The Best of the Forge


Were you aware that your taxpayer money is used to fund a pet-shampoo company?  It is.

We’re not kidding.  How, you ask?  The funds are channeled through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to a pet-shampoo company.  Why?  That’s an even better question.

Professor Gives Common Core a Failing Grade

Common Core standards are supposedly designed to engender in students things like “deeper learning” and “critical thinking” and to give teachers “fewer, clearer, higher standards” for their students.  All of that sounds very nice, and there is no shortage of professors and intellectuals who give the Common Core their stamp of approval.

Yet, Common Core is failing students.  A set of standards for mathematics and English language arts, Common Core fails to deliver on its promises of improving outcomes for students in these areas.  

Increased ER Visits? Thank you, Obamacare

Obamacare was supposedly designed to decrease emergency hospital visits.  According to a landmark study called the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment indicates “expanding health insurance to low-income households does not decrease their use of emergency rooms.”  Expanding Medicaid to cover households increases their emergency-room use by 40 percent. 

According the the study, Obamacare could result in half a billion dollars in additional emergency room spending per year.

Congress’ New Year’s Resolution: Old Ideas, Bad Policy

For Congress, a new year, especially an election year, is merely another opportunity to make minimal reforms and pass bad legislation that they could not complete the previous year. Take the farm bill. This $1 trillion food stamp and farm welfare bill was successfully defeated by conservatives last June in an embarrassing failure for House leadership and a historic victory for the American people. Conservatives spoke up and made it clear that they wanted no part in implementing President Obama’s failed food stamp agenda and continuing the charade of tying food stamps to large agribusiness subsidies.

Budgeting and Appropriating: A Prism Through Which a A Philosophy of Governing Shines

Unfortunately, as Heritage Action’s Dan Holler noted, the Ryan-Murray Budget is much more a reflection of the Senate’s philosophy of governing than of conservatives.  With this budget deal, Congress dragged America further left.  But you needn’t take it from us.  That sentiment came directly from a Senate Democrat budget document, which stated that the Ryan-Murray budget “aligns with the values and priorities of the Senate Budget.”

To demonstrate this one need not look much further than the sheer amount of taxpayer-funded discretionary spending the budget represents, $1.012 trillion in 2014, to be precise.

But the behind the scenes decisions being made by House and Senate staffers will further illuminate Congress’s priorities  – though to a lesser degree than the overall budget itself — as they decide how to appropriate funds for various defense and non-defense discretionary programs.

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