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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

M912TC supports Rebecca Negron for Congress

The members of the Martin 9/12 Tea Party Committee were impressed with many of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for U.S. Congress in Florida's 18th Congressional District. 

The one who stands out as a long-time resident and a local champion, however, is Rebecca Negron.

Rep. Thomas Rooney - "Congressional District 18 needs a conservative that holds its best interest at heart and has the passion to fight for the issues that matter most to Floridians. In addition to sharing core Republican values, she stands ready to address the increasing threats to our national security. Rebecca is also committed to strengthening and empowering our military, ensuring we have the tools necessary to secure and protect our nation. I am proud to lend Rebecca my support."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

FEE: The Tax Army Is Three Times Larger than the US Army

The Tax Army Is Three Times Larger than the US Army

The Office of Management and Budget has released new data on the amount of time Americans spend complying with the federal tax code. Tax Foundation summarizes the data here.

Individuals and businesses spend 8.9 billion hours a year on federal tax paperwork, which is equivalent to 4.3 million people working full-time and year-round on this unproductive activity. That “tax army” is three times larger than our uniformed military of 1.4 million active duty service members.

The burden of tax paperwork can be expressed in dollars. Based on the average earnings of U.S. workers, Tax Foundation finds that federal tax paperwork imposes a $409 billion annual cost on the economy.

The main reason to overhaul the tax code is to increase incentives for working, investing, and other productive activities. But you can appreciate how wasteful the tax code is by considering the paperwork burden of particular provisions. For example, the federal estate tax imposes $20 billion a year in paperwork costs, but the tax only raises $21 billion a year for the government. It clearly makes no sense to impose a tax if it costs as much to collect as the money raised.

The largest paperwork costs stem from the income tax. Tax Foundation has found that replacing the federal income tax with a simple flat tax would reduce the paperwork burden by about 90 percent. With that reform, Americans would be at peace with the tax code, and we could demobilize the tax army.

Chris Edwards
Chris EdwardsChris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at Cato and editor of DownsizingGovernment.org.

This article was originally published on FEE.org.

Read the original article.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mike Pence’s Hillsdale College Speech on the Presidency

September 21, 2010, 12:08 am
President and Mrs. Arnn, Mr. John Cervini, Mr. David Bobb, Elliot Gaiser, College Republicans and each and every one of the faculty and students of Hillsdale College here today.… As I am sure you know, honor is what allows us to do what is right despite the cost. Even greater honor is required to do what is right in the face of superior power. And the greatest honor is to stand strong even if it means standing alone.
The long fight of Hillsdale College, standing alone — then and now for the proposition that all men are created equal, then with Frederick Douglass, now with Clarence Thomas; then and now in the conviction that, as Americans are not horses, we were not born to have saddles placed on our backs, by anyone, at any time, and for any reason…. This long fight, you have fought for love of ideas that did not come in dreams, or as Reagan said, did not “spring full bloom” from your brow, but “came from the heart of a great nation,” rose in a time of unprecedented stress and genius, and since the founding kept this country whole, prosperous, safe, just, free and good.
It is therefore a high honor for me to stand before you in this place so closely associated with the founding of the Republican Party in opposition to the unforgivable sin of slavery; this place where statesmanship is taught as an art, and where right conduct is seen as its own reward. I thank you, and may God bless you for your bravery and courage.
I rise to pay a debt of honor and a debt to history. My subject today is the presidency, and my hope is that you see that institution in a new light and never despair of the republic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Religious Conscience in the Scrap Heap

Religious Conscience in the Scrap Heap

Who Pays the Piper? Everyone.

Debra Rae | 12 July 2016

A biblical imperative,[i] the exercise of religious conscience is likewise a constitutionally protected, legal right. The second clause of the First Amendment guarantees free exercise of deeply held religious convictions.[ii] Be sure principled religionists who exercise right of conscience are driven, not by superficial “feelings,” subject to changing winds. Nor is religious conscience to be confused with feeling guilt for indulging a second scoop of ice cream, or skipping a workout at the gym.[iii] Conscience speaks to an internal witness to what God commands and forbids, or to what is legitimately deduced from explicit biblical principle.[iv] This, our Founders protected.[v]

Since 1997 the First Amendment Center has conducted an annual national survey of American attitudes toward the First Amendment.[vi] Sadly, nearly one-third of those surveyed in 2014 could not name even one of five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.[vii] While right to conscience matters little to the uninformed, principled pharmacists and pharmacy owners in Washington State treasure this right[viii] not only for themselves, but also for all lawful Americans. Mindful that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, and that abortifacients operate by destroying a fertilized egg, or embryo, these professionals cannot in good conscience dispense Plan B or Ella.[ix] Nor will they.

