Civitas Review

CLC Speaker Sen. Mike Lee to Reply to 'State of the Union'


Lee, Mike cropped

Sen. Mike Lee

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah will be speaking at our Conservative Leadership Conference — and he'll be speaking next Tuesday, Jan. 28,  in response to President Obama's State of the Union Address.

According to Politico: "The Utah Republican will speak immediately after the traditional Republican response to the State of the Union, which begins after President Barack Obama’s address, the Tea Party Express said."

His remarks will be live-streamed at

USA Today reported,

"For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper," said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. "Senator Mike Lee has been both a Tea Party hero for supporters across the nation, and a conservative leader in the upper chamber."

Lee has been a leading voice in for conservative values and policies  in recent Senate debates, including the battles over the budget. He also has been putting forward some of his own ideas about how conservatives can offer solutions to pressing national problems.

Check out his speech Tuesday night …. And think about signing up for CLC to hear him in person. Go to  for more information.

Render Unto Caesar


the Things that are Caesar's

William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, visited South Carolina on Sunday to give a "pre-Martin Luther King Day" speech at Zion Baptist Church in Columbia to Columbia and South Carolina NAACP members and guests.

Being that it was a speech in a church and in memory of the great civil rights leader, one might think the speech would be respectful and reverent and perhaps a bit inspiring. But, if you know William Barber like we know William Barber, you would expect a speech that would center on demonizing conservatives or as Barber would say "right-wing extremists."

Unfortunately, Tim Scott, one of South Carolina's U.S. Senators and one of only three African-American U.S. Senators was the subject of one of  Barber's nasty diatribes. Barber said,

"A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy. The extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party."

Scott was in good company though, according to "The State," Barber also lambasted clergy when he said "pastors who obsess about topics like prayer, homosexuality and abortion while neglecting justice, poverty, fair play and equality issues “are just running their mouths.”

In an email to the Daily Caller Senator Scott commented on Barber's rant.

“To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor, that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way,” Scott told The Daily Caller in an emailed statement. “Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man. And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do.”

Chicago Tribune calls for school choice


campus CCC

On Sunday the Chicago Tribune, that city's largest and most influential newspaper, added its voice to the growing public chorus calling for school choice in Illinois.

School choice has had a long, difficult road in the Land of Lincoln.   Strong labor unions have successfully beaten back all proposals to give parents an option to the current public school monopoly. However, Tribune editors — like people everywhere — see the wreckage created by the current failing system of public schools and are asking legislators to give parents the freedom to make their own choices.

It's time to stop letting luck, wealth or your zip code determine who gets a good education.

More Research on Unemployment Insurance's Impact on Employment


Last week my article on unemployment benefits was published in the N&O. The main premise was simple and noncontroversial: when you pay people not to work, the result will be more people not working. But apparently pointing out an obvious truth ruffles some feathers, judging from the several angry letters to the editor the article generated – with one such letter calling this self-evident bit of common sense "a stretch."

For additional reading on the subject (as if glaringly obvious common sense is not enough to persuade them) for these deniers, they can review some recent academic findings that confirm what should be obvious to any rationally thinking person: more generous and longer extended unemployment benefits translates into higher unemployment.

  • This 2012 paper by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, that finds: "The extensions of UI benefits are found to have contributed to an increase in the unemployment rate of 1.4 percentage points, which is 29 percent of the observed increase in the unemployment rate (4.8 percentage points);" and "the December 2010 extension has moderately slowed down the recovery of the unemployment rate, keeping the rate 0.6 percentage point higher during 2011."
  • Or this 2013 National Bureau of Economic Research paper that states: "Our estimates imply that most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility."
  • And this 2011 article by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank that concludes: "the extension of unemployment insurance benefits during the recent economic downturn can account for somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 percentage point of the increase in the unemployment rate, with a preferred estimate of 0.8 percentage points."
  • This research by Econ Journal Watch that suggests: "The UI benefit extensions that have occurred between the summer of 2008 and the end of 2010 are estimated to have had a cumulative effect of raising the unemployment rate by .77 to 1.54 percentage points."
  • And then there is this article written by former Obama economic advisor Larry Summers, in which he declares: "The second way government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work. Each unemployed person has a “reservation wage”—the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase that reservation wage, causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer."