Mar 9, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 25 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Speaking of global warming, The Scrapbook could have used a little more of it this winter. Meanwhile we’ve been bundling up against the cold and curling up next to the fireplace with our favorite new book, Jay Cost’s A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption. If you read Jay’s essay in these pages two weeks ago, “Stop the Rot,” you’ll know that he has homed in on a critical issue that transcends the headlines: the deep corruption that is undermining our political system. As Jay writes in the book, “The institutions the Framers created were competent to handle responsibly the -powers they assigned them; Americans since then have added extra -powers under the false assumption that the same institutions could handle the extra load responsibly. But they -cannot, and so the government now -behaves irresponsibly. This produces corruption.”
The book not only tackles an issue of the utmost importance, it’s also a great read. As The Scrapbook’s boss put it in his weekly Kristol Clear newsletter:
One of the blurbs on the book jacket seems to me to put it well: “In explaining ‘corruption as a permanent, institutionalized feature of our government,’ Jay Cost has made a major contribution to American history and political science. His narrative is detailed and lively, accessible to citizens and scholars alike. And he makes a case for reform while suggesting its limits. A real tour de force.” Hey, I wrote that blurb! But it’s true.
Make haste to your favorite bookseller! (And while you’re at it, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for Kristol Clear by clicking here.)
And secret friend of the one percent.Feb 2, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 20 • By JAY COST
In last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.
Just saying no to Elizabeth Warren isn’t enough.Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By JAY COST
Last week, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren threatened to derail the omnibus continuing resolution (“cromnibus”) that funds most of the government through the end of the fiscal year. She objected to the elimination of an obscure rule in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law known as “push-out.” Under Dodd-Frank, federally backed financial institutions must spin their “swap trades” off to uninsured subsidiaries; after cromnibus, they will no longer have to do this.
The Ex-Im Bank and the trouble with the Republican party.Sep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By JAY COST
Well, this was predictable. House Republicans last week acceded to an extension of the Export-Import Bank for at least the next nine months. The Export-Import Bank is far from the worst example of government-business cronyism. I just completed a history of American political corruption and actually had to leave Ex-Im on the cutting room floor. Its cronies are pikers compared with the corporate moguls that take advantage of tax preferences like the G.E. and Apple loopholes.
12:00 AM, Aug 30, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Free trade is a huge benefit if you are a Walmart shopper. All those microwave ovens, lamps, sneakers, and other stuff available for a relative pittance. It’s a tragedy if you are a domestic manufacturer or worker attempting to compete with cheap labor and subsidized Chinese manufacturers pouring those goods onto supermarket shelves. Consumers are dispersed and unaware of their interest in free trade; workers and manufacturers know their interest in protection. So freer trade is always a difficult political proposition.
Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON and WILLIAM KRISTOL
This fall, voters will get another chance to register their opinion on Obamacare. President Obama’s signature legislation is causing health costs to spike, federal spending to soar, doctors to leave their profession, millions of Americans to lose their health plans, and millions more to be coerced into buying overpriced insurance against their will.
9:32 AM, Apr 7, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Republican senator Mike Lee has an op-ed decrying cronyism. But first, he says, the Republicans must purge the unseemly activity from within its "own ranks."
2:52 PM, Mar 12, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
White House spokesman Jay Carney plugged his wife's book today at the White House press briefing:
It would make Buffett's holding company the nation's 'largest utility holding company.'9:18 AM, Jul 31, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Even if you're Warren Buffett--billionaire investor, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, and Democratic donor--it helps to have friends in high places. Through his holding company MidAmerican Energy, Buffett is currently atttempting to purchase NV Energy, a Nevada-based energy firm, and he's getting some big help from that state's senior U.S. senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The taxpayer-funded Obamacare temperance league. Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
When Prohibition ended in 1933, Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot promised to make purchasing alcohol “as inconvenient and expensive as possible.” To this day, Pennsylvania has some of the most stringent—and absurd—liquor laws in the country. Beer and wine can’t be sold in grocery stores, and you can only purchase six-packs of beer at delis or under the counter at bars and taverns, and no more than two six-packs can be purchased at a time.
Mitt Romney was right: Dodd-Frank is a gift to big banks Oct 29, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 07 • By C. BOYDEN GRAY AND ADAM J. WHITE
Big Wall Street banks caused a financial crisis and brought the nation to the brink of economic collapse; President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act to punish those banks and end government bailouts of too-big-to-fail financial institutions.
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