Charlie Vidal

Charlie Vidal is an undergraduate studying Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is presently the Midwest Regional Director for Young Americans for Liberty, where he previously interned and served as the Illinois State Chair. Additionally, he has worked for conservative organizations such as the Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heartland Institute, as well as on a few Republican campaigns. To keep tabs on his writing and political opinions, follow him on Twitter at @charlievidal.



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Articles From Charlie

Eric Cantor stresses the need for school choice reform during CPAC speech

Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) discussed the need for school choice reform in the United States during his speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday afternoon.

FCC plan for ‘free,’ nationwide Wi-Fi is not so free

FCC - Federal Communications Commission

Recently the Federal Communications Commission rolled out a plan to create a “free” nationwide wireless Internet networknternet network.

The Wi-Fi network would offer broadband quality Internet for free in virtually every major metropolitan area and many rural neighborhoods. Many technical issues are raised. Local television stations would be forced to sell parts of the spectrum that they own in an eminent domain-style takeover. The new networks could also interfere with television and cell phone signals.

Government steps in to regulate new smartphone-based taxi cab service

It all happens like clockwork: a new product or service uses advances in technology to make life more convenient for customers, threatening the traditional business model of the longstanding giants in the industry. The entrenched interests don’t take kindly to these new competitors, and flex their longstanding relationships with regulators and local governments to inhibit this competition.

This has been happening recently in the cab and car service industries, as new companies are using mobile apps to allow smartphone users to digitally “hail” cars to their location, instead of using the traditional stand-on-the-street-and-wave method. And leave it up to the government to get involved and make things more expensive and complicated for the consumer.

Democrat website jokes on Romney tax plan, ignores Obama’s own lack of transparency

The Democratic National Committee recently created a clever little website which purports to allow you to see the details of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s tax plan. When the user moves his mouse over the button that reveals the plan, the button moves away, implying that Romney and Ryan are attempting to hide the details of their tax plan.

Of course, the irony is that they DNC expects us to forget that Barack Obama encouraged lawmakers to not reveal too many details about their plans prior to the 2010 elections and that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted that we had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it.

The Left’s Failed Attempt to “Trash” Romney

The Left will stop at nothing to trash Mitt Romney, and their latest attempts to do so involve supposedly damaging testimony from Romney’s garbage collector and a handful of weak arguments about the plight of service workers.

Yesterday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) introduced us to Richard Hayes, Mitt Romney’s garbage man. In a video on their website and an article on the Huffington Post, AFSCME attempts to paint Mr. Romney as insensitive toward and out of touch with blue collar workers like Mr. Hayes. AFSCME, of which Hayes is a member, has come out in support of Mr. Romney’s presidential election opponent, Barack Obama.

Hayes is attempting to tarnish Romney’s character, pointing out that unlike his neighbors, Romney does not come out to shake Hayes’s hand, thank him, or offer him water or Gatorade. Ignoring the fact that it is fairly ridiculous to expect somebody who has been running for President professionally for six years to be on a first name basis with his garbage collector, Hayes also touched on an economic fallacy that people can improve the lives of service workers by tipping them or giving them free goods and services.

Obama’s Confusing Stance on Charter Schools and Voucher Programs

In an interview on MSNBC Tuesday, President Barack Obama defended both Chicago Teachers and Rahm Emanuel as having an appetite for reform, despite the teachers’ reluctance to move away from maintaining one of the nation’s shortest school days (for a large school district). He suggested that both structural changes and more resources, aka, taxpayer dollars, are needed to improve America’s school system.

Obama called himself a “big proponent of charter schools” in the interview, but when he presented a 2013 budget, he cut funding for a program that allowed residents of Washington, DC to use a voucher to attend charter schools. This program targeted low-income children, many of whom will now be forced back into failing public schools. Joe Biden has famously told people “Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value” referring to Paul Ryan’s budget proposals. According to Biden, Obama’s budget reveals that he doesn’t value one of the best ways to give parents the power to take real initiative in their children’s education.

Obama’s Plans for College Affordability To Face Serious Political and Economic Challenges

Barack Obama does not like reality. He likes to imagine that he is a god-like figure who transcends the laws of the universe and can magically roll back the oceans and heal the wounds of our scarred planet. And once again, Obama’s hubris has been fired up, and this time it has to do with college education funding. An article on CNN this week indicates that Obama’s plan to make college both more accessible and cheaper will face political challenges. Additionally, Obama’s plan faces another roadblock: it’s out of tune with the economic reality of supply and demand.

