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Sen. Paul Introduces Audit the Fed Bill

February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul has introduced the bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013. Known widely as ‘Audit the Fed,’ the bill calls to eliminate restrictions on Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits of the Federal Reserve and mandating the Fed’s credit facilities, securities purchases, and quantitative easing activities would be subject to Congressional oversight.

‘The Fed’s operations under a cloak of secrecy have gone on too long and the American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation’s money supply,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘Audit the Fed has significant bipartisan support in Congress and across the country and the time to act on this is now.’

During the 112th Congress, Audit the Fed legislation (H.R. 459) passed the House of Representatives handily, 327-98.

Sen. Paul’s version, S. 209, currently has 19 bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate and companion legislation was introduced earlier this year in the House of Representatives and currently has over 100 co-sponsors.

Below is text of Sen. Paul’s legislation:
S.209
A BILL to require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ”Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013”.

SEC. 2. AUDIT REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY FOR THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM.
(a) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding section 714 of title 31, United States Code, or any other provision of law, an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks under subsection (b) of such section 714 shall be completed within 12 months of the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) REPORT.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-A report on the audit required under subsection (a) shall be submitted by the Comptroller General to the Congress before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which such audit is completed and made available to the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee and each subcommittee of jurisdiction in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and any other Member of Congress …read more
Source: RAND PAUL  

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Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill Reintroduced in Senate

February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Megan Stiles

SPRINGFIELD, Virginia- On Monday, Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY) introduced S. 209, Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, which calls for a “full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States.”

The bill is identical to Congressman Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, H.R. 459, which gained 274 cosponsors in the 112th Congress and passed the House of Representatives last July by an overwhelming three-fourths majority of 327-98 after a nationwide grassroots mobilization effort led by Campaign for Liberty.

Last Congress Senator Paul introduced companion legislation, S. 202, which gained 37 cosponsors. Harry Reid refused to allow ‘Audit the Fed’ to be brought to the floor for a vote despite repeatedly calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve throughout his career.

“Harry Reid was the single reason Audit the Fed was not brought to the floor of the Senate in 2012,” said C4L President John Tate. “Harry Reid knows full well that Audit the Fed- which he previously claimed to be a strong supporter of- would pass both the House and the Senate if he allowed a vote. It seems the Senate Majority Leader doesn’t want the American people to know what he, President Obama, and the Federal Reserve have been doing to our money and our economy.

“President Obama and Harry Reid cannot tax or borrow enough to cover their big-spending agenda, so they have been willing accomplices in the Federal Reserve’s money printing. For politicians who claim to care about the poor and middle class, it is unconscionable for them to ignore the devastating consequences their spending and monetary policies have had on these very same Americans.

“With nearly seventy-five percent of Americans supporting an audit of the Federal Reserve, it is way past time for Harry Reid to actually do his job, listen to the American people and allow a vote on Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill,” Tate added. “C4L is committed to advancing this issue to victory.”

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The post Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill Reintroduced in Senate appeared first on Campaign for Liberty.

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Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY  

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Sen. Paul Statement on Embassy Security Bill

February 5, 2013 in Foreign Policy, Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul this week issued the following statement into the Congressional Record regarding S.227, the Embassy Security Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate last night.

As a cosponsor of this important legislation, I am pleased that the Senate will pass this bill and once again provide for stronger security at our diplomatic facilities.
Numerous reports have documented the security failures that resulted in the tragic deaths of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi. Both the Administrative Review Board and the report of the Senate Homeland Security Committee found that inexcusable failures of judgment led State Department decision makers to ignore the rising threat levels in Benghazi and the repeated requests for enhanced security at the site. Marine Security Guards were not on site to protect our consulate in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. The failures of management that led to these decisions are reprehensible; the lapses in judgment indefensible. It is beyond my comprehension why the individuals whose poor decision making directly resulted in the deaths of four Americans remain employed by the State Department, and compensated by the U.S. taxpayers.
One of the most troubling aspects of the Benghazi attack is the complete disregard that State Department leadership gave to the repeated requests for enhanced security from Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Should funding have been an issue, the State Department always has the option available to come to Congress for approval to transfer funds within accounts. In fact, this is what S.227 accomplishes – it provides the State Department transfer authority to prioritize diplomatic security in our embassies around the world. It is a sad, but necessary post script to this tragic event – and a step that, if taken earlier by the State Department, may have saved the lives lost in Benghazi.
It is my hope that the Senate takes into consideration my repeated calls for increased Marine security at our embassies in high threat areas of the world. In the two budgets I have authored during my Senate tenure, I not only called for increased funding for military protection, but also for reducing the presence of embassies in the most dangerous areas of the globe. The safety of our men and women in diplomatic service must be prioritized. This means placing more emphasis on involvement in security by …read more
Source: RAND PAUL  

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Chuck Hagel's Farcical Hearings

February 5, 2013 in Politics & Elections

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

Last week’s confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee
Chuck Hagel made clear it’s past time to retire that hackneyed
phrase “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.” Eight hours of
questioning by the Senate Armed Services Committee allowed plenty
of bloviating, grandstanding and browbeating — but,
apparently, not enough time for serious deliberation over key
policy questions facing any new Pentagon chief.

