Taxation Without Cessation



While the press was distracted by the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” we began the New Year with a 13-figure deficit and a 14-figure national debt—the result of today’s Americans borrowing vast sums of money and putting it on future Americans’ tab. The two parties offer rather different explanations for the cause of this unsustainable transfer of wealth from the young (and the unborn) to the old, which the “fiscal cliff” deal—at least on paper—only made worse.

President Obama and the Democrats suggest that federal tax revenues have fallen, while federal spending has generally proceeded at reasonable levels. Republicans suggest that tax revenues have more or less flatlined, while spending has skyrocketed. Neither explanation is fully accurate. In truth, taxes have risen—substantially. Yet these substantial increases in federal taxation have been dwarfed by an explosion in federal spending.

According to White House, ...

Obama and Brennan

Interrogate Brennan


President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan, has been one of the president’s closest advisers over the last four years. So it should come as no surprise that Obama wants him to run Langley. And Brennan’s boosters lay out a compelling case.


Obama and Chuck Hegel

Totally, Unequivocally Hagel


On the day he was nominated as secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel gave an interview to the Lincoln Journal Star. His critics had “completely distorted” his record, he complained. Rather, Hagel claimed, his record shows “unequivocal, total support for ...


Obama’s Second Term Plan

Attack, attack, and attack some more.


Obama gives the GOP the pie.

In 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was instrumental in guiding President Obama away from rejecting a deal with Republicans on increasing the debt limit. Geithner was almost alone, the adult in White House discussions on handling GOP demands. The president and his other advisers had political and ideological misgivings about a deal. Geithner’s concern was bigger. He feared an economic collapse.

In February, Obama and Republicans will face a new struggle over the debt limit. The president says he won’t trade spending cuts for an agreement to raise the limit, as he did two years ago at Geithner’s insistence. Indeed, he says he won’t negotiate with Republicans, nor will his aides. He’s stamped his foot and laid down the law. No deal.

This time, Geithner won’t be in a position to restrain Obama. He’s stepping down as Treasury secretary, and last week White House chief of staff Jacob Lew was ...

A solar power plant in china

The Mother of All Solyndras

China’s solar power debacle.


When solar panel maker Solyndra declared bankruptcy in September 2011, the Obama administration defended its $535 million loan guarantee to the company by touting the need to compete with China. At a congressional hearing, Jonathan Silver, then executive director of the Energy Department’s ...

Representative Earl Blumenauer

And Miles to Go Before We’re Taxed

The green plan to have Uncle Sam watch your odometer.


Give the environmental movement credit: When it comes to reducing vehicle emissions, it has won a stupendous victory. Since 1975, when the first federal mileage per gallon standards were introduced, the average mpg for American-driven cars has zoomed from less than 15 ...

Human rights in asia

The Ally of My Ally

Asia’s divided democracies.


Asia’s democracies need to get their acts together to address a common danger from the region’s authoritarian/totalitarian powers. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan face rising challenges from China and/or North Korea. All have security arrangements with the United States ...

Maybe she’d even vote Republican.

A Teacher’s Plea

The GOP shouldn’t write off educators.


As Republicans discuss the future of the party, abandoning conservative values need not be part of the conversation. The party can appeal to larger segments of the electorate without forsaking core principles. One case in point is a group the party has long written ...

hunters take home their haul

Hunting . . . for the Hell of It

Hipsters need not apply.


The zeitgeist has always been wonderfully elastic. Attitudes change and apostasy is tolerated if you are cool enough to pull it off. There was a time when country music wasn’t cool. When Clint Eastwood was just not acceptable (Dirty Harry .  .  . really?). ...


A Small Man in a Big Job

The petty reign of Harry Reid


Senator Harry Reid

In February 2010, a massive snowstorm blanketed the nation’s capital and closed the federal government. Harry Reid was holed up in his condominium at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington’s swanky West End neighborhood, reading the news in his pajamas. He came across an Associated Press story on the Democrats’ jobs package, a mixture of spending provisions and tax credits. The story referred to the jobs bill as “light on new initiatives on boosting hiring and heavy with provisions sought by lobbyists for business.” Montana’s Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Republican ranking member, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, had reached a deal extending several tax credits that benefited business, keeping the staffs of Reid and Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, informed of the negotiations.

When word of the deal had leaked a day earlier, liberals were incensed. Baucus, a red-state Democrat, was ...

Mohamed Abdel Aziz

The Moor Strategy

Mauritania’s President Mohamed Abdel Aziz on Islamists and underdevelopment in the Sahel


Nouakchott, Mauritania

Of all the security threats Americans did  not expect in 2013, a military breakthrough by Islamists into the heart of West Africa is the most urgent. At this writing, ...

Books & Arts

The Women Who Wed

They’re people, too, and often based in Paris.


