A new report by Bloomberg Government indicates that Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human…
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HHS’ Burwell Caught Low-Balling Congress on Cost of Healthcare.gov

A new report by Bloomberg Government indicates that Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), gave a potentially misleading answer when she told Congress that Healthcare.gov – the federal government’s ObamaCare portal – cost taxpayers $834 million to build.

Nicole Kaeding at the CATO Institute teases out some of the unstated, but related, costs that balloon the overall price tag to $2.14 billion, far north of Burwell’s testimony.

I’ve summarized them here as bullet points: $300 million contract to process paper applications to serve as backups to electronic files $387 million for real-time interfacing between the IRS and Healthcare.gov to verify income and family size for insurance subsidy calculations $400 million in accounting tricks…[more]

September 30, 2014 • 07:25 pm

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Kauffman Foundation’s “Rules for Growth” Is Roadmap Out of Recession Print
By Ashton Ellis
Thursday, February 10 2011
In this era of runaway deficits, out-of-control spending and crushing entitlements, the conservative majority in the House of Representatives has a historic opportunity. Like Thatcher, Speaker Boehner can crystallize his party’s opposition to statism with a document that points to what’s right about free enterprise.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s new book, Rules for Growth: Promoting Innovation and Growth Through Legal Reform, should be required reading for every federal policymaker trying to get America’s economy growing again.  That includes you, Mr. President. 

The product of three years of intense study by experts in several disciplines, Rules for Growth announces a heady aim in its preface: “to help redirect and expand the ‘law and economics’ field to refocus on the connections between the law and growth.”  That alone would be a great service.  Typical insights from law and economics focus on what government does wrong when it comes to regulations.  Rules for Growth promises something more. 

The book’s central premise – simple but all-too-often forgotten – is that economic growth is good.  It raises living standards and increases life spans.  Thus, government policymakers should not just get rid of rules that stifle productive activity; they should be replaced with a regulatory system that promotes growth.

This change in focus amounts to a paradigm shift.  Rather than have policymakers constrain themselves to removing disincentives from the law, the essayists in Rules for Growth want judges, politicians and bureaucrats to reorient themselves and their work in favor of innovation.  In this respect, their effort recalls Britain’s industrial era approach to regulation: When conflicts arose between British economic dominance and the legal system, the legal system was changed. 

Every branch of the law that touches innovation and entrepreneurship comes under review.  Immigration quotas should be reconfigured to increase the amount of visas granted to entrepreneurs.  University faculty should be free to license their patents and retain all ownership rights over their discoveries.  Taxes should be consumption based.  Independent regulatory agencies should be required to conduct cost-benefit analyses before making new rules.  Perhaps most interesting is the recommendation that the legal services market should be opened up by replacing state licensing requirements with a federal standard.  (If auto insurance companies can compete across state lines, why not lawyers?) 
 
Since his January 18th Wall Street Journal column promising reductions in business regulations, President Barack Obama has made overtures to the free market in his State of the Union Address and, most recently, in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Of course, fiscal conservatives should submit the president’s newfound interest to free enterprise to Ronald Reagan’s formula of “trust, but verify.” 

One way to verify is to hand President Obama a copy of Rules for Growth and demand he implement its recommendations.  At the very least, House Republicans could introduce legislation based on the book’s findings, and hold televised hearings debating their substance.  It’s time for the free market to receive a full-blown defense in the halls of Congress.  For inspiration, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) need look no farther than former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

In 1975, newly elected Prime Minister Thatcher served notice on a “pragmatic” Conservative Party colleague counseling a moderate course on economic policy.  Reaching into her briefcase, the Iron Lady held up a copy of F.A. Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty for all to see.  “This is what we believe,” declared Thatcher as she banged the book down on the table. 

In this era of runaway deficits, out-of-control spending and crushing entitlements, the conservative majority in the House of Representatives has a historic opportunity.  Like Thatcher, Speaker Boehner can crystallize his party’s opposition to statism with a document that points to what’s right about free enterprise.   For fiscal conservatives looking for a roadmap out of the recession, Rules for Growth is it.  

Download a free copy of Rules for Growth from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s website here.

Question of the Week   
What percentage of the American people cannot name even one branch of the federal government?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"The United States military and intelligence community have learned a lot over the past decade of conflict. Our commander in chief, unfortunately, has not. Since the start of his administration, President Barack Obama has ignored his generals and the intelligence community. Over the past few weeks, he has half-heartedly pursued a strategy that destines us to fail in our mission, and over the past…[more]
 
 
—Joseph Miller, Daily Caller. Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
— Joseph Miller, Daily Caller. Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
Liberty Poll   

In selecting a nominee to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, will President Obama choose someone who is less ideological and less divisive to serve as the country’s chief law enforcement officer?