So, in recent days, I've been arguing over whether, as the political Left claims, the political Right is anti-science. Needless to say, commentators of the Left disagree with me. Responses ranged from name-calling and indignation (which are fairly common), to the Left's new answer to charges of hypocrisy, which is to declare all criticism to be "false equivalencies." Apparently, false equivalencies are like Hebrew writing, traveling only from Right to Left. -- Kenneth P. Green
After praising the Chris Christie keynote address on Tuesday I criticized a portion of his speech, drawing an exasperated reaction from our dear proprietor. As the leading blog promoter of NewNewt, it's only fair that I give him the same treatment.
Newt's draft "21st Century Contract with America" has been released to the world. Newt's plan for Social Security and Medicare is to "save" them, basically by offering alternatives that taxpayers have the option to choose from. For Social Security this means:
We must therefore consider a voluntary option for younger Americans to put a portion of their Social Security contributions into personal Social Security savings accounts. Other countries, such as Chile, have found that this model creates vast savings while giving beneficiaries more control over when and how they plan to retire.
But if we're honestly talking about bold, sweeping, permanent solutions to government problems we need to get something more like The Salzman Plan on the table:
But here’s a plan – call it the Salsman Plan – that would ensure electoral support from all three groups, and thus potentially guarantee a political landslide for the candidate who proposes it. First, tell the elderly that they’ll no longer be subject to political scare tactics, because immediately they’ll be given an account in their name that’s full of U.S. Treasury bills and bonds, whose worth equals the present value of what they’d otherwise receive in Social Security checks for the likely balance of their lives. They can do what they wish with their new account: cash it out now, slowly liquidate it over time, perhaps buy an annuity, or keep most of it as is. Second, tell the young and the middle-aged they will no longer have to pay the 15.3% payroll tax, and they too will immediately receive an account in their name with U.S. Treasury bills and bonds, based on what they’ve already paid in so far. They too can do what they wish with their sudden investment windfall. Social Security, no longer empowered to tax payrolls or send retiree checks, would then be closed overnight.
Larry goes out of his way to say he is not endorsing anybody in the GOP primaries. But we can safely say, he liked the speech:
First, Christie gets the linkage between domestic economic growth, national security, and foreign-policy influence. This was an absolute key Reagan principle.
Second, at the Reagan Library, Christie talked about the New Jersey model, where in a tough war against government unions and teachers, divided government worked to reform the state’s pension and health benefits, cap property taxes, and hold down arbitration awards for union salaries. (Christie didn’t mention this, but he also stopped the millionaire’s tax in New Jersey.)
And while the governor said there was compromise on a bipartisan basis, and while he emphasized leadership in compromise several times in his speech, he noted that he balanced two budgets with over $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes.
Enriching the incentive to work or run a company in the United States, however, would have a more direct impact on the U.S. economy. The problem with many tax-cut proposals isn't low taxes; it's the huge cut in government spending that would usually have to accompany them, since most advocates of tax cuts don't suggest ways to replace lost government revenue. But Cain's national sales tax would provide cover for cuts to personal and corporate income tax rates and allow expensive programs like Social Security and Medicare to keep functioning normally. Again, there are many complexities, and Cain's math probably isn't bulletproof. But the principle of higher consumption taxes paired with lower income taxes is a sound one.
In other words, Cain's 9-9-9 plan could bring in the same revenue as the existing income tax only scheme while at the same time stimulating production and growth, moderating consumption, and encouraging individual savings. If this three-headed tax monster could be kept on an unbreakable leash it could do wonders.
The GMU professor, Cafe Hayek blogger, and author of "The Price of Everything" which is the perfect sticking-stuffer for your moonbat friends, takes to the WSJ Ed Page today to rebut Elizabeth Warren's viral progressive sensation comments. (Bonus points for diagramming that sentence in four-dimensional spacetime).
Russ Roberts suggests that if government kept to the activities applauded in her diatribe, most citizens would join her in happily paying taxes.
If the feds stopped all that, Ms. Warren would have a stronger point. We could all feel some gratitude for government's role in helping us live better lives. All of us, rich and poor, would look at government differently.
In a short column, Roberts nails the practical arguments: consent of the governed, local vs. federal, &c. He also makes some good philosophical arguments.
The other part that's missing from Ms. Warren's narrative is that all Americans, rich and poor, benefit from the public spending she mentions. It isn't just Steve Jobs who benefits because Apple iPads come to the Apple Store on public roads. All of Apple's customers benefit too. If her argument is that taxes should be related to benefit, should we raise taxes on the poor and the middle class? Sergey Brin and Larry Page became billionaires by creating Google, but the gains to the rest of us are much larger. Messrs. Brin and Page aren't able to capture anything close to the benefits they've created for the rest of society. So should the rest of us pay a bigger share of the taxes than Google's founders?
Ms. Warren is certainly correct that some rich people aren't carrying their weight--those who live off the rest of us by twisting the rules of the game in their direction: the sugar farmers who benefit from sugar quotas, the corn farmers who benefit from ethanol subsidies and those sugar quotas, and especially the Wall Street executives who have managed to convince both parties that the survival of their firms, even when they make disastrous loans to each other, benefits the rest of us.
But raising taxes on the rich is the wrong way to fix this problem.
Excellent! It chaps my hide that I have to hat-tip somebody for a Russ Roberts piece in the Wall Street Journal -- talk about home turf! But blog friend EE mailed me a link that I saw before I read it. Just doesn't seem fair somehow...
UPDATE: But it did come with a free link for seven days for non-subscribers.
Put it this way: The GOP nominee is running against the incumbent president. Unlike the incumbent, Herman Cain has at least twice identified the causes of a large failing enterprise, designed goals, achieved them, and by all accounts inspired the people he was supposed to lead. Not least, Mr. Cain's life experience suggests that, unlike the incumbent, he will adjust his ideas to reality.
Herman Cain is a credible candidate. Whether he deserves to be president is something voters will decide. But he deserves a serious look.
Dan Henninger at the WSJ Ed Page counters the "He is great, but..." candidacy of Herman Cain. He's #3 in the polls and he's five points off that incumbent president whose CV he blows away.
In emphasizing the Q&A, JK says the speech is skippable. Perhaps, but a few choice lines are, shall we say, an exception.
"Telling those who are scared and struggling the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others, trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard, insisting that we must tax, and take, and demonize those who have already achieved the American dream. That may turn out to be a good campaign strategy Mister President, but it is a demoralizing message for America."
The riffs on leadership and compromise, hope and failure, and fixing government were excellent but what impressed me most was philosophical. He defended the idea of American exceptionalism, and explained that what our nation represents over the past few years doesn't live up to that standard. "Real American exceptionalism" is "earned American exceptionalism."
Quoting Reagan describing, in 1989, what he always envisioned whenever he spoke of America as "a shining city on a hill..."
"In my mind it was a tall proud city, built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. A city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still."
"That, is American exceptionalism. Not a punch-line in a political speech, but a vision, followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world. Not a reelection strategy, but an American revitalization strategy. We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes, and once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish. Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century. We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less."
I really like bananas. Great way to start the day. Tasty and nutritious.
Wegman's sells them for 49˘ a pound, but I would pay more than that. At 99˘ a pound, I'd still get them. I'm happier paying less, but I could afford the higher price.
So why doesn't my grocery store take advantage of this? It could double the price of bananas and still keep my business
I was going to suggest that Starbucks® could add a quarter or half-dollar to every item on their menu and I would not go one fewer time or buy one fewer item. Egads! That would be billions of dollars in increased revenue -- every day! Why don't those fools on the board see it?
And Warren Buffett wouldn't mind paying higher taxes. Something about a contiguous supply-demand curve...
I wept a few times during the Q&A session last night. And a couple of times after, thinking that he was not running this time.
I think I have figured out what divides my blog brother(s?) and me on the Garden State Guv. If you want to plot him ideologically on a single axis, Gov. Christie will certainly not be the most doctrinaire conservative. He holds several apostate views, and I have to believe he holds them sincerely and honestly.
But, but. but -- on the issues of entitlement funding, entitlement spending, and entitlement mentality, he is off-the-charts good. And that is the key issue of our time. He also has a warmth and personal integrity. "Leadership, pure and simple" he says of President Reagan. I'd apply it to the big man himself.
UPDATE: By the way, the speech is skippable if you have a job or something, but the Q&As at the end (34:00) are NOT to be missed. I'm with the woman at 43:40.
The poll found that 54 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the way Christie is handling his job as governor, while just 36 percent disapprove. That's a sharp tick up for Christie since May, when 44 percent said they approved of his job performance and an equal number said they disapproved.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- President Barack Obama's chief political adviser on Tuesday conceded that a dark cloud looms over the American economy and Obama's political future, describing the president's road to a second term in the White House as "a titanic struggle."
Dark clouds and sinking ships. Strike up the orchestra: "Nearer my God to Thee" in Bb.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) said at AEI today that "we're facing a survival-level threat to the America we’ve known" from spiraling debt, diminished optimism, and a turning away from self-sufficiency.
