Monthly Archives: March 2013


We’re upside down and debt crash is coming

(Centennial Fellow) In the movie “Flight,” something major goes wrong with a passenger jet. It starts plunging downward, the pilot amazingly, incredibly rolls the plane upside down to keep it just barely under control, and, at this point, if President Barack Obama were watching, he’d probably stand up to reassure the audience. “We don’t have an immediate crisis,” he would say, an encouraging smile on his face. “The plane is in a sustainable place.”

Colo. voucher ruling vindicates Constitution

(‘76 Contributor) In a huge victory for school choice, the Colorado Court of Appeals last month overturned the injunction placed on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program (CSP). The CSP is Colorado’s only school–choice voucher program. Any student who lives within the Douglas County School District, and has resided there for at least one year, is eligible to apply to receive up to 75 percent of the state per–pupil funding to attend a school of choice. If there are more applicants than scholarships, a lottery is held to award the vouchers. Parents may also pay out of pocket to supplement the voucher coverage.

Randstanding renews an important argument

(Centennial Fellow) U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster was not only enormously fun to watch, but demonstrated a piece of political genius to boot. If nothing else, the filibuster was a symbolic victory for conservatives sorely in need of a public show of resistance against an increasingly engorged leviathan. On the merits of Sen. Paul’s arguments, we enter more muddled territory, which made the episode all the more fascinating to watch. It recalls one of the historically central arguments in American politics—that of the ontological role of the state in general and the limits of executive power specifically.

TV news can give you the blues

(Centennial Fellow) Last July, a Gallup poll said 21 percent of American adults had a “great deal” of confidence in TV news, which is odd even though it is a minority, seeing as how there is so little really, truly to have confidence in. The wisdom of the majority in not much trusting TV is surely more justified. Yes, there is some splendid reporting. And even if liberal bias still dominates, there’s Fox News, born in the ‘90s, now outrunning its cable competitors in ratings and affording the public interpretations and subject choices decidedly less dependent on neo–socialist, big–government amiability.

Zealots endanger our freedom

(Denver Post, Mar. 25) To get at the devil, says the young zealot Will Roper in “A Man for All Seasons,” Robert Bolt’s play, “I’d cut down every law in England.” Thomas More, the wise old churchman, comes back at him: “When the last law was down, and the devil turned round on you—where would you hide, the laws all being flat? Do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?”

Why Republicans are right to draw the line on taxes

(Centennial Fellow) The culture of Washington is one of compromise. Go along. Get along. Get something done—good, bad or otherwise. Sometimes compromise is necessary. When the levers of power are divided, reality dictates two choices: live with the status quo or do some “horse trading” in order to make changes that are marginally better.

Australia, Empire, and the Deeper Exceptionalism

(Sydney) Ranking sixth among the world’s geographical behemoths—behind Russia, Canada, China, United States, and Brazil—Australia at 2.9 million square miles is almost identical in size and similar in shape to America’s original forty-eight states. Very sparsely populated like neighboring New Zealand Australia’s population of twenty–two million is smaller than Texas. By reason of limited access to scarce water resources 90% of Australians are concentrated on just 2.6% of the country’s real estate.

Dangerous doctrine of constitutional avoidance

(’76 Contributor) “Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority,” warned Abraham Lincoln in an 1857 speech. Yet the United States Supreme Court has grown too comfortable ruling on precedent or statute and avoiding constitutional questions—and the citizens of the United States are to blame. The precedents behind Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, argued last month, prove this judicial deconstruction.

Head On TV: Scalia’s Inconvenient Truth

In blaming the Voting Rights Act for “racial entitlements,” Justice Antonin Scalia sounded like Archie Bunker, says Susan Barnes–Gelt in the March round of Head On TV debates. Not so, says John Andrews; the VRA does in fact insult blacks and Hispanics with favoritism. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over school vouchers, the federal budget sequester, municipal tracking bans, and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997 and a presentation of Centennial Institute since 2009. Here are all five scripts for March:

‘Opportunity scholarships’ in DC repay taxpayers 162%

(’76 Contributor) Very few government programs can claim a positive return on taxpayer investment. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) is one of them. Launched in 2004, the DCOSP provides scholarships of approximately $8,500 for K–8 students or $12,000 for high school students from low-income families to attend private schools of their choice.