Under the Dome

U.S. needs to cut spending, Libertarian says

January 4, 2010 

Mike Beitler says it is time for the United States to cut back on its spending habits.

The Greensboro business professor and Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate says the nation is facing record debts and deficits.

"I think we need to be talking in terms of abolishing programs and agencies rather than creating new ones," Beitler said. "We're not going to be able to fund anything if you want to keep racking up debt. There's only so much you can borrow from the Chinese."

Beitler is a Baltimore native who has taught business at UNC-Greensboro for 12 years. Before he became a professor, he was a chief financial officer in the banking industry. That experience, he says, makes him a good choice to help find ways to cut spending.

Beitler wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Federal Reserve, according to his campaign platform. He wants to end deficit spending and cut funding for foreign intervention.

"The purpose of the U.S. military is national defense," Beitler wrote on his Web site.

Beitler acknowledges that he won't have the millions of dollars that Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr or three Democratic challengers - Kenneth Lewis, Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall - expect to use to campaign.

But he says 2010 may be the year for third-party candidates.

200,000 helped in N.C.

The stimulus package passed by Congress is keeping about 200,000 North Carolina families out of poverty, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The stimulus package, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has expanded food stamp benefits, expanded Child Tax Credits and Earned Income Tax Credits, extended unemployment benefits and made one-time payments to many elderly people, veterans and people with disabilities.

"It's hard to overstate the importance of the Recovery Act," said Louisa Warren, senior policy advocate at the N.C. Justice Center. "From saving and creating jobs, to keeping struggling families out of poverty, it's had a critical impact in North Carolina as well as the national economy."

Warren said not only does the stimulus money help families in need but the money is spent quickly and close to home.

Through cartoonists' eyes

Caricatures have been a part of politics since the 19th century, and they continue to develop in the age of the Web.

A coming exhibit at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art explores journalistic caricatures throughout history. The exhibit, called "Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature," will be on display at the Nasher from Feb. 4 to May 16.

Museum goers will see political drawings from the past, such as works featuring French King Louis-Philippe by Honoré Daumier, as well as cartoons that lampoon presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Artists in the show include Garry Trudeau of the syndicated cartoon "Doonesbury," Steve Bell of the Guardian and Gerald Scarfe of London's Sunday Times. The work of Dwane Powell, who recently retired from The News & Observer, will also be featured.

The show has accompanying events, including a talk Feb. 4 by Chris Lamb, communications professor at the College of Charleston and author of "Drawn to Extremes: The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons in the United States."

A vote for superdelegates

State Sen. Dan Blue offered a dissenting vote on a commission studying how the Democratic Party nominates its presidential candidate.

The Washington Post reports that the Democratic Change Commission has recommended the party eliminate its superdelegates, who can vote for any candidate regardless of how a primary election turned out. The superdelegates were mostly irrelevant until last year's hotly contested primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton urged superdelegates to choose her, and the fight dragged on well into the primary season.

By staff writers Benjamin Niolet, Rob Christensen and Jane Stancill

ben.niolet@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4521

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