Washington never learns. Never. Politicians are like collective Alzheimer's disease patients. They have no short-term memories.

Does anyone remember 2008? It was only 14 years ago. Then, America suffered through one of the most significant and most painful financial crises in our nation's history -- and the worst losses since the crash of 1929. Millions of people lost their jobs. Hundreds of thousands defaulted on their mortgages and lost their homes.

Trillions of dollars of lifetime savings and wealth evaporated. Central billion-dollar banks and investment houses that were thought to be invincible were swept away like straw huts in the face of a tsunami.

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It might be the biggest giveaway in American history. President Joe Biden wants to cancel more than $1 trillion of outstanding student loan debt. Biden has already delayed for more than a year student loan repayment, and under his new rules, most delinquent and deadbeat borrowers would NEVER have to repay.

What a deal for the people who never paid a dime back of the tuition money they owe to Uncle Sam.

This plan makes suckers out of the millions who have felt honor-bound to pay off their debts. My wife spent years after graduating from college diligently writing checks to pay off the tens of thousands of dollars of loans. That's the way it works when you borrow money and you've signed a commitment to pay the money back.

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You've probably heard of the high-flying Big Tech FAANG stocks -- Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Among the five of them, their market cap reached $6 trillion last year, which is more than the GDP of all but a small handful of entire countries. Moreover, their net worth is larger than the entire annual output of India, with more than 1 billion people.

These companies got so big and profitable so fast that politicians on the left, right and center started accusing them of monopolistic behavior. "Break them up!" shouted Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar. Some Republicans, such as Josh Hawley, endorsed the same strategy.

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Once upon a time, the mantra of the libertarian Left was "keep the government out of the bedroom."

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to regulate any gadget or appliance with an electric switch that turns on in your house or your driveway. New Department of Energy rules will dictate the amount of water that comes out of your showerhead, how much warm air comes out of your heater and how much cool air comes out of air conditioners. There is even talk about gadgets monitoring your home's temperature in the winter and summer months.

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I guess you could mark me down as a "climate change skeptic." I'm not a climate scientist, so I have no expertise on what is happening with the planet's temperature or severe weather events that can wreak havoc on life and property.

I am skeptical that "collective action" through governmental policies will make planet Earth a more hospitable place. Is this the same government that can't balance its budget, control its borders, stop the crime spree across America and has allowed a 10% inflation tax, among other foibles?

Now, these same politicians will, like Moses, stop the oceans from rising? Fat chance. And they accuse the United States of being religious zealots.

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For many years now, there has been a spirited debate about whether climate change is science, religion or even perhaps a secret route to socialism. That question remains unanswered, but we've now discovered with certainty that climate change is a political albatross around the neck of the Democratic Party.

The Left's spiritual devotion to climate change has been speeding the Democrats over a political cliff this fall with likely unprecedented losses this November. The zero fossil fuels suicide pact was always an economic and political loser. More than 70% of all the energy we produce and consume in America derives from oil, gas and coal. President Joe Biden's war on these fuel sources was sure to cause severe shortages and $5 a gallon gasoline at the pump. Didn't Democrats learn their lesson in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won a landslide election against Jimmy Carter that surging inflation and gas prices is a surefire way to infuriate voters?

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With $30 trillion of debt -- which has grown by $5 trillion in just the last two years, with another $2 trillion of red ink expected to get spilled this year -- you might have expected Congress at least to pretend it will temper its reckless spending proclivities.

But you would be sadly mistaken. Congress has just finalized a $1.5 trillion spending bill that required 2,741 pages of legislative text. The Heritage Foundation calculates it would take the average congressman over 300 hours to read this bill with all its legal gobbledygook. So, it's a reasonable certainty that members of Congress have no idea what they voted for.

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We live in a strange world. John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, helped provide the energy that powered the American century beginning in the early 1900s. Today, his grandchildren spend the billions of dollars that he donated to the Rockefeller Foundation to attack the same oil and gas industry that he almost single-handedly built. Likewise, Henry Ford's trust, the Ford Foundation, now spends millions of dollars on climate change -- as if the automobile was a sinister invention.

And now we learn from the Chronicle of Philanthropy that the Hewlett Foundation and a partner foundation will donate some $40 million "to five academic institutions" to "rethink" the benefits of free markets.

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were two of America's most outstanding entrepreneurs, co-founding their iconic computer company Hewlett-Packard out of a garage in Northern California.

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To quote a screaming John McEnroe: You cannot be serious!

Last week, the Biden administration requested another $30 billion for COVID relief programs. Yes, I know that these days, $30 billion is a rounding error in the $6 trillion federal budget. But isn't that precisely the problem?

But, as Joe would say: Come on, man! The White House's latest plea for more money on top of the $4 trillion to $5 trillion is an insult. Biden wants $18 billion for antivirals, $5 billion for testing and $3 billion to combat future viruses.

