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Recent Policy Studies
Budget & TaxationBy Charles Blahous, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st CenturyAnalysis, 08/24/2012
Roughly half of the reason the surpluses never materialized is that federal spending was subsequently increased (over half of this total increase was concentrated in the three years of 2009-11). A little over one-quarter disappeared because of subsequent corrections to the 2001 projections. Less than one-quarter was due to tax relief of any kind – and only a little more than half of that small fraction is directly attributable to the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages.
Budget & TaxationBy Jonathan Ingram, Ted Dabrowski, Illinois Policy InstitutePolicy Brief, 08/23/2012
Illinois reports that it owes $83 billion to its five public pension funds. That amount represents the chronic failure of the state to fully fund its pension systems, overly generous retirement benefits for state workers, and the inability of those funds to meet their investment targets. Unfortunately, this $83 billion figure grossly understates the pension crisis facing Illinois.
Regulatory Forbearance and the Rule of Law: The FCC’s Arbitrary and Capricious Obstruction of DeregulationBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 08/23/2012
By upholding the FCC’s exclusion of evident wireless competition with wireline voice services in Qwest v. FCC, the Tenth Circuit has prolonged the life of network forced-sharing mandates and outdated legacy telephone regulations. This despite cable and wireless entrants having overturned the monopolistic assumptions upon which those regulations were based. The result is a blatant disconnect between the FCC’s enforcement of legacy regulations over a presumed non-competitive voice market and the vibrant cross-platform competition actually taking place in today’s dynamic market. The most disturbing aspect to the Tenth Circuit’s decision, however, is its approval of the arbitrary and capricious manner in which the FCC engaged in “goalpost-moving” and the way it disowned the reliance interests its own prior order had induced. A commitment to the rule of law requires that even agency rule changes be undertaken and applied in a manner consistent with basic principles of fair notice, predictability, and certainty.
Budget & TaxationBy Erin Shannon, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Brief, 08/23/2012
Employers in Washington state are at a severe competitive disadvantage when it comes to the workers’ compensation costs they must pay compared to businesses operating in other states, especially those in nearby Oregon and Idaho. Our state’s consistent use of reserve funds to artificially suppress the rate increases necessary to keep the workers’ compensation system solvent is symptomatic of the fundamental problem with any monopoly. Without the threat of competition, there is no incentive for officials to operate as efficiently as possible and to control costs. In addition, elected officials in Washington have a political incentive to hide the true cost of the mandatory workers’ compensation program they run, especially in sensitive election years.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Alexander W. Koff, David Nickel, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 08/23/2012
Companies are fighting intellectual property disputes at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in record numbers. From 2000 to 2011, there was a 530 percent increase in cases brought under 19 U.S.C. sec. 1337, “Section 337” for short. A rise in Section 337 proceedings involving high tech products, such as smartphones and tablet computers, and a huge swell of cases against Chinese companies since 2000 have both indisputably contributed to this increase. But as this Legal Backgrounder explains, it is important not to overlook the impact two developments in federal court have had on the ITC’s expanding sec. 337 docket, developments which will propel the caseload increase well beyond 2012.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Gregory A. Nylen, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 08/23/2012
California’s Unfair Competition Law or “UCL,” codified at Business and Professions Code sections 17200 et seq., has long been a fertile source for claims in lawyer-driven false advertising class actions. But recent decisions have limited plaintiffs to those who are exposed to allegedly misleading statements and who suffer cognizable injury-in-fact, forcing plaintiffs’ lawyers to find new angles for their cases.
LaborBy Evan M. Tager, Kevin S. Ranlett, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 08/23/2012
In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC California’s Second District Court of Appeal recently upheld a provision in an employment contract requiring employees to arbitrate wage-and-hour disputes on an individual basis. The decision may signal a thawing of the California courts’ hostility to the U.S. Supreme Court’s pro-arbitration ruling last year in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Leon R. Kass, National AffairsNational Affairs, 08/23/2012
All in all, there is thus reason to believe that our deeds and practices—if not also our spiritual prospects—are better than the dispiriting speeches and theories that garner the greatest notoriety. That is welcome news. But it hardly means that the campaign against spiritual poverty has been won. What most decent Americans still practice or know in their bones they do and know despite the strenuous and unceasing efforts of our intellectuals and our popular culture to persuade them otherwise—efforts whose doleful consequences are all around us. To improve beyond this point, to wage a truly winning war on spiritual impoverishment, we need much more. Ultimately, we need a newly inspirited cultural elite, one that, as Murray puts it, confidently preaches what it practices. And we need institutions that will once again educate our elite in the sources, the ideas, and the beliefs that guide us as a people. But for that to happen, we need, first and most, a full-throated intellectual defense and celebration of just what it is that most Americans still tacitly know and live by. And that requires especially an account of just why and how our most worthy practices do in fact answer to our deepest human aspirations and longings.
