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Don’t Go to the Well With a Leaky Bucket
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Press Release

Don’t Go to the Well With a Leaky Bucket

I am not certain, but it seems I heard a wise old fellow say that once. I’ve got to hand it to them. The transportation special interests have done a marvelous job convincing everyone that the buckets are just fine. Don’t worry about that water, er, money, all over the floor. It’s doesn’t really amount to much anyway, we’re assured.

07/25/2001
Don’t Go to the Well With a Leaky Bucket
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Press Release

Don’t Go to the Well With a Leaky Bucket

I am not certain, but it seems I heard a wise old fellow say that once. I’ve got to hand it to them. The transportation special interests have done a marvelous job convincing everyone that the buckets are just fine. Don’t worry about that water, er, money, all over the floor. It’s doesn’t really amount to much anyway, we’re assured.

07/25/2001
Lawmakers Question Use of 911 Money
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Lawmakers Question Use of 911 Money

BY Scott Mooneyham

Across North Carolina, local governments have accumulated substantial reserves, some exceeding $1 million, from a little-publicized 911 service charge included on local telephone bills. The charge, approved by lawmakers in 1989, was intended to help counties improve their 911 emergency calling technology. Many of those improvements involved technology that allowed 911 operators to identify a caller's location.

07/16/2001
An Interest Rate Target With No Bulls-Eye
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Press Release

An Interest Rate Target With No Bulls-Eye

Copley News Service, 07/03/2001 It's disconcerting to hear calls for Japan to lower interest rates when its rate on overnight money already is virtually zero (actually 0.35 percent). Japan suffers from deflation that has depressed its economy and is helping drag down the world economy. Pushing interest rates below zero, however, is not the answer to Japan's problem. Do we expect Japanese banks to pay people to borrow money?

07/03/2001
Governor Perry Vetoed a Record 78 Bills
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Press Release

Governor Perry Vetoed a Record 78 Bills

From 1995 through 1998, while the cost of legal services in the United States rose more than 14 percent (source: U.S. Dept of Labor), insurer legal defense costs, per case, actually decreased 1 percent. While verdicts generally have risen between 8 percent and 10 percent each year, insurance companies have contained the inflation on the amount they paid to plaintiffs on their litigated cases to a total of less than 4 percent over four years!

06/17/2001
Our Economy Needs a Golden Anchor
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Press Release

Our Economy Needs a Golden Anchor

As printed in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL June 28, 2001

06/08/2001
CSE Praises Sen. Thompson's Efforts to Make Government More Efficient and Effective
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CSE Praises Sen. Thompson's Efforts to Make Government More Efficient and Effective

Today, Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) unveiled his waste, fraud and abuse report, "Government at the Brink: Urgent Federal Government Management Problems Facing the Bush Administration." Paul Beckner, president of Citizens for a Sound Economy, issued the following statement regarding Sen. Thompson's report: "CSE is pleased to see that someone in Washington, D.C. is taking the issue of government waste, fraud, and abuse seriously. "In the past, we've heard the stories of the $400 hammer, and know that the government is wasting literally billions of dollar annually. Sadly, no one has ever tried to comprehensively address this issue. That is, until now. "With this report Sen. Thompson identifies many of the root problems facing government agencies. Additionally, he identifies ten of the worst examples of government mismanagement. Needless to say, we support his efforts." CSE has long advocated for limited government. Key to ensuring this limited government is to make sure that government is working efficiently and effectively. CSE is a grassroots advocacy and education organization dedicated to economic freedom. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Chad Cowan at 202-942-7692. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is a grassroots advocacy and education organization dedicated to economic freedom. CSE recruits, educates, motivates, and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.

