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  • Morning Bell: Dodd Bill is Just the Beginning of 'Too Big to Fail'

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) failed to end debate on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) financial regulation bill yesterday when two Democrats broke ranks to vote with conservatives. The Dodd bill is already a big government monstrosity, expanding powers for existing Washington regulators as well as creating and empowering new ones. But frightened by the defeat of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and the near defeat of Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) issued statements following their “no” voted demanding that the bill further increase the power of Washington bureaucrats.

    Specifically, Cantwell wants to criminalize violations of the bill’s extremely complex new derivatives provisions, and Feingold is demanding the resurrection of Depression Era prohibitions on banking diversification. Not only has our federal government already criminalized the violation of far too many  arcane regulations, but the derivatives provisions already in the bill are sure to drive investment, jobs and revenues out of our domestic markets and into foreign ones. And Feingold’s claims that restoration of the Glass-Steagall would prevent “too big to fail” bear no relation to reality. None of the major entities at the core of the 2008 financial crisis would have been affected by Glass-Steagall Act because none of them are commercial banks. Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all dug their financial crisis graves by making terrible decisions that would have been perfectly legal under a Glass-Steagall regime.

    Speaking of Fannie and Freddie, there is still nothing in this bill that addresses the perverse incentives and moral hazard that is created when the federal government sticks its nose into the housing market. Last year, the two financed or backed about 70% of single-family mortgage loans. They hold about $5 trillion in their investment portfolios. Both are losing money fast, with those losses being covered by the U.S. taxpayer. Last month, Freddie announced it had lost $8 billion in the first quarter of 2010 and would be asking for another $10.6 billion in taxpayer help. Not to be outdone, Fannie announced an $11.5 billion loss and asked for another $8.4 billion from taxpayers. That’s atop the nearly $145 billion of your dollars that Fannie and Freddie have already received. Fannie and Freddie alone prove this bill does nothing to end “too big to fail.” Fannie and Freddie should be partly wound down, the rest broken up and sold off — not replaced, reformed, or rejuvenated. The Dodd bill does none of that.

    This bill extends the power of Washington at the expense of Economic Freedom in other ways too. It creates a permanent new bailout authority that undermines our bankruptcy system and the rule of law. And the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is empowered to regulate the financial transactions of virtually any business including motorcycle manufacturers, retailers, car dealers and even coffee shops.

    On Sunday, columnist Ross Douthat described the Dodd bill as just one example of “the real story of our time. From Washington to Athens, the economic crisis is producing consolidation rather than revolution, the entrenchment of authority rather than its diffusion, and the concentration of power in the hands of the same elite that presided over the disasters in the first place. … If Robert Rubin’s mistakes helped create an out-of-control financial sector, then naturally you need Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers — Rubin’s protégés — to set things right. … But their fixes tend to make the system even more complex and centralized, and more vulnerable to the next national-security surprise, the next natural disaster, the next economic crisis. Which is why, despite all the populist backlash and all the promises from Washington, this isn’t the end of the ‘too big to fail’ era. It’s the beginning.”

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    47 Responses to Morning Bell: Dodd Bill is Just the Beginning of 'Too Big to Fail'

    1. mark shevitz, santa says:

      You state none of the major entities were commercial banks. It is hard to forget Citicorp.

    2. mark shevitz, santa says:

      You state that none of the major entities of the financial crisis were commercial banks. It is hard to forget Mr. Rubin's Citibank as a major poster child of the crisis,Your point is well taken, but we cannot give our weakest sister a pass.

    3. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      Let's just have the Volecker Rule. Banks can't, repeat, CAN'T, play poker, blackjack,

      or craps, (dice), with depositors' money. That's all we need. That and the reimposition

      of Glass-Steigal.

    4. Alexander S. Milne says:

      What is the Republicans solution to the Bill?

    5. Jeff Dover, Fountain says:

      Where does the concept of "too big to fail" come from? It is small business — not big — which is the engine of our economy and the incubator of "jobs". Every big business was first a small one. That's where they come from. Without small businesses, the jobs they create and the wealth they generate, there are no big businesses. If the small ones fail, then the big ones will perish as well. Not so the reverse.

