President Trump's Weekly Address: Confirm Judge Gorsuch


My fellow Americans,

It's an exciting time for our country. Our new Administration has so much change underway – change that is going to strengthen our Union and improve so many people’s lives.

In the next few days, the Senate will be taking a very important step – one that will protect the rule of law and democratic way of life that is absolutely a birthright of all Americans.

And it involves one of my most important actions as President. That was nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat of the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia.

Judge Gorsuch is incredibly qualified. He has a sterling record. He was confirmed unanimously to the Court of Appeals.

But Judge Gorsuch’s nomination is about more than his incredible qualifications.

It’s about preserving our Republic.

In their great wisdom, the Founders placed legislative power in its own separate branch of government. Elected representatives from all across the country come together. They host hearings, they listen to the concerns of the people, and then, they try to write laws that address those concerns and make life better for all Americans. It’s a process that is meant to take time and energy to ensure that every new law will better serve our wonderful citizens. That’s how our democratic process works.

The duty of judges, therefore, is not to re-write the laws – but to uphold the laws, and to apply the Constitution as written.

That is the solemn duty of every Justice on the Supreme Court – and this is what Judge Gorsuch will do.

In recent years, we’ve seen more and more judges make decisions not based on the Constitution or the rule of law, but based on their preferences, their personal views, or even their political opinions.

Each time a judge substitutes their own opinions for an unbiased reading of the law, they damage our democracy. They put their own will above the will of the people. And they undermine the legislative process that has always been the heartbeat of our democracy.

The Senate will soon have the chance to help preserve our democratic institutions for our children – by voting to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch is going to serve our people by devoting himself to our beloved Constitution. The Senate saw this firsthand in hours of Judge Gorsuch’s impressive testimony. In every step of the process, what has been clear to all is that Judge Gorsuch is a man who respects the law. He defends the Constitution. And in doing so, he will protect our freedoms.

With Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, America will be a more free, fair, and just Nation for all of our citizens.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Obama IRS Chief Who Dodged Impeachment Continues Under Trump

In the heart of tax season, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen will address the National Press Club next Wednesday even as many members of Congress question why someone who dodged impeachment during the Obama administration continues to be the face of the tax collecting agency under President Donald Trump.
“If we saw more pressure from Congress, I think Koskinen would be gone,” @JordanSekulow says.
“It could be partly that for the checklist of the Trump administration, they don’t yet have a full cabinet and this isn’t a priority. External pressure, from what I picked up, should continue,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal group, told The Daily Signal. “If we saw more pressure from Congress, I think Koskinen would be gone.”

Koskinen’s five-year term ends in November, unless he is removed. Though Koskinen wasn’t in office when the IRS targeted tea party and conservative groups, House Republicans said he was repeatedly uncooperative and misled congressional investigators. Koskinen has said he acted in good faith to cooperate with the investigation.
Earlier this month, the IRS informed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia it located “an additional 6,924 documents of potentially responsive records” relating to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

Shortly after this revelation, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin noted:
[Y]ears after IRS Commissioner Koskinen claimed all the Lois Lerner backup emails during the relevant time period were erased, we now learn that there are almost 7,000 undisclosed documents potentially related to the IRS targeting … We call on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a Democratic Party major donor, to finally be held accountable for his role in covering up the targeting of conservatives for their political views. Commissioner Koskinen and the IRS may have been protected by the Obama White House, but now under President Trump we are confident the time for holding them accountable is finally here.
Sekulow said that Koskinen missed the opportunity to change the agency, and instead sided with the entrenched bureaucracy.

The Judicial Watch lawsuit filed in 2015 sought records about IRS selection of individuals and organizations for audits based on applications for nonprofit tax-exempt status. The IRS won’t specify a timeframe for producing the documents, according to Judicial Watch.

The Daily Signal asked the White House earlier this month and on Thursday about Koskinen’s future with the agency. In both cases, White House spokesmen deferred to the Treasury Department. Neither the Treasury Department nor the IRS responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal.

In a May letter to the House Judiciary Committee, Koskinen said there was no deliberate effort to withhold information from Congress. He said there is “understandable frustration with the document production and retention challenges of our agency during the past several years.”

Koskinen stressed he was not working for the agency when the alleged targeting occurred and, “Under my direction, the IRS has responded comprehensively and in good faith to the various subpoenas and document requests from the investigating entities.”

In January, shortly after President Donald Trump took office, 53 House Republicans—led by Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina—asked Trump to remove Koskinen.

Walker spokesman Jack Minor told The Daily Signal Thursday the congressman stands by the letter, which House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. also signed. The letter said:
Congressional investigations, hearings, and actions have shown that Commissioner Koskinen misled Congress, obstructed investigations into the IRS, and failed to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Commissioner Koskinen’s willful deception and obstructionism has only further eroded any remaining confidence.

Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7803, you have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen. We encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable. Such an action would restore the credibility of our Federal tax authority and the faith the American people have in their Constitutional rights to free speech and association.
Chaffetz opinion hasn’t changed that Koskinen should not only be removed from office, but should forfeit his government pension, M.J. Henshaw, spokeswoman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told The Daily Signal Thursday.

Last week, Cause of Action Institute, a conservative government watchdog group, issued a report asserting the IRS can engage in politicized targeting again under a section of the internal revenue manual. The report called for the Trump administration to roll back the rule.

“Targeting was—and is—IRS policy, not a violation of it,” says the reported titled, “Sensitive Case Reports: A Hidden Cause of the IRS Targeting Scandal.”

“We had hoped Mr. Koskinen would address the problems our report highlights and would urge his successor, if any, to do so,” Cause of Action Institute President John Vecchione told The Daily Signal in a statement.

The provision that allows this is Section 7.29.3 of the Internal Revenue Manual, “that singles out applications from any group interested in issues that might garner attention from either the media or Congress. In such cases, the merits of the application are ignored as IRS employees develop ‘Sensitive Case Reports’ for consideration by those above them in the IRS hierarchy,” the report says.

