Almost everyone is aware that the federal government pays farmers not to grow certain crops. But not many know that taxpayers are also being forced to pay airlines to fly empty planes. It’s true. According to the Associated Press, the $200 million federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program subsidizes airline service to less populous areas of the country; and because it does so on a per-flight — not per-passenger — basis, airlines sometimes fly empty planes back and forth just to keep the free funds flowing.

Pledge to AmericaIn voting to hike the federal debt limit, Republicans in Congress have violated more than one of their campaign promises. One of the vows they broke was articulated in the House Republicans’ 2010 “Pledge to America” under the heading “Our Plan to Restore Trust”: “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.”

CongressThe New American has published its first “Freedom Index” for the new (112th) Congress. The index, published four times each two-year congressional term, rates all members of the House and Senate based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.

CongressA "super-Congress" is being proposed by Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. The left-wing Huffington Post summarizes the plan — which they claim is also supported by Republican House Speaker John Boehner — this way:

Those raised overseas can testify as to how comforting it is to be able to go on American military installations and eat pizza at Pizza Hut or eat a burger at Burger King. While the Pentagon has certainly done a good job taking care of its troops' gastronomical needs, many feel it has done a very poor job of taking care of their fundamental right to vote.