On this, the final episode of the Watchdog Podcast, hosts Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle take a look at the recent tragedy in Dallas and ask if attitudes towards police are changing across America.
One sign that they are: police departments say they are having a difficult time recruiting.
Following 9/11, there was a shift in how Americans viewed police and other first responders, but that era of good feelings seems to be changing as the national view of police has shifted again in the wake of events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and more recently the seemingly-unnecessary shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.
As Kittle reported this week, the number of police applicants are down more than 90 percent in some cities.
“You can get shot at for $40,000, or be home with your family for $60,000,” Seattle police recruiter Jim Ritter recently told ABC News.
The extent to which police have been militarized over the past decade certainly hasn't helped the relationship between Americans and law enforcement. If police are having a hard time recruiting, maybe that's because they are no longer viewed as part of the community but rather as a branch of the military.
In the end, though, police should be held accountable when they cross the line and the vast majority of cops who do good work deserve their place of honor in the community.
If some Americans emerged from this week wondering if everyone is truly equal before the eyes of the law, forgive them.
Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle try to make sense of the week in politics, including the FBI's recommendation that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges despite a long history of reckless behavior with sensitive and classified government information. Would a standard employee of the federal government get such treatment if they had done the same things? Would the politically damming words of FBI Director James Comey have ended the campaigns of other politicians?
And, as Kittle points out, Clinton's reprieve comes in the same week that we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act -- drawing a clear contrast between the open and accountable government promised by that law and the reality of what we get from political elites.
Then, even though Texas has recently cut back on subsidies for film and television productions, some cities are trying to throw more taxpayer dollars at Hollywood. Texas Watchdog's Mark Lisheron joins Boehm to discuss how lobbyists are trying to sell Austin and San Antonio on idea of boosting film subsidy programs, even though the benefits of that spending is questionable at best.
All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week and Picks of the Litter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
It's been 240 years since that fateful July when The Declaration of Independence was crafted in Philadelphia.
America is still here, all these years later, and in many ways the country is all the better for its age. But are Americans more free today than we were back then?
It's not an easy question to answer, for sure, but we're going to try. Matt Kittle and Eric Boehm take a look at that question on this special Independence Day edition of the Watchdog Podcast.
Sure, there's an overbearing and growing regulatory state. There's a seemingly endless bureaucracy and our elected leaders too often seem more interested in helping their friends (and themselves) than they do about the founding principles of America. On the Left, we have calls for outright socialism (an entire philosophy that has not endured as long or as well as America has, it's worth noting). On the Right, we have calls for the election of a strong-man who promises that government can be the answer to all problems, if only it were the right government.
In the whole, though, Americans have plenty to be happy about and thankful for on this Fourth of July. Our union is more perfect and respects the rights of all people to a greater extent than it did when those founding documents were written. We have a pluralistic and federalist system that allows for individuals to make their own choices and to make the most of their lives.
We're not always free, but we're still free and we should celebrate that.