Politics can have a very long reach. Today the federal tax system is a national disgrace: 4 million words, tens of thousands of special favors to rent-seeking individuals and companies, hopeless complexity. It is contradictory, arbitrary, duplicative, and deeply injurious to the federal fisc, American democracy, and our place in the world. But had Rufus King, a delegate from Massachusetts to the Constitutional Convention, received an answer to a reasonable question in 1787, or had a Supreme Court justice not changed his mind...
Sad as it is to admit, the 16th Amendment was ratified by a large margin by the states. The western states figured they would receive more than they paid and voted overwhelmingly for it. Little did they see the price in freedom that they would pay.
As a one-time employee of the Merriam-Webster company, publishers of dictionaries and other reference works, I of course subscribe to the official credo that the job of a dictionary is not to lay down the laws of proper English but to describe how words have been and are currently being used by reputable writers of the language. That’s the modern official credo. The Bl. Noah, from whose 1828 dictionary those of Merriam-Webster descend in direct line, would have had none of it.
The year was 2002, two years into the violent invasion of mostly white-owned commercial farms launched by President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, and a week before the presidential elections of that year. As Zimbabweans prepare to go to the polls again today, it is worth revisiting what has happened to this once vibrant area.
While many of us are celebrating summer by wiping from our chins the butter of roasted ears, the grease of brats and barbeque, and melting ice cream, the Smithsonian Magazine’s summer Food Issue attempts to draw our attention from these gustatory delights with a dialogue over dinner between Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl at a restaurant in Massachusetts’s Berkshires. Not surprisingly, the joint these celebrity diners enjoyed is operated by a former Brooklynite who has decamped to the hills to open a restaurant supported by “ethical” and “sustainable” farming.
In their new book Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America, economists Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane examine history’s Great Powers in an attempt to learn why they rose and fell. They detect a consistent pattern: states rise on the back of strong economies and dynamic cultural and political institutions, but fall into decline when those institutions stagnate and become inflexible. In chapter 5, “Treasure of China”, excerpted here with minor edits, Hubbard and Kane delve into the remarkable rise, fall, stasis, and comeback of the world’s most populous nation, China.
Senator Michael Bennet (D–Colorado) has written poignantly in support of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, urging its passage as a means of reaffirming “quintessential American values” and restoring “the American dream.” But today, few of our students — foreign or native born — know much about the provenance of those values. Our schools no longer teach the American dream. It is time for Americans to insist on restoring our system of civics education.
There is a disturbing and neglected question at the heart of the controversy over the Volcker Rule’s prohibition of proprietary trading at bank holding companies: are the prospective gains from these structural reforms worth risking the destruction of U.S. global universal banks and a significant decline in the U.S. share of global capital markets? The answer is obviously not. The Volcker Rule is a major threat to banks’ ability to continue acting as market makers (intermediaries that accept orders to buy and sell to maintain liquidity in the trading of particular financial instruments).
It was no surprise that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) decided last week to cite a number of nonbank firms as systemically significant, placing them in line for greater regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Reserve. What was a surprise is that — in the midst of a huge outcry in Congress about banks that are too big to fail (TBTF) — neither Congress nor the administration asked the FSOC to stop the designation process until the too-big-to-fail issue had been fully thought through.
There is fundamentally new economic thinking to be found in the latest book by George Gilder, called Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World (Regnery Publishing, June 2013). If conventional economics can be summed up as “follow the money” (i.e., incentives are what matter), Gilder´s economics might be summed up as “follow the information” (i.e., economic success involves separating signal from noise in data).
More than three decades ago, Brookings Senior Fellow Tom Mann and I created Vital Statistics on Congress, the definitive source for data on the nation’s legislative body. In the years since that first publication, we have released a new version for each election cycle with the most up-to-date information available on Congress. In 1982, Michael Malbin joined us to provide information biennially on campaign finance. And AEI’s Andrew Rugg updated information for the new edition and worked diligently with the folks at Brookings to help us make the transition to an online publication.
If you have a child in school today, chances are you’ve heard something about the Common Core standards. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have decided to align their instruction to them, promising sweeping changes to classrooms across the country over the next several years. What are these standards? Where did they come from? Are they a good idea? These are all questions parents should be asking. But even today, some of the answers are far from clear. Here are five facts that will help illuminate exactly what the Common Core is all about.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry — in which the Justices let stand a lower-court ruling paving the way for same-sex marriage to proceed in California but declined to find a constitutional right to gay marriage — was essentially a mixed bag for same-sex marriage supporters and opponents.In an effort to avoid wading into the merits of the core constitutional questions at issue in the same-sex marriage debate, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, dodged the bullet by holding that the proponents of California’s Proposition 8 lacked “standing” to present their case.
At a general level, employment created — that is, shifted — as a result of a government policy is a cost rather than a benefit for the economy as a whole, unless the policy improves resource allocation by, say, correcting for some sort of market inefficiency. (Whether or not government policies can be predicted systematically to improve the efficiency of resource use is the central focus of the vast public choice literature). As counterintuitive as that may seem, imagine that a federal policy had the effect of increasing the demand for high-quality steel.