      The Amercian small businessman is what is "too big to fail". Obama seems to know that because his policies strike a direct hit on those small businesses while he puts out the smokescreen about "big" businesses. Whether or not you believe as I do that his policies are for that purpose, the effect is the same.

    6. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      The enemy we have to fear,is the enemy within—-Washington, DC. Our Country is being destroyed by these numbnuts who call themselves: "Progressives". In reality they are causing such damage that their true name should be: "Regressives".

      Hypocrites and hooligans, not to mention traitors, are what they are.

    7. Greg Burton, NY says:

      I have a different take on the bill, as I have seenthus far: Its pseudonym shoudn't be "Too Big To Fail", it should be "Too Big Not To Take Over!" The parts I have seen thus far have stated in plain language that the government can step in at its own discretion and use whatever means it feels necessary, including infusions of capital (forced purchases of bank equity), or loans (potentially set up as convertible notes, convertible into equity).

      Both of these have already been done with the first banking bailout, and also with the auto makers' bailouts. I think the Too Big To Fail nomenclature is just too magnanimous for their already proven methods of government takeover of private industry.

    8. Al Reasin, Conowingo says:

      So now under the cover of a Wall Street reform bill the majority wants to

      invade my privacy even more. And here I thought the 14th Amendment

      protected privacy as in a woman's right to chose; and I would hope also my

      personal health records and day to day financial transactions. But under

      Subtitle G of Senator Dodd's draft bill, on page 1417, there is a

      requirement that financial transactions records be maintained and reported

      'for each branch, automated teller machine at which deposits are accepted,

      and other deposit taking service facility with respect to any financial

      institution, the financial institution shall maintain a record of the

      number and dollar amounts of deposit accounts of customers.'

      What's worse, banks will be required to submit these records to the new

      super regulatory agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

      The CFPA will be allowed to use this information for any purpose 'as

      permitted by law' under CFPA rules — rules set by CFPA themselves (page

      1419). This is still in the bill as of today..

      Where is my privacy protected!

    9. P. Griffin, Indiana says:

      Why would the American people trust Senator Dodd, who is up to his ears in corruption with Fannie and Freddie, as well as other too-numerous-to-count sleazy legislative deals during his long career as one of our "public servants"? This bill he's put together is one last pig-in-a-poke monstrosity that he hopes to saddle the taxpayers with before he finally leaves office. He doesn't possess one iota of common sense, but somehow he realized that it was best to announce his retirement rather than be defeated in his next election. Of course, he's taking his fat pension and gold-plated healthcare plan with him, so who can feel sorry for him? Certainly none of the ordinary hard-working citizens who have suffered the consequences of his being in the Senate and the harmful, crippling, unconstitutional legislation he's helped heap on us over the years. Too bad the great majority of us can't look forward to the same carefree retirement he has managed for himself.

    10. Drew Page, IL says:

      Bill Clinton should be held accountable for the failure of Fannie and Freddie. It was Mr. Clinton who put the Community Reinvestment Act of Jimmy Carter on steroids, issuing quotas to banks to make mortgage loans to people who couldn't possibly afford to make the payments. George Bush also needs to be held accountable for his failure to control the buying up of sub-prime mortgages by these two institutions. It's a one thing to want everyone who desires it the opportunity of owning their own home. It's another thing entirely to strap the taxpayers with the bill for such altruism.

      Those in government are supposed to be stewards of the taxpayers, not the fulfillers of dreams at taxpayer expense. When you work hard, do without luxuries and put your money in a savings account at your bank to provide for your retirement or your children's college education, you have every right to expect that money will be secure and will earn interest. What would you think, if after 20 or 30 years of saving, you went to the bank to withdraw your money only to learn that the bank had no money because they lent it to people who couldn't pay it back? The bank explained that they lent the money to people who were very nice and dreamed of owning their own homes. Would you be likely to say, "Well gee, if you gave my money away to nice people who dreamed of owning their own homes and couldn't pay the money back, I guess it's ok. I guess I'm just out a couple of hundred thousand dollars."? This is exactly what Fannie and Freddie did to U.S. taxpayers.