On Thursday, Buzzfeed.com tallied up the issues the committee
prioritized. In a hearing transcript running to nearly 60,000
words, the word “drone” doesn’t show up even once.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Washington Post reports, the drone war is
expanding across Africa, turning “kill lists and drone bases into
fixtures for a fight expected to last another decade or more. The
U.S. military recently disclosed plans to build a drone base in the
west African country of Niger to conduct surveillance flights over
neighboring Mali,” and it hasn’t ruled out using armed drones.

The confirmation
hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel made clear it’s
past time to retire that hackneyed phrase “World’s Greatest
Deliberative Body.””

“Drones over Timbuktu” sounds like a snarky reductio ad absurdum
of terror-war mission creep, but it’s fast becoming our policy, and
with little or no debate. Indeed, the committee seemed less
interested in the wars we’re currently fighting than in making sure
we don’t miss anyopportunities to fight new ones. Afghanistan got
20 mentions in the hearing; “Iran” got 144, with most members
demanding Hagel reaffirm that bombing Iran is an option we have to
keep “on the table.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., pushed for “engagement” in Syria’s
bloody civil war. Shouldn’t we arm the rebels (some of whom have
ties to al Qaeda) “and perhaps, establish a no-fly zone?” he
demanded, noting that “it’s been 22 months” already.

You’d think our defense posture toward China is an important
issue, but I count only five references — four by Hagel
himself and one by overeager freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who
asked whether Hagel was “part of a group that traveled to China”
with a prominent critic of Israel. (Hagel says no).

The “special relationship” with Israel — embraced by
everyone at the hearing including the nominee — was special
enough to win Israel 166 references in the transcript, more than
any other country. Is Israel really 33 times as important to the
U.S. as an emerging superpower with 19 percent of the world’s
population?

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the committee’s ranking Republican,
might think so. In a 2002 speech on the Senate floor, he argued
that Israel was entitled to the West Bank “because God said so,”
and that “the spiritual door was opened for an attack …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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How Dictators Come to Power in a Democracy

February 5, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By Jim Powell

Jim Powell

Dictatorships are often unexpected. They have arisen among
prosperous, educated and cultured people who seemed safe from a
dictatorship — in Europe, Asia and South America.

Consider Germany, one of the most paradoxical and dramatic
cases.

During the late 19thcentury, it was widely considered to have
the best educational system in the world. If any educational system
could inoculate people from barbarism, surely Germany would have
led the way. It had early childhood education – kindergarten.
Secondary schools emphasized cultural training. Germans developed
modern research universities. Germans were especially distinguished
for their achievements in science — just think of Karl Benz
who invented the gasoline-powered automobile, Rudolf Diesel who
invented the compression-ignition engine, Heinrich Hertz who proved
the existence of electromagnetic waves, Wilhelm Conrad Rőntgen who
invented x-rays, Friedrich August Kekulé who developed the theory
of chemical structure, Paul Ehrlich who produced the first
medicinal treatment for syphilis and, of course, theoretical
physicist Albert Einstein. It’s no wonder so many American
scholars went to German universities for their degrees during the
19th century.

After World War I, German university enrollment soared. By 1931,
it reached 120,000 versus a maximum of 73,000 before the war.
Government provided full scholarships for poor students with
ability. As one chronicler reported, a scholarship student
“pays no fees at the university, his textbooks are free, and
on most purchases which he makes, for clothing, medical treatment,
transportation and tickets to theaters and concerts, he receives
substantial reductions in price, and a student may get wholesome
food sufficient to keep body and soul together.”

While there was some German anti-Semitic agitation during the
late 19th century, Germany didn’t seem the most likely place
for it to flourish. Russia, after all, had pogroms —
anti-Jewish rioting and persecution — for decades.
Russia’s Bolshevik regime dedicated itself to hatred —
Karl Marx’s hatred for the “bourgeoisie” whom he
blamed for society’s ills. Lenin and his successor Stalin
pushed that philosophy farther, exterminating the so-called
“rich” who came to include peasants with one cow.

Why, then, did the highly educated Germans embrace a lunatic
like Adolf Hitler? The short answer is that bad policies caused
economic, military and political crises — chow time for
tyrants. German circumstances changed for the worse, and when
people become angry enough or desperate enough, sometimes
they’ll support crazies who would never attract a crowd in
normal circumstances.

Like the other belligerents, Germans had entered World War I
with the expectation that they would win and recoup their war costs
by making the losers pay. The German government led their people to
believe they were winning , so everybody was shocked when the truth
came out. Then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson gave a …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Get the Feds Out of Infrastructure

February 5, 2013 in Economics, Politics & Elections

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

The federal government’s budget deficits are pushing the
nation toward a fiscal meltdown, yet our leaders can’t seem
to curb their zeal for infrastructure spending. President Obama has
been pushing a $50 billion package for infrastructure and will
likely include a similar plan in his upcoming budget. For their
part, most Republicans eagerly pursue all the spending they can get
for road, rail, airport, and dam projects in their districts.