The report continues:
Seven years after the targeting scandal began, the rule that enabled this inexcusable behavior still exists. Until that rule is removed from the internal manual used by all IRS employees, targeting of political opponents will remain a very real threat. Fortunately, removing the offending provisions is a simple process that can be started at any time and completed without the need for new legislation or formal notice-and-comment rulemaking.
The IRS also did not respond to The Daily Signal’s question about the Cause of Action report. However, in a statement to Fox News, the agency said: “The IRS strongly disputes the report and any suggestion or allegation that Exempt Organizations is targeting taxpayers … The IRS emphasizes that this point has been confirmed by independent third parties, including the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.”

Report by The Daily Signal's Fred Lucas. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

Deciding What to Do With Your Old 401(k)

(NewsUSA) - Just started a new job with an employer who thinks you're as visionary as Steve Jobs? Or maybe you're between gigs and "exploring other opportunities." Either way, you need to decide what to do with your old 401(k).

It's been estimated that there are about 15 million such accounts left behind by former employees, mainly because of either inertia or plain confusion over strict rules for moving the money. And since the IRS doesn't allow procrastinating on a key decision -- if you withdraw even a dime, you've got just 60 days to reallocate into a different tax-advantaged account -- here's a rundown of your options to avoid what could be a costly mistake:

* Option No. 1: Cash Out

Unless you're in dire financial straits and really, really need the bucks to live off, the consensus is this is a bad idea.

"Cashing out comes with an immediate price, both in terms of giving up potential future gains in your portfolio and in the IRS taxes the company handling your 401(k) for your former employer is legally obliged to withhold," explains Nupur Bahal, vice president for retirement at Fidelity Investments. "That's money you won't have for retirement."

Yes, the government must have its cut. Specifically, 20 percent in federal income taxes, 10 percent in an "early-withdrawal penalty" for those under age 59?, and -- wait, we're not done yet -- whatever additional percentage your individual state may or may not assess.

Translating that into real money, Fidelity's website ( uses the hypothetical example of a 36-year-old who decides to cash out the $16,000 balance in her account. After deducting just the federal taxes and penalties, she'd be left with only $11,200.

Feel free to imagine how much you'd be out if your account is fatter.

* Option No. 2: Move the Money to Your New Employer's Plan

Doing what's called a "rollover" is an easy way to keep your 401(k) savings together and growing tax-deferred.

But bear in mind: Investment options vary from plan to plan -- as do fees. (And not all employers even accept rollovers.)

Which means you might want to do some comparison shopping before committing.

* Option No. 3: Move the Money Into an IRA

As with the previous rollover, you get to avoid the tax bite of cashing out. The difference here, though -; and these could be major plusses -- is that not only do IRAs offer more investment choices than the typical 401(k), but you're also able to make penalty-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses or up to $10,000 for a first-time home purchase.

"Especially if you already have other, non-401(k) accounts elsewhere, it may be simpler and more effective to consolidate everything under one roof," says Bahal.

* Option No. 4: Leave It With Your Ex-Employer

Penalty-free withdrawals are allowed for those who leave their jobs at age 55 or older -- as opposed to 59? for IRAs -- and unique investment options might warrant just letting things ride. But some people forget the account exists with the passage of time -- no, really -- and further contributions are verboten.

Whatever you decide, remember the clock is definitely ticking for you to contact your old 401(k) administrator should you choose to withdraw even that one dime.

Have You Been Using the Term Liberal Incorrectly?

Liberalism, from the Latin liber, meaning free, referred originally to the philosophy of freedom. “Liberal” was once an honorable word used to describe those who put liberty first.

To the everyday American, a liberal is a person who votes Democrat, wants more government regulation, supports the redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, favors gun regulations, loves public education, and mostly stands in opposition to what passes as “conservative” these days.

This, in reality, is anti-liberalism. In fact, they are rather moderate socialists.

What gives?

The change in meaning came about somewhere around 1900 in English speaking countries. Tragic, but it's more than just a definition disfigurement.

What Is Liberalism?

Liberalism is a comprehensive philosophy, the political creed, of those who favor liberty above the power of the state.

The use of state power is the use of physical force, one individual manipulating the will of another to his wishes under the threat of physical harm. Recognizing this is important because liberty is about real life, not merely an intellectual abstraction.

Pacifists are forced, through taxation, to pay for killing machines; vegetarians are coerced into subsidizing junk food and grazing land for cattle. Liberalism argues that no one should be faced with torture or death because of where her conscience leads her.

The origins of liberal anti-statism go back at least to the mid-17th-century English Levellers, who said that natural rights could be evolved from natural law.

It is this natural rights tradition that was the basis for the principles expressed in the American Declaration of Independence.

But liberal insights pre-date the Enlightenment and even have precedent in the ancient world.

So, let's get it in still sharper focus.

Classical Liberalism

John Locke (1632-1704), is often credited with founding classical liberalism.

Liberal thinking permeates German classical poetry as in the works of Schiller and Goethe.

Frédéric Bastiat, the great French economist, was a brilliant liberal writer.

The 20th century's greatest economist, Ludwig von Mises, wrote the thoroughgoing, Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition.

Scottish philosopher and "first economist," Adam Smith, described in 1776 the outrageous idea of "allowing every man to pursue his own interest in his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty, and justice."

The remarkable fruits attributed to liberalism resulted in a Great Enrichment in Europe and the Anglosphere of real, inflation-corrected incomes per head, from 1800 to the present, by about 3,000%.

Reclaiming History

Recognizing that the whole of the earth's surface is an economic territory is liberal thinking. Liberalism is a world-embracing political concept with free trade and free migration—just as much between nations as within nations—at its core.

So, liberalism means a return in spirit to the dawn of 1776, to "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty." True liberalism holds the oldest and best traditions of American freedom.

But, for all it's valuable historical foundation and rich and sweeping literature, the term liberalism just couldn't move beyond the nineteenth century in America without changing its meaning.

Historian Ralph Raico lamented that, “no serious effort has been made to provide an overall account of the history of liberalism."

Unfortunately, the regrettable loss of the word liberal made it necessary to substitute contrived mealy surrogate labels like the qualified "classical" liberalism and "authentic" liberalism, and "libertarian."

What to do? Reclaim liberalism. Rescue the once-proud term from those who use it incorrectly.