LaborBy Amy L. Wax, National AffairsNational Affairs, 08/23/2012
As applied to race and employment, the disparate-impact rule should be repealed by Congress or abolished by the courts. The Supreme Court’s vast expansion of the concept of discrimination in Griggs was a mistake: well intentioned, perhaps, but not well suited to realities of America’s work force and society. The civil-rights laws should return to their original purpose, which was to eliminate double standards and adverse treatment targeted at disfavored groups. After all, Title VII, by its own terms, forbids discrimination “because of” race, gender, and other characteristics—and says nothing about eventual outcomes.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Pamela Villarreal, Baruch Feigenbaum, National Center for Policy AnalysisPolicy Report, 08/23/2012
Los Angeles County’s plastic bag ban negatively affected employment at stores inside the ban area. While every store inside the ban area was forced to terminate some of its staff, not a single store outside the ban area dismissed any staff. Stores inside the ban area reduced their employment by more than 10 percent. Stores outside the ban area increased their employment by 2.4 percent.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Russell A. Berman, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 08/23/2012
Is democracy best secured at the regional level, in nation-states or in Europe-wide institutions? Across the spectrum in Germany, the future of Europe is far more than a question of the currency; at stake is the future of democracy and free societies. The economic crisis has elicited dramatic political prospects that may yet lead to fundamental restructuring in Germany and beyond.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Gabriella Blum, Hoover InstitutionReport, 08/23/2012
As the state becomes less dependable for providing safety, citizens everywhere will have to find their own modes of protection. One, like alarm systems or personal handguns, will be purchased on the open market, and market forces will supply the need for defense and regulation of weapons. Another, like vigilantism or community policing, will take the form of people-to-people networks of monitoring, preemption, or even punishment of offenders. These networks will not be confined to national borders, just as professional communities of hackers are not confined to any one state.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy James Huffman, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 08/23/2012
It is a terrible thing when true disaster befalls even a single individual. But stuff happens. Natural and manmade hazards are part of the human condition. A combination of technology and social institutions has served to reduce and mitigate these hazards, and compassionate people usually do what they can for the victims. But we fool ourselves in thinking that we can effectively eliminate risk by creating legal rights of compensation that only shift the costs to others. In taking from Peter to pay Paul, we incur enormous transactions costs while encouraging Paul to take less responsibility for himself and discouraging Peter from taking more risks, which would help him contribute to a safer and more prosperous world for us all.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Thomas H. Henriksen, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 08/23/2012
The slogan “winning hearts and minds” should undergo a subtle change: winning hearts and minds for the host nation. It must be the core mission of U.S. forces to transfer not only cleared, held, and built-up areas of land, but also the loyalty of that land’s inhabitants to their own governmental institutions.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy John Yoo, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 08/23/2012
While a disappointment for both the economy and the Constitution, Sebelius contains an important lesson for conservatives. They cannot rely on the federal courts to save them from the ever-expanding liberal welfare state. Placing all their bets on the judiciary led conservatives to forget the most important forum for making their case: the political process. The court is not the place for policy judgments, as Roberts affirmed in the majority opinion. “Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them,” the opinion declared. “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That was one thing Chief Justice Roberts got right.
EducationBy James B. Stansfield, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 08/23/2012
The criticism of the ‘profit motive’ in education is unjustified: We should not be concerned about the corporate structure of organisations that provide educational services. Furthermore, while people are disparaging about the profit motive they ignore other self-interested motives operating within the education sector, such as those within teachers’ unions, government educational bureaucracies, and so on.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Daniel Simmons, Institute for Energy ResearchReport, 08/23/2012
Energy policy would be greatly improved if policymakers took into account the actual energy landscape. Far too often, energy bills are based on incorrect assumptions, such as the notion that new, revolutionary technologies, such as affordable cellulosic ethanol, are just around the corner if only the federal government provides the energy industry sufficient mandates and subsidies. Time after time, experience has shown that the government cannot force new technologies to market.
PhilanthropyBy Patrick J. Reilly, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 08/23/2012
The 2012 race for the White House may depend heavily on the Catholic vote. Catholics signif cantly contributed to President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, but neither Democrats nor Republicans can claim their loyalty. If the embattled president again attracts Catholic support despite recent disputes with Catholic leaders, the cause will largely be a network of Catholic leftists, university faculty, union organizers, and Democratic Party strategists. They are determined to prove the Left’s appeal to Catholics, especially after the embarrassing defeat of the liberal Catholic Sen. John Kerry in his 2004 presidential bid.
