Category: Public Policy

Failed Policies of the Last Century

(The following article was written by Peter Vessenes and contributed via Kassandra Kuehl)

On Saturday, September 1st, President Obama accused Mitt Romney of retreating to policies from the “last century” and “sticking it” to the middle class.

Is this really the case?  Whose policies exactly have “stuck it” to the middle class?

Why not go back to the Great Depression as a starting point?  After all, we are in a “Recovery” that looks a lot like that time period.  Which “policies” began there?  Perhaps the largest was Social Security.  After all, Social Security was a Democrat Party program that promised the government would “set aside” retirement, or safety money for people when they reached 65 years of age.   Unfortunately, the average life expectancy at that …


21st Century Monopoly

As a child, I used to play the board game of Monopoly.  I still vividly remember the excitement of a “Get out of Jail Free” card and the royal blue of Boardwalk and Park Place.  My brothers would be angered when I’d loft off to using the pink pastel colored dollars for other, imaginary scenarios in make-believe businesses. Who knew at a young age, I’d be an energetic entrepreneur, only my lessons of business and true capitalism would come from something other than playing monopoly with my brothers.

By looking at the meaning of Monopoly as an adult, I am only reminded how badly its lessons are in truly preparing us for the real world and as a Free Market.

Playing the Game:

Monopoly was …


The Social Security Trust Fund Is Already Empty

The annual report of the Social Security Trustees has been out for a few days now, and the news was bad on its face; the Social Security Trust Fund is now expected to be depleted by 2033, three or four years earlier than had been previously thought. This means that after 2033 the Social Security system will depend entirely upon the payroll taxes it will then be collecting, and the huge surpluses built up from payroll taxes of the past decades will have gone.

That is the nightmare in the headline news; the reality is much worse.

The Social Security Trust Fund does not exist in any meaningful way. What happened was this: Over the past years, the Social Security Administration collected more in payroll …


Finally… Something We Can Agree On

The following is an op-ed I wrote some time ago that was edited slightly and then published by the Des Moines Register.  After turning on the television, which was tuned to MTV, while babysitting my young niece and nephew recently I was reminded how unfortunately relevant this piece still is.  The sections which are redacted below are ones that the Register was uncomfortable printing.  This perhaps make the point most poignantly.

 

The following words were spoken on the floor of the U.S senate by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in the heat of the recent debate on The Fairness Doctrine:

It takes away the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to basically determine that radio and television stations use their Federal licenses in the public


2011 – The Year of Rabid Tribalism

The following comes from the ESPN college football website:

“Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn knew the Gators’ locker room wouldn’t be the same as an NFL locker room, because the roster is twice as big — too many people for the same kind of togetherness seen in the NFL. But he wasn’t expecting so much division. ‘The amount of selfishness and separation between different classes was startling. It seemed like we had a fractured bunch at times, for whatever reason,’ said Quinn, who had spent the past 10 years as an assistant coach with four NFL teams. ‘Not a close-knit team.’”

The Florida Gators had another poor season on the college gridiron in 2011. This exceptionally proud football program finished with a six win/six loss …


Student Loans, Debt Crisis and Bondage

In the medieval era there was a rather odd ceremony; when a member of the lower social castes found themselves in dire straights, they turned to the landowning nobility. In exchange for land to work, the noble demanded a portion of the produce, availability for certain laborious tasks, and service in the event of war. The agreement was sealed when the peasant laid his head into the hands of the noble lord.

This ceremony was called a Bondage, as it sealed the bond of the peasant to the noble, as his serf (in contrast with an Homage, where one noble became a vassal of another noble). In our advanced and progressive times, we are – of course – much more evolved and civilized. Far from …


A Sweeping Declaration of Intent: Gingrich unveils new “21st Century Contract with America”

If ever there is going to be a moment for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to create momentum and change the flat trajectory of his presidential run—now is the time. One day after the release of a Fox News poll, which surprisingly showed him gaining substantial ground in the race, Gingrich took to the stage at the Principal building in Des Moines to unveil his newly minted “21st Century Contract with America”.

Updated from the 1994 version, this new contract will serve as the backbone of his campaign and its acceptance or rejection will determine his fate one way or the other.

In the world of presidential politics such fate is largely decided by three things—the style, the substance, and …


The Politics of Obamacare, Medicaid, Illegal Immigration, and Education Reform: The Conservative Reader Interview with Sen. Jack Whitver (Part 2 of 2)

In part one of this interview, the last legislative session was the main focus. Now we will turn our attention to the major issues that will be hotly debated in 2012.

One of the first things to jump out at anyone who starts digging into the issues being wrestled with by our general assembly is how much they mirror the issues being debated at the Federal level. This being the case, there is no better place to start than how Obamacare and trimming entitlements manifest themselves here In Iowa.

Obamacare and the Politics of Medicaid

While scarcely publicized, last session included preliminary debates into setting up Iowa’s insurance exchange, which Obamacare mandates be done by next year’s legislative adjournment. The tricky situation for state legislators …


Why Iowa’s 2011 Legislative Session Matters to Conservatives: The Conservative Reader Interview with Senator Jack Whitver (Part 1 of 2)

Three weeks removed from ending the third longest legislative session in Iowa history, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with District 35’s representative in the Iowa Senate—Republican Jack Whitver. The main focus of our conversation was the results of the 172 day session and the political clouds already forming on the horizon for next year’s Senatorial get together.

In the interest of adding perspective, here is a brief overview of Senator Whitver’s political and business careers: He joined the Iowa Senate this year by virtue of winning a special election to fill the seat of Larry Noble, first beating five other Republicans in a truncated primary and then defeating Democrat John Calhoun (63%-36%). The district covers most of the northern half …


Spewage

Harry ReidWith the long overdue federal budget negotiations continuing to, well — continue — the vitriol spewing out of every crevasse of Washington is stunning in both its scope and in the absolute levels of personal animus that is on display. Even more stunning than the differences of opinion are the even more spectacular distortions of both the facts and the pertinent arguments attached to elements of the debate. It is one thing to have a contrary set of opinions. It is yet another to deploy a confrontation strategy of “justifiable-deception” (what used to be called “lies”) into that debate. The proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood that was announced last week (for their use in providing abortions) brought out vast quantities of this type of pernicious …


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