Fifteen trillion dollars: That’s how much American taxpayers have forked over in the name of helping the poor since 1964. And what do we have to show for it? A poverty rate that has barely budged, an entrenched bureaucracy, and a population — like that of Greece and Portugal, two welfare-state basket cases — increasingly dependent on government handouts.

These are the conclusions of a recent Cato Institute report on the American welfare state by Michael Tanner, Cato’s director of health and welfare studies and author of The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society. It is hardly an encouraging read, to say the least.

With the 2012 political season heating up, many people are calling for a ban on the SuperPacs created in the wake of the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision. A few on the left have even called for a constitutional amendment to ban corporations from making political advertisements, for fear that corporations have come to dominate elections in the United States.

In one sense, they are right. But it's not the SuperPacs. The corporations that have been dominating the public debate for decades are the media empires. Right now, six corporations control most of the television, radio, and print publishing networks that Americans see on a daily basis. They drive the debate, and the social issues behind the debate.

The U.S. Supreme Court definitively reaffirmed its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision in a 5-4 ruling that struck down a Montana state law banning independent expenditures on behalf of political candidates by corporations. The Supreme Court ruled that the law violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.

The Montana law the court struck down in the case American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock had required that a “corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.”

Many Americans are justifiably anxious about drone use by the federal government against the American people, but the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations says that concerns about our privacy are overblown.“While many are understandably anxious about the seemingly inevitable expansion of drones a cross the United States, I argue that many fears are either overblown or based on misperceptions,” wrote Micah Zenko  on the Council on Foreign Relations website June 21.

Wednesday morning a document was leaked that reveals President Obama’s plans to surrender American sovereignty to international tribunals. This is one of several frightening provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret by American trade representatives.

In the now-public document, as part of its membership in the TPP, the United States would agree to exempt foreign corporations from our laws and regulations, placing the resolution of any disputes as to the applicability of those matters to foreign business in the hands of an international arbitration tribunal overseen by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

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