Overriding Obama’s veto so victims can sue Saudi Arabia

Congress passed a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for enabling some of its citizens to carry out the attacks.  But President Obama vetoed the measure, saying that it would violate the principle that sovereign nations are immune from foreign lawsuits by private citizens and will open the United States to similar suits.

Yesterday, in a rare show of bipartisan unity, Congress overrode the veto.  That requires 2/3 of the vote, but this override was 97-1 in the Senate and 348 to 77 in the Senate, as Democrats voted against their own president.

That’s satisfying emotionally, but is it wise for Congress to interfere in foreign relations, traditionally the domain of the Executive Branch?  And is it wise to throw out sovereign immunity?  Won’t this jeopardize American military, intelligence, and diplomatic operatives, as well as claims from foreign citizens who don’t like us against the nation as a whole?  Or is it worth the risk to get back at Saudi Arabia? [Read more…]

Slow economy due to not enough government action?

A report from the Harvard business school argues that the reason the economy is growing so slowly is because of government inaction.  The government has been in a state of gridlock, so that the government can’t do what it needs to in order to make the economy grow.

Read the reasoning, after the jump.  This would be the Democratic diagnosis, as opposed to the usual Republican diagnosis that the government is holding the economy back.  Here, “regulation” is listed as one of the good things government does for the economy.  Whereas free marketers believe government regulation prevents economic growth.

Who makes the best case? [Read more…]

Where is our Calvin Coolidge?

We don’t need a president riding in on a white horse to solve our problems.  We don’t need a charismatic figure like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.  OK, I’d settle for a Reagan.  But what we really need is someone like Calvin Coolidge.

Our newspaper, the Daily Oklahoman, printed part of a Labor Day speech that Coolidge gave in 1924.  “Silent Cal,” by slashing taxes and cutting federal spending, presided over one of the largest economic expansions in American history.

What strikes me, though, in his speech, are his insights about work (or, as he calls it, “toil”), the dangers of dependency on the government, and how the main problem in America is always the character of its citizens.

Read the excerpts after the jump.  (I bolded the passages  that I thought particularly striking.) [Read more…]

The government funneling money to its friends

Banks being punished for their part in the mortgage bubble disaster must pay restitution to the tune of, in some cases, billions of dollars.  But the obligation may be satisfied, in part, by contributing to Democratic-leaning advocacy organizations.

That money could go into the U. S. Treasury, but instead it goes to favored private agencies.   Congress is considering a bill that would stop this practice.  After the jump, George Will explains the important constitutional issues at stake. [Read more…]

How Trump will make Mexico pay for the wall

We had wondered how Donald Trump would get Mexico to pay for the wall along the border to keep out illegal immigrants.  Trump, who will be meeting with the President of Mexico next week, has released his plan.

He will tell Mexican officials that unless they pay $5-10 billion for the wall, he will cut off the money that immigrants send home.  That comes to around $25 billion, and is crucial to the Mexican economy.  If Mexico gives that one-time payment, he says, the cash could continue “to flow into their country year after year.”

Set aside, for a moment, the element of extortion and theft.  Set aside the question of whether the government should have the right to confiscate people’s money or control what they do with it.  Also set aside the enormous increase in the power of the presidency necessary to suspend the law so that he could do this by executive order.

I thought Trump was going to send back all of the illegal immigrants!  How could their payments “flow into their country year after year”?  If the immigrants will all be gone, as Trump promised, what will be the incentive for Mexico to pony up the money?  It almost sounds as if Trump hasn’t been telling the truth about his immigration policy. [Read more…]