Today in Liberty: House GOP ready to give up on debt ceiling, minimum wage and jobs, fis-cons come out against Farm Bill

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.” — F.A. Hayek

— Yet another Republican surrender, debt ceiling edition: Remember when House Republicans were talking tough about the debt ceiling in mid-December after they completely surrendered on spending cuts. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), for example, said that they “don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit” debate. Yeah, they’re about to surrender on that issue, too. Via Politico: “The most senior figures in the House Republican Conference are privately acknowledging that they will almost certainly have to pass what’s called a clean debt ceiling increase in the next few months, abandoning the central fight that has defined their three-year majority.”

—  Yes, enforcement of drug laws is worse than drug abuse: In response to a Michael Gerson column arguing that the liberalization of drug laws would “damage and undermine families and communities and ultimately deprive the nation of competent, self-governing citizens.” Radley Balko, however, argues that the war on drugs actually does more to damage families and degrade human nature than drug use itself. “Our effort to prohibit drugs turns peaceful market competition into violent wars for turf. It corrupts public servants, public agencies, and public institutions. And it has turned entire communities against not only the police, but the very idea of a state-administered justice system,” writes Balko. “I have no doubt that in some cases, drug abuse can “degrade human nature” on an individual level. But on a large scale, it’s hard to imagine how they could degrade peaceful human interaction, civic order, and civil society more than our efforts to prohibit them.”

— Maybe this is why Dems have gone soft of civil liberties: Jack Hunter reminds us that Charles and David Koch, brothers who are often the target of ridiculous attacks from the far-left, gave $20 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help with its campaign to reform the USA PATRIOT Act, the law through which the NSA is spying on us. Let that sink in for a second — the left’s favorite target, the Koch brothers, has done more for civil liberties than President Obama.

— What pollsters don’t ask about in minimum wage surveys: President Obama made yet another pitch for a minimum wage increase. While many supporters point out to polls that show support for the proposal, Emily Ekins reminds us of a recent Reason-Rupe survey which found that 57% of Americans oppose a minimum wage hike if it means that employers would have to lay off or hire fewer workers.

— Massie hails industrial hemp programs: In a statement from his office, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a member of the House Liberty Caucus, touted the inclusion of a bipartisan amendment in the Farm Bill that would allow colleges and universities to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. “The inclusion of our industrial hemp amendment in the farm bill reflects widespread support for cultivating industrial hemp and proves Congress can work together in a bipartisan fashion to help the American economy at a time when creating jobs is a national priority,” said Massie. “I am further encouraged to continue working with Congressmen Blumenauer, Polis, and Schrader to pass HR 525, our standalone industrial hemp bill that will eventually permit all farmers to cultivate hemp in states like Kentucky that allow it.”

— Fiscal conservative groups strongly oppose Farm Bill: FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth announced yesterday that they will key vote “NO” on the 949-page, nearly $1 trillion Farm Bill on their respective scorecards. “[T]his bill continues, for blatant political reasons, the unholy marriage of agricultural subsidies and food stamps – two completely separate issues. At a minimum, these two programs should be voted on as separate, stand-alone bills,” said Andy Roth of the Club for Growth. “True reform would also include implementing a plan to devolve the food stamp program to the states and eventually eliminate federal agricultural subsidies. This bill is well short of that goal. Instead, it’s a ‘Christmas Tree’ bill where there’s a gift for practically every special interest group out there with a well-connected lobbyist, including the fresh-cut Christmas tree industry!” The measure is expected to come up for a vote this week.

— FreedomWorks announces trio of endorsements: FreedomWorks PAC announced endorsements in three U.S. House districts yesterday — Tommy Moll in (AR-04), Adam Kwasman (AZ-01), and Matt Schultz (IA-03). Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks PAC praised the three for their fiscal conservative, limited government views. The Cook Political Report rates AR-04 as “Likely Republican.” AZ-01 and IA-03 are both considered toss-ups.

— Super Bowl a super bust for taxpayers: Only one team will walk off the field as winners this Super Bowl Sunday in New Jersey. Gridiron legends will be born, and hearts will be broken. Whatever happens, writes Zenon Evans of Reason, New Jersey and New York taxpayers will spend millions to in preparation and security for the game, while getting little in the way of increased economic activity in the region.

— Government monopolies can kill: A new video from Learn Liberty notes how the free market through private companies competing with each other incentivized to quickly determine whether goods or foods are safe for use and consumption. The government monopoly, however, can take its time getting a product through bureaucratic hurdles, sometimes keeping life-saving medicines from hitting the market for years.

— This has absolutely nothing to do with Liberty: But the velociraptor crate from Jurassic Park is for sale (“WORK HER BACK! SHOOT HER! SHOOOOOOT HER!!!”), and it can be yours for the low price of $99,900.10. C’mon, people, it includes a full-size raptor!

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