Sunday, October 2, 2016

FW Newsletter: More Debt, Regulation, and Leftist Courts


Hillary Clinton's America: More Debt, More Regulation, And Leftists Courts

- Adam Brandon via ConservativeHQ

This is what America looks like under President Hillary Clinton.

According to a recent analysis by the American Action Forum, Hillary Clinton will raise taxes to the tune of $1.3 trillion over the next ten years. She is proposing $2.8 trillion in new or increased spending over the same period, leaving a total budget deficit of $1.49 trillion.

Our economy has not seen a single year of growth above 3 percent while President Barack Obama has been in office. This is a failure of economic policy not achieved since Herbert Hoover. The reasons why our economy is still struggling are because our government already taxes and spends far too much, and in Clinton’s America, we can expect more of the same. Read more here...

Senator Mike Lee Sat Down to Discuss His Latest Book "Our Lost Constitution"

Mike Lee Book FBLive.PNG

FreedomWorks' Book Club Spotlight: "Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document"

In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensable provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. Get your copy here...

ObamaCare Death Spiral: Even Blue Cross Plans Are Bailing Out

- via Investor's Business Daily

Two Blue Cross plans made the stunning announcement in the past week that they were dropping out of ObamaCare markets. If even the Blues — the backbone of the individual insurance market for decades — can't make it, ObamaCare is truly on the road to ruin.

Blue Cross was once thought to be ObamaCare's firewall. If for-profit insurers decided to drop out of the exchanges, at least these venerable nonprofits would remain to provide coverage.

But that's not the case anymore. Despite getting approval on an eye-popping rate hike of nearly 60% for 2017, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee announced that it was quitting three of the largest ObamaCare markets in the state, which will leave 100,000 enrollees to scramble for an alternative coverage next year. Read more here...

How to Use the Power of the Federal Government to Impose Price Controls

- by Kenny Stein

American freight rail, while largely deregulated, is still overseen by the Surface Transportation Board (STB). This federal agency retains substantial power to regulate freight rail, powers that the STB normally deploys rarely. But these powers are seen by some as an opportunity to enlist the power of the federal government in business disputes, using government to extract rents to pad bottom lines. An example of this can be seen in the proposed “reciprocal switching” regulations from the STB. Unable to prove that prices that railroads are charging are unfair, some of their shipping customers have gone to the federal government to try to force lower prices through regulation, regulation which has been described as backdoor price controls.

The United States has the most developed and efficient freight railroad system in the world. In contrast to Europe, where the large majority of freight is moved by road, by weight and distance traveled freight rail provides the largest share of the transportation mix in the US. This is no accident. In 1980, recognizing the sclerotic and weak state of the heavily-regulated rail industry, a deliberate decision was made to deregulate freight rail. The subsequent recovery of the freight rail industry might seem to be a lesson in the value of reducing federal interference to the average person, but not to a regulator. Perhaps offended by their example, regulators in Washington have been hunting for ways to re-impose regulatory control over American freight rail. Read more here...

Will Elon Musk Launch for Mars off the Backs of Taxpayers?

- via Reason

Elon Musk delivered a much-anticipated speech Tuesday at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he laid out his vision for colonizing Mars. There's no doubt that taming our celestial neighbor would be a testament to human innovation and determination. Today, however, it might be more impressive if Musk could provide a vision for how his companies can succeed here on Earth first, especially without heavy reliance on taxpayer support.

SpaceX, founded by Musk in 2002, has never hid its ambition to one day enable people to live on other planets. In the meantime, the company has relied on income from the more mundane business of launching payloads into space with its Falcon 9 rockets. Earlier this year, SpaceX won an $82.7 million Air Force contract by promising to save taxpayers millions of dollars. (The bid was 40 percent less than what the government had estimated the mission would cost.) Cost savings are great, but only if they materialize. It's too soon to tell, but as of now, the probability isn't zero that SpaceX's super-cheap launch cost will be illusory, especially if its rockets—and their expensive cargoes—keep blowing up. Read more here...

Lesson of the Week
FWU Lesson 16
Veronique de Rugy explains that opportunity cost of a good or service is what you have to give up, or forego, to get it. This lesson introduces the concepts of marginal analysis, diminishing returns, and subjective value that serve as the cornerstones of modern economics. Thinking at the margin is the first step towards thinking like an economist. Watch it here...

Congress' Aversion to Power Undercuts Constitutional Safeguards

- via Competitive Enterprise Institute

A foundational principle behind the structure of the U.S. government, as provided by the Constitution, is that human beings are power hungry. In separating the powers inherent to government and also empowering each branch with checks over the other, the Founding Fathers’ idea was to counteract ambition with ambition, and thereby keep any one of the three branches from gaining ascendancy over the others.

It’s a great idea. And heretofore, it’s worked pretty well. Congress, the Presidency, and the Judiciary historically have sought to protect their respective turfs … until recently. In particular, Congress has abandoned institutional pride. Read more here...

Pension Mess Can't Go On; That's No Reason to Ignore It

- via Reason

President Richard Nixon's economic adviser, the late Herbert Stein, still is knon for his dictum: "If something cannot go on forever, it won't." It should be the rallying cry for California's pension reformers. The numbers don't lie, they say. Services are being cut to pay for oversized pensions, they note. Something must be done because the debt cannot keep growing forever.

They're right. And it won't go on forever. It can't go on forever. At some point, even the most dogged public-pension defenders will realize the gravy train—six-figure guaranteed lifetime pensions inflated by myriad spiking gimmicks—will end because the math must catch up with the wishful thinking.

New York and Chicago already pay for more retired cops than for officers patrolling the streets. Some cities have gone belly up, with Stockton and Vallejo the most visible California examples of what happens without adult supervision. Even healthy cities are slashing services and raising taxes to meet escalating pension bills, to pay for those who often receive far more in retirement than most residents earn during their working years. Read more here...

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