Professor Reynolds links to this article on World Contraception Day (Don't forget to bring donuts into work!), based -- I think -- more on the salacious headline than the information contained.
LONDON (Reuters) - Young people across the globe are having more unprotected sex and know less about effective contraception options, a multinational survey revealed on Monday.
The "Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception" study prepared for World Contraception Day (WCD) reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the USA and 19 percent in Britain in the last three years.
Hmmm, quite a problem. Young people's rights are at stake. Did not John Locke write eloquently 400 years ago about life, liberty, property, and Trojans™?
What can we do? Spend more money, perhaps? If only we could ask an unbiased source...
"What young people are telling us is that they are not receiving enough sex education or the wrong type of information about sex and sexuality," spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Jennifer Woodside said in a statement.
"The results show that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs (sexually transmitted infections)," she said.
World Government has so much to accomplish and so few resources.
The real rift in philosophy though is do you want the Government to create jobs and stimulate the economy or do you want America’s small business to be the engine of growth?
Economic Success has somehow become the new boogie man; some in the Democratic party are now casting about for enemies and business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat. This is counter to the American Dream and is really turning off so many people that love American and basically carry our country on their back by paying taxes and by employing people and creating GDP.
I voted for our President. I have maxed out on personal donations to his re-election campaign. I forgot his campaign wants to raise $1 billion. THAT is a lot of money-money-money-money! Money still talks. It blows my mind when I am asked for money as a donation at the same time I am getting blasted as being a bad guy!
With the looming potential of a Christie candidacy NYT's Nate Silver theorizes that the big winner could be ... Rick Perry.
The other view is that the campaign has not been about Mr. Romney per se, but instead is simply a struggle between moderates and conservatives. If the median primary Republican voter wants a “movement conservative” as their nominee, then Mr. Christie may not pass that test because of his stances on issues like immigration and climate change.
Mr. Romney could still win under this view if several candidates split the conservative vote and he has the moderate vote to himself. But the entry of Mr. Christie would complicate his equation and lower his odds, while posing less threat to Mr. Perry’s campaign.
In the 2008 race Romney, the Colorado favorite, suffered from also-rans to his right. Four years later he could face the same problem, but this time from his left in Chris Christie.
UPDATE: Added missing links. (Antropologists wish it were so easy!)
On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and a line from an episode: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed." On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter emailed Miller, notifying him that she had removed the poster and that "it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing."
Amazed that UWS could be so shockingly heavy-handed, Miller replied by email, "Respect liberty and respect my first amendment rights." Walter responded that "the poster can be interpreted as a threat by others and/or could cause those that view it to believe that you are willing/able to carry out actions similar to what is listed." Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: "If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct."
Later on September 16, Miller placed a new poster on his office door in response to Walter's censorship. The poster read "Warning: Fascism" and included a cartoon image of a silhouetted police officer striking a civilian. The poster mocked, "Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets."
@baseballcrank calls it "The Most exciting Jon Huntsman story of the year.
Did Huntsman, who was profiled in the September issue of Vogue, join the latest fashion craze? The downward spiraling economy -- and example of the new Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton -- caused fashionistas to start recycling outfits, dubbing themselves recessionistas.
Or perhaps it's a lucky tie? Either way, the Huntsman campaign won't say. When reached for comment, a Huntsman spokesman said tie decisions were above his paygrade.
I've been tough on my beloved Broncos since they booted Coach Shanahan, but I am proud even in defeat today. Tough defense, discipline, good effort -- well done, lads. Try it again with Dumervil and Champ Bailey, shall we?
Very very good Sunday read: Matt Ridley's From Phoenecia to Hayek to the 'Cloud'
Human progress has always depended on spontaneous collaboration to harness dispersed knowledge.
There was no sudden change in brain size 200,000 years ago. We Africans--all human beings are descended chiefly from people who lived exclusively in Africa until about 65,000 years ago--had slightly smaller brains than Neanderthals, yet once outside Africa we rapidly displaced them (bar acquiring 2.5% of our genes from them along the way).
And the reason we won the war against the Neanderthals, if war it was, is staring us in the face, though it remains almost completely unrecognized among anthropologists: We exchanged. At one site in the Caucasus there are Neanderthal and modern remains within a few miles of each other, both from around 30,000 years ago. The Neanderthal tools are all made from local materials. The moderns' tools are made from chert and jasper, some of which originated many miles away. That means trade.
But then, Michele only drew 1.5% support ... in the Florida GOP straw poll. Among 2600 party activists the big winner was the Hermanator with 37 percent - nearly as much as the next three finishers combined.
The vote and spectacle underscored that Cain, who polled in single digits this week, is the new tea party darling. And Michele Bachmann isn’t. She was the big loser, coming in last place. Once a top-tier candidate who won the Iowa straw poll, Bachmann had trouble breaking through in recent debates, failed to give specifics and didn’t reach out to the Presidency 5 grassroots voters.
Or maybe her appeal is truly regional. At any rate, she's losing momentum along with former "white knight" Rick Perry. A Miami-Dade activist said of Perry: “... it’s become increasingly clear he can’t perform. He has electile dysfunction.”
I doubt it will keep him in front but at least the showing gives Cain a chance to be in front for a time. Who knows?
While the pattern in comics inverts the meritocratic ideal that seems to rule in most modern American fiction, it fits quite naturally with a pre-capitalist aristocratic ethos, which persisted at least through the early 20th century in the form of Old Money's contempt for the nouveau riche. Jane Jacobs, in her book Systems of Survival, contrasted this aristocratic view, which she dubbed the "Guardian" moral complex, with "bourgeois" or "mercantile" ethics. In this worldview, while wealth and the leisure time it affords may be necessary preconditions of cultivating certain noble qualities (whether that's appreciation of classical art and literature, or the martial, deductive, and scientific skills of a masked crimefighter), the grubby business of acquiring money is inherently corrupting. The ideal noble needs to have wealth, while being too refined to be much concerned with becoming wealthy. It's permissible for Stark and Kord to be largely responsible for the success of their companies because their contribution is essentially a side effect of their exercise of their intellectual virtues. Along similar lines, while the Fantastic Four have plainly become enormously wealthy from the income stream generated by Reed Richards' many patents, I don't recall many scenes in which we see Richards stepping out of the lab to apply his intelligence directly to their commercialization: His inventions are presumably sold or licensed to others who concern themselves with transforming Richards' genius into cash.
I confess I skipped over comic books, making me most unusual among the Buffy cognoscenti, Sci-Fi readers, and other phyla of geekdom. I'll leave it to others to establish veracity, but it strikes me as both true and insidious. Sort of a wicked plan to take over the world by degrading the rational faculties of America's youth...
Christie suggested to an audience at New Jersey's Rider University that the current GOP candidates are not answering the public's appetite for real leadership.
"I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, 'Here's where I want us to go to deal with this crisis,'" Christie said.
Christie continued: "The fact that nobody yet who's running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask Daniels if he'll reconsider and ask me if I'll reconsider."
Faced with the prospect of a cut in federal spending, Senator Reid chose to once again risk a government shutdown in a desperate attempt to protect the federal jack for "a clean-energy program popular with Democrats and the Obama administration."
Blog brother jk appealed for Randian elevator speeches to answer the latest liberal female candidate for Ted Kennedy's senate seat who said, "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own - nobody."
My first temptation was to say, "Please read Craig Biddle's (not Bill Whittle) essay on Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society. It is superb. But it is far more than an elevator ride. And that is the trouble. Americans have been taught for generations that it is unconscionable for "the richest nation in the world" to let any of our neighbors go hungry or be denied the latest medical treatments. How does anyone counter this belief in even the world's longest elevator ride? Perhaps like this...
A human is a living thing that cannot survive without using his or her mind to identify values and act to achieve them. Values begin with those things which a human needs for survival. They begin with food, shelter, clothing. They then progress on a scale from necessities to comforts and then luxuries.
Civilization and prosperity have made luxuries into comforts and comforts into necessities. But civilization also tries to make leisure into work. Our prosperity has convinced many of us that there is enough wealth to go around to everybody, so nobody needs to work any longer. This fiction is extended even beyond the realm of materials and into services, such as medical treatment and disaster assistance. But there is no free lunch. Without production and commerce there is no prosperity, and production is not automatic. No man will work to create something unless he will profit. No man will learn medicine and care for others unless he receives a comparable value in return.
Businessmen, of all people, recognize the value of a polite society. Why do you think they always tried to hire Clint Eastwood to protect their two-bit town from the local gang? This is why most people are happy to pay a nominal tax to support basic government services, or even a higher tax for some extra-special services. But still more taxes to transfer his wealth to the less industrious are another matter. Take away a man's profit without his consent and he will either stop producing things you used to get from him or he'll leave your civilization and start his own somewhere beyond your reach. Either way, you are worse off than when you worked for your own earnings and traded with him fairly.
