August 11, 2005
Vol. 1, No.
No More Hiding
By Bill Frist
Imagine working your entire life to build
a family business -- a farm, store, motel or
restaurant. Every hour you work and every
decision you make is with the express goal of
growing your business, so you can provide for
your family and pass something on to your
children. Dutifully, you pay your taxes owed,
you weather the droughts, survive the downturns,
and, in the end, you come out ahead.
Now enter the death tax. The reality is that the
business you've worked so hard to pass on to
your family may have to be sold. This may be the
only recourse for your loved ones to pay the
burdensome taxes on your estate.
Think about it: Your employees will lose their
jobs, your community will lose a valuable
service, and in a time of grief, your family
will be forced to part with a piece of their
heritage. This is the harsh and unfair reality
of the death tax, and it's why Congress must act
soon to permanently repeal it.
Commentary: No More
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Conservation could make us more reliant on
By Austan Goolsbee
administration since Richard Nixon’s has railed
against foreign oil—at least when prices are
high. President Bush recently called our
dependence on the stuff a "foreign tax on the
American dream." Indeed, the promise of energy
independence helped the Energy Bill land on
President Bush’s desk at the end of July. As
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist chimed in,
"When we rely on other nations for more than
half our oil supply, we simply put our security
A basic tenet underlying such comments is that,
quite apart from the need to stimulate new
domestic energy sources, we must reduce our
overall demand for oil if we are to reduce our
dependence on foreign sources of the stuff. To
that end the bill provides more than $1 billion
of subsidies for hybrids and home energy
conservation. But there’s a problem with this
line of thinking. It ignores the way oil pricing
really functions, and put simply, it won’t work.
The costs of pumping oil in the U.S. are among
the highest in the world, and the costs in the
Middle East are the lowest. So in fact any
significant reduction in U.S. demand would hit
domestic sources hard but do little to change
the amount of foreign oil we buy.
Blowing up the union to save the union
Will Breakaway Labor model itself on the AARP?
By Matt Miller
Stern's walkout from the AFL-CIO is being
cast variously as a clash of egos, the latest
death knell for organized labor, or trouble for
the Democrats. After all, he was followed by 4.6
million workers from the Teamsters, the United
Food and Commercial Workers, and his own Service
Employees International Union. The truth is,
Stern's move is possibly the most significant
economic event of the year. Not simply because
Stern, 54, is the only leader in recent memory
to actually grow a union, but because he is in
the early stages of something truly ambitious:
forging new organizing models and public
policies to reward work fairly. And here's the
surprise: If CEOs can get over their natural
fear of meeting with him, they might find an
unlikely partner in making America more
competitive and more just.
Okay, I'm gushing. But Stern really does see the
big picture. Unlike your typical union boss, who
seethes as workers get screwed and fat cats take
care of themselves—end of analysis—Stern gets
the irreversible economics of globalization. And
that understanding is driving him to ideas that
could take the labor movement far beyond the
workplace. "We've had this one-size-fits-all
union model built in the 1930s," he says. It had
a great post-war run, but its momentum ended
more than a generation ago. Do we try to revive
that model, he asks, "or do we say, The economy
is different now, and workers need different
kinds of organizations?"
There's a model for the kind of new workers'
group Stern has in mind: AARP. Imagine a new
national membership and advocacy organization
for millions of working people that wielded the
clout in Washington that AARP now enjoys.
Suppose the new "union"—or perhaps it would be
one of a dozen such worker associations
organized around major industries—took over
benefits like health care, pensions, and
training, and companies contributed a
predictable amount into a pool (as opposed to,
say, ever-soaring health costs) for those
purposes. Or suppose the new association mounted
a major campaign on behalf of health coverage
for every American. Or for a mega-version of
wage supplements like the earned income tax
credit that lifted the effective minimum wage to
$10 without putting the full burden on
employers, which would kill jobs.
Stern believes a labor group like that could be
hugely appealing to the 92% of private-sector
tweak Harry Reid
By Steven Miller
If U.S. Senator
Harry Reid honestly thinks human beings would be at
serious risk under the Environmental Protection Agency’s
new radiation standards, he should immediately start
clamoring for an emergency program for the U.S. Capitol,
where radiation exceeds those standards, say junk
science specialists at the Cato Institute.
Reid lambasted newly proposed EPA standards Tuesday as
the product of "voodoo science and arbitrary numbers,"
calling the criteria “the latest attempt by the Bush
Administration to ignore sound science and disregard the
health and safety of Nevadans."
