What The National Pamphleteers Don’t Report
|by Gary Varvel; August 23, 2012|
The Continuing Superstitions
by C. Lowell Harriss,
[This article first appeared in the October 13, 1972, issue of NATIONAL REVIEW.]
Misconceptions are abroad in the land. In the supposed interest of the “common man,” politicians propose to raise taxes (already too high) so as to make business (“them”) pay its “fair share” (it already does, and then some) and take much of the burden off the individual taxpayer (“us” — but we’ll pay more than ever). Almost half — $9.4 billion a year — of the tax increases proposed by Senator McGovern on August 29, for instance, would be imposed on businesses, chiefly on corporations. Almost all of the remainder would fall on capital gains and thus, somewhat indirectly, reduce the capital available to industry. Other proposals embodied in various tax reform programs advanced this year would hit businesses in other ways. That such antibusiness tax suggestions are endorsed seriously, and not rejected as a matter of course, bodes ill.
The Nixon Administration is downright defensive about tax relief for corporations as against individuals. And Senator McGovern is only one of many influential members of Congress proposing to hit business harder. If they had their way, they would worsen what is already a bad feature of the tax system. As another round of tax reform seems probable, we should use it to improve the economy, not to make matters worse. The best way to do this is to lower, not raise, taxes on business.
In advocating a reduction of business taxes, an economist may seem to be [….]
Ending Work for Welfare: Bogus Measures of Success
by Robert Rector,
August 24, 2012
More Last month, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) illegally overturned the work requirements that were the core of the welfare reform law of 1996, which required that a portion of the able-bodied recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program—the successor to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program—be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid.
The Obama Administration abolished this standard, declaring that in the future all state welfare bureaucracies and all TANF recipients could be exempted from the federal work requirements. Obama’s HHS has set forth several dramatic changes that will permit state welfare bureaucracies to ignore the TANF “workfare” standards. These changes will demolish the work-based core of welfare reform. Here is the first lesson why.
Sham Work Standards
In order to be exempt from federal work participation standards, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that a state would have to “move at least 20% more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s past performance.” This standard is vague, since states do not actually need to fulfill it but merely “demonstrate clear progress toward that goal no later than one year” after they are exempted from the old TANF work standards. Nonetheless, at first glance, this goal looks fairly impressive.
President Obama’s HHS will exempt [….]
Fellow SEAL‘s Strong Message for ’Benedict Arnold’ Behind Bin Laden Raid Book: ‘We Weep From Your Betrayal’
by An Anonymous Navy SEAL,
August 24, 2012
Editor’s Note: The op-ed below is from a former Navy SEAL and friend of TheBlaze, who has asked to remain unnamed. The Op-Ed is a response to the upcoming book “No Easy Day,” which gives a first-hand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The upcoming book is co-authored by a former Navy SEAL under the pseudonym Mark Owen. The SEAL has been identified Thursday, and many news outlets have published his name. TheBlaze has not.
Mark is a legend. He‘s the operator’s operator. He’s a leader and a perfectionist. He’s the quiet professional completely dedicated to God and country. Which is why it makes what he’s done so devastating. Now I know how General Washington must have felt [….]
Should Retired Military Officers Speak Out: Always, Never — or It Sort of Depends?
by Victor Davis Hanson,
August 23, 2012 General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has spoken out in criticism of various retired officers, many of them from special forces, for drawing on their military bona fides in voicing displeasure over the Obama administration’s serial leaks (the details of the Osama bin Laden raid, the drone protocols, the cyberwar against Iran, the Yemeni double agent, etc.). Dempsey makes a good point (e.g., “If someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform it is, for partisan politics, I’m disappointed by that, because I think it does erode that bond of trust that we have with the American people”). Or at least he would have made a good point, had the political horse not long ago left the military barn.
By that I mean, the military has already broken precedent by allowing serving personnel to march in uniform in overtly politically inspired parades, such as the recent gay-pride parade in San Diego (will we see soldiers in uniform at tea-party marches protesting uncontrolled federal spending or the takeover of health care?). And we should not forget the recent so-called revolt of the generals when [….]
If I Ran An Anti-Obama Super PAC…
August 23, 2012
At one time or another,most people have fantasized about what they would do if they were rich. I’m talking what we used to call filthy rich. I know what I would do. I would start a Super PAC. I would fund it myself,write the ads,make the media buys,and drive liberals crazy. It would be so much fun.
I would start with Mitt Romney’s taxes. The Obama campaign points out that Romney pays a lower percentage rate than does his running mate,Paul Ryan. The premise of the argument is faulty,of course,but conservatives don’t seem to know how to stop the other side from defining the issue.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger first ran for governor of California,he tapped billionaire Warren Buffett [….]
