The IRS Inspector General has confirmed at 292 conservative groups seeking tax exempt status in 2012 were targeted for review, while only 6 progressive groups were targeted.  The IG also admitted that 100% of Tea Party groups were reviewed, while only 30% of progressive groups were subject to scrutiny.  More details here.

Never before in our history have Americans been called upon to face three grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us.  We face a disintegrating economy, a weakened defense and an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity.

The major issue of this campaign is the direct political, personal and moral responsibility of Democratic party leadership-in the White House and in Congress-for this unprecedented calamity which has befallen us.  They tell us they have done the most that humanly could be done.  They say that the United States has had its day in the sun; that our nation has passed its zenith.  They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems; that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities.

My fellow citizens I utterly reject that view.  The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backwards ourselves.  Those who believe we can have no business leading the nation.  I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose.  We have come together here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation’s highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something about it.

We need a rebirth of the American tradition of leadership at every level of government and in private life as well.  The United States of America is unique in world history because it has a genius for leaders – many leaders – on many levels.  But, back in 1976, Mr. Carter said, “Trust me.”  And a lot of people did.  Now, many of those people are out of work.  Many have seen their savings eaten away by inflation.  Many others on fixed incomes, especially the elderly, have watched helplessly as the cruel tax of inflation wasted away their purchasing power.  And, today a great many who trusted Mr. Carter wonder if we can survive the Carter policies of national defense.

“Trust me” government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us.  My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties.  The trust is where it belongs – in the people.  The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders.  That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact; an agreement among themselves to build a community and abide by its laws.

Ronald Reagan,  Republican National Convention Acceptance Speech, 7/17/80

For our 300th posting, we present an abbreviated version of Friedrich A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (originally posted in Look Magazine, 1945).

The Road to Serfdom is not yet in the public domain.  (It is available at your local bookstore, of course.)  However, The institute of Economic Affairs does offer a condensed version, along with the essay, The Intellectuals and Socialism, and commentary here.

Joshua DuBois has an exceptional piece in Newsweek discussing the challenges facing black men in our society.  DuBois interviewed dozens of experts, social scientists, educators, political activists, writers and religious leaders to explore why millions of black men face chronic poverty, unemployment, incarceration and addiction.   His discussion is thoughtful, serious and, yes, a bit difficult to read.  As DuBois admits, “the reasons for this crisis are complex—as are the solutions.”  But it is well worth reading and thinking about the issues DuBois raises.

For me, the question isn’t whether or not the “War on Drugs” or “War on Poverty” have failed the African-American community.  The results clearly show they have.  The real question is what to do next.  How do we provide opportunity for change while ensuring responsibility for individual choices for black youth (and everyone else)?   Part of what DuBois is saying is that society must care for, and especially black men must care for, young boys growing up facing extreme barriers.  But that care must be visible and tangible to those in crisis.  If incarceration has failed to change patterns of poverty and crime, so has billions of dollars spent on social programs.  What we have done recently and in the past hasn’t really worked.  We need to try something else.

Despite the Sequester, and contrary to an administrative directive, the IRS is planning on paying out $70 Million in bonuses to employees this week.

irs

More details are available here.