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Capitol Comment 282 - The Big Sugar Bailout: A Bittersweet Reminder of the Federal Legacy of Everglades Destruction
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 282 - The Big Sugar Bailout: A Bittersweet Reminder of the Federal Legacy of Everglades Destruction

On May 11, 2000, in one of the most blatant cases of corporate welfare to come down the road in recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that its Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) planned to buy and store 150,000 tons of surplus sugar. This most recent bailout of the heavily subsidized U.S. sugar industry involves spending $60 million in taxpayer funds to purchase the surplus. Good weather, expanded plantings, improved productivity, and more imports have brought the domestic price of sugar down 25 percent over the last year.

06/07/2000
Capitol Comment 277 - Where Do Unions and Government Workers Invest Their Pension Funds?
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 277 - Where Do Unions and Government Workers Invest Their Pension Funds?

Many of the major unions in the United States have joined Vice President Al Gore in a well-orchestrated campaign against Governor George W. Bush’s proposal to allow workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts that they control. Like Gore, the union bosses say that personal retirement accounts will undermine Social Security and put workers’ retirement “at risk” to the uncertainties of the stock market.

05/17/2000
Capitol Comment 276 - Annexation in North Carolina: Democracy Denied
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 276 - Annexation in North Carolina: Democracy Denied

Over the past decade, North Carolina has experienced a period of rapid growth. Along with this growth have come demands from cities and towns for larger budgets and new tax revenue. To meet this demand, more and more municipalities are resorting to a controversial procedure known as "involuntary annexation."

05/10/2000
Capitol Comment 275 - Clinton Has It Backward: More Telephone Service Would Result From Fewer Taxes, Not New Taxes
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 275 - Clinton Has It Backward: More Telephone Service Would Result From Fewer Taxes, Not New Taxes

Amid a flurry of travel last month, President Clinton – flanked by two commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – announced new programs to help poor Americans get online. Unfortunately, his latest proposal will only trap the poorest of American consumers into yesterday’s technologies. Clinton announced a $17 million – or about 3 percent – increase to the federal Lifeline1 program, a telephone service subsidy for poor Americans.

05/09/2000
Capitol Comment 274 - It's the New New Economy, Stupid!
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 274 - It's the New New Economy, Stupid!

In 1992, Bill Clinton coasted into the White House on a simple message: It's the economy, Stupid. During his two terms in the White House, we saw a communications revolution that gave birth to the "New Economy." As he prepares to leave office, President Clinton's legacy could be described as the beginning of the "New New Economy." Government lawyers and their private-sector trial-lawyer counterparts are attempting to replace engineers and designers as the driving force in the technology sector.

04/27/2000
Capitol Comment 288 - Universal Service Subsidies Constrain Local Telephone Competition
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 288 - Universal Service Subsidies Constrain Local Telephone Competition

For most of this century, regulators and legislators have considered cheap local phone service akin to a basic human right, nearly as important as free speech itself. Phone companies cashed in on this political preference by promising “affordable” service for all in exchange for monopolies. But now that competition in local service is legal, new competitors in the residential market find themselves up against established firms that are required by regulation to sell service at prices well below cost.

04/21/2000
Capitol Comment 273 - Class Action Lawsuits: We Are All Victims Now
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 273 - Class Action Lawsuits: We Are All Victims Now

Not everyone is getting rich through tech stocks these days. There is a large group of people becoming wealthy through another hot investment: the state-based class action lawsuit. Unfortunately, it is the trial lawyers who reap huge benefits, while plaintiffs often receive only coupons. The Class Action Fairness Act of 1999 (S. 353) is a positive step towards reining in frivolous class action lawsuits and the trial lawyers who encourage them.

04/03/2000
Capitol Comment 270 - The 4(d) Rules for Salmon in the Pacific Northwest
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 270 - The 4(d) Rules for Salmon in the Pacific Northwest

During 1999, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) added several evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of salmon and steelhead to the Endangered Species List. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), full "take" prohibitions apply automatically upon listing for species considered "endangered." Species considered "threatened," however, are covered by what is called a

03/17/2000
Capitol Comment 271 - A First Step Into Privacy: Finding a Free Market Perspective in the Constitution
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 271 - A First Step Into Privacy: Finding a Free Market Perspective in the Constitution

The hottest technology issues in the last Congress revolved around the relationship between the federal government and electronic commerce. Delving a little bit deeper into this relationship, elected officials and regulators alike are concluding that privacy is the next big issue.

03/17/2000
Capitol Comment 272 - Telecommunications Mergers: Who's on First?
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 272 - Telecommunications Mergers: Who's on First?

Just when a glut of telecom mega-mergers has us wondering who's minding the antitrust store, along comes a report from a Justice Department commission recommending that the traditional antitrust authorities should take control of merger approval back from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). What's up with that?

03/13/2000

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