Americans’ Moral Obligation to Pay Taxes – But It’s Limited

Are Americans proud to pay their taxes?  Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institute thinks so, after studying survey data and conducting interviews.  She finds that Americans view paying taxes as a civic and moral responsibility, and the price of citizenship.  She believes that “the idea that ‘Americans hate taxes’ has become a truism without the benefit of being true.”  But this rather surface conclusion misses the point.  There is a real distinction between a moral obligation to pay taxes and a legal obligation. Continue reading “Americans’ Moral Obligation to Pay Taxes – But It’s Limited”

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Trump’s Supreme Court Strategy – The Game is On

President Trump has apparently whittled his Supreme Court nominee down to three.  Thomas Hardiman, William Pryor, and Thomas Hardiman are each Federal appellate court judges who are well regarded in conservative circles. But what will be Trump’s Supreme Court strategy? Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has laid down the gauntlet to President Trump: “If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we will absolutely keep the seat open.”  Further, “we are not going to make it easy for them to pick a Supreme Court justice” he said previously.  “It’s hard for me to imagine” Democrats supporting any nomination submitted by President Trump.  With the filibuster rule in place, at least for now, how will President Trump elect to play this nomination game? Continue reading “Trump’s Supreme Court Strategy – The Game is On”

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American Leadership in the World – Lessons from Obama, Bush and JFK

The preservation of the American Constitution and American freedom is the paramount duty of any American President.  American foreign policy is the mechanism through which these goals are prosecuted.  American leadership is the means through which American goals are accomplished.  The challenge for each president is to take the measure of his times, learn from the mistakes of the past, and foster and apply policies that are most likely to enhance the probability of achieving these objectives.

American Leadership: The U.S. Constitution
The Constitution

Too often over the course of American history presidents have misunderstood their times.  They have either drawn the wrong lessons from the past or failed to understand the mistakes made by their predecessors.  The recent past contains a pair of guiding lessons.

American Leadership:  A Lesson from George W. Bush

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush determined to illustrate to the world that America would use its strength and power against any foe that it believed was a direct and immediate threat to American freedom and survival.  But with this objective, his decision to invade Iraq became a stark example of a failure to apply lessons previously learned. Continue reading “American Leadership in the World – Lessons from Obama, Bush and JFK”

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