Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: Congressional Fiction

March 9, 2007

Congressional Record Is Full of Fiction
"On June 8, 2006, as Congress mulled a measure to repeal the estate tax, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California rose to oppose the proposal. 'Now is not the time,' the Democrat declared, 'to place the interests of a small number of millionaires ahead of millions of working families.' She continued in this vein for over 1,100 words, then yielded the floor to Sen. Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican took the opposite point of view, declaring the levy 'one of the most destructive, unfair taxes ever conceived by government.' Then more senators took their turns at the microphone, arguing one side or the other: Mike Enzi, Tom Harkin, Lamar Alexander, Carl Levin, John Kerry, Orrin Hatch, Conrad Burns, Gordon Smith, Barbara Mikulski, John McCain. Barack Obama called the proposal 'the Paris Hilton tax break,' which probably prompted some chuckles in the gallery. Or would have, had he actually said it. Though all that activity appears in the Congressional Record, none of it really occurred. Only eight senators participated in the debate; the others -- everyone listed above -- pasted their remarks in later. What looks like a long exchange of ideas is in effect a series of press releases composed by the senators or their staffs, dropped into the Record to look like they were spoken aloud on the floor." - Reason's Jesse Walker says the Congressional Record is full of fiction but the digital age is now bringing accountability.

Does Your Candidate Love Jesus?
"We need a person of faith to run this country," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently stated. But Reason's Radley Balko examines how religion and the Bill of Rights have gotten along recently and finds "the faith of our leaders hasn't instilled in them a particular compulsion to uphold our natural rights. It has compelled them to subvert say that a man without religion can't be trusted to respect our rights is nonsense. Especially when religious faith has motivated so many of our prior political leaders to erode them. Not least the man who currently occupies the White House."

Campus Bias?
"Are tenured radicals really brainwashing the young?," asks Reason's Cathy Young. "For answers, you should look to the voting behavior and party identification of students and recent graduates, not their professors. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that today's 18-to-25-year-olds are 'the least Republican generation.' In 2006, 48 percent of people in this age group identified themselves as Democrats or leaning Democratic; 35 percent were Republicans-the lowest result recorded since Pew started tracking the data in 1987. Meanwhile, Democrats carried the under-26 vote in the 2006 midterm elections by 58 percent to 37 percent. So are the conservatives right? Is any of that attributable to the influence of college? Not necessarily: In the early 1990s, when college attendance was just as high and faculty ideologies skewed equally leftward, Republican identification in the same age group spiked to a record 55 percent."

Controlling Your Reproductive Decisions
Francis Fukuyama says biotechnology and science are "galloping ahead" and it is time to impose regulation and "social control." Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey examines Fukuyama's call for a new federal agency that would control "anything having to do with assisted reproduction techniques (ART). This would include IVF, ooplasm transfer, sex selection either by pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or sperm sorting. The agency would also regulate research involving human reproductive tissues including all embryonic stem cell research and anything dealing with human developmental biology...What Fukuyama is proposing is a step backward to the bad old days in which strangers get to vote on what kind of children their fellow citizens will be allowed to bring into the world. A government bureaucracy, rather than parents, would get to make eugenic decisions. As the sorry history of attempts to regulate human reproduction shows, the truly moral thing to do is fiercely resist this proposal."
» Bailey's Review of Michael Crichton's Next in National Review

Is Full-Day Kindergarten Effective?
As Indiana considers shifting to full-day kindergarten, Reason's Lisa Snell writes, "Nearly all the research on kindergarten shows that children in full-day kindergarten are afforded a modest academic edge over children in half-day kindergarten when measured at the end of the kindergarten year. However, that initial advantage disappears by third grade."
» Study: The Case Against Universal Preschool
» Reason's Education Research and Commentary

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