August 14, 2014

Let's all pay off the national debt, together!

I'm from flyover country, and I'm here to help! Yesterday, President Obama explained to all Americans the basic balance sheet options for making ends meet in the national Leviathan that is the United States federal government.

"We're reviewing all of our options," Obama said. "The lost revenue to Treasury means it has got to be made up somewhere, and that typically is going to be a bunch of hard-working Americans who either pay through higher taxes themselves or through reduced services."

Many of us have selfishly urged, or demanded, that government balance its budget by spending less. Legislators and presidents have come and gone, election after election, never able - for some reason - to bring government spending under control or even, for that matter, reduce it by a single dime. Whatever the causes of this official recalcitrance, I now repent my prior demands and acknowledge the role President Obama reminds me that I play in balancing the federal government budget. I will do my fair share. Nay, I will do my full share. I do firmly pledge and promise, now and forever, to pay every possible penny into the Treasury "through reduced services" from this day forward.

Join me. It'll be easy if we can all stop being so selfish.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2014

Kids these days

They aren't Obama-loving socialists because they believe in egalitarian redistribution but because, perhaps, they believe socialism means "protecting the vulnerable from the vicissitudes of capitalism" and capitalism means "government favoritism instead of a free market."

In fact, millennial support for a government-managed economy (32%) mirrors national favorability toward the word socialism (31%). Millennial preferences may not be so different from older generations once terms are defined.

Millennials’ preferred economic system becomes more pronounced when it is described precisely. Fully 64 percent favor a free market economy over an economy managed by the government (32%), whereas 52 percent favor capitalism over socialism (42%). Language about capitalism and socialism is vague, and using these terms assumes knowledge millennials may not have acquired.

Hat tip: A very good Stossel show last night.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2014

If you've lost Chicago's south side...

This might be a problem for the President.

[Embedded video deleted due to autoplay. Click through to article for video.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2014

"McDouble My Wages"

Sign at a minimum wage rally outside a McDonald's restaurant:

"Just Double My Wages"

One tried and true rebuttal is, "Why not triple them?" But I thought of another one that I think may be new.

Doubling your wage is like paying you one wage for working and an equal additional wage for doing nothing. Would you then quit your job and expect me to continue paying the second wage?
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2014

Hyphenated "rights" usually trample the rights of others

A right cannot be violated except by physical force. One man cannot deprive another of his life, nor enslave him, nor forbid him to pursue his happiness, except by using force against him. Whenever a man is made to act without his own free, personal, individual, voluntary consent—his right has been violated. -Ayn Rand, 'Textbook of Americanism'

Minority-rights, women's-rights, gay-rights are generally slogans used to promote a usurpation of someone else's rights. They represent the principle of group or "collective rights" and are therefore invalid with respect to the only true right, the right of an individual. As Rand explained in "The Virtue of Selfishness:"

Man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective—as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross; . . . these rights are man’s protection against all other men.

Thus inspiring a new ThreeSources bumper sticker:

freedom-not-free-stuff.png

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

Only weeks after leaving office, Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to come out and fix it. Joe drives to Obama's new house, which is located in a very exclusive gated community where all the residents make more than $250,000 per year. how much it will cost. Joe checks his rate chart and says, "$9,500." "What?! $9,500?" Obama asks, stunned,

Joe says, "Yes, but what I do is charge those who make $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free," explains Joe. "This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It's known as 'Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014.' I’m Surprised you haven't heard of it

A comment by "Ricky" to a Fiscal Times article, "Obamacare is a 'Haves and Have Nots' Health System"

HT: My darling dagny.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2014

Plunder Thy Neighbor II

. . . or. "Blog Brother, will you loan me a headline?"

Brother jg connected the timeless quest for other people's money to present day government. I'll raise him the "Google Bus Attacks:"

The class warriors [in Silicon Valley] have a lot to learn from Washington: So far, their main target has been the sleek buses that shuttle programmers and other workers from San Francisco to their offices at Apple, Google and a constellation of startups in the Valley. Dubbed "Google buses," the shuttles remove thousands of cars from San Francisco's madcap streets and allow coders to continue building the enterprises that help to keep the city's jobless rate at 4.8%.

