COLUMBIA -- The Internal Revenue Service determined last fall that an investigation of the Sikh Religious Society where Gov. Nikki Haley's parents are leaders was not warranted, according to a letter the IRS provided the Governor's Office Friday.
"After further consideration of your organization, we have determined that an investigation is not warranted at this time for the above tax period," the letter states.
"We did not conduct an examination for the above period."
Clearly an example of anti-Sikh bigotry -- what century is this again? It couldn't be party affliation...
James Pethokoukis points out that -- before Chairman Ryan endorsed Governor Romney -- Romney endorsed Ryan by taking so many of his ideas onboard.
For comparison purposes--and to show just how dramatically Ryan has shifted the GOP policy agenda--look at what GOP nominee John McCain was offering on Medicare reform in 2008. During his second debate with Barack Obama, McCain was asked how he would fix Medicare. His answer: "What we have to do with Medicare is have the smartest people in America come together, come up with recommendations, and then, like the base-closing commission idea we had, then we should have Congress vote up or down."
Now that Republican Party resolutions have been nominated and voted on at the county level, state party Chairman Ryan Call invites (via email) every Colorado Republican to "weigh in, and provide your input and comments directly on the initial draft of proposed resolutions and platform planks that have been prepared for the Resolutions Committee to consider."
My purpose is twofold: To alert those who may be interested such that they may get involved, and to highlight the open and transparent approach that is now being used to shape our party's platform - at least in Colorado.
This is the first time the Colorado Republican Party has ever solicited such broad input and participation in the development of our Party Platform in this way, but your opinion as to what we stand for is important to me.
In this historic election, I believe we must involve everyone who wants to have a seat at the table in helping decide what we stand for as a Party. And we must build and grow our Party, not narrow it.
And that’s why I’m asking you to give us your thoughts and opinions regarding the draft resolutions that will provide the basis for the development of our Colorado Republican Party Platform.
I recognize that not every Republican in Colorado will agree on every single one of these proposed resolutions, or with every plank in the eventual Republican Party Platform.
But I do believe there is at least one thing upon which we can and must all agree: that if we want to preserve an America that is full of freedom and opportunity, we must work together to make Barack Obama a one-term President.
Ryan R. Call, Esq.
There is a full and an abbreviated online poll, and there will be two Resolutions Committee Webinars, on Saturday March 31 at noon and Tuesday, April 3 from 6 to 8 pm. Email me or Chairman Call for the web links.
UPDATE: I wanted to mention the Weld County resolutions at the open of this post but did not have a copy of them with me to embed. Click 'continue reading' to see them. They were voted on at County Assembly last Saturday but the results were never announced. I suspect 100% of them passed despite my not voting for most of the "Amendment to the Constitution" resolutions.
UPDATE 2: Weld County 2012 Resolution vote results. (The heading may temporarily read 2010 but that will be corrected soon.)
Weld County Republican Party
March 24, 2012
(*The figures at the end of each resolution signify the number of precincts that submitted the resolution over the percentage of the 90 of 109 precincts that submitted resolutions.)
1. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring Congress to operate the federal government under a balanced budget annually, and further, the Party supports the reduction of government regulation, taxation and spending, and the elimination of government waste. (83/92.2%)
2. The Weld County Republican Party resolves to support only Republican candidates and elected officials who oppose all forms of gun control and uphold the right of all law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (51/56.7%)
3. The Weld County Republican Party opposes public funding of abortion and fetal or embryonic stem cell research, and further, the Party supports the passage of a constitutional amendment to guarantee that the right to life applies equally to all innocent persons at every stage of development. (39/43.3%)
4. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all government employees and elected officials must conduct their duties in strict accordance with both the Colorado and U.S. Constitutions as amended, particularly in respect to protections for individual liberty and property ownership. (37/41.1%)
5. The Weld County Republican Party supports affordable health care based upon the free-market system and therefore calls for the repeal of the Patient Protection Affordability Act, also known as “Obamacare”, and further, the Party encourages the Colorado Attorney General to use every legal means to block its mandate upon Colorado citizens. (26/28.9%)
6. The Weld County Republican Party supports the right to exercise religious freedom in America as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including the free and public expression of Christianity. (21/23.3%)
7. The Weld County Republican Party supports fully securing and controlling all U.S. borders to stop illegal immigration and terrorist infiltration, and further, the Party supports a simplified foreign worker program but opposes all non-emergency government benefits, amnesty and sanctuary programs for illegal immigrants. (21/23.3%)
8. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Congress make no law that applies to U.S. citizens that does not apply equally to Congress and conversely, that Congress make no law that applies to Congress that does not apply equally to U.S. citizens, and further, the Party resolves that Congress be limited to receiving the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as all other private U.S. citizens. (16/17.8%)
9. The Weld County Republican Party supports maintaining a strong, well trained and equipped national military force, providing good benefits for those who serve and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and further, the Party supports defensive military alliances to deter hostile action against America and its foreign allies, including the state of Israel. (13/14.4)
10. The Weld County Republican Party supports amendments to both the Colorado and U.S. Constitutions that restrict the legal definition of marriage to be a union between one man and one woman. (12/13.3%)
11. The Weld County Republican Party supports the requirement of the presentation of valid, government-issued, photo identification by every person desiring to participate in any public election before being allowed to vote. (9/10.0%)
12. The Weld County Republican Party supports less regulation of the U.S. energy industry to encourage domestic energy production and decrease America’s reliance on foreign energy sources, and further, the Party resolves that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant. (7/7.8%)
13. The Weld County Republican Party supports the elimination of state and federal income taxes in lieu of a fair tax in the form of either a flat tax and/or a consumption tax. (6/6.7%)
14. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment the U.S. Constitution limiting the duration of Congressional terms. (6/6.7%)
15. The Weld County Republican Party supports entrepreneurial equality through free-market capitalism and rejects any business subsidization or favoritism by government at any level. (5/5.6%)
16. The Weld County Republican Party endorses a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right that may not be infringed by any law or treaty. (4/4.4%)
17. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all non-federal government officials within the State of Colorado shall assert Colorado’s sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution. (4/4.4%)
At ThreeSources, we must always give fair consideration to the opinions and feelings of those on the other side. We can't just pretend that the world does not include some...Jets fans. Jim Geraghty:
When the Tebow trade went down, I said I needed time to process it. A runaway cultural phenomenon and social lightning rod I generally admire coming to my favorite team that has a whole bunch of needs to meet high expectations. Sheesh.
First, read my distinguished colleague Dan Foster's thoughts, shortly after the trade:
Tebow is a high-character, likeable guy, but there is only so far that takes you in a locker room full of NFL-sized egos (Jets CB Antonio Cromartie has been tweeting against the Tebow trade since the first whiff of it) and a fanbase on the bad end of 40 years of disappointment. His presence takes a volatile locker room and makes it more volatile still. . . .
Does anyone think the New York media will take an interest in Tebow's social life? They are going to eat the kid alive.
I am not a happy Jets fan at the moment. Nor am I happy Tebow fan. Welcome to the worst of both worlds.
Still, watching that press conference, I fell in love with the kid. What a healthy attitude toward his sport, his profession, his teammates, his fans, and life in general. Think about it: He takes the helm of the Broncos, gets them to the playoffs, gets them a playoff win, gives the franchise the most buzz, excitement, and energy since Elway retired, and then gets unceremoniously tossed in favor of an aging veteran with a neck that appears to be held together with duct tape. In his shoes, I'd feel a little bitter, snubbed. The chip on my shoulder would be powerful enough to meet the processing requirements of Deep Blue.
And yet here he is last night:
In a short statement linked to his Twitter feed, Tebow wrote, "Well, that was an interesting couple of weeks! Now that things have finally settled down a bit, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you great Denver fans for all of your support.
"The ride that we were able to enjoy together this past season is something that I will always cherish. I'd also like to thank all of my former coaches and teammates as it was an honor to play for and alongside each of you. I will always be grateful to the Broncos organization for giving me the initial opportunity to fulfill my dream of being an NFL quarterback."
Perhaps, alone, in the dark, when no one is looking, Tim Tebow curses a blue streak and swears revenge on everyone who's ever wronged him. But I doubt it. Off the field, I think he'll still be the guy who exemplifies everything we want to see in a professional athlete. And on the field, I think the Jets will end up calling a surprising number of halfback options. You will probably see Mark Sanchez and Tebow on the field simultaneously (Sanchez usually lined up as a wide receiver during the Jets' previous wildcat plays). Defenses could see both Sanchez and Tebow in the huddle and not know who would be lining up under center. If the Jets really plan on getting their money's worth out of Tebow, expect a lot of unexpected runs in likely passing situations and passes in expected running situations and general unpredictability -- a breath of fresh air after the Brian Schottenheimer years.
But the health care law's troubles shed some further light on the crisis of American progressivism and the blue social model it has built. Those who believe in the blue model and want to extend it have lost their touch; the dream machines of the blue social engineers don't sail serenely across the azure sky anymore. Think of the various carbon exchanges and environmental planetary schemes; think of high speed rail proposals like California's $100 billion train to bankruptcy; think of Obamacare. These days the experts, "social entrepreneurs" and smart young blue twenty somethings fresh out of the Ivy League whomp up social programs with as much verve and dedication as their New Deal and Great Society predecessors, but the new Dreamliners don't take off. At most they roll around the runway, emitting clouds of noxious smoke; wings fall off, windows pop out, turbines misfire and the tires go flat. -- Walter Russell Mead (Whole thing read must!)
