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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 13, Issue 8: February 22, 2011

  1. Eland Calls for Real Federal Budget Cuts
  2. BEST Project to Re-examine Climategate Data
  3. New Hope for US-Brazil Relations
  4. Presidents’ Day: Praises and Lamentations
  5. New Blog Posts

1) Eland Calls for Real Federal Budget Cuts

Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty, doesn’t think highly of President Obama’s new federal budget. The White House offers no dramatic new spending cuts and misses an opportunity to forge a bipartisan approach to getting America’s fiscal house in order, he argues.

What would a serious budget proposal—one that seeks to avoid a fiscal Armageddon—have looked like? It would, Eland argues, cut budgets across the federal bureaucracy, including for so-called non-discretionary spending programs, as well as the 12 percent of the federal budget that accounts for domestic discretionary spending.

Eland recommends that “all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.” This won’t happen—for one thing, Obama would need to repudiate his apparent commitment to Keynesian economic policies. But according to Eland, Democratic presidents since Truman have been more successful at controlling federal spending than have their Republican counterparts.

“Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon,” by Ivan Eland (2/16/11) Spanish Translation

“How to Cut the 2011 Federal Budget by 2/3 and Have a $1.3 Trillion Surplus,” by David Theroux (MyGovCost Blog, 2/11/11)

MyGovCost.org

Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Ivan Eland

The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland

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2) BEST Project to Re-examine Climategate Data

Not one of the post-Climategate investigations has attempted to learn how data implicated in the leaked email scandal from the University of East Anglia in November 2009 might have been manipulated. Fortunately, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project has been formed to reconstruct the global temperature record.

“The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not all ‘climate skeptics’—which should enhance their credibility,” writes Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate. “I applaud and support what is being done by the Project—a very difficult but important undertaking.”

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, Singer notes, would gather data from more land stations than had been considered by the Global Historic Climatology Network. “I personally have little faith in the quality of the surface data, having been exposed to the revealing work by Anthony Watts and others,” he continues. “However, I have an open mind on the issue and look forward to seeing the results of the Project in their forthcoming publications.”

“What Do Climate Data Really Show? The Berkeley Climate Data Project,” by S. Fred Singer (American Thinker, 2/21/11)

Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature

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3) New Hope for US-Brazil Relations

Next month Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Chile, El Salvador, and Brazil. His meeting with Brazil—producer of 40 percent of Latin America’s gross domestic product—should be especially interesting. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva bashed the United States at every opportunity, and it seemed at first that his successor, Dilma Rousseff, would follow the same path. After all, most Brazilian leaders have distanced themselves from the United States ever since the end of the Second World War.

But Rouseff, who took office last month, has signaled that she may go in a new direction, according to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, senior fellow at the Independent Institute’s Center on Global Prosperity. If Brasilia does extend a rhetorical olive branch to Washington, the reason may have something to do with its disappointment in China, its top trading partner. “The South American giant complains that Beijing is undercutting its industrial base,” Vargas Llosa writes.

“God knows the United States has done enough to undermine its own status in recent years at a time when others are emerging as potential superpowers,” Vargas Llosa continues. “Still, it is nothing short of pathetic to think that Brazil or any other country can accelerate the decline of the United States, or that it can make itself more powerful by acting like a washed-out 1960s lefty.”

“Obama and Brazil—A Fresh Start?” by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (2/16/11) Spanish Translation

Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

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4) Presidents’ Day: Praises and Lamentations

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln get the lion’s share of accolades on Presidents’ Day, but Mary Theroux, senior vice president at the Independent Institute, makes the case for holding John Tyler in much higher esteem.

“On the prosperity front,” she writes, “Tyler vetoed both the attempt to revive the national bank, and a bill to raise tariffs. His efforts for peace included ending ‘the longest and bloodiest Indian war in U.S. history,’ and cutting the number of troops in the U.S. Army by 33%. He also chose not to respond militarily to both an internal rebellion in Rhode Island, and to a border dispute with Canada, both of which were instead resolved peacefully.”

Unfortunately, most Americans ignore or forget Tyler, along with Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, and Rutherford B. Hayes—the four presidents who scored “Excellent” on Ivan Eland’s Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty Index. Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs laments the imperial role presidents have come to play. With his characteristic wit, he offers a presidential version of the Lord’s Prayer. A favorite line: “Give us this day our daily dole. And forgive us our late tax filings, as we forgive the IRS for refunding our overpayments without interest.”

“Presidential Role Model,” by Mary Theroux (The Beacon, 2/20/11)

“A Presidents’ Day Prayer,” by Robert Higgs (The Beacon, 2/20/11)

“The Oval Office Liars’ Club,” by Robert Higgs (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/24/02)

Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs

Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Ivan Eland

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5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

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