Mark Levin, who hosts one of America´s top radio talk shows and is considered by supporters to be the people´s pundit on the Constitution, is rallying his 8.5 million-strong audience to demand an historic convention of state governments to halt the "oppressive power" of the federal government. The author of two New York Times bestsellers on the threats to the Constitution, Levin hopes his latest, "The Liberty Amendments," out mid-August, will spark the state lawmakers to tap a rarely used Constitutional provision to institute measures that would brake President Obama´s use of executive orders, bar thousand-page laws and
The former commander of special operations in Northern Africa told a closed-door briefing today that he was largely detached from events the night of the Benghazi attack as he was traveling at the time. The testimony of Col. George H. Bristol, USMC, Former Commander, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Africa, had been eagerly anticipated by members of Congress. Originally, lawmakers had been told by the Defense Department that he had retired — the actual date is Aug. 1, an “administrative error” according to the Pentagon — and that they didn’t have
FORNEY, Texas - George Zimmerman, the former Florida neighborhood watch leader cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, was pulled over for speeding in North Texas on Sunday, CBS DFW reports. According to the station, Zimmerman was armed when officers pulled him over on Highway 80 in Forney, east of Dallas. (Snip) The officer reportedly did not recognize Zimmerman, who was driving a Honda pickup. Zimmerman told the officer he was armed and was then told to put the weapon in his glove compartment, according to the station.
Arizona Sen. John McCain was the Republican Party´s 2008 presidential nominee and he still wants the keys to the Oval Office. But he is beginning to sound more like a fan of likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "She´s a rock star," he said in a newly released interview. "She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world," he added in a reference to her work as secretary of State. McCain, reportedly trying to win back his reputation as a GOP maverick, was asked by the New Republic
Serial sexter Anthony Weiner’s wife partly blamed herself last year when her horndog husband confessed to her that he was at it again. Friends and family told People magazine that Huma Abedin was kicking herself at the time for bailing out of couples counseling and focusing more on their newborn baby boy. But, thanks to a new round of joint therapy that continues even now, the couple was able to put the relapse behind them. “They really became a unit, and she feels much closer to Anthony now,” a relative told the magazine. That’s a long way from how Abedin
Gotta figure her lead would be even bigger without Joe Miller in the field here. Her nomination for the taking? Alaska should be a top tier pick up opportunity for Senate Republicans next year…but their top choice of a candidate is Sarah Palin. 36% of GOP primary voters in the state say they’d like Palin to be their standard bearer against Mark Begich to 26% for Mead Treadwell, 15% for Dan Sullivan, and 12% for Joe Miller.
Embattled Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner and an attorney in the Federal Election Commission’s general counsel’s office appear to have twice colluded to influence the record before the FEC’s vote in the case of a conservative non-profit organization, according to e-mails unearthed by the House Ways and Means Committee and obtained exclusively by National Review Online. The correspondence suggests the discrimination of conservative groups extended beyond the IRS and into the FEC, where an attorney from the agency’s enforcement division in at least one case sought and received tax information about the status of a conservative group,
Colin Powell has admitted to exchanging ´very personal´ emails with a Romanian diplomat but denies having an affair with the much younger woman after a hacker threatened to release their intimate messages. The 76-year-old retired general told the Smoking Gun that he met Corina Cretu, 45, roughly 10 years ago when she was working as an assistant to the president of Romania. She is now a member of the European Parliament. ´After I left the Department of State in January 2005 we stayed in touch via email,´ he told TSG.
Sen. John McCain — a Democrat? There was confusion Wednesday after the Arizona Republican mistakenly strolled into President Obama’s meeting with Senate Democrats at the Capitol. The room full of Democrats — who happened to be meeting in the same room where the Senate GOP usually holds their weekly policy luncheons — erupted in applause and laughter as the former Republican presidential candidate made his entrance. As McCain, 76, walked out of the Dem-filled space, reporters pressed him as to why he stepped foot in the room.
In preparation for the release of Oscar-bait film The Butler, Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and director Lee Daniels (Precious) sat down with Parade magazine. The film chronicles a butler (Whitaker) who works in the White House through seven administrations. Winfrey plays the butler’s wife. In the interview, Winfrey explained her sadness that so few Americans know about the history of the civil rights movement: “They don’t know diddly-squat. Diddly-squat.” She then said of the historic use of the n-word, “I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last
If we learned anything about Barack Obama in his first term it is that when he starts repeating the same idea over and over, what´s on his mind is something else. The first term´s over-and-over subject was "the wealthiest 1%." Past some point, people wondered why he kept beating these half-dead horses. After the election, we knew. It was to propagandize the targeted voting base that would provide his 4% popular-vote margin of victory—very young voters and minorities. They believed. He won. The second-term over-and-over, elevated in his summer speech tour, is the shafting of the middle class. But
In her first speech since taking over the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy came out swinging Tuesday and promised to ramp up the aggressive climate change agenda laid out by President Obama.(snip)“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs? Please, at least for today,” she said during remarks at Harvard Law School. “We need to cut carbon pollution to grow jobs. We need to cut carbon pollution to strengthen the economy. Let’s talk about it positively. Let’s approach this as an opportunity of a lifetime. There are too many lifetimes at stake.”