Let's not dismiss this idea outright. Hear me out.

Disruption and outside-the-box-thinking are, apparently, in popular favor. So, I'm asking my government representatives and those in journalism and the news media to start using the term in its accurate meaning. People calling others liberal on the social media hive mind, you are using the wrong word.

America was once the liberal country par excellence. Now that you know more of the story about the pro-liberty orientation the term liberal originally denoted, maybe you, mirabile dictu, will consider yourself a liberal, too.

Kent Lalley

Kent Lalley
Kent Lalley, together with family and career, is interested in gaining a better understanding of economics:  the philosophy of human life and action that concerns everybody and everything.
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Why Free Immigration is a Right

Liberty has nothing to do with national interests. It is about the individual. It concerns the liberty to live your own life, to pursue your own livelihood, and to come and go as you please to anywhere that’s open to you or anywhere you’re invited to go.

Everyone Has Rights

The implications for immigration policy are obvious: Everyone–not just Americans, not just “citizens,” not just people with government permission slips, but everyone–has rights. They have the right to own or lease property, to take jobs, to make their own living, wherever they want, and to peacefully come and go whenever, wherever, and however they please as long as they don’t infringe on any other individual’s equal liberty. That means nothing short of free immigration, open borders, and immediate and unconditional amnesty for all currently undocumented immigrants.

If a landlord rents an apartment to an immigrant, they have every right to live there, regardless of where they came from. If an immigrant buys land of their own, they have every right to live there, regardless of where they came from. If a friend invites them to come sleep on their couch or in their spare bedroom, they have every right to stay there as long as the friend wants them. Of course they do.

Nations have nothing to do with it; state governments have nothing to do with it; local governments have nothing to do with it; neighborhood busybodies and border-control freaks who want to inflict their prejudices on other people’s property have nothing to do with it. If you don’t want immigrants in your house then you are welcome not to invite them in. If you don’t want immigrants in your neighbor’s house, that’s tough for you, bro; you’ll need to keep your prejudices on your own property.

A recent post at the “Libertarian Realist” blog (actually, they are neither) claims to take issue with Sheldon Richman’s defense of free immigration. The post is an example of astonishing sophistry, beginning with a long attack on Sheldon’s comments about “the right to travel and settle anywhere.”

They complain that in a free society, landowners should be able to throw out uninvited trespassers, so there cannot be any such right. Apparently, they neglected Sheldon’s direct statement that the right of free immigration is “the right to travel and settle anywhere so long as no one else’s rights are violated.” Or they chose to ignore this, and hoped nobody would notice the bait-and-switch. Of course, everybody has a right to shut their own door. But their own, not their neighbors’.

A Nation's Interests Don't Matter

Like most border-nationalists, the “Libertarian Realist” is not particularly interested in what libertarian principles imply; they’re interested mainly in finding rationalizations to pass off a foreordained anti-immigration conclusion as if it had something to do with principles individual liberty (it doesn’t). Apparently, they think the following is a crushing put down:
What we’re dealing with in the open-borders camp are… moral purists whose creed is altruistic egalitarian humanism.”
To be fair, that is pretty much my creed, yes. But then, if the alternative is moral corruptionism, or anti-humanism, or an ethic of domination and subordination, then I am pretty much comfortable with where I stand.

They also find it odd that libertarians believe things like this:
...They believe that it’s morally wrong for the people of any nation to pursue a self-interested immigration program.”
Well good God, of course it is morally wrong for nations to pursue their “self-interest” in anything, and especially in border control policies. People have self-interests that matter, morally; nations do not. Nations are toxic hellholes of false identity and purveyors of monstrous political violence.

Nations are not rational people; they are not free associations or contractual agreements; they are unchosen, coercively assembled collectives, whose interests are typically an abortion of, if not an outright war against, the moral interests of individual people which actually deserve to be cultivated, practiced and respected. For anyone committed to individual liberty, a nations’ “interests” deserve no notice at all except to trample them underfoot.
Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson is a writer and philosopher living and working in Auburn, Alabama.
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Governments Can Theoretically Destroy All Wealth in the World in One Year

A recent article pointed out that Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year.


It’s also shocking that governments can theoretically destroy all wealth in one year.

Governments are quite literally all around us, even governments within governments. There is one in your town, one in your home, one in your office, another in your county, another in your state, and then there is the biggest one of all: the federal government.

Around the globe, governments even get to together and act to make war, bail out their friends, and regulate people.

All of them keep growing every year, in good times and bad. They get more powerful, more invasive, more inquisitive about your life and finances. There’s a good chance that at least one government is staring at you right now, sizing you up, eyes glistening in the shadows, ready to pounce on your wealth and liberty.

Governments can’t live on their own. Their only source of energy is someone else’s money. They have many strategies on how to get it, and many excuses for why they must get ever more. They tell people that without them, life would be nasty, brutish, and short. And yet, even a casual observer can see that governments specialize in nastiness, brutality, and shortening life.

If you were to tally up all the wealth taken by governments in a single year, how much would it be? According to the Tax Foundation, “In 2012, governments [in the United States] at all levels collected $4.2 trillion in taxes and other receipts and spent $5.5 trillion on government programs, thereby running a combined deficit of $1.3 trillion.”

That’s an unfathomable amount of wealth extraction, but it raises the question: what is the limit?

And here is where matters become chilling: there isn’t one. There isn’t anything to stop governments from taking as much as they want, whenever they want, in whatever way they can get it, so long as people don’t protest or push back.

And if history is any indication, governments just can’t seem to stop or even slow down. In other words, government could eat all wealth and still be hungry.

Taxing isn’t the only way governments get money. They also issue bills of credit and try to get people to buy them. Normally, your debt instrument has to be of solid quality to attract investors. Governments have figured out a different way. They came up with central banks, essentially machines that print money. They can credibly promise to pay on their debt no matter what. This has generally assured investors.

But experts also point out a serious problem: printing enough money to pay the debt and service all future obligations, would actually obliterate the value of money itself. It could theoretically fall to zero.

What is stopping that from happening? In theory, nothing. Only the benevolence of government officials, the evidence of which is in short supply.