Hat-tip Insty. In an Instavision interview, Professor Mead admits he voted for President Obama, which surprised me because he has been consistently critical.
The Affordable Care Act is not merely a "law" that the Supreme Court argued over this week. It is a massive Rube Goldberg contraption. Its 2,700 pages include every pipe, whistle and valve that the nation's academic health-care economists and doctors have soldered together from infinite studies of hospital data. The new machine even has its own boiler-room crew, the 15 health-care academics of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, who will monitor and adjust the flow of medicine through the national health-care pipelines.
They say their magnificent machine will work for everyone in America only if everyone in America is inside of it. This was Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's argument before the Supreme Court on behalf of the law's mandate. This is what the Catholic hospitals discovered when the ACA's designers pulled the sheet off the new machine. -- Dan Henninger. We're not France, Yet!
Is editorialist Michael Taube "dreaming in Technicolor?" That's how he describes people who believe Jane Fonda will give a favorable treatment of Nancy Reagan, whom she portrays in her upcoming film. But Taube may be guilty of the same thing in believing that a conservative movie studio could be a commercial success.
Third, actors and actresses would need to get on board. Many Hollywood conservatives and libertarians would initially be frightened to make a leap of faith and join this new studio. But all you need is a small handful of recognizable silver screen veterans, and a decent amount of emerging talent, and a good cast can be created.
There's a risk involved, but the reward could be immense. Meanwhile, if the studio was able to encourage some friendly Hollywood liberals and centrists to sign up (and there's no reason why this can't happen), the task of hiring talent would become much simpler.
The partisan vitriol of the left already borders on a lynchmob in the non-fiction media world. To expect anything less than hatred and blacklisting in the fictional media seems quite naive. Too pessimistic?
While I hesitated to post about anything having to do with monetary policy due to that topic's polarizing nature on Three Sources, I found this article very interesting and worth sharing. Regardless of which economic school we adhere to, we probably agree that understanding the role of money in civilized society is crucial to economic analysis and often times taken for granted. This article presents several interesting arguments against central banking and the dangers associated with the decreasing role of cash in today's economic transactions. In an effort to "stir the pot" as it were, I will leave you with this little excerpt:
"But since 1969, the inflationary monetary policy of the Fed has caused the US dollar to depreciate by over 80 percent, so that a $100 note in 2010 possessed a purchasing power of only $16.83 in 1969 dollars. That is less purchasing power than a $20 bill in 1969!"
Justice Scalia was roughed up a little on these very pages, for what I suspect was a little reductio ad absurdum in oral arguments. But after Raich, I'm not gonna defend "Nino." Nope, he can swing in the breeze.
But I do love his rapier wit. James Taranto brings us a good example:
Mr. Kneedler, what happened to the Eighth Amendment? You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? And do you really expect the Court to do that? Or do you expect us to--to give this function to our law clerks? Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?
It could be, if victory in the sport of Constitution Deconstitution goes in favor of the Progressives. Then we Yanks could also find ourselves having to make rationing choices between septuagenarians and "obese 30-somethings." The UK Telegraph's Christina Odone concludes, "Age should not be a barrier to optimum care; but bad habits should be."
I have a different perspective. Neither group deserves such blanket discrimination. Instead, everyone deserves the quality and quantity of healthcare he is willing to prioritize high enough in his budget to be able to purchase. Those who spend their healthcare insurance premiums on cigarettes and Mars bars deserve a different fate than those who do the opposite.
A good friend of this blog refers to the off-season as "seven months of darkness," but the Manning acquisition has certainly livened things up in Denver. A very warm spring has caused me to procure my new wardrobe early this year. I bought two of each of these, one for me and one for the lovely bride. We plan to wear both with pride.
I heard some talking sports heads last night discussing rule changes, specifically the overtime rule. And I am proud to tell ThreeSourcers that I have the perfect solution.
Everybody dislikes the significance of the coin toss. Percentages show the game rests more on heads or tails than offense and defense. All the proposed solutions mitigate this with guaranteed possessions, &c. &c.
The jk solution is to eliminate rather than mitigate the toss. Home team gets the ball first. Playoffs or regular season, it becomes part of the home field advantage. But the best part is the lack of randomness. The home team might play for overtime, but the visitors know they'd better wrap it up. The home crowd would love it, and the playoff seeds take on an even greater importance.
Boom baby! Now to sort out that Israeli-Arab thing...
"The people who don't participate in this market are making it more expensive for those who do."
Last time I checked, when dealing with the demand side of the economy, it is an increase in the demand for a particular good or service that increases its price, not the other way around.
In an effort to keep this post "bi-partisan", I will also point out this gem of economic ignorance from Justice Antonin Scalia in response to the fallacy above:
"You could say that about buying a car."
Did one of the greatest legal minds of the 20th and 21st century just suggest that a decrease in the demand for automobiles will lead to an increase in the price of said good?
While I am typically a fan of Justice Scalia's opinions, this one is downright awful. Not only is it an economic fallacy, but in making this comment, he commits a double error in legitimizing Justice Ginsburg's statement by accepting her premise that decreases in demand equal increases in prices.
I truly hope that the court overturns at least the individual mandate, if not the entire law. However, given the false premises that both the conservatives and liberals are basing their decisions, I am not holding my breath.
I can accept serious criticism of the 2012 GOP Budget and the Ryan Plan to cut entitlements. But Jeeeburz do Libertarians have a gift for making the perfect the enemy of the good.
And now they are dragging Tea Party GOPers into their trap -- which the WSJ Ed Page claims, looks an awful lot like Leader Pelosi's and President Obama's trap.
The GOP critics are wrong on the economics and politics. Mr. Ryan's plan may not balance the budget within 10 years, but that's the wrong policy guidepost. Mr. Obama can easily balance the budget faster--by raising taxes.
Mr. Ryan wants to avoid a tax increase and reform the tax code because he realizes that the budget will never balance over the long term without economic growth faster than today's 2% a year. By stressing budget balance over growth, Mr. Chocola and the tea-party critics are falling into Mr. Obama's deficit and tax trap.
The green eyeshade libs also fall for static scoring and an artificial sanctity for ten and twenty year projections. It will be impossible to pass something like the GOP budget in the 112th Congress, extremely difficult in the 113th. If the crowd who would most appreciate the direction loses interest, then we will get something very similar to the President's budget.
Anything else to add, Mister Gigot?
Mr. Ryan is thinking ahead of his critics by focusing on the two most important priorities: growth and reform. Without both, limited government will be nothing more than a tea party slogan and a balanced budget will be nothing more than a tax-increase trap.
I'm drawn to Madison for his powerful intellect and his understanding that the exact structure of government defines it and suggests consequences both intended and not. Knowing him more from his essays in the Federalist, I was surprised by Gutzman's account of the Philadelphia Convention, from Madison's notes -- and others -- on how many significant Constitutional issues in which "The Father" of the Constitution did not get his way. Yet he took the challenge up to pen the Federalist essays -- as a New Yorker, no less -- providing a full-throated, fulsome defense of each clause.
The timing is propitious [I thought you said fortuitous...?] for me because of the opening of oral arguments in the ObamaCare suit. Even though my man Madison seeks a much stronger Federal (all but National) government, I am confident from his strong devotion to enumerated powers would carry the day, had we not strayed so far from the concept of limited government. Gutzman includes his assertion that the General Welfare Clause does not open the door wider that the gents in Philadelphia wanted:
"For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted," he asks, "if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars." To read the section in the critics' way, he says, "is an absurdity."
I'm about halfway through and find it very enlightening.
I'm ready to give the President something of a pass on this, as there is probably no great alternative. I don't think a fiery, Sharansky-esque, appeal to universal freedom is in his repertoire. And I'm jaded enough these days to wonder if that would do any good.
And yet: "Obama: N. Korean rocket test would isolate regime"
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Warning North Korea from its doorstep, President Barack Obama said Pyongyang risks deepening its isolation in the international community if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.
Anyway, when Joe Biden says with all of that earnest, canned seriousness, that the bin Laden raid was the most audacious military operation in 500 years, he does himself and his cause enormous damage. [...]
In other words Biden's claims so outstrip reality, we're lucky he doesn't tear a hole in the space-time continuum. If he was just a bit more humble, a bit more reasonable, a bit more sane, he could actually use the bin Laden success to his advantage. Instead, by making claims about it no sane or honest person can support he sounds desperate and fritters away the actual political value of the operation's success. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
While recently attending a county assembly, I found myself in a discussion with a fellow attendee regarding the political views of mainstream libertarian leaning Republicans. While this person agreed with the majority of these views, he argued that the country does not turn on a dime, and that it can take years, if not decades, for any large ideological shift to take place in American politics.
He is exactly right!
During my studies of the American Presidency at the University of Colorado, I had the absolute pleasure of reading a book called "The Politics Presidents Make" by Stephen Skowronek. The central themes of the book are first, to develop a categorical framework in which to analyze the politics of the presidency and the second is to introduce the concept of 'political time' in which to place these categories. Skowronek classifies presidents having one of the four political traits:
1) Politics of Reconstruction - (Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln)
2) Politics of Articulation - (Monroe, Polk, T. Roosevelt)
3) Politics of Disjunction - (J. Q. Adams, Pierce, Hoover)
4) Politics of Preemption - (Eisenhower, Clinton, Nixon)
From these categories, he is able to build a model for expected presidential power and influence depending on where the president falls in political time. Political time being defined as the cyclical order of these four categories.
