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News for February 15, 2013

"Infrastructure rhetoric is a bridge to nowhere"

Posted at 04:13 PM by Barney Keller | Topic: *Government Spending
Over at Reuters, Media Critic Jack Safer takes the media's coverage of the "civil engineering-industrial complex" to task:

Whenever the phrase “our crumbling infrastructure” passes the lips of a politician or appears in the pages of a newspaper, I change the password on my checking account and move my wallet to the front pocket of my jeans. So when President Barack Obama invoked our “aging infrastructure badly in need of repair” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria used his perch yesterday to complain that Obama wasn’t proposing near enough for infrastructure, I closed my bank accounts, canceled my credit cards, converted my liquid investments into gold bullion, dumped them into 55-gallon drums, rolled the drums into a backyard pit and poured a load of cement over the heap.

It’s not that infrastructure doesn’t crumble — everything turns to dust eventually. Obviously, useful bridges, ports, airports and highways need to be maintained, and as a country grows it needs new ones. It’s just that the press allows members of the civil engineering-industrial complex to bamboozle them into believing that all calls for building infrastructure are equal.
 
The whole thing is worth a read. Yet another good reason to devolve infrastructure spending to the states. The Cato Institute has an excellent paper on this topic you can read here.

GOP's Leadership on Free Trade

Posted at 11:31 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: *Free Trade
Free trade is an economic issue that is near and dear to us here at the Club, mainly because the benefits from freer trade are so strong, but also because it's an issue that Democrats and Republicans alike either misunderstand or don't care about.  Therefore, we have a lot of work to do in order to expand economic liberty around the globe through more trade.

So, it's with that in mind, that I'd like to share with you the new members of the Ways & Means subcommittee that has jurisdiction on trade in the 113th Congress.  I've listed them below along with their rating on trade issues from the Cato Institute.

As you can clearly see, with the exception of Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, its disheartening to see that the supposed leaders of advancing free trade in the House don't have the kind of record that we would hope to expect.
  1. Devin Nunes, Chairman (68% on barrier votes, 27% on subsidy votes)
  2. Kevin Brady (81% and 11%)
  3. Dave Reichert (67% and 64%)
  4. Vern Buchanan (71% and 25%)
  5. Adrian Smith (57% and 13%)
  6. Aaron Schock (71% and 0%)
  7. Lynn Jenkins (86% and 100%)
  8. Charles Boustany (63% and 9%)
  9. Peter Roskam (57% and 75%)
It's difficult to advance free trade with Obama in the White House, but like I said, a lot of work must be done even on the GOP side of the fence to truly make meaningful advances in expanding free trade.

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