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Tag Archives: Congress

Is the TPP like Obamacare, “Executive Amnesty,” and “Net neutrality”? The public can’t see. Only large vested interests.

A broad, sweeping, global treaty which will/may fundamentally shift how trade is done in the world and in the USA is still secret and thanks to Senate Republicans is halfway to getting “fast track” status. That is the treaty will be voted on for final approval by Congress with a simple “yes” or “no” vote, without debate or amendments. That doesn’t seem right to me.

Now I am all for free trade. I think goods and services should flow without friction across borders. I say make it easier for this to happen. This creates opportunity and better goods at better prices for nearly everyone.

An example.

When I was a kid I used to get Sears brand sneakers with my mom. (Fashion was not a priority for my parents when it came to the kids.) Every 6 months or so I’d get a new pair. The cost was $35-$40.

Fast forward to now. At Target kid sneakers of much higher quality than my Sears kicks can be purchased at about the same price or even lower. And this isn’t even in inflation adjusted terms. Adjusting for inflation, these higher quality sneakers are probably HALF the price of my old sneakers, or even less.

This is an example of free trade raising the quality of life generally.

The same can be said for t-shirts, technology, any number of things. Our lives are for the most part much better because of relatively free trade.

Of course there are losers in this equation. The people who used to make my Sears brand sneakers no longer have a job making Sears brand sneakers. That’s true. But generally life is better in America for all those Chinese made goods which are made for us at lower cost and with higher quality (often) than products made in the States.

But it concerns me that the Trans Pacific Partnership, a supposedly “free trade” agreement, is being handled with such secrecy. This giant agreement has been negotiated and is being voted on (at least fast track authority) by the Congress, without any public review at all. Is this how we do business in the USA now? Are our leaders so afraid that the people will rise up in opposition that government must now be done in the shadows?

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Congressman Grayson erupts after off-shore funds exposed by Florida newspaper

I have no problem with someone having a bank account in the Caymans or wherever. People are taxed a lot. Too much. This is nearly universally true. Folks have an obligation to reduce their tax exposure as much as legally possible. If an offshore account is legal, why not?

However, if one is a so called progressive congressman who has explicitly railed against such accounts it would seem hypocritical to have say $10,000,000 stashed away in one of these accounts.

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Just Say No to Congressional Slush Funds

Congress, Republican and Democrat, just can’t stop spending taxpayer money. Both the money of today’s taxpayers and that of tomorrow’s. And then a few generations after that too.

Republicans (and I mean everyday voting Republicans) need to break their addiction to defense spending. Despite the spin we hear all the time we have plenty of fat to cut in the military budget. Heck, the Pentagon recently admitted to just losing $45 BILLION because it checked the wrong box on some accounting forms. And this is what we know about.

Bases should be closed. Weapons systems should be cut. But this would mean annoying some congresspeople and the defense contractors which are cozy with the congresspeople.

And that’s what this is all about. Not “military readiness.”

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Cost of Federal Regulation Reached $1.88 Trillion in 2014

It’s not just that regs kill innovation and slow commerce, (And not ALL regulation is bad. I’m OK with not selling booze to 4th graders, and licenses – though they could be non-government certifications – for brain surgery.) it’s that companies often partner with the regulators to shut out competition or flat out siphon money from the taxpayer.

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Congressman Thomas Massie, the libertarian, gun-rights stalwart, MIT grad who drives a Tesla and lives off the grid

I like Tom Massie I have to admit. He and I spoke briefly at CPAC and the impression I came away with was of a man of conviction and intelligence. I then heard him on a panel with Congressman Amash later that day and I was more impressed. That doesn’t happen all that often when I meet politicians. He is certainly someone to watch in Washington. Especially as the libertarian insurgency gathers steam in the GOP.

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Drug of choice for (some) DEA Agents? Prostitutes

In March we did a post on drug cartel funded orgies (or “sex parties,” whatever) in which DEA agents participated. But it seems this wasn’t an isolated or even a group of isolated incidents. The DEA has a long history with hookers it appears. One “high ranking” DEA official even had prostitutes at his going away party.

But don’t light up a joint.

And get this, the head of the DEA says because of federal employee rules she couldn’t fire any of the guys who engaged in this behavior.

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Big government apologist: Why even fight crony capitalism?

Regular readers of ACC are aware of the current battle surrounding the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. We believe, along with many others, that Ex-Im is great example of crony capitalism which should be euthanized by a Congress which professes to be for free markets and small government. Whether this will actually happen is an open question however as the bank serves some of the heaviest hitters in corporate America, Boeing chief among them.

But for some, including the author of the attached article, the question is why even have this battle at all? Is cronyism really so bad? So what’s a little a public/partnership action? Who are these nuts anyway who want a separation of government and business. Free markets and economic freedom stink anyway.

We’ve documented why Ex-Im is bad from more than just a moral perspective. Taxpayer backed loans to one corporation often disadvantage other businesses. Free markets allow for opportunity and growth. Crony capitalism strangles growth and enriches established firms which get fat, inefficient, and tend to be slower to respond to the customer.

Still some still don’t get it. Jeff Spross at The Week clearly doesn’t.

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