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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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An Accounting Mechanism, Not a Savings Account

National Review Online's Beltway Buzz column collects some quotes from surprising sources on the emptiness of the Social Security Trust Fund.


There is a Social Security Trust Fund

Deroy Murdock reports:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Social Security Trust Fund...
In Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Read it all here.


Brian Riedl: Top Ten Examples of Government Waste

Brian M. Riedl of the Heritage Foundation has an eye-popping new paper out, "The Top 10 Examples of Government Waste." Here they are:

1. The Missing $25 Billion
2. Unused Flight Tickets Totaling $100 Million
3. Embezzled Funds at the Department of Agriculture
4. Credit Card Abuse at the Department of Defense
5. Medicare Overspending
6. Funding Fictitious Colleges and Students
7. Manipulating Data to Encourage Spending
8. State Abuse of Medicaid Funding Formulas
9. Earned Income Tax Credit Overpayments
10. Redundancy Piled on Redundancy
Read the whole thing for details.


Is the World Ready for an African Pope?

Diversity magazine sent out an email today with the subject line: "Is the world ready for an African Pope?"

I'd rephrase the question, and instead ask: "Is the world ready for an African Pope who isn't a liberal?"


Captain's Quarters Goes Canadian

Captain's Quarters blog coverage of the (formerly) secret testimony of Jean Brault at (Canada's) Gomery Commission appears to be another historic milestone for the blogosphere.

Harry Forbes at the Squaring the Boston Globe blog takes a look at the traffic Captain Ed is receiving from our neighbors to the north. Nearly 400,000 visitors to the Captain's Quarters blog on Monday alone. Harry figures this is likely to be a single-day blog traffic record.

Congratulations to Captain Ed. Very impressive scoop.


Has Canada Banned Star Trek?

Has Canada banned Star Trek?

Explanation here.


The Plot to Kill the Pope

The London Sunday Times examines the evidence behind the suspicion that the Soviet government was behind the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in May 1981.

If the trajectory of the bullet that hit the Pope, and/or the one that hit President Reagan two months earlier, had been even minutely different, the Soviet Union might still be with us.

Upon such small things does history turn.


Espresso Sarcasm: Stupid Quiz Time

This is funny. Not useful, but funny.


Dueling Plans for U.N. Reform

Is Glenn Reynolds calling for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations?

That's one way to read the last line of this post -- but I'm not sure that's what he means.

Glenn links to this piece by Austin Bay, who recommends reforming the U.N. this way:

As for real reform: (1) strip France of permanent U.N. Security Council status; (2) keep Russia as a permanent member, but with no veto (all it has are nukes); (3) add India and Japan as permanent Security Council members (though with no veto). Now Britain wields the European veto, China the Asian and America the real veto.
Dubious merits aside, this will never, ever be adopted.

Here's my reform proposal:
1) Put every nation on the Security Council.

2) Give every nation a veto.

3) Withdraw the U.S. from the U.N. entirely.
End result: A paralyzed, neutered U.N. that Americans don't pay for.


Poll on Social Security Personal Accounts

Patrick Ruffini has the stats from a new poll asking this question:

Do you favor or oppose giving individuals the choice to invest a portion of their Social Security contributions in stocks or mutual funds?
The poll results are interesting. So is the use of the term "contribution."

Are these taxes optional?


Social Security Embezzlement

The American Enterprise doesn't mince words with a piece entitled The Great Social Security Embezzlement by William Tucker:

Every writer I know is looking for that dazzling phrase that brings the Social Security situation into focus. (That's what us writers do for a living.)

Clark S. Judge, managing director of the White House Writers Group (a private organization), made a great stab at it in the New York Post on Tuesday. He used the metaphor of Enron. What's happening in the federal government now is exactly what happened to Ken Lay. It's called 'co-mingling of funds.'"

All this started way back in 1968 when Lyndon Johnson was trying to deliver both "guns and butter" and disguise the costs of the Vietnam War. Social Security was then a separate account...

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: National Center for Policy Analysis.


Scientific Correctness

Bill of Bill's Comments predicts the future decline of American science:

In 10 to 25 years, we will see the eclipse of American science, the pride of the 20th Century. Some country, more interested in real results than in who is offended, will suddenly deluge the world with a product based on new discoveries that will destroy a major segment of our economy.
Surely not. Anyway, since global warming is coming and it will drown the Earth, it hardly matters.


A Constrained Vision: Social Security Around the World

A Constrained Vision has collected a very interesting set of links showing which countries have individual retirement accounts as part of their mandatory retirement programs.


Daly Thoughts Blog's Top 40

Daly Thoughts ranks his top 40 favorite blogs.

Thanks, Gerry -- your blog easily makes my Top 40, too!


Sleeping Through the Night

In hindsight I can see that regardless of nasal congestion getting the boogers sucked out of your nose with an aspirator while you were already upset wouldn't do much to improve your disposition.

-Kevin at Wizbang

If you have babies/little kids who don't always sleep through the night, read Kevin's post.


Go Steelers!

This is fun. This blog is the top Google search result for the term "nfl dynasty."


Go Fred!

Fred Singer, as of 12:15 AM Eastern, is pulling ahead.


United Nations Wants to Rule Internet

Captain Ed hits the nail on the head with a post that begins:

Just when we thought that the United Nations had enough problems trying to keep its peacekeepers and mission management off of prepubescent girls in Africa and its hands off of aid money intended for the starving and oppressed, we find out that Turtle Bay wants to take on a whole new mission. Now the U.N., which brought you the Oil-For-Food scandal and the rape of the Congo, wants to take over the Internet...
The U.N. wants everything, but deserves nothing.


Bush's Classic Conservatism

Ed Haislmaier is recommending this essay about President Bush's foreign policy style in the March 29 International Herald Tribune.


Happens to Be Black

I haven't been following the Michael Jackson trial very much, but I did just notice that Jackson is playing the race card, saying of the charges against him

"... this has kind of been a pattern among black luminaries in this country."
I'm sitting here trying to think of any other adult luminaries who live in theme parks and party with children.

Maybe it is just that the one luminary who does that happens to be black.