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  • We are proud to announce that the 2014 Ronald Reagan Gala will honor Gary Sinise. For over thirty … [more]

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Ten Liberal Superstitions

Child Yelling Liberal Democratby Kate Bachelder    •   Wall Street Journal 

A hallmark of progressive politics is the ability to hold fervent beliefs, in defiance of evidence, that explain how the world works—and why liberal solutions must be adopted. Such political superstitions take on a new prominence during campaign seasons as Democratic candidates trot out applause lines to rally their progressive base and as the electorate considers their voting records. Here’s a Top 10 list of liberal superstitions on prominent display during the midterm election campaign:

1. Spending more money improves education. The U.S. spent $12,608 per student in 2010—more than double the figure, in inflation-adjusted dollars, spent in 1970—and spending on public elementary and secondary schools has surpassed $600 billion. How’s that working out? Adjusted state SAT scores have declined on average 3% since the 1970s, as the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson found in a March report.

No better news in the international rankings: The Program for International Student Assessment reports that in 2012 American 15-year-olds placed in the middle of the pack, alongside peers from Slovakia—which shells out half as much money as the U.S. per student.

Someone might mention this to North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is knocking State House Speaker Thom Tillis for cutting $500 million from schools. Per-pupil K-12 spending has increased every year since Mr. Tillis became speaker in 2011, and most of what Ms. Hagan is selling as “cuts” came from community colleges and universities, not the local middle school. Mr. Coulson’s Cato study notes that North Carolina has about doubled per-pupil education spending since 1972, which has done precisely nothing for the state’s adjusted SAT scores. [Read more...]

Obamacare’s website still faces hurdles as year two approaches

by The Washington Examiner

Obamacare WebsiteA year ago this week, Healthcare.gov launched and set a new standard for costly technological disasters.

The portal for obtaining private insurance under Obamacare proved completely impenetrable for consumers in its first two months. The constant error messages, glitches and outages became fodder for late night comics, but the Americans forced to interact with the site after Obamacare pushed them out of coverage they already liked were not amused.

A year later, most of Obamacare’s outwardly noticeable technological frustrations are gone. Even though the law remains as unpopular as ever — at 25 percent support among U.S. adults, according to the latest Associated Press poll — consumers who log in when with the second open enrollment begins on Nov. 15 will probably have a less unpleasant technical experience.

But here’s the problem: Beginning with the website’s early failure, the Department of Health and Human Services has concentrated mostly on fixing the portion of the site that the public interacts with. They have not yet fixed major structural and security issues on the back-end, and testing for some of these only begins this month. [Read more...]

‘Cost of Government Day’ Is Here!

The government is making you work longer and longer to cover its hefty costs. It took Americans 186 days of work to pay for their massive government.

Money Hole Taxby Peter Roff

Just in time for American Independence Day, the folks over at Americans for Tax Reform have released their annual Cost of Government Day findings – and the news is not good.

According to the annual study, which the group began to compile in the early ’90s, an American would on average have to work for 186 days into the calendar year before they earned enough to pay their share of government’s total cost at all levels – not just for the spending and borrowing, but for the cost the regulatory burden imposes as well.

For 2014, Cost of Government Day falls on July 6, the sixth consecutive year it comes in the seventh month of the year. Prior to President Barack Obama coming to office, the group said in a release, the latest date it had ever fallen was June 27. [Read more...]

Spending bill bans IRS targeting, preserves incandescent light bulbs

IRS Scandal Aby Stephen Dinan

Congressional negotiators reached a deal late Monday on a massive spending bill to fund the government for the rest of 2014, agreeing to undo last year’s cut to military retirement benefits and a list of other GOP demands in exchange for the higher spending levels.

But some of the most interesting action happened on the sidelines, where negotiators agreed to strict rules to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from targeting groups for ideological scrutiny, and specifically banning the agency from targeting citizens “for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment.”

Negotiators also agreed to block the Obama administration from imposing standards that effectively would prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs. [Read more...]

GM’s CEO rejects repaying Feds for bailout losses

GM Bailout Govt MotorsHow many times did the Obama Administration promise that GM would repay every dime of the taxpayer provided bailout? And how many times have you heard the lie that GM has fully repaid the federal government for the taxpayer provided bailout? The truth is the taxpayers lost $10 billion on GM, but GM CEO says the taxpayer took a risk like any other investor. That sucking sound you hear is the government taking $10 billion out of the taxpayer’s pocket. 

by Todd Spangler

The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.

He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.

“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington. He also said the government’s $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services. [Read more...]

Confessions of a Quantitative Easer

quantitative easing printing money… the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time …

by Andrew Huszar

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs. [Read more...]

Federal Debt Jumped $409 Billion in October

Debt DeficitAnd Obama said that increasing the debt limit didn’t increase debt.

The debt of the federal government, which is normally subject to a legal limit, jumped by $409 billion in the month of October, according to the U.S. Treasury.

That equals approximately $3,567 for each household in the United States, and is the second-largest one month jump in the debt in the history of the country.

In the continuing resolution deal sealed by President Barack Obama and the Republican congressional leadership last month, the legal limit on the federal debt was suspended until February 7 of next year. [Read more...]

Who Has Done the Most Damage?

barack_obamaby Dennis Prager

I have been broadcasting for 31 years and writing for longer than that. I do not recall ever saying on radio or in print that a president is doing lasting damage to our country. I did not like the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (the last Democrat I voted for) or Bill Clinton. Nor did I care for the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush. In modern political parlance “compassionate” is a euphemism for ever-expanding government.

