David Cameron

What Elementary Bit of Wisdom Is Shared by Donald Trump and Bono?

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published at International Liberty.

If I asked you what Donald Trump and Bono have in common, the easy and accurate answer is that they both have lots of money.

But if I asked you to identify a shared perspective by the two men, at first glance that would seem to be a much harder question.

After all, it seems like a rock star and a real-estate tycoon are about as different as two people could possibly be.

Yet the answer should be obvious.

I’ll give you a big hint. You probably have the same perspective as well.

At least if you answer “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second question.

  1. Do you ever voluntarily pay extra tax?
  2. Or do you, like John Kerry or Bill and Hillary Clinton, take prudent steps to minimize the amount of your income confiscated by government?

In other words, the perspective shared by Donald Trump and Bono is one that is widely held by every sensible person. Simply stated, your income belongs in your pocket, not in the grasping hands of politicians.

More House members urge White House for vote on Syria intervention

Members of the House of Representatives have signed two separate letters urging President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization before he launches a military strike against Syria.

In addition to the 140 signatories from both parties on the letter from Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) penned a separate missive yesterday that received support from 53 House Democrats.

“While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack,” wrote Lee in her letter to President Obama. “As such, we strongly urge you to seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.”

Lee expressed concern for human rights violations and “horrific” loss of life in Syria, but she explained that this “should not draw us into an unwise war.” The letter also lends support to efforts in the United Nations Security Council to build an “international consensus condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons” and any potential response.

UK’s Cameron loses Syria vote, Obama to push forward anyway

David Cameron

President Barack Obama finds himself in a tough position on military action his administration is planning against the Syrian government. The White House had been relying on British support for an attack against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but they were dealt a blow on Thursday evening that could undermine the international legitimacy of their plans for military action.

During an emergency session yesterday, the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for intervention in Syria. Though the vote was non-binding, Cameron has said that he will respect the “views of the British people.”

The vote was also an embarrassment for Cameron, who was unable to convince skeptical members of his own coalition — the 30 Tories and nine Liberal Democrats who voted against intervention — to back his call for military strikes against Assad. The vote is politically damaging to Cameron as there is talk that Labor-led opposition, which smells blood in the water, could call for a vote of “no-confidence” against the Prime Minister’s coalition government.

Intimidation: UK admits detention was over leaked NSA documents

Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda

The detention of David Miranda at London’s Heathrow airport was retaliation for the leaks of sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) documents that exposed the vast surveillance the United States government is conducting of innocent Americans, the United Kingdom has admitted.

Miranda — who is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the NSA documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden — was detained for nearly nine hours on Sunday at the London airport as he was trying to board a flight back back to Brazil, where the couple lives. The UK used an anti-terrorism law as the basis for the detention and seized Miranda’s effects, including his laptop computer and cell phone.

Greenwald has extensively covered the NSA’s expansive surveillance apparatus at The Guardian, a UK-based newspaper. The UK government admitted that it detained Miranda because of the NSA documents, claiming that it has a “duty to protect the public,” ostensibly accusing the Miranda, Greenwald, and The Guardian of aiding terrorists because of their coverage of Snowden’s leaks.

British Prime Minister David Cameron received regular updates about Miranda’s detention and, apparently, the UK government tipped off the White House in advance about the action they were planning to take.

Moody’s lowers United Kingdom’s credit rating

UK parliment

Moody’s Investor Service, one of the three major credit rating services, took a move last week that is sure to send some shockwaves across Europe. Moody’s lowered the United Kingdom’s credit rating due to the debt that will continue to weigh on the country:

Moody’s lowered the U.K.’s domestic and foreign-currency bond rating one notch to Aa1 and changed its outlook to stable. It is the first of the three major ratings firms to do so, though both Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings have the U.K. on negative outlooks.

The move by Moody’s is a psychological blow to the United Kingdom, which is fiercely proud of its historical position on the world stage and keenly attuned to signs of its diminishment. It is also a political blow to Prime Minister David Cameron and his chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, who has long justified his painful government spending cuts on the grounds that he is maintaining the U.K.’s triple-A rating.
[…]
“We expect the country’s debt will continue to grow in coming years,” said Bart Oosterveld, managing director in charge of Moody’s sovereign ratings group, in an interview. “In our central scenario, we don’t expect the country’s debt burden to stabilize until 2016.”

Cameron had enacted a series of austerity measures, which were met with protests and derision from opponents, aimed at curtailing the United Kingdom’s sizable welfare state. Unfortunately, these measures weren’t enough to keep the country’s credit rating in tact.

Why spending needs to be nipped in the bud

In London, there’s been protesting against government cuts.  Money is tight, and the government seeks to restore a little fiscal sanity.  Not much, this is England after all, but some.  The people, on the other hand, are bound and determined to get what they think they deserve.  This, more than anything else, is why it’s imperative to stop the fiscal insanity early.

Once an entitlement or program starts, people become attached to it quickly.  Nothing stirs the blood in politics more than the idea of a favorite program being cut, despite the necessity of it.  As more and more spending programs get trotted out, more and more money is needed to pay for it.  That means you need to actually get more money from folks, and when tough times like a down economy hits, it becomes even more important that you reign in the spending.

However, since you spend like crazy during the good times, people have gotten used to it.  They want their programs to stay, and they’re not going to just quietly let you take it away from them.  After all, they’re entitled to it!

Spending needs to be cut, and there will clearly be people who aren’t happy with it.  The cuts need to be drastic and nothing should be sacred and off the table.  However, that should be followed up in better times with more fiscal sanity.  Just because we might be in a boom time in the future doesn’t mean we should go back to spending like a drunken sailor on a three day pass.  Instead, we should hold onto any extra revenue as a cushion for further lean times.  This will help prevent need to take on more and more debt.

Of course, those people protesting usually don’t care about that.  So long as they get theirs.

Conservative Landslide in Great Britain

Waking from sleep, the Conservative Party dominated municipal elections in England and Wales in the elections held Thursday, May 1. Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is forced to retreat with some British pundits expecting Brown to step down as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party. The Labour Party has held dominance in the United Kingdom since Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997.


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