The Mysterious Disappearance of International Law Arguments from Juvenile Sentencing in Miller v. Alabama by Charles Stimson and Jonathan Levy,
August 22, 2012
More Abstract: For almost a decade, activists have asserted that, through the mechanism of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments,” international law either forbids or constrains states from exposing the roughest juvenile criminals to the toughest sentences. Relying in part on those arguments, the Supreme Court of the United States has diminished sentencing options, for adult and juvenile offenders alike, at every turn. However, in Miller v. Alabama, foreign and international law are conspicuous only for their absence. This may signal a welcome shift in the Court’s jurisprudence. Activists will no doubt continue to cite foreign and international sources in making their cases against domestic sentencing practices, but Miller at least suggests that the Court has grown wary of such arguments.
It may be time to say a guarded goodnight to the argument that foreign law should dictate or influence the constitutional limits on sentences for juvenile killers and violent teens. For almost a decade, activists have asserted that, through the mechanism of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments,” international law either forbids or constrains states from exposing the roughest juvenile criminals to the toughest sentences. Relying in part on those arguments, the Supreme Court of the United States has diminished sentencing options, for adult and juvenile offenders alike, at every turn.
However, in Miller v. Alabama, the Court’s latest juvenile sentencing case decided this summer, foreign and international law are conspicuous only for their absence. This may signal a welcome shift in the Court’s jurisprudence. Using foreign law to interpret the United States Constitution “is dangerous, because American law is unique—the constitutional protection of free speech, for example, is far more robust than in most other nations—and so relying on persuasive foreign authority could serve to undermine these key, and uniquely American, constitutional protections.” According to Justice Samuel Alito, [….]
Just Drill, Barry
by John Ransom,
August 25, 2012
When presidential candidate John Kerry pointed out that he voted for the Iraq War before he voted against the Iraq War, we all thought it a terrible gaffe. But politics, in a study of how politics leads to a devolutionary society, no longer sees campaigning as being for something before being against something as gaffe-worthy. Yesterday’s sex scandal can be today’s mystique, if you are just willing to afterward reveal to teenagers on TV what kind of underwear you favor.
So it’s with this quaint notion that right can be made wrong- and vice a versa- if you just are brave enough to ask people to lower their standards by this much: <—> (not actual size…actually much, much smaller) that we address Democrat energy policy- or lack thereof- depending on your standards… or lack thereof. It turns out that being for having an energy policy before being against it –or vice a versa- it isn’t a gaffe at all; no, indeed. Under Obama, the Democrats have made it part of the party platform.
For example, did you know that president Obama has been a champion of Big Oil since he became our Chameleon-in-Chief?
That’s right: Oil production is at an all time high under- hurray!- his administration because he’s been so cooperative with oil and gas producers- and, depending on your standards, or lack thereof, you might even believe him when he says it. Last year the New York Times was so disgusted with Obama’s landmark, much-billed energy policy speech that they actually issued this correction:
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: March 30, 2011
A previous version of this article misstated how many of the president’s proposals to reduce the country’s reliance on imported oil were new in his speech on Wednesday. None of them were, not one of them.
So let’s you, me and the New York Times agree that Obama really doesn’t have an energy policy. Recently Obama reinforced that notion. You see, Obama was against oil production before his newest, bestest policy, just recently embraced 72 hours ago, that- to paraphrase him- says: “Drill, Barry, drill.”
His change of heart , or lack thereof, has come about in wake of the administration’s latest self-inflicted gunshot wound to the economy, rising oil prices… again. For decades the basic policy of all US governments, Democrat or Republican, has been to keep oil prices relatively low and relatively stable. To argue a contrary policy, as Obama has done, [….]
Another Recession Is Imminent
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that without a doubt, America will have a fresh recession next year unless Congress and the President prevent it. We are facing the largest tax increase in history—Taxmageddon, scheduled to take effect January 1—and what experts are calling a “fiscal cliff” of sharp and unforgiving budget changes that will send the country spiraling downward. Congress and the President have the power to prevent this, and when the August congressional recess is over, that is exactly what they should do.
In its new report, the CBO said that if Congress does not act, it’s not economic growth we should be worried about, because the economy will actually shrink next year. It will shrink by 0.5 percent, and the unemployment rate will spike to 9.1 percent. As Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains: [….]
Media “Fact Checkers” Promote Obama’s Gutting of Welfare Reform
Since Heritage’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley broke the story on July 12 that the Obama Administration had gutted the work requirements from the 1996 welfare reform law, the Administration has denied it. In recent weeks, media “fact checks” have popped up all over declaring The Heritage Foundation’s scoop “False.” Major media—most recently, CNN—have carried water for President Obama’s defense of rewriting the welfare reform law. Since these supposed government watchdogs are playing the lapdog, Heritage will continue to provide the facts and do the investigative reporting.
Rector has already debunked the Administration’s claims that it did not gut welfare reform and that Republican governors tried to do the same thing in 2005. Now, he is taking apart the Administration’s defense of its new waiver policy piece-by-piece in a new series of papers.