Arbitrary Stocking Rules
Rationally, pharmacies are not expected to stock every FDA-approved drug. In the industry, a repeat customer’s prescription triggers the “stocking rule requirement,” but the rule has no teeth and is never enforced. Moreover, the state establishes no stocking standards for low-demand drugs, nor are pharmacies required to stock diabetics’ syringes, Schedules 2 and 5 nonprescription meds, or narcotics feared to invite armed robberies.

Clearly, the stocking rule allows ample wriggle room. For most, there’s no quantitative formula of patient demand signaling need to stock a drug, nor are there rules for how long the pharmacy must carry a given drug, once demand for it wanes. In fact, niche pharmacies systematically limit drugs they stock to specified healthcare categories such as pediatrics, cancer, or long-term care.

While Washington offers no definition for “good faith compliance,” Federal Appellate Judge Susan Graber (9th Circuit Court of Appeals) applies this overly permissive (and otherwise vague) rule sternly. In her world, pharmacies with religious objection must stock and dispense specific, time-sensitive abortifacients. For no particular reason, she exempts equally time-sensitive diabetic syringes.[x]

Arbitrary Referral Rules
A patient’s need for timely delivery is met effectively by alternative, facilitated referral. For most, referral to nearby pharmacies is but a minor inconvenience.[xi] If pharmacists can refer patients elsewhere when a drug is unprofitable, or out of stock, why not allow Plan B referrals to nearby pharmacies? It can’t be emphasized enough that, with or without referrals, there’s no documented access problem for Plan B in our state, nor any drug for that matter.

One, and only one, category of drug is under fire. Special interest activists demand immediate product and service from a targeted pharmacist with religious convictions against a specific drug’s safe, ethical use. Strong-armed to forfeit right to conscience, career, or privately owned business, a conscience-sensitive pharmacist is bullied to forgo his First Amendment right in deference to someone else’s perceived, but nonexistent “right” to convenience.

What’s more, whenever special interest politics shut down Christian businessmen and women—e.g., photographers, florists, caterers, bakers, and pharmacists—timely access to specific goods and services is limited all the more (at least in the short term). Jobs and services within the community are needlessly lost; and, over time, principled gynecologists, obstetricians, certificated master teachers, pharmacists, and more are forced out of their professions for refusing to be bullied out of their religious beliefs.

First Amendment Rights Scrapped
Deputy National Litigation Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Luke Goodrich rightly argues, “No individual should be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs. For a pharmacist to maintain personally held, religiously motivated moral objections is fully within her constitutional rights; however, the United States Supreme Court recently declined to address a critical First Amendment rights case.[xii]

Plaintiffs are Christian pharmacists and pharmacy owners being coerced to fill prescriptions to which they object on the basis of religious conscience. In this singular case, the standard practice of referral (unless within the same store) is deemed unacceptable.  Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson lauds the high court’s decision that, despite a pharmacist’s moral convictions, or better judgment, a patient cannot be refused.[xiii] So what’s to stop an activist from storming a church-affiliated senior care facility demanding Plan B? Must she be served—here and now, no excuses—even when said demand violates the pharmacist’s conscience while, at the same time, it sidesteps the clientele’s pharmacological needs? Think, people.

My Way or the Highway
Syndicated columnist Joel Mathis argues that pharmacists provide a highly regulated public service that cannot be denied.[xiv] Really? Everyday Washington pharmacies make choices about which of more than six thousand FDA-approved drugs they’ll stock (or decline from stocking, as the case may be). Should a patient violate pharmacy dress- and/or behavior- codes—e.g., no shirt or shoes—or should he be identified as a known shoplifter, he need not be served. To the contrary, crows Mathis,If you don’t want to be a pharmacist who dispenses birth control, perhaps you shouldn’t be a pharmacist.” Huh?