Obama famously wants more people to enroll in college. He also wants costs to be kept down. He also doesn’t want new colleges, such as for-profit colleges, popping up. He also wants students to be able to use federally funded student loans. Essentially, Barack Obama wants to increase demand for a product and keep the supply constant, yet hopes to find ways for the price to go down. If American voters buy this nonsense, they should be going to college in greater numbers and taking economics classes.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the SuperPAC

If you haven’t been able to tell from my columns here, I love freedom. Freedom is a wonderful thing, and one of the most basic rights in this country is the freedom to use your resources to speak your mind. Unfortunately, many Americans do not share this sentiment, possibly out of a mild resentment for those who have the resources to be louder than most.

The concept of unlimited-expenditure only political committees (SuperPACs) is extremely unpopular, with almost seven in ten Americans wanting them to be banned. Numerous commentators have pointed to a small minority of wealthy individuals who have spent lavishly on this election and decided that these individuals are the ones attempting to purchase candidates or the election.

Bain Failures, Not Success Stories Attributed to Romney

Throughout his campaign for both the Republican Nomination and Presidency, Mitt Romney has come under intense scrutiny for his decade-plus working at Bain Capital, a private equity firm which was founded in 1984 by partners at management consulting firm Bain & Company. While Bain has had its share of failures, as every investment firm can attest to, it is the successes of Bain and the thousands it has helped to employ that fail to get a fair shake in the media and among Romney’s detractors.

As a private equity firm, Bain Capital invests in a variety of companies of varying ages and pedigrees and restructures them, eventually selling many of them at a profit. Bain Capital, however, differs from other private equity companies is its origin. During the 1980’s, higher ups at Bain & Company realized that companies that had hired them and taken their advice were making enormous profits. Wanting to share in these large profits, Bain Capital was thus formed as less of a private equity firm and more of a management consulting firm that buys stakes in companies it advises rather than charging those companies fees.

Gawker Writer Suggests $5 Million Annual Income Cap

Last Wednesday, Gawker took time out of reporting on Ryan Lochte’s urinary habits and the health consequences of video game marathons to run an article by Hamilton Nolan suggesting that there should be a maximum income.

Nolan’s argument essentially boils down to the idea that $5 million is “enough,” especially since it can provide $250,000 a year just on interest if invested conservatively. He asks how the slickest PR Firm in the world can explain how a person deserves more than $5 million a year consider the plight of the poor. I’m no slick PR Firm, but I’ll give it a shot.

The Default of the USPS

While Americans spent Wednesday declaring their love for Chick-fil-A, the United States Postal Service defaulted on $5.5 billion in obligations for retiree benefits. The payments were required for the postal service to stay on top of its long-term obligations, but will not impact its present operations.

Like many government agencies, the USPS is burdened by the lavish benefits it showers upon employees. Numerous reforms which are purported to be able to save the postal service have been proposed, ranging from reducing the number of days it delivers mail, to replacing its network of post offices with kiosks in convenience stores.

Regardless of what reforms are needed to ensure either the viability of the USPS or the improvement of mail service in this country, they will not be able to be made until congress casts off the shackles currently holding down this industry. It is ridiculous for the United States Congress to be expected to act like a “Board of Directors” for a firm that is competing in the market.

UN Proves Its Worthlessness By Demonstrating Misunderstanding Of Economic Development

“Why are poor people poor?” is a question liberals love to ask. They have grown up in the splendor of the modern west, and have trouble understanding why they “have” and billions throughout the world “have not.”

A United Nations report released last week indicates that the organization believes that we are rich and others are poor because our taxes are too low. To remedy this, the UN hopes to raise $400 billion from wealthy nations to help those that are still developing.

Of course, the UN engages in precisely zero activities which people will voluntarily pay for, so this means that the United Nations will enlist its member nations to confiscate your hard earned money in the name of fairness and development. Because your taxes aren’t high enough already, Mr Businessman.

Obama gets it wrong on outsourcing

Barack Obama wants to improve the American economy. Barack Obama wants to win a second term in November.

