Over the years, the Federal Trade Commission’s promotion of "consumer protection" has escalated, and a dominant role the agency currently holds involves regulating corporate marketing strategies. The FTC’s latest victim in the arena of consumer protection is food marketing, more specifically, food marketing to children.
Legislated in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Trade Commission Act was a "trust-busting" prescription of the Progressive Era, but it further evolved into a broad, regulatory regime that now envelopes the private marketplace.
As the August 2 deadline for the debt ceiling approaches, Republicans and Democrats are preparing for battle over the vote. In bold language, Republicans have demanded that major spending cuts accompany any increase of the debt limit. Bipartisan talks on the subject have achieved nothing, as Democrats have sidestepped any mention of the debt ceiling. Some elected officials have grown frustrated with this tactic, especially Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. In a clip from C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” the Kentucky Senator announced his intent to filibuster any legislation unrelated to the debt ceiling:
I was part of a group this week that said, "No more, we’re tired of talking about extraneous issues." We’ve had not one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee. I’m part of the freshmen group that said, "No more. We’re not going to let them go to any [other] issue if we have a say in it." Next week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals,” declared Senator Paul.
Unsurprisingly, the unions have indicated that they will be endorsing and supporting President Obama in 2012. However, Fox News notes that the labor movement is confronted by a diminishing membership, and that the relationship between Obama and the unions has suffered a bit, therefore making 2012 a more difficult campaign than that of 2008 for the labor movement.
First, unions are faced with the difficulties of justifying massive spending for political candidates while suffering from diminished membership.
Fox News reports:
Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview over the weekend that the austerity measures being imposed on Greece in exchange for additional bail-out funding from the IMF will result in “the sovereignty of Greece [being] massively limited. ” He added, “One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone.”
Although the average Greek citizen has no interest whatsoever in such austerity measures being imposed on him by outsiders (recent polls show 80 percent opposed), the socialist-controlled parliament, headed by President George Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, has agreed to accept such intervention in order to obtain funds sufficient for the country to avoid default, at least for the time being. Those measures include higher taxes and much tighter enforcement of tax collection measures, as well as selling off major publicly owned properties in order to raise $8 billion by the end of the year.
After weeks of negotiations between Democrat Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-dominated legislature, no resolution to Minnesota’s $5 billion budget shortfall was reached and, except for some essential services, the Minnesota state government shut down at midnight, June 30. Governor Dayton maintained that he had done all that he could to meet the Republicans halfway, but he was determined that higher taxes on wealthy citizens was the only way to close the budget gap. He said, “They [the Republicans] don’t want to raise revenues on anyone, and I believe the wealthiest Minnesotans can afford to pay more taxes.” According to Phil Krinkle, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, the wealthiest Minnesotans are already carrying a disproportionate share of the burden with the top 2 percent of earners paying 30 percent of the state’s income taxes.
The State of Washington is a Democrat stronghold. It has been decades since Democrats have lost a senatorial or gubernatorial race. Washington is also blessed with abundant natural beauty, excellent harbors, and an agreeable (if rather wet) climate. There are plenty of reasons why a company suc has Boeing would want to operate in Washington. But there are also plenty of reasons why Boeing and other aeronautical companies might want to operate in other places.
Wichita, for example, was long the center of small aircraft production in America. Houston and Cape Canaveral in Florida were seen, as early as Jules Verne's day, as the best locations for a moon shot. Most air traffic controllers are trained in Oklahoma City. The Wright Brothers, though from Ohio, chose the Carolinas for the first manned flight. The location of enterprise is the logical consequence of a balancing of different interests. Cities, for example, often gain donations for high culture (like symphony orchestras) by touting how this will attract business.
If the current debt ceiling negotiations fail in time to avoid the drop-dead default date of August 2, liberal law professor Garrett Epps has the answer for President Obama: Ignore the ceiling and keep on spending.
He even has a speech for the President ready to go:
My fellow Americans, I am speaking to you tonight to let you know the steps I have taken to ensure that America lives up to its obligations during the current political crisis….
Unwilling to be intimidated by the often-violent mass protests of radicals, Greek lawmakers passed yesterday the second and final austerity bill that was essential in order for the country to receive crucial bailout funds to prevent the government from defaulting by mid-July.
The second austerity measure passed the Greek Parliament by a vote of 155 to 136, just one day after the main austerity bill was approved. During the vote yesterday, rioters clashed with police just outside Parliament.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Washington that the only occasions on which the United States Constitution is invoked with any reverence by the political establishment is when it appears to support the expansion of federal power. The topic du jour in the capital is the 14th Amendment, and whether it authorizes President Obama, in effect, to ignore the congressionally-imposed debt ceiling and instruct the Treasury to issue new debt to pay for old. For the record, the 14th Amendment’s Section Four states:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Nearly one million union workers in the United Kingdom have begun a strike to protest the government’s austerity plans. The protest is the first of the “summer of discontent” and is sure to cause major disruptions at airports and schools.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services Union, warned of the strike, “On Thursday we will see hundreds of thousands of civil and public servants on strike. We fully expect to be joined by millions more in the autumn.”
The Blaze reported:
The first test comes Thursday, when 750,000 public-sector workers — from teachers to driving examiners to customs officials — walk out for the day, part of a growing wave of opposition to the Conservative-led government’s deficit-cutting regime of tax hikes, benefit curbs and spending cuts.