      Yet Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George Bush get the royal treatment of retired Presidents whereever they go. The "Honorable" Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are distinguished members of the Senate and House drawing big paychecks and fat pensions. Franklin Raines not only made a big salary for himself, but took $90 million dollars in bonuses over a six year stint as the head of Fannie Mae.

      ALL OF THIS AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. And all done in the name of fulfilling the American dream of owning your own home. All of these people should be in jail for allowing this to happen, or for not putting a stop to it. If they had worked for Enron and had done the same thing, you can bet they would be in jail today.

    11. bigdave ocala fl says:

      At this time in history the GREAT SHIP AMERICA has a new crew which has never sailed before, refuses to read any books about it, continues to sail against the wind, refuses to enlist the aid of anyone with knowledge and experience, lies about the course they have set, chooses other shipmates who have demonstated a hatred for sailing and in fact have attempted to sink other ships and some successfully, and a news media which atches the shanannigans and raves about the zigzagging, calling those who object to the CAPTAIN"S causes of all the sea sickness…teabaggers and racists. This crew is adding more weight daily, the ship is listing horribly, and the Captain's only decision is to add more weight…on the left side…once we sink..it will be hell trying to raise this ship.

    12. Linda Biamonte, Egg says:

      This once again shows congeress re-regulates regulation NOT reform it. This would be a simple solution REPEAL Gramm Leach Bliley ACT of 1999 which repealed the Glass Steagall provision to stop banking, Investment and insurance companies from colluding. This repeal of Glass Steagall had the provision which created the "Too Big To Fail" problem and the derivatives.

    13. Jim Roumeliotis - Hu says:

      It is just beyond me that the Democrats actually believe they are improving this country and its economic state by fabricating these senseless laws that have no reason, function or need in our structure. Why is it that our politicians feel that unless they are making laws they are not doing their job? What ever happened to the nation leaders that ‘Protected our rights and the Constitution” by allowing the laws to remain simple and enforceable.

    14. TaterSalad says:

      This bill will fail, just like Chris Dodd……..who is also a failure to the American people. As one of the biggest crooks in America, along with Obama and Braney Franks, these pathetic morons will go down in history as just that….pathetic crooks!

    15. Lil, San Diego says:

      How are we expected to have any confidence in any bill proposed by Senator Dodd? This is the man who received "special considerations" from his bankers and then claimed "he didn't know he was receiving 'special considerations'!" As HF stated Rubin started this mess compounded by Dodd & Frank (Barney) and now we are supposed to be assured that Geithner & Summers know how to solve this mess!! This is just another ploy to allow the Fed more power and more intrusion into our lives and businesses! Obviously this Administration is so elitist that they now readily show their contempt for the business acumen of the American public!

    16. Normca says:

      The proof the bill is not for the people, but for the democrats, who have longed wanted the provisions is that Fannie and Freddie are not a part of the bill. The CRA and these two government entities and Carter and Clinton are the root of the melt down with Obama, led by Emanuel taking advantage. This is just another step in the breaking down of America and remaking it in Obama's image. And the so called Nasty Republicans are rightfully blocking it. And for those who say the Republicans do not have an alternative again, when the head is buried in the main stream media, you'll continue to be brain dead. Its the cry, the Republicans are protecting corporations again or protecting the too big too fail. Rather it is this bill, being pushed by democrats, that does this. "Have to be little before big" How pathetic.

    17. gary k says:

      POLITICIANS = ECONOMIC MORONS

    18. MMH, Colorado says:

      No skin in the game keeps the market from doing it's job. Be allowed to fail, including no bailing out worthless bonds so big companies like Goldman Sachs can prosper no matter what, and allow the market to do it's job. I trust the market more than man as I trust the laws of the Constitution more than I trust the laws of lawyers that are always changing. It is much easier to hit a target that is standing still.