The Claim: New Rules Will Still Increase Work
CNN’s “fact checkers” claim that “In some small way, the waivers might change precisely how work is calculated but the essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work—something both Democrats and Republicans agreed to in the 1990s—remains the same.” This is exactly Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s defense: that waiving welfare’s work requirements for states under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will still require states to get welfare recipients into jobs. She maintains that [….]
by Chip Wood,
Personal Liberty Digest
August 24, 2012
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get more people to sign up for food stamps? I kid you not. One of the most absurd examples was “a 10-part series of Spanish-language ‘novelas’ that trumpeted the benefits of the food stamp program.” In the public service announcements, several people pressure a wife and mother named Diana to sign up for assistance, even though she says she doesn’t need it. In the fourth commercial, Diana says (in Spanish): “I don’t need help from anyone. My husband makes enough to take care of us.” That’s a great example of traditional American values, wouldn’t you say?
Apparently, it isn’t for the folks at the USDA, who produced the advertising campaign in 2008. Diana’s friends keep badgering her to wise up and get with the program. Ultimately, they win her over. By the end of the series, Diana has her own food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer card and has become an enthusiastic proponent of letting Uncle Sam buy her groceries.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was just one of many Congressmen who condemned the series of messages: “It has become increasingly clear that, in recent years, the mission of the food stamp program has been converted from targeted assistance for those in need into an aggressive drive to expand enrollment, regardless of need.” Indeed it has. In the past decade, Federal spending on the food stamp program [….]
Paul Ryan: Pro-Growth Supply-Sider
by Larry Kudlow,
August 24, 2012
In the two weeks since Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, the entire Republican party has been rejuvenated. Governor Romney himself has been reenergized. After losing ground in the polls this summer, he’s once again drawn even with the president. Wisconsin is now in play. Even senior voters in Florida have signaled heavy approval of Romney-Ryan. I know vice presidents are not supposed to be so influential. Political scientists say the top of the ticket is what matters. But Paul Ryan is disproving that. And yet I hear and read some grousing from conservative supply-side colleagues that Ryan is no longer the Jack Kemp, supply-side-growth guy he once was. Instead, they say he has become a root-canal Republican who obsesses about entitlement debt bombs and deficit reduction. They say he’s wedded to the Congressional Budget Office in a kind of budget-austerity, Stockholm syndrome.
The whisperers say this happened to Dave Stockman years ago at OMB. Now they say it’s happening to Paul Ryan at the head of the House Budget Committee. These charges are completely false. On the eve of the convention, I had a lengthy interview with Congressman Ryan. Over and over he talked about the need for economic growth through supply-side tax reform, spending restraint, deregulation, and entitlement fixes. Previewing his convention speech, Ryan said, [….]
What Is the Role of the People?
by Edwin Feulner, Ph.D.
August 21, 2012
The stirring opening words of the Constitution proclaim that it is the work of “We the People.” In the Declaration of Independence, the American people had announced to the world that they were sovereign and free. In the Constitution, they sought to defend this freedom by creating a unique government for an exceptional nation, a government that derived its just powers from the consent of its people. In this American republic, what is the role of the people?
The United States is exceptional because of its universal founding principles. At the heart of these principles is the belief that people are free by nature and possess inherent rights. The use each of us makes of these rights will naturally be different, and the outcomes of those choices will naturally differ too. But the choice remains ours. Freedom is thus inextricably bound up with living our lives as we see fit. This is self-government in the truest sense of the term. We the people need not slavishly defer to experts. We can be trusted to govern ourselves. That is why government must remain limited: The people have given it only limited powers, as described in the Constitution. When government takes more than we have given it, it renders our choices meaningless. At worst, unlimited government is tyrannical; at best, it imposes a dull uniformity that crushes true diversity and saps the independent spirit of the people.
The Founders believed that a crucial problem was to avoid creating a government that could be dominated by a single faction. That faction might be a minority, or it might even be a majority. But no matter its size, it would inevitably seek to promote its own narrow interests at the expense of the liberties of the people. One purpose of the Constitution’s checks and balances, one reason why it divides and limits power, is to restrain the ambition of the powerful, and—in the words of the Constitution—to ensure that government genuinely promotes “the general Welfare.” As the federal government has grown over the past century, the business of government has increasingly become taking from Paul to benefit Peter, and then borrowing from Peter to pay off Paul. What the supporters of big government call the general welfare is merely the artful distribution of favors to particular factions.
The federal government is not supposed to be the most important institution in America. In securing the general welfare, it is supposed to do only those things that are provided for in the Constitution. It must, for example, provide for the common defense and regulate our relations with foreign nations. It must respect our right to enjoy the fruits of our labor by taxing lightly, and defend the freedom of the marketplace by ensuring the rule of law. And it must remember that the family and religion are where we learn [….]
Until Next Sunday….