Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Truth About Obama and Budget Cuts

Here is my appearance yesterday on Fox News Live.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: Should Bans Against Carrying Concealed Weapons Be Lifted On College Campuses?

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

Should permitted faculty and students have the right to carry a concealed handgun on college campuses? Right now once someone qualifies for a permit they can carry a concealed handgun with them virtually anywhere in a state except for a few designated gun-free zones. Prominent among those "protected" areas are universities and schools. Yet, twelve states, including two large ones, Texas and Florida, are currentlly engaged in the debate over whether to end these bans.

Florida and Idaho have legislative hearings scheduled for Wednesday. The Idaho House should be voting on the bill by the end of the week. Legislative committees in Arizona and Oklahoma have already passed bills. Texas is planning votes during the week of March 21st.

But are these changes dangerous? Would faculty and students pose a danger to others? Wouldn't police accidentally shoot permit holders who are trying to stop an attacker? . . .

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: The Truth About Obama, Democrats and Budget Cuts

My newest piece starts out this way:

With major budget votes set for Tuesday, Senate Democrats spent the weekend dismissing House Republicans' plans to cut the budget as “ideological, extremist, reckless." President Obama advocated “a government that lives within its means,” but he also charged “there’s nothing responsible about the Republican budget cuts.

Following the same script, news headlines described the House Republicans cuts as "dramatic" and "outrageous."

The magnitude of this year’s deficit might be hard for many to appreciate. But the monthly budget deficit for February of $223 billion is larger than the $160.7 billion deficit for all of 2007, the last time we had a federal budget that was approved when Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and presidency.

Democrats say that they can only come up with one-thirteenth the deficit cuts that the Republicans have put forward – just $4.7 billion, though Obama claims that these cuts meet the Republicans “halfway.” Democrats assert that there is not even enough waste in the federal budget to cut it by two-tenths of one percentage point. . . .

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How incentives backfire

Recently I had a post about what might go wrong with Saudi Arabia bribing people not to riot against the government. Well, here is a strange example of how such bribes can be counterproductive.

And although Paris Hilton told us in 2009 that she would never get breast implants out of a fear of needles, a decade before that Strauss claims to have met the then18-year-old party princess (prior to her days in the limelight) and she allegedly told him quite a different story.
“I had a breast job when I was 14, but my mother made me take them out,” Hilton apparently told Strauss, according to the book. “I’m thinking about posing for Playboy. They love famous people’s kids. And the only reason I’d do it is because when my dad finds out, he’ll pay me double the money not to do it.” . . .


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: Illinois Gun Info Plan Is Misguided and Dangerous

My newest Fox News piece starts off this way:

Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends to harm you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying "This home is a gun-free zone"? Would it frighten criminals away?

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. But, despite strong opposition from the Illinois State Police, Democrat Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan seems determined to publicly identify gun and non-gun owners across the state. For some unknown reason, The Associated Press made a Freedom of Information Act request to the police.

One would think that people in Illinois of all places would understand this problem. . . .

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: So How Much Do Public Union Workers Really Make?

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

President Obama lashed out at Republicans Monday for having "denigrated or vilified" public union employees. Without collective bargaining and the ability to go on strike, he said we wouldn't be able to attract "the best and the brightest to public service." Are public employees simply the best and the brightest? Or are we simply lavishing them with much better employment deals than their private counterparts?
To measure how attractive a job is, economists study how employees vote with their feet -- that is, comparing the rate at which different categories of employees voluntarily quit their jobs.
Over the last six months, private workers have been 3.4 times more likely to quit their jobs than either state and local or federal workers. Indeed, no private industry comes close to the low "quit rate" for government employees. Manufacturing, which has the lowest rate, still faces twice the quit rate as the government. . . .

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Newest Fox News piece: GAO Report and Government Waste -- Can You Spell O-U-T-R-A-G-E?

My newest piece starts this way:

We are used to hearing about fraud and government programs that fail to accomplish their goals. It now appears that yet another category might be important: duplication. Hundreds of major government programs have been discovered to duplicate what other government programs are doing. If we are to believe a new Government Accountability Office report, consolidation of programs could easily save up to $200 billion over the next decade.

Call it "press release government." For politicians, the best way to be seen as being actively involved and to viewed as caring about a problem is to set up a new government program and then claim credit for it. It doesn't seem to matter if there are already 17 other programs that help people get nutritious food or 79 other programs to provide transportation for the disadvantaged, adding another program shows that the politician really cares. It is the equivalent of building on another living room to a house when there are already several of them.

Creating new additional government programs spread across different government agencies also means that additional congressional committees can try claiming oversight. Government housing programs are spread across every place from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Federal Housing Finance Board, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thus, when there is a housing problem, congressmen and Senators from a range of different committees can claim legitimate reasons to run before the television cameras and hold committee hearings. . . .

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