Written by Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
In 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that the one thing missing from the newly minted Constitution was some kind of limit on federal debt:
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.
Now that Washington has kicked the can on our out-of-control spending yet again, isn’t it time to reconsider Jefferson’s wish?
It may be easier than previously thought, through an ingenious spin on the balanced budget amendment (BBA). Compact for America, a Texas-based nonprofit advised by the Goldwater Institute’s Nick Dranias, is advancing an agreement among the states — called an “interstate compact” — to transform the constitutional amendment process into a “turn-key” operation. That is, a single interstate compact can consolidate all the state action involved in the Article V process: the application to Congress for an amendment convention, delegate appointments and instructions, selection of the convention location and rules, and ultimate ratification. It then consolidates all the corresponding congressional action, both the call for the convention and ratification referral, into a single omnibus concurrent resolution.
Written by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
It is no surprise that the defense contractors want to protect their profits by getting taxpayers to pony up more money. Now they have secured the support of Crossroads GPS in a commercial against Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine. The Crossroads ad follows similar ones from Kaine’s challenger, George Allen, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. All three ads claim that spending cuts under sequestration will result in devastating job losses to the defense industry and Virginia; the Crossroads ad claims 520,000 jobs will be lost. But these estimates are wildly inflated and represent the short-term interests of the defense industry, not the American taxpayer.
On Wednesday night, Americans were treated to the first of three presidential debates, focusing primarily on the economy. For many Americans, this was their first opportunity to see an unbiased, objective view of Governor Mitt Romney, one untainted by the press, which has discarded all pretense of journalistic integrity and instead rabid Obamamaniacs (some of this is subtle, like the stories the media choose to cover and how they cover them, and others are more blatant, as when MSNBC was busted recently editing video to make it appear Romney was pleading with a crowd to cheer for him, in order to make him look weak and pathetic). For Obama, having the media on your team is like being an NFL team where the referees make all the calls in your favor.
To date, Governor Romney has failed to take advantage of a plethora of evidence supporting the argument against the re-election of the president; high and sustained unemployment, slowing GDP growth, chaos in the Middle East as his foreign policy goes up in flames. Likewise, Romney has largely failed to make the case for his own election by touting his success in private enterprise, as a governor, and as a humanitarian. His failure to do so has been inexplicable. However, on Wednesday he went on the attack from the first moment, respectfully but firmly challenging the Obama narrative that the pliant media has dutifully parroted. The effect was noticeable, with Obama rarely looking at Romney, often smirking and sighing, and just looking irritated that anyone would challenge his greatness.
If you are President Obama, somehow not yet familiar with Honey Boo Boo, or if you’re in therapy after watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” please accept my sincerest apologies for the post you are about to read.
I was blissfully unaware of the whole Honey Boo Boo craze/phenomenon until I saw this post on Peach Pundit, a Georgia-focused political blog. This little girl Alana (a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) is the star of a reality show on TLC. As so brilliantly stated in that Peach Pundit post:
She has the outgoing kind of personality we like to see in children; children that belong to other people – other unrelated people – who live far, far away.
Yeah, that sums her up pretty well. So how could this 6-year-old beauty queen bumpkin be at all similar to President Obama? Here are a few ways:
1. They both outrank Republicans in TV ratings.
It’s more believable for him than for her, but he and she both topped the ratings earned by the Republican convention. And the GOP had Clint Eastwood. I don’t know if this is more of a statement about Americans’ TV preferences or Republicans in general, but either way, it’s an embarrassment.
2. They both landed a star role, despite obvious flaws.
Back during the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama told Americans on more than one occasion that they would see a net-spending cut during his first-term in office. But nearly four years, that promise hasn’t come to fruition. In fact, the national debt has grown by more than $5 trillion as spending was increased, as is taught in the Keynesian school, to “prime the pump” of the economy. Obama once said such out of control spending was “unpatriotic.” My, how things have changed.
During an interview on The Late Show on Tuesday night, President Obama told David Letterman that the national debt really isn’t a big deal:
President Obama said that the U.S. does not have to “worry” about its $16 trillion debt in the “short term.” He also could not “remember” what the nation’s total debt figures were when he entered office.
“I don’t know remember what the number was precisely,” Obama told talk show host David Letterman during an interview.
Letterman asked him if Americans should be “scared” of the trillions of dollars it owes to other countries.
“A lot of it we owe to ourselves. Because if you invest in a treasury bill or something like that then essentially you’re loaning the government money. In fact, the majority of it is held by folks who live here, but we don’t have to worry about it short term,” Obama responded.
Eleven years ago, America was attacked by bloodthirsty Muslim terrorists who hijacked commercial jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and failed in a fourth attack on the Capitol Building or the White House. Three thousand Americans died that day in the most horrific and hateful attack on American soil in history, an attack injuring not only the American economy, but the American psyche. We felt vulnerable and afraid. However, if we are to be honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge the attacks of 9/11 as only the second most destructive event during that span and, in terms of long term damage to the stability of the United States, paling in comparison to the damage inflicted upon us by the Obama administration.