Goose v Gander Inequities[xv]
What’s good for the goose should be equally good for the gander, but secular pharmacists may do with impunity what religious pharmacists may not. Incredibly, pharmacists may refuse medications for all sorts of secular reasons—i.e., if a pharmacy doesn’t accept a patient’s insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare or if shelf space is limited and a medication has a short life. If it’s exceptionally expensive (and the patient can’t afford it)—or if stocking it requires additional, burdensome paperwork or unit dosages—no worries. When bulk purchase is necessary (beyond what the patient can consume), or if a drug requires monitoring or special preparation (e.g., compounding processes that require related equipment)—again, not to worry. No need to stock.

But an abortifacient is somehow different. The adequate, though not ideal compromise is for a pharmacist to “step away,” but not “in the way.” That policy no longer flies (in this one case only). A secular pharmacist may refer a client elsewhere for any number of reasons, but a pharmacist who objects on the basis of conscience may not.[xvi]

I am reminded of a prominent Protestant pastor, best remembered for this quotation as it reads in the United States Holocaust Museum:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

To their credit, our Founders honored equal-handedness. As the Free Exercise Clause protects my right to conscience as a Christian, the Establishment Clause protects secularists from forced compliance to my religious convictions. Respecting the Supreme Court’s recent laissez-faire decision,[xvii]Justice Samuel Alito warned, “If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”

My rights as a believer are at stake, true; but so are yours as a secularist. For whatever reason, self-appointed elitists may come snarling and yapping at your heels next.[xviii] Whenever special interest politics prevail over one’s constitutional right to “free exercise of religion,” then all core rights (including speech, press, assembling, petitioning) are “up for grabs.” Make no mistake. Everyone pays the piper.

Won’t you please join me in prayerfully speaking out for protection of our inalienable, God-given rights?

[i] Acts 24:16—"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward
man." See: http://www.gotquestions.org/conscience.html (Accessed 11July 2016).
[ii]  “Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.” (O’Connell) Albert Einstein likewise cautioned, “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”
[iii] Sexual health and wellbeing of young women are not at issue. For many principled Christians, birth control practices constitute personal choices decided between marriage partners, their God, and a physician. In their view, abortifacient drugs cross the line.
[iv] In free society, each citizen gives account to God, fair law, societal norms, family, etc. Christians may not demand universal compliance with the Bible. Nor may secularists stiff-arm religionists to conform to their ethical grid.
[v] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Government has a responsibility under the First Amendment to take claims of conscience seriously when laws place a substantial burden on religious practice.
[vii] The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, ratified effective 15 December 1791, follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

[viii] Stormans v. Selecky, a landmark case handled by the Becket Fund, a non-profit, non-partisan law firm that protects the religious liberty of all faiths. Also on the legal team are lawyers Kristen Waggoner and Steve O’Ban with Seattle-based law firm Ellis, Li & McKinstry. Plaintiffs challenge the Washington State Pharmacy Board ruling that, despite religious objections, pharmacies must forfeit their prerogative to facilitated referral and stock/dispense early abortifacient drugs, as Plan B and Ella. Read: http://www.newswithviews.com/Rae/debra211.htm & http://www.newswithviews.com/Rae/debra215.htm (Accessed 11 July 2016)
[ix] Stormans Inc. v. Wiesman, 15-862.
[x] If all are not enforced, it’s only fair that none should be (Judge Ronald Leighton, December 9, 2011).
[xi] A survey initiated by the Washington State Pharmacy Board revealed that 85% of the responding pharmacies knew of others within a five-mile radius of their own. Were hospitals and other delivery options listed on that survey, the percentage would be even higher.
[xii] Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas would have heard the appeal.
[xiii] Title VII protection from discrimination is trumped by a woman’s demand for emergency contraception.
[xiv] Ben Boychuk (Syndicated Columnist). “Should Pharmacists Have Religious Freedom in America?” (Seattle: The Seattle Times, July 1, 2016) A13.
[xv] This Court’s unanimous decision in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah was crystal clear. Laws may not exempt nonreligious conduct while targeting religious conduct for negative treatment. Secular pharmacists are free to refer. But now, the Supreme Court upheld the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year, which found that a pharmacist may not refer a woman elsewhere to procure abortifacients to which that pharmacist morally objects.
[xvi] Discrimination includes demotion, layoff, transfer, failure to promote, discharge, harassment, intimidation, or threat of the same. Gregory S. Sarno, Harassment or Termination of Employee Due to Religious Beliefs or Practices, 35 P.O.F.2d 209, 222 (1983) (hereinafter “Harassment”); EEOC v. Townley Eng’g and Mfg., 859F.2d 610, 614n.5 (4th Cir. 1988), cert den., 489 U.S. 1077 (1989).
[xvii] Rachael Corte (The Associated Press). “High Court Rejects Pharmacists’ Religious-Rights Appeal” (Seattle: The Seattle Times, June 29, 2016) B5.
[xviii] Listen to TRUTHTalk Radio with Debra Rae: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sharonhughes/2012/02/07/a-matter-of-conscience.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Link between Extreme Environmentalism and Hard-Core Racism

