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Capitol Comment 254 - When the Government Sues: How to Defend Against the Threat to Liberty
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 254 - When the Government Sues: How to Defend Against the Threat to Liberty

Most people understand that government programs—whether in the form of public schools, Medicare, disaster relief, crop subsidies, or a myriad of other things—cost money. High rates of taxation are the price we pay for the social goods that flow from the welfare state. Less obvious is the price that the state’s largesse exacts on personal liberty.

09/17/1999
Capitol Comment 253 - Taxing Disaster Reserves is Disastrous
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 253 - Taxing Disaster Reserves is Disastrous

A constant refrain from opponents of tax cuts is that the federal budget surplus should be "invested" in programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and education. Planning responsibly for the future, they insist, requires that government spend the surplus rather than return it to the taxpayers. But when it comes to planning for natural disasters, Washington has developed a policy whose costs are so prohibitive that the private sector cannot even attempt prudent planning for the future.

09/16/1999
Capitol Comment 252 - No Internet Tax: Why Internet Sales Taxes Aren’t Necessary
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 252 - No Internet Tax: Why Internet Sales Taxes Aren’t Necessary

Ten years ago, discount retailers like Wal-Mart were redefining the face of the American retail industry. Today, online retailers like Amazon.com are again redefining not only the ways that businesses interact with their customers, but also how they interact with each other. Two years ago, Congress passed a three-year moratorium on new Internet taxes to help the fledgling market grow. In the interim, the battle to create an Internet tax plan has begun.

09/16/1999
Capitol Comment 251 - Rapid-Fire Assault on the Separation of Powers
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 251 - Rapid-Fire Assault on the Separation of Powers

Quietly and without much fanfare, state supreme courts across the nation are subtly taking powers from state legislatures. Traditionally, state legislatures, which are most accountable to the electorate, pass laws and state supreme courts, which are less accountable, interpret these laws. For years state supreme courts have exercised "judicial restraint;" i.e., even if the court thought the legislature created bad policy, the separation of powers doctrine mandated that the court defer to the legislature’s judgment.

09/09/1999
Capitol Comment 250 - Snowe-Wyden: No Fairy Tale for Seniors and Taxpayers
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 250 - Snowe-Wyden: No Fairy Tale for Seniors and Taxpayers

Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently introduced the Seniors Prescription Insurance Coverage Equity (SPICE) Act, S.1480. The SPICE Act has seven shortcomings that dwarf any benefits for seniors. Premium Coverage Under S. 1480 IF a Senior’s or Couple’s Income is… …THEN Taxpayers Would Pay This Portion of Their Premiums Up to 150% of the poverty level 100% 150% to 175% of the poverty level Between 100% and 25% Over 175% of the poverty level 25%

09/03/1999
Capitol Comment 249 - Hey Congress: Please Don’t Feed the Trial Lawyers! Dingell-Norwood Hurts Patients, Helps Lawyers
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 249 - Hey Congress: Please Don’t Feed the Trial Lawyers! Dingell-Norwood Hurts Patients, Helps Lawyers

The "Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act" (H.R. 2723) is the federal government’s latest misguided attempt at controlling health care. While the bill’s list of sponsors demonstrates that it is bipartisan, if it becomes the consensus approach, Americans in managed care would see few, if any, improvements. It gives them little more than an expanded ability to sue. In reality, this approach will only take money out of consumers’ checkbooks and put it into the pockets of trial lawyers, making health insurance less affordable for all Americans.

08/25/1999
Capitol Comment 247 - Are You Down with OPP and Internet "Unregulation?"
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 247 - Are You Down with OPP and Internet "Unregulation?"

A new study released by the Office of Plans and Policy (OPP) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) celebrates the success of a policy of "unregulation" for the Internet.1 "Unregulation," as opposed to deregulation, is the total absence of regulation, not the removal of regulation. This study coincides with the FCC’s recent stance against state attempts to regulate Multiple Service Operators (MSOs), such as cable providers who offer advanced services like Internet access.

08/19/1999
Capitol Comment 248 - The Future Begins Now: Welcoming Regulators Into the Information Age
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 248 - The Future Begins Now: Welcoming Regulators Into the Information Age

"Over the next five years, I believe the future of this medium will be determined more by policy choices than by technology choices." -America Online Chairman and CEO Steve Case, speaking on the future of the Internet at the National Press Club, October 26, 1998

08/18/1999
Capitol Comment 246 - “Saving” Salmon in the Pacific Northwest: The Endangered Species Act Hits Home
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 246 - “Saving” Salmon in the Pacific Northwest: The Endangered Species Act Hits Home

Salmon have long been a symbol of the Pacific Northwest, and an important part of the region’s culture and industry. However, in recent years, salmon have become a heavily regulated symbol as federal, state, and local governments have struggled to address a decline in the population of these fish.

08/12/1999
Capitol Comment 244 - Smart Growth or No Growth: A Case of Euro-Envy
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 244 - Smart Growth or No Growth: A Case of Euro-Envy

"Smart growth is great, as long as you keep the dumb ideas out of it."1 Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. Recently there has been much talk in Washington about how so-called "suburban sprawl" is ruining our quality of life, and how "smart growth" is the answer. Many "smart-growthers" argue that since Europeans seem able to control the spread of their urban areas, we should follow their example. But can European policies that prevent "suburban sprawl" be incorporated into a sensible quality-of-life agenda for America?

08/12/1999

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