06/05/2001
Real Debt Relief: Paying Back The American Taxpayer Should Be Job One
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Real Debt Relief: Paying Back The American Taxpayer Should Be Job One

BY James C. Miller III

For nearly three decades, annual outlays of the U.S. government exceeded annual receipts, and the federal debt rose steadily - until 1998. Since then, the federal government has run significant annual surpluses. Paying off a major portion of the debt within a decade appears not only feasible but altogether likely. This presents a set of questions heretofore not addressed. For example, what proportion of the national debt could be paid off without incurring unreasonable costs? At present, the public debt is $ 3.4 trillion. Even if the Treasury Department were to end the Savings Bond program, the state and local series, and other such programs, as well as suspended the issuance of longer-term debt, some $ 500 billion would mature after 2011. To pay down more, Treasury would have to engage in very aggressive "buy-back" strategies, and these can be costly. Using more reasonable assumptions about policy and economics, the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office project that roughly $ 1 trillion would be unavailable for redemption in 2011 - a concept Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan recently labeled the "irreducible minimum." Even assuming you could pay off the national debt, it would not make sense to end the program completely. First, the federal government needs to borrow in order to cope with month-to-month variances in receipts and outlays. Furthermore, it needs the ability to borrow on a substantial scale if circumstances demanded it. How much debt it would be prudent to pay down and whether to end the program forever are matters over which experts can endlessly disagree. But the more vital issue is what the federal government might do with this surplus once the debt was paid down to this "irreducible minimum." There are really no good answers to this question. The federal government could place these hundreds of billions, or even trillions, of dollars in bank accounts. The government presently maintains bank accounts in order to facilitate thousands of transactions each and every day. But it doesn't load up these accounts with massive balances, nor should it. Purchasing assets appears the obvious answer. But as Chairman Greenspan has cautioned, "It would be exceptionally difficult to insulate the government's investment decisions from political pressures." Moreover, disposing of such huge surpluses in this fashion would mean government controlling or outright owning substantial portions of the U.S. economy. Under CBO's and OMB's base lines, more than $ 3 trillion in such "excess surpluses or excess cash" are projected by 2011. If all were invested in equities, the U.S. government would be able to control roughly 10 percent of the total stock market in 2011. The prospects for harmful effects on economic efficiency, not to mention the potential for political chicanery, are chilling. If surpluses were to continue after the debt was retired, another course would be to create a system of personal investment accounts. These could be for the purpose of augmenting individuals' retirement accounts, health care coverage or even promoting other worthy goals like education. In effect, the government would be forcing people to pay according to the canons of the tax code and then guiding them in their purchase decisions. Our choice would be between creeping communism and creeping socialism! But the question has to be asked: Why run a surplus once the debt is paid? Why should the U.S. government, not to mention the American taxpayer, be put in such a bind? What reason is there for the government to accumulate substantial cash balances? It could create some sort of "rainy day fund," as some states have done. But surely the kind of balances we are talking about far exceed any reasonable need along those lines. Moreover, the "rainy day" device is not so important for the national government, which is subject to far less swings in revenues and outlays, and which has a much easier time of issuing debt if warranted. The obvious answer is to phase out the surplus in a thoughtful and cost-effective manner. As Chairman Greenspan recently testified, "it is far better . that the surpluses be lowered by tax reductions than by spending increases." In fact, to avoid a return to deficits, Congress and the president must take action to lower spending in the future. As for the debt, it should be placed on a glide path to reach the "irreducible minimum," and the remaining surplus should be returned to whom it belongs - the American taxpayer. James Miller is a former director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is now counselor to Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, a market-oriented research and education organization in Washington, D.C.

05/17/2001
Alabama CSE Activists Storm the Capitol to Fight for Less Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom
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Press Release

Alabama CSE Activists Storm the Capitol to Fight for Less Government, Lower Taxes and More Freedom

The third annual Alabama CSE “Day at the Capitol” was held on May 15, 2001. More than 150 individual grassroots activists from all over the state made the trek to Montgomery to lobby their state legislators and promote the need for civil justice reform, school choice, common-sense environmental policy, affordable health care, and tax cuts.

05/15/2001
Teacher Health Insurance in Texas: A Solution Looking for a Problem
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Press Release

Teacher Health Insurance in Texas: A Solution Looking for a Problem

Recently, there have been calls for improved teacher health insurance, with many people alleging the lack of teacher health insurance is the most important issue for improving education in Texas. No one disagrees that health insurance is an important issue, but there is much disagreement over proposals to use the Permanent School Fund to provide $700 million for the purchase of teacher health insurance. Diverting funds from the Permanent School Funds would be wrong for two reasons. First, the data do not suggest that there is a health insurance crisis for educators in Texas. Second, taking resources from the constitutionally created Permanent School Fund would threaten the fund’s long-term financial health.

05/06/2001

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