Notice that the Politics of Preemption are not part of the cycle. These types of presidents represent abnormalities in political time. They are able to remain true to their ideology however, the opposing political views are still alive and well. They do not have the power of a 'Great Repudiator' nor are they weak. Like the 'Great Repudiators', they attempt to transform the constitutional definition of presidential political power, but are unable to do so due to the resiliency of the opposition.
The Politics of Reconstruction
American politics are cyclical in nature. Since the revolution of 1800, there have been presidents that have shaped the political landscape long after they left office.
With the exception of McKinley, each one of these presidents presided over a major shift in the American politics. McKinley represents an odd case for two reasons; first, because instead of a shift in a new direction in 1896, the Republicans gained even more power and continued to be the dominant political party until the end of Hoover's term in 1932, and second, because out of the other presidents listed above, he is relatively unknown and is usually not considered one of the "greats". If we were to look only at their time in office, instead of the years leading up to their presidency, we would miss the slow moving ideological shift taking place that created the environment necessary for their success.
Each of the presidents listed above gained power and popularity by repudiating the failed politics of their ideologically opposed predecessors. The political climate required to do so requires a consensus against the established political paradigm, which can take years to create.
Consider the time between Jackson's repudiation of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans (1828), and Lincoln's repudiation of the Jacksonian Democrats (1860). This time period witnessed both the rise and eventual collapse of the second party system.
Consider the time between F. Roosevelt's repudiation of the Republicans (1932), and Reagan's repudiation of the Democrats (1980). This time period witnessed both the rise and eventual collapse of the New Deal Party System.
In both cases, it took several decades for the dominant ideology to fall out of popularity as its ability to deal with an ever changing political climate was diminished. It also illustrates the similarities in leadership qualities between these presidents despite the wide ideological and chronological difference in their presidencies.
The Politics of Disjunction
The presidents who are unlucky enough to find themselves in the 'politics of disjunction' phase of political time are typically regarded as being failures. They have the impossible task of both dealing with modern day problems, while at the same time trying to be true to an ideology that no longer has the answers to these aforementioned issues.
With the exception of Pierce, each of these presidents directly preceded one of the "greats". It is also not a coincidence that each of them witnessed the waning of their ideology while in office, and because of this, were unable to accomplish much of anything to restore confidence in the party they represented. They deserve attention however, because they are, at the very least, partially responsible for creating the 'great repudiators' that follow them.
This brings me to the point of this post and the conversation that inspired it. American politics have been dominated by statist ideology for the better part of the past seventy years. With the exception of arguably the Goldwater movement in the 1960's, the Reagan revolution of the 1980's, and the most recent liberty movements of the past two years, our political leaders have exhibited a cross between the 'politics of disjunction' and the 'politics of preemption' in an attempt to further justify the failed idea of conservative or liberal socialism.
The movement we now see taking hold in American politics does not represent a movement four years in the making, or even thirty years in the making. It represents the waning of failed statist policies and at the same time illustrates the inability of central planning and big government to deal with modern day problems.
When looked at through the lens of political time, it is not that far fetched to think that a true liberty candidate could be on the horizon. A candidate who, like the 'great repudiators' before him, repudiates the failed statist programs of both parties and returns American to its founding principals of life, liberty, and property.
As a snob and as an American, it is my right to disparage American Idol, those who watch, those who appear, those who buy its sponsors' products, you get the idea.
I concede that many talented people have been on the show, yet the incentive model rewards things that are not always musical. This young lady, Ms. Kelly Clarkson, knocked me out with her Star Spangled Banner at Game Three of the World Series in Texas two years back.
Dan McLaughlin, @baseballcrank, provides a link to this and claims "This pretty much blows away the Beatles original." In lieu of virtual coffeehouse, I present for your approval:
I knew President Hayes, Rutherford B was a friend of mine...
And Obama is no Rutherford B. Hayes...
My Buffy Sire, Jonathan V. Last, wraps up Rutherford-gate and ties it with a pretty bow. Our 19th President deserved better.
Think about that for a moment: The most important speechwriters in the world are doing their research not by calling experts, but by picking off the first Google results page. Now think about what that says about the man for whom they write.
Second, there's Obama’s dismissal of Hayes' presidency because "he's not on Mount Rushmore." You know who else wasn't included on Mount Rushmore? John Adams. James Madison. James Monroe. Andrew Jackson. They were great men who nourished the tree of liberty with their lives. Perhaps Obama has heard of some of them.
UPDATE: 19th! Not 18th (since corrected). Damn, I pride myself on knowing those but I counted sloppily.
It's easy to imagine how this works. Showing up at a rally increases the chances of getting more involved, making a donation or bringing a friend to another event. Larger and more successful rallies also boost subsequent news media coverage of the movement, further stimulating community interest.
What's more, the Tea Party experiment shows that the activism catalyzed by those sunny days translates into real political influence. Politicians whose districts were sunny on tax day voted in a more reliably conservative fashion throughout 2009 and 2010. Indeed, the absence of rain in a congressional district on April 15, 2009, made its representative 8.7 percentage points more likely to vote against the Affordable Care Act. Had the weather at those early rallies been sunnier, it's possible that Obama’s signature legislation wouldn’t have passed.
Without minimizing the power of ideas, liberty, and limited government, I think it pays to accept the randomness of exogenous events. General Washington was righteous and all -- but some lucky fog in the Battle of Brooklyn kept the revolution from getting squashed in an early outing; maybe a lovely spring 200 some years later might have done the same.
There's a great line in Pippin where Charlemagne says "It's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart."
Veronique de Rugy -- whom I adore -- is characteristically disappointed with the GOP Budget. NED love her, that delightful accent of hers will always be calling for more cuts and lower spending. But I think it may be counterproductive.
The overwhelming response coming out of the free-market movement is that the proposed Ryan plan is great. And parts of that plan are good. But I thought the only way I can add something productive to this conversation is by pointing out how this plan isn't doing nearly enough to reduce the size of government and make our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren better.
I apologize in advance to all of you who think that we should only be encouraging Chairman Ryan who, after all, is one of the very few members of Congress who has had the courage to talk about reforming Medicare. But I think this is not the time to compromise. Considering the situation we are in today, the size of government, the level of our debt, the continuous violations of our economic and personal freedoms, free-market advocates should be breathing fire everyday and fight for truly smaller government. This plan isn't enough.
Apology accepted, Ms. Rugy. I think this is a great start and with a little success, we would have more opportunities to look for more savings. Plus, the growth and "animal-spirits" (see, I can quote Keynes!) aspects would create a virtuous cycle.
I have to do a "Libertario Delenda Est" on her for this. It's not that she is not 100% correct. But I see great value in a consistent call and broad based support. If the Reason crowd (to be fair, she is writing in National Review) is going to take their marbles and go home, the tough path ahead gets even steeper.
Provide your address and party registration, and we will look you up and provide a sample ballot for any upcoming elections, caucuses, or primaries. I think this part can all be done by interfacing with existing State websites.
Our value-add is to provide the digital equivalent of the old "League of Women Voters" booklets, linking to official campaign websites and providing a page to every candidate and side of a referendum that can be used to provide their "elevator talk." We could also embed YouTubes and podcasts of debates and forums.
I just filled out my Erie ballot: mayor, three trustees, and two ballot initiatives. As I've said on these pages, these votes will likely affect my life much more than my vote for Governor Romney or President Obama in November. Yet, I will spend years studying candidates and positions for national office. Where do I turn for local decisions?
The trustees do not run under party labels and do not have splashy campaign websites. I found a letter to the editor from one candidate who recommended a slate of three. As he stands behind the (überRepublican, I believe) Mayor, I am pretty confident. There is an odd ballot initiative I took a good guess on. But I would like to read a statement from each Trustee and hear both sides of the initiatives.
I suggest we fund it through advertising, but clearly delineate the paid portion from the news content. And, like credible media organizations, erect a "Chinese Wall" between revenue side and editorial. As we will not endorse candidates or anything, I don't see much room for impropriety -- though there could certainly be allegations and we need be careful to show fairness and transparency.
I think organizing as a non-profit would show good faith. It precludes us from selling out to Google for a billion bucks, but were we to grow into United-Way level salaries who cares? And it is a responsible, civic-minded enterprise to better the ideals of small-r republican government.
Promoting Small Business through Government Intervention...wait what?
Recently I was having a discussion with a friend regarding the appropriate level of local government interaction to promote local economic growth through small business development. Both he and I concluded that, while providing resources for would be entrepreneurs is a noble goal, the private sector offers a more efficient means of delivery via a "pay for service" business model. Instead of these services being offered for free by the city or its surrogates, the "pay for service" model ensures that resources are allocated to the consumers who are most serious and capable of starting and operating a profitable business.
While reviewing my recently created Google Reader dashboard, I came across the following article dealing with exactly the issue my friend and I were discussing earlier today, although on a much more macro level. I thought it was a very interesting take on the idea of "promoting small business through government intervention." And just like all government interventions into markets, it results in a misallocation of resources.
Charlie Gasparino has had something of an epiphany himself. He used to appear on "Kudlow & Cramer" as a guest and WSJ writer. And I always felt he tilted distinctly left. Now he's got a gig at evil Rupert's NYPost and I see constant reminders that he is coming around to the forces of goodness and light.
