Paul Ryan Campaigns on Military Keynesianism

Speaking outside a helicopter museum in eastern Pennsylvania this week, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan bemoaned the “irresponsible defense cuts” and subsequent job losses that would occur under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration spending cuts. That would be the same Budget Control Act that Paul Ryan voted for, and, at least initially, defended.

From TalkingPointsMemo.com:

“What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years, are statutory caps on spending, legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money,” Ryan told FOX News’s Sean Hannity shortly after the agreement was reached last August. “And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can’t turn that off without a super-majority vote. We got that in law.”

It’s not just Ryan’s backing away from the BCA’s spending cuts that’s irritating; it’s the fact that he’s basing his opposition to the cuts on the same flawed Keynesian rationale that the president used to justify his failed stimulus package. As Chris Edwards has noted, shifting resources from the government sector to the private sector is good for the economy:

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Romney Runs from Spending Cuts

According to the Associated Press, Mitt Romney supports postponing the sequestration cuts scheduled for January 2, 2013 by at least one year:

The Republican presidential contender said Friday during a campaign trip to Las Vegas that the cuts would be “terrible,” particularly for the military.

Congress approved the cuts as part of a deal to reduce the deficit. They were designed to help lawmakers come up with a better plan. But that didn’t happen — so the cuts are scheduled to go into effect next year.

Romney says he wants President Barack Obama and lawmakers to work together to put, in his words, “a year’s runway,” in place to give the next president time to reform the tax system and ensure the military’s needs are met.

In other words, Romney’s position on sequestration is no different than the rest of the spendthrifts in Washington.

Romney’s punt coincides with the enactment of legislation that requires the White House to detail precisely what it would cut in January. The Office of Management and Budget has 30 days to release the report. The idea originated with congressional Republicans who relish the opportunity to get the president on record for proposing cuts to military spending. Democrats went along after the bill was changed to include provisions that force the White House to spell out cuts to domestic programs. The goal for both parties is to get the various special interests and their accomplices in the media to go bonkers when the report is released.

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No More Solyndras? Not Quite

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the “No More Solyndras Act.” As Taxpayers for Common Sense notes, however, the bill should probably be called the “More Solyndras Act” because it would still allow the Department of Energy to approve loan guarantee applications that were submitted by Dec. 31, 2011. Today the House Energy…

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The U.S. Postal Service and the Constitution

If my inbox is any indication, a lot of Americans apparently believe that an amendment to the Constitution would be necessary to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. That is simply not true.

Article 1, Section 8 says that [The Congress shall have the power] to establish Post Offices and Post Roads. It does not say that the federal government shall have the exclusive power to deliver mail. Nor does it require that the mail be delivered by an agent of the federal government to every home in the country, six days a week.

In a 1996 Cato book, The Last Monopoly, James I. Campbell writes the following in a chapter on the history of postal monopoly law:

The U.S. Constitution, in 1789, authorized Congress to establish “Post Offices and post Roads” but, unlike the Articles of Confederation, did not explicitly establish an exclusive monopoly. The first substantive postal law, enacted in 1792, listed post roads to be established, reflecting the traditional concept of postal service as a long-distance transport. It authorized the Postmaster General to enter into contracts for the carriage of “letters, newspapers, and packets” but limited the postal monopoly to “letter or letters, packet or packets, other than newspapers.”

According to Campbell, the Post Office “first began delivery of mail to a small portion of the U.S. population” in 1863:

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Ranting Against Big Government, But Voting for It

Drudge last week linked to a Brietbart TV video titled “‘USA! USA!’ Congressman’s Anti-Big Government Rant Gets Standing Ovation on House Floor.” In it, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) unleashes an oratorical blast against the stifling regulatory regime in Washington. It’s good stuff, but, unfortunately, Rep. Kelly’s anti-big government credentials are questionable. The Pennsylvania freshman Republican is a member of…

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A Scam’s Telling Success

According to multiple news reports, tens of thousands of Americans have fallen for a scam that’s being dubbed the “Obama utility bill scam.” The victims are told that a new Obama stimulus program will pay their utility bills. Fraudsters use the hook to get people to divulge their Social Security number and other personal information.…

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U.S. Postal Service Default

No, the U.S. Postal Service won’t close on August 1st because it can’t afford to make a required $5.5 billion payment into a federal fund for postal retiree health benefits. Yes, the entire situation with the USPS is a mess. But when you have politicians ultimately trying to run a commercial operation, constant clean ups in aisle four are to be expected.

Here’s the situation:

1. The USPS is bleeding billions of dollars in red ink and has just about maxed out its line of credit with the U.S. Treasury.

2. In April, the Senate passed a bill that would buy the USPS time by effectively kicking the can down the road.

3. A more aggressive bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) is unpopular with the postal unions, Democrats, and apparently enough Republicans that the votes are reportedly not there to get it passed. And if the votes are there, the House Republican leadership doesn’t appear to be interested in bringing it to the floor.

4. Even if the House passed a bill, it wouldn’t be easy for House and Senate conferees to hammer out a compromise given the differences between the two bills. Because there isn’t much space left on the legislative calendar, and it’s an election year, it’s hard to imagine that there would be enough time to get something done to avert a default.

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Will Farm Bills Save Taxpayers Money?

The Congressional Budget Office’s score of the farm bill passed in the Senate estimates that it would save $23 billion (versus the current baseline) over ten years. It’s score of the bill that came out of the House Agriculture Committee estimates savings of $35 billion. However, the previous three farm bills ended up costing more than the CBO originally…

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Get the Feds Out of the Rail Racket

The California Senate’s recent vote to authorize $8 billion for the first segment of a widely panned plan for high-speed rail is another example of why the state remains on fiscal suicide watch. And because federal taxpayers are on the hook for $3.2 billion of the plan’s cost, it’s another example of why the federal government should not be subsidizing rail projects.

If California’s voters and the officials they elect want to blow the state’s taxpayers’ money on high-speed rail, then so be it. But taxpayers in the other 49 states shouldn’t be on the hook. Likewise, Californians shouldn’t have to subsidize rail projects in the other 49 states. Indeed, the federal Department of Transportation acts like a money laundering operation: money taken from each state’s taxpayers goes to Washington, gets “washed” on Capitol Hill, and then gets sent back to the states (minus a cut for the bureaucracy) as directed by the Beltway bosses.

Take, for example, Rep. Don Young’s (R-AK) “railroad to nowhere,” which was featured on Politico last week:

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Republican Freshmen Protect Big Government

The Community Development Block Grant program is a perfect example of the blurring of responsibility between the federal government and the states. The program’s roots go back to the Great Society and the wishful belief that the problems of urban Americans could be solved with handouts from Washington. Instead, the program “has degenerated into a federal slush…

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