Big Brother, in the form of the FTC, is sticking its nose into Internet news and opinion. The free market, a May 24 draft proposal states, will not produce a “robust and sustainable business model for commercial journalism.”
The rage of frustrated voters has manifested itself in a reform that could transform American politics. A June 8 California ballot question would eliminate party primaries and, instead, provide that all candidates for elective office face each other in a first round election. The two top vote getters would then meet in the general election to determine which candidate is elected.
Those who believe that the Tea Party movement will simply be a convenient flack for the Republican establishment have received rude awakenings in the last few weeks.
New Jersey government, according to almost every objective observer, is badly broken. The pay and the pensions of state employees are a primary problem. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has declared that he will fix New Jersey's state of affairs by doing amongst other things, "ending the practice of providing automatic incremental budget increases across the board, or requiring across-the-board cuts in programs" and relying "on recurring revenue to balance our state budget, not one-shot gimmicks like federal stimulus aid or other revenue unlikely to recur in future years."
The 2006 Pension Protection Act, which passed and became law, has a provision that requires all non-profit organizations to file an annual income tax return with the IRS. Under federal law prior to that act, if a non-profit organization had revenue of less than $25,000 per year, it did not have to file a tax return.
Tea Party groups around the country are facing an all too familiar attack: racism. The evidence presented is highly circumstantial. A disproportionately large percentage of Tea Party members appear to be older white Americans. Tea Party spokesmen have opposed granting the District of Columbia voting representation in Congress.
The New York Times reports that the "gun lobby" has recently offered to trade opposition to granting the District of Columbia a voting member in Congress. The Times editorial expressed outrage that this proposed legislation will require a roll back of gun restrictions in the District of Columbia in return for what its residents have "been so long and so unfairly denied." The proposal would allow the District of Columbia to, effectively, have a member of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, surrendered his chairmanship temporally on March 3 because of a number of ethical violations, which have historically required that the committee Chairman be stripped of his committee. Rangel’s problems were serious by any standard.
State governments across the nation are facing debt problems that seem overwhelming. California, when all the state obligations are counted, has a debt equal to 37 percent of its annual income, at least according to one estimate. Pensions account for much of this problem. Andrew Biggs at the American Enterprise Institute observes that if those pension debts are included, the Rhode Island would be so deeply in debt that it would fall outside the 60 percent governmental debt limit set by the European Union, as would even oil-rich Alaska.
Representative Louie Golmert of Texas has recently proposed that United States senators be elected as they once were, by the legislatures of the states. This would require a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which requires direct election of senators by the people.