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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By the Numbers: Obama's Economic, Jobs and Deficit Performance Is the Worst On Record Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 05 2015
Obama's economic record can only be labeled one of failure.

Given what we know now, only Barack Obama could attempt to characterize his economic record as one of achievement rather than historic failure. 

Only Obama could attempt to characterize his record on deficits, which dwarf those of any other president that preceded him, as a successful one.   

And only Obama could characterize today's record federal spending and incoming tax receipts as "senseless austerity." 

First, the sluggish economy. 

Last week, the Commerce Department reported that despite the highest level of consumer spending in almost a decade, the U.S. economy grew just 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014.  For the entire year, gross domestic product (GDP) grew just 2.4%.  That marks the ninth consecutive year of GDP growth below 3% on an annual basis. 

To put that into proper perspective, the average U.S. quarterly growth rate since World War II has been 3.3%.  During a post-recession recovery, which in this case began all the way back in June 2009, growth is typically higher than that average due to the "bounce" effect.  Yet under Obama, we've rarely witnessed a quarter above that 3.3% average, and not once over an entire year.  According to the federal government's economic growth records, which date back to 1930, America has never endured a stretch equaling the current nine-year streak without GDP growth exceeding 3%. 

In terms of jobs and income, never in our history has median income actually declined during a post-recession recovery.  Yet Obama has achieved that dishonorable distinction.  He offered himself as a transformative political figure, but this couldn't have been what he had in mind. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of the U.S. population with jobs has fallen to lows not seen since 1978, before women fully entered the workforce.  And despite the promises made at the onset of his trillion-dollar wasteful "Stimulus," unemployment exceeded 8% for the longest stretch in recorded U.S. history. 

Accordingly, Obama's economic record can only be labeled one of failure. 

Regarding his record on federal deficits and debt, Obama's attempted triumphant tone is even more shameless. 

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, outstanding public debt now totals $13 trillion.  On the day he entered the White House, it was $6.3 trillion, less than half today's total. 

Prior to 2009, the year Obama entered the White House, the largest nominal deficit in U.S. history was $459 billion in 2008. 

During Obama's tenure, deficits have reached $1.41 trillion in 2009, $1.29 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011, $1.1 trillion in 2012, $680 billion in 2013 and $492 billion for 2014.  Even accepting for the sake of argument that the 2009 deficit is attributable to Bush - even though Obama governed for 3/4 of that fiscal year and introduced such spending initiatives as the failed "Stimulus" - he must still account for the subsequent trillion-dollar deficits over which he alone presided with a Congress controlled overwhelmingly by his party. 

By way of comparison, for the record, the last deficit during a year in which Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress was a puny $161 billion in 2007. 

Moreover, the claim from Obama and his apologists that his deficits resulted from the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghan wars is flatly false.  The Bush tax cuts arrived in 2003, yet 2007 witnessed a record peak in federal revenues.  Accordingly, the federal beast was hardly starved.  And as for the two wars, spending on them actually peaked in 2007, yet the deficit was miniscule. 

While deficits have indeed declined over the past two years, credit more properly flows toward the Republican House that provided some obstruction.  Never since the Korean War has federal spending declined for two consecutive years, but that has occurred following the budget sequestration agreement that Obama claimed would wreck the economy. 

So what is Obama's proposed course as he winds down tenure, staring at a Republican Congress elected to interrupt his agenda?  Higher taxes and more spending.  After proposing a budget that spends $4 trillion and increases taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, Obama told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that it's now time to put an end to "senseless austerity." 

Fortunately, according to a new Rasmussen survey, the American public maintains dramatically different priorities: 

"President Obama is expected to propose a near-$4 trillion federal budget that includes tax and spending increases, but most voters still prefer to cut spending and don't see a need for higher taxes.  Just 16% of likely U.S. voters favor a federal budget that increases spending, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.  Fifty-four percent (54%) like a budget that cuts spending, while 21% think spending levels should remain about the same." 

That might not, standing alone, cause Obama to reconsider.  But at the very least, it should encourage and fortify leaders in Congress who retain the power to stop him. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
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
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe you will be better off over the next four years with Joe Biden as president or with Donald Trump as president?