    19. Daniel Dyer, Stoning says:

      You state that neither the Glass-Steagall regime nor the Volcker rule to restrict commercial banks from proprietary market trading would have prevented the 2008 financial crisis and therefore are not relevant to the current need for financial reform. Your reasoning appears to be based on the research report you published on February 22, 2010 by David C. John that the Volcker rule would not reduce financial risk. That report glossed over several issues: (1) using government-insured deposits to engage in capital market activity, (2) justifying bailouts in part to protect depositors, (3) the Fed's giving banks free money at the expense of depositors (savers) by setting interest rates near zero, and (4) mis-allocating capital from productive investment in the economy into zero-sum growth speculation. What real financial reform does Heritage recommend, other than break up by the Volcker rule, to make the six largest banks tolerant to failure?

    20. toledofan says:

      Here's my take on all of this; the folks in Congress think they know everything about everything and because they know all about everything, it makes them think they are the only ones that can fix the problem. It's a toungue twisister, but, the reality is that they jusdt know enough sometimes to be dangerous. Why would we believe anything these guys, especially Dodd, Frank, Reid or Pelosi say, they are the ones that got us into the mess with Fannie and Freddie in the 1st place. Secondly, these people are responsible for TARP, a couple of failed stimulus bills, an unemployment rate over 10%, a bigger that ever one year deficeit, a swine flu scare, that cost billions, failed border protection and a healthcare bill with costs that keeps growing each day and many other mistakes and we should believe these people are acting in our best interest. Not today.

    21. Robert Baldassari, T says:

      What did you expect from this moron? Drew Page from IL.. You have it wrong. Bush tried to get legislation passed but bawnny fwanks covered for Dodd as they are on the same Com. Infact Fwanks came out on MSM and said Fannie and Freddie are just fine there is nothing to worry about like some sort of Jedi mind trick. Clinton and the Dems are responsible for the Fair Housing Act. These guys running the country are like a bunch of Monday Morning quartebacks, they talk a good game but don't know how the game is actually played… and now we are going to get an Islamic cultural center in NYC just a block from the WTC site.

    22. wade, texas says:

      vote em all out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    23. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      Nothing is too big to fail, including our oun Government. Especially thiese people in control at this moment. They all need to be replaced.

    24. Dave, Provo, UT says:

      For over 100 years no local banker would lend money to construct homes in the flood plain of the local river. Then Wells Fargo, Key bank. etc moved into our area and convinced our local governments to look the other way and their loan money built million dollar homes along its banks. And who pays for the flood losses, river channeling etc. You guessed it, the local tax payers. On a greatly magnified scale we have the Feds involved in regulating the monetary and banking system and we the tax payers do and will pay for their lack of true over sight and not including Fredie Mac, Fanny May, FHA and the Federal Reserve. Do the Demigods, I mean the Democrats really believe the American people are so stupid not to see through their butt protecting ploys?

    25. EdZ,Coeur d' Al says:

      .D., Page: Bush has some responsiblities he iS reSponsible for, but never forget who controlled the congress. My opinion is that this all about POWER, whiich Obama, Reid and Pelosi are and have been building and which will change our country drastically to socialism. Only question in my mind is, can we change our country back when we get rid of the three destroyers? If we are to survive as a Republic, we MUST slow O,R,and P down, NOW!

    26. Leith Wood Richmond, says:

      Another takeover from Obamaland. Disgusting. Why would we trust anything that Dodd or Franks are involved in? Why are Fannie and Freddie getting a pass? Corruption and lying abound. Wake up America and throw these traitors out.

    27. Billie says:

      poor, poor, pitiful reid. poor, poor, pitiful reid. so against freedom, responsibility, accountability. So lacking of all human qualities good people live by. poor, poor, pitiful reid. I'm sorry, I meant poor, poor, pitiful American government at all levels. As weak as the government is, they're spreading it amongst many!

    28. Dave Schraub, Coates says:

      Well the dems prove again how traitorous they are, they ruined the economy to win a election. They force health care down our throats, crap and trade, own 95% of the mortgages, auto industry, banks, and now there is no limit to their treachery, they bring the president of Mexico, here to talk to congress and down talk our country, that's not the bad part,the bad part is the standing ovations of the socialist democrats. These traitors have no shame. But that's just my opinion. So liberals put your heads back up your butts.

