Balance Sheet

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Assets

Federalist Flurry. The 10th Amendment, which reserves powers not listed in the Constitution to states or to individuals, makes a comeback. The Colorado, Hawaii, and Missouri legislatures pass resolutions demanding an end to unfunded federal mandates. Eight other states may follow suit. Statists hate the prospect. Amy Issacs of Americans for Democratic Action tells The Washington Times that the movement threatens to "bottle up Congress and tie up needed legislation for years."

Armed Resistance. Lithuanians and Estonians fight crime with guns. Both Baltic nations let adults obtain permits to own and carry handguns. A gun-store owner tells The Associated Press, "Guns make people feel more secure and confident."

Radiation Therapy. Treating food poisoning caused by E. coli bacteria in ground beef may cost $580 million a year. A panel of experts organized by the American Gastroenterological Association urges irradiation of raw hamburger. The New York Times says the panel concludes irradiation "might be the only way to control E. coli contamination in butchered beef without affecting its quality." Take that, Jeremy Rifkin.

Pill Pushers. The Senate deals the Safety Nazis a blow. It unanimously passes a bill that lets retailers display literature touting the health benefits of food supplements. Health-food stores can also sell books promoting vitamins and minerals without fearing reprisals from the FDA.

Liabilities

Carded. Get ready for a national identity card. The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform proposes a computerized employment registry designed to track where everyone works and deter illegals from getting jobs. Undocumented aliens will still find work. But the information bureau's inevitable failure will fire up statists who want Big Brother to watch you.

War Footing. While Clintonites lobby for GATT, they chop off trade with Canada and Japan. Responding to pressure from a handful of Montana farmers, the administration cuts wheat imports from Canada in half, from 2.7 million to 1.5 million tons. And by November 1, Mickey Kantor and company threaten to impose tariffs on hundreds of Japanese products. Theoretically, the White House backs open trade; in practice, however…

Tax Attacks. Congress thinks the Internal Revenue Service doesn't get enough of your money. To "enhance enforcement," it appropriates $2 billion to hire 5,000 new IRS agents ($400,000 apiece!). Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's amendment to strip this funding from the Treasury Department budget fails 43-54. Over the past 12 years, reports the Congressional Budget Office, the IRS has increased its staff faster than any federal agency other than the Defense Department.

Insurance Fraud. Lawmakers in earthquake-riddled California and hurricane-battered Florida defy nature and legislate cheap insurance rates. It doesn't work. Insurers try to flee the states or stop writing new policies. Both states have set up subsidized insurance funds that will go bankrupt and be bailed out by private insurers the next time disaster strikes. Investment tip: Shy away from insurance companies that do business in either state.

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