Jeffrey A. Tucker

The Link between Extreme Environmentalism and Hard-Core Racism

In my reading and writing on the history of eugenics (here, here, and here), I’ve begun to discern a common trait between the people called environmentalists and racists from a century ago.

They share a common outlook that is illiberal to its core. They imagine that a wise and powerful state can better plan a future for both nature and man. Both groups were panicked about unplanned progress, assuming it could only resort in degeneration, mongrelization, and destruction. They dreamed of a future in which they and not the unwashed masses would be in charge of how resources are used and how the human race propagates itself.

Madison Grant Saves the Trees and the White Race
Thanks to Mother Jones, my suspicions have been confirmed. An essay that pleads with the progressive movement to deal forthrightly with its own grim history of racism discusses the life and work of Madison Grant (1865-1937). This bushy-lipped aristocrat was the hero of the environmentalists in the Progressive Era. He saved the redwoods of California from logging. He was the guru behind the creation of national parks. He undertook the most aggressive efforts ever to preserve species from extinction. He was handsome, urbane, ridiculously well educated and well connected, and “the greatest conservationist who ever lived.”

Also, Grant wrote the book that Adolf Hitler described as “my Bible.” The book is the 1916 The Passing of the Great Race. A bestseller for many years, on the coffee tables in all the fashionable houses, it is quite possibly the crudest, crankiest, and most bloodthirsty racialist tract ever written; and there’s a lot of competition for that title. He championed segregation, exclusion, sterilization, immigration restrictions, a welfare state (to keep women from working), a high bar for professional employment (minimum wages), and aggressive central planning.

The Passing is a hard read actually. You will discover more than you ever want to about the inferiority of everyone but people like Grant himself. He sounded alarm bells about the coming “mongrelization” of the race, given the influx of Jews, Italians, Slavs, Africans, and every group other than the one that supposedly built civilization and made it great. Uncontrolled procreation is destined to ruin all things. Along the way, you find wicked ethnic caricatures covered by the gloss of science (the “Polish Jew, whose dwarf stature, peculiar mentality, and ruthless concentration on self interest are being engrafted upon the stock of the nation…”).

Racism Is an Ideology
Once you read this literature – it was almost impossible to avoid in the period between 1880 and 1935 or so – you begin to get the hang of it. The word racism – thrown around far too recklessly – exists as an accurate description of a special version of anti-liberal ideology. This isn’t about off-color jokes, prejudice, or even a preference for one’s own people. It’s a settled worldview that postulates race, far above any other concern, as the driving-force of history. It has a nightmare scenario of random race-mixing as a consequence of free-wheeling sexual association. And it has a utopia in mind: a great nation inhabited only by the purest stock. It is anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, and anti-liberal to the core, and it views government as savior.