    29. Nancy, Wilmington, N says:

      Americans watch the Obama "Progressives" carry out a Sociaist revolution before our eyes on all manner of media day after day. It's surreal to observe the advance of this sledgehammer coup d'etat. We earnestly discuss the odds of Republicans "taking back power" in November (God willing and Acorn voter fraud notwithstanding) as if it's just another election. Republicans in Congress maneuver carefully around each of the bizarrely larcenous proposals the Dems offer up to be voted on as "legislation," trying to guess how it will affect their chances of reelection. Conservatives view the apocalyptically destructive Obama regime with shocked recognition of its meaning to our country, our lives and our progeny. Maybe the Tea Party Movement can save us from sliding faster than we thought possible down into the black hole of a Soviet Union totalitarian lifestyle. Can the neophyte Tea Party David slay the Radical Goliath, which has spent at least 60 years building a giant juggarnaut of an organization? Pray for a miracle.

    30. UpsetVoter says:

      This should wrap up Washington's latest spider web of new regulation and control. There is nothing left for them to regulate.

      The worst provision is the consumer protection agency, with unfettered powers to write any rule necessary for the 'protection' of the consumer. This new unaccountable regulatory body is surely to know what's best for the consumer – a like-minded commonality of Democratic flavor. Washington's obsession for power and control is demonstrated perfectly by this new monstrosity.

    31. John Lindsey, Winter says:

      It is time for "Fannie" and "Freddie" to be eliminated. It is also time for "Barney" and "Chris" to be gone from Congress as well. These two have done more to destroy this economy than the 9/11 tragedy. We live in the United States of America were the free enterprise system (Capitalism) has worked for more than 200 years and no one is "too big to fail".

    32. Un-Sheepled Va. uSA says:

      Hitler’s plan to eliminate all gun from German citizens was so successful that Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd, father of today’s Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, used Hitler’s model to frame the Gun Control Act of 1968.

      Inherited job or America's royals?

      It is long past due to get rid of the self proclaimed elite of this country.

      dodd and his ilk are mere symptoms. Apathy and nillism are the mental illness that caused these symptoms.

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    34. American Eagle, Amer says:

      (1) Assumption that they are doing it in an attempt to save anything is wrong. They are doing it to destroy.

      (2) Assumption that you can 'vote them out' is dangerous for your health. Even if you take ALL the seats in Nov, you can't derail their agenda. For the following reasons: (a) Ain't enough seats to get a veto-proof majority in congress. Ergo, can't do anything about the several monstrosities already passed. (b) What Obama can't get the congress to pass, he decrees through 'rules' by his agencies—to wit, FCC sidestepping an appeals court ruling to implement the control over the internet, EPA 'finding' CO2 as hazardous gas and hence trying to implement most riduculous regulations… the govt has over a million agencies?

      Folks, you CAN"T win anything in NOV by winning the election, assuming there will be an election—which i doubt very much. They are setting up america (and the world) for a total meltdown—no crisis goes to waste, so why not create those as much as you can?

      The only way to get rid of the socialist/communist menace is to actually go to DC and stop them. Everything else is just hot air.

    35. Howard Phillips says:

      Little Hitler (obama) all his minions and all those senators who back him out to be put in jail for destroying our country by not going by the Constitution and not listening to the people. They are all dictating to us instead.It would be cheaper locking them up then paying their retirement while we are out here paying off the National Debt they have created.

    36. Howard Phillips Brah says:

      obama, his socialist minions and all Senators that dance to obamas tune ought to be locked up. They have caused a severe National debt, do not listen to the people but belittle us & do nothing about immigration. It would be cheaper to put them in jail rather then paying for their retirement & good living while we are out heere working to pay off their debt.

    37. Cjones, Medford says:

      Contrary to many of the assertions being bantered around, the mortgage crisis was the making of Wall Street and the banks both large and small and was then joined by Freddie and Fannie. The CRA of 1977 was not a factor but rather the undisiplined lending criteria adopted because one could pass the asset off to someone else. For those that believe real free markets exist or can function without oversight need to revisit the definition of unethical and greed.

