Grassroot Perspective

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Scanning the week’s national news, views and clues with you and yours in mind

By Malia Hill


“Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism.”–  Ludwig von Mises, in Nation, State, and Economy (1919)

Each week, we’ll be monitoring the web to find the most interesting, challenging, or important items for those who are concerned about liberty, accountability, and big government.  Here are some of the highlights from the past week:

The Race to the Middle Begins

While Republican primary contenders may still be preoccupied with proving their ideological purity to their base, the President has already begun his shift back to the middle in preparation for the coming election.  As Fred Barnes points out in the Weekly Standard, the President’s promises at transparent government may have fallen short, but he’s certainly providing transparent politics.  The questions remains whether his efforts to soften the impact of some of his less popular initiatives will win over the electorate.

Of course, when I was your age . . .

Few things are as startling as the realization that you just pulled a “when I was your age” on someone only a decade or so younger than you—that’s how much the Age of the Internet has transformed our society.  Adam Thierer of Forbes has a compiled a list of 10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution.  Some of them—like making physical trips to the video store to rent a move (not to mention the inevitable late charges)—seem like unmixed blessings, but others (like the ubiquitous, instant 24/7 connectivity that defines our world now) can be more of a double-edged sword.

Americans Wary of Government Transportation Projects—In Other News, the Sun Will Come Up Again Tomorrow

Find me a person who doesn’t have a complaint about traffic congestion, and then find me a unicorn.  Between the two, we could probably create a show about mythical creatures.  And yet, while Americans are generally concerned over increasing problems with traffic, this recent poll from the Reason Foundation demonstrates that neither do they have much faith in the ability of the government to solve those problems—and  they are definitely not interested in paying higher taxes for any government “solution.”  This is an article that supporters of Hawaii’s Rail project should read.  And maybe carry around with them at all times.

Prime Minister William Gladstone, the O.G. of Cutting Taxes and Spending

The Public Interest Institute regularly puts out a newsletter called Limits, which includes a series of short, but interesting articles related to fiscal restraint, liberty, and the like.  The latest issue, in addition to pieces on President Harding and the possible connection between Obamacare and the poor economy, includes a somewhat inspirational article on historical successes in cutting taxes and spending, going all the way back to 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone.  Maybe once word gets out that cutting taxes and spending to improve the economy is both British and retro, the hipsters will get on board.

Criminally Obvious

In a Common Sense post this week, Paul Jacob looks at why crime rates—especially violent crime—continue to rise in Great Britain.  As Jacob points out, government policies that limit the ability of the citizenry to defend itself just create a more vulnerable pool of victims.

Double-Talk on Payroll Taxes

The debate over the payroll tax cut extension has captured our attention.  No doubt because no one, not even the most pro-tax leftist, feels entirely comfortable seeing the word tax so close to the word payroll. Unfortunately, it has also succeeded in confusing us, as Democrats in Congress have played political games over the whats and whys and addendums and Republicans are busy trying to explain a complicated position on an even more complicated bill.  Fortunately, Rachel Alexander comes to the rescue with a clear, well-reasoned explanation of the issue.

Views expressed in this column are intended to promote creative thought, educate, and, we hope, prompt comment. Accordingly, thoughts expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii or the author.

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