The new EPA rules would limit exposure near the proposed
Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada to 15 millirems a year
for the next 10,000 years. Recently, researchers in
Washington D.C. measured gamma radiation dose rates in a
Capitol building hallway and outside the Thomas
Jefferson Building. They found that individuals in those
locations could receive anywhere from 60 millirems to
260 millirems of gamma radiation per year depending on
the exposure scenario.
"These radiation dose rates are much higher than the EPA
proposed to allow at the planned high-level nuclear
waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada," noted Cato
Institute researcher Steven Milloy, who administers the
Institute’s junkscience.com website project.
"We hope that Sen. Reid will act immediately to protect
Capitol building visitors, employees and future
generations from this radiation hazard,” said Milloy.
“We've asked Sen. Reid to undertake a comprehensive
radiation survey of the Capitol and recommended that
radiation hazard signs be used until the radiation
sources can be removed and disposed in accordance with
hazardous waste regulations," he added.
take this to the bank
By Jack Faris
of Independent Business
the United States House of Representatives
approves legislation by a margin of 424 to 1, that's a
clear indication that the lawmakers believe some aspect
of American law should be changed.
Such a resounding declaration occurred in May
when lawmakers heeded small-business owners' pleas to
remove a 70-year-old ban on allowing interest payments
for business checking accounts.
LVCVA, R&R rebuked
at board meeting
By David McKee
You didn't do
anything wrong -- but don't do it again.
That was the gist of an investigative report on the
controversial handling of the "What happens here, stays
here" slogan by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors
Authority and its longtime PR agency, R&R partners.
The report, prepared by the San Francisco-based firm of
Morrison & Foerster, was released at Tuesday's meeting
of the LVCVA board of directors, presided over by Mayor
Medicaid fraud the price
for cutting red tape?
By Alexa Moutevelis
One of the most
pressing issues related to the influx of illegal
immigrants to the United States involves Medicaid fraud.
In fact, the U.S. Justice Department reports that 47
states allow Medicaid applicants to vouch for their own
legal U.S. citizenship when applying for the benefits
and more than half of those states produce no follow up
in trying to verify the self-declarations.
Jack Martin, special projects director for the
Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told
Cybercast News Service that this can lead to ineligible
illegal immigrants abusing the system.
"It is idealistic to expect that our 11 to 12 million
illegal aliens in the country who have lied or broken
our laws to get into our country are not going to lie
about U.S. citizenship in order to access this benefit,"
Martin said. He added that "there's basically no way to
know" how many people are getting Medicaid illegally."
audits of "S" corporations
By Steven Mihailovich
of "S" corporations
may have one more thing to worry about: The Internal
Revenue Service is set to audit 5,000 of the smaller
corporate entities as part of a three-year investigation
of who pays income tax.
The audits will become part of the National Research
Program launched in 2002. The agency suspects that the S
classification, originally intended to help the little
guy, has become a tax evasion haven for big operators.
'California redistricting measure stays off ballot'
By Steve Lawrence
The Associated Press
A state appeals court
refused to put Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to
change the redistricting process back on November's
special election ballot, prompting the governor to
charge the ruling "ignored the will of nearly one
The governor's ballot initiative seeks to take away
state lawmakers' power to draw congressional and
legislative boundaries in California and instead shift
that responsibility to a panel of retired judges.
Furniture mart visitors
avoid downtown hotels
62,000 people who attended the recent opening of the
World Market Center have left town, but few downtown Las
Vegas hotels were the beneficiaries of the free-spending
Conventioneers stayed away from the aging offerings down
the street, opting instead for the luxury resorts of the
Appeals court: Illegals can't legally challenge Prop 200
By Melanie Hunter
An appeals court
has rejected a bid by illegal immigrants to overturn
Arizona's Proposition 200, which requires the state to
verify the immigration status of people applying for
benefits and services they are not allowed to receive
under federal law.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed their
challenge on the grounds that the illegal immigrants had
no legal standing.
Teacher unions join
By Susan Jones
The nation's two
largest teachers' unions are joining the
anti-Wal-Mart campaign, urging Americans to buy their
back-to-school supplies somewhere else.
At various press conferences around the nation on
Wednesday, the National Education Association and the
American Federation of Teachers joined other union
officials in a campaign called "Send Wal-Mart Back to
It's part of the "Wake Up Wal-Mart" project, a
union-inspired effort to pressure the large and
profitable company that does not welcome union labor --
and promises "always -- low prices." Speakers at the
press conferences were to present Wal-Mart with a
failing report card.
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