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 vain of 1980s and early 1990s superhero action figures, a recently released video takes aim at the collusion between government and K Street corporations to crush competition from smaller competitors.
The Kronies shows five powerful lobbyist superheroes — Kaptain Korn, Big G, Parts & Labor, Ariel Stryker, and Bankor — who use their political influence to get protectionist tariffs, bailouts, and other deals for their rent-seeking industries. Or, as the video puts it, “Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force.”
Though it’s unclear who is behind the video, it sums up perfectly the cronyism in Washington. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), for example,” wrote on his Facebook page, “Here’s how government ‘works’ in one short video.”
Michael Moore, the far-leftist “documentarian,” penned an editorial at The New York Times on New Year’s Eve in which he marked the first day of insurance coverage for those who purchased plans on the exchanges by declaring that “Obamacare is awful.”
“For many people, the ‘affordable’ part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums,” wrote Moore. “And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year.”
Those comments echo conservative critiques of Obamacare, which generally revolve around the mandates and other requirements of the law that are responsible for raising the cost of health insurance coverage. Insurers have tried to hide the cost of these government-approved health plans by raising deductibles.
Moore also noted that Obamacare is a “pro-insurance-industry plan,” which, again, is a criticism of the law from many conservatives. Andrew Stiles of the National Review, a conservative magazine, explained how insurers collaborated with the Obama Administration to push the law on Americans.
Moore isn’t exactly praising Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. He wants to scrap Obamacare and implement single-payer system, though he refers to it as “universal quality health care.” But that’s a distinction without a difference.
Were you part of the Occupy Wall Street movement or do you know someone who was and want to get a last-minute Christmas gift for the Occupier on your list? Well, thanks to capitalism, you can bring home some of the memories.
That’s right, Walmart.com, the big box retailer frequently the subject of mindless leftist rants, is selling a panoramic 27x9 poster print of Occupy Wall Street protesters encamped at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan for the low price of $42.75.
The poster only has one review as of the time this story was written. “Rated excellent for the incredible irony,” said the reviewer on Walmart.com. Indeed, the irony is so thick you can spread it on toast.
While the Occupy movement was viewed as the left’s version of the Tea Party, it has quickly faded into obscurity. Occupy was an odd movement that took to camping out in public parks or squatted on private property for days or even weeks. In each camp, organizers held a “general assembly” so that protesters could make rules and let their grievances be known.
There were calls for violent revolution against the federal government in these camps and frequent stories of unhealthy conditions. At Occupy DC, protesters could learn about collective housing — because private property is bad, apparently — and the finer points of dumpster diving.
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: