Reason Magazine

What happens when the government shuts down…

There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the government shutdown that started today. Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been complaining about how it will slowdown basic services and hurt Americans. But there are a lot of misconceptions about what services and programs are affected.

Reason magazine put together the video below back in 2011 listing the departments, agencies and programs that will continue running during a government shutdown. Medicare will continue running and Social Security checks will still go out. The IRS will, unfortunately, continue to operate. The United States Postal Service and the TSA will also work through a shutdown.

Non-essential government workers will be furloughed, though it’s likely that they’ll get paid when an agreement is reached on spending. President Barack Obama and Congress will, unfortunately, continue to receive their paychecks during a shutdown.

Check out the video from Reason:

George Will’s Libertarian Evolution: Q&A on Obama, Syria, & the Power of Choice

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Nick Gillespie and Reason TV chat with George Will, a conservative journalist, about his transformation to libertarianism.

Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling

debt ceiling

Though most members of Congress are focused on funding the federal government for another year, there is another battle on the horizon — raising the federal debt ceiling, which will be reached mid-next month.

House Republicans want some sort of a trade off from the White House to raise the debt ceiling, currently at $16.7 trillion, either further spending cuts or concessions on ObamaCare, and are tossing around the idea of holding a clean vote on the measure to show that there isn’t support for it inside the chamber. The White House, however, isn’t interested in having a debate on raising the debt ceiling.

Disagreement on how to approach the issue could lead to a stalemate similar to what the country saw in 2011 when Congress passed the Budget Control Act, a compromise between the Congress and the White House that led to the sequester.

But two new polls show that Americans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling.

NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released a poll at the end of last week showing that a plurality of Americans oppose raising the debt limit, at 44/22.

Though opposition is strong, NBC News notes that President Obama will be able to frame the debate over the issue, giving him an advantage over House Republicans who have frequently been unable to frame a coherent message.

What is Libertarian Populism?

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Via Reason Magazine on YouTube, Nick Gillespie chats with Ben Domenech, Tim Carney, and Jesse Walker about “libertarian populism” and the potential appeal it could have to Americans who are tired of cronyism and big government.

ObamaCare fix for Congress may be illegal

Members of Congress and their staffers may have gotten a reprieve from ObamaCare, but legality of the “fix” is in question.

Thanks to a soon to be issued ruling from the Office of Personnel Managment (OPM), those who work on Capitol Hill will still receive nearly 75% contribution from the federal government to help pay for their health insurance coverage. That was at risk due to a provision of ObamaCare that required members of Congress and their staffers to be subject to the law.

Had OPM not relented to pressure from President Obama and leaders from both parties in Congress, members would have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket because the subsidies provided through ObamaCare wouldn’t have been enough to make up the difference.

But the legality of the fix is being called into question, as Peter Suderman explained yesterday at Reason:

It’s not clear how this will work: Will staffers simply get the cash value of the employer contribution? Or will OPM put the money toward the exchange premium?

It’s time to reform Social Security

Social Security

In a new video from Reason TV, Nick Gillespie explains that it’s time for Congress to get serious about Social Security reform.

Gillespie cites three strong reasons to tackle this problem now. First, Social Security is financially broke and will the surpluses it has amassed will be gone by 2033. That point was recently driven home by a report from the program’s trustees showing $23.1 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Secondly, Gillespie explains that Social Security is a bad investment because Americans will receive less in benefits than they pay in taxes. And lastly, Americans don’t have any control over their contributions, which is especially unfair to younger workers. This means that they can’t invest their money in retirement account that better suits their needs, nor can they leave what they’ve put in the system to their loved ones.

Check out the two-minute video below:

Reason: Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam

Remy and Reason TV have teamed up to bring us this hilarious take on the NSA surveillance scandal. What better way to a very serious issue than a little comedy, right?

H/T: Ron Paul Problems

Reason Chats with Rep. Thomas Massie, a Liberty-Minded Republican

Thomas Massie

Nick Gillespie of Reason TV recently sat down with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is one of the new libertarian-minded Republicans in the Congress, to discuss a number of issues, ranging from his support of the Keystone XL and his opposition to expansive government surveillance and the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal that was passed earlier this year.

On Keystone XL, which was recently approved by the House, Massie explained that he voted to support the project because he “thought that the government was trying to hold up the project.

“I sit on the committee that marked up the bill, and so I got a chance to hear the amendments that the Democrats offered,” explained Massie. “They had some good points, but most of their amendments were designed to kill the bill. I wish they had offered amendments that were actually constructive.”

Gillespie asked about passing more laws to protect Americans from onerous and overreaching proposals like CISPA and other forms of government surveillance. Massie said that Congress doesn’t really need to pass new protections because the Constitution already protects the rights of Americans.

“A lot of what I see Congress grapple with here is the introduction of new technology into society and trying to resolve that with existing laws. I don’t necessarily think we need new laws, we need to respect the Constitution,” Massie told Gillespie. “So just because we have a new type of technology like the Internet or drones, for instance, doesn’t mean that all of our constitutional rights have to go away. As Congressmen we have be sure that they’re preserved even with the advent of new technology.”

Reason TV on Tea Party IRS Protests

Reason TV coverage of IRS protest

Members of the Tea Party, a movement that was discriminated against by the Internal Revenue Service, protested at the agency’s Washington, DC office this week. Kennedy from Reason TV was there to get reaction to the scandal from protesters engaging in peaceful dissent against their government”

Paul Ryan Endorses “Concept” of Online Sales Tax

Rep. Paul Ryan’s big government leanings are shining through once again. The House Budget Committee Chairman and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee has endorsed the “concept” of the online sales tax, though he doesn’t specifically like Marketplace Fairness Act, which is the Senate’s version of the scheme:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) supports the principle that online retailers should have to pay state sales taxes.

“I think the concept is right,” Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said at a town hall meeting earlier this week, according to the Wisconsin Reporter.

In an emailed statement to The Hill, Ryan clarified that he does not support the Senate’s legislation on the issue.

“It’s got to be done the right way. I think the legitimate concern is can it be used to do other forms of taxation or retroactive taxation? You have got to make sure it doesn’t do that. I don’t think the Senate bill is written in a tight enough way to do that,” Ryan said.

He added that it’s unfair for a local brick-and-mortar retailer to have to collect sales taxes when online competitors are exempt.


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