Monthly Archives: June 2011

What does the Heritage Foundation have to say about our potential choices concerning federal spending:Study released May 10, 2011 (Part 3)

Federal Spending by the Numbers

“Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity,” Heritage Foundation, May 10, 2011 by  Stuart Butler, Ph.D. , Alison Acosta Fraser and William Beachis one of the finest papers I have ever read. Over the next few days I will post portions of this paper, but I will start off with the section on federal spending reform.

Scaling Back K–12 Education Spending and Reforming Higher Education
Spending.
Federal spending on K–12 education has grown 192 percent faster
than inflation since 2000, yet this sharply increased federal spending and
federal micromanagement of school districts has not improved student
performance. Under the Heritage plan, total federal K–12 spending is reduced to
2000 levels (adjusted for inflation), in part by eliminating many of the
numerous small education programs that Washington uses to micromanage school
districts. This will allow states and school districts to manage and meet the
needs of their students more effectively.

Higher education reforms, including the new deduction for college tuition in
the Heritage tax reform, ensure that students receive enough financial
assistance to attend college. Shifting from grants to student loans ensures that
most college costs will be financed by the college graduates themselves, who
benefit the most from their degrees, and not by other Americans.

However, thanks to a key provision in the Heritage plan’s tax reform, higher
education costs are partially defrayed through the simplified and generous tax
deduction for higher education tuition. Families whose incomes are too low for
them to benefit fully from this tax deduction are eligible for a Pell Grant with
a value up to the tax deduction. The direct student loan program is retained
with loan limits high enough to guarantee college access but with rates set to
ensure that there are no budgetary costs, including the costs associated with
deferred repayment until graduation as well as the costs of loan forgiveness
programs.

Thus, all Americans will have access to financial aid in attending college,
but it will not be a free ride at the taxpayers’ expense.

Making Public Health Service Spending More Efficient. Public health
service spending has grown 56 percent faster than inflation since 2000. While
health research is vital, the Heritage plan eliminates waste and inefficiencies
that have accumulated. For example, by consolidating redundant facilities and
laboratories, the Heritage plan saves the National Institutes of Health $1
billion annually. States take over the financing and operation of health
centers, health professions programs, and the substance abuse block grant. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees savings over $2 billion annually
by reducing travel, ending questionable public campaigns, and focusing its role
on interstate coordination. Finally, converting Indian Health Service aid into a
premium-support system (where possible) and reforming the Food and Drug
Administration save a combined $1 billion annually.

Funding an Adequate Defense. The most important core function of the
federal government is ensuring America’s national security, but it needs to be
accomplished as economically and efficiently as possible. The Defense Department
will focus on identifying and addressing its significant levels of wasteful
spending and initiating significant reforms and efficiencies in logistics and
acquisition processes so that those funds can be reprioritized into the most
important uses to protect America and our allies by maintaining a strong,
modern, and effective military.

The war on terrorism has increased defense spending to approximately 5
percent of GDP, yet it remains well below the 9 percent spent during in the
1960s and the 6 percent spent during the 1980s. While the Heritage plan
recognizes that predicting precise funding requirements for overseas contingency
operations is impossible, it is reasonable to expect that the phasedown in those
efforts will permit reducing defense spending to approximately 4 percent of GDP
and maintaining it at that level. Ultimately, of course, defense spending will
have to be whatever it takes to protect America and its interests around the
globe.

While this proposal for maintaining sufficient levels of defense spending
assumes that future military personnel will be brought under the broader
proposals for health care and retirement reform outlined in this report, it also
provides for tailored transition options for current military personnel and
retirees. Importantly, reforms in compensation and benefits must maintain
effective recruitment and retention of, and honor reasonable commitments to,
members of the armed forces.

Repealing Obamacare. If fully implemented, Obamacare will add
trillions of dollars in long-term government spending to a health care system
that is already unaffordable. It also increases federal controls and mandates
and will impose heavy costs on states, businesses, and households. As noted
earlier, the Heritage plan repeals Obamacare and replaces it with the improved,
consumer-centered health care system.

President Obama’s press conference June 29, 2011, a Conservative Response Part 3

President Obama Press Conference pt.4

The Stimulus was a stupid idea, but President Obama wants to keep going down that  path.

Steve Chapman  rightly noted in his article “Stimulus to Nowhere” noted:

Mired in excruciating negotiations over the budget and the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama might reflect that things didn’t have to turn out this way. The impasse grows mainly out of one major decision he made early on: pushing through a giant stimulus.

When he took office in January 2009, this was his first priority. The following month, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with a price tag eventually put at $862 billion.

It was, he said at the time, the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history,” and would “create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years.”

The president was right about the first claim. As a share of gross domestic output, it was the largest fiscal stimulus program ever tried in this country. But the second claim doesn’t stand up so well. Today, total nonfarm employment is down by more than a million jobs.

What Obama didn’t foresee is that his program would spark a populist backlash and give rise to the tea party. Where would Michele Bachmann be if the stimulus had never been enacted — or if it had been a brilliant success?