PhilanthropyBy Fred Lucas, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 08/23/2012
Funded by MoveOn and the labor movement, the advocacy efforts of Americans United for Change toe the Left’s line. The group has pushed for Obamacare, President Obama’s failed stimulus packages, and against efforts to reform the nation’s out-of-control entitlement programs. It still has close ties to the Obama White House and promises to be a force in the upcoming election.
Budget & TaxationBy Matt Patterson, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 08/23/2012
Union power has been shrinking for decades, the only exception being the public sector, where unionization rates have inexorably increased as labor bosses have pinned their hopes to a greater extent on government workers at all levels. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has changed that calculus. He has shown that public unions can be tamed, that governors and mayors can make the hard choices the people pay them to make and still survive the wrath of organized labor’s vengeful hordes. Indeed, Walker has shown that many in those hordes are unwilling participants in labor’s war on economic choice: Since Walker’s reforms made union membership optional in his state, AFSCME numbers in Wisconsin have fallen over 50 percent.
EducationBy Matthew M. Chingos, Paul E. Peterson, Brookings InstitutionStudies, 08/23/2012
Most research on educational interventions, including school vouchers, focuses on impacts on short-term outcomes such as students’ scores on standardized tests. Few studies are able to track longer-term outcomes, and even fewer are able to do so in the context of a randomized experiment. In the first study using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, we examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. We find no overall impacts on college enrollments but we do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African American students who participated in the study. Our estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Sherzod Abdukadirov, Deema Yazigi, Mercatus CenterMercatus on Policy, 08/23/2012
President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866 outlined widely accepted principles for evaluating the merits of regulations. The purpose of the executive order was to ensure that, on balance, the regulations at issue promote social welfare. Consequently, agencies today are required to prepare Regulatory Impact Analyses for economically significant regulations. In their analyses, agencies must estimate the benefits and costs of a wide range of alternatives, including an option not to regulate, and they must select the option that achieves the greatest benefit at the lowest cost. Agencies, however, often fail to comply with this requirement. According to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) 2011 report to Congress, only 13 out of 54 major rules finalized that year were supported by a breakdown of benefits and costs.
Economic GrowthBy E.J. McMahon, Robert Scardamalia, Empire Center for New York State PolicyReport, 08/23/2012
The relative youthfulness of a region’s population is in many ways an important precursor of future economic growth. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of New York City, New York State got older faster than the rest of the country between 1990 and 2010. The graying trend has been especially pronounced in the upstate region—defined, for our purposes, as everything north of the Dutchess and Orange County lines in the mid-Hudson Valley. Unless the upstate region can somehow attract more young workers and their families, its population of children and young adults will continue to spiral downward. And its future outlook will grow even dimmer.
Budget & TaxationBy Stephen Moore, Manhattan InstituteReport, 08/23/2012
There is little doubt that government can redistribute wealth: taxing high-income individuals can and has increased equality. But there is little evidence to suggest that this results in increased economic mobility for the poor. A 2006 study by Chul-In Lee and Gary Solon finds that intergenerational income mobility has not changed significantly despite various changes in tax rates: “[O]ur results … suggest that intergenerational income mobility in the United States has not changed dramatically over the last two decades.” That study makes it difficult to see how raising taxes on the wealthy will generate increased income mobility for the poor, and it underscores the point that equality is not synonymous with economic mobility.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Laura M. Kelley, Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
AIDS orphans’ lives are saved because they did not contract their mother’s disease. This is a medical and humanitarian triumph. But humanitarians and medical professionals to date have given far too little consideration to the subsequent fate of these same children. All too often, these children experience unintentional neglect as their parent’s illness becomes more severe. And after the death of their mothers, these orphans face a harsh future, regardless of their own HIV-status. The fortunate are taken in by extended family members or find care in orphanages run by nongovernmental organizations and faith-based organizations. The unlucky ones, who have no one to care for them, become prey to crime and violence, or sometimes join the ranks of children who roam the cities and countryside and live a hand-to-mouth existence for as long as they can. A few go on to head their own households and care for younger siblings, typically sacrificing their own education and care in the process.
