You are browsing the archive for 2013 May 23.

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Sen. Paul Response to President Obama’s Speech on Drone Policy

May 23, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Following President Obama’s speech today on drone policy, Sen. Rand Paul issued this statement in response:
‘I’m glad the President finally acknowledged that American citizens deserve some form of due process. But I still have concerns over whether flash cards and PowerPoint presentations represent due process; my preference would be to try accused U.S. citizens for treason in a court of law.’
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Source: RAND PAUL

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Six Stage of the Libertarian Movement

May 23, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Speech (transcript) by Murray Rothbard: The Six Stages of the Libertarian Movement.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Appears on CNBC's Closing Bell- 5/22/2013

May 23, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Introduces Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act of 2013

May 23, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today introduced the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act of 2013, which would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications and requires specific warrants granted by judges in order to obtain this information.

‘In today’s high-tech world, we must ensure that all forms of communication are protected. Yet government has eroded protecting the Fourth Amendment over the past few decades, especially when applied to electronic communications and third party providers,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘Congress has passed a variety of laws that decimate our Fourth Amendment protections. In effect, it means that Americans can only count on Fourth Amendment protections if they don’t use e-mail, cell phones, the Internet, credit cards, libraries, banks, or other forms of modern finance and communications.’

‘Basic constitutional rights should not be invalidated by carrying out basic, day-to-day functions in a technologically advanced world and this bill will provide much needed clarity and reassert Fourth Amendment protections for records held by third parties.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Genetically Modified Foods and the Limits of Trade Agreements

May 23, 2013 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

Last weekend, The Washington Post had a good article about how difficult it will be for the upcoming U.S.-EU trade talks to deal with the issue of genetically modified foods. Many people in the EU — government officials, farmers, consumers — are wary of these foods, and want to keep them out of the EU entirely (no production, no importation). By contrast, most people in the U.S. are less concerned, and the products are widely produced and sold here. For those Americans who try to avoid these foods, Whole Foods and similar stores are good market-based options. As my colleague Bill Watson points out, consumer demand for non-genetically modified foods results in “a market response that provides convenient access for GM-wary eaters while (most importantly) preserving choice for less-cautious consumers.”

Can trade negotiations resolve the differences in U.S. and EU attitudes and provide the basis for more trade in these products?”

Let’s put aside the issue of whether there is any rational basis for the fears related to these foods. From a trade policy perspective, the issue is whether trade negotiations can resolve the differences in U.S. and EU attitudes and provide the basis for more trade in these products.

My guess is that the answer is no. The EU views are just too strong. They may be irrational, but they are deeply held. They can’t be broken down by the demands of trade negotiators (U.S. negotiators have been making these demands formally and informally for many years, with little success).

Beneath the surface of all this is one of the core issues of trade policy: What is free trade? Is free trade the removal of protectionism? Or does it mean creating a single market where all goods and services sold in one market can also be sold in other markets?

There are efficiency arguments for the latter. But politically, I’m not sure it’s achievable. Convincing people in two or more countries that we would all be better off if we remove our protectionism is one thing. (It’s kind of a no-brainer, to be honest.) By contrast, convincing people that their deeply held policy preferences (rational or otherwise), and the regulations that result, are misguided is something else entirely.

As I see it, trade negotiations are best suited to dealing with the issue of protectionism, that is, when a government discriminates against foreign products to favor domestic competitors.

Of course, sometimes multiple …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Governing Is about Choices, Even on Disaster Aid

May 23, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn has been criticized for suggesting that any money appropriated to pay for disaster relief for Oklahoma should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. But Coburn is right.

There is no real compassion in adding to the future burdens of our children and grandchildren.”

Whenever a disaster like the Oklahoma tornado strikes, our hearts go out to the victims. The American people, who are among the most generous on Earth, can be expected to rush to provide money and other charitable assistance.

But as the government begins to provide assistance, we also must face the cold, hard arithmetic. We don’t have an unlimited amount of money. The donation I make personally to help the victims of this or any disaster means that I have less money to spend elsewhere. It is no different for the federal government.

In fact, in some ways, it is even more relevant. The federal government is already massively in debt. Every extra dollar we spend today is a dollar that comes at the expense of our children and grandchildren. There is no real compassion in adding to their future burdens.

In addition, requiring offsetting cuts might cause legislators to think twice about loading disaster relief bills with unrelated pork. Recall that assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina passed out money for some two dozen states, including Iowa, Michigan, and Utah, which were nowhere near the hurricane. And the Hurricane Sandy relief bill included funds for everything from Alaskan fisheries and Head Start to the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Governing is about making choices. If we choose to help the suffering people of Oklahoma, we may have to choose not to do something else of lesser priority. That’s not hard-hearted, it’s common sense.

