December 9, 2011What’s worse than the federal government deliberately arming gangsters? Answer: The federal government deliberately arming gangsters with the express intent of undermining the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution; you know, the Amendment which guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Such is the nauseating narrative of the rapidly unfolding “Fast and Furious” scandal. As CBS News, which has been doing yeoman’s work on this repulsive episode, reported on December 7:
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation...
December 8, 2011The Washington Times
Trade unions are a school of communism.
L labor leader Andy Stern has seen the future. There’s no freedom there, but he’s OK with that. Mr. Stern, a former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), recently returned from a trip to China, where he had the opportunity to meet with “high-ranking” government officials, who outlined for the former labor leader...
December 2, 2011Legendary labor leader Andy Stern has seen the future. There's no freedom there, but he's OK with that.
Stern, a former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and now senior fellow at Columbia University's Richman Center, recently returned from a trip to China organized by the Center for American Progress. Stern had the opportunity on this sojourn to meet with "high-ranking" Chinese officials, who outlined for the former labor leader part of the authoritarian regime's long-term economic plan.
Strern was so enamored with what he saw and heard in the Middle Kingdom that he wrote a slavish op-ed for The Wall Street Journal praising the communist country's state-planned economy and urging the United States to embark on a similar path. Among the more revolting passages of Stern's...
November 28, 2011Americans have the notion that liberty equals elections, and therefore feel themselves still living in a free country so long as elections proceed as scheduled. But the growth of government bureaucracy threatens to make elections less consequential, and therefore less a guarantor of freedom, as vast decision-making powers are continually ceded to unelected functionaries and czars who minister fiefdoms of appallingly autonomous power.
In my column for The Baltimore Sun over Thanksgiving weekend, I explore the growth of the bureaucratic state and what it has meant for our republican institutions. From the column:
America was born [a republic], or at least that was the Founding Fathers' hope for the government they brought into this world. But as the nation grew, it matured into something quite different. Especially over the past century, Americans collectively and...
November 18, 2011A new study titled Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income 1970-2009 by Stanford University researchers throws harsh light on a disturbing phenomenon -- the decline of the American Middle Class.
Over the last four decades, the study finds, the number of high and low income neighborhoods have both increased, while “mixed income neighborhoods have grown rarer.” Since 1970, in fact, “the share of families living in middle-income neighborhoods dropped from 65 percent to 44 percent.”
A New York Times story highlighting the study sums it up:
Much of the shift is the result of changing income structure in the United States....
November 16, 2011Imagine a home is on fire.
Now imagine the inhabitants of that home arguing among themselves about how to put out the conflagration, or even if they should do so. As the flames draw near, the ceiling nears collapse, the smoke chokes their lungs, they finally agree to try and agree to procure a Dixie Cup full of water to fight the fire, and they give themselves a deadline to do it.
If you think this type of comical dithering in the face of mortal danger would be insane, you’d be right. If you think it sounds a lot like what Congress is doing with its extra-constitutional “Super committee,” a delegation of 12 House and Senate members (never has that word been more accurate) charged with finding some way to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over ten years, you'd also be right.
If the super committee cannot agree on cuts by their November 23 deadline, well, CNN...
November 11, 2011Liberty lovers look to America’s Founding Fathers as patron saints, rightly revering the documents those men drafted as bulwarks of individual freedom. How ironic, then, that those very Founders may have inadvertently planted the seeds of liberty’s demise in the U.S. Constitution itself.
Article 1, Sec. 8, the infamous “Commerce Clause” grants the federal government the power to “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” And ever since it was written, this seemingly open-ended phrase has been used to justify the federal government’s ever-expanding scope and power.
In 1942, for example, the Supreme Court used the Commerce Clause in its Wickard ...
November 10, 2011There was a lot of noise in the news this past week, so you may be forgiven if you let this little nugget slip past you. From Reuters: "Alabama's Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday in the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history."
There are three words in there that should never be in the same sentence -- biggest, bankruptcy, and history -- but there you go. Jefferson County has now followed Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (a state capital, incidentally), Vallejo, California, and Central Falls, Rhode Island, in going recently -- and literally -- belly up.
First cities then counties, the collapse is upward. People waiting for an economic apocalypse are anxiously watching banks, financial institutions, and national governments, but they are looking...
November 10, 2011The Washington Examiner
Everyone knows state governments are swimming in red ink, but how deep exactly is the fiscal hole?
The nonprofit watchdog group State Budget Solutions has conducted an extensive analysis of state government finances, and the results are not unlike what one might find after an audit of a college freshman following her first-credit card spending binge.
Reuters sums up the dismal findings:
"State Budget Solutions combined states' major debt and future liabilities, primarily for pensions and employee health care, unemployment insurance loans, outstanding bonds and projected fiscal 2011 budget gaps. It found that in total, states are in debt for $4.2 trillion."
November 4, 2011Voters in Colorado this week repudiated a slew of proposed tax increases, even those targeted for "education." The Associated Press reports:
Voters [in Colorado] resoundingly rejected the only statewide tax hike on ballots this November, a slight temporary increase in sales and use taxes to shore up public schools decimated by years of budget cuts. In all corners of the state Tuesday, Coloradans also swatted down proposed local tax hikes on dozens of local questions on everything from building a new recreational center in a Denver suburb to hiring a second full-time police officer in a small western Colorado town.
No sooner had Coloradans of all political stripes spoken than liberals who lust for your money began their hand-wringing. "How could they," you could...