CEI Today: Highway bill, national debt and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve


CEI.org: Senate Considers Ill-Conceived Ban on Highway Tolls


The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on additional amendments to the massive surface transportation bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, S. 1813). One amendment offered by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) seeks to prohibit the use of toll systems to pay for federal-aid highways.  CEI transportation policy expert Marc Scribner argues this is a major step in the wrong direction:

Much of the country's Interstate system is nearly 50 years old and will soon need to be completely reconstructed. Without expanded tolling or dramatic tax increases, there will not be enough funding available to complete these very important projects.

The question is not if we pay for these improvements; it is how we pay for them. Without tolling as an available revenue collection mechanism, it will be all the more difficult to devolve transportation funding responsibility from the federal level and move toward more innovative public-private partnership models in the future.

> Interview Marc Scribner



WashingtonExaminer.com:Growing debt will force a civilizational reset


From the presidential inaugurations of George Washington to George W. Bush, our federal government accrued a debt of more than $5 trillion. Thanks to the spending binges of Bush and President Obama, our national debt is now in excess of $15 trillion.

It is a sum equal to our entire national gross domestic product. It is a sum greater than the combined economies of China and Japan.

The figure of $15 trillion is an amount so astronomical as to be literally incomprehensible -- beyond the ken of our formidable, if recently evolved, homo sapiens mind. (Unfortunately, that does not stop us from racking up such sums. Doubtless, the two phenomena are somehow related.)

What does that mean for you?
> Read the full commentary on Washingtonexaminer.com

> Interview Matt Patterson




Globalwarming.org: Strategic Petroleum Wars: About Politics, Not Economics

The President shouldn’t just release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as Congressional Democrats want—he should release all the oil and close the SPR permanently. The reserve’s origins and purposes are entirely based on myth—that the 1973-74 OPEC oil embargo decreased imports so dramatically that a massive oil shortage resulted (read why this is wrong here). The political benefits of this myth are plentiful. It outsources blame for the energy crisis to foreigners—in particular, Arabs. It also creates a climate of fear that showers extraordinary powers on politicians and bureaucrats. Finally, it permits political saviors to rescue us from high gas prices.> View the full commentary on Globalwarming.org


>Interview David Bier



Saturday, March 31

HAH is an annual event to recognize and celebrate human achievement and innovation. During the hour, participants are asked to listen to music, surf the internet, have a glass of beer, and generally enjoy the fruits of the human mind which would not have been possible in a world where conservation restrains advancement.

HAH can be
celebrated anywhere from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. In addition, CEI will be hosting a celebration at our headquarters in Washington, DC and live streaming our event online.

Join the HAH Facebook group.



Ten Thousand Commandments

By Wayne Crews

Welcome to The Other National Debt -- The Cost of Regulation

-> Read Today's Decrees


CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.