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

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Source: OP-EDS

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Senate Immigration Bill Lurches to the Right

May 23, 2013 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

An immigration reform package is on its way to the U.S. Senate floor after clearing the Judiciary Committee. The committee’s work on the bill was almost entirely designed to make it more palatable to conservatives — expanding a proto-national ID program and throwing more funds at “border security,” most notably — and thereby get the required 60 votes in the full Senate.

In short, what was necessary to improve the bill’s political fortunes harmed its substance.”

In short, what was necessary to improve the bill’s political fortunes harmed its substance.

The biggest flaw in the bill is “E-Verify,” a national electronic employment verification system that checks identity information of job applicants against government databases. E-Verify is in theory supposed to keep unlawful immigrants out of the labor market. But in reality, not only will it fail to keep people out, it will also hinder job creation with expensive new regulations. 

Error rates reported by government and private audits of E-Verify are extraordinarily high. E-Verify mistakenly approves a majority of unlawful immigrant job applicants and, worse, misidentifies about one percent of American applicants as unlawful. That opens up another legal odyssey for many Americans who should not have to ask permission from the federal government to work. The Judiciary Committee did approve an amendment that would decrease the punishments for failure to use E-Verify, but it remains largely intact.

The extra money in the bill for border protection is largely a waste. Recent history proves decisively that border security alone will not solve unauthorized immigration.

Ronald Reagan’s immigration amnesty in 1986 dramatically beefed up immigration enforcement and it has only increased under the current administration. It didn’t work; since 1986 a net 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants are living in the United States. 

The Obama Administration vigorously prosecutes immigration violations, deportingapproximately 400,000 illegals annually — a 31 percent increase over the Bush years. And yet, the unlawful immigrant population has increased by almost 700,000 since 2009.

All of the security in the world cannot separate willing migrant workers from economic opportunity. That’s why the Committee should have spent more time on improving the guest worker visa program. A large and flexible guest worker program is the only way to make border security more effective — by channeling immigrants into the legal market.

Unfortunately, the Committee didn’t do much to improve lower-skilled guest worker visas. The W-visa, as it is called, begins …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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E-Verify Wrong for America

May 23, 2013 in Economics

By Jim Harper

Jim Harper

More than 30 years ago at a Cabinet meeting on immigration reform, Ronald Reagan dismissed the idea of a national ID card with a broad smile and a wisecrack. “Maybe we should just brand all the babies,” he said. The Justice Department’s plan to put a national ID in the hand of every worker didn’t make it out of the Cabinet Room.

E-Verify is a system for transferring control from businesses and individuals around the country to Washington, D.C.”

Today, conservatives and Republicans are the strongest backers of the national identification system in the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration reform bill. If they get their way, they may just deliver the American people over to a national ID and tight, comprehensive control from Washington, D.C., through the program known as E-Verify. Politically, it appears that the price of enough conservative votes to pass a broader immigration reform package is giving the federal government the power to approve or decline every American business’s hiring decisions from now on.

E-Verify is intended to work as follows: After collecting I-9 tax forms, participating employers enter the information supplied by workers into a government website. The system compares these data with information held in Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. If the name and Social Security number pairs match to citizen data at the SSA, a worker is approved. The system compares information from noncitizens with DHS data to determine whether the employee is a naturalized citizen or immigrant eligible to work. The Senate immigration bill would make this program mandatory for essentially all employers in four years.

It sounds simple enough, and Americans have been trained since the creation of the I-9 form in 1986 to think that employers should be deputy immigration agents. But in addition to errors in government data and abuses of the system that could deny people the right to work, E-Verify ultimately requires a national identification system. The Gang of Eight bill would create a “photo tool” backed by a database of images held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The bill sets aside a quarter-billion dollars for grants to states in order to get access to driver’s license information, and it exempts state-to-federal sharing of driver’s license photos from the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

The bill also spends a cool $1 billion on “fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant social security cards,” …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Immigration Reform: E-Verify Is Wrong for America

May 23, 2013 in Economics

While Cato scholars have generally been supportive of the the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill, Alex Nowrasteh and Jim Harper have noted recently that it still has some flaws. “The biggest flaw in the bill is ‘E-Verify,’ a national electronic employment verification system,” says Nowrasteh. “E-Verify is in theory supposed to keep unlawful immigrants out of the labor market. But in reality, not only will it fail to keep people out, it will also hinder job creation with expensive new regulations.” Harper agrees, adding “Politically, it appears that the price of enough conservative votes to pass a broader immigration reform package is giving the federal government the power to approve or decline every American business’s hiring decisions from now on.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES