of military intervention

“Conservatives who want to seal the border because liberal elites have taken over are directing their wrath at the wrong people. The problem isn’t the immigrants, it’s the elites and their multiculturalist predilections who want to turn America into a loose federation of ethnic groups. Conservatives are right to complain about bilingual education advocacy, anti-American Chicano studies professors, Spanish-language ballots, ethnically gerrymandered voting districts, La Raza’s big government agenda, and so forth. But these problems weren’t created by the women changing the linen at your hotel, or the men building homes in your neighborhood.”Jason Riley

Oh, look, phony populist Elizabeth Warren backs the Export-Import Bank’s brand of corporate welfare

So, something hilarious happened. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who staked her claim in politics as anti-big business, anti-bank populist, was invited to join Heritage Action to take down the crony Export-Import Bank.

Well, Warren turned down the offer. Why? Because, despite her populist rhetoric, the Massachusetts Democrats is, apparently, totally down with the Export-Import Bank’s corporate welfare ways (emphasis added):

The Tea Party-aligned group sent a letter today to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat known for taking populist stands against corporate America, inviting her to speak about  ending the lender “and the political favoritism it engenders.”

“We, like you, are frustrated with a political economy that benefits well-connected elites at the expense of all Americans,” Heritage Action Chief Executive Officer Michael Needham wrote. “Your presence will send a clear signal that you are going to fight the most pressing example of corporate welfare and cronyism pending before Congress right now.”

Alas, it doesn’t sound like the former Harvard law professor will be lecturing to Heritage audiences any time soon.

“Senator Warren believes that the Export-Import Bank helps create American jobs and spur economic growth, but recognizes that there is room for improvement in the bank’s operations,” Warren spokesman Lacey Rose tells us in an e-mail. “She looks forward to reviewing re-authorization legislation if and when it is introduced.”

Here’s why everything you’ve been told about urban planning and land-use policy is wrong

John Stossel

Michael Hamilton is a libertarian writer living in Washington, D.C. His main interests are economics, drug legalization, immigration, and land-use policy.

John Stossel is a libertarian television host on the Fox Business Channel. He uses his eponymous show and syndicated columns to cover consumer interest stories and explain sometimes-complex regulatory and economic issues to his audience from a libertarian perspective. Typical segments and columns cover the nanny state, the war on drugs, crony capitalism, and the like. I’m a fan of his work and, as a fellow libertarian, we agree on a broad range of issues. But his most recent post, “Let People Live Where They Choose,” doesn’t meet the same standards.

In it, Stossel says the Highway Trust Fund—paid for by gas taxes and fees for heavy vehicles—has been raided to pay for mass transit instead of maintaining freeways and roads. He thinks this is a bad idea, as “‘mass’ transit carries few passengers, while nearby roads are congested,” and the trust fund itself is nearly depleted.

Stossel thinks the poor state of the trust fund is just a small example of a greater effort on the part of urban planners and regulators to force freedom-loving suburbanites to live in cramped, urban areas—the very areas lefties love so much.

His version of the story sounds like an obvious case of overreach that libertarians should oppose. However, Stossel’s framing suggests that he might not know as much about land use regulation and transit as he claims.

Detroit police chief credits armed citizens — the first line of defense — for falling crime in the Motor City

Detroit Police Chief James Craig

As noted earlier this week, armed, law-abiding citizens are the first line of defense against criminals. Though police serve an incredibly important role in public safety, they simply can’t be everywhere at once, which why it’s so important that people take steps to protect themselves, especially in cities that are notorious for crime.

There’s no better example of that than Detroit, a city whose economic problems are well-known. Motor City police chief James Craig says crime is falling, as the city tries to get out end its woes, which includes a crime epidemic, and he gives partial credit to armed citizens who have sent a clear message to those who would do them harm:

Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

Ex-Im’s crony friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are targeting Justin Amash, West Michigan’s principled conservative

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming after Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). With a little more than two weeks to go in the Republican primary in Michigan’s Third Congressional District, the Chamber has thrown its weight behind Brian Ellis, Amash’s establishment-backed challenger:

“The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Brian Ellis’ congressional campaign to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” Chamber national political director Rob Engstrom said in a statement.

The move comes as no surprise. Amash has long been a thorn in the side of House Republican leadership and pro-business groups, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce had already endorsed Ellis. The national Chamber met with him back in January.

The Amash campaign responded to the endorsement by suggesting that Ellis and his crony friends are trying to buy the race for the status quo establishment, which supports reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and announced a 24-hour money bomb beginning today:

[On Wednesday], we found out that Brian Ellis has dumped more than $800,000 of his own money into the race — and his fundraising numbers were buoyed by an additional $60,000 of lobbyist and D.C. special-interest money.

Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is a disaster for those who need help the most

The Foundation for Government Accountability, perhaps the only think tank 100 percent dedicated to health care policy and welfare, has just released an extensive research on the Affordable Care Act’s most disastrous unintended consequence: its incapacity to provide care for those who need the most.

On paper, Obamacare was meant to help consumers who often found themselves cornered over their lack of health care options due to the fact they just could not afford insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid.

With the excuse of making sure the neediest amongst us were taken care of, the Obama Administration drafted an expansion of Medicaid that would cover a whole new group of people. What the expansion through Obamacare accomplished, however, turned out to be everything but positive to those who relied on the Medicaid system.

By overcrowding the system with patients who would have otherwise attempted to purchase insurance, were it available at a lower cost, those who truly need Medicaid to cover for their health care are experiencing a number of negative effects. States that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have left low-income single mothers, children, the elderly, and the disabled without essential care while covering able-bodied, working-age adults who do not have families to support.

Seriously?:Justice Department investigators didn’t know about missing IRS emails until they heard about it on the news

That’s right, folks. Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a House subcommittee that the Internal Revenue Service never told Justice Department investigators about the two years of missing emails from the time period in which the powerful tax agency targeted conservative organizations applying for nonprofit status.

Cole made the revelation during a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing on Thursday. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) asked when the Justice Department learned of the missing emails.

“I think we learned about it after that from the press accounts that were in the paper following the IRS’ notification to the Congress,” Cole replied, adding that investigators were looking at “many different forms and sources of those emails.”

Hobby Lobby wasn’t really about birth control, it was about an abuse of government power

On January 8, 2012, former Clinton spokesperson in his putative role as objective moderator of a Republican presidential primary debate fired the first warning shot in what soon became known as the “War on Women.” He asked the candidates if birth control was included in the right to privacy and if states had the right to ban it.

In what was surely a total coincidence (totally, you guys!), just days later the Obama administration would declare the federal contraception mandate for all insurance-providing companies to provide copay-free birth control in their coverage.

The War was on, contraceptives instantly became a legal right (read: entitlement), anyone who opposed forcing companies to pay for them hated women, the term “slut” became both an intolerable slur and a badge of honor, the administration and the courts both carved out religious exemptions that shrill harpies decried as emerging theocracy, and men were suddenly illegitimate politically since only women were justified in voting on health issues.

All of this is, of course, ridiculous. But the issue is now so viscerally charged that it is untouchable in the public discourse. So let’s uncharge it with a hypothetical allegory.


As part of a new Healthy America plan, Congress passed a comprehensive nutrition, exercise, and health bill, including a federal mandate for all employers with over 50 employees that requires they have a cafeteria that provides balanced meals to all employees working at least 30 hours per week.


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