You are browsing the archive for 2013 August 13.

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Sen. Rand Paul In-Studio with Hannity on Fox New – 8/12/13

August 13, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul In-Studio on America's Newsroom with Bill Hemmer – 8/13/13

August 13, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Sen. Rand Paul In-Studio on CBS This Morning – 8/13/13

August 13, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Sen. Rand Paul on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with John Oliver – 8/12/13

August 13, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Welfare Can Make More Sense than Work

August 13, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Most decisions in life are the result of a cost-benefit analysis. When residents in Connecticut consider getting a job, they assume they would be better off having a job than not. They’d be wrong. Because in Connecticut, it pays not to work.

Next Monday, the Cato Institute will release a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare. Nationwide, our study found that the value of benefits for a typical recipient family ranged from a high of $49,175 in Hawaii to a low of $16,984 in Mississippi.

In Connecticut, a mother with two children participating in seven major welfare programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, housing assistance, utility assistance and free commodities) could receive a package of benefits worth $38,761, the fourth highest in the nation. Only Hawaii, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia provided more generous benefits.

When it comes to gauging the value of welfare benefits, it is important to remember that they are not taxed, while wages are. In fact, in some ways, the highest marginal tax rates anywhere are not for millionaires, but for someone leaving welfare and taking a job.

When residents in Connecticut consider getting a job, they assume they would be better off having a job than not. They’d be wrong. Because in Connecticut, it pays not to work.”

Therefore, a mother with two children in Connecticut would have to earn $21.33 per hour for her family to be better off than they would be on welfare. That’s more than the average entry-level salary for a teacher or secretary. In fact, it is more than 107 percent of Connecticut’s median salary.

Let’s not forget the additional costs that come with going to work, such as child care, transportation and clothing. Even if the final income level remains unchanged, an individual moving from welfare to work will perceive some form of loss: a reduction in leisure as opposed to work.

That’s not to say welfare recipients in Connecticut are lazy — they aren’t. But they’re not stupid, either. Surveys of welfare recipients consistently show their desire for a job. There is also evidence, however, that many are reluctant to accept available employment opportunities. Despite the work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform, only 24 percent of adult welfare recipients in Connecticut are working in unsubsidized jobs, while roughly 41 percent are involved in the broader definition of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Holder's Puny Sentencing Reform

August 13, 2013 in Economics

By Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the annual convention of the American Bar Association. In that speech, Holder said the American criminal justice system is broken and it’s time for some new policies. Unfortunately, Holder missed the chance to make some real improvements.

The main point of Holder’s speech was that the United States is locking up too many people. As has been widely reported, America has about 5 percent of the world’s population, but about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. We have a lot of people behind bars — about 2.5 million.

It took us 200 years to incarcerate the first million, but we’ve managed to lock up the second million in only the last 30 years. During the 1990s and early 2000s we were building one prison a week on average. And those prisons were quickly filled up. Many prisons are now operating beyond their design capacity.

Holder says it is time we “face this reality.” Facing reality is always sound advice, but it’s painfully obvious. Maybe next month he can go to Detroit and tell us about the potential risk of bankruptcy there.

The drug war has been the engine driving the exploding prison population, but President Obama and Holder do not want to face that fact. While other countries like Portugal and Uruguay are embracing drug decriminalization, the Attorney General is only prepared to tinker with some new approaches to drug sentencing.

The first idea is to direct federal prosecutors to use their charging discretion in ways that will minimize triggering mandatory minimum sentences. Most of the drug cases come from state criminal systems, so impact of this change in the federal system will be small. Holder also set forth criteria that will further limit the impact. The drug offender must not have connections to gangs or cartels, for example. Depending on how “connections” are defined, that could severely limit this policy change since cartels control the black market drug distribution networks.

Since warehousing nonviolent drug offenders for long periods does not improve public safety, mandatory minimums do not make economic sense.”

Some people are wondering whether this is another example of the administration avoiding valid laws enacted by Congress. The answer to that question is no. When persons violate laws that overlap with one another, prosecutors can use their discretion to choose which law makes the most sense under the circumstances. Some members of …read more

Source: OP-EDS