With all these governments around, acting without limit and extracting wealth in every possible way and facing no constraints on the possibility of literally destroying every last bit of wealth on planet earth, what are we to do?

Experts say that we need to find ways to limit them, some means of controlling their voracious appetites. People have indeed tried this, but without much luck. This accounts for the growing interest in what people once thought was a crazy idea: just get rid of them altogether.

Regardless, so long as governments as we know them are this big, this powerful, this much on the loose, the perception that we are safe from their insatiable gluttony will be an illusion.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.
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The Purpose of Manufacturing Isn't to Create Jobs

Funny thing about American manufacturing: The good news about what’s happening at American factories often sounds like bad news to politicians.

American factories are one of the wonders of the world, and, in spite of what President Donald Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders, and other lightly informed populists claim, they are humming. U.S. manufacturing output is about 68 percent higher today in real terms (meaning inflation-adjusted terms) than it was before NAFTA was enacted; manufacturing output is about double in real terms what it was in the 1980s and more than three times what it was in the 1950s. As our factories grow more efficient, output per man-hour has grown, too, which is what troubles the populists and demagogues: Our factories employ a much smaller share of the U.S. work force than they once did.

All Jobs Are Temporary

But it is important to keep in mind: That growth in manufacturing output did not come in spite of the decline in factory employment but partly because of it. Automation not only makes current production more efficient but also makes it easier to improve efficiency in the future: More heavily automated factory processes are much easier to upgrade than are those heavily dependent on human labor.

The complaint usually goes something like this: “What good is that increased output if it comes at the expense of good manufacturing jobs?” Often, this will be accompanied by fictitious claims about Henry Ford’s paying his workers more so that they could afford to buy his cars, a complete invention that is one of the favorite myths of economic populists of Left and Right.

Here, we need a little bit less Milton Friedman and a little more Marcus Aurelius: “What is this thing in itself? What is its purpose? What does it do?”

The purpose of an automobile factory is not to “create jobs,” as the politicians like to say. Its function is not to add to the employment rolls with good wages and UAW benefits, adding to the local tax base and helping to sustain the community—as desirable as all those things are.

The purpose of an automobile factory is not to create jobs—it is to create automobiles. Jobs are a means, not an end. Human labor is valuable to the extent that it contributes to human prosperity and human flourishing, not in and of itself as a matter of abstraction.

There are cases in which this is so obvious that practically everybody understands it. When we talk about building new pipelines (and good on the Trump administration for getting out of the way of getting that done), our progressive friends sometimes sniff that many of the new jobs associated with that work are “temporary.” (“Temporary jobs” is a phrase usually delivered with a distinct sniff.)

Here is a little something to consider: Unless you are building the Second Avenue Subway in New York City, all construction jobs are temporary—buildings get built. Projects come to completion, and work gets finished. It is in the nature of construction jobs to come to an end. And it is not only construction: A technology-industry friend attending the recent National Review Ideas Summit in Washington bluntly shared the view from Silicon Valley: “All jobs are temporary.”

Trade is a Technology

Consider this thought experiment: Say that a Star Trek fan manages to invent something like the replicator from that science-fiction series, meaning that all purely material desires can be more or less fulfilled instantly: “Tea, Earl Grey, hot!” and that’s that. Such an invention would be devastating for the employment prospects of billions of people, including pretty much everyone on Earth not working in a purely service-oriented or intellectual capacity along with a great many people working in service jobs, too: There are no chai wallahs on the Enterprise.

But we would be enormously better off in real terms. There would be no expensive prescription drugs, no shortage of Pappy Van Winkle, no scarcity of ordinary consumable goods at all. Presumably, you could have Michelangelo’s Pietà—arguably the most beautiful thing made by a man so far—in your backyard, provided you could figure out a way to move it there. (Job opportunities, after all!) You could have three of them, if you liked, or three dozen. You could pour a nice 1982 Bordeaux over your Fruity Pebbles, if you liked. Once you sobered up, you could drive around in one of your 1968 Ferrari Dinos.

Consider another kind of machine, a more limited one: Bryan Caplan’s magical idea for a machine that turns corn into cars: “Lo and behold—corn goes in, and cars come out.” It will not ruin Professor Caplan’s M. Night Shyamalan moment to reveal the twist ending to his story: There is such a machine, and it is called trade. “What difference does it make what’s inside the factory?” Professor Caplan asks. “For all intents and purposes, trade is a kind of technology, a creative way to reduce our cost of living and thereby raise our standard of living.”

Trade—and capitalism—is in fact a machine of a different sort: a social machine.

Global capitalism anno Domini 2017 is not quite a Star Trek replicator, but it is something close. What would you do with a replicator? Presumably, most of us would first ensure that we never wanted for the basics of life—food, shelter, clothing, medical necessities—and then we probably would spend a great deal of time enjoying things that once had been reserved to very wealthy people. It would be interesting to see what happened socially after the novelty of that wore off, when a ten-pound diamond became just another rock and there were no more consumer goods that functioned as status symbols.

Unrestrained Ingenuity

But would that really be so different from where we are now? Things that were until quite recently “a millionaire’s whim” are so common and so widely available that we do not even think about them. And what really functions as a status symbol right now—having a Mercedes, or being in really good physical condition, or having a fulfilling and creative job, or having rarefied experiences that money cannot buy? You can lease a Mercedes for less than $100 a week.

If I were a Republican politician or someone paid to advise such creatures, I might point out that the great sources of friction in our public life right now have to do mainly with a few areas in which abundance has not been allowed to emerge. We have one economic model for producing food and mobile phones and automobiles, and a different one for producing health care and education, and to some extent (more in some areas of the country than others) housing.

The typical American today can afford housing that is much better (larger, better built, better furnished) than could the typical American of his grandparents’ generation. He can afford a better car and better food than a millionaire of that generation. And he has access to better health care and educational options, too, but these have not improved at the rate of everything else in his life, and the options for financing them have become a source of insecurity and stress.

The people who have an explicit legal obligation to work not on our behalf but on behalf of their shareholders do a pretty good job of giving us what we want; the people who vow to work on our behalf do not. That is a paradox only if you do not think about it too much, and not thinking about it too much is the business that politicians are in.

