Tag Archive: Congressional Research Service


Article V Movement Gathers Steam, Critics Seethe

 

 

Amending The Constitution

 

 

” One of the sure signs that your federal government is in a state of disarray is when record numbers of Americans begin turning to the U.S. Constitution to figure out just where it all went wrong. Until recently, these readers might have skipped right past Article V, not noticing that therein lies the most potent of solutions.

  As readers of Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments have learned, Article V includes a lesser-known means by which the states can propose amendments. This was precisely the method the founders intended to be used to check an expansionist federal government.

  Thanks to Levin, ConventionofStates.com, and Lawrence Lessig’s CallaConvention.org, the effort to get state legislatures to demand the first ever amendments convention seems to be hitting its stride.

  But the movement is not without its critics.

  Enter constitutional speaker KrisAnne Hall, who would prefer that states engage in out-and-out nullification of unconstitutional federal overreaches. Though less clear constitutionally, the idea has precedent and is also advocated by the Tenth Amendment Center. But unlike the Tenth Amendment Center, Ms. Hall has decided that an Article V amendments convention competes with nullification, and has taken the position that an amendments convention is a road to disaster because she has discovered a clandestine plot by Congress to take over the amendments convention process from start to finish.”

 

Read the whole illuminating article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guns & Safety: The Facts

 

 

 

” For all the attempts by liberals to infringe on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, gun ownership soared from 192 million firearms to 310 million between 1994 and 2009 while the murder rate among Americans decreased by nearly half.

  And those statistics are not from the National Rifle Association. They’re from the government’s own Congressional Research Service.

  Is it coincidental that the overall murder rate declined as well, from 9 per 100,000 in 1994 to 4.7 per 100,000 in 2011? Not likely.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Much Would War In Syria Cost?

 

 

 

” The United States in August and September began considering in earnest whether or not to become militarily involved in Syria. There are many tough and contentious questions about that decision, but one fact is undeniable: It would be expensive.

In a 2010 paper, Stephen Daggett of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service estimated the costs of all major U.S. wars expressed in contemporary dollars, from the American Revolution through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the caveat that comparing war costs over a 230-year period is “inherently problematic” because the definition of war has varied and official numbers have included and measured different things over time, and also “because of the difficulties in comparing prices from one vastly different era to another,” Daggett nonetheless concludes that the trend is clear: Wars aren’t cheap.

According to his estimates, the American Revolution cost $2.4 billion (all numbers are in constant FY2011 dollars), World War I cost $334 billion, World War II cost $4.1 trillion, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined have cost around $1.1 trillion and growing.

The price tag on the proposed intervention in Syria is unclear. According to a Congressional Research Service report published in September, “the cost of any military intervention could range widely depending on the type and length of U.S. military actions, the participation of U.S. allies, and Syrian and Syrian-allied responses.” Estimates range from $500 million initially to train, advise, and assist opposition forces in a safe area outside Syria, to as much as $12 billion dollars a year to use military force to establish either a no-fly zone that would prevent the regime from using its aircraft or a buffer zone to protect border areas next to Turkey or Jordan.

If history is any guide we can expect that direct military spending will be grossly underestimated.”

 

Grossly underestimated indeed … as with the costs of any government action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama, World’s Greatest Gun Salesman

 

 

 

” The United States is the most heavily armed nation in world history, and it seems we have President Barack Obama to thank for it.

Before you ask: we’re not talking about the U.S. military, we’re talking about the firearms owned by the general population. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) estimates that there are roughly 300 million firearms in the United States — and of those, nearly 40 million new firearms have been sold just since Barack Obama came into office in 2009.

This is a staggering jump of more than 15 percent in just over four years, in a nation 237 years old.

The current standing military of the United States, including National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserve units, is approximately 2.2 million servicemen. Citizens have purchased enough new firearms since 2009 to equip every member of the military 18 times. Of those arms purchased, the overwhelming majority aren’t sporting arms (like Vice President Joe Biden’s recommendation of an archaic double-barrel shotgun). As I noted in December, people are buying very specific arms designed for very specific purposes:

Manufacturers were running full-bore, but couldn’t come close to keeping up with market demand. It wasn’t just the AR-15s, the AK-pattern rifles, the M1As, and the FALs that were sold out. It really hit me when I realized that the World War-era M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and Enfield .303s were gone, along with every last shell. Ubiquitous Mosin-Nagants — of which every gun store always seems to have 10-20 — were gone. So was their ammo. Only a dust free space marked their passing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Every weapon of military utility designed within the past 100+ years was gone …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit

 

 

 

 

 

” Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator, ask in a recent paper, “How many wars is the US fighting today?”

Citing a page at US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) website, they highlight the “areas of responsibility” publicly listed:

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) is active in 20 countries across the Middle Eastern region, and is actively ramping-up military training, counterterrorism programs, logistical support, and funding to the military in various nations. At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM), according to the paper, “supports military-to-military relationships with 54 African nations.”

[Gosztola points out that the U.S. military is also conducting operations of one kind or another in Syrian, Jordan, South Sudan, Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, the Congo, Uganda, Mali, Niger and other countries.]

Altogether, that makes 74 nations where the US is fighting or “helping” some force in some proxy struggle that has been deemed beneficial by the nation’s masters of war.

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A Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an accounting of all the publicly acknowledged deployments of US military forces

But those are just the public operations. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Welfare Spending to Skyrocket 80 Percent in Next Decade

 

 

Currently, 95% of spending on means-tested poverty assistance falls into four categories: cash assistance, health assistance, housing assistance, and social and family services.  Welfare spending has increased on a year-over-year basis regardless of whether the economy has improved or unemployment has declined, and is projected to continue this dramatic rise indefinitely.  Spending on these poverty programs will rise approximately 80% from FY2013-FY2022, representing a total cost of $11 trillion – roughly one quarter of cumulative federal spending.  Slowing the growth rate from 80% to a still massive 60% would thus result, according to standard congressional budget accounting, in a $1 trillion savings over ten years. ”