He reports -- though GE spokespersons deny -- that soi disant Republican and current Obama advisor Jeffrey Immelt is a bit disenchanted,
Friends describe Immelt as privately dismayed that, even after three years on the job, President Obama hasn’t moved to the center, but instead further left. The GE CEO, I'm told, is appalled by everything from the president's class-warfare rhetoric to his continued belief that big government is the key to economic salvation.
Or, as one friend recently put it to me, "Jeff thought he could make a difference, and now realizes he couldn't."
Immelt's conversion from public Obama supporter to a private detractor is important: It shows how even businessmen who feast off his subsidies worry about his overall economic agenda and its long-term impact on the economy.
Dude. If you can't even keep the cronies happy...
UPDATE: Gasparino is at the NYPost, not the Washington Examiner (since corrected) ThreeSources apologizes for the error.
Peyton Manning called Elway and John Fox this morning and told them the Broncos are his choice and he wants to start exclusive negotiations with the team, according to an NFL source. Inside the Broncos' headquarters, unbridled joy erupted. Manning is about to become a Bronco. A Broncos quarterback worthy of the standard Elway himself set during his 16-year playing career.
But obviously Rutherford B. Hayes isn’t as "forward-looking" as a 21st-century president who believes in Jimmy Carter malaise, 1970s Eurostatist industrial policy, 1940s British health-care reforms, 1930s New Deal-sized entitlements premised on mid-20th-century birth rates and life expectancy, and all paid for by a budget with more zeroes than anybody's seen since the Weimar Republic. If that's not a shoo-in for Mount Rushmore, I don't know what is. -- Mark Steyn
"Abundance: the future is better than you think" by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler was an emotional read. I often wanted to applaud their enthusiastic optimism for innovative, technological, reason-based solutions to current Earthly woes. My most loquacious Facebook interlocutor has forbade me from ever using Karl Popper's "back to the caves" on him again. Perhaps I did go to the well too often. But he and his cohorts see less technology as the solution to technology's negative externalities. I see more. Domesticating the horse was a big step up but London dung disposal (a good punk band name) was considered an insuperable problem, as was North American deforestation to power railroads.
I come from the Virginia Postrel camp that innovation will solve pollution, energy scarcity, ocean acidification and any deleterious effects of global warming -- if the foundational principles of freedom, property rights, and rule of law are honored. I think I am safe in saying that fellow Popperian David Deutsch agrees with me and Postrel. I want to welcome the Abundance authors to our club.
They think these problems can and will be solved, but they are naive to the effects of politics. This is not an original critique. Professor Glenn Reynolds made similar statements in his Washington Examiner review of the same book. Reason piles on. (Follow that last link for a good video interview with Diamandes.)
And, here, the emotion changes. The book has an inspiring chapter on education by teacherless peers with access to computers
This led Mitra to an ever-expanding series of experiments about what else kids could learn on their own. One of the more ambitious of these was conducted in the small village of Kalikkuppam in southern India. This time Mitra decided to see if a bunch of impoverished Tamil-speaking, twelve-year-olds could learn to use the Internet, which they'd never seen before; to teach themselves biotechnology, a subject they'd heard of; in English, a language none of them spoke. "All I did was tell them that there was some very difficult information on this computer, they probably wouldn't understand any of it, and I’ll be back to test them on it in a few months."
They did quite well (should I have said "spoiler alert?"); then better with a teenaged coach who did not understand biotechnology but provided encouragement; then better still with some volunteer "Grannies" from the UK available via Skype®
I wept a bit at the power of this. But it was back to anger at the section's conclusion:
Soon we're going to be able to create gamed-based learning that is so deep, immersive, and totally addictive that we're going to look back on the hundred-year hegemony of the industrial model and wonder why it ever hung around for so long.
Umm, excuse me...I don't think we'll wonder "why it held around so long." I think we'll wonder how we ever overcame an over-empowered public sector Teachers' Union aggressively promoting the fiduciary interests of its dues paying members.
The union does not merit a mention. Objections to GMO crops are dismissed as silly, but not enumerated as the threat to progress that they are. African farmers cannot use GMO seed to increase yields and still sell to EU countries. Maybe technology cures that somehow -- but quite possibly it does not.
And so on and so on though energy, health care, food, water, &c. Things are going to be swell -- with which I agree -- but the swellness is going to come from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NGOs under the auspices of the UN, more than free people with property rights.
I undersell the authors a bit. They do mention entrepreneurs in mobile phone adoption, and do suggest that "the bottom billion" of our planet's poorest be considered as an exciting market opportunity. But the call is for more philanthropy, not more freedom.
I would still recommend it -- just have some pain killing medication available. Four stars.
Discussions such as this make it clear that none of us are quick to use the word "accomplishment" in any retrospective of the Obama Administration. But there is another opinion, perhaps best represented by the Davis Guggenheim swoon-fest named 'The Road We've Traveled.' To wit:
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim told CNN last week his only regret was he had only 17 minutes to discuss Obama's accomplishments. He cited health care, the stimulus and other economic initiatives in the face of a tough "political climate" facing near-united Republican opposition.
"The challenge for me is I wanted to put more in there, I really did," Guggenheim said. "I'm really quite in awe of him as a leader."
Another example is currently on display in the halls of a Colorado charter school. I will take great pains here to preserve the anonymity of the 5th grade author but I am compelled to publicize the content, verbatim. [Original text was computer printer output, on three pages.] President Obama's "accomplishments" are enumerated on page 2. I will editorialize in advance: Are there no parents? Are there no teachers? Will this receive a grade or just a gold-star for "participation?" As I said, verbatim.
Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. Obama went to many different schools but his first school was Francisus Asissi Primary
school. Barack Obama now is our president. He has been our president for four years. He became our president on August 5, 2008.
Obama loves playing basketball and he is very good at it. I really like him as a president and hope he comes back for four more years.
Obama has lots of family. Barack Obama's parents both died but his dad died in 1982 in a car accident. His mother died in 1995 by
breast cancer. Barack was raised by a non-African American mom and since his mom died he had to be raised by his non-African
American grandparents. Obama is now raising a wonderful family a wife Michelle,a 13 year old daughter named Malia,and a 10 year old
daughter named Natasha (Sasha).
While Obama was in his office he accomplished a lot of things. He had doubled the national debt. Barack joined the country of Mexico
and sued a state in the United States. Barack Obama gave the Queen of england an iPod and it had all of Obamas speechs on it.
Barack has bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. These are some of the things Barack Obama accomplished. Obama is a great president. I wish he could be president every single year.
Obama has done many good and important things to the United States. He is making our country safe from danger. Barck obama has
made the U.S. feel safe and happy. He changed our health care system so everyone will be happy. ["happy" crossed out by hand and replaced with "healthy."] Barack has been a very good
president. Obama has been a very good person to our country.
Barack Obama's nickname in basketball is "O-Bomber." His first name means "one who is blessed." Obama's favorite meal is his wife
Michelle's shrimp linguine. He has read every single word in the Harry Potter series. Barack owns a pair of red boxing gloves autographed
by Muhammad Ali.
Obama's favorite snack is chocolate, peanut protein bars. While he was living in Indonesia he ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted
grasshoppers. Although he has since quit, Obama used to smoke cigarettes. When he lived in Indonesia his pet was an ape named Tata.
As a teenager obama took drugs including marijuana and cocaine.
At Last, a GOP Candidate addresses our Real Problem!
I did say that Senator Santorum was better than Governor Huckabee. I'll stick with that, but he is closing the gap:
The Daily Caller flags a little-discussed position paper on Rick Santorum's campaign website--his pledge to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography. Santorum avers that "America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography." He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that "pandemic," by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers.
Nor will there be any of that hiding behind the First Amendment crap -- we've got families to protect!
The quote cited by Obama does exist on the Internet, but we would expect the White House staff to do better research than that. -- WaPo Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, actually and oddly enough, checking a fact.
Wow. I really respected this guy a year ago! (The WSJ's "Professor Cornpone" editorial precipitated the decline.)
But Speaker Gingrich's petulant whines and destructive lashings-out are truly too much to bear. First it was the brave Speakinator against the WallStreetMachine™; now the system is broke because it does not recognize his total awesomeness:
PALATINE, Ill. -- With the future of his presidential ambitions uncertain in the wake of losses in two big southern states on Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich delivered a gloomy address in this Chicago suburb Wednesday night in which he at once reaffirmed his plans to stay in the presidential race and bemoaned a country and Republican Party that he described as unreceptive to "big ideas" such as the ones on which he.s hinged his White House bid.
Quick! Somebody call a Waaaaahmbulance!
However, the Speaker is going at as he came in -- two adverbs at a time!
At Illinois GOP dinner, a gloomy Gingrich bemoans 'methodically and deliberately stupid' political system
UPDATE: I see the linked "Cornpone" post is dated 1/31/2011. Make that "Wow. I really respected this guy a year five quarters ago!" ThreeSources regrets the error.
UPDATE II: Also: "his total and existential awesomeness." The sell-by date on that joke is coming fast and I don't want to be caught with a whole box.
For the first time, the federal government will directly attack the nation's tobacco addiction with a series of advertisements highlighting the grisly toll of smoking, a campaign that federal health officials hope will renew the stalled decline in the share of Americans who smoke.
If my health were just a little bit better, I swear I would take up smoking. I see high schoolers lighting up and think "good for you!" Liberty truly is more important than death -- and a little John Stuart Mill goes a long way. Either we are sovereign individuals who own our own bodies, or we are subjects of government.