If capitalism—which is to say, human ingenuity set free to follow its own natural course—is a kind of social machine, then politicians are something like children who take apart complex machines without understanding what they do or how to put them back together. (At their worst, they are simply saboteurs.) When they rail against capitalism, automation, trade, and the like, they resemble nothing so much as those hominids at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, shrieking hysterically at something that is simply beyond their comprehension.

A social machine is different from an ordinary mechanical one, but you can still throw sand in the gears.
Reprinted from National Review.
Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson
Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.

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Truth and Myth on the Gender Pay Gap

The ongoing battle over gender equality has turned the question of the relative pay of women and men into quite the political football. Over the last few years, defenders of markets, including me, have been on the offensive, arguing that the gender pay gap is in some sense a “myth.” More recently, critics have replied that it’s not a myth and that those who think it is a myth are peddling nonsense.

It turns out that both sides have a point. Whether the gender pay gap is a myth depends upon exactly what claim either side is making. Below, I hope to sort out these various claims and make clear what we can and cannot say is true and false about the gender pay gap.

What Is Mythical?

For decades, critics of markets have trotted out the claim that women make only a percentage of what men do as evidence that markets discriminate against women. Early on, women were claimed to make only about 65% of what men do. Now that number is more like 80%. So one observation from the start is that the gap, whatever its causes, has narrowed since the 1970s.

But why would people claim this is a myth? Two reasons. First, if the critics are claiming that the 80% number means that when men and women with the exact same skills and experience and preferences do the exact same work that women get paid 80 cents for every dollar men do, they are wrong. That is not what the 80% figure shows.

Rather, that number is the ratio of female to male wages among full-time workers, across all kinds of jobs and regardless of the skills and preferences of the workers. That 80% is an aggregate – it is not an apples-to-apples comparison of men and women doing the same work. Thus, the claim that women get paid 80% of what men do for the same work is a myth.

Correspondingly, the other myth is that the missing 20% represents discrimination by employers. Once we understand where the gap figure comes from, we know right away that this other claim is a myth. To know if there is discrimination, we’d need to make the apples-to-apples comparison.

In fact, that is what economic studies of the gap attempt to do. They attempt to hold everything else constant and compare employees who are as similar as possible, and who are in jobs as similar as possible, except that some are male and some are female.

If there is a gap left unexplained by skills and experience, then economists treat that presumptively as due to discrimination, pending further studies. The consensus of those studies is that the clear majority of the gap is explained by skills, experience, and preferences. So it is a myth that the missing 20% is all due to discrimination.

What Is Not a Myth

You’ll notice that I said “the clear majority” of the gender wage gap is explained by factors other than discrimination, but not all of it. The consensus of the economic studies is that there is still about 3 to 5 percentage points of the 20 percent, or roughly 15 to 25% of the gap, that cannot be accounted for by economic differences and that might well be due to discrimination.

So it is not a myth that there might be discrimination in labor markets. Even the economic studies that show that most of the gap is explained by other factors do not say that all of the gap can be accounted for by such things. Although the economic studies don’t test directly for discrimination, the fact that other kinds of studies suggest that it exists in labor markets is consistent with the existence of an economically unexplained portion of the gap.

People who want to argue that the 80% figure is mythical therefore need to be very precise in saying exactly what is mythical about it.

The most accurate summary is something like the following:  “It’s a myth that women get paid only 80% of what men do when they have the same skills and experience and are doing the same work, but it’s also a myth to claim that economics shows there is no gender discrimination in labor markets because studies show that economic factors cannot explain all of the gender wage gap.”

Labor Market Discrimination Versus Sexism

To be even more precise, what the economic studies indicate is that “labor market discrimination” explains, at best, only a fraction of the gender wage gap. It would also be a myth to say that “sexism” explains only that fraction. Even if employers largely don’t discriminate based on gender by paying equally qualified men and women differently, employer-driven discrimination is not the only form of sexism that might matter for explaining pay differentials by gender.

All the economic studies say is that differences in skills, experiences, and preferences between men and women explain the clear majority of the gap. What such studies do not address is the degree to which the differences in men’s and women’s skills and knowledge (their “human capital”) is due to sexism before they come to the labor market. Nor do such studies ask whether differences in preferences or job experience by gender are also due to sexism or other aspects of socialization.

For example, if girls are told from a young age that girls aren’t very good at math and science, and are thereby discouraged from majoring in those areas and earning higher salaries as a result, those factors will contribute to the 80% figure. But notice, that’s not because employers are discriminating. If sexism pushes women into lower paying fields, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily being paid less than men for the same work in that field. What’s causing their lower wages is sexism in places other than the markets.

Defenders of markets can legitimately argue that markets tend not to discriminate by gender, but that sexism exists elsewhere and thereby indirectly affects how economic outcomes are patterned by gender.

Preferences, Choices, and Culture

Feminist critics also argue that the explanations people like me have offered for the gap are problematic when we talk about the different “preferences” that men and women have. For example, the fact that women are more likely to work part-time than men, or less likely to work overtime when they work full-time, are factors that explain the differences in pay by gender. If women prefer to spend more time with family, their wages will fall. If women prefer less risky work, they will make less.

Feminists argue that such “preferences” really aren’t preferences to the degree they are products of socialization. Do women really “choose” to do all of those things, or are they just playing out gender roles they haven’t really chosen?

There’s no reason to deny that socialization might matter. Agreeing with that claim implies no necessary role for policy. We’ve already seen that the problem largely isn’t with employers or in labor markets. Instead, if we think that such socialization is a problem, and that the world would be a better, and more liberal, place if women felt more empowered to, say, enter the math and science majors and earn a better living as a result, we can work to change the culture in ways that address these concerns. The same could be said of persuading men to devote more time to child raising and other forms of household production.

Working through voluntary processes and the institutions of civil society to reduce sexism seems a far more congenial option than using policy. I also think that the long-standing liberal concern with the dignity and growth of all individuals should make us want to address the sexism that remains in our culture. This is a set of issues on which we can agree with progressive feminists – working together to change the culture is a better solution than trying to regulate labor markets in ways that are not necessary.

