American Promise Archive

Whence We Came

By James Schaefer.   The original colonists of America and Canada were risk-takers -- by definition, a self-selecting group of people -- willing to leave behind family and culture and language and all that stood for civilization to cross an ocean in search of a better life. No government handouts awaited them. That entrepreneurial spirit...
Read More

The Most Prosperous Era In The History Of The World

By John Lumbard. Our unemployment rate is high, the stock market is struggling, and sluggish growth seems to stretch far into our future. It might not be easy to take a step back and feel appreciative for the progress we’ve made, and the progress we’ve helped bring to the rest of...
Read More

Cut, Cap, and Balance, Explained

Budget proposals are coming fast and furious in Washington these days.  Most of it is political chatter, but there HAVE been a number of proposals that aspire to responsible government for the long term.  Today's top story in that regard is "Cut, Cap, and Balance" which would smooth over some near-term...
Read More

The Farmer and the Lottery

By James Schaefer.   The farmer wins the lottery and is being interviewed by a news reporter.  "What are you planning to do, now that you've got all this money?"  Replies the farmer,"Well, I guess I'll just keep farming 'til the money's gone." Today farmers enjoy so much taxpayer support that it's fair...
Read More

The Grand Bargain

By John Lumbard.   In the weeks before the 2008 elections Barack Obama mused that the nation needs to strike a "grand bargain" if it's going to balance the federal budget.  You won't give up your benefits and tax breaks unless I give up mine, and the same can be said...
Read More

Amendment Filed. Call Your Congressman!

Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)  have introduced a Balanced-Budget Amendment to the Constitution that---are you sitting down?---includes a 20% of GDP cap on federal spending!  It requires a 3/5 vote of both houses to run deficits or overspend, but in other respects is very much like a bill...
Read More

A New Year’s Resolution of Thanksgiving

by John Lumbard.   “A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being.  Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past...
Read More

Incentives Rule!

By John Lumbard.   In December the Boston Globe ran a front-page story on the “dangerous incentives” created by a program that offers cash to the parents of children taking psychotropic drugs for ADHD and other behavioral conditions.  The number of children on these drugs has predictably swelled, and a program...
Read More

Hair of the Dog

By John Lumbard.   Unemployment claims are down.  The trade deficit is rising.  The Fed is printing money.  A new cut in payroll taxes (less FICA taken out of your paycheck) and an extension of unemployment benefits will mean growing federal budget deficits---and a big new stimulus for the economy.  We’re...
Read More

20 by ’20: A Limit on Federal Spending

By Dennis Canfield.     “…  It's time to try something new.” - President Barack Obama, introducing his $3.8 trillion budget for 2011---which proposes that our federal government spend 25 cents of every dollar earned by every American, rich and poor alike.  This is new.  Before World War II, our government typically spent 10% less...
Read More