The wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy hadn't even stopped before some people argued that the storm made the case against reducing the size of the federal government or giving states more say in their affairs. The federal response to a crisis became the proxy for big government in all its bureaucratic glory. Cutting government, we were meant to understand, means letting Sandy's victims fend for themselves.
Big government programs and special tax-code carve-outs often lead to corrupting ties between government officials and private interests. The Washington Post today discusses the municipal bond industry:
Proponents of an activist federal government are citing the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy as evidence of the need for big government to manage and finance disaster relief. Of particular worry are possible cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget and devolution of responsibility to the states.
A fixture of the presidential race has been Mitt Romney's 47% problem: Those Americans who don't pay federal income tax that Romney has described as freeloaders. Of course, Romney has retracted his remark. But if he still wants to attack those who freeload off of U.S. taxpayers, there is a better target: Our wealthy overseas allies.
The title of a New York Times editorial claims that “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” The Times implies that when confronted with a major natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Americans would be screwed if they didn’t have bureaucrats from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.”
In the Washington Post today, Brian Lee Crowley discusses the still little-known story of Canada’s
Several Republican congressmen have written to U.S. Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochburg, asking some probing questions about the business plan the bank submitted to Congress last month. They rightly express concern about the bank’s operations and risk management. They also cite the nondiversified portfolio of the bank, with its high reliance on the aircraft sector (which has long been about half of the bank’s exposure) singled out for particular concern. The letter, in short, gives a good indication of where bodies are buried at Ex-Im.
Back in August, Cato adjunct scholar Veronique de Rugy expressed concern about Republican campaign rhetoric on Medicare. As Republicans tell it, they want to “protect” and “strengthen” Medicare, whereas President Obama wants to “cut” and “weaken” it. Veronique thinks that the GOP’s “Mediscare” campaign could end up backfiring by making it harder to reform Medicare if Republicans succeed in taking control of Washington.
Downsizing Government has added a new essay on ending the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes the financing of U.S. exports. Author Sallie James argues that the Ex-Im Bank creates economic distortions and mainly benefits large corporations that can obtain their own private financing.
Where is the best place in the newspaper to learn about how the economy works?