This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Paul Ryan Is Ready for a Promotion Print
By Ashton Ellis
Thursday, April 03 2014
These and other reforms would change the trajectory of federal spending, resulting in projected savings of $5.1 trillion by 2024, with a budget surplus thereafter.

After four years of proposing ideas to slim down the federal budget, Paul Ryan may get an opportunity to write them into law – perhaps as soon as next January.

On the same day that Ryan (R-WI), the House Budget Committee chairman, proposed his fourth annual “Path to Prosperity” funding bill, Dave Camp (R-MI), the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, announced his retirement. Camp’s exit means that Ryan, currently a high-ranking member on the tax writing panel, is in a great position to succeed Camp if Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives after the 2014 midterm elections.

Leaving the Budget Committee to take the chairman’s gavel at Ways and Means would be a big boost for Ryan’s reform agenda. As Budget chairman, Ryan is basically in charge of producing blueprints for spending. Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the Budget chairman has the authority to set spending levels that all other chairmen must adhere to. The Act provides deadlines for compliance, but importantly, gives the Budget chairman zero power to enforce them. The reality is that once the Budget committee’s proposals are sent out, it’s up to turf-protecting politicians to decide whether to honor them.

Not so with the Ways and Means Committee. The tax-writing panel has long been one of the two greatest sources of power in the House. Its members write the laws that raise the nation’s revenue, while the Appropriations Committee spends it. For a fiscal conservative like Ryan, sitting atop the body that decides the exact tax rates for funding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – the three biggest drivers of federal spending, and thus the national debt – is the best seat in the House.

Since 2011, Ryan has used his perch at Budget to propose major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, two of the largest spending items in the federal budget. Under Ryan’s plan, Medicare would drop its controversial fee-for-service system in favor of expanding the more market-oriented approach in Medicare Advantage. Seniors would get a capped subsidy amount and the ability to choose from a group of competitive private insurance plans. (Previously, I’ve written how conservatives can reasonably distinguish between Ryan’s idea and an ObamaCare exchange.)

Medicaid – the health insurance program for the poor funded jointly by the states and federal government – would also get a makeover under Ryan’s plan. Instead of the current program’s open-ended spending structure that matches roughly two federal dollars for every state dollar spent, Ryan’s budget would cap the federal contribution and turn it into a block grant, allowing states to design features that fit their unique populations. (Innovative governors in Wisconsin, Indiana and Arkansas give a glimpse at how successful this reform could be.)

Ryan’s newest budget also calls for expanding the work requirements for receiving welfare benefits to help people move “from the aid roll to the payroll.” It would reduce the individual tax brackets from seven to two – one at 10 percent, the other at 25 percent – and drop the corporate rate from a world-leading 39 percent to a much more competitive 25 percent. And it would reverse some of the draconian defense cuts sought by the president in his drive to shrink the armed forces to pre-World War II levels.

These and other reforms would change the trajectory of federal spending, resulting in projected savings of $5.1 trillion by 2024, with a budget surplus thereafter.

Leading the House Budget Committee the last four years has given Paul Ryan a platform to speak about every issue that the federal government funds. By voting in support of his proposals, House Republicans have ratified them as a kind of policy-program-in-waiting. If the GOP maintains the House and wins control of the Senate, becoming the Ways and Means chairman will give Ryan something he’s yet to enjoy – the chance to enact real reform. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
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Quote of the Day   
"Wait until Scranton hears about this.One of Joe Biden's ways of contrasting himself with President Trump has been to declare the election a battle of Park Avenue values vs. Scranton, Pa., values.Now we learn that Biden has secretly been playing footsie with China.The statement Wednesday night asserting that the former vice president was a willing and eager participant in a family scheme to make millions…[more]
—Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
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Do you believe you will be better off over the next four years with Joe Biden as president or with Donald Trump as president?