An Honest Accounting

The gender wage gap is not as simple as either the defenders of markets or their feminist critics make it out to be. Although the entire gap is not the result of labor market discrimination, a fraction of it might be. The portion not explained by labor market discrimination might well result from latent misogyny in the culture.

There is an additional factor that relates to institutions. Controlled and hampered labor markets reduce competitiveness in positions and salaries for everyone, and provide greater opportunities for invidious and irrational discrimination to take place. The less rivalrous the market, the more you find forms of power, including that stemming from bias, can express themselves.

Today’s labor market is far from free, so it should not surprise us to find that it is yielding noncompetitive and non-optimal outcomes.

Those of us who like markets should not be afraid to argue that labor market discrimination is not the dominant problem here, but we also shouldn’t be afraid to admit that sexism matters and we should be willing to push back at it in partnership with our friends on the left where we can.

There are myths on both sides here, and taking steps toward gender equality requires an honest accounting of the economic and social facts.

Steven Horwitz

Steven Horwitz
Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. He is spending the 2016-17 academic year as a Visiting Scholar at the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State University.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Why Is Trump Waging War on the Freedom Caucus?

Why is Trump attacking the House Freedom Caucus? He has tweeted that “we must fight them.”

My first thought: this is inevitable. Destiny is unfolding before our eyes!

There is the obvious fact that the Freedom Caucus was the reason the GOP’s so-called replacement for Obamacare went down to defeat. They fought it for a solid reason: it would not have reduced premiums or deductibles, and it would not have increased access to a greater degree of choice in the health-insurance market.

These people knew this. How? Because there was not one word of that bill that enabled the health care industry to become more competitive. Competition is the standard by which reform must be judged. The core problem of Obamacare (among many) was that it froze the market in an artificial form and insulated it from competitive forces.

At minimum, any reform must unfreeze the market. The proposed reform did not do that.

Bad Reform

That means the reform would not have been good for the American people. It would not have been good for the Republican Party. And then the chance for real reform – long promised by many people in the party – would have been gone.

Trump latched on to the proposal without understanding it. Or, other theories: he doesn’t care, he actually does favor universal coverage even if it is terrible, or he just wanted some pyrrhic victory even if it did nothing to improve the access.

The Freedom Caucus killed it. And I’m trying to think back in political history here, is there another time since World War Two that a pro-freedom faction of the Republican Party killed a bill pushed by the majority that pertained to such a large sector and dealt with such a hugely important program?

I can’t think of one.

What this signifies is extremely important. We might be seeing the emergence of a classically liberal faction within the GOP, one that is self consciously driven by an agenda that is centered on a clear goal: getting us closer to an ideal of a free society. The Caucus isn’t fully formed yet in an ideological sense, but its agenda is becoming less blurry by the day. (And please don't call them the "hard right wing.")

The old GOP coalition included nationalists, militarists, free enterprisers, and social conservatives. The Trump takeover has strained it to the breaking point. Now the genuine believers in freedom are gaining a better understanding of themselves and what they must do.

For the first times in our lives! Even in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives!

The Larger Picture

Trump is obviously not a student of history or political philosophy, but he does embody a strain of thinking with a history that traces back in time. I discussed this in some detail here, here, and here, among many other places. The tradition of thought he inhabits stands in radical opposition to the liberal tradition. It always has. We just remain rather ignorant of this fact because the fascist tradition of thought has been dormant for many decades, and so is strangely unfamiliar to this generation of political observers.

So let us be clear: this manner of thinking that celebrates the nation-state, believes in great collectives on the move, panics about the demographic genocide of a race, rails against the “other” invading our shores, puts all hope in a powerful executive, and otherwise believes not in freedom but rather in compliance, loyalty, and hero worship – this manner of thinking has always and everywhere included liberals (or libertarians) as part of the enemy to be destroyed.

And why is this? Liberalism to them represents “rootless cosmopolitanism,” in the old Nazi phrase. They are willing to do business with anyone, move anywhere, and imagine that the good life of peace and prosperity is more than enough to aspire to in order to achieve the best of all possible worlds. They don’t believe that war is ennobling and heroic, but rather bloody and destructive. They are in awe of the creation of wealth out of simple exchanges and small innovations. They are champions of the old bourgeois spirit.

To the liberal mind, the goal of life is to live well in peace and experience social and financial gain, with ever more alleviation of life’s pains and sufferings. Here is magic. Here is beauty. Here is true heroism.

The alt-right mind will have none of this. They want the clash, the war, the struggle against the enemy, big theaters of epic battles that pit great collectives against each other. If you want a hilarious caricature of this life outlook, no one does it better than Roderick Spode.

Natural Enemies

This is why these two groups can never get along politically. They desire different things. It has always and everywhere been true that when the strongmen of the right-Hegelian mindset gain control, they target the liberals for destruction. Liberals become the enemy that must be crushed.

And so it is that a mere few months into the presidency of this odd figure that the Freedom Caucus has emerged as a leading opposition. They will back him where they can but will otherwise adhere to the great principle of freedom. When their interests diverge, the Freedom Caucus will go the other way. It is not loyalty but freedom that drives them. It is not party but principle that makes them do what they do.

To any aspiring despot, such views are intolerable, as bad as the reliable left-wing opposition.

Listen, I’m all for working with anyone to achieve freedom. When Trump is right (as he is on environmental regulation, capital gains taxes, and some other issues), he deserves to be backed. When he is wrong, he deserves to be opposed. This is not about partisanship. It is about obtaining freer lives.

But let us not languish in naïvete. The mindset of the right-wing Hegelian is not at all the same as a descendant of the legacy of Adam Smith. They know it. We need to know it too.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.
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On Diversity of Top Staff, Senate Republicans Outpace Democrats

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Senate Democrats apparently could take some tips from Senate Republicans in hiring more racially diverse senior staff.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., noting that Republicans have an edge on Democrat colleagues in this department, said he wants to encourage his colleagues to find and bring on board qualified minority applicants.

“We have one of the most diverse staffs in the Senate, and that means you get more information with different perspectives than my other colleagues, which has been very helpful,” Scott told The Daily Signal in an interview.

