As I've been working on immigration reform legislation, I've been asked why it should be Washington's focus at a time when we have so many other pressing concerns, including stagnant economic growth that has left millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans, and the persistent threat of terrorism that recently manifested itself on our own soil.
There's no doubt we have a broken immigration system and de facto amnesty that can't continue because it threatens America's sovereignty, security and economy. It's a problem that needs to be solved, and the longer we put it off, the worse it's going to get.
But it's also absolutely true that our lack of robust economic growth, caused in part by Washington's runaway debt, is the real defining issue of our time. These challenges should have been addressed a long time ago but, because Washington hasn't made any meaningful attempt to do so, our debt has only gotten worse, and more of our people have suffered. more >>
Thanks to a renewed interest in the works of Ayn Rand and high-profile figures like John Stossel, Glenn Beck, and Rand Paul, libertarianism is enjoying a moment in the political sun. And just like America's two major parties, libertarians can often be blind to faulty logic and flaws within their own ideology. Timothy P. Carney recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic discussing this very problem:
"Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?
The question makes some free-marketers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, 'The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.' more >>
Some Republican leaders are looking at the possibility of tying the next increase to the nation's debt limit to tax reform. While most Democrats and President Barack Obama balk at the idea, Republicans may get the support of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Baucus has long wanted to reform the nation's bloated tax code, but, since he recently announced he will retire at the end of 2014, this may be his last shot.
"You'd better be ready to work. I'm doubling down," Baucus told a tax reform panel the day after he announced his retirement, according to National Journal.
Baucus chairs the Senate's Finance Committee, which would oversee any rewrite of the tax code. On the House side, the tax code is managed by the Ways and Means Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who Baucus reportedly has a close working relationship with. more >>
President Barack Obama expressed some shaky math Wednesday in a Rose Garden speech announcing his FY 2014 budget, which is now two months late. His budget replaces the sequestration cuts, but he includes the sequestration cuts in announcing how much his plan would reduce deficits.
"My budget also replaces the foolish across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting our economy," Obama said.
Not everyone is feeling the impact of the sequester cuts, a set of automatic across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect last month as part of the Budget Control Act, Obama explained, but many families are being hurt by them. more >>
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday he was encouraged that President Barack Obama will include some entitlement reforms in his budget proposal, which is expected this week. Though Obama does not go far enough, it demonstrates a willingness to compromise on a "grand bargain," Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The grand bargain would lower deficit spending two ways: first, it would reduce the long term growth of government by reforming entitlement spending; and second, it would increase government revenue without increasing tax rates by reforming the tax code.
Obama's budget proposal will include a reform to Social Security that will lower the growth rate of benefits to what is called "chained CPI," and include reforms to Medicare that will cut payments to service providers, according to White House sources. more >>
Several recent polls show President Barack Obama's approval rating going down, especially in his handling of the economy. The dip could be related to the many false warnings Obama and other administration officials made about the sequester.
Fifty percent of registered voters say they approve of the job Obama is doing, according to a March 7-10 Washington Post-ABC News poll, a five percentage point drop from the same poll in January.
When asked, "who do you trust to do a better job handling the economy – Obama or the Republicans in Congress?" the results are within the plus or minus 3.5 percentage points margin of error. Forty-four percent chose Obama and 40 percent chose the Republicans in Congress. And, when asked who do you trust to find the right balance between cutting government spending that is not needed and continuing government spending that is needed, respondents were again about evenly split. Forty-three percent said Obama and 44 percent said Republicans in Congress. more >>