From a scientific point of view, the racists are deeply confused. They find differences between people and posit irreconcilable conflict. If they grappled with what Carlyle called the “dismal science,” they would discover a more beautiful picture: the division of labor, the exchange economy, and free association lead people to find value and dignity in other human beings regardless of race, and to discover it is in everyone’s self interest to respect the equal freedom of others. For this reason, the historical trajectory of commercial society has always been toward integration, inclusion, equality, and liberalization. This is also why racism as an ideology ultimately turns against liberalism.  
Grant’s theory of government sums it all up:
Mankind emerged from savagery and barbarism under the leadership of selected individuals whose personal prowess, capacity, or wisdom gave them the right to lead and the power to compel obedience. Such leaders have always been a minute fraction of the whole, but as long as the tradition of their predominance persisted they were able to use the brute strength of the unthinking herd as part of their own force, and were able to direct at all the blind dynamic impulse of the slaves, peasants, or lower classes. Such a despot had an enormous power at his disposal which, if he were benevolent or even intelligent, could be used, and most frequently was used, for the general uplift of the race. Even those rulers who most abused this power put down with merciless rigor the antisocial elements, such as pirates, brigands, or anarchists, which impair the progress of a community, as disease or wounds cripple an individual.
This is a restatement of the views of Thomas Carlyle, the founding father of fascism, united with pseudoscience of racial uplift, resulting in a worldview that serves as a perfect foil to the liberal tradition of Thomas Jefferson through F.A. Hayek. Is the fabric of history woven by brilliant planners with power, or by the cooperative and decentralized choices of millions of individual actors? There’s no question where people like Carlyle, Grant, and the fascist tradition stand on this question. To their minds, a unplanned social order is chaos and decline in the making, and is saved only by strong men.

Redwoods and Nordics
Thanks to the profile in Mother Jones, I had the chance to read some of Grant’s work on the environment as well, which predates his race books and continued even after. What one finds here is the same spirit at work. There is a theory of environmental history during which the fittest of the fit survive (think of the majestic trees of the Redwood Parks) while the unfit are culled. What is going wrong? The demands of commercial society are prompting stupid people to destroy this evolution. There is an apocalyptic scenario of a coming doom if government doesn’t act. But there is also a solution: total government ownership and control under the firm hand of intelligent people like himself.

It’s truly bizarre. Replace the mighty redwoods with the white race and you have an identical paradigm unfolding here. The enemy is the same (too many inferior people doing random things in their own commercial interest). The fear-mongering is the same: we are doomed if this keeps up. The solution is the same: government needs to act with ferocity.

Mother Jones is to be commended for its conclusion: “it's worth remembering because the movement has always struggled with elitist and exclusionary elements in its ranks.”

But, listen, this isn’t about the grim intellectual personalities of some of these Progressive-Era monsters. This isn’t even a personal attack or exposé. This is a problem of a worldview that is anti-liberal at its core. Whether we are talking about environmental purity or racial hygiene, the loathing of freedom itself is the issue and the factor that unites greens, browns, and reds of all stripes.

Enemies of freedom come in many flavors. The deeper you look into this history, the more the flavors blend together. We tend to think of these varieties of authoritarianism as being opposed to each other. It is more correct to think of them as the inevitable splits within the same movement.
Jeffrey A. Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Required reading for the "Independence Day" weekend.

The Founding Fathers insisted that each man should be considered as owning himself, and not be viewed as the property of the state.

They Said No To Big Government

Richard M. Ebeling
Richard M. Ebeling is BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) from 2003 to 2008.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pollster Questions That Cannot Be Answered

Pollster Questions That Cannot Be Answered

Jeffrey A. Tucker | FEE.org
I’m minding my business when suddenly my smartphone rang with an unfamiliar number. Curious, I picked up. It was the Gallup organization calling, wanting me to participate in a poll. If this had ever happened to me before, I don’t recall it. I thought they only called landlines, and most tech-smart people gave those up years ago. Perhaps Gallup is modernizing.

I’ve become very aware that Gallup's old paradigms of American politics no longer apply.I said I would answer questions, feeling like this was a rare chance to have my voice heard in public life, because, after all, Lord knows that elections don’t accomplish this. So the questions began with surprising detail about race, religion, age, income, family, education, my views on the current president, my views on the candidates, and so on.

I answered dutifully.

Jeffrey A. TuckerBut then it came to the hard stuff.

“If you were to vote today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican presidential nominee?”

Silence. I waited. Finally I objected. “Is neither not an option?” He repeated the question. I oddly felt boxed in. Trapped. Finally I muttered some answer (curious what I said? I’ll pretend I don’t remember).

Then the next question came:

“Do you consider your political views to be very liberal, liberal, conservative, or very conservative?”

Now this was just too much. Liberal in the way he meant does not apply, though I would happily take that name if it were the US in the 1880s or Argentina or Spain today. But I’m pretty sure that he meant by the word: “a person who wants to grow the state in most every realm of life until we achieve what some ruling-class academic regards as socially just and equal.” This is not what I am.