Economic GrowthBy Dane Stangler, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
The news out of Europe only seems to get worse. Each government bond auction and economic data release piles on the bad news, exacerbated by a series of summits that overpromise and under-deliver. Meanwhile, the policy debate is stuck between those who blame government profligacy and those who point to underlying structural problems that plague European economies. These problems include rigid labor markets, dramatic trade imbalances among countries, and, in many places, stagnant industrial production. Hope, however, springs eternal, and Europe might look for so-called “green shoots” in an organization called Startup Weekend. Over the past few years, this American nonprofit has quietly but quickly overtaken the continent.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
We all want clean air, but pushing electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles onto the market on the back of a vast array of subsidies is not the way to attain it. It may, indeed, slow the pace of air quality improvements, putting people’s health at risk.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Michael Rosen, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
Infallibility may be a defining feature of computers in the abstract, but in practice, they are heavily dependent on the rather fallible humans who program them. And, thus, free speech rights “for computers”—in all their glory and with all their limitations— are fundamentally derived from human activity, warts and all.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, Elizabeth DeMeo, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
In reviewing the energy policy platforms of Romney and Obama, we see that Obama shows a distinct preference for a command-driven energy economy, while Romney strongly favors a freer, private-sector energy economy. Obama places far less emphasis on energy affordability and far more emphasis on greening the energy supply even though that raises costs. Finally, whereas Romney clearly has a goal of energy interdependence with Canada, Obama’s view of energy independence is more a “go it alone” approach, where pipelines to Canada need not apply.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Matthew Jensen, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 08/23/2012
While there is a great deal reported about manipulations of the London Interbank Offered Rate, little attention has been paid to why LIBOR is important, who might have been harmed by its manipulation, or how to think about the financial ramifications. This primer aims to fill that gap. It is not about the scandal, but about LIBOR itself. It’s meant to explain the finance behind the scandal. It describes how and why LIBOR is used and illustrates how its manipulation might have affected borrowers, lenders, and participants in the derivatives market.
EducationBy Jacob L. Vigdor, American Enterprise InstitutePaper, 08/23/2012
American students test poorly in mathematics compared to those in other developed—and in some cases, less developed—countries. While we have seen some signs of improved performance in recent years, these improvements are not yet evident among high school students. And the proportion of new college graduates who majored in math-intensive subjects has declined by nearly half over the past sixty years. Stated succinctly, the root of the problem is an excessive emphasis on equality in curriculum. Given the inherent variability in students’ math aptitude, equity can be achieved only by delivering a suboptimal education to at least some students.
International Trade/FinanceBy Claude Barfield, American Enterprise InstitutePaper, 08/23/2012
Even with the substantial economic benefits of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, Taiwan will experience negative impacts as East Asian integration proceeds, either through a consolidation of intra-Asian Free Trade Agreements, the expansion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or some kind of melded integration. Beyond the bare trade numbers, there is also the likelihood that Taiwan’s central status as a hub for regional and global supply chains will be jeopardized. Foreign direct investment is indispensable for the future growth of Taiwan’s economy—particularly in the high-tech electronics and information and communications technology sectors. The danger is that isolation from formal institutional arrangements will lead to investment diversion as well as more prosaic and visible trade diversion. For this reason, ECFA’s undoubted benefits are a two-edged sword. The degree to which Taiwan is more closely tied to the mainland economy, absent any ability to forge new trade and investment ties on its own, could well become the degree to which other countries increasingly consider Taiwan as an appendage—indeed, a province—of the Peoples Republic of China.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Morgan Lorraine Roach, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
On August 21, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away. Having come to power in 1991 following the overthrow of the communist Mengistu regime, Meles became a regional leader and a controversial partner to the United States. Meles’s autocratic tendencies and tight-fisted economic policies made him a divisive leader. With his departure, the U.S. has an unprecedented opportunity to encourage democracy and economic reform and bolster the security partnership between the two nations.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
Egypt is preparing a military offensive against Islamist militants in the Sinai who have launched a series of terrorist attacks against Egyptian border guards in an effort to weaken the central government and provoke a war with Israel. This campaign is expected to include armored forces and air strikes in the first major Egyptian military action in the demilitarized Sinai Peninsula since the 1973 Arab–Israeli war. Although the ostensible counterterrorism goal of the operation is a valid one, Washington should closely monitor the situation to prevent Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government from undermining Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
Budget & TaxationBy Patrick Louis Knudsen, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
Three key messages emerge from the updated budget outlook released today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO): (1) For the fourth year in a row, the federal government in 2012 will run a budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion; (2) the nation’s fiscal and economic challenges going forward remain both daunting and unaddressed, with continued record spending and deficits and high unemployment; and (3) another recession threatens in 2013 if Congress fails to defuse Taxmageddon and the fiscal cliff.
