Congratulations to my friend, Chris DeRose, on the release of his second book, Congressman Lincoln: The Making of America’s Greatest President.
Chris’ book came out today as he launches his book tour.
Here is the Amazon description of Chris’ book:
A biography of the early years and personal struggles of the famous frontier politician who led the United States during its darkest hours, centering on his little-known congressional years. This the story of an Abraham Lincoln many Americans aren’t at all familiar with. Lincoln as a reluctant husband in an abusive relationship; Lincoln who came within moments of fighting a duel with a political adversary; the first and only president to patent an invention; the first future president to argue before the Supreme Court.
Though remembered as a Republican, and even more as a figure that transcended partisan politics, Congressman Lincoln reveals Abraham Lincoln as a master political strategist and member of the Whig Party, the one to which he belonged for the majority of his career. Before he appealed to the America’s purest instincts, he argued “The Whigs have fought long enough for principle and ought to begin to fight for success.” Before “malice toward none,” Lincoln bragged of his opponent “I’ve got the preacher by the balls.”
Lincoln the policymaker is remembered for his conduct of the Civil War, and his handling of slavery. But even during his Presidency, Lincoln was concerned with a broad array of issues. As a party leader, candidate for Congress, and member of the House, Lincoln worked on stimulus spending, international trade, banking, and even the Post Office. And it would be in the Thirtieth Congress that Lincoln would first move to halt the expansion of slavery, carefully crafting a bill for gradual emancipation in the District of Columbia.
This is the story of America at a critical time. The tale of a Congress that ended a conflict, unsure of what they had gained aside from a seat strapped to a powderkeg, of a party aiming to win the Presidency at all costs, paving the path for its own extinction, and of a country charting an irreversible course toward Civil War. Moreover, it is the story of the man who lead the United States during its darkest hours and his role at the center of this gathering storm. This is the story of Congressman Abraham Lincoln.
By Stephen Slivinski
It’s like a bad re-run. A few legislators are trying to revive Arizona’s film production tax credit (SB 1170) that lapsed in 2011.
According to the last annual report on the effectiveness of the credit, in 2009 four media companies completed production on credit-approved projects. After taking into consideration the small bit of sales tax revenue the film generated while in production, the state paid out a net of just over $2 million in tax credits. That’s an average of half a million dollars per project.
How many jobs did that create? About 41 jobs directly related to the project and another 20 that were presumably from the ripple effect on the local economy. An analysis by economists at the W.P. Carey School at Arizona State University shows that these jobs were temporary and, thus, the post-production employment impact of this tax credit was “minimal.”
States like Washington and Iowa terminated their film credit programs last year and others have suspended them until their effectiveness can be studied. The general consensus among analysts is that these credits cost more than they’re worth and their existence owes more to star-struck policymakers than it does to economic logic.
The legislature this year, just as they did last year, should avoid putting Arizona taxpayers back on the hook for film production. Arizona doesn’t need to buy another ticket to this overpriced flop.
Stephen Slivinski is a Senior Economist for the Goldwater Institute.
Arizona Department of Commerce: Motion Picture Production Tax Incentive Annual Report for 2009 (PDF)
Tax Foundation: Report on Film Tax Credit (2011)
by Nick Dranias
Many local governments in Arizona want us to believe they have gone to extreme lengths to tighten their budget belts. But when you hear that Tucson is using its sign laws to squelch artistic murals on the historic Rialto Theater because the murals aren’t purely for artistic purposes—they also promote shows at the theater—your realize budgets can’t be that bare. Then there are the pool cops of Maricopa County, who are aiming to shut down weekend pool parties used by Phoenix-area resorts to boost their business during this recession.
Any government that can waste resources on such measures has too many idle hands on the payroll. The fact that local governments can’t recognize this shows that streamlining budgets requires more than a commitment to saving money. It requires a guiding philosophy of limited government.
In many cases, cities and counties cannot focus limited resources on core functions because they cannot identify what functions are core. Laws against genuine public nuisances have no higher standing than crack downs on wall murals and bans on resort pool parties where guests might eat or drink too close to the water. Resources are stretched because government officials are using them to perform needless and often abusive tasks.
Fortunately, local governments can look right at the Arizona Constitution for guidance on identifying core functions: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
Officials who accept this basic principle of limited government are unlikely to prosecute businesses for such offenses as painting wall murals on their own property that also advertise their business and planning some outdoor fun to attract more customers. No function of government is a core function if it has nothing to do with protecting and maintaining individual rights.
Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is Director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.
Brought to you by the Arizona Republican Party
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the state house,
Democrats were complaining, continuing to grouse.
With the budget a bust, and no money to spare,
The Democrat solution? Never cut! Don’t despair!
“Blame Brewer, blame Republicans,” the Dems all agree,
“We have no answers or solutions!” They would decree.
Lujan and Sinema nestled snug in their beds,
With visions of stimulus flowing in from the feds.
Running out of options and all out of dough,
They seemingly just say – “nothing must go!”
As Republicans work into the night to close the gap,
It’s as if Democrats just woke from a long summers nap!
When out on the Capitol lawn there arose such a clatter,
The media sprang from its perch to see what’s the matter.
Away to the windows they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But the state’s AG, and the ninth floor so near.
The perennial candidate so lively so quick,
His repeated defeats, so comic, so tragic.
More rapid than eagles his patrons they came,
He whistled, he shouted, and called them by name.
“Now Kyrsten, now David! Now Albert and Rebecca!
Now Chad! Now Phil, Martha and Anna!
Let’s hang them out to dry, let’s blame them for it all!
Next year’s an election, we must hinder and stall!”
“But what if the voters should find out our course?”
Said the group’s leader without an ounce of remorse.
“You shouldn’t be worried,” said the AG,
“The third times the charm, and you’ll surely see,
A special present for taxpayers around our great state.
Return to reckless spending, and a burdensome tax rate.”
And they heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Good riddance to prudence, and thanks for your support,
You’ve set the state back for which there is no retort.
I’ll see you on the trail, for it’s still in my blood,
Even if year after year, they’ve found a me a dud.”