To say it has not been is to understate the obvious. The administration says the results look meager because the economy was weaker than anyone realized. Maybe so, but fiscal policy is a clumsy and uncertain tool for stimulating growth, which the past two years have not vindicated.

The package had three main components: tax cuts, aid to state governments and spending on infrastructure projects. Tax cuts would induce consumers to buy stuff. State aid would prop up spending by keeping government workers employed. Infrastructure outlay would generate hiring to build roads, bridges and other public works.

That was the alluring theory, which vaporized on contact with reality. The evidence amassed so far by economists indicates that the stimulus has come up empty in every possible way.

Consider the tax cuts. Wage-earners saw their take-home pay rise as the IRS reduced withholding. But as with past rebates and one-time tax cuts, consumers proved reluctant to perform their assigned role.

Claudia Sahm of the Federal Reserve Board and Joel Slemrod and Matthew Shapiro of the University of Michigan found that only 13 percent of households indicated they would spend most of the windfall. The rest said they preferred to put it in the bank or pay off debts — neither of which boosts the sale of goods and services.

This puny yield was even worse than that of the 2008 tax rebate devised by President George W. Bush. Neither attempt, the study reported, “was very effective in stimulating spending in the near term.”

The idea behind channeling money to state governments is that it would reduce the paring of government payrolls, thus preserving the spending power of public employees. But the plan went awry, according to a paper by Dartmouth College economists James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Transfers to the states to support education and law enforcement appear to have little effect,” they concluded. Most likely, they said, states used the money to avoid raising taxes or borrowing money.

That’s right: The federal government took out loans that it will have to cover with future tax increases … so states don’t have to. It’s like paying your Visa bill with your MasterCard.

The public works component could have been called public non-works. It sounds easy for Washington to pay contractors to embark on “shovel-ready projects” that needed only money to get started. The administration somehow forgot that even when the need is urgent, the government moves at the speed of a glacier.

John Cogan and John Taylor, affiliated with Stanford University and the Hoover Institution, reported earlier this year that out of that $862 billion, a microscopic $4 billion has been used to finance infrastructure. Even Obama has been chagrined.

“There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects,” he complained last year.

Even if jobs were somehow created or saved by this ambitious effort, they came at a prohibitive price. Feyrer and Sacerdote say the costs may have been as high as $400,000 perjob.

Based on all this evidence, we don’t really know whether the federal government can use fiscal policy to engineer a recovery. We do know it can go broke trying.

How to balance budget, encourage business growth and don’t raise taxes

Sad day for Arkansas because the Yarnell Ice Cream Company has closed in Searcy, Arkansas.  I met Mr. Yarnell in 1983 and he was an older gentleman then. They had some great flavors.  Of course, liberals like Max Brantley will rant and rave about the 60 day notice requirement. The bottom line is that liberals love to act like big companies don’t care about their employees, but who do you think was brainstorming the last few years about how to make their company more profitable so the future would look better?

All the anti-business talk I hear from liberals does have consequences. You either have to be pro-business and free enterprize or liberal and anti-business.

It is funny to me that liberals really do enjoy saying that the evil business people should be taxed more in order to balance the budget. You can see this attitude today on the Arkansas Times Blog. Yarnell’s Ice Cream Company  out of Searcy, Arkansas goes out of business and it seems the liberals are still critical of the company because they should have done more for their employees!!!!

If our government was to cut down on the regulations and give businesses a chance to thrive then the current tax levels we have would be sufficient to bring the budget back close to a balance.

Curtis Dubay in his article “CBO Figures Once Again Prove Tax Hikes Unnecessary to Fix Budget,” Heritage Foundation, June 25, 2011, shows the Republicans are right about taking tax increases off the table.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its long-term outlook for the federal budget. As expected, we are going broke slightly faster than we were a few months ago.

No doubt the usual bigger-government types will use this news to repeat the mantra that we need to both cut spending and “enhance revenues” (a thinly veiled euphemism for tax hikes). Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner used this oft-repeated line just this week.

But their argument is exactly backwards. The CBO report actually once again proves that no tax hikes are necessary to fix our budget woes.

The CBO calculates that if Congress leaves the tax code as it is today—which would include permanently extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts for all taxpayers (even those greedy, job-producing rich folks and small businesses), patching the alternative minimum tax so it does not impact middle-income families, and continuing a host of other tax-reducing provisions that regularly expire—tax revenues would exceed their historical average of 18 percent of GDP in 2021. Revenue would continue growing thereafter absent any policy changes and soon surpass the all-time record high hit back in 2000 at the height of the Internet-tech boom.

Earlier CBO reports show (and this latest release confirms) that revenue would actually match the 18 percent of GDP mark by 2017 and could get there even sooner.

Renewed economic growth—once it finally takes hold—is the reason tax revenues will shoot up in the coming years. Faster growth means that taxpayers earn more income and move into higher tax brackets. Faster growth also means that there are more taxpayers than before.

The impending rebound in tax revenues seen in the CBO data also rebuts the argument that “taxes as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest levels since 1950.” It has been repeated most recently by Fareed Zakaria.