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    39. Kristina, Gloucester says:

      It is my understanding that the bailouts of AIG and Bear Stearns came more to shore up an impending insurance run. In otherwords, the insurance giant sold policies to insure risk of certain porfolios containing sketchy mortgages pushed by the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . (Actually, it was innovative as a financial product, but with innovation comes shortsighted mistakes.) The insurance company sold the insurance too cheap to cover the impending losses. How could they even guess at which loans would go into default versus which were solid, though subprime? and pull out the actuary tables of risk? Sorry, I can't get past the fact that the diversified portfolios and derivative products that are being blasted by the Dodd bill would not have failed if people would've just bought houses that they could afford, would've paid their mortgages, and would've been able to weather a downswing in the housing appreciation. Where in the Dodd bill is that dealt with? Oh, that's right. The Consumer has no responsiblity because he is the unwilling dupe of a corrupt financial system that was using his signed contract as a tool to make even more money for those who don't have enough. My question as always been, if the greedy have so much money, why couldn't they bail themselves out? Oh, that's right. Banks, like government, don't have money! It's the property of people who save and invest that we entrust to them for a type of mutual return. We make money, and they make money. We lose money – they get nothing – but someone still gets a house.

    40. joan, connecticut says:

      Recently, I thought of what a wise person once said "Be careful of what you wish for– you might just get it." Boy! was that the truth. As Americans, we were happy to vote for the "new guy," who charmed us with talk of Transparency, honesty, a listening ear, no lobbyist influence and a transformation of America. I took those words to be the truth, instead, I and many others were fooled by the promises of a snake oil salesman. There is no transparency, lobbyist's rule supreme, unions reign, citizens wishes ignored, and are called names for exercising their first amendment rights, Radical's named to White House staff and are given the title "Czars." The state of Arizona, is condemned and threatened, for doing the job that Government refuses to do— the list, goes on and on and keeps on growing. Our Republic, is threatened, our President calls our Constitution old and outdated, while an UNREAD 2,000 plus page health care bill is passed, against the will of the people. The speaker of the house.Pelosi, said "We have to pass it to find out whats in it. WHAT! If it can get any worse, we'll be the last to know. The press,even those who have a love affair with the White house, are being left out of the loop, and Fox news is being boycotted by those who don't like the truth. .WHY, is the real question! I think we all know the answer to that, clearly our only recourse is to remember in November and try to pick people who put America first.

    41. walt--- glen gardner says:

      Of course we have to vote the bums out. Can senators and congressman be impeached—rather than wait. Dodd, Frank, Pelosi and Reid should be first. Schummer right behind them with Lousenberg and Mendain of NJ.

    42. walt--- glen gardner says:

      Please end my subscription due to your editing.

    43. Gregory Johnson Rifl says:

      I really have not read this bill and I will admit that. I do believe that no institution or person should be too big to fail. As mentioned above a capitalistic system does not allow for too big to fail. As well if you are too big too fail you will take unneccesary risks knowing full well that if it does not work you will be bailed out.

    44. Justin says:

      thanks for reporting the truth

    45. xfactor says:

      To Cjones, Medford

      Really? The New York Stock Exchange AKA Wall Street can be traced back as far as 1793. The CRA was in 1977. Why did the mortage crisis happen 30 years after the CRA?

      Wall Street and the banking industry are heavily regulated. HUD was a gift of LBJ's "Great Society" and HUD took over Fannie and Freddie in 1992 and rewuired that 1% of all future loans be "special affordable" geared toward the low income. Since 1992 HUD has increased the minimum 3 times.

      1996 to 12%

      2000 to 20%

      2005 to 22%

      CRA alone didn't cause the mortage crisis, but to say CRA "was not a factor" is absolutely incorrect.

      A person or persons acting unethical and being greedy is a morality issue, not a lack of regulation issue. Immoral people commit immoral acts and no amount of regulation is going to stop this.

      A free market system is the ONLY way to create wealth and jobs.

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