But I have never written or broadcast that our country was being seriously damaged by a president. So it is with great sadness that I write that President Barack Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone. [Read more...]

Taking Taxpayers Out for a Ride

GM Bailout Govt Motorsby Peter Roff

They don’t call it “Government Motors” for nothing.

Once one of the “bluest” of America’s blue chip corporations, General Motors has seen better days. Early in President Barack Obama’s first term, it was nearly subsumed into the U.S. government on the grounds that a federal bailout – which amounted to a near takeover of the company – was necessary in order to save it from bankruptcy and to protect tens of thousands of American jobs.

The president campaigned for re-election on the success of his bailout of the auto industry which, truth be told, was confined to GM and Chrysler. There are plenty of companies that were and still are building cars and trucks in the United States that did just fine without the kind of interventions needed to keep two of what used to be called “The Big Three” from sliding into an economic abyss despite the recession. [Read more...]

How the Shutdown can inform the debt ceiling debate

Debt Deficitby George Landrith & Iain Murray

It’s all-shutdown-all-the-time in Washington these days. But all that talk has obscured the far bigger challenge facing the nation next week, when the government runs out of room to borrow more money to cover its expenses as it hits the congressionally imposed “debt ceiling.” It would be a disaster for the global economy to see America default on its debts. While it is true America can continue to pay the obligations on its debt and most of its other outlays each month with the tax dollars that are collected, that is only a stop-gap solution.  As a nation we must find a sustainable long-term solution to run away debt and eventual insolvency.

Therefore, it is incumbent on all parties to work to work to find a practical and workable long-term solution. Thankfully, we have a recent precedent from the last debt ceiling debate. The result was sequestration. It worked in curbing spending growth, but was a blunt tool, applied across the board. The current shutdown gives us much better information about where the next sequestration should be targeted. [Read more...]

Politics of the shutdown evident in actions of Obama administration

Obama Making Shutdown HurtFor furloughed workers, the federal government shutdown has clearly had an impact. But for most citizens, the shutdown has been notable for largely going unnoticed. That’s not because federal officials aren’t doing their best to make it appear otherwise. In fact, federal officials often seem to be working harder to inconvenience Americans during the shutdown than they worked to serve Americans when the government was in full operation.

The hassle factor has been most notable at national parks, including open-air monuments honoring veterans that are typically accessible 24 hours a day. Government officials have erected barricades and stationed guards. How is the government spending less money on those efforts than what would occur if visitors were simply allowed to walk up to the monuments.  [Read more...]

A Crisis of the President’s Own Making

Debt Government SpendingUnless Mr. Obama is willing to make a serious deal on spending, he will spend the next three years fighting the same budget wars over and over.

For months now, the GOP has been held hostage by a faction of its party that deluded itself into believing President Obama might be rolled on his signature health-care law. Witness now an equally grand delusion on the Democratic side, one that President Obama nurtures at his peril.

According to Democrats, their steadfast refusal to negotiate on the government shutdown or the debt ceiling is rooted in a belief that now is the moment to “break” the GOP “fever.” Democrats are furious that Republicans today use every Washington deadline to extract a spending concession—and insist they must be broken of that habit. [Read more...]

Debt v. Spending

tax reform government spending moneyby Gordon S. Jones

Since getting the boot from the United States Senate, Bob Bennett has been writing a weekly column in the Deseret News, one of Utah’s two daily newspapers (and the only one that doesn’t periodically chastise its readers for being too stupid to understand its editorial positions). Occasionally ex-Senator Bennett reminds us that he is a very smart man with many good ideas. Occasionally he reminds us why the voters got rid of him. He does so in his op-ed of Monday, 7 October.

In his short essay, which you can read yourself here, Bennett tells us why it is important not to default on commitments made to those who have lent the U.S. money, and indeed it is. He neglects to mention the spending that made this borrowing necessary – spending to which he was a major contributor. When Bennett took office, the national debt stood at about $6 trillion. By the time he left it had grown to about $14 trillion.

During his 18 years in the Senate, Bob Bennett voted for 132 out of 133 appropriations bills on final passage in the Senate. Appropriations bills are the bills that actually spend the money. 

The size of this debt and its growth trend is what should concern us far more than today’s fight. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2038, public debt will reach 100% of GDP. [Read more...]

With A Little Creative Thinking, Detroit Can Again Thrive

detroit-home-vacant-lotby Kerri Toloczko

House flipping is trendy for American real estate investors, and a spectator sport for those addicted to shows like “Flip This House.”

Although Detroit ‘s extreme fiscal and social problems cannot be fixed by replacing the siding on City Hall, the fundamental flipping formula of asset management, structural changes and attracting investors should be considered by city leaders serious about returning Detroit to a livable community.

It took more than 40 years of decline for Detroit to hit rock bottom, and it may take that long to fix it. But its historic bankruptcy must be reversed as its effects are reverberating throughout the economy.

The state of Michigan and, to a lesser degree, the federal government will have to provide financial support to the city at a time when working Americans are already taxed to the max.
[Read more...]

Detroit: The insanity cannot go on forever

Detroit Bankruptby Charles Krauthammer

If there’s an iron rule in economics, it is Stein’s Law (named after Herb, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Detroit, for example, can no longer go on borrowing, spending, raising taxes and dangerously cutting such essential services as street lighting and police protection. So it stops. It goes bust.

Cause of death? Corruption, both legal and illegal, plus a classic case of reactionary liberalism in which the governing Democrats — there’s been no Republican mayor in half a century — simply refused to adapt to the straitened economic circumstances that followed the post-World War II auto boom. [Read more...]