My Washington Post op-ed on federal infrastructure yesterday elicited a large and vigorous response. The comments on the WaPo site and emails to my inbox were about 80 percent in opposition to my views.
In a recent television ad for her network, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow stands below the Hoover Dam and asks whether we are still a country that can “think this big” — Hoover Dam big. The commercial is built on the assumption that American greatness is advanced by federal spending on major infrastructure projects.
The Government Accountability Office has weighed in on the controversy over whether the federal government “owes” the U.S. Postal Service approximately $50-$75 billion in alleged pension “overpayments” made by the USPS to the government’s retirement system. In short, the GAO concluded that the USPS is not owed the money.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government was assigned specific limited powers, and most government functions were left to the states. To ensure that people understood the limits on federal power, the Framers added the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Those delegated powers are “few and defined,” noted James Madison.
Presidential candidate Ron Paul has released a fiscal reform plan that would dramatically cut spending and rein in the size and scope of the federal government. My reaction to the proposal can be summed up in one word: hallelujah.
Presidential candidate Herman Cain has made a splash with his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. I love his 9 percent income tax, but the skunk at the tax reform picnic is his 9 percent retail sales tax. Mr. Cain is an articulate advocate of free enterprise and I wish him well in the contest, but he should ditch the sales tax.
Over at Cato’s blog, my colleague Mark Calabria calls out Nobel economics prize winner Joseph Stiglitz for ignoring his own little role in the economic downturn:
A recent report from the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general found that workers’ compensation costs for postal employees are unnecessarily high. The reasons according to the audit are stale federal laws and bureaucratic ineptitude at the USPS and the Department of Labor.