In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential…
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ProPublica/IRS Leak: There's No Underlying "There" There

In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there's nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s 'blockbuster' story showing that the wealthy 'pay income taxes that are only…[more]

June 18, 2021 • 04:40 PM

Liberty Update

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Notable Quotes
On Opposition to President Biden's Infrastructure Proposal:

"After President Biden outlined his proposal for a massive $2 trillion spending bill on Wednesday, a bevy of Senate Republicans are speaking out against the plan in harsh terms.

"The opposition is coming even from moderates who attempted to work with Biden on the coronavirus stimulus bill. This makes it even more likely that Democrats will be forced to invoke budget reconciliation yet again if they want to pass what Biden called 'the largest American jobs investment since World War II.'

"'I support improving America's aging roads, bridges, ports, and other infrastructure. And we can do so in a bipartisan way,' Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Wednesday. But, he said, Biden's plan is far too expensive and does not focus on infrastructure, as the White House is framing it.

"'At its core, the president's plan calls for a $620 billion investment in transportation infrastructure. However, the total soars to $3 trillion with its inclusion of these broad policy priorities that are a far cry away from what we've ever defined as infrastructure,' Portman said."

— Tyler Olson, FoxNews
— Tyler Olson, FoxNews
Posted April 02, 2021 • 08:00 AM
On Paying for President Biden's Proposed Infrastructure Plan:

"The problem is not federal infrastructure spending per se: The problem is 'infrastructure' bills that are in fact political slush-funds. We go about infrastructure in a way that is precisely backward: Instead of figuring out, one project at a time, what needs doing and how to prioritize those demands -- repaving this section of interstate highway, replacing that bridge -- and then seeing what that all adds up to and making informed decisions about timing and tradeoffs, we come up with some silly round number -- say, $2,000,000,000,000.00 -- and then see if we can find a politically attractive way to shovel all that cash out the door. That is how you end up spending a lot of money on infrastructure without actually getting much infrastructure. It's the national version of the paradox in which the roads of so many American cities are always being repaired but are never repaired.

"And there are public-trust issues surrounding big infrastructure plans. The best Democratic infrastructure thinking is how you get plans for a kinda-sorta high-speed train connecting Bakersfield with Merced, so that the giant kangaroo rats in Famoso can take early-morning meetings with their clients in Chowchilla.

"Any dummy can spend $2 trillion: Put the cash on the table, and somebody is going to figure out a way to pick it up. Some of those people will be government contractors, some of them will be farmers who are keen on a subsidy, some of them will be rich guys in the Hamptons who don't want to be on the hook for the entire sum of their local taxes, and so on -- there's no shortage of constituencies eager for federal largesse. But we should not kid ourselves that moving money from one pocket to the other makes the nation as a whole wealthier. At some point, all of us -- rural and urban, employer and employee, buyer and seller -- will have to pay our own way.

"Somebody is going to pay for Joe Biden's $2 trillion bonanza, and my money is on you."

— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Roving Correspondent
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review Roving Correspondent
Posted April 01, 2021 • 07:19 AM
On President Joe Biden's Proposed Multi-Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Plan:

"$200 billion, $2.2 trillion, $900 billion, $1.9 trillion. Over a year, Congress has passed $5.2 trillion in extraordinary spending -- and President Biden wants another $3-4 trillion, split between infrastructure and social spending.

"When a 'normal' federal budget, pre-COVID, was $4.4 trillion, and with borrowing, not taxes, funding nearly half of federal spending, it's not crazy to ask how much is too much, before we risk huge inflation. ...

"People who lost jobs need relief. But relief is different from hosing the economy with cash."

— Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute’s City Journal Contributing Editor
— Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute’s City Journal Contributing Editor
Posted March 31, 2021 • 07:28 AM
On Democrats' Moves to Eliminate the Filibuster:

"President Biden has come out this week against the Senate filibuster as a 'relic' of the Jim Crow era. In these times, it is a virtual mantra on Capitol Hill that the filibuster is synonymous with racism and people supporting it are presumptively racist. That very point was noted by cable news host Al Sharpton, who threatened to denounce members as racist if they support the rule. The only thing more dramatic than such historical revisionism is the political revisionism underlying this new national campaign.