Of course, all of this presumes that your goal is to be happy and prosperous in your own life. Some men aspire to nothing more than to harm others. Don't be that guy, and don't demand what you haven't earned.
GENEVA (AP) -- A fundamental pillar of physics - that nothing can go faster than the speed of light - appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein's theories.
Well, leave it to the AP to make an error in the lead paragraph. The tachyon if I recall correctly is predicted by General Relativity. Providing that time is complex, Albert wouldn't really object.
The point is that -- this being real science -- it is being taken seriously and will be studied, reproduced and attempts will be made to explain. Were it "climate science," some former Vice President would hold a press conference, and there would be a lot of name calling.
Hat-tip: @davidharsanyi, whose version of the snarky headline is "what! scientific consensus was wrong?"
At this point four years ago, Rudy Giuliani led the GOP field with 28%, trailed by former Sen. Fred Thompson at 23% and John McCain at 15%, with everyone else in single digits. When the dust finally cleared, neither Messrs. Giuliani nor Thompson was a serious contender--and Govs. Romney and Mike Huckabee pressed Mr. McCain hard before he prevailed. All of which means the 2012 Republican sweepstakes is far from over. -- Karl Rove
As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama's stimulus was announced in 2009, "There's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can." -- Matt Welch (a Reason guy, writing for CNN, is the space-time continuum safe?)
The linked article is "Why the $16 muffin matters." I must disagree a bit with my big-L Libertarian friend. Every word he says is true, but it propagates the lie that we can have all the government we want if we just elect candidate x who will clean things up. No need to stop developing programs for the poor and new middle class entitlements, we'll take it all out of pastry savings.
At least she is honest about who she is and what she believes. I guess you don't have to hide your progressiove light under a bushel when you're running for the Senate in Massachusetts.
But I think I can suggest this is about as far away from ThreeSources theory as you can get:
In a video of a recent Warren appearance, posted online by an individual who says he or she is not affiliated with the campaign, Warren answered the charge. "I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,'" Warren said. "No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody.
"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory -- and hire someone to protect against this -- because of the work the rest of us did.
"So identified has the State become in the public mind with the provision of these services," Rothbard laments, "that an attack on State financing appears to many people as an attack on the service itself." The libertarian who wants to get the government out of a certain business is "treated in the same way as he would be if the government had, for various reasons, been supplying shoes as a tax-financed monopoly from time immemorial."
If everyone had always gotten their shoes from the government, writes Rothbard, the proponent of shoe privatization would be greeted as a kind of lunatic. "How could you?" defenders of the status quo would squeal. "You are opposed to the public, and to poor people, wearing shoes! And who would supply shoes . . . if the government got out of the business? Tell us that! Be constructive! It's easy to be negative and smart-alecky about government; but tell us who would supply shoes? Which people? How many shoe stores would be available in each city and town? . . . What material would they use? . . . Suppose a poor person didn't have the money to buy a pair?"
I get this from my receptive-to-liberty-theory sister all the time. If the USDA did not inspect meat, or the city not inspect restaurant bathrooms, we'd all die in a week.
So, who is stuck in a time warp? Does Kessler not know what has happened during the last 20 years? Does he not understand that the Oslo Accords collapsed under the violent weight of the Second Intifada? Does he really believe that a letter written by the deceased head of a defunct organization in 1993, answers for all time the question whether Palestinians and their leaders actually accept the existence of Israel as an independent nation, let alone a Jewish state?
Great piece. Hinderaker rebuts every item in the slanted piece and awards "four pinocchios" at the end. Superb.
No, Mister Jilette does not perform. But I found his interview with Mick Gillespie to be 16 minutes of magical thought. The main premise is atheism, as he is hawking a book, but they cover God, Libertarianism, Ayn Rand, Hillary Clinton, and Warren Buffett as well. True intellectual exploration:
"The Republican Party needs an antidote to Palinism."
So said noted authority on GOP political strategy Dan Gerstein, "a New York-based Democratic strategist who worked on Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign as an independent in 2006" last September.
I just posted a comment that referenced the Conservative New Jerseyarticle that included this quote. It was rebuttal to the notion that Chris Christie is the GOP rock star we should all want in this year's presidential race. But I thought it deserved further and more prominent examination.
Republicans and Liberty Movement folk may differ on the New Jersey governor's bona fides (gun control, Obamacare, cap and trade, more...) but when he is defined as the anti-Palin we Liberty types bristle. That seems to be a fight the governor himself would be wise not to pick. For his part it seems he does not, as the CNJ article chronicles the lengths he takes to keep his distance from her.
How can it be that hard working people in the $500,000 - $1 Million income category, like Warren Buffet's CFO, are paying 0.8% more than those earning over a million? When will this outrage be repaired?
The latest Obama plan "doesn’t produce any more in realistic savings than the plan they offered in April," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "They’ve filled in details, repackaged it and replaced one gimmick with another. They don't even stabilize the debt. This is just not enough."
The most disheartening development, MacGuineas and others said, is Obama's decision to count $1.1 trillion in savings from the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan toward his debt-reduction total. Because Obama has no intention of continuing war spending at last year's elevated levels, that $1.1 trillion would never have been spent.
The President's plan, however, has been extremely well received by my moonbat Facebook friends.
I shouldn't click. I have learned not to read Peggy Noonan and it has done wonders for my disposition.
Someday, I will do the same with the WaPo Fact Checker. But today, it is too late. Mr. Glenn Kessler sees fit to lecture Gov. Rick Perry for "newbie" mistakes, charitably pointing out "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its own diplomatic code, and it takes time and effort to understand it."
The offending, two Pinocchio quote?
I certainly have some concerns. The first step in any peaceful negotiation for a two-state solution for the Palestinians is to recognize the right of Israel's existence. They have to denounce terrorism in both word and deed. And they have to sit down and negotiate with Israel directly. Anything short of that is a non-starter in my opinion."
LIAR! Kessler provides a letter from Nobel Laureate Yasser Arafat to prove that things are hunky-dory between the Jews and Palestinians:
"The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security," the letter from Arafat said. "The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations. … Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators."
Israel received a promise from Arafat in 1996. Still Governor Perry things there is some problem. What a loser.
I can't say I'm pleased about it but for the forseeable future, the GOP nomination battle has two possible winners: Perry or Romney. WaPo reports the two are a near-perfect embodiment of the two factions of the Republican party. Author Phillip Rucker calls it "the party’s upper-crust establishment" versus "the angry grass roots" and Massachusetts versus Texas. I'll boil it down even further - East versus West.
It is perhaps in the area of personal style that the two men are most different.
Consider how they approached the rite of eating a corn dog when they visited the Iowa State Fair last month. When a fair vendor handed Romney a vegetarian corn dog, he politely took it, turned his back to the cameras following him, took a delicate bite from the side and hurried along so he wouldn’t be photographed sticking the deep-fried foot-long in his mouth.
Perry, meanwhile, took a big bite of his corn dog, top first, photographic evidence of which raced around the Internet.
Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, having looted all the private wealth in his country, moves to protect his wealth.
ExxonMobil’s shareholders can join Chrysler’s bondholders on Obama’s enemies list. If that seems a tad harsh, consider this: When made to choose between millions of American shareholders and one South American dictator, the Obama Administration chose Chavez.
Why is the Obama Administration sitting in paralyzed silence while Chavez removes himself from international accountability? Is it perceived ideological comradeship, a loathing of investors, simple dereliction of duty or some other reason? Now that is a mystery.
It seems that 1973 physics Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever has fallen from the fold. The WSJ Ed Page reports that he "resigned last week from the American Physical Society in protest over the group's insistence that evidence of man-made global warming is 'incontrovertible.'"
In an email to the society, Mr. Giaever--who works at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute--wrote that "The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me . . . that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period."
Mr. Giaever was an American Physical Society fellow, an honor bestowed on "only half of one percent" of the members, according to a spokesman. He follows in the footsteps of University of California at Santa Barbara Emeritus Professor of Physics Harold Lewis, a former APS fellow who resigned in 2010, calling global warming "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."
I am in the middle of another pop science book, the fun but überchallenging "The Shape of Inner Space -- String Theory and the Geometry of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions" by Shing-Tung Yau and Steve Nadis. And once again I am amazed that more real scientists do not object to the lack of rigor and political hijacking allowed in "climate science." The suppression of disagreement alone would be unthinkable in any other discipline.
We're told that Republicans need to nominate a "moderate" candidate to attract independent-minded voters into the tienda grande. Some insight into the folly of this thinking can perhaps be gleaned from the much anticipated California straw poll.
...here are the numbers, in a pool of fewer than 900 votes that was predominantly party activists:
Congressman Ron Paul (374, 44.9%)
Governor Rick Perry (244, 29.3%)?
