Archive for May, 2013

17 Trillion Reasons Not to Trust Congress

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Originally posted at the Coalition to Reduce Spending

“The American people don’t trust Congress or either party, and we’ve given them at least 17 trillion reasons not to.”  –  Senator Mike Lee

For deficit hawks, recent events on the Senate floor have been of the high drama variety. As is typical in Washington, senior lawmakers are eager to skirt normal order and make back room deals, away from public scrutiny. To take the spotlight off of what they’re up to, several Senate leaders have been working to quietly acquire unanimous consent from their colleagues so they can conference with the House on the budget – an action that occurs behind closed doors.

On its face, this sounds largely benign. What’s wrong with both bodies negotiating as it relates to the budget? One would hope nothing – but as a couple of junior Senators have pointed out, in this instance there’s a fundamental problem: Senate leaders refuse to assure their colleagues that they won’t craft a plan that raises the debt ceiling in a backhanded manner.

In regards to his refusal to offer the consent necessary for this secret budget conference with zero restrictions to occur, Senator Mike Lee made a speech on the floor (featured below) that goes along way toward summing up precisely why the Coalition to Reduce Spending exists.

As Senator Lee explained:

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Fairness? What Fairness?

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Originally posted at the Coalition to Reduce Spending

Much of the justification for various federal programs amounts to a notion of fairness. Understandably, people look to the government and its seemingly endless cash flow, and pitch their various ideas to politicians. Naturally, given the revolving door habits of DC, some things get funded for political reasons – but it’s true that others might receive money based on actual merits.

Perhaps some of these programs are helping people in a measurable way. And of course, many may be well-intentioned, yet yielding unintended negative consequences. But gauging the metrics of various federal initiatives is a task for a different time. What’s being delved into here is the irony of the “fairness” concept as it relates to federal spending – particularly deficit spending.

No matter how compelling the case for a certain amount of federal spending on any project may be, it’s important to consider the result of said spending in the aggregate. As former Congressman Hal Daub of Nebraska and college senior Dae Hemphill of The Can Kicks Back recently wrote at the Omaha World-Herald:

“Our $17 trillion-and-growing national debt is devastating the country’s ability to provide for our next generation. If our leaders fail to address our fiscal dysfunction, future generations face an uncertain economic outlook, with the potential of higher taxes, higher unemployment and a lower standard of living.

As a 26 year old, it concerns me greatly that my generation is being treated like debtors for decisions we largely weren’t even around to make. Given the current trajectory of federal spending, we will be responsible for a national debt accrued allegedly in the name of “fairness” – but at what cost to millennials?

As Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy pointed out at Reason Magazine:

“There’s a new generation gap opening up, one that threatens to tear apart the country every bit as much as past confrontations over war, free love, drugs, and sitar music. This fight is about old-age entitlements and whether the Me Generation will do what’s right for the country and stop sucking up more and more money from their children and grandchildren.

Social Security and Medicare, which provide retirement and health insurance benefits for senior Americans, generally without regard to need, are funded by taxes on the relatively meager wages of younger Americans who will never enjoy anything close to the same benefits. From any serious fiscal or moral viewpoint, and particularly for the sake of helping those truly in need, Social Security and Medicare should be ended. 

The demographic math is irrefutable: Entitlements are killing the safety net.”

Further delving into the problem, Gillespie and de Rugy note:

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Top Ten Little Known Billy Joel Songs

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I’ve never posted about anything non-political at this blog, but there’s a first time for everything.

Today is my favorite artist, Billy Joel’s, 64th birthday. In honor of this occasion, here are my top ten favorite Billy Joel songs you probably don’t know, but should. I’m sorry, but the fact that “Uptown Girl” is more well known than these, and other gems, upsets me greatly.

Enjoy.

 

Summer, Highland Falls

This is my favorite song of all time.


You’re My Home

Best love song ever.

 

State of Grace

This amazing song conveys the slow process of two people growing apart perfectly.

 

Stop in Nevada

Old school Billy. A song about escape. Just so, so, so good.


All About Soul

This song is beautiful, powerful, and perfect


Everybody Loves You Now

Notoriety without accountability, and the little twinge of guilt associated with it. This song has always spoken to me.


This Night

Billy Joel’s doo-wop song about giving into temptation. It’s one of my absolute favorites.


Vienna

“You know that when the truth is told that you can what you want, or you can just get old” was my high school yearbook quote.


Tomorrow is Today

Perhaps the most amazing song about a state of depression ever written.


This is the Time

An incredible song about trying to cling to a very specific point in time while living it.