Unfortunately for job-seeking Americans, his campaign rhetoric seems at odds with economic growth. Obama is attempting to portray himself as a defender of the American middle class, in contrast to Romney whose background outsourcing jobs as an executive at Bain Capital http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/romneys-bain-capital-invested-in-companies-that-moved-jobs- allegedly destroyed opportunities for middle America.

Barack Obama’s economic policies have been in stark contrast to reality throughout his presidency, and his outspoken opposition to outsourcing has been no different.

In reality, outsourcing does not lead to a net loss of jobs because they leave to foreign nation, but a net gain because American workers become more efficient.

Why America’s health care market is broken, and how we can fix it

All of the Republican presidential candidates campaigned on repealing every “syllable” of Obamacare during the primaries, and many GOP Senate candidates have done likewise.

But as the Leadership Institute’s Morton Blackwell says in his 8th Law of the Public Policy Process: “You can’t beat a plan with no plan.” 

For too long, conservatives have stood in opposition to the sort of health care reform Obamacare represents without offering a coherent alternative based on the free market and individual liberty.

Any real health care reform has to start with disconnecting health insurance from employers.

Politicians Don’t Create Jobs, Even if They Are Conservative

The 2012 election is shaping up to be about putting Americans back to work as unemployment is high and has remained so since the financial crisis and the onset of the recession. Voters have indicated that jobs and job creation are the most important issues when they are deciding who to vote for.

Some Republicans are even pointing to job creation numbers in key battleground states with GOP governors, hoping that voters will use that as proof that Romney should be handed the keys to the nation’s economy. It’s a tricky game, but conservatives must not be too quick to credit politicians, rather than entrepreneurs, for actually creating jobs.

Unions: A Tale of Two Sectors

June’s recall election victory for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been received very differently by the two sides of the political aisle. Those on the Right who favor smaller government and individual liberty consider it a monumental victory in the fight against runaway union power. People on the Left consider it a backbreaking strike against the middle class.

What the battle was fought over, however, was not the future of the middle class, or the rights of unionized workers, but the special interest group that is public sector unions.

Sen. Ron Johnson to CPAC Chicago: Walker win equals democracy in action

CHICAGO – Gov. Scott Walker might have been absent from CPAC Chicago Friday, but he was present in spirit in the form of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., who has been held up as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee.

Johnson laughed at an anti-Walker protester who cried that “democracy died” when Walker beat the recall. The Senator fired back saying that “what is happening in Wisconsin” right now is “democracy.”

The Senator praised Scott Walker for reducing Wisconsin’s budget deficit, saying that voters stand behind politicians who are willing to make tough choices and fix deficits without raising taxes.

Mourdock Addresses CPAC Chicago, Encourages Vocal GOP Voters

Republican Senate nominee and David vs. Goliath underdog Richard Mourdock, came to CPAC Chicago today to stump for his campaign.

Prior to defeating Dick Lugar in the Indiana Senate primary just one month ago, Mourdock recalled being told that “a lowly state treasurer could never take a 36-year incumbent out of office.”

Mourdock, who is heavily affiliated with the Tea Party movement and has been endorsed by conservative groups such as the Club for GrowthFreedomWorks and Tea Party Express, focused on all the vitriol sent in his direction by members of the political establishment. Colin Powell joined criticism from predictable enemies Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV), with Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin calling him the “Hoosier headache.”

Dear TX GOP primary voters: Give me a chance to vote for Ted Cruz, too

Politics in Texas can get pretty nasty. Just last week, Republican state Rep. David Simpson was called soft on terrorists by his primary opponent for his anti-groping legislation aimed at the TSA in Texas airports.

But the most compelling, competitive and heated race in Texas right now is between Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Their battle for the Republican Senate nomination is considered a grand showdown between an established career politician and a Tea Party-backed underdog. The race is likely headed for a runoff, which places Dewhurst at a significant disadvantage considering Cruz’s grassroots appeal.

G8 summit reminds Americans: We still have time to save our fiscal future

World leaders congregating at Camp David this weekend for the G8 summit came to the joint conclusion that austerity measures, which drastically reduce government spending in troubled economies, are not the path out of the economic crisis for European nations. That heads of state favor centralized economic planning during a recession is disappointing but not surprising.