President Barack Obama has frequently claimed that he has no lobbyists working in his administration. But that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. In fact, the Obama Administration is filled with lobbyists. And with the appointment of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the communications and technology industries, it’s about to get another one.
Over at Reason, Peter Suderman explains that Wheeler, who will replace outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, was a top bundler for both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and he appears to have interest in seeing the role of the FCC expanded, which isn’t a good sign:
The Senate moved closer to passing the Internet sales tax on Thursday. The chamber had already started debate on the measure, dubbed the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” but the vote last week bypassed any hope of a filibuster. Some conservative groups are increasing their efforts in opposition to the tax.
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, presented the constitutional case against the Internet sales tax. The case is in response to recent comments by David French, a lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, who said, “The industry is evolving very rapidly, and the law today is a 20th-century interpretation of an 18th-century document that is holding back the entire retail industry as it adapts to 21st-century consumer preferences and demand.”
“The Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution affirms that states cannot tax across their borders. Physical presence within a state’s boundaries is required for a state to be able to tax a business, a consumer, or a sale,” John Kartch wrote at ATR’s blog in response to French. “The Constitution is clear: a person or business must be physically present within a state’s borders in order to be taxed. By suggesting the Constitution is outdated, Internet tax pushers align themselves with the rhetoric of far-left judicial activists.”
Occupy Wall Street was able to capture media attention at the end of 2011 and early 2012 as they camped out in various cities across the country to protest bailouts and other policies that they believe favor big banks. While they had a point in protesting taxpayer-funded bailouts, they were incredibly misguided to believe that the government that doled out taxpayer funds to irresponsible banks would actually solve the problem.
Rather than targeting Congress and the Federal Reserve with their frustration, capitalism, which they believe led to the bailout of the biggest banks in 2008, was their most frequent. Of course, this is because they don’t understand the difference between corporatism and free market capitalism.
Corporatism — collusion between the government and “private” industry — is the economic system that most resembles what we have in the United States. However, capitalism is an economic system that forces private-sector businesses to stand or fall on its own merits.
During a recent debate on Occupy Wall Street at Oxford Union, Daniel Hannan, a Conservative Member of the European Parliment, explained that the frustration from the movement was justified, but also misdirected.
In his 10-plus minute talk, Hannan expressed some frustration, noting, “I can’t believe that I’m having to come to the Oxford Union and explain that subsidies and nationalizations are the opposite of capitalism.”
“In a capitalist system, bad banks would have failed, their profitable operations would have been sold to more efficient competitors — bond holders would have lost money, shareholders would have lost money, some depositors would have lost money, taxpayers would not have contributed a penny,” said Hannan.
Back during the 2008 election, then-candidate Barack Obama promised Americans that he would keep lobbyists out of his administration. Unfortunately, like so many other promises he made, Obama hasn’t quite lived up to the “hope” and “change.” But don’t tell that to Anna Palmer of Politico, who recently wrote that lobbyists are “ready for a comeback under Mitt Romney.”
This piece caught the eye of Tim Carney, who frequently shows the connections between big business and big government — what many would call “corporatism” — at the Washington Examiner. Carney took Palmer’s assertion that Obama has run a lobbyist-free administration completely apart, numbering 55 different registered lobbyists who have work for the Obama Administration — ranging from inside the White House to important cabinet-level positions.
Here’s a taste of Carney’s epic takedown of Palmer (numbers next to the names are part of the count of lobbyists in the administration):
Palmer writes of the possibility of Romney
“Allowing lobbyists back into the White House”
You mean after he kicks out the lobbyists in Obama’s White House like Patton Boggs lobbyist Emmett Beliveau (7), O’Melveny & Myers lobbyist Derek Douglas (8), and Pfizer’s, AT&T’s lobbyist at Akin Gump Dana Singiser (9)?
Romney would have to toss out Obama’s orders, which shook up how President George W. Bush did business and let Obama claim his agenda wouldn’t be hijacked by special interests.
Private property is at the heart of the free market, which Murray Rothbard described as the “field of exchange of title of ownership between individuals.”
Today, almost no one talks about private property in America any longer. This used to be the defining aspect of the American Ideal. That individuals were able to acquire, control and dispose of property as they saw fit without the coercive hand of government. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer American’s believe in that fundamental idea.
The “No Trespassing” sign that people put up in their yards is exactly what the idea of private property is all about. It is the fact that this land, your property, your person are private. That means they do not belong to the “collective,” they are not “communal property” to be used or dispersed by some benevolent despot, gang of “voters” or enlightened cadre of professors and politicians.
The motto “Don’t Tread on Me” is simply a “No Trespassing” sign. I would like to see “No Trespassing” signs become the hallmark of the Freedom Movement because if you can not own property, then you can not live free.
Private property is about self-ownership and, as Ludwig von Mises wrote, ”Control denotes ownership.” If you can dispose of something than you are its effective owner. In America today, how much “private property” do any of us truly own?
The government today uses three main ways to reduce your “control” over your property. That is through taxation – the outright seizure of your property; through inflation, which is the devaluation of your money (one half of every transaction you enter into); and through regulation, in which your control of your property and person are greatly reduced and in a lot of cases totally usurped by the state.
From the Charles G. Koch Institute’s Crony Chronicles project.
According to Politico, it appears that Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who flirted with a presidential bid last year, will be included in the opening day events at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, Florida:
Convention organizers won’t say what he’ll be doing in Tampa or whether he’ll address the delegates there. But they promise the controversial billionaire and prominent anti-President Barack Obama provocateur will be part of their opening day schedule.
Mitt Romney has embraced Trump this campaign season, including attending a Las Vegas fundraiser in May thrown by the reality TV star.
Trump has generated some buzz with recent posts on Twitter saying he was planning a “big surprise” at the convention next week. But for the first time sources are confirming Republicans will indeed enlist Trump to be part of their opening day act.
Trump’s appearance will come on a day with a theme titled, “We Can Do Better,” which appears likely to amount to a coordinated attack on Obama’s time in office.
“We are going after Obama,” said Kyle Downey, a convention spokesman. “If he doesn’t want to talk about his failed record, we will. The American people expect and deserve better.”