FDR

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

Statist Policy and the Great Depression

It’s difficult to promote good economic policy when some policy makers have a deeply flawed grasp of history.

This is why I’ve tried to educate people, for instance, that government intervention bears the blame for the 2008 financial crisis, not capitalism or deregulation.

Going back in time, I’ve also explained the truth about “sweatshops” and “robber barons.”

But one of the biggest challenges is correcting the mythology that capitalism caused the Great Depression and that government pulled the economy out of its tailspin.

To help correct the record, I’ve shared a superb video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity that discusses the failed statist policies of both Hoover and Roosevelt.

Now, to augment that analysis, we have a video from Learn Liberty. Narrated by Professor Stephen Davies, it punctures several of the myths about government policy in the 1930s.

Professors Davies is right on the mark in every case.

Congress’ 10 Worst Infringements on Personal Liberty

The focus in on the NSA controversy and ObamaCare got us thinking — what are the worst laws passed by Congress? So we did some thinking and came up with some of the most egregious laws to be passed by Congress. The list was so large that we had to cut it into two posts one on personal liberty and the other dealing with economic liberty, which will be posted next week.

The following list isn’t in any particular order, so don’t take one bad law being ahead of another as anything significant.

Espionage Act (1917)

The Espionage Act, passed nearly two months after the United States entered World War I, has had startling ramifications for free speech in the United States. Shortly after becoming law, Eugene Debs, a socialist and labor leader, was arrested and convicted for giving a speech that “interfered” with the recruitment of soldiers for the war effort. The law primarily used for prosecution of alleged spies and whistleblowers working in the government. For example, the government tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame under the act, but the jury declared a mistrial. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has also been charged under the Espionage Act. Both Ellsberg and Snownden’s disclosures were embarrassments for the government.

Indian Removal Act (1830)

Ranking the Presidents from a libertarian perspective

I remember some time ago – maybe as far back as a couple of years ago – I saw a link pointing to a list ranking the presidents on a libertarian scale. I did some digging around tonight, and I believe that this is that list I saw.

Of course, it’s all subjective. There are several lists like this one, and they all vary a little bit depending on the views of the person who wrote the list. I say that to stress that while I’m linking to this list, I didn’t write it, so don’t assume that I endorse everything in it.

His top five U.S. Presidents:

  1. Martin Van Buren
  2. Grover Cleveland
  3. John Tyler
  4. Calvin Coolidge
  5. Zachary Taylor

And, of course, no “best of” list is any good without an accompanying “worst of” list. Here are his list of the worst 5 presidents:

  1. George W. Bush
  2. Abraham Lincoln
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. Ronald Reagan
  5. Harry S. Truman

A few of my thoughts on the list:

The U.S. Constitution, Obama’s Door Mat

A few days after the 2008 elections, Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of President-Elect Obama’s transition team, was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press”, where she stated: “ [Obama] is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.” At the time it was written off by most as simply a poor choice of words, but after the last three years in which Obama has compiled an inglorious record of contempt for the Constitution, Jarrett’s words now have proven prophetic. Obama has even surpassed FDR in the sheer brazenness of his contempt for our nation as a rule of law under the Constitution, and in attempts to make servants of the other co-equal branches of government.

Obama truly seems to see himself in the role of a king, with power to enforce his agenda by sheer will, ignoring law and precedent in crushing opposition to his executive branch tyranny. Two recent events have added to our despicable president’s legacy of corruption, disdain and contempt for the Constitution; his signing of the National Defense Appropriations Act, which funds military and defense operations, but that also contains a provision that should terrify every American that loves freedom; and Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Term Limits

Since I missed out on the earmarks debate between Jason and Doug this week (I agree with Doug, btw), I figured now would be a good time to “stir the pot” with regard to a subject that seems to be gaining ground among many in the more “conservative” political circles.

The meme among many involved in politics is that because we limit the number of terms for the Presidency, most Governorships, and many municipal officials, we should also limit the terms of those serving in Congress.  The arguments are full of logic and seem to make a LOT of sense, and I think the idea is palatable for most Americans.  The idea that a Senator would only serve two terms or that a Congressman would serve four or six or eight terms, depending on which proposal you read or hear about.  My opposition lies, as do many things I find myself in the minority about, in the details.

Presidential Responsibility Lacking

A year and a half into office, President Obama still has many of the same problems that were waiting for him on day one. The economy is horrid, we’re fighting two wars, and Americans are apathetic about government just to name a few. The President, and his supporters, have pointed out that he inherited many of these problems. They weren’t of his making, they argue. This is may be true, many of them they were waiting for him on day one, so indeed he inherited them.

But at some point, you’ve got to stop blaming Bush and take some responsibility on your own. A year and a half into office, the economy is fully yours. The wars are yours too. It sucks, but they’re yours anyways.

You see, I’m not fan of George W. Bush. The only time I remotely liked him as a president was after 9/11, and that was short lived. I felt hope when President Obama was inaugurated, hoping against hope that he had a more libertarian bent than I expected. Yes, I too got caught up in the hope that was Barack Obama.

It didn’t last.

In short order, the President began showing that he and President Bush weren’t all that different. TARP II was just one example, since it wasn’t much different than TARP. Bailouts aplenty were the cause of the day, just as it had been in previous administrations. But these were hardly the most egregious examples of the similarities between the two men.

Those examples fall into his refusal to close down Guantanamo Bay, despite campaign promises to do so. It’s his refusal to draw down Iraq, and his desire to escalate Afghanistan. So much for that Nobel Peace Prize, huh?

His economic policies have failed to bring about the recovery hoped for. The second stimulus was geared towards public works projects, improving infrastructure, etc. But it hasn’t really brought about the job growth necessary. It’s just spent money like there was no tomorrow.

In Defense of Brandy

President Obama showcased his ignorance of world political history at the G-20 summit in London recently when he made a crack at his political predecessors’ penchant for back-room brandy sessions:

Well, if there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, that’s an easier negotiation. But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in.

I realize that every generation likes to think of itself as unique and facing problems their ancestors did not. It’s the easiest way to excuse failure. No one will blame a world leader for poorly handling a challenge that the world has never seen.

New Year Predictions by the UL Staff

John Killian

National
* Barack Obama will realize that Congress is not ready to go along with his progressive agenda. Many Southern and rural Midwestern Democrats were elected as pro-life conservative Democrats. Hence, his Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will never see the light of day.
* With nervousness on the economy, Obama will not push for Nationalized Health Care. You will see some adding around the edges, but no major increases in federal programs. Obama’s advisers will warn him about the effect of more spending and especially, more taxes on our fragile economy.

Time Magazine Cover: Obama as FDR

Obama will be featured on the cover of Time Magazine again (for what, the millionth time?), but this one may actually grab people’s attention and help their struggling sales. In the Nov. 24th issue they are featuring Obama as FDR. Obama should attempt to learn from FDR, but only to the extent of learning what not to do.


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