"The filibuster is more a 'relic' of the Julius Caesar era than the Jim Crow era. In ancient Rome, the filibuster was used to force the Senate to hear dissenting voices, including an opposition of Cato the Younger to Julius Caesar returning to Rome. The foundation for the filibuster today can be traced to an argument by former Vice President Aaron Burr that led to a change in the early 1800s. The minority has used versions of the rule to block or force consensus on controversial legislation, ranging from war actions to oil mandates. It was not created in the Jim Crow era. ...

"The filibuster was designed as a protection for the minority in what is often called 'greatest deliberative body.' ...

"A few years back, Democrats cried foul over the notion of eliminating the filibuster. They did not argue the rule was the embodiment of racism but rather the heart of the Senate. Biden spoke in the Senate in 2005 against ending the filibuster. So did Charles Schumer, who said it put the Senate 'on the precipice' of a constitutional crisis, as 'the checks and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option.' Now as Senate majority leader, Schumer decries the same filibuster as the racist rule forged by segregationists."

— Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
— Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
Posted March 30, 2021 • 07:34 AM
On Medicare and Coronavirus Relief:

"The Biden administration is reportedly contemplating major cuts in Medicare payments for prescription drugs to fund another enormous omnibus spending bill. Yet drug prices paid by Medicare have risen less than the general rate of inflation over the past decade and represent some of the best value for money in American health care. Seniors' anxiety over drug expenses reflects rising consumption levels and high out-of-pocket-cost requirements. Congress should fix the structure of Medicare's prescription-drug benefit rather than raid the program in a way that would truncate the rewards for future drug development.

"A year ago, the Congressional Budget Office projected a federal deficit of just over $1 trillion for 2020. Legislation intended to get Americans through COVID-19 has cost $5 trillion more, and the Biden administration is now considering an additional $3 trillion bill -- pushing the year's total spending spree above $25,000 per household.

"To finance the new bill, the administration is contemplating rolling back much of the 2017 tax cuts and slashing payments for prescription drugs purchased by Medicare. House Democrats argue that Medicare is currently overpaying pharmaceutical manufacturers, whose prices have allegedly soared, and claim that existing payment rates serve only to facilitate stock buybacks by drug-makers.

"As a newly released Manhattan Institute report demonstrates, these claims are off base. While list prices for some select drugs may have increased substantially, overall prices paid for drugs by Medicare increased by only 14 percent from 2006 to 2018, after accounting for the growing availability of generics -- less than the 27 percent increase in the general Consumer Price Index over that period, and much less than the 51 percent increase in the price index for hospital services. Prescription drugs account for only 12 percent of U.S. health-care spending, a lower share than in most other developed countries."

Read entire article here.

— Chris Pope, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow
— Chris Pope, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow
Posted March 29, 2021 • 07:21 AM
On President Biden's First Press Conference:

"Three big things stood out in President Biden's first press conference.

"1. The leader of the free world is often lost at sea and says many things that are blatantly false.

"2. The media is in the tank and cannot be trusted to hold him accountable.

"3. Because of Nos. 1 and 2, America is headed for serious trouble."

Read entire article here.

— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
Posted March 26, 2021 • 07:22 AM
On U.S. States Suing Biden Administration Over Oil and Gas Leasing Pause:

"(Reuters) - Fourteen U.S. states including Louisiana and Wyoming filed lawsuits on Wednesday against President Joe Biden's administration, challenging his pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.

"The legal actions, which seek to restore regular federal drilling auctions, came a day before the administration is set to launch a review of the oil and gas leasing program.

"Biden, a Democrat, in January signed an executive order putting on hold new leasing pending that review. During his election campaign, he pledged to end new federal leasing as part of a sweeping plan to address climate change.

