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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If at First You Don’t Succeed, Spend and Spend Some More Print
By Sam Batkins
Wednesday, July 15 2009
Laura Tyson, an adviser to Obama, said the first $787 billion stimulus might have been “a bit too small.”

Potomac Fever:  some would define it as a determination to share in the power and prestige of the federal government.  Others might characterize it with words like obstinance, incorrigibility and simple pig-headedness. 

Undoubtedly, Washington loves power.  But when it comes to admitting the error of its ways, ignorance is bliss in the nation’s capital.

For example, recent rumblings have indicated that some members of President Obama’s economic team might be pushing for yet another taxpayer-funded stimulus package.  That’s right.

Laura Tyson, an adviser to Obama, said the first $787 billion stimulus might have been “a bit too small.”  Speculation of another spending binge was further advanced when Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said he wouldn’t “rule out” another stimulus.

If taxpayers count the stimulus plan hatched with President Bush and Congressional leaders a year ago, another stimulus would mark Washington’s third attempt to “fix” the U.S. economy.  Politicians better put down their tools, because their current scheme is only making the economy worse.

Thus far, Washington spent $168 billion during President Bush’s attempt at top-down economic policy; President Obama pushed through another $787 billion stimulus this year, and now there is talk of yet more federal spending. 

If at first you don’t succeed, continue to spend money and act like you know what you’re doing.  If that fails, blame everything on your predecessor.  That appears to be Washington’s current M.O., as soaring unemployment, 9.4 percent and rising, continues to baffle the central planners.

The good news for taxpayers is that there appears to be little political will for another round of multi-billion dollar stimulus packages.  Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said, “There’s no showing that a second stimulus is needed.”  Senator Claire McCaskill was ever more direct in her assessment of a third stimulus, calling it a “non-starter.”

Most economists agree that another round of borrow-and-spend would be a disaster.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, only eight out of fifty-one economists believe a third stimulus is needed.  A large percentage think another massive stimulus would actually hurt the economy.   

Indeed, Washington may not have enough time to spend the money already thrown against the wall with hopes of taking credit for an economic recovery that is yet to come.  Our elected leaders, rather, are too busy crafting other federal projects and attempting to find ways to pay for them. 

In addition to all of the spending of taxpayer dollars thus far, the Obama Administration this year wants to pass a new energy bill, known as the cap-and-trade energy tax, effectively seizing all power over carbon output in the U.S.  By the Fall, Congress is set to pass a massive new government-run health care system (if you thought the long gas lines in the 1970s were bad, imagine similar rationing of your family’s health care) estimated to cost between $1 trillion and $2 trillion over the next decade.

Of course, what the politicians in Washington aren’t telling you and what Obama didn’t mention during the campaign is that they’re going to have to raise taxes to European-like levels to pay for their Great Society, Part II.

Recently, an idea was floated to push personal income tax rates above 51 percent, higher than even France (46 percent), Germany (48 percent) and Italy (45 percent).  Even under Obama’s current budget forecasts, the top marginal rate is expected to rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent by next year.

Combined with state and local income taxes and a proposed new 4 percent surtax, some taxpayers could be facing a tax bill of well over 50 percent of their income.   What’s worse, the idea of a value-added tax is still circulating on Capitol Hill.

In sum, it appears that when the gritty shell of arrogance cracks on some politicians, admitting failure is far too difficult.  Instead, they simply double-down and seek to dig their political graves even deeper.  Taxpayers can only hope that Washington stops digging soon before we’re all buried under the bad economic policy being expanded upon in Washington. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals laid the ‘Golden Spike’ joining the Eastern and Western U.S. railroad lines to create the Transcontinental Railway?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
"President Trump's recent executive order laying out his 'America-First Healthcare Plan' makes clear his continued commitment to the long-standing, bipartisan consensus that we should protect people with preexisting conditions. Unfortunately, the previous administration's attempt to make good on that consensus -- Obamacare -- has failed to deliver on its promises.Contrary to the prevailing media narrative…[more]
—Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
— Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
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?