Jan and Bacharach

I’m burning with envy. Here I’ve been plugging away of late in places like Oklahoma City and Scottsdale. Meanwhile, both Susan Mary Alsop and Kati Marton, heroines of two ostensibly different books, had a much better idea. The only possible way to provoke interest in their surprisingly similar lives, they decided—separately, to be sure, and without communication—was to dateline a lot of events, however small or self-indulgent, “Paris,” throw in a few French phrases, perhaps the occasional reference to Ernest Hemingway, and then hope for the best. And, believe it or not, the best invariably showed up. Usually wearing trousers.


Boutiques, lovers, spouses, celebrity friends with and without accents, baguettes, and bistros—they all settle in, tiny pavé diamonds you might say, ...

Affirmative Action

The Price Was High

Affirmative action and the betrayal of a colorblind society.


Almost no one understood it at the time, but Lyndon Johnson’s speech at Howard University in June 1965 marked a disastrous change in civil rights policy. Previously, the civil rights movement had sought to overturn the entrenched, often legally mandated discrimination ...

John Steinbeck

Chicanery Row

Even John Steinbeck’s ‘nonfiction’ was fictional.


In 1956, the celebrated novelist John Steinbeck declared journalism to be “the mother of literature and the perpetrator of crap.” To the non-Nobel ear, this might sound like denigration or enmity. But Bill Steigerwald’s idol-slaying travelogue of truth suggests the bon mot may have been more ...

Kim Stanley Robinson

Future Imperfect

Science fiction as guide to the stages of life.


Writing at age 35, on the cusp between youth and the rest of life, I wanted to know what to do about being a rock critic when I was no longer young. (Easy—quit.) Now, 20 years later, and on the verge of leaving middle age, I look to science ...

Lawsuit press conference, March 16, 1970

Treehouse Days

Before Tina Brown, there were problems at ‘Newsweek.’


Once upon a time, not so very long ago in the 1960s and early 1970s, the late newsmagazine Newsweek was a different, not-so-nice place, and Lynn Povich and 45 other “good girls” who worked there had no choice but to sue to make it (or at least their careers) ...

The Elements of F*cking Style

Meaning What?

Strunk and White for the postliterate set.


As someone new to journalism, I’ve acquired every book imaginable on style, grammar, and writing. On my shelf sit Words into Type, The Associated Press Stylebook, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. Even

Zero Dark Thirty

Grub Street

The war on terror in all its strife and ambiguity.


Director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker after a career of making worse-to-middling action pictures, is a visionary of the grubby. In that 2009 Iraq war movie, and in her new one about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark ...


I’m a Believer

Christopher Caldwell, credulous


Tough to sleep because of TV

Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s view that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts” has been quoted more in this year of budgetary back-and-forth than at any time since Moynihan first said it (if indeed he did), never without a condescending smirk. But the smugness is unwarranted. Whatever its epistemological merits, Moynihan’s bon mot is, as a political matter, false. In a democracy, you most certainly are entitled to your own facts, or, put a bit more precisely, to the rough-and-ready model of reality you form from experience. To say otherwise is to make deference to some factual arbiter a precondition for political participation—and that arbiter will, likely as not, be a bought lobby or a bureaucracy. If we insist too strongly on Moynihan’s view of the matter, adulthood will become a lot more like childhood.

Plausible untruths were always flying around when I was a kid in ...


She Bowled Them Over

She Bowled Them Over

The Scrapbook, like millions of Americans, watched last week’s anticlimactic BCS championship. Undefeated Notre Dame was pitted against Alabama, but it wasn’t much of a football game. After Alabama got out to a 28-to-nothing lead, we -wondered if Notre Dame was going to change its nickname at halftime to the Fighting French.

And so the commentators, Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger, were left with little of note to say about the game. Naturally, they spent a few moments dwelling on a welcome distraction​—​Alabama quarterback A. J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb. The Scrapbook was admittedly scandalized when it first learned about Webb, as it could not believe an Alabama quarterback would have the temerity to date an Auburn grad.

As a secondary matter, it must be explained that Webb is also the 2012 winner of the Miss Alabama pageant, and represented the state ...

Baseball Games

Deck the Halls

The Scrapbook notes with concern that the baseball world seems to have had its nerves shattered last week. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, whose members vote on admission to the Hall of Fame in Coopers-town, chose not to admit any living players at its annual ...

Required Reading

Required Reading

You may remember contributing editor Max Boot’s article a couple of issues back on the fascinating career of Orde Wingate, the British officer who commanded forces fighting on the side of liberty in Israel, Ethiopia, and Burma. The book from which it ...

Bill Clinton

Daddy Clinton

It’s understandable that years of war and economic struggle have made many long for the relatively halcyon days of the 1990s, but how far are we really prepared to go to rehab Bill Clinton’s image? Wait, don’t answer that question just yet:

Larry Miller

Larry Miller, Back on His Feet

The Scrapbook is thrilled to report that actor, comedian, and -Weekly Standard friend and contributor Larry Miller is relaunching his popular podcast, This Week with Larry Miller, on ACE Broadcasting (www.adamcarolla.com/LMBlog). Nine months ago, Larry ...



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