The Helmet-tip here goes to cycling legend and all-around-HOSS Lance Armstrong. I follow him and his Livestrong cancer page on Facebook. Love the man, but he celebrates every nanny law that possibly impacts cancer. I can see his point, but am not sure he sees mine. Curiously, there are many liberty lovers who push back, politely (mostly) arguing that gub'mint is not the answer.
If I may rant a bit, I am sooo completely totally bored with this. You can't watch a movie on DVD without sitting through some anti-smoking propaganda. There are countless PSAs by countless groups. Now the Federal Government -- not like they have anything else to spend money on.
Show me one person who does not understand the dangers of smoking, who will be educated by this supraconstitutional nannying. One.
Somebody asked why we rely on submerged cables for inter-continental communication. I'm thinking of a serious new WiFi!
PhysOrg.com -- A group of scientists led by researchers from the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University have for the first time sent a message using a beam of neutrinos -- nearly massless particles that travel at almost the speed of light. The message was sent through 240 meters of stone and said simply, "Neutrino."
Hat-tip: Instapundit. Though why it did not warrant a "faster please" escapes me.
Like myself, Boulder's [Democrat] District Attorney Stan Garnett doesn't understand why the Obama Justice Department is so tough on the medical marijuana business. After all, aren't Democrats and weed activists fellow travelers? And, perhaps because I had dinner with the man 12 days ago (well, actually, different tables in the same Boulder burger joint) I agree verbatim with General Garnett on this sentence from his letter to United States Attorney John Walsh:
"The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating ..." WAIT! Stop right there.
But he continued, "how far dispensaries should be from schools or other fine points of local land use law," Garnett wrote.
I don't think Garnett helped his effort by suggesting what the US Attorney's priorities should be, but that probably won't be what makes or breaks the G-Men's "prosecutorial discretion."
In the "things that make you say, hmmm" department: The article also says that Boulder has an estimated 12 dispensaries within 1000 feet of a school.
No, I am not making a 2016 category yet, but -- as Republicans always nominate last quadrennial's second-place finisher...
Which brings up the real scary possibility for those of us who find Santorum frighteningly anti-libertarian: He does look positioned to run second, putting him in line for 2016 or 2020. Any rational person would say, come on -- second-place Rick Santorum stronger the next time around than Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, Jeff Flake, Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, etc.? But there's that pesky rule -- Reagan, Bush, Dole, McCain, and now Romney all got the nomination after running second previously. So defenders of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should probably start a project now to move Republicans off that rule. -- David Boaz
Doing your taxes sucks. Paying someone else to do your taxes sucks, too. But you know what sucks most of all? Having the person who does your taxes go out of business (or dramatically raise prices) thanks to an IRS power grab.
Last year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) got into the business of licensing tax preparers. The IRS wasn't granted the authority to do this by Congress, they just decided to go for it. At a time when unemployment is still awfully high, 350,000 people--many of whom are self-employers or own small businesses--will be hit by rules that axe their jobs or make it more difficult and expensive to keep their calculators clacking.
The Constitutional question has, rightfully, received the most attention. But the Meta weighs heavily on me: you create a system that is too complicated for people to do themselves; then you charge the people they hire a fee for the privilege of breathing.
An inadvertent intellectual slip by CNBC's lovely Becky Quick gave me an idea.
My man Kudlow was a guest on Squawk Box to round up the primary results, but he expanded the discussion to query the stock pickers on the effects of the devastating increase in dividend taxation scheduled for Jan 1, 2013. He and Steve Forbes decried the "double taxation" of dividends. Ms. Quick first asked why that was different than her salary. Forbes mentioned the deductibility and she quickly and publicly apologized for "the dumb question."
That's the backstory, here's the idea:
1) Full deductibility of dividends to corporations
2) Taxation of dividend income at personal rate.
Boom, baby! Double taxation is gone. The Warren Buffett and Mitt Romney tax rate that so worries some Americans is normalized. All in a day's work.
Extra, exogenous benefits include a tax bias toward dividends over stock buybacks, which is more efficient. And dividends’' cleansing effect on corporate governance and accounting. Pension funds and retirement accounts could yield greater dividend growth and defer taxation to payoff, but all the money gets taxed cleanly and transparently -- once.
Jim Geraghty pens the winning tagline for the Governor of the Commonwealth:
James Taranto offers something of a sales pitch for the Republican front-runner: "I can understand why some people would be scared of President Santorum, and I'm a little scared of President Gingrich, but c'mon, Romney?"
You'll be surprised to hear that I did not buy into "Hope & Change" in 2008. It was clear to me who Senator Obama was. The question was whether he would govern pragmatically to help his reelection and legacy prospects, or whether he would follow ideology.
The Keystone Pipeline demurral and green energy initiatives answer the question. Clinton's pragmatic compromises and cooption of GOP ideas cemented his popularity and legacy. I don't think he would have dropped the ball on domestic production as President Obama has.
Either could make a symbolic stand against offshore or ANWR to buy off the base, but allow production to ramp up everywhere else. Beyond gas prices, energy production would provide jobs, stimulate capital investment, pour cash into the Treasury, and help outside the sector with support services and cheaper energy. Is the President not "cutting off his nose to spite his face" as it were?
Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. "I don’t get it," he'd say. "We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?" But the numbers rarely budged.
Click through for a lesson on the powerful economic gains our country could make with a pro-production strategy.
Showing his keen grasp of free market forces, Obama has ordered Justice officials to investigate oil speculation. Of course, there's oil speculation. It's called the futures market. And watching Obama's policies instead of his words, those experts see higher prices coming ahead, as do most Americans in the poll.
When taking office, Energy Secy. Stephen Chu expressed a desire to drive U.S. gas prices to the European levels of $8-$9 a gallon, much like taxation on cigarettes to discourage their use. This administration has achieved more than half that European goal already.
And voters are taking note:
A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week finds about two-out-of-three Americans now disapprove of the Chicago Democrat's job on gas prices, whatever that's been.
Maybe if he started reminding them he "killed bin Laden..."
There is No Such Thing as Free Currency Manipulation (Or Lunch)
Recently, I made comments regarding a fellow blogger's opinions on inflation, which sparked a lively discussion among my fellow bloggers. Regrettably, some of my comments were not adequately explained or defined on this particular topic. This post is an attempt to clarify my position on inflation, how it is defined, and how it is measured.
“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon” - M. Friedman
Most, if not all, of us who follow political economy are familiar with this iconic definition of inflation. From the Austrian perspective however, this statement is redundant. Inflation, as defined by Ludwig von Mises in the excerpt below, is a general increase in the money supply:
"Inflation, as this term was always used everywhere and especially in this country, means increasing the quantity of money and bank notes in circulation and the quantity of bank deposits subject to check.“
To prove this theory, let us examine the following example from Dr. Frank Shostak:
"Consider the case of a fixed money supply. Whenever people increase their demand for some goods and services, money will be allocated toward other goods. Thus, the prices of some goods will increase--i.e., more money will be spent on them--while the prices of other goods will fall--i.e., less money will be spent on them.
If the demand for money increases against goods and services, there will be a general fall in prices. In order for an economy to experience a general rise in prices, there must be an increase in the money stock. With more money and no change in money demand, people can now allocate a greater amount of money for all goods and services.
From this we can conclude that inflation is a general increase in the money supply"
From these definitions, we can rewrite Dr. Friedman’s famous quote to read:
“Increases in the money supply are always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”
The problem with the modern day definition of inflation is that it fails to adequately explain the relationship between the money supply and prices, and furthermore regards any increases in price as inflationary.
The current suite of inflation measuring tools is, for the most part, based on some type of price index measurement. Examples of these tools include the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Producer Price Index (PPI), and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEI). These tools measure changes in prices within certain segments of an economy over a given time period. To illustrate the inability of these tools to adequately measure inflation, consider the case below.
Examining the money supply and consumer price index during the years leading up to the ‘Great Depression’, the following trend appears:
The data indicates that there was a significant increase (61.72%) in the money supply, and actually a modest decrease (3.88%) in prices.
As Rothbard points out in “America’s Great Depression” there were opposing forces that were determining prices during this time period. Monetary factors, such as inflation, were pushing prices higher, while at the same time, real factors, such as gains in productivity, lowered costs and prices. These offsetting forces resulted in prices remaining stable while the money supply grew at an average rate of 7.7% per year. The resulting credit expansion created an imbalance between consumption and investment, pushing rates of interest lower than they would otherwise be in a totally free market.
Examining the money supply and consumer price index from 2000-2009 the following, and somewhat similar trend appears:
The data indicates that there was a significant increase (76.43%) in the money supply, and an increase (24.59%) in prices.
While prices increase at a much faster rate during this time period than in the time period above, the result was the same. The credit expansion that was created as a result of monetary inflation lowered interest rates below where they would have otherwise been in a free market and created a similar imbalance to the one described in the previous example.
During the time period of 2000-2009 prices grew at an average annual rate of 2.6%, a rate that is within the “safe zone” used by many economists. However, the average annual rate of growth of the money supply during this same time period was 6.5%, a rate, if defined as inflation, would not only be unacceptable, it would be dangerous.
In order to accurately measure inflation, it must first be defined correctly. The previous two examples illustrate not only the danger associated with incorrectly defining the concept of inflation, but also building inflation measurement tools based on a false premise.
