Here's some potentially VERY good economic news that was lost amid the weekend news flurry.  Those…
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Some Potentially VERY Good Economic News

Here's some potentially VERY good economic news that was lost amid the weekend news flurry.  Those with "skin in the game," and who likely possess the best perspective, are betting heavily on an upturn, as highlighted by Friday's Wall Street Journal:

Corporate insiders are buying stock in their own companies at a pact not seen in years, a sign they are betting on a rebound after a coronavirus-induced rout.  More than 2,800 executives and directors have purchased nearly $1.19 billion in company stock since the beginning of March.  That's the third-highest level on both an individual and dollar basis since 1988, according to the Washington Service, which provides data analytics about trading activity by insiders."

Here's why that's important:

Because insiders typically know the…[more]

March 30, 2020 • 11:02 am

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Federalism Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry Print
By CFIF Staff
Wednesday, April 22 2009
Like many of the structural safeguards conceived by the Founders, federalism’s purpose is to ensure that the federal government remains sclerotic enough to stay within its constitutional ambit, enforcing the benign neglect that is the precondition of state and local self-determination.

The Department of Homeland Security, never known for its institutional elegance (these are, after all, the people who brought us the color-coded terror alert system), reached a new low last week with the release of an Intelligence Assessment Report warning of the dangers of resurgent right-wing extremism in America.

The report deservedly drew the ire of conservatives throughout the nation for warning of the dangers posed by such menacing groups as military veterans returning stateside, pro-life activists, and border security advocates.  But another, less remarked upon, item was perhaps even more distressing.  According to the DHS, you may be a threat to national security if you believe in the Constitution.

To be clear, the relevant section of the Homeland Security document reads “Rightwing extremism in the United States [includes] groups, movements, and
adherents … that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.”

The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in turn, reads “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”  Rightwing extremism, then, apparently owes its origins to Independence Hall.  

As many liberal commentators rising to the Obama Administration’s defense have noted, the DHS analysis was commissioned and partially drafted by the Bush Administration.  Therein lies a lesson for the approximately three Americans still jealous of their constitutional protections: federalism – despite the best efforts of some conservatives – doesn’t have a permanent home in either party.  

Like many of the structural safeguards conceived by the Founders, federalism’s purpose is to ensure that the federal government remains sclerotic enough to stay within its constitutional ambit, enforcing the benign neglect that is the precondition of state and local self-determination.  This, of course, makes it threatening to those on both the left and the right who think the federal government’s only limits are the outer reaches of their imaginations.

Thus it was the Bush Administration – supposedly more sympathetic to federalism than its successor – which attempted to quash the popularly ratified legalization of euthanasia in Oregon and resisted the increased regulation of greenhouse gas emissions passed by the California legislature.  While those state acts may have been disastrous policy decisions, the rub of true federalism is a recognition of states’ rights to pass them. Rules that cease to be binding when the powerful no longer care for them are, after all, no rules at all.

Despite the DHS report, the Obama Administration has not been entirely hostile to 10th Amendment rights.  In February, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries, leaving final decisions about legality to state governments.  Likewise, the 44th president has reversed the 43rd’s prohibition of California’s tougher emissions standards. Unfortunately, this doesn’t indicate a change of heart.  It’s just the left’s version of fair weather federalism.

For confirmation of this diagnosis, look no further than the words of Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan.  In an article advocating national education standards in the new issue of Time Magazine, Duncan says “"I know that talking about standards can make people nervous, but the notion that we have 50 different goalposts is absolutely ridiculous." Duncan, who has been admirably supportive of school choice and charter schools (at least rhetorically), seems to think that public schools are somehow immune to the benefits of competition.  He also conveniently ignores that the constitution envisions no federal role in education.

Yet the rationale for federalism is stronger in our nation’s classrooms than almost anywhere else.  Contra Secretary Duncan, 50 different goalposts provide 50 opportunities for innovation, 50 possible models of best practices, and 50 choices for Americans who prefer that the content of their children’s textbooks not be micromanaged from a Capitol Hill subcommittee.  

The alternative is a system where Washington uses monopoly power to dictate the first two decades of learning for every child in America (the feds would likely end up using some combination of regulation and financial inducements in an attempt to force private schools to adopt the same standards).  That is a tall order – and one with little margin for error.  Screw up the standards in your local schools and children can head to the next county. Shipwreck the entire American education system on the shoals of good intentions and you’ve destroyed a generation.  

Perhaps it’s better, then, to leave the business of government to those closest to those they’re legislating for.  This will retain the states’ roles as laboratories of policy innovation.  And it will prevent the Washington that produced TARP, the tax code, and the DHS report from having to apologize for one more national embarrassment.  The risk-averse legislators in our nation’s capitol should remember that federalism means never having to say you’re sorry.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following pandemics caused the largest number of deaths in the 20th Century alone?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"The city of San Francisco is forbidding shoppers from carrying reusable bags into grocery stores out of fear that they could spread the coronavirus.As part of its shelter-in-place ordinance, the California city barred stores from 'permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home.' The city noted that transferring the bags back and forth led to unnecessary contact…[more]
 
 
—Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner
— Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner
 
Liberty Poll   

Have you or a member of your family contracted coronavirus or are having undiagnosed coronavirus symptoms?