Must-Reads for October 19
Chicago Tribune: A tax on politicians? It's an offer they can't refuse
They tax our gas, our houses, our sodas. They tax our smokes, they tax our roads, they tax our health care and our paychecks, and after we've paid, they even tax our deaths. Cutting government is painful for them. Their mantra? "Government can't afford a tax cut." So they tax us instead, but after the elections, when it's too late to do anything about it.
State Journal-Register: Statehouse dysfunction has ramifications for the vulnerable
Quinn, Calica, Feigenholtz and the other politicians involved in this dispute purport to be in public service to help children and families. Their actions do not back up their rhetoric. They put politics first before helping those at risk. It’s unconscionable and should not happen again.
Wall Street Journal: The best and worst U.S. cities for travel taxes
In Chicago, the tax on a case of Miller Lite beer runs about 9%. That pales in comparison with the 16.4% tax on a hotel room and the 23% tax on car rentals at O'Hare International Airport.
Must-Reads for October 18
Chicago Tribune: Preckwinkle wants $1-a-pack cigarette tax hike
If Preckwinkle gets her way, the tax on a pack of smokes in Chicago would reach $6.67, leaving it just 19 cents short of New York City's $6.86, according to government statistics. The current taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago are $2 from Cook County, $1.98 from Illinois, $1.01 from the federal government and 68 cents from the city.
Washington Post: The Fed’s mission creep
Before the Fed was created 99 years ago, the U.S. economy was in recession 48 percent of the time; since 1913, it has been in recession only about 20 percent of the time. The Fed has done much good. It cannot, however, do every good thing, although Congress now seems to think it should.
MareketWatch: Debt is drowning the American Dream
U.S. public finances have deteriorated significantly in recent years. In 2001, the Congressional Budget Office forecast average annual surpluses of approximately $850 billion from 2009–2012, allowing Washington to pay off everything it owed. The surpluses never came.
Chicago Tribune: For Madigan Democrats, there is such a thing as a free lunch
You'd think that Democrats running for the state Legislature would leap at the chance to hug Boss Madigan in public, or perhaps sit in his lap for a photo unless they're much larger than he, in which case he could sit in their laps, on a big comfy couch.
Must-Reads for October 17
National Review: Take this economy and shove it
President Obama seems to believe that it is possible to love workers but hate employers. Both rhetorically and in terms of policy, he seems to believe that he can punish the 1 percent without harming the 99 percent. In reality, however, employers and workers, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, are inextricably tied together. The success of one brings opportunity and success to the other
Investor's Business Daily: Memo to Michelle: What a 'huge recovery' looks like
This recovery is so small that only half the jobs lost in the recession have been recouped. It's so small that there are almost half a million more long-term unemployed today than in June 2009, and millions have dropped out of the labor force altogether.
Washington Times: Earth's temperatures subject to higher powers
Golden State residents bear some of the nation’s highest energy prices, and for a simple reason. Sacramento bureaucrats force refiners to produce gasoline according to a special California-specific recipe that enables the left-coasters to claim they’re far greener than their neighbors.
Must-Reads for October 16
Chicago Tribune: Most voters blame pols, not unions, for
The poll found that 51 percent blamed the state's
politicians alone for Illinois' pension problems while only 2 percent said it
was just the fault of public workers. Another 32 percent said they believed it
was a combination of state workers and politicians who created the problem.
OC Register: Unions dominate California ballot
Reviewing more than 30 years of data, a new study
conducted by Daniel DiSalvo for the Manhattan Institute found that since 1980,
public employee unions have been successful in defeating 75 percent of the
ballot initiatives they opposed and have won in 50 percent of the initiatives
RealClearMarkets: Green cronyism is alive and well
Another disapproving term for industrial policy is
"picking winners." Government appears to be worse at this than are
private markets. In addition to putting taxpayer money at risk, industrial
policy also undesirable because it creates opportunities for political
influence on what should be decisions on the merits.
Must-Reads for October 15
Chicago Tribune: Mr. 16 percent
Madigan's reaction is to lament, as would a victim, the crises he helped
cause — and has the influence to solve. At the federal level, the senatorial
Gang of Eight works to avoid a fiscal cliff, and presidential candidates clash
over debt. In Illinois, Madigan and his fellow leaders haven't had significant
talks about their pension debacle in months.
The New Yorker: Boss rail
That autumn, to help ward off the global recession, Chinese leaders more
than doubled spending on high-speed rail and upped the target to ten thousand
miles of track by 2020, the equivalent of building America’s first transcontinental
route five times over.Reuters: Study
shows $1.2 trillion gap for public pensions
The largest 100 public
pension funds have around $1.2 trillion of unfunded liabilities, about $300
billion above the nearly $900 billion they reported themselves, according to a
new actuarial study to be released on Monday.