A note on the concept of a “price deflator mechanism” and its usefulness in measuring inflation. When properly defined, inflation and decreases in prices are not mutually exclusive. Productivity gains and technological advancements can take place during a period of monetary inflation and can offset the general rise in prices that are a symptom of inflationary policies.
It was argued earlier this week that inflation, while harmful, is not so because it drives up costs and prices in real terms. On the other hand, it was also argued that inflation is harmful, in part, because it is a tax on cash balances.
This is a contradiction.
For example, a retired individual who is living off an investment portfolio made up primarily of fixed income assets will be hit especially hard by increases in real prices, or a “tax on cash balances”. Every percent increase in real prices represents a percent decrease in that individuals overall wealth.
I argued in an earlier post that in a purely free market, increases in productivity and technological advancement over time will result in a general decrease in prices, or, to put it another way, an increase in the standard of living. This affect can help to suppress prices during periods of monetary inflation; however, the consumer still has a lower standard of living than would have otherwise been achieved in a purely free market due to the effects of price stabilization.
While the goal of price stabilization may be a noble one, the outcome is often the opposite of the desired result. As is the case with most government intervention into the economy, monetary inflation brings with it undesirable and unintended consequences. These consequences range from decreases in the standard of living, taxation on cash balances, and on at least two occasions, severe recessions. What Friedman’s quote does tell us is that at least since 1913, inflation is always and everywhere a result of Government intervention.
James Taranto has forcefully and eloquently taken on the ridiculous "fact checker" sections of media. All any of them are is an extra opportunity to add bias. Piling on is probably not worth the ones and zeros, but...I am almost in tears over today's WaPo "Fact Check."
It's a misstatement, so it gets the lightest sentence of "One Pinocchio." Fair enough, we all make mistakes. Asserting, in front of a cheering crowd, that the 20-26 year savings "over the life of the car" is annual savings seems like a large one, but I am all smiles and compassion today. The crowd was assured that there would be no math, but $8000 a year is $21.92 a day. What will you buy with your savings? If you bought five big SUVs, you could save $100 every day!
Okay, so I am more smiles than compassion. But assuming that is still a mono-pinocchial offense, the fact check goes on to show additional perfidy.
When Obama does say this talking point correctly, note the careful wording -- "$8,000 at the pump over time." He's talking about the savings on gasoline, the happy part of the story. But he has left out part of the total picture -- the costs of compliance with the new rules.
The standards are coming in two phases. The first, which affects cars in model years 2012-2016, will increase the average cost of model 2016 car about $950, while saving $4,000 in fuel, according to government estimates. So the net savings is about $3,000. The second set of standards, which affects cars in model years 2017-2025, will add $2,200 to the cost of a model 2025 car, while reducing fuel costs by $6,600, for a net lifetime savings of $4,400. (Gasoline is presumed to cost about $3.42 before taxes.)
There's "a complicated method" to get to $8,000 fuel savings:
If you disregard the cost
On a rule that kicks in in five years
That Kessler does not even document
Is anybody else's b******t detector going off? Glenn Kessler -- who does this for a living -- is prepared to forgive every sin except multiplying by 26?
Read the article six times, and you'll encounter no suggestion that the President nor his policies are not saving a gorram dime for nobody. You choose to buy the car you buy (unless he gets a second term) and factor in the mileage as part of your decision.
How many will put off buying a new, more efficient vehicle because of the $6600 addition to the sticker price? (Hey, if he can use 2017-2025 figures, so can I!) That's a side of CAFE that gets way too little attention.
MAD Magazine had a "What's wrong with this picture?" spoof where there were obviously many things amiss. The answer was "The headline: This was supposed to be the 'What 1,000 things are wrong with this picture?' picture." In reverse, there are a thousand things wrong with the President's claim to be saving his unquestioning minions eight grand a year. Kessler finds one.
I was thinking this the other day. Before (the insanely successful) welfare reform, the big worry about government spending was people like Ms. Clayton:
Amanda Clayton, the 24-year old Lincoln Park resident who won $1 million in the state lottery but continued to use $200 a month in food stamps, has had her benefits revoked by the Michigan Department of Human Services.
According to Michigan DHS, those receiving food benefits must notify the state of a change in income or assets within 10 days.
Hat-tip: @jtLOL (Jim Treacher) who asks "Why is this woman being denied her rights? Paging @SandraFluke"
With a respectful, heh -- this shows a serious shift in thinking that plays into the Tea Party movement. Politicians used to pledge great efforts to remove "Waste, Fraud, and Abuse (WFA)." Vice President Gore's "Good Government" and a staple on the stump up to and including Speaker Gingrich's "Six Sigma."
But it is all hooey. Sure, I'd like to see government spend better. But there is going to be WFA in an organization the size of the Federal Government. At some point, methods to prevent it cost more than they save. Michigan is passing a law to cross-reference lottery winners and welfare rolls. I suspect they'll hire five bureaucrats at 90-120K a year and maybe find three they can kick off to save 50K each -- but I'm mister negative.
The big problem is that it affords VP Gore and Speaker Gingrich the opportunity to talk tough on spending. Nobody likes WFA! Yeah, I'm on your side America! Yet they never have to tell a mohair farmer that WWI is over and they may have to do without subsidies. Or that corn farmers will have to live with only food subsidies and fierce protectionism -- no more ethanol.
I miss welfare queens. It was a simpler problem for a simpler time. Now they are noise on a chart of leviathan entitlements.
Jim Geraghty's review of "Game Change" goes up on NRO today, but he provides the special friends on his email list a taste:
If you are a fan of Sarah Palin, you will loathe this movie. If you hate Sarah Palin, large swaths of this movie will be more thrilling than pornography. If you are somewhere in the middle in your opinion of Palin, you will find yourself wondering why you're watching big-name actors reenact extremely recent events, with limited new revelations, insight, or lessons from it all. It's kind of like watching a batch of Oscar-nominated actors performing a dramatic reading of a transcript of the last GOP presidential debate. (Colin Firth as Romney! Daniel Day-Lewis as Santorum! Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gingrich! Sir Ben Kingsley as Ron Paul!) The actors bring their best efforts, but in the end, you realize you've seen it before, and not even that long ago.
Think I'll pass on "Game Change;" but I'd stay up late to watch Colin Firth play Governor Mitt Romney.
UPDATE: NO! NO! NO! The full review is online, and coveted Quote of the Day honors go to his lede:
HBO director Jay Roach and screenwriter Danny Strong spent millions of dollars and cast some of Hollywood's biggest stars in an unparalleled effort to dispel the widespread misperception that John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was a well-oiled machine.
It's clear the producers cast each of you for different reasons. Why do you think they selected Davy? What did he bring to the group that was unique?
I think David was the first one selected and they built the show around him. English (all the rage), attractive, and a very accomplished singer and dancer, right off the Broadway stage from a hit musical. None of the other three of us had any of those chops.
I met Nesmith when I was in Florida (1980) at what I swear was a club he owned. I did a little sleuthing and cannot find any documentation that that was the case. Huh, it's one of my better stories.
But I did meet him and he was kind and gracious. I'm touched by his intelligence, warmth and sincerity in the interview.
Everyone was accomplished -- the notion I was the only musician is one of those rumors that got started and wont stop -- but it was not true. Peter was a more accomplished player than I by an order of magnitude, Micky and Davy played and sang and danced and understood music.
Unexpectedly good. Hat-tip: my dear moonbat-facebook-friend Dave.
The renewed focus on bird kills is coming at a bad time for the wind industry, which is being hammered by low natural-gas prices and a Congress unwilling to extend the 2.2 cents per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit that has fueled the industry's growth in recent years.
Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks--as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act--are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.
A pernicious double standard is at work here. And it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He told me, "It's absolutely clear that there's been a mandate from the top" echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.
I enjoy tormenting my Facebook friends with this. Their response? "More birds are killed by cats." I guess that is the new standard -- if your technology kills fewer wild animals than natural predators do, everything is copacetic.
Facing a difficult reelection fight, the Republican senator is working hard to define himself as a "Massachusetts moderate" -- a label Romney, one of his political mentors, is desperately trying to escape.
Tip O'Neill call your office. All politics is, indeed, local.
"And since 1979, an entire climate industry has grown up that has spent millions of human-hours applying that constantly increasing computer horsepower to studying the climate.
And after the millions of hours of human effort, after the millions and millions of dollars gone into research, after all of those million-fold increases in computer speed and size, and after the phenomenal increase in model sophistication and detail ... the guesstimated range of climate sensitivity hasn't narrowed in any significant fashion. It's still right around 3 ± 1.5°C per double of CO2, just like it was in 1979." --Willis Eschenbach
In the linked article Eschenbach, a self-described amateur scientist and generalist, gives an overview of climate science since its beginnings circa 1979. Click continue reading for the discussion of computing power that preceeds this quote, and click on the first link to find in his conclusion the real reason for lack of progress. Hint: Check your premises.
So there you have it, folks. The climate sensitivity is 3°C per doubling of CO2, with an error of about ± 1.5°C. Net feedback is positive, although we don’t understand the clouds. The models are not yet able to simulate regional climates. No surprises in any of that. It’s just what you’d expect a NAS panel to say.
Now, before going forwards, since the NAS report is based on computer models, let me take a slight diversion to list a few facts about computers, which are a long-time fascination of mine. As long as I can remember, I wanted a computer of my own. When I was a little kid I dreamed about having one. I speak a half dozen computer languages reasonably well, and there are more that I’ve forgotten. I wrote my first computer program in 1963.
