Recess Appointments, Driving, and Fannie/Freddie
President Obama used a recess appointment to make former Ohio AG Richard Cordray head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"If Obama appoints Cordray now, he sets a precedent that Democrats and critics of the 'Imperial Presidency” will likely regret the next time there is a Republican president and Democrats control one or both houses of Congress. If any adjournment or break the Senate takes can be defined as “recess,” can the president make appointments when the Senate is in formal session and gavels out for the evening? Our long-held tradition of checks and balances advises strongly against going down this road.
Americans are driving less than they used to---in part, thanks to government regulation.
"With the substantial increase in the U.S. urban population in recent decades, lane-miles have not kept up with population growth trends [PDF]. Rather than increasing physical lane space to benefit drivers, transportation planners at the local, state, and federal levels have been using their taxes to fund infrastructure and service that benefits a tiny fraction of the population, at the expense of drivers. About one-fifth of federal fuel tax revenue collected from highway users is siphoned off to expensive, underused, heavily subsidized mass transit systems. Traffic congestion now costs the economy more than $100 billion annually [PDF]."
Recently, The New York Times published a piece by Joe Nocera that minimized the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financial crisis.
"These two government-sponsored enterprises went broke and ended up being bailed out by taxpayers at cost of more than $170 billion — a cost that has never been repaid and continues to increase. By contrast, the private banks repaid their bailouts. Fannie and Freddie, not the banks, imposed the bigger burden on taxpayers."