These low tax receipts have nothing to do with changes in policy, like lower tax rates, as those making this argument would have us believe. Tax revenues are low compared to their historical averages, but that has everything to do with a terrible recession and a worse-than-anemic recovery that has repressed incomes and driven millions to the unemployment lines.

Conveyors of the wrongheaded wisdom about the necessity of tax hikes are trying to convince the American people that there is just no way to lower the deficit with spending cuts alone, that some tax hikes are necessary in any “reasonable” plan.

Higher taxes are not a mathematical necessity. They are a choice Washington politicians would make to expand the size of government. After all, history has shown us that Congress rarely if ever uses revenue from tax hikes to lower the deficit. Rather, it uses the money on new or expanded big-government programs. And tax hikes now would further harm job creation.

The reality is that hikes are not necessary to fix the budget. If Congress restrained spending to its historical level of 20 percent of GDP (rather than the bloated 25 percent that President Obama’s budget aspires for), the deficit would fall to manageable levels as revenues climb, and the national debt would stabilize as a share of the economy.

It is all about the spending, and no amount of reiterating false claims about plunging tax revenue can change that. Washington has spent us into this budget hole and wants more of our money to fill the void they’ve created. It is time they realize they’ll be getting plenty of our money in the coming years, and the only way out of this mess is to cut spending.

Other posts on debt ceiling:

House rejects raising debt ceiling, John Brummett:We must increase debt ceiling or disaster will occur (Part 6)

New Congress Debates Raising Debt Ceiling Harry Smith spoke with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and Rep. elect Mike Kelly (R-PA) on how, with a shift in power, will congress set aside disagreements and work together to solve such issues as deficit reduction, job creation, and turning […]

Brummett:We must increase debt ceiling or disaster will occur (Part 4)

John Brummett in his article “Dear visa, my debt ceiling is capped,” April 25, 2011, Arkansas News Bureau, he observes: The first thing I intend to do is join the tea party. Then I’m going to refuse to raise my debt limit. Then I’m going to call the Visa people. “Y’all have me down here […]

Brummett:We must increase debt ceiling or disaster will occur (Part 1) (Royal Wedding Part 2)

John Brummett in his article “Dear visa, my debt ceiling is capped,” April 25, 2011, Arkansas News Bureau, he observes: The first thing I intend to do is join the tea party. Then I’m going to refuse to raise my debt limit. Then I’m going to call the Visa people. “Y’all have me down here […]

Balance Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 10 (The Conspirator part 6)

How should Congress address Debt Ceiling?

The United States Debt Limit Explained – (CR) Heritage Foundation

Michael A. Needham has the best answer that I have heard so far:

Heritage Action is a “no” and will remain a “no” unless a deal rises to the level of the substantial fiscal challenges which face our nation.

Debt negotiations are intensifying and conservatives are growing increasingly skeptical that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are willing to do what it takes to put America back on a path to prosperity. On Wednesday, Heritage Action’s CEO Michael A. Needham sent a letter to Congress outlining our position on the debt ceiling.

The text of the full letter is below:

June 29, 2011

Dear Congressman,

Over the next month, you will face tremendous pressure to accept a deal to raise our nation’s debt ceiling. Heritage Action for America will key vote the deal to raise the ceiling.

Heritage Action is a “no” and will remain a “no” unless a deal rises to the level of the substantial fiscal challenges which face our nation. A deal to raise our debt ceiling must include historic reforms that will save the American dream for our children and grandchildren. The Heritage Foundation laid out what such a package might look like: 1) cut current spending; 2) restrict future spending; and, 3) fix the budget process. Currently, there is only one plan on the table that meets this test and that is the plan embodied in the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge. This is an example of a plan that matches the historical moment that we currently face as a nation.

In order to achieve reforms of this magnitude, Congress must do everything possible to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s August 2 deadline. Congress cannot negotiate with a clear mind if the administration is constantly invoking the specter of default. As Heritage Foundation economist J.D. Foster, Ph.D. points out:

Both immediately and long after it reaches the debt limit, the government would have far more than enough revenue coming in that the Secretary of the Treasury could use to pay interest on the debt. Nor would preserving the current debt limit put at risk the full faith and credit of the United States government, as the President’s chief economic adviser has claimed. The government would continue to pay net interest as it comes due.

In the event that liberals will not allow us to raise the debt ceiling because they cannot stomach substantive, systemic changes to put the country back on sound footing, conservatives must develop a responsible plan. Congress must exercise their constitutional power of the purse, building upon the framework of the Toomey-McClintock legislation, and prioritize federal spending.

Finally, Heritage Action will require at least 72 hours to review the details of any deal to increase our nation’s debt ceiling. The Washington inclination to go behind closed doors and strike a grand deal is unacceptable. Heritage Action, and the hundreds of thousands of Americans we represent, demand transparency and accountability. Americans must feel confident their Members of Congress understand what they are voting on. There must not be another “pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it” moment. We will reserve the right to score retroactively any vote if we are given less than 72 hours to review the details.