Mitt Romney (74, 8.8%)
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (64, 7.7%)
Jon Huntsman (17, 2.0%)
Herman Cain (15, 1.8%)
Newt Gingrich (14, 1.7%)
Thad McCotter (7, 0.8%)
Rick Santorum (7, 0.8%)
Gary Johnson (2, 0.2%)
Fred Karger (1, 0.1%)
Write-ins (15, 1.8%)
OK, we'll give props to Congressman Paul for taking first. (Word is he bussed in hundreds of supporters.) But look how the others fared. The "extremist" Rick Perry bested "mainstream" Mitt Romney 3 to 1. And uber-moderate Jon Huntsman was in the also-ran ranks (where he belongs, in my humble opinion.) Whether or not Perry organized any support this can't be good for Romney, who managed only 10 more straws than the stout-principled "anti-vaccination kook" Bachmann. It seems clear that in this prototypical blue state, well outside of flyover country, GOP voters have little interest in milquetoast politics this cycle.
In 1776, one book, written in complex language, sold over 120,000 copies in Colonial America. That number does seem large on its own. However, to give it even more meaning, I like to convert it to an equivalent number today.
This conversion is a task for proportional reasoning--one of my favorite tools for finding meaning in the numbers that surround us. First convert 120,000 into a fraction of the U.S. population in 1776: compared to the population at the time of 2.5 million, 120,000 is roughly 1 in 20, or 5%. Today's U.S. population is about 300 million--of which 5% is 15 million.
Fifteen million copies today! More surprisingly, Common Sense by Thomas Paine sold this equivalent in just three months. In its first year, it sold 500,000 copies, or 20% of the colonial population.
Author Sanjoy Mahajan compares this to The Da Vinci Code: "Today's equivalent is 60 million copies. On Wikipedia's list of bestselling books, all books that have sold that many or more copies have done so over a much longer time. The shortest time is 8 years, for The Da Vinci Code; several others, such as Heidi, were published in the 19th century."
I don't think you need a Freakonomics degree to see that the readership is spread over a larger selection of books -- Chris Anderson call your office -- but Mahajan's other comparison caught my eye. He prints a few paragraphs from Common Sense to show "the sophistication of the writing and reasoning."
I recently finished John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (~1689). This year included a couple almost-hundred-year-old tracts by Mises, WH Hutt's Theory of Idle Resources and several Presidential biographies written in the Gilded Age when their bewhiskered subjects were still alive or recently passed.
None of these is "The Da Vinci Code." With respect, I read the Dan Brown thriller and liked it allright, but books from the 19th, 18th and 17th Century tend to be far more demanding in concept, vocabulary and diligence. They also assume familiarity with classics and regularly include Greek and Latin phrases without translation.
Again, we have laptops, Internet, voluminous libraries, iPads, free MIT courses online, &c. Yet nobody is graduated from Harvard with the erudition the young John Quincy Adams had when he was denied admission.
The whole short post is worth a read. To really do yourself a favor, click through to read the longer but rewarding The 7 Lesson Schoolteacher
Following up on JG's tweet, I see the WSJ Ed Page enjoying a paternity hunt for Solyndra loan guarantees:
Committee Democrats and two Administration officials tried to pin the tail on the Bush Administration by noting that the Solyndra loan consideration began before President Obama took office. There's no doubt the late-Bush Presidency slid into big government senescence.
However in the Solyndra case, the Bush Administration's review board declined in January 2009 to act on the loan proposal, calling it "premature" and asking for more information. Two months later, in March, the Obama Administration's board signed off. Energy Department Loans Program Office Executive Director Jonathan Silver told the committee that "additional due diligence" was conducted in the short interim.
Anyway, this gave me a big idea. Now stick with me on this it is pretty complicated.
What if, instead of governments' providing these loans and funding, there were some kind of opportunity for individual investors to offer capital either as a loan or for a partial equity stake. Individuals, or groups, could then share in the profits of successful firms, probably taking advantage of greater distributed knowledge than the government funders. I don't know what to call it, but it's so crazy it seems it just might work.
In addition to those of you who've joined us today, I'm told that these remarks are being webcast live for the benefit of Hillsdale students back in Michigan, where it is currently 8:30 a.m. -- or, as most college students call it, the crack of dawn. Your scholarly passion for human freedom must be powerful indeed. -- Rep, Paul Ryan
Well worth a whole thing kinda readin' -- plus a bonus Shepard Fairey parody. But a sad close, not Ryan but Paul Rahe:
Can you imagine either of the serious contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination giving so thoughtful a speech? Does either have any clear idea of what needs to be done? It has long been my judgment that Barack Obama's Presidency could be saved only by the Republicans. Those in the House and the Senate have done splendidly in this particular -- far better than I expected. But the Presidential field is still weak. There is nothing in Romney's background to make one confident that he fully shares Ryan's sentiments. Perry may well agree with Ryan, but he has not yet displayed a genuine capacity for making the argument.
The Hartford Courant reports that Brooke Shields will be starring in a made-for-TV movie based on the controversial Kelo vs. New London Supreme Court case. The actress will be playing Susan [sic, I believe it is Susette] Kelo, a nurse who was the last holdout against the city of New London's attempt to seize privately owned land under eminent domain. The city said it intended to use the land, which included Kelo's home, to further economic development. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city 5-4. The film, which will air on Lifetime TV, is an adaptation of Jeff Benedict's book Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage.
The Federalist Society asks on Facebook if people can name any other eminent domain movies. One fan comes up with "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Like.
TerriG has linked to a list of LIES in the Wall Street Journal about the Administration's JOBS ACT:
Mr. Obama said last week that he wants $240 billion in new tax incentives for workers and small business, but the catch is that all of these tax breaks would expire at the end of next year. To pay for all this, White House budget director Jack Lew also proposed $467 billion in new taxes that would begin a mere 16 months from now. The tax list includes limiting deductions for those earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples), limiting tax breaks for oil and gas companies, and a tax increase on carried interest earned by private equity firms. These tax increases would not be temporary.
What this means is that millions of small-business owners had better enjoy the next 16 months, because come January 2013 they are going to get hit with a giant tax bill. Let's call the expensive roll:
Followed by a lot of LIES about how taxes will go up.
A commenter even refers to the President as OhBummer (I guess that's supposed to be a clever play on the President's name or something) and makes light of Attack Watch as if it is some kind of joke. Shut down her bastion of hatefulness!
This may only be funny to current and ex Colorado folk. But Tom Martino, or "Troubleshooter Tom Martino" has been a fixture on Denver TV and radio since I was a kid. He's the tough guy consumer reporter, keeping business honest and sticking up for the little guy and bla, bla, bla...
I was intrigued that he lately expanded from general business bashing to product endorsements. It seemed to undercut his credibility -- for the remaining 100 viewers who think a consumer reporter has credibility, at least. But now, I see he needed the cash:
Denver TV and radio personality and businessman Tom Martino has filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy protection, claiming assets of $1.37 million and liabilities of $78.6 million.
Martino, known as the "Troubleshooter" for his consumer-advocacy shows, appears regularly on the KDVR Fox-31 television station and AM radio station 630-KHOW. He's also involved in businesses including real estate and telecommunications.
It's a small man who laughs at the misfortune of others but HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!
In his attempt to explain why predominantly Jewish and predominantly Democratic voters in New York Nine might elect a Septogenarian Catholic white Anglo-Saxon male Republican over a fellow Jewish Democrat, California congressman Henry Waxman, also a Jewish Democrat, inadvertently admitted what the president and congressional Democrats have been doing to America since each of them arrived in office.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a prominent Jewish congressman, said the Jewish vote is a concern for his party.
“I think Jewish voters will be Democratic and be for Obama in 2012, especially if you get a Republican candidate like [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry,” he said. “But there’s no question the Jewish community is much more bipartisan than it has been in previous years. There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.”
If this is true then "well-off" Democrats can be expected to defect to Republican candidates across the slate. But more importantly, can anyone cite another example of such a brazen and careless admission that the president and his Democratic allies are literally a threat to individual wealth? A threat from which voters now feel they must protect that wealth? President Obama famously told Joe the Plumber, "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." But, for some reason, "well-off" voters in 2008 didn't feel that their wealth was threatened. Perhaps because candidate Obama's next words were,
"But listen," Obama said, shaking Wurzelbacher’s hand, "I respect what you do and I respect your question, and even if I don’t get your vote, I’m still gonna be working hard on your behalf, because small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it.”
Mister Obama seemed to recognize that he'd just uttered a gaffe, and in the realm of a free-press he had. Some of us took the remark for what it was - a warning of what we could expect from a President Obama. Others, like those in New York Nine, didn't believe it until they saw it.
Brother jg beat me to the punch on the NY-9 special election. A 20 point 9-point [mea culpa!] GOP win in Sen. Chuck Schumer's old district is a victory to savor.
And yet, Professor William Jacobsen (via Insty) brings what is likely even better news for lovers of liberty. In the long run, it is more significant that many full time Democratic operatives lost their publicly funded jobs in Wisconsin:
Last month [Wisconsin Education Association Council] (WEAC) announced that it was laying off 40% of its staff. With little over which to collectively bargain, and with dues no longer withheld from paychecks, the need for and sustainability of a union bureaucracy could not be justified.
