I am generally against most all government activities in the marketplace, especially those that involve social micromanagement; however, there is one idea that started on the left and has been making its way through the libertarian sphere that has some good potential. I am talking about a revenue neutral carbon tax, one which reduces or completely replaces other taxes such as payroll, income, capital gains/dividends, etc.
It turns out that Congressman David Price (B.J. Lawson’s opponent in this year’s election) has some very good friends in the financial sector, which has given his campaigns a whopping $637,000 over his career, more than 2/3 of which has come from financial PACs. Just this year, the financial sector has contributed about $57,000 to his campaign, with 65% coming from PACs.
Glen Beck is right- as usual- and it scares me.
In a speech yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) outlined the principles of a tax reform proposal that focuses on the family, equal opportunity and pursuit of happiness for all Americans.
“Today, this fundamental American ideal is hanging by a thread,” said Lee as he got into the crux of the speech. “Up and down American society – which used to be defined and driven by what Tocqueville called our ‘yearning desire to rise’ - we find a new and unnatural stagnancy.”
“We find the underprivileged trapped in poverty, sometimes for generations,” he explained. “We find the middle class caught on a treadmill, running harder every year just to maintain the economic security and social cohesion that were once taken for granted.”
News broke earlier today that the House will proceed with consideration of a “farm only” Farm Bill this week after deciding to split the agriculture and nutrition portions. The combined package failed on the House floor last month after several key crop insurance reforms were narrowly defeated and additional food stamp cuts were added.
While conservatives long have supported bifurcating the bill in this manner, the early word is that the farm portion was going to be considered under a closed rule, meaning no amendments whatsoever would be considered. That’s why we at R Street spearheaded a coalition letter of more than 20 conservative and libertarian organizations and thought leaders urging the House to pursue an open process for the bill.
The entire point of splitting the bills in the first place was to secure more serious reforms than were possible in combined legislation, due to the unique rural-urban coalition that existed for the broad package. Splitting the bills and then immediately closing off any avenues to reform just defeats the purpose.
If the House pursues this method, here’s the top seven amendments that would improve policy substantially that they’ll never even get a chance to weigh in on. Most of these were simply stonewalled by the House Rules Committee; a few were withdrawn; and others were combined into a larger package that made it impossible to deal with them individually. What they all have in common is that they never received votes the last time around and never will if a farm-only bill truly proceeds under a closed rule.
K Street lobbyists may have a thing or two to teach us about bipartisanship.
Recent reports concerning the latest NSA scandals suggest major super-computer makers, defense contractors and telecommunication companies are big on landing a hand to any member of the political class from both sides of the aisle, so long as they are ready to push for legislation outlined to promote the use of their services. We might not want to blame the companies for using the tools available to attempt to create an artificial increase in demand for their services, but we can blame the government for encouraging the push.
The Hill has announced recently that defense giants Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics have contacted the National Security Agency in the last quarter. While representatives for the firms declined to comment on what was found on the record, experts claim that lobbyists were simply following the money.
Critics are quick to point out that nobody has come out publicly to state just how much money is in play at the NSA. This piece of information could be crucial in light of claims linking lobbyists for major defense contractors and the NSA. In the recent past, General Dynamics lobbied on “funding and issues related to Intelligence Classified Annex for Fiscal Year 2013.” According to official numbers disclosed by OpenSecrets.org, General Dynamics alone spent over $22 million with lobbying efforts in past couple of years.
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.