Our nation’s problems have grown so large they are impossible to ignore. If we allow the status quo to persist, or move forward with half–measures and gimmicks, we will be sentencing our children and grandchildren to permanent economic malaise while at the same time condemning this current generation to the same fate. Indeed, the crisis is not on the distant horizon. It is here now.

We have a unique opportunity and singular responsibility before us to change course. We must rise to the challenge of the moment.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer

President Obama’s press conference June 29, 2011, a Conservative Response Part 2

President Obama Press Conference pt.2

Will President Obama have the will power to make the tough spending cuts? The answer  is clear. He will not, but he will be willing to promise that he will. The Democrats promised Ronald Reagan that they would cut 3 dollars for every 1 dollar of tax increase, but it never happened.

Michael Reagan noted:

If the GOP is really serious about winning back the presidency, they need to win the deficit debate. The government of these United States is broke — flat broke — and if the nation is to survive as the prosperous nation it has long been, Republicans must restore fiscal sanity and call a halt to spending money we don’t have!

That’s what the Republicans promised us they would do last November, and largely on the strength of that pledge we let them take back the House. After all, it’s obvious that we can’t trust the Democrats to spend the public’s money wisely and well.

President Obama is promising to seek $3 in spending cuts for every $1 of new taxes, exactly as my father Ronald Reagan sought to do. When he passed away in 2004 he was still waiting for that $3. Barack Obama can expect the same dismal outcome.

Ask the first President George Bush how it worked out when he cut a deal with the Democrats in 1991 to reduce the deficit by $500 billion. All he had to do was go back a little on his “Read my lips — NO NEW TAXES” pledge and raise taxes just a little bit.

The Democrats promised not to use the tax issue in the 1992 elections. They promptly hung President Bush with it. So I say to the Republican leadership, as Margaret Thatcher once said to GHW Bush, “Now is not the time to go wobbly.” Stick to your guns and call a halt to spending nonexistent dollars.

Unlike the Democrats, who have long been able to win elections by buying votes with lavish government programs paid for with phantom dollars, Republicans have for the most part demanded that fiscal sanity play a large part in determining the wisdom of enacting new programs or financing existing ones.

Democrats have no problem with spending what I like to call “tomorrow money,” big bucks stolen from future generations, who aren’t around to protest having enormous debt loads placed on their shoulders even before many of them have even been born.

Tragically, we have now reached the point where it’s time for Peter –that’s this generation — to pay Paul, yet unborn, by paying for the cost of government programs with today’s dollars. That would require that we stop spending tomorrow’s dollars. Of course, in that case Democrats would start losing elections.

In this era of the Obama recession, Republicans had better stiffen their spines, stand erect and challenge Obamanomics before the president drags us over an economic cliff.

As I said, for the GOP, this is no time to go wobbly.

__________________________________________

President Obama Press Conference pt.3

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 95 B (How to get out of recession, Obama should note Reagan’s path)

https://i1.wp.com/www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/photographs/large/c31901-3.jpg

President and Nancy Reagan with Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the Yellow Oval room. 11/9/85.

Ronald Reagan – The Presidential Years Part 1 of 4

Larry Elder makes some excellent points in his article, “Economy: Reagan Gets No Credit, Obama Gets No Blame”:

Ronald Reagan did nothing. Barack Obama saved the nation from total collapse.

How else to explain the absence of jobless pitchfork-wielding Americans storming the White House? How else to explain the contrast between the explosive Reagan Recovery and the dud on our hands right now? Fortunately, the left is up to the task.

“The secret of the long climb after 1982 was the economic plunge that preceded it. By the end of 1982 the U.S. economy was deeply depressed, with the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression. So there was plenty of room to grow before the economy returned to anything like full employment,” said left-wing economist, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in 2004. Oh.

An economy that is “deeply depressed,” Krugman insists, or at least he did seven years ago, naturally comes back strong. To what principal factor did Krugman point to in calling the 1982 economy “deeply depressed”? Unemployment. It peaked in the early ’80s at 10.8 percent, even higher than during “The Great Recession” (aka the economy “inherited” by President Barack Obama). In 2010, the unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent, which means the early ’80s still holds the record for the “worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression.”

What most people care about are jobs. By that standard, Reagan faced an even tougher economy. Throw in a higher rate of inflation — 1980’s 13.5 percent average vs. 2011’s 2.6 percent — and much higher prime interest rates — 20 percent vs. 3.25 percent — and the early ’80s looked even grimmer than The Great Recession.

Krugman gives no credit to the Reagan policies of lower taxes, deregulation and a slowdown in the rate of government spending. He believes Reagan’s policies (SET ITAL) harmed (END ITAL) the economy. Krugman approvingly quotes Bill Clinton, who, as a presidential candidate, said: “The Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Enter President Barack “Hope and Change” Obama, with a Democratic majority in the House and a supermajority filibuster-proof Senate. Out went policies like reductions in income taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains and dividends. In came transfers of money from one pocket to another to “spread the wealth.”