Now WEAC is being boycotted by National Staff Organization (NSO), a union representing educational union employees.
Isn't that great, education union employees have their own union? Is there a union for employees of education union employee unions?
Elections and candidates come and go, but the criminal cycle of public unions donating to statist candidates lasts what I thought to be forever.
If they both reify in 2012, a large GOP majority could cripple this vicious circle by forcing members to choose whether to pay dues. Freedom is always a game changer.
The United Federation of Teachers, Bill Clinton, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer recorded robocalls for Mr. Weprin. According to Politico, about a thousand Democratic volunteers walked door to door yesterday highlighting the candidate's endorsement by the New York Times. Mr. Weprin also visited several senior centers to warn that Mr. Turner wanted to kill Social Security and Medicare. But even a robust Democratic get-out-the-vote operation couldn't mitigate voters' dissatisfaction. Recent polls showed that frustration with President Obama and the economic recovery had turned voters--including a third of Democrats--against Mr. Weprin.
It seems the two instances of good news might be related.
Retired media executive and political novice Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin in a special election Tuesday to succeed Rep. Anthony Weiner, a seven-term Democrat who resigned in June after a sexting scandal.
The heavily Democratic district, which spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn, had never sent a Republican to the House. But frustration with the continued weak national economy gave Republicans the edge.
Turner has vowed to bring business practicality to Washington and push back on spending and taxes.
The race was supposed to be an easy win for Democrats, who have a 3-1 ratio registration advantage in the district.
Turner, a 70-year-old Catholic, vowed to push back on Obama's policies if elected.
The WSJ Ed Page sees some correlation between the announced 30,000 layoffs at BofA and the hyperregulation of the financial sector in the 112th Congress and current Administration. Now hang on, it is pretty complicated. But if you think about it, you might see that they have a point:
[Bank of America CEO Brian] Moynihan didn't say this, but we will: These layoffs are part of the bill for the last two years of Washington's financial rule-writing. After loose monetary policy had combined with insane housing policy to create a financial crisis, the Democrats who ran Washington in 2009 and 2010 enacted myriad new rules that had nothing to do with easy money or housing.
Take the amendment that Illinois Democrat and Senator Dick Durbin (with the help of 17 Senate Republicans) attached to last year's Dodd-Frank financial law. Mr. Durbin's amendment instructed the Federal Reserve to limit the amount of "swipe fees" that banks can charge merchants when customers use debit cards.
How exactly does forcing banks to charge Wal-Mart less money for operating an electronic payment system prevent the next financial crisis? Readers may wait a long time for a satisfactory answer, but the cost of this Dodd-Frank directive is straightforward.
Good thing the President is releasing a solid jobs bill today to get these 30K jobs back.
EE created something of a monster by getting me to read Chairman Bernanke's textbook on Inflation Targeting. It made sense to me and has kept me out of the Ron Paul, mettalism camp that is gaining devotees among Tea Party Republicans with whom I find much to agree. He has pretty well brought me around that income targeting includes the policies I like from inflation targeting yet uses a better model. (The fact that he's an Assistant Professor of Economics with a PhD and I am a hippie dropout guitar player with three out of print CDs should be noted.)
I finally got the great pleasure of meeting the corporeal incarnation of blog friend GD last week. He, jg, Dagny, and I quaffed Starbucks at 8am and discussed, well, monetary policy of course. We each left with some reading assignments for the next bout. I suggest EE's piece be put at the top of the list.
I can handle suckage. I rooted for the Broncos all through the 60s, when a .500 season was received like a championship, and survived the 70s with the heartbreak of the Orange Crush years, the super bowl loss, and the leisure suits.
But I hate to see a team lose for a lack of discipline -- or as Cartman quotes his Karate instructor: "You Rack Disciprin!"
Our dear Donkeys were set to go into halftime down but not out after a bad half. They then took a cheap-shot personal foul that setup the 63-yard field goal. I think discipline is underrated and suggest that it has kept our division foes the San Diego Chargers out of championships even in years when they have fielded the best teams.
Belichick and Shanahan parlayed disciprin into championships. I'm not giving up on Coach Fox but I am very concerned that he does not rate it as highly as I do.
Pragmatism. Perceptive writers like David Brooks of the New York Times told us in 2008 that Obama was basically a pragmatist, a slave to no ideology but simply a student of what works. Brooks was apparently impressed by Obama's mention of Edmund Burke and the sharp crease in his pants. -- Michael Barone
The true fear is that Governor Perry and Norah O'Donnell are both right.
Yes, Rick, Social Security is something of a Ponzi scheme (many libertarian sites point out that with State coercion, it is much worse). And, yes, Norah, that might make him "unelectable." We don't cotton, as a nation, to our candidates telling the truth. A superb episode of Buffy called "Lie to Me" sums up the mood of the electorate pretty well (and introduces Chanterelle who becomes Lily who becomes Anne).
Buffy: "Does it ever get easy?"
Giles: "You mean life?"
Buffy: "Yeah. Does it get easy?"
Giles: "What do you want me to say?"
Buffy: "Lie to me."
Giles: "Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after."
The WSJ Ed Page, wishing to see a principled Republican elected in 2012, is peeved at both Governor Romney and Perry after the debate.
Give Mr. Perry credit for addressing one of the third rails of American politics, but that doesn't mean he has to invite electrocution. The problem with his hot rhetoric is that it can turn off many voters before they even get a chance to listen to his reform proposals, assuming he eventually offers some.
And, don't be looking so moisturized and smug in the back, Mitt:
As for Mr. Romney, he seems to be taking Social Security assaults a notch or two beyond even the Democratic playbook. At the debate he implied Mr. Perry was "committed to abolishing Social Security," and he has since made this a major campaign theme.
His press shop followed up with a memo claiming Mr. Perry "Believes Social Security Should Not Exist," and Mr. Romney told a talk radio show that "If we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we would be obliterated as a party."
We'd give Mr. Romney more credit for his professed political prudence if he were at least proposing some Social Security reforms of his own. But his recent 160-page economic platform avoids anything controversial on the subject.
One of the benefits of the Tea Party has been a lot more seriousness in GOP ranks and willingness to listen to a small amount of only slightly varnished truth. But is the whole country? Are the Bryan Caplan, vote for the tall guy with better hair voters ready for truth?
Ten years of quiet and a recent flurry of Reason and CATO articles had convinced me that "we overreacted" to the attacks. And they're certainly right, but.
My Dad, selling advertising to his clients, used to love to quote William Wrigley III. The gum magnate quipped that he knew half of his advertising budget to be a complete waste. If I only knew which half, said Wrigley, I'd cut it out.
The Reason and CATO folk are certainly right. We have done a thousand things that were ineffective and encroached on personal liberties. But, watching video again, one remembers the threat. And at least half, Mr. Wrigley, was overreaction. But the total package prevented additional attacks and severely dismantled the projection capacity of the perpetrators.
I'd suggest a candidate run on taking an honest evaluation of personal liberties versus protection. Finding the half -- starting with TSA screeners -- that violates liberties without protecting citizens and eliminating it.
I know, we are supposed to pull together in unity for 9-11. Had the President not delivered a political campaign speech to a joint session of Congress the night before last, I might comply.
But we have been told of President Obama's oratorical skills sine the Democratic Convention in 2004. I just watched President George W. Bush and President Clinton's remarks at the dedication to the Flight 93 Memorial. Nothing President Obama has said has come close. All of his have been political speeches, or more likely, about him.
Presidents Bush and Clinton delivered memorable and moving speeches. Even VP Biden was doing well when the TiVo stopped. If you did not see them, I would recommend your trying to find video.
I liked it. Some did not. "The Other" McCain is as much over-combative as "The Antecedent McCain" is (politically) under-combative. There's a fine line between moving and maudlin and I see room for honest disagreement.
I was disappointed to hear the President tonight raise the canard about Warren Buffett's allegedly low tax rate. The story is, at the very least, deeply misleading. I addressed the issue several years ago in this column.
As Richard Trumke sat in the President's box at a joint session:
It turns out a union can go so far that even the current National Labor Relations Board can't turn a blind eye. A grain operator at the Port of Longview in Washington state was hit with a violent strike yesterday by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Longshoreman walked out at nearby ports in Tacoma and Seattle.
According to police reports, some 500 longshoreman broke in at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning and held six security guards hostage for two hours while the protesters rampaged through the facility. They cut brake lines on railroad cars and spilled grain from boxcars.
It strikes that the ThreeSources Electronic Content Management platform is not conducive to liveblogging. And that the goofy crap I post crowds out interesting more thoughtful crap that I would like to show more prominently.
What if I added a permanent Twitter widget at the top, set to search for a #3src tag? Then we could post as present -- plus tweet a quick link or joke. For big speeches and debates, we could all post real-time.