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Of 336 top personal staffers for the Senate’s 100 members, including chiefs of staff or legislative directors, only three were black in 2015, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ racial diversity study reported. (Note: The initial version of this story incorrectly put the number at five.)

Today, five of those top staffers are black: One works for a Democrat and the other four work for Republicans.

Jennifer DeCasper is chief of staff to Scott, while Brennen Britton is chief of staff to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Scott joined the Senate in 2013, Moran in 2011.

Clinton Odom is legislative director for Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Courtney Temple is legislative director for Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and D.J. Jordan is communications director for Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. Harris joined the Senate in January, Tillis and Lankford two years earlier.

Of 39 directors of majority and minority staffs for official Senate committees, the center also found in 2015, one was African-American. (Note: The initial version of this story incorrectly said no staff director was black.)

Currently, none of the staff directors is black or Latino, said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy organization “that supports elected officials and policy experts who serve communities of color across the country.”

The study did not explore diversity in terms of sex, religion, or sexual orientation.

For a Democratic Party that prides itself on embracing diversity, Scott said, the lack of it among Democrat staffers on Capitol Hill doesn’t make much sense.

“We are oftentimes maligned as the party that doesn’t open the door of opportunities,” Scott said of Republicans, “whereas the other side of the aisle is celebrated for being the party of opportunity, when in fact there may be room for improvement in their staff numbers.”

Scott’s 17-member staff on Capitol Hill includes nine individuals who are black, Hispanic, or Asian, or who have developmental disabilities. When women are included, the number rises to 13,  communications director Sean Smith said.

South Carolina’s Scott is the only black Republican in the Senate, where California’s Harris and New Jersey’s Cory Booker are the only black Democrats.

DeCasper, Scott’s chief of staff, says diversity in leadership “starts from the top.”

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Those who serve as leaders determine how diverse their parties will be, regardless of their claims, DeCasper said.

“I do know that it starts from the top,” DeCasper, who is African-American, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “If the folks at the top aren’t intentional about diversity, then the office is going to reflect that.”

It takes effort, she said.

“There has to be a real intentionality about diversifying your office,” DeCasper said. “It may take a little longer, it may take reaching into communities you don’t normally turn to for resumes, but it’s worth it.”

Overton told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that the lack of diversity on Senate Democrats’ staffs stems from a lack of a pool of candidates to pull from.

“I think that there is a lack of a pipeline,” Overton said. “I think there is a pipeline issue.”

Paid internships, Overton says, are a way to build a pool of diversity:
So if you think about it, most internships are unpaid on the Hill. There are a lot of people of all racial backgrounds who do not have the money to actually enter in that internship entryway to an entry-level job later on. Our pool already is not a strong pool because of the lack of paid internships.
Scott, however, says it is important to hire individuals based on experience and qualifications for a particular position, not single out diversity as the one stipulation for hiring.

“We don’t want to encourage folks to hire minorities for the sake of hiring minorities, but to hire the right person for the right job without any exclusions,” Scott said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is leading by example in that chamber.

In December, Ryan hired Jonathan Burks, a veteran Hill aide who is black, as his chief of staff. The hire made Burks the highest-ranking staffer in the House who also happens to be African-American.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., decided to introduce  diversity rules this month for Democrats “under pressure from party members and some of their own employees,” The Washington Post reported.

Democrats’ Senate offices “are now formally encouraged to consider at least one minority candidate when interviewing for an open position,” Roll Call reported.

The new rules, The Washington Post reported, model the so-called Rooney rule, which it described as “an NFL policy that requires teams to interview minorities for any head coaching or senior football operations positions.”

Scott told The Daily Signal that there are plentiful opportunities where conservatives can bring in staffers whose diversity will contribute significantly to Congress and embody the convictions of members:
As an African-American Republican who gets a whole lot of hate mail [and] a whole lot of poking because of my affiliation with the conservative party, when I look around the Senate [I see] real opportunities to make a difference. There’s no question that every single staff member is very valuable, but the top of the food chain, from a staff perspective, remains empty.
She can’t speak for Democrats, DeCasper said, but her friends on the other side of the aisle say they are “troubled” by the lack of diversity on Democrats’ staffs.

“When I talk to my Democrat friends about this issue they are really, really troubled,” DeCasper said.

The disappointment is warranted, she said.

“I think it’s because their hearts hurt about it,” DeCasper said, adding:
We all pick our parties based on what’s best for our beliefs. And when you see the party that you love, the party that you defend and support, not actually caring about one of what I believe many think are the underpinnings of their ideology—diversity—it hurts.  And rightfully so.
Scott said building a more diverse staff  isn’t about gaining the spotlight, but bringing in qualified individuals to serve the public.

“We’re not looking for media attention,” Scott said. “We just keep hiring more people who happen to be more diverse. And my friends on the left, I would hope that they find qualified, competent candidates who happen to be candidates of color.”

Report by The Daily Signal's Rachel del Guidice. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

First Amendment rights still in peril following climate-change probes

MADISON, Wis. – Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the day an army of Democratic prosecutors unveiled a coordinated campaign to hunt down so-called “climate change deniers.” Constitutional experts have described the initiative as one of the more egregious attacks on the First Amendment in U.S. history.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, caught in the crosshairs of the climate change coalition of the willing, marked the anniversary with a combination of celebration and vigilance.One year later, New York Attorney General’s Eric Schneiderman’scoalition of Attorneys General United for Clean Power has disintegrated in the heat of its own abusive law enforcement practices. The same fate seemingly awaits former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

“While pretending that this was a law enforcement investigation, Schneiderman made clear that he was pushing a policy agenda—‘to defend the climate change progress made under President Obama and to push the next president for even more aggressive action,’” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman in a statement.

“Since then, Schneiderman’s coalition has fallen apart: most of its members have left, the subpoenas served on us and Exxon by Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker were quickly withdrawn, and the climate science debate that this gang tried to shut down is more energetic than ever,” Kazman added.  “Ironically, nowhere is that better demonstrated than by (Tuesday’s) environmental Executive Order from the president.”

Trump announced the Environmental Protection Agency will begin unraveling the Obama administration’s carbon-emissions reduction plan that critics have blasted as a job-killing government overreach.