Under ObamaCare, the Democrats placed the entire health care system under the command and control of the federal government. Through a nearly $1 billion “stimulus” package, Democrats spent money on “shovel-ready” projects with a promise to “save or create” 3.5 million jobs. To rein in “greed” and to fight “climate change,” the Obama administration imposed billions of dollars’ worth of new regulations on businesses. Through “quantitative easting,” the Federal Reserve effectively printed money to keep interest rates low, a widely disputed policy designed to encourage banks to lend and businesses to borrow.

So where is it? When do we see the massive bounce-back from this “deeply depressed” economy, at minimum the kind of bounce-back that occurred in the ’80s in spite of the allegedly harmful policies of Reagan?

Krugman’s analysis of the Reagan recovery — a deep recession equals sharp recovery — tells us that the economy should be storming ahead, especially given Obama’s enlightened leadership. But in the seven quarters following the end of this recession, gross domestic product growth has averaged 2.8 percent. In the seven quarters following the Reagan recession, GDP growth averaged 7.1 percent.

Forecasters are now lowering expectations for economic growth. Ominously, “core inflation,” which excludes “volatile” categories of food and fuel, is up. Unemployment, after dipping below 9 percent, is now back to 9.1 percent.

So how does the left explain this?

“This was a (SET ITAL) financial (END ITAL) (emphasis added) crisis,” explains Robert Shapiro, a Clinton administration economist, “and these take longer to recover from.” Does this explain why last spring the Obama administration confidently predicted a “Recovery Summer”? Does this explain why the Obama economic team predicted that the 2009 passage of “stimulus” would prevent unemployment, then at 7 percent, from reaching 8 percent? Krugman, of course, in refusing to credit Reagan policies for the Reagan Recovery, made no distinction between a “financial” and a regular old crisis.

It’s flat-out tough to explain how anti-Reagan policies are supposed to produce Reagan-like growth.

Here’s the real explanation. The top priority of the left isn’t “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Andy Stern, the former head of the Service Employees International Union and hero to the left, makes this clear: “Western Europe, as much as we used to make fun of it, has made different trade-offs which may have ended with a little more unemployment but a lot more equality.”

The goal of the leftist is social justice — using government to close the gap between the have and the have-nots, to secure the “right” to health care. Obama’s policies are therefore an acceptable trade-off even though they kill jobs — as long as it’s somebody else’s job that gets killed.

 

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 75)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below:

Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

On May 11, 2011,  I emailed to this above address and I got this email back from Senator Pryor’s office:

Please note, this is not a monitored email account. Due to the sheer volume of correspondence I receive, I ask that constituents please contact me via my website with any responses or additional concerns. If you would like a specific reply to your message, please visit http://pryor.senate.gov/contact. This system ensures that I will continue to keep Arkansas First by allowing me to better organize the thousands of emails I get from Arkansans each week and ensuring that I have all the information I need to respond to your particular communication in timely manner.  I appreciate you writing. I always welcome your input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you in the future.

Here are a few more I just emailed to him myself:

GUIDELINE #4: Terminate failed, outdated, and irrelevant programs.
President Ronald Reagan once pointed out that “a government bureau is the closest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on earth.” A large portion of the current federal bureaucracy was created during the 1900s, 1930s, and 1960s in attempts to solve the unique problems of those eras.
Instead of replacing the outdated programs of the past, however, each period of government activism has built new programs on top of them. Ford Motor Company would not waste money today by building outdated Model T’s alongside their current Mustangs and Explorers. However, in 2004, the federal government still refuses to close down old agencies such as the Rural Utilities Service (designed to bring phones to rural America) and the U.S. Geological Survey (created to explore and detail the nation’s geography).
Government must be made light and flexible, adaptable to the new challenges the country will face in the 21st century. Weeding out the failed and outdated bureaucracies of the past will free resources to modernize the government.
Status Quo Bias. Lawmakers often acknowledge that certain programs show no positive effects. Regrettably, they also refuse to terminate even the most irrelevant programs. The most obvious reason for this timidity is an aversion to fighting the special interests that refuse to let their pet programs end without a bloody fight.
A less obvious reason is that eliminating government programs seems reckless and bold to legislators who have never known a federal government without them. Although thousands of programs have come and gone in the nation’s 228-year history, virtually all current programs were created before most lawmakers came to Washington. For legislators who are charged with budgeting and implementing the same familiar programs year after year, a sense of permanency sets in, and termination seems unfathomable.7 No one even remembers when a non-government entity addressed the problems.
The Department of Energy, for example, has existed for just one-tenth of the country’s history, yet closing it down seems ridiculous to those who cannot remember the federal government before 1977 and for whom appropriating and overseeing the department has been an annual ritual for years. Lawmakers need a long-term perspective to assure them the sky does not fall when a program is terminated. For example, the Bureau of Mines and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration, both closed in 1996, are barely remembered today.8
Instead of just assuming that whoever created the programs decades ago must have been filling some important need that probably exists today, lawmakers should focus on the future by asking themselves the following question: If this program did not exist, would I vote to create it? Because the answer for scores of programs would likely be “no,” Congress should:
  • Close down failed or outdated agencies, programs, and facilities, including:
  1. The U.S. Geological Survey9 (2004 spending: $841 million, discretionary);10
  2. The Maritime Administration ($633 million, discretionary);
  3. The International Trade Commission ($61 million, discretionary);
  4. The Economic Development Administration ($417 million, discretionary);
  5. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program ($1,892 million, discretionary);
  6. The Technology Opportunities Program ($12 million, discretionary);
  7. Obsolete military bases;
  8. The Appalachian Regional Commission ($94 million, discretionary);
  9. Obsolete Veterans Affairs facilities;
  10. The Rural Utilities Service (-$1,493 million,11 mandatory); and
  11. Repeal Public Law 480’s non-emergency international food programs ($127 million, discretionary)