Jim Geraghty brings up one that grated last night. Getting some well deserved whacking for the HPV vaccinations, Governor P lashed out:
Another comment by Perry -- that he'll do "whatever it takes to preserve human life" -- feels a little too casual in its dismissal of balancing the costs and benefits. A 45-mile-per-hour speed limit would help preserve human life. So would confiscating every steak knife in the country.
I said quietly but firmly to the tv: "Whatever it takes to preserve liberty, Governor. Liberty." A small gaffe, but not a small gaffe.
While we're on Geraghty, he has a good line for his ideal candidate: "the mind of Friedrich Hayek in the body of Salma Hayek." Nobody sees their ideal this year, but I console that we are playing in the middle of the Poisson curve: there was nobody I could not support up there last night. Rep. Tancredo and Gov Huckabee were blissfully absent. We are playing in the middle this year.
JK has promised to LiveBlog the next debate if I do this one. Sorry for the short notice.
I left work early to see the thing, since I didn't know it was on MSNBC and didn't set it to DVR before I left.
Feel free to chime in real-time in the comments. (And if nobody does I'll blame it on the lack of advance notice. See how this works? :) )
And they're off! After some Bush-bashing Brian Williams asks Rick Perry the first question.
And Perry lands the first blow! Romney boasted creating more jobs in MA than Obama has in the entire country. Perry one-upped by claiming Texas created more jobs in the last 3 months than MA did during Romney's 4 years!
Awesome Herman Cain line: "If ten percent is good enough for God, nine percent oughtta be good enough for the federal government."
Huntsman opens with JKs signature issue: "This is not a time to start a trade war" with China. Thumbs up. Also claims to be best choice to defeat Obama because he "knows something about the world" having lived overseas and being an ambassador.
Ron Paul: "The way they [federal government] use the Interstate Commerce Clause is outrageous in my opinion." Two thumbs up.
Newt Gingrich. Oh yeah, I remember him. Bunch of statistical claims. Closes with a shot at Obama over class warfare. No argument but not moving the ball.
Romney on Obamacare: "I'll issue a waiver to all 50 states on my first day in office." It's bad law. It won't work.
Perry on Obamacare: "Medicaid needs to be block granted back to the states. We'll come up with more ways to cover more people than the federal government. Blames federal government for Texas being last in percentage of citizens covered by health insurance.
Michele Bachmann: "An executive order will not overturn Obamacare. It will take a strong leader to repeal it. If we fail to repeal it in 2012 it will be with us forever and we will have socialized medicine."
Newt! Slams moderator for trying to get Republicans to fight with each other. "Everyone on this stage thinks Obamacare is a disaster and has to be repealed."
Brian Williams asks Rick Santorum about GOP attitudes toward "the poor" vis-a-vis his Catholic faith. Then asks Rick Perry about median white wealth being 20 times median black wealth. Sensing a pattern....
Ouch. Jon Huntsman cites Miliken Institute figure of $13 per gallon of gas when including the expenditures on Mideast wars and "keeping the sea lanes open." (Only a smattering of applause.)
Ron Paul: I'll give you gas for 10 cents per gallon. You can buy a gallon of gas today for one silver dime, which is worth about $3.50 in today's dollars. It's all about inflation. [WOO HOOOO!]
FIRST COMMERCIAL BREAK (8 minutes, including a tribute to Nancy Reagan and "Just Say No.") During the break I "friended" MSNBC so I could post a comment amongst those of the moonbats: "Any one of these candidates would make an excellent president. Newt Gingrich was right: All of them agree that Obamacare is a disaster and all of them agree that they are committed as a team to defeating Barack Obama."
Rick Perry repeats assertion that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Romney: "Our nominee has to be someone who does not want to abolish Social Security but wants to fix Social Security." Perry: "You cannot keep the status quo in place and call it anything but a Ponzi scheme." Cain: "Let's talk about solutions and not rhetoric. I believe in the Chilean model where each citizen gets a personal account with his name on it."
They're piling on Rick Perry now over the "forced immunization" issue. First Ron Paul, then Michele Bachmann. Perry's response: "There was an opt-out." "I hate cancer." Said he should have talked to the legislature first, "but at the end of the day I will always err on the side of saving lives." Santorum takes a turn whacking the pinata. Romney's turn - Comes to Perry's defense, likens it to Romneycare, then say's Obama's a nice guy but doens't have a clue about how to get this country going again.
Cain wants to "fix FEMA" and "fix Homeland Security" not eliminate them. Thumbs down.
Strong anti-illegal immigration stance from Romney. Said border patrol told him they come over in such numbers "because we left the magnet on." All right, thinks I - he's going to talk about welfare! Nope. Wants to build a fence, eliminate sanctuary cities, cut education funding for illegals, target businesses hiring illegals. Bachmann to the rescue: "Hispanic Americans have told me they want us to stop giving taxpayer subsidized benefits to illegal aliens."
SECOND AND FINAL COMMERCIAL BREAK - Somebody "liked" my comment. 576 comments so far. Not as many Ron Paul supporters as I expected. About an equal number calling him a nutjob for various comments tonight.
Some excellent monologues in the final segment. Jon Huntsman on nation building, we should do it at home and not in Afghanistan. Said America has lost confidence.
Rick Perry volunteers some props for the president: Gives him credit for killing bin Laden, keeping Gitmo open, and discrediting Keynsian economics forever. Nice!
Playing with GOP fire: Jon Huntsman says GOP shouldn't dispute what 98 out of 100 climate scientists believe.
Bachmann points out that president had to call off the EPA before it shut down 20 percent of American coal power plants. Said they were promoting a political agenda and not a scientific one.
Newt said he would fire Ben Bernake on his first day in office. "He's been the most inflationary, dangerous and power-centric chairman in the history of the Fed. I think the Fed ought to be audited." Two thumbs up. Romney agrees, though less ferociously.
Debate winds up a few minutes over the allotted time. Those who were hoping for Rick Perry to stumble were disappointed. Jon Huntsman did well I thought, until his statements on science. He's still running the last campaign in my opinion, giving too much deference to the opinions of climate scientists. While not perfect I thought Rick Perry did a good job of answering that directly, saying the scientific understanding of human contribution to climate change is far too tenuous to risk destroying the American economy in some effort to change that.
Chris Matthews disagrees, however, calling Perry "anti-science" and Luddite," who would make us a "yahoo country" and "monkey-business country."
UPDATE: Forgot to turn off MSNBC before their talking-heads got going. A common theme is that Ronald Reagan would have been the "wild lefty" on this stage tonight. Oy.
The Foreclosure Modification Act, a proposed citizen's initiative, would ban mortgagees from foreclosing on owner-occupied dwellings in the Golden State. It would further require banks and other lenders to help mortgage borrowers struggling amid financial hardship or illness.
Additionally, lenders would be required to reduce loan principal amounts to reflect a drop in local property values of at least 10 percent. Payments would be adjusted without a new credit review, the proposal states.
Lending institutions would have 45 days -- from a borrower's requests -- to refinance a loan maintained for at least three years, the proposal seeks to mandate.
If enacted, the initiative would state a finding that "foreclosure has become a method of increasing a lending institution, loan servicer, mortgagee, trustee and beneficiary's bottom line and profits by turning borrowers out of their homes."
And if enacted, the initiative would state that mortgage holders making further payments on their loans be reclassified as "suckers."
Hat-tip: Cafe Hayek. Don Boudreaux offers an open letter to the petition author that is worth a read in full:
As I say, waaaay cool! But now I must ask: if everyone can be guaranteed what in effect would be a debt-free home merely by amending a state constitution, why stop with homeownership? Why not put to full use the miraculous powers that you've obviously learned to extract from mere ink on parchment? Let's also make automobile ownership "a fundamental right."
Heck, even that's thinking too small! Let's give everyone a "fundamental right" to own a both a yacht and a private jet!
A power so stupendous and costless as the one you've identified ought to be used to its full capacity -- which, given the nature of this power, apparently knows no limits.
Hugh Laurie's "Let Them Talk" is out this week -- available on the distinctly non-evil Amazon MP3.
Laurie is best known as TV's (Randian) Dr. House, although I felt the end of the last season discarded all of his Randian cred.
But that isn't important now. Occasionally on House, and much more frequently on BBC shows like "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" and "Jeeves & Wooster," Laurie tickles the ivories with a great penchant for American Jazz & Blues. "Let them Talk" is a collection of New Orleans blues. I'm halfway through and must report I am diggin' it the most.
"I wore a suit and a tie everyday as a sign of respect for the music," Mr. Laurie said. "When Irma [Thomas] arrived I was even more on my best behavior. She couldn't have been more gracious.
"Then the thought crossed my mind: Why not Dr. John? I was caught somewhere between hysterical laughter and abject terror."
On the day he was to cut "After You've Gone" with Dr. John, whose real name is Mac Rebennack, Mr. Laurie decided to arrive at the studio early so he could practice. But his guest was already there, working out an arrangement on piano. "Joe said, 'Step away from the piano. We want you just to sing.' Mac gives a performance that appears to be effortless. His phrasing and embellishments are completely spontaneous."