Crime, Justice & the Law
The Mysterious Disappearance of International Law Arguments from Juvenile Sentencing in Miller v. AlabamaBy Charles Stimson, Jonathan Levy, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 08/23/2012
For almost a decade, activists have asserted that, through the mechanism of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments,” international law either forbids or constrains states from exposing the roughest juvenile criminals to the toughest sentences. Relying in part on those arguments, the Supreme Court of the United States has diminished sentencing options, for adult and juvenile offenders alike, at every turn. However, in Miller v. Alabama, foreign and international law are conspicuous only for their absence. This may signal a welcome shift in the Court’s jurisprudence. Activists will no doubt continue to cite foreign and international sources in making their cases against domestic sentencing practices, but Miller at least suggests that the Court has grown wary of such arguments.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
A Carbon Tax Would Harm U.S. Competitiveness and Low-Income Americans Without Helping the EnvironmentBy Derrick Morgan, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 08/23/2012
Supporters of a new carbon tax are using arguments aimed at conservatives (it can be revenue neutral) and liberals (it can help the environment) alike. But even if one concludes that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are leading to increased temperatures—and there is robust debate and far from a public consensus on the magnitude of man-made warming, particularly among conservatives—a carbon tax would (1) do next to nothing to lower global temperature, (2) harm American manufacturing competitiveness, (3) create a new revenue stream based on behavior modification, and (4) harm low-income Americans. Energy supplies can be delivered and new supplies created through the private sector rather than through mandates, regulations, taxes, and subsidies ordered by government.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Edwin J. Feulner, The Heritage FoundationMonograph, 08/23/2012
The cover of this essay alludes to Reagan’s charge. “All great change in America,” he said, “begins at the dinner table. … And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.” Reagan was right: We must understand our Constitution if we are to defend what we have achieved under it, and we must know our history if we are to value the ordered liberty the Founders bequeathed to us. We must be free by governing ourselves, preserve our freedom for the next generation, and stand for freedom at home and abroad. We the people created this republic, and we the people must preserve it.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Lisa Curtis, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
Congress recently passed legislation, which President Obama signed into law on August 10, requiring the Administration to determine within 30 days whether the Haqqani network should officially be classified as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) and, if not, to explain its rationale. The decision will be watched closely in the region and will signal—to Afghans, Pakistanis, and terrorist leaders alike—the degree of U.S. commitment to uprooting terrorism from the region. The U.S. should stand by its counterterrorism principles and identify this deadly terrorist organization for what it is. This would reduce Pakistani space for further delaying military operations against the group and assist the U.S. in attacking the group’s financial network.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Morgan Lorraine Roach, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
Today, the mandate for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) expired, and parliament met for the first time to begin the selection process for the country’s new president and speaker of parliament. Though the process to create a new government has been flawed, the Obama Administration and the international community have hailed this development as momentous progress. In reality, there is little reason to celebrate, as the new government will likely mirror the ineffective and corrupt TFG.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Lisa Curtis, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 08/23/2012
While the U.S. and India have developed multifaceted ties over the last decade, the overall relationship has recently been challenged: India bought advanced fighter jets from France, not from the U.S.; the Indian parliament virtually shut out U.S. companies from India’s civil nuclear industry; the Singh government delayed economic reforms that would give foreign companies greater access to the Indian market; and many Indians remain suspicious of the Obama Administration’s plans for the Asia–Pacific. Nevertheless, the growing strategic challenge presented by a rising China, and India’s and America’s shared democratic values, will drive the two countries to increase cooperation. India and the U.S. should accept that the partnership will not always meet their expectations, and must demonstrate a willingness to collaborate on issues of core importance to the other.
Budget & TaxationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationIssue Brief, 08/23/2012
The tax extenders bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee on August 2 took important, albeit small, bipartisan baby steps: two forward followed by one big step back. The two steps forward were the committee working toward avoiding a component of Taxmageddon and making the effort to begin sorting through the long list of small, expiring tax provisions and dropping those of inadequate merit. The big step backward is that the bill would raise taxes. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 19–5, which means that five Republican Senators joined with the Democrats to raise taxes.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy William A. Schambra, The Heritage FoundationFirst Principles, 08/23/2012
The Framers of our Constitution drew a distinction between unfettered democratic rule and the constrained republicanism of the Constitution. In the Republican convention of 1912, two candidates with diametrically opposed views of what sovereignty of the people meant were pitted against each other. On one side, incumbent President William Howard Taft defended the Founders’ constitutionally limited republicanism. On the other, Theodore Roosevelt espoused a populist program of reform aimed at making the government more democratic. Between them was Elihu Root, chairman of the convention, who succeeded in denying TR the nomination. In so doing, he kept out of his hands the party’s magnificent electoral machinery, which would almost certainly have returned him to office committed to a platform of radical constitutional reform.