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Sandy: Log-Rolling from Alaska to New Jersey
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Key Vote

Sandy: Log-Rolling from Alaska to New Jersey

The House of Representatives passed the second installment of the Hurricane Sandy bailout Tuesday night, as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) brought up a bill he knew would pass without support from his own party. That allowed conservatives to vote against a bill that conservative groups were adding to their legislative scorecards.The path of the bill has been marked by one consistent strawman argument: opposition has been cast as opposition to relief, rather than opposition to the corrupt spending accompanying it.

01/16/2013
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Blog

There Is No National Debt

As we approach the next artificially constructed, politically motivated, intentionally promoted national crisis, we should keep one thing in mind: though we speak of a national debt, there is no single national debt.  The debts the government owes are real enough, and a source of national shame, totalling as they do over $16 trillion.  But those debts are owed to millions of holders of the various Treasury notes, bills, and bonds, each of whom may own multiple securities of various maturities.  Sold weekly, the securities come due and, as people get around to it, are either rolled over or redeemed every business day.That is important because as we run up against the debt ceiling, the fear mongers will claim that failure to raise the ceiling will cause us to default on the debt, as if it is one single sum owed to a single debt holder.  Defaulting on it is made to sound like the sky is falling, as if it would be the end of the nation itself.Another category of securities are those held by government agencies, such as the Social Security "Trust Fund" and the federal pension funds.  Failure to redeem one of these securities would be politically explosive, exposing the duplicitous nature of the generational theft caused by runaway spending.In fact, defaulting on one of these debts, as stupid and irresponsible as that would be, would merely cause people to reconsider the soundness of tying up their money in Treasury securities.  That would cost the government more in interest payments in the future, which would probably lead to a chain reaction of inflation.  On the other hand, it might lead people and institutions to invest in more productive ways, such as in the stock market.

01/14/2013
Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 3)
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Blog

Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 3)

The problem of the national debt can seem overwhelming. How do you address $16.4 trillion in gross debt, or even $11.5 trillion in debt held by the public? Congress is gridlocked, President Obama doesn't want to deal with it, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that we will spend $3.554 trillion this fiscal year, thereby adding another $641 billion to the debt. Caught in such a difficult situation, the problem appears insurmountable.

01/11/2013
FreedomWorks Issue Analysis: Paycheck Protection and Pennsylvania
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Issue Analysis

FreedomWorks Issue Analysis: Paycheck Protection and Pennsylvania

Paycheck protection laws prevent union leadership from spending compulsory membership dues on political expenses prior to obtaining consent from membership as individuals.Paycheck protection programs have proved to be effective, so long as they remain comprehensive. Given the scope of unions in the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania workers stand to retain greater freedom and more of their hard-earned paychecks if an undiluted paycheck protection program is implemented in the state.

01/10/2013
Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 2)
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Blog

Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 2)

"I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude." - Thomas Jefferson, written in a letter to Samuel Kercheval on July 12th, 1816.

01/08/2013
The Fiscal Cliff Bill - Special Interests Profit While the Rest of Us Pay
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Blog

The Fiscal Cliff Bill - Special Interests Profit While the Rest of Us Pay

It's like deja vu all over again.  The fiscal cliff bill, H.R. 8, was drafted behind closed doors, and lawmakers were given six minutes to read the 154-page bill before voting on it.  Once again, we apparently had to pass the bill to find out what's in it.

01/04/2013
Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 1)
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Blog

Your Guide to the National Debt (Part 1)

If you ask many Americans, the largest long-term crisis facing the country is the national debt. Persistently high unemployment, an uncertain economic recovery, soaring health care costs, and a stuttering public education system are all significant contemporary problems, but the skyrocketing national debt seems to loom as a threat to the stability of the government and country itself. With that in mind, shouldn't more of us have a firm understanding of how the national debt works?

01/04/2013
Conflicting Rulings on Obamacare
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Blog

Conflicting Rulings on Obamacare

When Nancy Pelosi announced that the Obamacare bill would have to be passed in order to see what was in it, the American people knew (or should have known) that this was not a piece of legislation which had been fully considered. Now that it is law, this is becoming increasingly evident on at least one front; the response to litigation against it. A look at decisions made regarding lawsuits filed against Obamacare show that the judicial system was not prepared for such arguments. Take, for example, the cases of Hobby Lobby and Domino’s Farms.

01/04/2013
Mass Transit Is Not Green Transportation
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Blog

Mass Transit Is Not Green Transportation

Here in Portland, Oregon, we've been something of a test lab for mass transit. Our city council, long ago (starting under then Mayor Neil Goldschmidt), threw itself wide open to federal planning experts who wished to use Portland as the template for solutions to the energy crisis of the 70s. That crisis, of course, morphed into the global warming crisis, but the goals were the same - to convince ordinary Americans that their future, and the future of all mankind, came via a trip by bus or train, not in their own car.

12/31/2012
Big Government Is Mean
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Blog

Big Government Is Mean

Whenever conservatives talk about lowering taxes, reducing entitlements, or rolling back our titanic government, the intellectual giants of the left deploy an incisive counter-argument: you're mean!But of course. Why, just a fortnight ago, I was strolling to the opera when a lowly chimney sweep spilled soot upon my spats. After making him polish my monocle, I thrashed the young ne’er-do-well roundly with my ivory-handled walking stick. Off to the poorhouse with you!

12/31/2012

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