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.
The national Republican Party is currently in the midst of a slow-motion train wreck. Their presidential primary has amply demonstrated their Base’s profound disaffection. You can call it anger, you can call it delusion – you can call it a tuna fish sandwich. But when 70+% of your voters don’t like anyone having anything to do with anything you’ve been doing – you absolutely call it a problem.
As is clear from the rise of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina in the Republican presidential primaries and the groundswell of support for socialist Bernie Sanders among Democrats, a large portion of the American public has become fed up with the national government’s apparent takeover by powerful special-interest groups. Each new day brings another story of bad legislation and worse court decisions giving certain classes of people advantages denied to the rest of the people.
The EPA is doing everything it can to avoid taking responsibility for the Gold King Mine disaster, where the EPA spilled millions of gallons of toxic waste water into the Animus river. So far, the Committee responsible for investigating the spill has faced EPA delays, withheld documents and even, it seems, doctored video.
A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below—yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.