This is how bad it is getting:

  • Discretionary spending is the portion of the annual budget that Congress actually determines.
  • Since 2000, discretionary outlays surged 79 percent faster than inflation, to $1,408 billion. The “stimulus” is responsible for $111 billion of 2010 discretionary spending.
  • Between 1990 and 2000, $80 billion annually in new domestic spending was more than fully offset by a $100 billion cut in annual defense and homeland security spending, leaving (inflation-adjusted) discretionary spending slightly lower.
  • Since 2000, all types of discretionary spending have grown rapidly.
  • Overall, since 1990, domestic discretionary spending has risen 104 percent faster than inflation and defense/security discretionary spending has risen 51 percent.

Brantley claims Barton is wrong about darwinism pt 6

On June 9th Max Brantley on the Arkansas Times Blog referred to a Mother Jones Article that noted:

On Wednesday, Right Wing Watch flagged a recent interview Barton gave with an evangelcial talk show, in which he argues that the Founding Fathers had explicitly rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Yes, that Darwin. The one whose seminal work, On the Origin of Species, wasn’t even published until 1859. Barton declared, “As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!” Paine died in 1809, the same year Darwin was born.

Here is the  fifth part of the series that I started a few days ago about the founding fathers’ views on the origin of man. Below is an portion of an article by David Barton, “The Founding Fathers on Creation and Evolution.” 

While uninformed laymen erroneously believe the theory of evolution to be a product of Charles Darwin in his first major work of 1859 (The Origin of Species), the historical records are exceedingly clear that the evolution-creation-intelligent design debate was largely formulated well before the birth of Christ. Numerous famous writings have appeared on the topic for almost two thousand years; in fact, our Founding Fathers were well-acquainted with these writings and therefore the principle theories and teachings of evolution – as well as the science and philosophy both for and against that thesis – well before Darwin synthesized those centuries-old teachings in his writings.

Nobel-Prize winner Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) explains: “The general idea of evolution is very old; it is already to be found in Anaximander (sixth century B.C.). . . . [and] Descartes [1596-1650], Kant [1724-1804], and Laplace [1749-1827] had advocated a gradual origin for the solar system in place of sudden creation.” 1  ( Bertrand Russell, Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1948), pp. 33-34.)..

John Adams

When I was in England from 1785 to 1788, I may say I was intimate with Dr. Price [Richard Price was a theologian and a strong British supporter of American rights and independence, with Congress bestowing on him an American citizenship in 1778]. I had much conversation with him at his own house, at my houses, and at the house and tables of many friends. In some of our most unreserved conversations when we have been alone, he has repeatedly said to me, “I am inclined to believe that the Universe is eternal and infinite. It seems to me that an eternal and infinite effect must necessarily flow from an eternal and infinite Cause; and an infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Power that could have been induced to produce a Universe in time must have produced it from eternity.” “It seems to me, the effect must flow from the Cause”… It has been long – very long – a settled opinion in my mind that there is now, never will be, and never was but one Being who can understand the universe, and that it is not only vain but wicked for insects [like us] to pretend to comprehend it. 23

23. John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Lester Cappon, editor (North Carolina: University of North Carolina, 1959) pp. 374-375, to Thomas Jefferson, September 14, 1813

Here are some other posts about David Barton’s word on the unconfirmed quotes that have been attributed to the Founding Father and Barton’s effort to stop the Righteous Right for using these quotes in the future:

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 6 David Barton:Were the Founding Fathers Deists? In 1988 only 25% of Christians voted but that doubled in 1994. Christians are the salt of the world. The last few days I have been  looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence […]

Two Unconfirmed quotes attributed to Noah Webster

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 5 David Barton: Were the Founding Fathers Deists? First Bible printed in USA was printed by our founding fathers for use in the public schools. 20,000 Bibles. 10 commandments hanging in our courthouses. The last few days I have been  looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding […]

Unconfirmed Quote attibuted to Patrick Henry

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 4 David Barton: Were Founding Fathers Deists? Only 5% of the original 250 founding fathers were not Christians (Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, Joe Barlow, Charles Lee, Henry Dearborn, ect) In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think […]

Samuel Adams Unconfirmed Quote was Confirmed Eventually

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 3 David Barton: Were Founding Fathers Deists? American Bible Society filled with Founding Fathers Here is another in the series of  unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence concerning them. David Barton has collected these quotes and tried to confirm them over the last 20 […]

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Ben Franklin

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 2 David Barton on Founding Fathers were they deists? Not James Wilson and William Samuel Johnson In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence concerning them. David Barton has collected these quotes and […]

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville

HALT: HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 1 David Barton: Were the Founding Fathers Deists? Religious holidays, Court cases, punishing kids in school for praying in Jesus name In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence concerning them. David […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in David Barton | Edit | Comments (0)

Supreme Court never said It.

