Spending

It’s Simple to Balance the Budget with Modest Spending Restraint

cash

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Now that new numbers have been released by the Congressional Budget Office, it’s time once again for me to show how easy it is to balance the budget with modest spending restraint (though please remember our goal should be smaller government, not fiscal balance).

Stop Going to College

College

As fall approaches, hundreds of thousands of high school students are being asked that nagging question: “What college are you going to?” These students would be wise to follow the advice of Peter Thiel, a billionaire Silicon Valley investor. For most of us, college is an expensive waste of time.

Not only is entrepreneurship a nearly impossible skill to truly teach at college since true entrepreneurship boils down to risk-taking (read: outside the box thinking) and self-motivation (read: not a classroom environment) — but enormous amounts of student debt severely limit the options of graduates in the marketplace by forcing them to take jobs that cover loan costs and provide for basic living costs.

This may be the ultimate folly of college education in my eyes. How many bright, young people are stuck in the rat race of professional jobs, or worse government, who are simply unable to follow their passions, be entrepreneurial, or develop something socially useful because they took on $100,000 in student loans when they were 18 and they just are not able to take the risk due to that looming $600/mo tuition payment.

This is why the Thiel Foundation is offering $100,000 scholarships to budding entrepreneurs to drop out of college for two years and develop their ideas. At least 20 students are awarded the scholarship each year, with some impressive results.

40% of full-time students fail to get a degree in six years, and with roughly one of three college graduates in a job the Labor Department says requires less than a bachelor’s degree, it is clear that our emphasis on the need to go to college is misguided.

People are spending a large amount of time getting degrees for jobs that may never be there.

Paul Ryan should stay in the House

Paul Ryan

Speculation over Mitt Romney’s possible running mate has been rampant over the last few days. While other names are being floated, including David Petraeus and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, most observers seem to agree that it’s likely down to three candidates — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Out of the three, Rep. Ryan is garnering the most attention. Many conservatives seem to want him included on the ticket, and they’re laying out a strong case. David Harsanyi, for example, explains that Rep. Ryan “would add a measure of number-crunching earnestness to a campaign (and then, more importantly, should it happen, to an administration) that lives on broad strokes.” However, some want him to remain in remain in the House, where, as chairman of the Budget Committee, he has laid the blueprint to fiscal reform. My colleagues Jeremy Kolassa and George Scoville have already touched on the need for Rep. Ryan to remain in the House for exactly this reason. Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis noted that, as Vice President, Ryan would be largely marginalized.

Romney Runs from Spending Cuts

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

According to the Associated Press, Mitt Romney supports postponing the sequestration cuts scheduled for January 2, 2013 by at least one year:

The Republican presidential contender said Friday during a campaign trip to Las Vegas that the cuts would be “terrible,” particularly for the military.

Congress approved the cuts as part of a deal to reduce the deficit. They were designed to help lawmakers come up with a better plan. But that didn’t happen — so the cuts are scheduled to go into effect next year.

Romney says he wants President Barack Obama and lawmakers to work together to put, in his words, “a year’s runway,” in place to give the next president time to reform the tax system and ensure the military’s needs are met.

In other words, Romney’s position on sequestration is no different than the rest of the spendthrifts in Washington.

Mike Lee on Tax Increases

Mike Lee

Utah Senator Mike Lee has been speaking out against proposed tax increases. He makes some great points in this article on the Daily Caller last week.

Lee points out first that it’s a partisan issue. It seems like everything these days in Washington is strictly partisan. The bickering between parties gets old (especially when both parties are saying the same thing), but I don’t think this is typical Republican finger pointing. Lee is one of a select few senators who isn’t utterly useless; he is the type of senator who would call out his Republican colleagues if this weren’t specifically an issue of Democrats being ridiculous.

Despite his would-be willingness for exposing hypocrisy within his party, Lee does make a few points the Republicans would like you to remember as we head toward November.

For example, the pushing of tax increases to push class warfare, or, in Lee’s words, “dividing Americans by income and pitting them against one another.” Lee even goes as far to say that these calls for higher taxes are out of desperation because “the electorate realizes Democrats are out of ideas.”

He also says that the responsibility for fixing budget woes lies with the Congress, not with the American people, and that the proposed tax increases will stifle job growth. He’s right on all accounts, but this is all buzzword stuff that every Republican  regurgitating through November.

Lee is one of the strongest members of the Senate on fiscal issues, and though he included the big buzzwords, he was exactly right when he said, “The proposal does not solve the problem of out-of-control deficits and debt.”

Debt and deficits. There’s the real problem.

Republicans Rally Behind Hate Crime Legislation

As I’ve said before, I’m no fan of hate crime legislation. Those types of laws legally raise the importance of one group of people over another, which is wrong. Additionally, they punish crimes based on perceived motivation, making the reason for a crime more important than the crime itself.

