In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

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The Corruption Stops Here: Darrell Issa’s War on Democratic Overreach Print
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, April 14 2010
Once the administrative genie is out of the bottle, it is Issa’s self-proclaimed mission to make sure the bureaucrats holding the public’s credit card are mindful of those who pay the bills.

For all his work as the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Darrell Issa (R-CA) should have a sign on his desk that reads, “The Corruption Stops Here.”  Though the Obama Administration is barely a year old, Issa and the Committee Republicans are doing the yeoman’s work necessary to keep the federal government accountable to the people it serves. 

Conservatives have a propensity for choosing appropriate, and necessary, roles.  Big picture types like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) are great at drafting a comprehensive plan to reform entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) can identify and analyze the key issue in a multi-faceted policy while placing it in historical context.  Sarah Palin embodies the ethos of Red State America.  

Darrell Issa has taken on a different responsibility.  Confronted with a hyperactive White House dedicated to growing the federal government into an all-consuming tax, spend and regulate behemoth, Issa is extending the logic of fiscal conservatism beyond disputes about whether certain agencies and programs should exist.  The fact is they do.  Once the administrative genie is out of the bottle, it is Issa’s self-proclaimed mission to make sure the bureaucrats holding the public’s credit card are mindful of those who pay the bills. 

Call it the “Issa Effect.”  Once the former businessman and one-time Army tank commander sets his sights on an issue, he becomes the avatar of every angry taxpayer disgusted with the way Washington elites treat the public fisc.  He’s called Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke an “unindicted co-conspirator” at a hearing to probe the Fed’s less-than-transparent bailout of American International Group (AIG).  When Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner, the two most recent Treasury Secretaries, deliberately played hide the ball with facts about the multi-billion dollar bailouts of the financial industry, Issa called them on the carpet as being “disingenuous” in their answers to congressional inquiries. 

But anyone can hold a hearing and get a spectacle.  Issa and the Committee Republicans are wreaking havoc on the Democrats’ state-building project by creating a meticulous paper trail of government corruption with letters, subpoenas and reports.  To date, the most comprehensive of these is the “Oversight Status Report: Midway through the 111th Congress, Creating Accountability and Transparency under One-Party Rule.” 

Reading the Table of Contents is one of the best year-in-review snapshots of the Age of Obama’s assault on federalism.  Issue chapters detailing the ongoing oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP), the 2010 Census and the Democrats’ stimulus package rub shoulders with investigations into government ties with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and the causes of the current financial crisis. 

The report details Republican efforts to get clear answers from Obama Administration personnel on key facts like how the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board measures jobs “created or saved.”  The answers aren’t pretty.   Not only do the numbers continue to change, so do the definitions.  For example, according to the Committee Republicans’ report, stimulus recipients were told “to count every job funded with stimulus money – regardless of whether or not it existed before the Recovery Act or was in any danger of being eliminated.”   

Echoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Issa repeatedly makes the point that the “created or saved” rubric defeats any attempt to measure the stimulus’ success, and along with it, any claim that the Administration’s recovery efforts are transparent.  Members in the press took note and uncovered several examples of questionable reporting, which in turn fuels more calls for oversight and investigation. 

Perhaps the best example of Issa’s effectiveness is to the rigorously detailed exposure of ACORN as a criminally suspect enterprise.  As one of the first federally elected officials to dig deep into ACORN’s ties with organized labor and other leftwing groups, Issa scored an upset victory for the minority party by shutting off the flow of federal dollars to the group, and pressuring the Census Bureau to rescind its partnership.  For fiscal conservatives looking for a champion to save money and enhance the government’s integrity, Issa might just be their man. 

Many politicians have made their name combating government’s corrupting tendencies.  Edmund Burke’s Parliamentary investigation of the East India Company added a moral dimension to British imperialism.  Harry Truman vaulted to national prominence after his congressional inquiry into wasteful Defense Department practices during World War Two.  Now, Darrell Issa is shining the light of transparency on the Democrats’ attempts to overshadow every corner of American life with more government intrusion.  Take heart, fellow taxpayers, the corruption stops here.  

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
—Casey Harper, The Center Square
— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
Liberty Poll   

Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?