The enthusiasm for infrastructure spending is emblematic of
broader problems in the bloated federal budget. Federal politicians
love to intervene in activities that should be left to state
governments and the private sector. And they claim that new and
expanded programs will produce great results even after decades of
waste on existing policies.

A report by Obama’s Treasury Department justifying his
infrastructure plan called for “well-targeted” and
“carefully selected” investments that are
“directed to the most effective programs.” But federal
infrastructure spending has never worked that way. For more than a
century, it has been shot through with politics, lobbying, and
bureaucratic fumbling.

Consider the two oldest federal infrastructure agencies —
the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. Their
spending, often on water infrastructure, has always been based on
pork-barrel politics, not “directed to the most
effective” projects. Both agencies have been known for
fudging their analyses of dubious proposed projects to gain
approval. In his 1971 book on the Corps, distinguished engineer
Arthur Morgan found that “there have been over the past 100
years consistent and disastrous failures by the Corps in public
works areas … result[ing] in enormous and unnecessary costs to
ecology [and] the taxpayer.”

The federal
government is a poor choice to run infrastructure
projects.”

Army Corps and Reclamation projects have often been aimed at
benefiting private interests, not the public interest. For example,
the Army Corps’ costly Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal
near New Orleans, which was completed to aid the shipping industry,
failed to benefit the regional economy. It also ended up harming
the general public interest by magnifying the damage caused by
Hurricane Katrina.

As to how “well targeted” federal infrastructure
spending actually is, look at Amtrak. Its investment is dispersed
to low-population areas where passenger rail makes no sense. Routes
through rural areas account for only a small fraction of riders and
cause most of Amtrak’s financial losses. Those routes exist
because every lawmaker wants a train through his or her state, but
it means that investment gets steered away from where it is really
needed, such as the Northeast corridor.

It’s a similar story with federal highway spending. Some
states, such as Texas, have growing populations and therefore
greater needs. But comparison of the …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Desperate Keynesians

February 5, 2013 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn

What do you do if the facts don’t support your beliefs? If
you are honest, you will rethink what you previously believed. If
you are a Keynesian economist, though, like New York Times
columnist Paul Krugman, you make silly assertions. In his Jan. 31
column, Mr. Krugman said he wants to see “some example,
somewhere, of austerity policies that succeeded.”

If you are a Keynesian school economist like Mr. Krugman, you
define “austerity” as a reduction in government
spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). If you
are a classical Austrian school economist, you view a reduction of
government spending not as austerity, but a growth-enhancing
policy.

Mr. Krugman seems to have forgotten that the government share of
GDP dropped after Reagan was able to get most of his policies
through the Democrat-controlled Congress (which Mr. Krugman would
define as austerity). The economy boomed and employment soared.
Likewise, when government spending was reduced as a share of GDP
during the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress, the
economy and employment boomed.

What do you do if
the facts don’t support your beliefs?”

Perhaps the most dramatic example of the success of what Mr.
Krugman calls “austerity policies” is Sweden. Sweden
expanded its welfare state and government spending dramatically in
the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, until government spending as
a percentage of GDP reached 67 percent by 1992, the public debt
reached 70 percent, and the deficit was 11 percent of GDP.
Meanwhile, per-capita income fell from fourth-highest in the world
to 14th. The Swedes reversed course in the mid-1990s, chopping the
relative size of government by a quarter, cutting the top marginal
tax rate by 27 points, and this year, cutting the corporate
income-tax rate to 22 percent (in contrast to the U.S. rate of 35
percent).

As a result of the economic reforms, Swedish debt is now only 37
percent of GDP, and the country is running a budget surplus. In its
Feb. 2 report on the Swedish economic renewal, the Economist
magazine notes that over the past two decades, “This allowed
a country with a small, open economy to recover quickly from the
financial storm of 2007-08.”

Like Sweden, Canada had allowed government to get too large by
the mid-1990s, and growth stagnated. Canada cut the relative size
of its government by about 20 percent, cut taxes, including the
corporate income tax that is now only 15 percent, and moved to
other pro-growth policies. The result is that rather than
continuing to fall further behind the United States, it has been
gaining on us. One positive sign is that the Canadian dollar has
risen from …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Liberalizing Cross-Border Trade in Higher Education

February 5, 2013 in Economics

Until now, international trade in education was fairly small in scope, limited mostly to students studying abroad and a few foreign branch campuses. However, the growth of online education will make trade in higher education services far more common. And in response to this increasing trade, there are likely to be complaints about the impact of foreign competition on domestic institutions. In a new paper, Cato scholar Simon Lester argues that we must resist calls for protection and embrace this new period of innovation in higher education, not try to hold it off.

…read more
Source: CATO HEADLINES