Trump was surrounded by coal miners Tuesday as he signed the executive order. The president has said boosting U.S. fossil fuel production in pursuit of energy independence is a priority for his administration.

“My action today is the latest in a series of steps to create American jobs and to grow American wealth. We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” he said before signing the order at an EPA that clearly is moving in a different direction from the aggressive enforcement agency of the past eight years.

Not surprisingly, the climate change faithful are furious. Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sees all of her regulatory work going up in smoke.

This is not just dangerous; it’s embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and US leadership,” she said in a statement.

Nathan Richardson of the environmental extremist group Resources for the Future likened the executive order to the short list of America’s “truly shameful” days. Among them, “the Dred Scott decision, the Trail of Tears, Japanese internment, and Abu Ghraib —most of them symbolic of a larger national moral failure.”

As CEI pointed out, Richardson’s opinion was quickly endorsed by Vox explainers and a New York Times reporter.

Those entities need not fear the threat of a sweeping, state-sponsored investigation into what they said and who they associate with. But CEI and other research organizations that have challenged the flawed science of the climate change crowd have had such a probe hanging over them for months.

Former Vice President Al Gore was on hand March 29, 2016, when Schneiderman and 16 other Democratic AGs moved to take up their investigative campaign against ExxonMobil and other alleged violators of “climate fraud.”

CEI soon after was targeted by the Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker. The AG sought “kitchen sink” subpoenas that “plainly aimed at suppressing free speech and scientific inquiry” the nonprofit think tank sponsors.

In June, Walker withdrew his subpoenas of ExxonMobil and CEI. The attorney general claimed he was looking into whether ExxonMobil had concealed its “understanding of climate change” from customers and investors.

“He served an astonishingly overbroad subpoena on a public policy organization, demanding that it reveal its internal communications and communications with allies,” CEI’s court motion stated. “He conceded, in his briefing, that his subpoena was unsupported by the statutory authority that he cited as justifying it. And he has undertaken a series of legal maneuvers to evade judicial scrutiny of his actions, even while continuing to threaten CEI.”

The legal battles go on.

In a similar legal battle, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, part of the so-called “Green 20,”sought 40 years of ExxonMobil’s documents in a subpoena. The company’s attorneys in September argued in a Texas court that if Healey’s overly broad subpoena was allowed to stand, “nothing is to stop a state prosecutor from issuing a subpoena to a political opponent seeking decades of records on the theory that a disagreement about policy constitutes fraud.”

U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeide agreed the New York and Massachusetts investigations were politically motivated.The lawsuit remains in play, with Healey refusing to comply wit congressional subpoenas.

In November, a New York Supreme Court justice ordered Schneiderman to release common interest agreements with other state AGs that CEI had sought in an open records request.

“CEI’s court victory is a blow to the anti-free speech campaign led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,” CEI’s Kazman said in a statement. “While the campaign by him and his cohorts that began in March (2016) continues against those who disagree with him on global warming, we are glad to see that it is being held subject to the basic laws of the land.”

Attorney Andrew Grossman has represented CEI in its legal actions against the attorneys general. Grossman and his Washington, D.C.-based law firm also represented Wisconsin conservative activist Eric O’Keefe in a federal lawsuit against prosecutors of the state’s infamous John Doe investigation. The campaign finance probe, launched by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, targeted dozens of conservative groups and Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Investigators raided the homes of several citizens and seized millions of electronic communications in the secret dragnet ruled unconstitutional by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Grossman noted the similarities of the politically motivated investigations.

“In both instances you have law enforcement officials using the powers of their office to target people on the basis of their opinions,” the attorney said, adding that liberals increasingly have abdicated their position as defenders of free speech.

Grossman said the failure of the climate change prosecutors’ coalition should be the end of the story, but CEI isn’t taking anything for granted.

“CEI is going to continue to make arguments for First Amendment rights. Not just for themselves; they want to make sure everyone has that opportunity, even those with whom they disagree.”

M.D. Kittle is bureau chief for Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment reporter for Contact him at

Budget Cuts Face Resistance From Republican Lawmakers

Republican leaders are voicing disapproval of budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump.

“I doubt there’d be a lot of appetite for dramatic cuts this year,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Roll Call. “I just look at it as a conversation. They’ve got their views, we’ve got our views, and we need to sit down and work that out.”

According to CQ Roll Call’s Budget Tracker newsletter, Republican leaders such as Cornyn are openly disproving of Trump’s requested $18 billion in spending cuts for the current fiscal year budget, Politico reports.

Funding for the federal government will run out during the last week of April. In order to avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass a spending bill by April 28.

Trump has suggested several ways to trim government spending, and some of the reductions include cutting “$1.3 billion from Pell Grant funding for college students; $1.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health; and $1.5 billion from the Community Development Block Grant program,” according to Budget Tracker.

Some of these cuts are alarming Republicans lawmakers such as Sen. Lamar Alexander. The Tennessee Republican chairs the Senate energy-water appropriations subcommittee. He’s hinting that Trump’s requested budget cuts may go ignored.

“[Trump] suggested some things and of course we’ll look at them, but we’ll write the budget,” Alexander told CQ.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who serves as chairman of the House subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies, also suggested that Trump’s requested budget cuts might not be implemented.

“You know that’s fine, but it’s a little late in the process,” Cole told CQ. “We’ve closed out our bills.”

In his “skinny” budget proposal for the next fiscal year, Trump proposed to end taxpayer funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public TV and radio broadcasters like NPR and PBS.

“This is an agency we all admire,” Cole said, according to Budget Tracker.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting received $445 million in federal funding in 2016.

According to Budget Tracker, Republican lawmakers appeared skeptical about ending funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, questioned if funding the corporation is necessary.

Romina Boccia, deputy director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that the apparent refusal of Republican lawmakers to support Trump’s budget cuts are disappointing.

“For years now, Republicans have told the American people that if only they controlled both chambers of Congress and the executive, they could actually get stuff done,” Boccia said. “Now, we are seeing that those too were apparently empty promises.”

Report by The Daily Signal's Rachel del Guidice. Originally published at The Daily Signal.