Talking the Tenth with Governor Christie

April 12, I had the opportunity to meet New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a town hall meeting right in my hometown of South Plainfield. I also got to confront my dread fear of public speaking for the first time since Nullify Now Philly, when I got to ask NJ Assemblywoman McHose a question, and join members of the NJ and PA TAC chapters for some Q&A. My wife Judy, being off this week, was able to watch the little ones while I went. It was a great opportunity, not only to discuss nullification with the Governor, but to share the idea with a capacity crowd at the South Plainfield PAL, the majority of whom had probably never heard nullification discussed.

Based on 5-10 second news station clips of altercations at other town halls, I expected a Governor who would be belligerent in his response, and was prepared to respond, “Save some of that for DC!” if it came to that. It turned out I didn’t have to. He was very considerate about listening to questions and tried to be as thorough in his responses as time allowed. To paraphrase the Governor, he definitely let the people know where he stood, and they could decide from there if they agreed or disagreed with him. I humbly admit, I prejudged based on a few incidents the media emphasized, where interestingly enough, the comments made to Governor Christie never seemed to make it on television. Only the responses were televised.

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Sound Money Bills Advancing in Missouri and South Carolina

Action Alert for Constitutional Tender!

MISSOURI

Missouri House Bill 1637 (HB1637), the Missouri Sound Money Act, has been released from the Rules Committee and is scheduled for debate on the House floor this week. The bill states, in part:

Gold and silver issued by the federal government is legal tender in this state. A person shall not compel any other person to tender or accept gold and silver coins that are issued by the federal government, except for contractual obligations.

For those residing in Missouri, please send emails thanking the rules chair, John Deihl, and the floor leader, Tim Jones for putting it on the calendar. Then, contact your representative and ask them to support the bill with a “yes” vote.

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Welfare and Private Charity

new policy paper from my colleague Michael Tanner analyzes the growth in the American welfare state and concludes that “throwing money at the problem has neither reduced poverty nor made the poor self-sufficient.” Michael makes an important point that—in my experience—most journalists don’t seem to appreciate:

In addition, whatever the intention behind government programs, they are soon captured by special interests. The nature of government is such that programs are almost always implemented in a way to benefit those with a vested interest in them rather than to actually achieve the programs’ stated goals… Among the nonpoor with a vital interest in antipoverty programs are social workers and government employees who administer the programs and business people, such as landlords and physicians, who are paid to provide services to the poor. Thus, anti-poverty programs are usually more concerned with protecting the prerogatives of the bureaucracy than with actually fighting poverty.

That’s one reason why you have federal officials actually celebrating the fact that more and more Americans are signing up for food stamps. Sure, adding millions of people to the food stamps roll is good for the Department of Agriculture’s budget, but is it good for the country? Perhaps if one thinks that government bureaucracies are ideally suited to provide for the less fortunate. However, that’s a tough claim to make given the fraud, abuse, and wasteful bureaucratic overhead costs associated with the government model. And let’s not forget that the government is not a charity; rather, it must resort to compulsion and force in order to carry out its politically-inspired objectives.

Instead of celebrating government dependency, we ought to be celebrating those private charities that are effectively meeting the needs of the less fortunate through voluntary donations. For example, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) recently went to the House floor to laud a private charity called Convoy of Hope. From Paul’s speech:

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