Halting Arkansas Liberals with Truth David Barton goes through American History and looks at some of the obscure names in our history and how prayer and Bible Study affected some of our founding fathers In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in David Barton | Edit | Comments (0)

Lots of Fake Quotes of Founding Fathers in Circulation

HALT: Halting Arkansas Liberals with Truth   ___ I wanted to thank Gene Lyons for bringing this issue of fake quotes of the Founding Fathers to our attention because it should be addressed. In April 8, 2010 article “Facts Drowning in Disinformation,” he rightly notes that Thomas Jefferson never said, “The democracy will cease to [

The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore)

File:Shakespeare and Company store in Paris.jpg

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have been going through the characters referenced in the movie. Yesterday I spent time on a place (Versailles) and today I will do likewise. Silvia Beach ran a book store in the 1920’s that is featured in the movie.  Below is some information on that store from Wikipedia:

Shakespeare and Company is an independent bookstore located in the 5th arrondissement, in Paris’s Left Bank. Originally established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, in the 1920s the store was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. Shakespeare and Company serves as both a bookstore and a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. The current store is named after and in honor of the earlier store which closed during World War II.

The shop was featured in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris.[1]

Shakespeare and Company Poets Corner

File:Shakespeare and Company Poets Corner.jpg

Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate from New Jersey established Shakespeare and Company in 1919 on 8 rue Dupuytren. The store functioned as a lending library as well as a bookstore.[2] Beach moved to a larger location at 12 rue de l’Odéon in 1921, where the store remained until 1941. During this period, the store was considered the center of Anglo-American literary culture and modernism in Paris. Writers and artists of the “Lost Generation,” such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil, Man Ray and James Joyce spent a great deal of time at Shakespeare and Company. The books were considered high quality and reflected Beach’s own literary taste. Shakespeare and Company, as well as its literary denizens, was mentioned in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Patrons could buy or borrow books like D. H. Lawrence’s controversial Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which had been banned in England and the United States.

Beach initially published Joyce’s book Ulysses in 1922, which was banned in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Subsequent editions of Ulysses were published under the Shakespeare and Company imprint in later years.[3]

The Shakespeare and Company store on rue de l’Odeon was closed in December 1941, due to the occupation of France by the Axis powers during World War II. It is alleged the store may have been ordered shut because Beach denied a German officer the last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. The store at rue de l’Odéon never re-opened.

[edit] George Whitman Years

In 1951, another English-language bookstore was opened in Paris’s Left Bank by an American George Whitman, under the name of Le Mistral. Much like the original Shakespeare and Company, the store served as a focal point for literary culture in Bohemian, Left Bank Paris. Upon Sylvia Beach’s death, the store’s name was changed to Shakespeare and Company. In the 1950s, the shop served as a base for many of the writers of the Beat Generation, such as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William S. Burroughs. Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia, now runs the shop. The store continues to operate at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, near Place St. Michel and steps from the Seine River and Notre Dame and the Île de la Cité. The bookstore is located in a building that served as a monastery in the 16th century.[4]

George Whitman calls the bookstore “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”. Customers have included the likes of Henry Miller and Richard Wright. The bookstore includes sleeping facilities, with 13 beds, and Whitman claims as many as 40,000 people have slept in the shop over the years.[5]

Regular activities that occur in the bookshop are Sunday tea, poetry readings and writers’ meetings.[6]

[edit] Sylvia Beach Whitman years

George Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Whitman, has now taken over the day-to-day running of the shop, and continues to run the store in the same manner as her father allowing young writers to live and work in the shop.[7]

She has also started a biennial literary festival, FestivalandCo, which has hosted such writers as Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Jeanette Winterson, Jung Chang and Marjane Satrapi.[8][9]

Seeing Paris #1 1920s

A tour of the landmarks of Paris in the 1920’s by Burton Holmes. Burton Holmes looks over boulevard from balcony, Avenue de Opera, Opera Garnier, traffic, Cafe de la Paix, restaurant, waiters, outdoor cafe, men strolling in straw hats, sailors, newstand, shoe shine, Porte St denis, Porte St. Martin, Bastille Day celebration, parade, policemen, WWI soldiers marching with rifles, horse cavalry, Lafayette statue, Parc Monceau, reflecting pool. For more about Burton Holmes visit http://www.burtonholmesarchive.com. For licensing information contact http://www.globalimageworks.com

Review: Midnight in Paris

By Debbie Cerdaon June 9, 2011 – 10:00am in

Mdnight in Paris

I’ve always disclaimed being a fan of Woody Allen — not just because of his neurotic portrayals, but also his writing in Annie Halland Manhattan. I couldn’t relate and felt alienated from the New Yorker culture and mentality. In all fairness I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed several of his period pieces including Radio Days, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Bullets Over Broadway.