Last week the House voted on H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which criminalizes gender selection as the reason for getting an abortion. Anyone who signs a form saying the reason is something else can still have the abortion because H.R. 3541 only criminalizes the motive, not the procedure.

On top of that, it makes it a crime for doctors to not report people suspected of getting an abortion for the wrong reasons. Doctors who fail to do so could be imprisoned for a year. Pay attention to this; it’s a prison sentence for inaction.

Embracing stupid hate crime legislation is something that shouldn’t be done, but this is an election year. The Republicans are trying to make the Democrats look like they hate women. I’m no fan of the Democrats’ agenda, but come on. Are we really going to buy into the concept that a major political party in our nation hates women?

We’ve got record levels of deficit spending. We’ve got a failed monetary policy that’s weakening our currency. We’ve got wars all over the globe that we can’t afford. We’ve got coming problems in the health care industry. We’ve got so many issues that should be at the center of debate in this election year, and the GOP is wasting time trying to criminalize motive.

Remember This on Memorial Day…

Memorial Day is a holiday that most Americans take for granted. They enjoy the unofficial start of summer by making their first pilgrimage to the beach or by celebrating in the backyard with a barbecue. It is a joyous occasion where people relax, eat, drink, soak up the sun and hang out with friends. But the majority of Americans don’t even realize why they have the day off from work.

A few Americans actually follow the spirit of the federal holiday and remember those who have died “defending” their freedom in wars waged by the U.S. Government. Unfortunately, the list who have died fighting and dying at the behest of politicians is still growing longer everyday. Those names of the dead and maimed are continually added to the over 1.3 million who’ve already died and to the other 1.5 million who have been wounded fighting under the banner of Old Glory.

But does any citizen really understand why the 2.8 million fellow Americans were killed or wounded fighting in wars waged by the U.S. Government?  Most people believe that all the wars the U.S. has fought have been to make the “world (including the U.S. homeland) safe for Democracy? But when you delve deeper beyond the patriotic propaganda of why the wars were truly waged in the past and continue to be waged in the present you begin to find a disturbing pattern of why the United States Government goes to war. We should all remember on this Memorial Day that the wars that the United States of America has waged, have been waged not to protect our freedom but to enrich a very few at the expense of the very many.

Vote Your Conscience

On Twitter, many conservatives and Republicans have been badgering people who are threatening to not vote for Mitt Romney. They have been saying that if you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, you’re voting for Barack Obama. This is silly reasoning at its best. The only way you vote for Barack Obama is by actually voting for Barack Obama. Libertarians and others who love liberty should vote their conscience in November and vote for the candidate who best represents their views.

The Republican Party has not offered very much for libertarians to vote for. The GOP controlled House has failed to lead on reducing the size and scope of government. Mitt Romney has not offered up any serious or substantial cuts. Plus, Mitt Romney supports anti-liberty legislation such as the Federal Marriage Amendment and the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. Plus, Romney during the primaries supported a hard-line on immigration reform and on foreign policy, generally offers more of the same as Barack Obama. Finally, there is the simple fact that all throughout Mitt Romney’s political career; he has been on just about every side of every issue possible, sometimes simultaneously. Romney, politically, is not a man to be trusted even in a millennium of Sundays.

On the other hand, I don’t need to tell anybody who reads this site how horrendous of a president Barack Obama is. He has been an absolute failure from a libertarian perspective, so I can understand the inclination to replace him, even with someone like Mitt Romney. However consider this, what kind of message would it send to the Republican Party to nominate someone like Romney and have him win?

House GOP to bring back earmarks?

After taking control of the House of Representatives in a wave election in 2010, House Republicans decided to extend their moratorium on earmarks, a controversial budget tactic that allow members to insert pet projects in spending bills without so much as a committee hearing or vote.

But before the GOP took control, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who would later become House Majority Leader, suggested that the moratorium on earmarks may only be temporary, which would be a slap in the face to fiscal conservatives and Tea Party activists that helped the GOP come back to power. Cantor was quick to amend his remarks, but it looks like House Republicans have learned little. Reuters notes that they are considering resuming the practice of earmarking:

The huge federal transportation bill was in tatters in early March when Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama posed a heretical idea for breaking through gridlock in the House.

In a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans, Rogers recommended reviving a proven legislative sweetener that became politically toxic a year ago.

Bring back earmarks, Rogers, who was first elected to Congress in 2002, told his colleagues.

Few members of Congress have been bold enough to use the “e” word since both the House and Senate temporarily banned the practice last year after public outcries about Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere” and other pork barrel projects.

But as lawmakers wrestle with legislative paralysis, there are signs that earmarks - special interest projects that used to be tacked onto major bills - could make a comeback.

House Republicans should get behind the OPTION Act

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.

On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.

Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.

However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:


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