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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Friday, February 05, 2010

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
-- John Powell --

"Your love of liberty -- your respect for the laws -- your habits of industry -- and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness." --George Washington

"[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson

United States sovereignty not to be meddled with

By Amanda Reinecker
The Heritage Foundation:
"Over the past two decades, there have been a number of attempts to subject Americans to an international judicial system with jurisdiction over war crimes and the like. This idea of a 'world court' became a reality in 1998 with the introduction of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court itself was officially established in 2002 after 60 countries ratified the statute.

To date, no U.S. President has submitted the Rome Statute to the Senate for the advice and consent necessary for ratification. Last summer, Heritage Foundation experts Brett Schaefer and Steven Groves released an analysis paper explaining why past Presidents were right not to seek ratification. They wrote:

Past U.S. Administrations concluded that the Rome Statute created a seriously flawed institution that lacks prudent safeguards against political manipulation, possesses sweeping authority without accountability to the U.N. Security Council, and violates national sovereignty by claiming jurisdiction over the nationals and military personnel of non-party states in some circumstances.

The Obama administration's announcement last week that it would not seek ratification was certainly a welcome one. But the administration left the door open for enhanced American cooperation in the International Criminal Court. But this "enhanced" cooperation would require altering important policies that protect our military servicemen and civilian officials from being transferred to the ICC without U.S. consent.

So although the U.S. has once again rejected the Rome Statute, the ICC still poses a danger to our sovereignty. As Schaefer and Groves explain on National Review Online, 'the ICC and the use of universal jurisdiction are two facets of an increasingly prevalent and alarming trend of eroding national sovereignty by divorcing the vital link between the law and the people subject to it.'

Though its objective to hold war criminals accountable for their terrible crimes is a noble one, the ICC's unaccountable autonomy and broad jurisdiction invite politically motivated indictments, inefficiency and inflexibility. It is flawed 'notionally and operationally,' write Groves and Schaefer. The U.S. is right to be skeptical of any agreement that would bind us to such an institution under which foreign powers could trump even our own Constitution."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution." --Justice, Joseph Story

Global Warming Update

By Walter E. Williams

Mounting evidence of scientific fraud might make little difference in terms of the response to manmade global warming hysteria. Why? Because vested economic and political interests have emerged where trillions of dollars and social control are at stake. Therefore, many people who recognize the scientific fraud underlying global warming claims are likely to defend it anyway. Read more...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Health Reform


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has an idea to fix health reform that doesn't involve specifying what coverage people must buy, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth, an Adjunct Fellow with the Manhattan Institute...


Federal Spending & Budget Issues

Daily Policy Digest

National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)

Generational accounting is a well-established methodology to measure the burden of government, says Laurence J. Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University and a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. For example, a generational account for any given generation measures the generation's remaining lifetime net tax bill as a present value -- what the generation will pay net of what it will receive, all valued as of today.

If the generational accounts of all current and future generations are added together, assuming no change in fiscal policy, the sum amounts to what all current and future citizens are going to pay, on net, in taxes to the government (measured as a present value). This amount has to cover the government's official debt plus the present value of all future government purchases of goods and services (discretionary spending), explains Kotlikoff:

  • The fiscal gap is the difference between the government's official debt plus discretionary spending and the amount of taxes current and future citizens will pay.
  • It incorporates all of the government's fiscal activities - including its financial obligations under Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, unemployment, and interest and principal on government debt.

Taking into consideration all of the government's financial liabilities and projected future tax receipts, the current fiscal gap in the United States is estimated by Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cato Institute and Kent Smetters of the University of Pennsylvania at $77 trillion -- more than five times the United States' present gross domestic product (GDP). In order to close a gap of this size, the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) payroll tax -- currently 15.3 percent -- would need to be more than doubled immediately and permanently.

To understand how this figure can be so large, consider:

  • There are now roughly 33 million adults in the United States receiving retirement benefits.
  • When the 78 million baby boomers retire, there will be more than twice the number of retirees receiving benefits than there are currently.
  • While there will be a significant increase in those dependent on government programs like Social Security and Medicare when the boomers retire, there will only be about 2.7 workers per retiree to help pay the benefits -- down from 3.28 workers per retiree in 1985 and 3.43 in 2000.

Source: Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "Is Uncle Sam Bankrupt?"National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 689, January 29, 2010.

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