As for conservative, yes, I guess I would qualify under a definition tossed around in, say, 1964, sans the lust for war with Russia, cracking down on draft protestors, and the crusade for American-style democracy around the world.

But today, I truly have no idea what the common usage of that term is supposed to mean. Kids have too much freedom to smoke dope? That there is too much sex and violence in the movies and someone needs to crack down? That we need a few more bloody wars?

I truly don’t know anymore. Maybe it means free trade or maybe it means protectionism. In the 1980s, conservatism meant open borders and supporting with tax dollars some Islamic radicals who were rising up against communism. Today it seems to mean the exact opposite: closing borders and waging war against the Islamic radicals we once called freedom fighters.

Who is the true conservative these days? It’s anyone’s guess. For that matter, who or what owns the term liberal has also completely blown up. It’s not even clear why anyone uses these terms anymore. Any poll that asks such questions is not going to result in anything scientific. Garbage in, garbage out.

So this was the last straw for me. I absolutely refused to answer, and I gave the man a mini-lecture about political categories. He said nothing. After a long pause, he said, “would you like to skip this question?” Ummm, yes.

You Are Not Fodder
Perhaps I should have hung up at that point, but I yielded to the sunk-cost fallacy and made it to the end. Now my answers will tossed in with thousands of others, number crunched, and spat out to the media in some form. Whatever the political results here, they will mean nothing but that vast swaths of people will read the headlines and come to believe that the numbers mean something or other.

Yes, it’s very frustrating because I’ve become very aware that the old paradigms of American politics no longer apply. I spent this week speaking at a huge event in New Hampshire. It is called Porcfest (short for Porcupine Festival), and I’ve been giving a lecture series to a crowd of high-quality students. We’ve had the best conversations.

This is just one sign of the dramatic change that has taken place. The two mainstream parties are selling two flavors of authoritarianism at a time when billions of people around the world are discovering a better way to live in peace and freedom. Their old categories can’t last forever.

The next time I get a call like that, I won’t be so deferential to the existing questions. As soon as I have the chance, I’ll give the pollster another lecture on liberty as the real alternative and blast Gallup for failing to even acknowledge its existence. My contribution to the results will probably be thrown out, but at least I’ll feel like I might have made some difference.

Jeffrey A. Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Case For A Super Glass-Steagall

The Case For A Super Glass-Steagall

Donald Trump can instantly get to the left of Hillary with respect to Wall Street and the one percenters by embracing Super Glass-Steagall.

The latter would cap U.S. banks at $180 billion in assets (less than 1% of GDP) if they wished to have access to the Fed’s discount window and have their deposits backed by FDIC insurance. Such Federally privileged institutions would also be prohibited from engaging in trading, underwriting, investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, derivatives and other activities outside of deposit taking and lending.

Instead, these latter inherently risky economic functions would be performed on the free market by at-risk banks and financial services companies. The latter could never get too big to fail or to manage because the market would stop them first or they would be disciplined by the fail-safe institution of bankruptcy. No taxpayer would ever be put in harms’ way of trades like those of the London Whale.

By embracing this kind of Super Glass-Steagall Trump would consolidate his base in the flyover zones and reel in some of the Bernie Sanders throng, too. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Martin 9/12 TeaParty Committee

Meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Willful Blindness and Our Saudi ‘Friends’

Willful Blindness and Our Saudi ‘Friends’

For many years, I was reluctant to write a memoir of my experience leading the investigation and prosecution of the jihadists against whom we are still at war over 20 years later. For one thing, while an exhilarating experience for a trial lawyer, it was also a very hard time for my family, for obvious reasons. Also, with all the tough judgment calls we had to make, we inevitably made some mistakes — “we” very much including me. A triumphant outcome has a pleasant way of bleaching away any memory of errors; to write honestly about the case would mean revisiting them. Who needed that?
And about that triumph: I had, and have, a gnawing sense that we failed. Yes, the conviction of the Blind Sheikh and his henchmen was a great law-enforcement success. Throughout the long trial and in the years that followed, though, I came to appreciate that national security is principally about keeping Americans safe, not winning court cases. Sure, winning in this instance meant justice was done and some terrorists were incarcerated. How safe, though, had we really kept Americans?
For all the effort and expense, the number of jihadists neutralized was negligible compared to the overall threat. The attacks kept coming, as one might expect when one side detonates bombs and the other responds with subpoenas. As the years passed, the tally of casualties far outstripped that of convicted terrorists. When 9/11 finally happened, killing nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans, al-Qaeda credited none other than the Blind Sheikh with issuing the fatwa — the sharia edict — that authorized the attack. We had imprisoned him, but we had not stopped him.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rep. Brat: House leaders don’t get it on slashing the federal budget

