66 results for month: 03/2013


Communal monks may have revived individual liberty

Or so described George Will last November: If courts once again become properly impatient with nonsensical explanations, much of what government does will become untenable. It is lovely that revitalized protection of the individual rights of property and striving may owe much to an abbey where all property is communal. It turns out he was right. From Ilya Shapiro at the Cato Institute’s blog comes the welcome news that regulations designed solely to protect the interests of entrenched businesses and the like are unconstitutional: Last week, the Institute for Justice scored a resounding victory for the right to earn an honest living in an unlikely ...

Interest payments, America’s silent killer

When discussing and debating federal spending, liberals focus on defense spending and some subsidies. Conservatives focus on everything else. However, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report discusses something many politicians and pundits miss – the fiscal threat of interest payments: Following a recent hearing, we were asked by a Member of Congress: “How would higher-than-expected interest rates affect federal budget deficits over the next decade? In particular, what would be the effects of these scenarios: Interest rates rise to their average levels over the 1991-2000 period; Interest rates rise to their average levels over ...

Will newly-unveiled EPA standards help or hurt gas prices?

From the agency trying to push gas to $7 a gallon: Bill Becker, of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said, "It is the single most important air pollution control strategy that President Obama will likely offer in his second term as president." The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the proposed rules on Friday. The goal is to cut down on pollution by reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline by two-thirds. Lives are apparently at stake as well: The White House says the price of gas will go up less than a penny, but the oil industry says it could rise as much as 9 cents a gallon. The new regulations won't take ...

President Obama’s budget will be over two months late

Yesterday, principal deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced President Obama will finally put forth his 2014 fiscal year budget to the American people – a mere two months and a few days past the legal deadline of February 4, 2013. Earnest said the sequester and other factors played into the tardiness: The budget, more than two months late after the legal deadline of Feb. 4, was delayed by the year-end debate over taxes and spending, compounded by across-the-board spending cuts that took effect on March 1. The spending blueprint outlining Obama’s priorities for the year beginning Oct. 1 follows House and Senate adoption of ...

Shocker: Department of Energy mismanaged over a billion of your tax dollars

Can we stop subsidizing green energy, now? Please? The Energy Department’s (DOE) internal watchdog is attacking DOE management of a $1.5-billion stimulus program to help develop technology that captures industrial carbon dioxide emissions. An Office of Inspector General (IG) audit made public Tuesday examines $1.1 billion in funding for 15 projects. In the four years since the law has passed, less than 50% of dollars have been spent, so the Inspector General says hope exists to better watch over the rest of the money: Overall, the IG found that of the $1.5 billion for the industrial emissions program in the 2009 stimulus law, only about $623 ...

Cyprus’s suicide pact

In the last three weeks, the fiscal calamities in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and other nations have been overshadowed by a much smaller, yet potentially more disastrous nation’s fiscal problems: the financial sector of Cyprus. Compromising some 70% of Cyprus’s economy, the financial sector of the island country has, to put it simply, overextended itself to the point of collapse. Like in America, the sector then used government force to escape the effects of their errors. Unlike in America, they didn’t settle for bailouts from taxpayer dollars – they seized customer’s assets to pay for their mistakes. For two weeks, everyday citizens ...

The Affordable Care Act that wasn’t

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported a new estimate showed costs under Obamacare those in the individual insurance market would increase dramatically: Insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Obama’s overhaul, the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts has estimated. That’s likely to increase premiums for at least some Americans buying individual plans. The report by the Society of Actuaries could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable ...

Another piece of Obamacare gets its own death panel

Another piece of Obamacare may soon be on the trash heap of history: Medical-device companies scored a political victory when the Senate voted in a non-binding resolution to repeal a new device tax, and now they are turning their attention to the House, especially U.S. Representative Ed Markey. The 2.3 percent tax went into effect in January and is supposed to help offset the costs of implementing President Obama’s landmark health reform law. But the device industry argues that it would cost Massachusetts’ largest companies more than $411 million a year, according to a new analysis by the Pioneer Institute that will be released in April, just ...

Tennessee Governor Wheels and Deals with Feds on Medicaid Expansion

Only Health Care Compact Can Bring About True Reform Today, Tennessee members of Tea Party Patriots (TPP), the nation’s largest tea party organization, criticized Gov. Bill Haslam for claiming to reject the Medicaid expansion forced on the state by Obamacare but instead working out a special deal with the federal government to keep the money flowing in. His proposal would still use taxpayer dollars to expand Obamacare by subsidizing and enrolling those newly eligible for Medicaid in the now more expensive private insurance plans available to individuals and small businesses in the exchanges. “Just like the governors of Arkansas and ...

Did 26 Senate Republicans support tax increases?

For years, many brick-and-mortar businesses, as well as many governors, have pushed for the imposition of sales taxes on Internet-based companies. Last week, they got help from the Senate, including 26 Republicans: An Internet sales tax is inching its way closer to being the law of the land: The U.S. Senate supported a non-binding vote of approval, 75-to-24, for a law that would allow states to collect taxes from Internet retailers. If enacted as is, it would allow states to levy taxes on some online retail purchases from businesses with over $1 million in gross receipts. Many conservatives, such as Daniel Horowitz at Red State, are calling this a ...