Rep Marsha Blackburn, (HOSS - TN)! Mark Perry's Carpe Diem blog:
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn issued the following statement today announcing that Gibson Guitar CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, will be her special guest for President Barack Obama's address to the Joint Session of Congress on Thursday night:
"Gibson Guitar is at the heart of this jobs debate, and is an example of exactly why President Obama has it wrong when it comes to getting our economy back on track. Maybe if the President spent more time finding real solutions to empowering small business owners and less time hindering businesses like Gibson, we'd see more new jobs being created."
Well done Rockies last night. You may have swept us in front of your seven season ticketholders last week. But our house is one of seven run innings.
But I call my doyens of our national pastime to a different game. The D-Backs scored last week on a sacrifice fly. In foul territory.
Now, I have never smoked hash in Amsterdam or frequented a New Orleans bordello. I guess I am quite naive in my own way. But I had no freaking idea that was legal. Izzit? It was right in front of the dugout, so it is not like the umpire missed a fine shading. I had no idear you could do that.
My question is infield fly rule-ish: do you intentionally drop a foul fly deep in the outfield, exchanging the out for the run? And does one ever learn all the rules?
Both the WSJ Ed Page and Larry Kudlow find the same fault with Governor Romney's 6,751 page jobs plan. In point 1504 (out of 9,071), there's a wee bit of class warfare:
On taxes, Mr. Romney would immediately cut the top corporate income-tax rate to 25% from 35%. His advisers say there's already a bipartisan consensus that the U.S. rate hurts American companies, and they're right. Even Mr. Obama agrees.
But on other taxes, Mr. Romney shrinks from a fight. He says he favors tax reform with lower individual tax rates but only "in the long run." His advisers say that means in the first two years of his Presidency, but then why not sketch out more details?
The answer may lie in his proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax--but only for those who earn less than $200,000 a year. This eviscerates most of the tax cut's economic impact and also suggests that he's afraid of Mr. Obama's class warfare rhetoric. He even picked Mr. Obama's trademark income threshold for the capital gains cut-off.
If Mr. Romney thinks this will let him dodge a class warfare debate, he's fooling himself.
Governor Mitt cut an impressive figure on Kudlow last night. The man would represent an astronomical leap up from the policies of President Obama. And, with a good tea-party contingent in Congress leaning him the right direction, would probably make a good 45th POTUS.
But I see a bit of Hooverism in his lengthy plans. And am I correct that he brought up Six-Sigma in an early debate? If it was not him, I apologize but I think it was. The problem is not that government is inefficient, the problem is that government is over-scoped.
I'll support him proudly if he is the GOP 2012 nominee. But several of the other candidates will have to vanish mysteriously before he becomes my choice in the primaries.
Hoffa describes the combatants in his "war" as "workers" on the one hand and "the Tea Party" on the other. But of course he isn't interested in workers in general, only those who belong to unions--a group that, after decades of private-sector union decline, largely consists of employees of government, government contractors and government bailout beneficiaries such as General Motors and Chrysler. "The Tea Party," meanwhile, is a dysphemism for taxpayers. -- James Taranto
UPDATE: All Hail Jake Tapper for trying to hold the Administration accountable.
I hope there are many arguments worth having at ThreeSources. If not, I suspect DearWendy to be a better source of general entertainment.
But I suggested that liberty minded folk might purloin Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin motto: "Gradatim Ferociter" (step by step with ferocity). Brother jg suggested "Give me liberty or give me death."
Ragglaw.com, where I found translation help, compared it to Toyota's "Kaizen." Working for a manufacturing firm, I have been exposed to Kaizen. It calls for incremental improvement and represents a superb comparison to gradatim ferociter.
Kaizen was championed at my place of employment by a former COO and while I champion it here, I found it completely inappropriate for that company at that time. "We need 'Banzai!' and not 'Kaizen,'" I told her. "This process we are investigating is too dysfunctional to fix and we would be better off spending the resources scrapping it."
I lost that argument and she has since gone on to other opportunities (of her own volition with sad faces on both sides). But I have internalized it as a fundamental difference in repairing or optimizing a system. The only other manufacturing thing I was exposed to, I will call "pareto improvement." The opposite of Kaizen, you find what is really broken and fix it, purposefully ignoring many small broken things. It's the "put all your money in one basket and watch the basket" [fight about attribution] theory.
I have been pleased with the number of situations about which one can ask the Pareto/Kaizen question: should you use resources optimizing or replacing?
Though our precious constitutional republic is severely broken and its leadership dysfunctional, I posit that gradatim ferociter remains the best choice for liberty lovers. The structure of the Constitution we all revere is not conducive to quick and wholesale changes. The progressive encroachment on our freedoms was calcified over more than a hundred years and will take time to be dismantled.
Bill McGurn suggests the President missed an opportunity when he rejected an early "grand compromise" with House Republicans:
For the president, that deal would have allowed him to do something serious about spending--in a highly public and bipartisan way. Even better for him, it might have split the opposition. For such a deal would likely have left Republicans bickering, with some arguing we should wait for a Republican president and others screaming "sellout."
The president, however, got greedy, and killed the deal when he asked for more. That's been his problem all along. Notwithstanding incessant calls to rise above politics, on issue after issue the president has proved himself incapable of matching his large rhetoric with equally large actions.
Gentle ThreeSourcers, might we be setting a resurgent and reinvigorated GOP up for just such a failure? If we maintain a list of compromisers in order disbar them from office, I fear we are.
President Obama believes we can tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity. We cannot. We must compete our way to prosperity. To do that, we must equip the American worker and the American entrepreneur with the tools to compete in the global economy.
Restoring our competitiveness will not be possible without first recognizing our constitutional commitment to limited government, a precondition for unleashing the spirit of American entrepreneurialism.
In the long term, this will mean dramatic education and immigration reform, but in the short term, tax simplification, regulatory reform, and changes in energy and trade policy will jump-start the American economy and allow us to export more and import less, creating sustainable growth and jobs.
We need a revenue-neutral tax overhaul modeled after Ronald Reagan's 1986 tax reform package--which will require taking on sacred cows. This means eliminating special interest carve-outs, loopholes and deductions while lowering rates across the board so our tax code is flatter, fairer, simpler and more conducive to growth.
This post legitimately spans multiple categories. I don't recall it being discussed here when it was first released, last May I believe, so I'll immortalize it in the 3Srcs/EatOurPeas archives now.
For the youth of America who don't remember the economic resurgence that came about under the policies of President Ronald Reagan Mike Huckabee offers a new animated American History series to give them the pro-America version of events they may or may not have ever heard of. Here's a clip from the Reagan Revolution episode.
Mike Huckabee calls it an unbiased telling of history, while those more inclined to a politically-correct worldview see the religion boogeyman as they quote from the video's website: "We recognize and celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America's founding and making our country the greatest place on Earth," the site reads.
I had attributed this reflexive anti-religion attitude to a majority of the one-third of American voters who are unaffiliated with a party but I'm ready to concede it may be yet another form of extremism that's been made to appear mainstream by the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media. In defense of his product Huckabee claims that, "Ninety-one percent of liberals who were shown the videos said they not only learned something they would buy them for their kids."
A good excuse for a few minutes of prurience -- "it was linked by a Law Professor!"
I try not to be judgmental. I try to let others live their own lives with the Hayekian idea of distributed knowledge and all. People disapprove of some things I do and I shouldn't be too quick to criticize lifestyle choices, and...
All of which is well and good, but I think this girl is, perhaps, something of a slut.
Here I thought Insty's link would talk about California. Nope, it's James Delingpole at the Telegraph. Replete with Unicorn pictures, the article mentions green boondoggles in the UK and that "Obama's America" is just as bad.
There is one thing we share with the motherland:
Yep, it seems like there’s one rule for the political class and its cronies -- and another one for the rest of us. If, say, you're Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt the father-in-law of the British prime minister you can make getting on for a £1000 a week from the wind farms on your estates; if you’re the wife of the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg you can make hundreds of thousands of pounds as a legal adviser to the Spanish wind farm company whose unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes are going to be wrecking the British countryside.
If on the other, hand you're an ordinary punter, you’re expected to sit there and take it as the cost of your energy is doubled, your standard of living lowered, the countryside you love is ruined, and the destruction of your ailing economy is accelerated by the policies of a Government which no longer gives a damn what you think about anything.
"unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes" I may have been born in the wrong country...
I'm finally reading John Locke's "Two Treatises of Government." I have enjoyed his quotations and paraphrases and others' descriptions, but must admit this the first time I have read him natively. It's quite enjoyable. I had the same experience with Michael Oakeshott, only to find his prose too turgid to navigate. But Locke is fun. I actually laughed out loud (that's LOL to you kiddies) to this bit:
if God made all mankind slaves to Adam and his heirs by giving Adam dominion over every living thing that moveth on the earth, ch. i. 28. as our author would have it, methinks Sir Robert should have carried his monarchical power one step higher, and satisfied the world, that princes might eat their subjects too, since God gave as full power to Noah and his heirs, ch. ix. 2. to eat every living thing that moveth, as he did to Adam to have dominion over them, the Hebrew words in both places being the same.
