Government Spending

5 Dissenters in the House

Plus: DeSantis' awkward pot situation, San Francisco's "overpaid executive" tax, and more…


Five dissenters: Yesterday, five Republicans went against their own party, opposing a spending package full of Pentagon appropriations that was supposed to make its way to the House floor. One of the dissenters, Rep. Ralph Norman (R–S.C.), said "he was opposing all GOP spending initiatives until he received a commitment from [House Speaker Kevin] McCarthy that the House would return federal spending to prepandemic levels without any budgetary gimmicks," per The New York Times

Norman was joined by Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Dan Bishop (N.C.), Ken Buck (Colo.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.), who together stymied attempts to bring the new spending package to a vote on the House floor. Though the budgetary infighting is a welcome change, and could in fact bring about good results for libertarians concerned about runaway defense spending, it could also backfire. "In an ironic twist of fate, frustrated Republicans are now growing more open to cutting a deal with Democrats—the worst possible outcome for the conservative hardliners agitating for deeper spending cuts," reports Axios.

Still, it's encouraging to see some representatives opposing the fiscal profligacy that has long plagued Congress. The September 30 deadline for funding the government looms; if a deal can't be reached by then, we'll enter another government shutdown. The government most recently shut down in December 2018/January 2019, when former President Donald Trump and House Democrats found themselves at an impasse involving funding Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall. (For more on government shutdowns, read Eric Boehm's piece: "Is a Government Shutdown Better Than More Reckless Borrowing?")

"Is the independence of any nation secure?" "The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order," Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the general assembly of the United Nations yesterday. "If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?" Per The New York Times, Zelenskyy forcefully criticized "Moscow's military interventions in Moldova, Georgia, and Syria; its increased control of Belarus; and its threats against the Baltic states" as well as Vladimir Putin's occupation of Ukraine.

It is, of course, possible to vehemently oppose Russia's contemptible actions in Ukraine while also opposing Zelenskyy's bid for U.S. aid, which he reportedly plans to make Thursday in a meeting at the White House.

Reefer Madness DeSantis: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vehemently opposes recreational weed legalization. Society has "totally decayed" because of pro-drug policies, in his telling. "Legalization, I don't think, has worked," said DeSantis last month. Just one problem: His biggest political backers are also key advocates for pot progress in Florida, reports Politico. 

Axiom Strategies and Vanguard Field Strategies, which have been paid $25 million by pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, have also been paid $29 million by Smart & Safe Florida, a group working on a legal marijuana ballot initiative that would allow adults aged 21 and above to legally obtain weed. DeSantis has said weed "hurts our workforce readiness" as well as "people's ability to prosper." 

Speak for yourself—I feel even more ready to write after lighting up, generally speaking. A certain amount of marijuana must be in the system before one can reasonably be expected to wade through DeSantis soundbites!

Scenes from New York: Why on Earth is city council wasting time on proposals to tear down statues of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Peter Stuyvesant, and Thomas Jefferson? ("In this house, Christopher Columbus is a hero, end of story.")


  • "Eliminating 99.9 percent of the jobs in cotton-picking did not leave the nation plagued by ravening hordes of unemployed former farmworkers forming a restive, pre-revolutionary proletariat," writes Kevin D. Williamson.
  • Pivot to biometrics.
  • A new law in Oregon—Measure 114, which was approved last year by voters— "effectively limits Oregonians to owning only antique firearms," writes Jonathan Levinson for Oregon Public Broadcasting. "The new laws would ban high capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, require a completed background check to buy or transfer a firearm and require a person to take training and receive a permit to purchase a firearm."
  • A Bronx daycare is being investigated after a young child died and drug paraphernalia was found on the premises.
  • Cool A.I. applications.
  • Canadian officials are investigating the killing of a Sikh activist, possibly by agents of the Indian government, on Canadian soil. Indian officials called such allegations "absurd" and responded yesterday by expelling a Canadian diplomat.
  • "The rise of traditionalist American Catholicism, that is, has met with the rise of a progressive Latin American Pontiff, whose vision is focussed on the Global South," writes Paul Elie on the upcoming October Synod.
  • San Francisco, which implemented its new "overpaid executive" tax last year—seriously, it's actually called that—found that it actually brought in more revenue than expected. Levied on companies where the highest-paid employee makes more than 100 times the median compensation of the company's San Francisco-based employees, with the actual tax rate based on the compensation ratio, the tax has generated $137 million per year so far, paid by some 150 companies. In what is surely totally unrelated news, lots of companies are escaping the Bay Area.
  • "Though egg freezing is still relatively uncommon, usage is ticking up rapidly—from 2020 to 2021, the number of procedures performed in the United States increased by 46 percent from about 16,700 to roughly 24,500, according to data reported by clinics to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology," writes Anna Louie Sussman for The Atlantic.
  • West Point sued over affirmative action.