Tag Archives: Government

Perspectives on last week’s debt debate: two sides of the same coin

How the “left” sees the recent debt ceiling debate/crisis…

And how the “right” sees it…

Is it any surprise that the politicians had a hard time finding a middle ground? They don’t see eye to eye on what the problem is in the first place.

Also, what’s with this “super committee” that’s lacking any deficit hawks? Or Rep. Jason Chaffetz, for that matter? No, seriously. Why is he not on it.

In the meantime, Utah has its act together. Wonder if the feds might take a page from our book?

(h/t to Geeks are Sexy)

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In which I express mock surprise at how well it pays to work for the President of the United States

Evidently, these salary increases are not connected to performance.

Gawker tells the story:

The White House says that many of those positions are considered nonpolitical jobs that come with their own pay schedules, and that what matters is that the total budget and average salary are decreasing slightly. But that doesn’t change the fact that White House staffers who stick it out are being rewarded, on average, for their continued service at a rate that far outstrips how the average white-collar worker is doing. The rhetoric behind the White House salary freeze was about making sure that the people engaged in leading the nation out of its economic mess share a sense of what American workers are experiencing. Unless roughly half of American workers saw their paychecks go up by an average of 8% last year (hint—they didn’t), that’s not the case.


Government revenues are down, but employee salaries are up. Well, not every employee’s salary–just those who work in the President’s staff. If this were a business (which it is not, and no, I’m not saying government should be run like a business), this would be the equivalent of the CEO giving his executives big raises while company revenues are falling.

In other words:

Lest you think that’s a partisan sentiment:


I’d love to hear what those highly paid special and deputy assistants advise on that one.

PS: I’m not opposed to government workers receiving compensation commensurate with their qualifications, job description, and market demand. However, I do oppose policies that have done little but strap us with greater spending liabilities with little to no effect on our revenues.

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Here are the facts: you decide what they mean.

From the Washington Post, a comparison of budget proposals and their effect on US debt.

From the Washington Post, a comparison of budget proposals and their effect on the US deficit.

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Deliberative Democracy: A Way to Increase Civic Participation

The Problem: Dropping Civic Participation

We live in a democracy that faces decreasing participation on a dramatic scale.   In many respects, because of our republican form of government, the only real opportunity we have to engage in public decision-making is during periodic elections.

With so little control and distanced from the decision-making process, from the momentous decisions that have lingering effects on their lives, citizens are disempowered, and, as a result, they lose interest.

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Rules for Economic Growth: Finding a “golden mean” for laws affecting innovation & entrepeneurship

“There has never been a prosperous society without some form of government,” said Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Ohio University; Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute. On the other hand, “a society that has been controlled by government has never had extended prosperity.”

So what is the golden mean?

Whether we agree on the level that government should be involved in the economy or not, I think it’s a truism that some level of governmental involvement is necessary, if just to provide for stability to allow markets to exist.

Don’t agree? For an example of what stability and security can do for a free market, look to, at one extreme, Somalia (as one reader of this blog observed): it is total chaos, administered at the hands of war lords and rampant famine.

On the other hand, and at the other extreme, look at the United States (a gratuitous comparison, I know). Much of the economic growth has been permissible due to our geographic buffer from the wars of Europe in the first half of the last century and the lack of conflict here. There are many other factors, of course, but one cannot look at the history of Europe, as well as Asia, and not see the disastrous effect that war, especially the world wars, has on economic growth and prosperity.

So, assuming some level of government: what should laws are important to the promotion of economic growth? This discussion is especially important in the present context of budget debates and a looming government shutdown. Rep. Ryan’s budget, while it works to decrease the budget deficit, does little to promote growth. What should the federal government do (other than get out-of-the-way) do to help innovation, entrepreneurs, and employers, short of actually picking winners and subsidization policies?


Read the Rules for Growth PDF here.

The Kauffman Foundation has recently put out a book that makes a few recommendations for laws that would promote economic growth. A few of them:


  • Open our borders to skilled labor: Reform U.S. immigration laws so that more high-skilled immigrants can launch businesses in the United States.
  • Licensing practices: Improving university technology licensing practices so university-generated innovation is more quickly and efficiently commercialized.
  • Fewer income taxes, more consumer taxes:Moving away from taxes on income that penalize risk-taking, innovation, and employment while shifting toward a more consumption-based tax system that encourages saving that funds investment. In addition, the research tax credit should be redesigned and made permanent.
  • Rapid patent review: Reforming the intellectual property system to allow for a post-grant opposition process and address the large patent application backlog by allowing applicants to pay for more rapid patent reviews.
  • Ease corporate paperwork: Authorizing corporate entities to form digitally and use software as a means for setting out agreements and bylaws governing corporate activities.

And there are others. What other rules might open up the market, support innovation and entrepreneurship, and grow our economy?