Or did I mean "Soup du Jour?" I really should have paid more attention in school.
The motto for Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin private spacecraft project is "Gradatim Ferociter" (step by step with ferocity): working, or making progress, patiently by frequent and small steps ALL with a steely determination.
I'm thinking that liberty lovers could find a lesson in there.
Thanks raglaw.com for translation help. Glad those guys were paying attention.
UPDATE: A good friend emails: "How many Romans????"
The showcase firm is now filing for Chapter 11 in an embarrassing blow to the premises of Obamanomics. At least the Obama administration can't be accused of practicing industrial policy the old-fashioned way and picking winners. It is evidently quite ready to pick losers, too. -- Rich Lowry
The Wall Street Journal has been a good source for Gibson-raid news and all the latest on the 111-year-old Lacey Act. Today, they look at other users and importers.
The wingnuttosphere has taken up this cause celebre, certain that it is purely political retribution. But I am ready to go to my fallback position: it is pure nanny-state incompetence and tinhorn petty bureaucrat gub'mint regulation gone wild:
A good piece today in the WSJ backs this up. It is also notable in that the Martin CEO is quoted -- I got this link from Martin Guitars on Facebook, so it is probably free but temporary,
Exactly who the government could target in the future is a matter of debate in the wood-products industry.
To be sure, musical instrument makers are worried. "I think it's causing panic in this industry," said George Gruhn, owner of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Tenn. "Manufacturers and dealers, as well as musicians and collectors feel very much threatened."
One small entrepreneur who got singed by Lacey is Harlan P. Crouch II, who owns Cocobolo Inc., of Pinellas Park, Fla. Mr. Crouch imports rosewood and other woods and sells them to makers of furniture, pool cues, burial urns and art pieces.
I don't know if Harlan P. Crouch II called AG Eric Holder a name in Kindergarten or gave a million to elect Sen. McCain, but [spoiler alert] his story does not end well.
So. No retribution, just out-of-control regulation. Feel better?
Governor Huntsman will be on "The Kudlow Report" this evening (7EST/5MST CNBC). I think we'll get a good look at his economic plan.
Discussing it in comments several posts South, I have to hit below the belt and compare my/Jon's opponents to Senator Reid and the President. Governor H has released a plan. His opponents have, let's say, given speeches.
The heart of the plan lowers all tax rates on individuals and businesses. Mr. Huntsman would create three personal income tax rates--8%, 14% and 23%--and pay for this in a "revenue-neutral" way by eliminating "all deductions and credits." This tracks with the proposals of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission and others for a flatter, more efficient tax system.
That means economically inefficient tax carve outs for mortgage interest, municipal bonds, child credits and green energy subsidies would at last be closed. The double tax on capital gains and dividends would be expunged as would the Alternative Minimum Tax. The corporate tax rate falls to 25% from 35%, and American businesses would be taxed on a territorial system to encourage firms to return capital parked in overseas operations.
And repeal ObamaCare®, Dodd-Frank, and SarbOx. And "bring to heel the hyper-regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and the National Labor Relations Board."
Don't thank me, it's all in a day's work for Huntsmanman!
Yup. That's what gets the president outraged. Not the "Fast and Furious" scandal, not Bashir Assad's continuing to mow down people, not the number of Americans on food stamps, not the Gibson guitar raid, not waste in the stimulus bill, not the loss of $500 million or so in that Solyndra company. No, having to compromise on speech timing is what really grinds his gears. -- Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter
To which I cannot link, but if you do not subscribe (free), you are quite mad.
Damon Root marvels at the redevelopment in New London:
You seriously cannot make this stuff up. New London, Connecticut, the municipality that received the Supreme Court's notorious stamp of approval in 2005 to bulldoze Susette Kelo’s neighborhood to make way for a "comprehensive redevelopment plan" that would provide "appreciable benefits to the community" is now using that seized land as a dump site for storm debris.
There's been a lot of talk radio chatter this week about a Colorado man who was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Denver but subsequently had all charges against him dismissed. My judgement of the matter is that the man did intend to solicit but, upon detecting that the young lady he was conversing with was a police officer, spit the hook. But the issue that caught my attention was when the man's attorney recited the legal statute under which his client was charged. C.R.S. 18-7-207
Any person who by word, gesture, or action endeavors to further the practice of prostitution in any public place or within public view commits a class 1 petty offense.
So the list of speech which is no longer free, under threat of criminal penalty, must be amended:
- Yelling fire in a crowded theater.
- Making physical threats against the president.
- Discussing sex and money at the same time.
This petty offense statute is bad enough on its own, but thanks to the Colorado legislature we now have a new $5,000 to $10,000 fine that can be imposed so that, as then Colorado Senate President Brandon Schaffer said,"a major goal of his bill is to increase fines so that cash-strapped municipal police forces have an incentive to go after johns and send them to treatment."
(3) Now, therefore, the general assembly hereby declares that legislative action is required to address the scourge of human trafficking and prostitution in the state of Colorado, which action should include:
(a) Authorizing one or more municipal courts to create and administer a program for certain persons who are charged with certain prostitution-related offenses, with the purpose of reducing recidivism; and
(b) Significantly increasing the fines associated with certain statutory prostitution-related offenses.
To "address" human trafficking crimes a new government treatment regime has been instituted and a large new fine created to pay for it, said fine to be levied against offenders of certain "prostitution-related" offenses. Even, it appears, if those offenders only talk about trading something of value for sex. The statute is young and has yet to be tested in a case of college date-night. The phrase, "Aren't you at least going to buy me dinner first?" may become a criminally risky utterance.
This strategy mimmicks that used in the decades-old "war on drugs" and promises to be just as effective, or not. But getting back to that treatment program and recidivism: Over a twelve-year history a similar "John School" cut the recidivism rate nearly in half - from 8 percent to "less than 5 percent." Gosh, it's almost an epidemic!
Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek has found: it's not "government." It's more your "Federal Family." He quotes the Palm Beach Post:
In a Category 4 torrent of official communications during the approach and aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has repeatedly used the phrase "federal family" when describing the Obama administration’s response to the storm.
The Obama administration didn't invent the phrase but has taken it to new heights.
"Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is leaning forward to support our state, tribal and territorial partners along the East Coast," a FEMA news release declared Friday as Irene churned toward landfall.
In other news, Mom does not want your eating Cheerios or Peanut Butter.
WELDON, N.C.-- When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.
First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the "Waffle House Index."
Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.
We live ten miles from one and have been known to appreciate its rustic charms. But I had no idea that the firm strives to be the first open in an emergency.
The company decided to beef up its crisis-management processes. Senior executives developed a manual for opening after a disaster, bulked up on portable generators, bought a mobile command center and gave employees key fobs with emergency contacts.
In a recent academic paper, Panos Kouvelis, a business-school professor at Washington University in St. Louis, pegged Waffle House as one of the top four companies for disaster response, with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos.
Waffle House managers say sales volume can double or triple in the aftermath of a storm. The company, whose annual sales are estimated to exceed $600 million, won't discuss the costs or benefits of reopening quickly after disasters. It says its strategy is more about marketing and building goodwill than profits.
At first glance, this looks like perhaps the most pro-growth, pro-market (and anti-crony capitalist) tax plan put forward by a major U.S. president candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1980. But it is not without political risk. In addition to killing tax breaks for businesses, Huntsman would eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, healthcare exclusion, and the child tax credit among other "tax expenditures." We're talking about a whole herd of sacred cows. Both his fellow presidential candidates and Washington lobbyists will likely attack him for some of those ideas.
But here's the problem. The tax code, when combined with entitlements as now structured, overtaxes parents, and the child credit only partially offsets that effect. By abolishing the credit -- a legacy of the Gingrich Congress and the Bush administration -- Huntsman would be taking a step away from neutrality and toward a perverse form of social engineering.
I know I anchor the bottom of ThreeSourcers when ranked by offspring density. But I think subsidizing procreation is as much "perverse social engineering" as not. I would not object to increasing the standard deduction to help parents. But it is disturbing to see a guy as bright as Ponnuru championing the byzantine tax code when it promotes his goals.
It is almost enough to make a person disbelieve in government's paying people to make things that nobody wants to buy. Almost. WaPo:
A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration's effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.
Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters.
Although Wednesday's announcement came as a surprise, House Republicans and government auditors had questioned the wisdom of the administration's loan guarantees to the company, backed by capital from billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Kaiser. In July, a House subcommittee subpoenaed White House documents related to the guarantee, and after Wednesday's developments, Republican lawmakers vowed to continue investigating.
Lots more at Instapundit. Even the WaPo and NBC can't spin this as anything but an Administration failure. Can't wait for the "jobs speech."