Three weeks ago, a national commotion erupted when the Drudge Report headlined a story from the Heritage Foundation on the Obama administration’s implementation of a new tax on Christmas trees. I noted here that the 1996 legislation enabling the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the tax received most of its support from Republicans, including co-sponsor John Boehner.
Lawmakers are considering extending temporary payroll tax cuts. But the policy is based on faulty Keynesian theories and misplaced confidence in the government's ability to micromanage short-run growth.
The USPS is supposed to operate like a business by relying on the revenues from the sale of postal products to cover costs. Congress makes that harder by imposing various obligations and stifling attempts to reduce costs. Add in a weak economy, the growth in alternative forms of communication, and a predominantly unionized workforce that has secured excessive compensation and privileges and the result is a financial mess.
The Constitution already places strict limits on what the federal government can and cannot do. The problem is that those limits have become stretched over the years to the point that the federal government can do pretty much what it pleases. As a result, Americans have become accustomed to, and dependent upon, the federal government to supervise their lives from cradle to grave.
After three years and $4 trillion in combined deficit spending, unemployment remains stubbornly high and the economy sluggish. That people are still asking what the government can do to stimulate the economy is mind-boggling.
I am debating the need for more government spending to goose the economy and create jobs over at PolicyMic.com. I argue that we’ve had enough government “stimulation” (see here). My opponent argues that the federal government hasn’t spent enough money (see here). Readers will decide the “winner” and can add their own two cents.
The House failed to pass a particularly bad version of the Balanced Budget Amendment on Friday. Good. Kudos to the four Republicans who voted against it (see vote breakdown here).
The American Society of Civil Engineers does a flashy study every year called “America’s Infrastructure Report Card.” The wrench-turners give a grade of “D” to the mainly-government infrastructure they examine. Based on the low grade, they ask for taxpayers to cough up another $2.2 trillion so the engineers can fix the supposed mess.
The House is scheduled to vote this evening on a fiscal 2012 “minibus” packaging of three appropriations bills (Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation-HUD) agreed to in conference on Monday. It includes a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 16th, thus avoiding a government “shutdown.”