Isn't that already the job of the $7 billion-a-year CDC?

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What if two years ago, when COVID-19 first hit these shores, our politicians hadn't panicked?

What if the government did what it has done every time we were confronted with a deadly virus, such as the Spanish flu or polio? Instead of locking down our schools, churches and businesses, the government could have simply informed citizens of the risks of getting sick and urged people to be extra careful about hygiene, stay out of crowded places and protect the vulnerable.

It turns out there was one country that mostly rejected lockdowns and let life go on as normal as possible under dire circumstances. That country was Sweden.

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Today, two years after COVID-19 first hit these shores from China, most studies confirm that the heavy-handed government lockdowns of businesses, restaurants, schools, churches and parks did more harm than good to our health and well-being.

States and countries with strict and prolonged lockdown and stay-at-home orders had slightly better health outcomes, but they ruined their economies and had highly adverse effects on children.

If any good comes out of COVID-19, it should be that we've learned this lesson the hard way, and never, never again should we allow politicians to impose these unconstitutional lockdown orders again.

Now we have evidence of more collateral damage from lockdowns, and perhaps this will persuade even those on the far left who generally support the heavy hand of government.

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I'm the kind of guy
Who never used to cry
The world is treatin' me bad
Misery -- The Beatles

Replacing former President Donald Trump with President Joe Biden was supposed to bring joy to the land from sea to sea. We were going to be a united people at last. Every problem known to man would get solved by cradle-to-grave government. Biden was even going to save us from the rise of the oceans.

But just the opposite: A survey by the University of Chicago found that record percentages of people in 2021 described themselves as "unhappy."

For most of the past 50 years, about 1 in 10 people have described themselves as unhappy. In 2021, 1 in 4 say they are unhappy. Typically, almost 1 in 3 say they are "very happy," and now less than 1 in 5 do. The happiness index is falling like a stone. People are depressed.

Gee, I wonder why the public is so glum all of a sudden.

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The tally for how much the federal government spent to combat COVID-19 is now estimated to be $5 trillion. It is more than the combined costs of World Wars I and II. The left is celebrating that politicians in Washington saved us. Really? From what exactly?

Two years later, it is time for an honest assessment. Could things have worsened for the country if the government had spent nothing and done nothing? What would have happened if we had not shut down our businesses? Our churches, schools and restaurants. Our parks, basketball courts and playgrounds.

Would the public have made worse decisions regarding protecting its health and the health of its families and its employees than the politicians have made?

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When I came to Washington, D.C., in 1985, Ronald Reagan was president. I was working for the Reagan budget office. We did something we weren't very proud of at the time. We introduced the first $1 trillion budget in American history, which was unthinkable. One trillion dollars. There are 12 zeroes in a trillion. A trillion is a million dollars times a million. The budget deficit hit $200 billion and 6% of our entire GDP. Again, unthinkable.

Now, fast forward 37 years later. The budget today is nowhere close to $1 trillion. In 2021, President Joe Biden's first year in office, the federal spending came in at just under $7 trillion ($6.81 trillion, to be exact). So, in less than four decades, the budget has grown sevenfold. Much faster than inflation. Much faster than the economy. The government is now gobbling up the economy, spending up to 30% of our national output. Add state and local spending, and we are close to 40%.

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Once, during a meeting with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump inside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, we discussed energy policy. I told Trump that if we went all out to produce America's abundant supply of oil, gas and coal, the United States could be energy independent in four years.

Trump looked at me from behind his desk and shook his head. "I don't want America to be energy independent. I want America to be energy dominant."

There are few issues where Trump and President Joe Biden have differed more broadly on policy than on energy production. Trump went full speed on fossil fuel production. He lifted drilling restrictions, especially in states such as Alaska and on federal lands in the continental states. He gave the green light to vitally needed pipelines. He blocked new extreme environmental regulations that were intended to choke off our oil and gas supplies. He recognized the shale oil and gas revolution as an unparalleled opportunity to reduce reliance on foreign oil.

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It started in Chicago, where an incredible 91% of union teachers voted to go on strike and refused to do what they get paid to do, which is teach. Then the union walkouts spread to Maryland, New Jersey and California.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a liberal Democrat, has attacked the Chicago teachers unions for "holding kids hostage." She is right.

Why doesn't she call a state of emergency and disband the union to save the children from the union terrorists? Or tear up the contract because the unions have violated it? If she did, she would be a hero.

President Joe Biden keeps talking about how much he and his fellow Democrats in Washington care about "the children." Uh-huh. He has correctly stated that there is no health reason for closing schools. But in this latest episode of union child abuse waged against our school-age children, he does nothing. Maybe that is because more than 90% of the tens of millions of campaign dollars donated by the teacher unions go to Democrats.

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