Watching the changes in computer power has been astounding. In 1979, the fastest computer in the world was the Cray-1 supercomputer. In 1979, a Cray-1 supercomputer, a machine far beyond anything that most scientists might have dreamed of having, had 8 Mb of memory, 10 Gb of hard disk space, and ran at 100 MFLOPS (million floating point operations per second). The computer I’m writing this on has a thousand times the memory, fifty times the disk space, and two hundred times the speed of the Cray-1.
And that’s just my desktop computer. The new NASA climate supercomputer “Gaea” shown in Figure 1 runs two and a half million times as fast as a Cray-1. This means that a one-day run on “Gaea” would take a Cray-1 about seven thousand years to complete …
Now, why is the speed of a Cray-1 computer relevant to the NAS report I quoted from above?
It is relevant because as some of you may have realized, the NAS report I quoted from above is called the “Charney Report“. As far as I know, it was the first official National Academy of Science statement on the CO2 question. And when I said it was a “recent report”, I was thinking about it in historical terms. It was published in 1979.
Here’s the bizarre part, the elephant in the climate science room. The Charney Report could have been written yesterday. AGW supporters are still making exactly the same claims, as if no time had passed at all. For example, AGW supporters are still saying the same thing about the clouds now as they were back in 1979—they admit they don’t understand them, that it’s the biggest problem in the models, but all the same but they’re sure the net feedback is positive. I’m not sure clear that works, but it’s been that way since 1979.
That’s the oddity to me—when you read the Charney Report, it is obvious that almost nothing of significance has changed in the field since 1979. There have been no scientific breakthroughs, no new deep understandings. People are still making the same claims about climate sensitivity, with almost no change in the huge error limits. The range still varies by a factor of three, from about 1.5 to about 4.5°C per doubling of CO2.
Meanwhile, the computer horsepower has increased beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. The size of the climate models has done the same. The climate models of 1979 were thousands of lines of code. The modern models are more like millions of lines of code. Back then it was atmosphere only models with a few layers and large gridcells. Now we have fully coupled ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere-biosphere-lithosphere models, with much smaller gridcells and dozens of both oceanic and atmospheric layers.
(Reuters) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corp, whose guitars have been used by music legends Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, filed with U.S. regulators on Thursday to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering.
Formed in the 1940s by Leo Fender, Fender was the first to mass-produce solid-body Spanish-style electric guitars, including the iconic Stratocaster.
It was sold to television network CBS in 1965. When CBS started selling off its non-media businesses, then Fender Chief Executive William Schultz teamed up with some of the company's international distributors and bought out Fender in 1984.
Players worshipped "pre-CBS" Fenders when I was a lad (quality in the mid 70s was suspect -- this was not all snobbery). Wonder if "private Fenders" will command a premium. (I did not say there was no snobbery.)
Hope Brother nb is on the road this week, as we've been harshing on the mellow of wind power.
But the WSJ Ed Page reports that a 20 year old subsidy, designed to give the nascent industry some funding so that it could compete in the free market is up for renewal (I mean, really, what can you accomplish with technology in a mere twenty years?)
The most dishonest claim is that wind and solar deserve to be wards of the state because the oil and gas industry has also received federal support. That's the $4 billion a year in tax breaks for oil and gas (which all manufacturers receive), but the oil and gas industry still pays tens of billions in federal taxes every year.
Wind and solar companies are net tax beneficiaries. Taxpayers would save billions of dollars if wind and solar produced no energy at all. A July 2011 Energy Department study found that oil, natural gas and coal received an average of 64 cents of subsidy per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received nearly 100 times more, or $56.29 per megawatt hour.
Pigs at the government trough. Glad none of my brave Republicans are particip -- umm, wait a second.
Most Congressional Democrats will back anything with the green label. But Republican support for big wind is a pure corporate welfare play that violates free-market principles. Last week six Republican Senators--John Boozman of Arkansas, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Charles Grassley of Iowa, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota--signed a letter urging their colleagues to extend the production tax credit.
"It is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives" and that continuing that federal aid can help the industry "move towards a market-based system," said the letter. What's the "market-based" timetable--100 years? In the House 18 Republicans have joined the 70-Member wind pork caucus. Someone should remind them that in 2008 and 2010 the wind lobby gave 71% of its PAC money to Democrats.
Senator Chuck Grassley for an energy boondoggle? Mai Non! I refuse to believe it!
We interrupt our 24x7 contraception and monetary policy debates for an election bulletin: The GOP primary contest is over. Stephen Green (VodkaPundit) mails my thoughts exactly in a short blog post
Given the choice between Romney and nothing, to turn the old adage upside-down, I'd take nothing. But in politics "nothing" isn't one of the choices.
Correction: You can vote for nothing, but then worse-than-nothing wins by default.
So keep that in mind when I call on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to surrender gracefully tonight, and to pledge their delegates to... this isn't easy for me to say... to pledge their delegates to Romney.
Green wrote that yesterday and I didn't see any results last night to change my mind. In fact, watching Gov. Romney, Sen. Santorum, and Speaker Gingrich speak (did Ron Paul not? I missed it), I am completely convinced.
I'll concede that the fight to now has been good for Candidate Romney, I was concerned but I was wrong. He improved his positions and his debate performances and his campaign style because of the competition. But that ended about 1:30 AM Eastern this morning.
Speaker Gingrich talks up his "positive campaign" as he blasts Romney as "Wall Street" and tells his small government supporters that he is going to set gas prices.
I feel for Senator Santorum. His opponents in media have distracted him from a fairly cogent economic freedom message to social issues. Entrapment may not be fair, but it put John DeLorean away (I can hold a grudge), and it exposed Santorum for what he is.
Both have served their purpose and added to the debate -- as did Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Perry, and The Herman Cain. It is time for them to follow the others offstage.
To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine -- despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide. -- Matt Ridley, via Kenneth P Green.
Why, it's the Chevy Volt of course! It's won several prestigious awards. It's just that nobody wants to buy it... Joann Muller at Forbes, delivers the bad news. But she is painfully even-handed in her appraisal.
Critics quickly jumped on that news as evidence that the Volt is a wasteful folly and the federal government shouldn't be meddling in the auto industry. Never mind that the Volt was conceived long before GM's 2009 taxpayer-financed bankruptcy. As investors with a 32% stake in the world's largest carmaker, taxpayers ought to be pleased by GM's uncharacteristic discipline in matching its vehicle production to real demand. Instead of overproducing Volts, and then heavily discounting them to get people to buy, GM is protecting its investment.
Bursting with pride, Joann, I'm bursting with pride! But...
The Volt's hefty pricetag, $41,000, no doubt scared away some buyers. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, it's a lot to pay for a four-seat Chevrolet. The lease price isn't bad at all -- $350 a month, with $2,500 down -- but consumers have somehow missed that marketing pitch, and that's GM's fault. There have been other issues, too: a government investigation into post-crash test fires (much ado about nothing) and the challenge of making people understand the Volt's unique gas-and-electric technology.
You see, ThreeSourcers, you don't have to pony up 40K and wait for your tax refund -- you can lease a volt for $350 a month with $2500 down!
The Obama administration will extend mortgage assistance for the first time to investors who bought multiple homes before the market imploded, helping some speculators who drove up prices and inflated the housing bubble.
Landlords can qualify for up to four federally-subsidized loan workouts starting around May, as long as they rent out each house or have plans to fill them, under the revamped Home Affordable Modification Program, also known as HAMP, according to Timothy Massad, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial stability. The program pays banks to reduce monthly payments by cutting interest rates, stretching terms, and forgiving principal.
Need I comment? What could I possibly add? How about Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Hat-tip: John Derbyshire Good thing this was "Math Corner" this month," I did not finish last month's math problem yet. (Careful, the link is to the solution, quit reading before the text turns red if you're in the mood.)
Politics breaks hearts. But when the "Big Pharma" firms lined up to support ObamaCare against what I thought was their long-term interests, it was particularly upsetting.
Peter Schweitzer of the Hoover Institute has an eye-opening piece in The Daily Beast today. He suggests the contraception debate should be viewed under the Crony Capitalism lens, more than religious liberty or morality. I think he nails it:
Completely ignored is the more fundamental problem: this mandate is not only about the bedroom, it's about the boardroom. You've heard of crony capitalism? Well this is America's first example of crony contraceptives. Forget for a minute the religious question and look at who wins big here: Big Pharma. This mandate is not really about condoms or generic versions of "the pill," which are available free or cheap in lots of places. This is about brand-name birth control drugs and other devices that some consumers swear off because they are too expensive. The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requires health-insurance companies provide contraceptive coverage for all "FDA approved contraceptive methods." It does not insist on generics. And it does not offer any cost containment. . . . It's important to point out that among President Obama's biggest financial backers are precisely the Big Pharma companies who benefit from the mandate.
I fired this broadside at my infamous FacebookFriends™ today. I have had to sit through a hundred stupid MoveOn.org and "We Survived Bush, You'll Survive Obama" photos pushing this debate as a GOP plot to return to a pre-Griswold America. I think it makes quite a bit more sense in this context.
Justice is its most beautiful as raiment to its ugliest claimant.
Heinous people are entitled to their rights; and when their rights are asserted, we -- the less obnoxious -- can feel more comfortable in the guarantee of ours. I love to live in a country whose highest court chose Phelps over Snyder. In that spirit, I am going to defend one of my least favorite Senators of all time: Ted Stevens (Graft - AK).
