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.

Beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program can expect to see their checks cut to 79 percent by 2016, according to the program's trustees.

Presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney recycled establishment Bush-era foreign policy neoconservative apparatchiks June 23-24 in a weekend retreat at the Chateaux at Silver Lake in Park City, Utah, where Romney feted some 800 of his top political contributors. The gathering featured addresses by former Bush administration officials Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice, and highlights concerns non-interventionists have about what a Romney administration foreign policy would look like.

On Monday the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the constitutional challenge filed against the Arizona immigration statute. In the decision, one of the four provisions at issue was upheld, while the remaining three were struck down.

The part of the law (Arizona State Bill 1070) upheld by the justices is that permitting law enforcement to verify the immigration status of anyone even briefly detained as a part of a routine stop.

The justices struck down the three remaining provisions of S.B. 1070 that were up for review.

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