With an impending long-awaited vacation to Europe looming at the end of the month for me and my fiance, I was intrigued to get a preview via Allen of “The City of Light” in his latest movie, Midnight in Paris, which was the opening-night film at Cannes this year. Ironically, Allen’s ability to capture a subculture that not everyone can relate to is what I adore about this film — only instead the group is the “Lost Generation” of writers, painters and musicians who flocked to Paris in the 1920s for inspiration. Allen addresses his love letter to Paris with an extended opening sequence of Parisian monuments and locations including the River Seine, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Les Champs Elysees and the obligatory Eiffel Tower aglow at night.

Midnight in Paris centers around Gil (Owen Wilson), a successful Hollywood screenwriter who wants to move to Paris and write his great novel, inspired by his literary hero, Ernest Hemingway. Gil’s over-privileged fiance, Inez (Rachel McAdams), has different plans that include a house in Malibu, not a relocation to France.  While on vacation in Paris with Inez’s parents John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy), the couple bicker over Gil’s romanticism. Inez’s snobbish academic friend Paul (Michael Sheen) pontificates, “Nostalgia is a denial of a painful present.”

Escaping from a stuffy dinner and conversation with the staunch Republican John and judgmental Helen, Gil takes a walk through the streets of Paris. On a dark street at the stroke of midnight, a vintage car pulls up alongside Gil and the occupants invite him to join them for festivities. On arriving at what would appear to be a costume party, Gil is introduced to the Fitzgeralds — F. Scott (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda (Allison Pill) — while Cole Porter (Yves Heck) tickles the ivories and croons to the ladies.

What happens next in Midnight in Paris can be compared to Allen’s A Midsummer’s Sex Comedy — Gil is led on a magical journey into the past as he becomes acquainted with of the icons of the Lost Generation, including Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody), and his hero, Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) who introduces him to Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates). Much to Gil’s delight, Hemingway and Stein critique his novel. However, it is Pablo Picasso’s young mistress Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who captivates Gil with her beauty and soul. Will Gil give up his modern life to live in the age that he felt he should have been part of? Or will he return to the fiance he can’t agree with, and to hack rewrites?

To address the incredible performances of the stellar cast of Midnight in Paris would take more words than I could fit in this review. The casting of this film was phenomenal, and Allen’s direction brought out the best of so many familiar stars and lesser known actors. Wilson is the perfect choice to play a writer who has a dream come true and fumbles his way through making the best of a miracle. McAdams displays a wide range from the mildly supportive fiance to a shrewish, self-entitled brat. Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller are picture-perfect Americans not understanding French culture and society, despite the fact John is doing business with the French. Bates, Brody and Stoll are endearing caricatures of the icons of a glorious age of Paris as well as literature and art, and Allison Pill is Zelda.

The lovely and talented French singer and former model Carla Bruni has a short yet memorable scene as a museum guide who is corrected by Sheen’s character on her French history facts — especially humorous since Bruni is the current First Lady of the French Republic. However, it’s Academy Award winner Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) who steals the spotlight whenever she is onscreen. Dewy-eyed and jaded, her character yearns for the Belle Epoque as Gil waxes nostalgic for her era.

The art design and production design of Midnight in Paris can be attributed to Anne Seibel (The Devil Wears Prada, Munich), who effectively captures both contemporary and 1920s Paris, from market booths in Montmartre to the Red-Light District of La Pigalle in the early 20th century. The costume design is also wondrous, whether Bates is wearing the masculine cut clothing of Gertrude Stein or Cotillard dons simple yet elegant straight-line shift dresses.

To enjoy Midnight in Paris you don’t have to be familiar with the writers and artists of the 1920s, but it certainly helps. I recognized dancer-singer Josephine Baker (Sonia Rolland) immediately, but a companion professed he didn’t know the significance of the Afro-French dancer. Hemingway was quoted as saying, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Allen’s Midnight in Paris will stay with me as I walk the streets in search of Hemingway’s haunts, wistful for the magical moments brought to the screen.

Madison, WI Union Debate (part 4)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Denies ‘Union-Busting’

The Wisconsin governor calls his opponents’ concessions a “red herring.”

Chris Edwards wrote an excellent article “Madison Protest: Unions are Angry– but Wisconsin Should Go Even Further,” Feb 18, 2011, Cato Institute and I will posted portions of that article the next few days.

Inconsistent with freeedom
Unions certainly have free speech rights to voice their opinions about public policy. But collective bargaining gives unions the exclusive right to speak for covered workers, many of whom may disagree with the views of the monopoly union. Thus, collective bargaining is inconsistent with the right to freedom of association.

In states such as Virginia, teachers and other government workers may form voluntary associations and lobby the government, which is fine. But collective bargaining — or monopoly unionism — gives a privileged position in our democracy to government insiders who focus on expanding the public sector to own their personal benefit.

Wisconsin’s proposed union reforms are on the right track. But state governments should repeal collective bargaining in the public sector altogether, following the successful policies of Virginia, North Carolina, and other states. That would give policymakers the flexibility they need to make tough budget decisions on pensions and other fiscal challenges facing their states.