The age-old analogy describing a good salesman is “He can sell ice to Eskimos.” Let us now contemplate the opposite. What if someone has repeatedly screwed up so terribly – they could damage the sale of the hottest of commodities to a full panoply of desperate buyers? How could anyone hamstring a water auction – in the desert?
New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman has opened an investigation into Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest energy company, and subpoenaed all company documents related to climate change research since 1977. His office says it’s an effort to find out whether executives “lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.” This follows on the heels of calls from 50 environmental groups, both major Democratic candidates for the presidency, and Democratic members of Congress for a federal probe into the firm.
If you want to know why millions of Republicans voters hate their party politics in Washington, D.C., consider what massive GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate did in December of 2015. Not only did GOP majorities pass the catastrophic Omnibus bill, but they also extended and give new life to the failed “No Child Left Behind” bill signed by President George W. Bush in 2002.
Last year, when Republicans gained a decisive edge in both houses of Congress, I made predictions as to the six energy-policy changes we could expect—as the two parties have very different views on energy issues.
President Reagan once said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” The omnibus budget package being negotiated on Capitol Hill is a perfect example.
For the second consecutive Congress, expanding protections for trade secrets of U.S. businesses has emerged as an important issue in both chambers. Identical bills were offered in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate titled the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 (DTSA). The bills were referred to the Committee on the Judiciary in both chambers.
In a situation only the out of touch, inside the Beltway crowd could love, added into the conference report (the final version of a bill to be considered by both chambers of congress) of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, is a provision adding the legislative language from H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA), as widely approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Raise your hand if you think government at any level – federal, state, local – is suffering from a dearth of our money. Or omni-directional ways to take it from us. I don’t see…any arms extended upward. Strange.
Instead of kicking the can down the road once again and causing uncertainty in the one economic sector experiencing economic growth in good times or bad, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., should take the issue off the table and pass a permanent version of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.
In “Court and Democracy” Jeffry Rosen speaks of the Supreme Court as playing a paradoxical role in American democracy. He states: “Americans think of the Supreme Court as the least democratic branch of the federal government, designed by the framers of the U.S. Constitution to ‘protect vulnerable minorities’ against the tyranny of the majority.”
It is hard for people to grasp the magnitude of the U.S. debt problem—and what the ultimate “day of reckoning” will be. The national debt reached $1 trillion for the first time in 2009. It is now well over $18 trillion. That’s the official total; the real total is much higher. Lawrence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University, has calculated that based on Congressional Budget Office data the real debt is $202 trillion, more than eleven times the official debt. It is also about 3 times what the entire world produces, that is, global gross domestic product (GDP), which is $72 trillion. In 2013 Kotlikoff updated his debt calculation to $222. That’s $700,000 per person, $1.9 million per household.
The budget deal recently reached between the White House and Congress dramatically increases spending over the next two years, to the tune of $50 billion and $30 billion, respectively. To “pay” for that spending increase, the deal promises to—wait for it—find significant spending cuts in the future. Where have we heard that before?
Tim Wu, the self-described “policy advocate,” who coined the term “net neutrality;” who has been a leading activist for preemptively regulating broadband service like a utility despite scant evidence of any problem; who from 2008-2011 was Chair of the pressure group FreePress that ran the notoriously-deceptive “Save The Internet” campaign to force FCC net neutrality regulation that was overturned in court
The First Amendment reads (in part): “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech….” “Abridge” is legally defined as: “…(T)he making of a declaration or count shorter, by taking or severing away some of the substance from it.” The Founders prohibited the government from not just silencing speech – but from doing anything at all to in any way reduce it.
The climate treaty under negotiation is like a vampire from a bad old horror film. Every time you think it’s dead, it rises from the grave. This vampire is not sucking blood, but money and resources from taxpayers and needy people around the world. It’s time to put a stake through its heart and cut off the head of this climate-treaty monstrosity once and for all.
Kudos to Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch, and Rep. Blake Farenthold for their leadership and wisdom in advancing the SMARTER Act, H.R. 5402, “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules.”
Behold Mark Cuban – a wildly successful entrepreneur. He in 1995 co-founded Broadcast.com – and in 1999 Yahoo! way overpaid $5.7 billion for it. Ever since, Cuban has in Donald Trump-like fashion built himself into a brand – The Entrepreneur. Like Trump, he loves embodying the pursuit of professional victories. Like Trump, he turned his doing-business-vision into a high-ratings network television show (well, Trump turned his into two).
By following through on entitlement reforms started in the 1990s, Congress can defuse a ticking entitlement-spending time bomb and allow states to lead the way on holding costs down and better serving taxpayers.