Rep. Brat: House leaders don’t get it on slashing the federal budget
By Rep. David Brat | May 12 | The Washington Post

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. says House Republican
leaders are going down the wrong path on the budget.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Conservatives are supposed to stand for fiscal discipline, balanced budgets and reducing government waste.

Yet House leadership is currently whipping votes for a bad budget deal that was negotiated behind closed doors by party leaders that blows through the budget caps.
Despite Republican control of both the Senate and the House, the deficit is set to go up over $100 billion to the $530 billion range. Last year marked the highest level of federal government spending ever.
All this spending is on the backs of our kids. They have no effective lobby on Capitol Hill, so they lose to a D.C. bureaucracy that is incapable of listening to the American people.
Leadership has already begun work on a number of spending bills that appropriate taxpayer dollars at unprecedented levels — even though Congress has yet to pass a budget!
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) initially announced a budget resolution deadline of March 15 — but no vote was held even by the April 15 statutory deadline.
All of this action, all of these decisions, are in the hands of a few.
Congress’s discretionary spending level for fiscal year 2017 was capped at $1.040 trillion for fiscal year 2017 due to previous spending agreements dating back to 2011. But last year, outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) negotiated a deal with President Obama that broke the sequester caps and increased government spending by $30 billion to a historic $1.070 trillion for fiscal year 2017. Although this bill was opposed by the majority of House Republicans, it passed thanks to 79 Republicans who voted for it along with all 187 Democrats.
The country faces an imminent fiscal crisis, and the Republican Party has an obligation to change the direction we are headed. The federal government does not have to keep spending at unprecedented and unsustainable levels. The founders placed the power of the purse in the hands of Congress.
We don’t know what will happen with the presidential election, but we – the Republicans who have a majority in the People’s House – have an historic opportunity to change the direction of our country now. Given that our children’s futures are at stake, it is our responsibility to make sure we get this right and do not pass the buck with a continuing resolution (that spends more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money) in the fall.
Congress should not allow a passive outcome, where we back into spending $1.070 trillion as the default because Republicans in the House failed to lead when we had the opportunity to do so.
Republican leadership has been on a “listening tour;” and we in the House Freedom Caucus have provide countless solutions on how to trim $30 billion from the Obama-Boehner deal budget number.
While a balanced budget would require $530 billion in savings, the House Freedom Caucus compromised and requested $30 billion in savings be trimmed from the budget. Whether the savings comes from reforming autopilot or annual spending, or through a “sidecar” attached to a must-pass bill, we have simply been looking for a way to enact real savings now.
We are not getting enough feedback from leadership as to which solutions are acceptable, and which are not. If none of the ideas we have offered are favorable, we need to know why so we can think through the problem and find new solutions. The information feedback loop is broken, and as an economist that’s very frustrating.
The fact that the House budget is at a standstill over $30 billion reveals how unserious some within the Republican Party are about fiscal discipline and actually addressing our national debt crisis.
The federal budget deficit will swell in relation to GDP this year for the first time since 2009, ballooning to an estimated $534 billion in 2016, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. If Congress continues on its current path of spending, the deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2022 and every year thereafter. Thirty trillion in debt in a decade. Feel the Bern and you will be at $40 trillion. Yes with a T.
We have only to look to Puerto Rico to see where Washington’s addiction to spending can lead. Many have argued that Trump may not be conservative on fiscal issues. That argument is hot air if Congress itself cannot walk the walk. There is nothing conservative about the Obama-Boehner budget deal, which leadership is urging us to support.
If we are serious about fiscal discipline and a brighter future for our country, as conservatives say they are, we must pass a budget that actually reins in federal spending.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) is a member of the Budget Committee and the House Freedom Caucus. Before serving in Congress,  he worked for the World Bank assisting developing world economies and was an economics professor and chairman of the economics department at Randolph Macon College.