Now, I am well aware this will be considered a hyper-partisan attack on our president, but I believe the facts will justify the claim. The terrorist attacks were brutal to watch, and we could witness the devastation and destruction wrought with our own eyes. The terrorists desired to crush our economy and undermine our faith in our government, to weaken us. You might even say that they wanted to “fundamentally transform” America. Yet within two years America was well on her way to recovering from those events.
It was understandable that the economy was severely damaged that day. As noted in Kiplinger Financial, on the day of the attacks, the unemployment rate was just below 5%, and in the aftermath, with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the travel, tourism, and financial industries alone, it would rise to just over 6% in 2003. However, by 2007, the unemployment rate was back down to just over 4%, and America had come roaring back.
For the most part, political conventions today are carefully scripted affairs, the platform hammered out in advance, the nominations a foregone conclusion. More than anything it is a festive gathering for thousands of partisans being rewarded for years of financial contributions, door-knocking, and phone-banking. Rarely do we see such drama as the contested Republican nomination of 1976 between Ford and Reagan, and certainly nothing like the 1912 Republican convention where the Roosevelt and Taft contingents were so bitterly divided that barbed wire lined the stage under the bunting.
The 2012 GOP convention was meant to let voters see the personal side of Mitt Romney, a man tight-lipped about his private life, religion, and charitable endeavors, painted as a ruthless businessman who cares only for profits. While toned down, it largely succeeded in its goals. Beyond that, Republicans lauded the greatness of the American entrepreneurial spirit that built this country, and rejected the idea that government gets credit for all we have.
The Democrat National Convention, on the other hand, turned into a freak show of radicals panting breathlessly about evil Republicans and the coming holocaust if Romney gets elected. It was a celebration of taxpayer funded abortions, government dependency until death, calls to steal more from the producers to give to the slothful, plus a tribute to their messianic figurehead, Barack Obama.
FreedomWorks has done it again. One of the most well known, hardest working grassroots organizations in Washington has come up with some great tools in the last couple of years. Freedom Connector, a social networking site launched last year by FreedomWorks, provides users with an easy way to meet like-minded activists in their area and plan events.
The organization has also put together FreePAC, events that bring activists together to hear speakers and gain training to take back home to put to use during an election year or on ballot initiatives. The first FreePAC, held in July, was a resounding success, the second event, which will take place this weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio is also sure to impress.
But FreedomWorks has come up with yet another useful tool, a vote tracker, for activists and concerned voters who are interested in tracking votes in Congress on economic issues, perhaps the most important matter facing the United States.The vote tracker also includes a scorecard so voters can see if their representatives and senators in Washington have the best interests of taxpayers at heart.
Earlier this week, as the Democratic National Convention was getting underway, the U.S. national debt hit $16 trillion. Politicians – particularly the Republicans – went crazy online posting on social networks about how we should resist the Democrats and their desire to run the debt up even higher.
As if Republicans in Washington are much different.
The irony, of course, is that so many of the Republicans screaming about the debt are big contributors to (and causes of) it. But while we should definitely be concerned about debt, focusing primarily on it as our problem opens the door for raising taxes. Our national debt isn’t our primary problem; it’s just a symptom of a much, much bigger problem: spending.
If we control spending, we control debt. For far too long, spending has been out of control, and the result is an out of control debt.
We have an annual deficit (because of excessive spending), and the fight in Washington is over a fraction of that deficit. Republicans push for huge deficits, but their huge deficits are slightly smaller than what the Democrats want.
Dan Mitchell recently asked the question, “Does the $16 trillion debt really matter?” That’s a great article from Dan, well worth your time for a thorough read. In short, yes, it does. But focusing on the debt as the disease isn’t the answer.
Over the last couple of years, libertarians have complained about the emphasis conservatives, particularly the Rick Santorums and Mike Huckabees their movement, have placed on social issues. We’ve noted that conservatives should focus their message on issues where they can attract agreement — such as repealing ObamaCare, lessening regulation on businesses, cutting spending, and reducing taxes.
While I support same-sex marriage and have grown increasingly pro-choice within reason, the Republican National Convention was a largely a breath of fresh air from this perspective . That’s not to say that I agree with everything said on the budget, economy or foreign policy, but the discussion of social issues was relatively mild with Republicans choosing instead to place a heavy focus on the economic record of President Barack Obama.
But watching the Democratic National Convention off-and-on for a couple of days, one can’t help but notice the heavy emphasis on social issues. There is certainly a discussion and defense of President Obama’s economic record, but abortion, same-sex marriage, and labor unions been featured heavily.
Of course, this is really isn’t surprising. Democrats have tried to change the narrative at several points since the beginning of the year; usually by complaining that there is some supposed “war” being waged against a segment of the American public.