The WSJ Ed Page suggests that the famous "60th Vote" for ObamaCare was not Sen. Arlen Specter but rather Sen. Mark Begich, who defeated a Stevens incumbency hobbled by a politically-motivated prosecution.
These prosecutors, working in Justice's ironically named Public Integrity Section, trampled on Stevens's rights by ignoring the Brady rule, which requires prosecutors to share exculpatory evidence with the defense. The feds then won a conviction on ethics charges less than two weeks before Election Day in 2008.
Stevens, a Republican who had been highly popular in Alaska prior to the prosecution, lost a close race to Democratic challenger Mark Begich. Mr. Begich went on to become, yes, one of the 60 Senate votes for ObamaCare in 2009.
Within months of the election, as the federal abuses came to light, Stevens' conviction was set aside. But the election result, highly influenced by the bogus conviction, never was. As Judge Sullivan recently noted in explaining all the reasons that the report should be made public, the Stevens loss "tipped the balance of power in the United States Senate." And in favor of ObamaCare.
Hard to weep for a porker like Sen. Stevens, but we have to hold elections above that.
Pity poor brother jg. Any other right-leaning blog would hop on his "Stealthflation" bandwagon and give him a heroic ride to the store to purchase overpriced commodities. Yet he encounters extreme obstinacy at ThreeSources. Has he a new ally in brother Bryan? Time will tell.
Milton Friedman said "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon" and argued for a rules-based "computer" FOMC. I would happily buy into that.
But if anybody is going to use a "basket of goods" deflator, they have to account for disinflationary forces. Insty links to an Arnold Kling excerpt from the book Abundance (which I just bought).
Twenty years ago, most well-off US citizens owned a camera, a video camera, a CD player, a stereo, a video game console, a cell phone, a watch, an alarm clock, a set of encyclopedias, a world atlas, a Thomas Guide, and a whole bunch of other assets that easily add up to more than $10,000. All of which come standard on today's smart phones...that's how quickly $10,000 worth of expenses can vanish.
I suggest that ten grand buys a few tortillas, and that corn prices are affected almost as much by ethanol mandates and subsidies as monetary policy.
Time for a quick gloat. I watched Rush Limbaugh's TV show for a while in the mid 90's, but have stayed away ever since. I suggest that his bombast elevates his career more than the ideas he espouses. I file him away with Ann Coulter, with whom I sometimes agree but get very weary of defending.
Not being a listener, I heard about "Slut-gate" on the street from Gov. Howard Dean on Kudlow. Dean may or may not be successful painting the entire GOP with Limbaugh's comments -- but it ain't going to help.
Don Surber eloquently asks Rush to apologize, comparing the incident to David Letterman's harsh words to Bristol Palin.
I will pre-concede that the left does have their panties in a bunch (panties and slut -- our Google® rankings are headed north!) I can't accept this as Breitbartian courage. Any of his fans wish to offer a defense?
The late great Andrew Breitbart would not mince words and I will try my hand at courage: I hate that damn car! It is the symbol of crony capitalism and disrespect for property rights, the fifth amendment, and the capacity of capital markets to drive innovation. The President and captive cronies at GE cannot make up for the markets' disinterest. Good Good Good!
This is not to say that Andrew [Breitbart] was beyond criticism. He made mistakes. He took full swings at some pitches he should have just let go. He overstated some things that needed to be said, and said some things that didn't need to be said at all. He was a human run-on sentence who showed deference to no punctuation mark save the exclamation point, a conservative Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons we both grew up on, whirling and whizzing through anything in his path. Giving him a dose of Ritalin to treat his hyperactivity would be like throwing a glass of water on a five-alarm fire. -- Jonah Goldberg
I read this from Robert Tracinski via email last week. Today I found it posted in full with excellent comments.* The major issue I see is the specter of Santorum highjacking the TEA Party Movement:
Santorum's views have zero cross-over appeal; there will be no "Santorum Democrats." They have no appeal to independent voters, who will peg him as a self-righteous prig who wants to impose his religious views on them. And it's worse than that. The resurgence of the right that produced the Tea Party movement and the huge Republican victory in 2010 is based in large part on an alliance between two wings of the right: the more religious wing and the more "libertarian" wing. They have been able to work together because of a de facto truce on the "social issues" while we drop everything else to save the country from a government takeover of the economy. I would add that there has been no need for any kind of truce on birth control or gambling, because those issues haven't even come up. But Santorum insists on bringing them up, and in doing so he breaks the Tea Party alliance and splits the right. He puts the libertarian wing of the right on notice that if they vote against Obama's version of big government, Santorum will use their vote to promote his version of big government.
Someone needs to stand up and speak on behalf of the Tea Party movement to proclaim that we did not come out and march under the banner "Don't Tread on Me" so that we could be hitched once again under the yoke of the "common good" as determined by politicians in Washington.
* The good comments are the first ones, at the bottom of the thread. The recent ones, as is often the case, seem to have degenerated into various tangents.
Great news! We have recruited another "brother" to ThreeSources. Bryan makes his debut today with a smart piece about the primary race.
For you set theory folks: not only does the blogger count increment, but the group "my economic betters" does as well. Bryan has an Economics degree from the University of Colorado. We'll drag him into lengthy discussions on monetary policy and central banking and -- oh NED, I do hope he has some ANNA NICOLE SMITH PHOTOS.
Thus far, this primary season has been defined by the dichotomy between Romney and every other candidate in the race. The lack of enthusiasm for Romney is clearly displayed by the number of front runners there has been and how quickly the conservative base is willing to latch on to the next conservative alternative instead of coalescing around the so-called "most electable" candidate. Since the most recent Republican debate, the Romney-Conservative Alternative dichotomy took an interesting turn when the idea of a Romney-Paul alliance was proposed by members of the political punditry. The alliance was given additional press after the newest conservative alternative to rise to national prominence, Rick Santorum, accused Ron Paul and Mitt Romney of teaming up against his campaign. Looking at the evidence that is used to support this accusation through the lens of the Romney-Conservative Alternative dichotomy, it is clear that what is developing is not an alliance, but instead a campaign tactic that exploits the lack of enthusiasm for Romney that has defined this election cycle.
The evidence given for this alliance includes Paul's "fake conservative" attack ad on Santorum in Michigan, Paul's "serial hypocrisy" attack ad on Gingrich in Iowa and New Hampshire, Paul and Romney jointly pulling out of the upcoming CNN Georgia debate, and Paul's lack of attacks against Romney as well as Romney's lack of attacks against Paul in past debates. While the idea of a "back room deal" or "secret alliance" between Paul and Romney makes for good campaign drama, the reality of what is taking place is much less sinister. Paul, like all of the other not-Romney candidates, has been trying to position himself as the "conservative alternative" and is using these tactics to remove the competition. While Santorum and Gingrich have been focused on attacking Romney, Paul has been focused on marginalizing the competition to ensure that this becomes a two man race between himself and Romney.
Paul has very little to gain by going directly after Romney, and a lot to gain by going after Santorum and Gingrich. Neither candidate have the organizational or financial resources to stay in the race for long without big primary or caucus wins, and the sooner they drop out, the more delegates Paul can collect. For Romney's part, he has very little to gain by attacking Paul. While Romney's fiscal record leaves something to be desired by conservatives, Paul's is considered by many to be impeccable. This allows Paul to go after Santorum and Gingrich on fiscal issues in way Romney cannot, giving the appearance that Paul is doing Romney's "dirty work". What is actually taking place however, is the temporary alignment of what is in both campaign's best interest.
Paul's campaign is as much about starting a movement as it is about winning the nomination and presidency. His ideas have influenced the Republican Party platform since 2008, and he continues to shape the debate around the proper size and scope of government. His followers are attracted to him in part for his unwavering adherence to Constitutional principles and consistent policy positions. A Romney-Paul alliance would go against the consistency Paul has shown throughout his political career and would derail his "movement" just as it was getting started. For Romney's part, he most likely does not view Paul as a threat to his chances at the nomination and is happy to let him take down any other potential challengers. Paul and Romney have the financial and organizational support to stay in the race all the way to the nominating convention, which could make for interesting politics if they are the only two left in the race. Until that time comes however, you can expect Paul to continue to go after Santorum and Gingrich, and you can expect that Romney will be happy to let him do so.
I love the intellectual argument. Philosophy. Quiet. Meet your enemies halfway.
Andrew Breitbart's considerable energies and gifts ran in a different direction. His penchant for confrontation qua confrontation made me nervous at times.
But Jeeburz, nobody did it better. He may have been loud but did you even notice that he always seemed to be right?
I'm going to steal Greg Gutfield's message in its entirety (ht Insty):
I met Andrew Breitbart in 2005 when I was asked to write for the Huffingtpon Post. He was running the show. Everyone who knew him -- left and right -- said he was brilliant, eccentric, one of a kind. I instantly fell in love with the guy. To this day, i've never met anyone as fearless. He was my first guest on Redeye, a show I got largely because he told people about me. He became a cheerleader for my work, but more important, a dear close friend I could confide in, about anything. My wife called him the wizard, for he could conjure up anything at any time with limitless energy.
He's the only person I know who operated without a safety net. He always knew things would turn out the way they were supposed to - so he didn't worry about money or, i guess, his health, too much.
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world -- knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
My heart felt condolences go out to Susie and the kids.