Posted on April 30, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Last week, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was one of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate. Today, he's the most conservative Democrat…. But party-switchers often change their votes as well as their labels. The day after Republicans won control of the Senate in 1994, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama switched to the Republican Party. He had been a relatively conservative Democrat and had high-profile conflicts with President Bill Clinton, so the switch wasn't a great surprise. But observers might be surprised to look back at what happened to Shelby's voting record. According to the American Conservative Union, for eight years Shelby's conservative voting percentage had ranged between 43 and 76. Even in 1994, as Shelby often found himself opposing the Clinton administration, the ACU gave him only a 55. But from 1995 to 2000, his ACU rating only once dipped below 90, and he scored a perfectly conservative 100 in 2000 and 2001…. In 2001, Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party and became an independent. Conservatives said he was actually voting like a liberal Democrat. But that wasn't quite right. Since he entered the Senate in 1989, his average ACU rating had been 27 -- definitely the most liberal Republican, but not Ted Kennedy country. His ADA average was 58 -- liberal for a Republican, but a long way from Vermont Democrat Pat Leahy. After the switch, Jeffords' ACU rating started falling like GOP approval ratings: from 40 in 1999 to 29 in the year of the switch to 6, 10, 4, 8 and 4 during the rest of his tenure.Specter says he won't become a party-line Democrat, any more than he's been a reliable Republican vote. But the evidence from previous party-switchers is that his votes will end up much more in line with his new party.
Posted on April 30, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
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Posted on April 29, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
- 11:05–11:35 a.m. Nat Hentoff —Keynote Address: An Endangered Native Species: The First Amendment
- 11:35–11:55 a.m. Pat Michaels —Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know
- 11:55 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Peter Schiff —Economic Crisis: A Government Failure
- 12:30–2:00 p.m. Freeman Dyson —Luncheon Address: Climate Disaster, Safe Nukes, and Other Myths
Posted on April 24, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
With more than a trillion tax dollars tied up in the Troubled Asset Relief Program and stimulus spending, Congress is trying to figure out how to account for every penny.Uh-huh. Congress is always on top of our federal dollars. Coincidentally, just hours after the CNC report, the Government Accountability Office released a report warning about the lack of oversight procedures in the kitchen-sink stimulus bill. And a few days earlier the inspector general for the TARP program reported that Treasury has no real details on how TARP funds are being spent. In fact, IG Neil Barofsky told Congress that there were 20 criminal investigations into possible TARP fraud already underway. Two months ago Barofsky and the comptroller general had warned of the likelihood of waste in huge new government programs:
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, told a House subcommittee that the government’s experiences in the reconstruction of Iraq, hurricane-relief programs and the 1990s savings-and-loan bailout suggest the rescue program could be ripe for fraud… Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the U.S., told the subcommittee that a reliance on contractors and a lack of written policies could “increase the risk of wasted government dollars without adequate oversight of contractor performance.”Read more...
Posted on April 23, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on April 23, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
The libertarian Cato Institute often emphasizes the issue of corporate welfare, but it’s remained remarkably quiet so far on the topic of bailouts.Excuse me? Since she linked to one of our papers on corporate welfare, we assume she's visited our site. How, then, could she get such an impression? Cato scholars have been deploring bailouts since last September. (Actually, since the Chrysler bailout of 1979, but we'll skip forward to the recent avalanche of Bush-Obama bailouts.) Just recently, for instance, in -- ahem -- the New York Times, senior fellow William Poole implored, "Stop the Bailouts." I wonder if our commentaries started with my blog post "Bailout Nation?" last September 8? Or maybe with Thomas Humphrey and Richard Timberlake's "The Imperial Fed," deploring the Federal Reserve's help for Bear Stearns, on April 14 of last year? Cato scholars appeared on more than 90 radio and television programs to criticize the bailouts during the last quarter of 2008. Here’s a video compilation of some of those appearances. Folbre complains that some people seem more concerned about welfare -- TANF, in the latest federal acronym -- than about welfare for bankers -- TARP. Google says that there are 138 references to TANF over the past 13 years or so on the Cato website, and 231 references to TARP in the past few months. Now she has a legitimate point. Welfare for the rich is at least as bad as welfare for the poor. And as much as welfare for the poor has cost taxpayers, the new welfare for banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, and automobile industries is costing us more. Samuel Brittan of the Financial Times has written that "reassignment," an economic policy that changes individuals' ranking in the hierarchy of incomes, is far more offensive than a policy of redistribution, which in his idealized vision would merely raise the incomes of the poorest members of society. By that standard, taxing some businesses and individuals to subsidize the high incomes of others is certainly offensive. Of course, Brittan underemphasized the harm done by welfare to people who become trapped in dependency. But there's good reason to oppose both TANF and TARP, and Cato scholars have done both. Lest the good work of Cato's New Media Manager Chris Moody go under-utilized, here's a probably incomplete guide to Cato scholars' comments on the bailouts of the past few months. (Note that it doesn't include blog posts, of which there have been many.) Quiet? I don't think so: Read more...
Posted on April 20, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on April 18, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on April 15, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Stop the War, Stop the SpendingOr maybe it should be "Stop the Wars, Stop the Spending." But it would pick up on Ron Paul's appeal with his TV ads in which he said, "I'm the only presidential candidate who'll bring our troops home from Iraq immediately and stop wasteful government spending." Millions of Americans are tired of the war and worried about soaring federal spending. Somebody should give them a rallying point.
Posted on April 13, 2009 Posted to Cato@Liberty