"The pause has triggered heavy criticism from the oil industry and producing states that receive half of the revenues generated from federal lands drilling within their borders.

"'We believe that the president's actions are illegal and unlawful, and we're going to hold him accountable for them to try to make sure that the gains that we've made over the years to help protect domestic oil and gas and energy continue,' Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in an interview."

Read entire article here.

— Reuters Staff
— Reuters Staff
Posted March 25, 2021 • 08:00 AM
On the Biden Administration's Assault on State Autonomy and the 10th Amendment:

"In its first two months, the Biden administration and the 117th Congress have launched a breathtaking assault on state autonomy and the Tenth Amendment.

"The PRO Act would usurp the most significant state labor laws. The For the People Act, H.R. 1, would do the same for state election laws. And with the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the federal government has baited a financial trap for state governments. Billions of dollars are available for their spending . . . if they surrender to Washington their prerogatives to reduce taxes and to manage their unfunded liabilities."

Read entire article here.

— David Guenthner, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
— David Guenthner, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Posted March 24, 2021 • 07:44 AM
On Project Veritas Winning in Defamation Lawsuit Against New York Times:

"A New York judge slammed The New York Times for blurring the lines between news and opinion. The paper had attempted to get a defamation lawsuit against it dismissed on the grounds that, among other things, its reporters were just expressing their personal opinions when they disparaged the investigative journalists at Project Veritas.

"The judge ruled the lawsuit can go forward, finding that Project Veritas showed sufficient evidence that The New York Times may have been motivated by 'actual malice' and acted with 'reckless disregard' when it ran several articles against the investigative journalism outfit.

"'[I]f a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader, including a court that may need to determine whether it is factor opinion, that it is opinion,' Judge Charles Wood of the New York State Supreme Court said in his March 18, 2021 ruling.

"The lawsuit stems from The New York Times' coverage of an explosive video released in September purporting to show illegal voting practices within the Somali-American community in Rep. Ilhan Omar's congressional district in Minneapolis, Minnesota."

Read entire article here.

— Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, The Federalist
— Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, The Federalist
Posted March 23, 2021 • 07:34 AM
On the Biden Administration's Work to Appease the Progressives:

"Biden had the chance to reach out to moderate Senate Republicans, who were drafting a scaled back coronavirus relief bill earlier this year. Instead, Biden took the more feasible but more costly route of passing the massive $2 trillion bill with the reconciliation process. The final legislation includes several provisions that are both inflationary and untargeted.

"Now there are talks that Senate Democrats could weaken or eliminate the filibuster, a mistake I strongly hope my party will not make. It is important to maintain the filibuster so there is a level of bipartisanship built into the system. Even if Senate Democrats can somehow get their entire coalition on board with deploying the nuclear option, doing so would continue the dangerous precedent for the Senate, where the party in control uses that measure in the narrowly divided chamber to dismiss the opposition party, effectively shutting the door to key legislative compromises.

"It is clear that the left has taken over the Democrats. If the administration continues working to appease the progressive wing, while bipartisanship falls, then it could set Democrats up for some losses in 2022."

— Douglas E. Schoen, Pollster, Fox News Contributor and Former Clinton and Bloomberg Pollster and Political Consultant
— Douglas E. Schoen, Pollster, Fox News Contributor and Former Clinton and Bloomberg Pollster and Political Consultant
Posted March 22, 2021 • 07:18 AM
Quiz Question   
What is the current U.S. national debt?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
"Last month, we warned Republicans about the pitfalls of indulging President Biden's infrastructure fantasies. The bipartisan framework announced Thursday isn't causing us to change our mind.There is much to dislike about the so-called compromise proposal (even putting aside the minor detail that the nation's infrastructure is not, in fact, in dire need of repair). The deal negotiated by a group of…[more]
—The Editors, National Review
— The Editors, National Review
Liberty Poll   

In the first Supreme Court term with Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett all now on the bench, how satisfied are you with decisions in cases you care about?