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New York Times, taxes, tax, libraries, tax cuts, big government, public services, free markets

Ballots & Books

The people of Roseburg, Oregon, aren’t paying enough in taxes. That’s the upshot of Kirk Johnson’s recent New York Times article, “Where Anti-Tax Fervor Means ‘All Services Will Cease.’” “For generations in America,” readers are informed, “small cities . . . declared their optimism and civic purpose with grand libraries






France, French, election, Macron, Le Pen, democracy, press, freedom, right, left, centrist

French Beacon

“Since the French Revolution,” the New York Times pontificated online, “the nation has often been viewed as a beacon of democratic ideals.” Really? Can a nation of constitutional turnovers — kings and republics and revolutions and foreign occupation — be a beacon? Most often we in America compare our Revolution






Oregon, traffic light, license, licensing, government, regulations, engineer

The Oregon Fail

My children used to play “The Oregon Trail,” an early computer game where one navigated the amazingly dangerous wagon trip out west — often dying of dysentery or drowning while crossing a river. Oregon remains treacherous. Yesterday, we bemoaned the cancellation of a parade because a Republican Party group’s participation






Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho, veto, asset forfeiture, term limits,

Ida-Heave-Ho

“Is there any chance the vetoes can be overridden?” asked a reader in response to yesterday’s commentary on Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s veto of two pieces of common-sense legislation. It’s a good question, because the bill reforming civil asset forfeiture and the bill easing regulations that block employment in cosmetology






New York, Cuomo, college, tuition, Bernie Sanders,

Escape from New York

“New York City is a walled maximum security prison,” exclaimed posters for Escape from New York (1981, R). “Breaking out is impossible.” Now, as part of new legislation giving “free college” to New Yorkers, politicians take the same high concept from the film and extend it to the entire state.






asset forfeiture, banks, banking, IRS,TIGTA, Bank Secrecy Act

What’s Being Forfeited

What do you call those who prey upon the innocent, illegally snatching their money? Thieves? Muggers? The Mob? Government. Last month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report on the Internal Revenue Service’s use of civil asset forfeiture against Americans accused — well, not accused .






Washington, D.C., daycare, day-care, licensing, regulations, bureaucracy, laws, rules, accreditation

D.C.’s Diaper-Dandy Regulation

Where is child care most expensive? In America, it is in our shining, shimmering national swamp. Yes, in Washington, D.C., infant care averages nearly $1,900 a month, more than $22,000 a year. So naturally, if you’re a politician, you see that as too . . . low? It has been






Civil Asset Forfeiture, crime, drugs, marijuana, stealing, theft, police abuse

Good and Bad News

On the issue of “civil asset forfeiture” — police seizing property from folks merely on suspicion, without a criminal conviction — there is good news. In Idaho, House Bill 202a just passed both legislative chambers overwhelmingly. “Among other changes, HB 202a would no longer allow civil forfeiture of the vehicle






Steve Bannon, Trump, Freedom Caucus, big government, Ryancare, Trumpcare, Obamacare

Legislating in the Real World

Rolling back Big Government is not easy, especially when you are not that into it. Robert Draper, profiling Steve Bannon in the New York Times, gives us a view into the mind of Trump’s right-hand man, who appears to think GOP insiders are obsessed with principles. “[I]t’s all this theoretical






Trumpcare, Ryancare, healthcare, Obamacare, Freedom Caucus, socialism

TrumpCare Trumped

It took awhile for the Obama Administration to accept the term “ObamaCare.” Nancy Pelosi was the initial driver of the massive scheme to permanently alter American medicine and insurance, and “PelosiCare” would have been a fit moniker for the wildly mis-named “Affordable Care Act.” But the administration put the whole






Venezuela, socialism, free markets, capitalism, poverty, celebrities, freedom, repression, starvation

Of Salt and Socialism

Nearly 75 percent of Venezuelans have lost 19 pounds or more in 2016. “People have become so desperate,” the Miami Herald reported recently, “that they are butchering and eating flamingos.” While acknowledging the problem, TeleSUR, a television network based in Venezuela and funded by governments including Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and






Netherlands, Dutch, election, Geert Wilders, counting coup, party, parties, political, Freedom Party

Dutch Election Oddities

There were many strange forces at play in the Netherlands’ elections on Wednesday. In my report, I concentrated on the biggest story, the possibility that Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party might take a huge number of parliamentary seats — though I quoted The Atlantic’s coverage predicting a narrow loss to Mark






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