But leftists in San Francisco see daggers in Google buses, which they insist are symbols of growing inequality. In December, Oakland protesters broke the windows on a Google bus, and last spring a few dozen street demonstrators in San Francisco's Mission District smacked piñata buses. Local writer-activist Rebecca Solnit summed up the populist perspective about the buses when she wrote recently in the London Review of Books that "some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us."


Spoiler alert: Ms. Solnit sold her apartment to a Goggle Engineer last year. That's the thing about overlords -- their checks tend to clear!

The whole piece is superb. This group keeps the city alive and vibrant, minting millionaires, billionaires, and useful products along the way. For this -- and the environmental carpooling -- they get metaphorical and corporeal whacks to their buses.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe it'd be more "socially acceptable" if they were "Google Light Rail Trains?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2014 12:25 PM

March 10, 2014

Plunder Thy Neighbor

Plundering the wealth of one's neighbor is a mean of survival as old as time, or at least as old as ancient Athens.

And, as the Romans learned, it is not merely a vocation for individuals. It can be done, legally and effectively, by government.

Many people believe the "rich" can afford to pay higher taxes since they command a disproportionate share of the nation's income. However, the current amount of redistribution already takes 21% of the top quintile's income. That would have to soar to 74% to make every family in America "average."

These are the missing pieces of the current inequality debate. To recap: Current federal tax-and-spending policies combine to redistribute $1.5 trillion each year from the top 40% of Americans to the bottom 60%. To close the income gap to zero would require $4 trillion.

The questions to those who say we should do more to narrow the income gap are: Where on that continuum should we aim, and what policies would achieve these goals without bringing the economy to its knees?

So writes Scott Hodge, President of the inestimable Tax Foundation, which plays these issues non-partisan. As for "what policies would achieve these goals without bringing the economy to its knees," Art Laffer, call your office. As for "where on that continuum should we aim," paging Hank Rearden and Ragnar Danneskjold. (And Jefferson, Madison, Franklin ...)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2014

The world needs working folks too

Not just Entitlement Surfers.

work%20makes%20possible.jpg

AMERICA'S GREATNESS
FSSD.jpg
MAKES FOOD STAMP SURFER DUDE POSSIBLE

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Mister President! (That's Mr. Rowe -- I don't think sushi surfer dude is 35)

Looks good, man -- want me to crunch it into a single image?

Posted by: jk at February 26, 2014 8:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A side by side would be great, if you can. I'd be much obliged. I couldn't figure out how to get FSSD's picture uploaded to the meme site.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2014 9:31 AM

January 27, 2014

Progress toward Xenophobia

Before I learned why, I wondered how an entire national population could support a government that murdered millions of its own citizens. Among other places, it happened in Nazi Germany when the populist regime whipped up anger and resentment against the small and distinct set of individuals who were identified by their Jewish heritage. On Saturday Tom Perkins, a co-founder of a successful investment firm, opined, "I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent." His short letter to WSJ ended thusly:

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?

Given attitudes like this being spoken out loud, in public, by prominent members of society, is there any wonder why President Obama and Congressional Democrats are sparing no effort to demonize the TEA Party, and anyone who says that everyone has a right to his own liberty and his own opinions, even the "obscenely" rich?

Yet every single commenter to this Fox Denver article on the subject is disapprobative of the "delusional" billionaire. Notably, however, none of them posits that there is not a "rising tide of hatred for the successful one percent." Instead, they just call him names. But apparently that's all it takes to win a philosophical battle in today's world, since even the firm Perkins founded threw him under the bus.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2014

Guaranteed Basic Income 'Blows'

My flirtation with the idea of a "mincome" or "Uncle Sam's Allowance" is well chronicled here but, in that same post, fellow Objectivist Craig Biddle explains how, despite my unbeknownst Platonic impulse to smooth over social divisions, the path to respecting individual rights is not embarked upon merely by violating those rights with more efficiency, transparency and less waste.

JK pragmatically concluded, "If the mincome were popular, I'd enjoy its strengths and accept its weaknesses as the pragmatic price of reform." Unfortunately, in pursuing popularity of a mincome, Republicans and Democrats would most surely find a "balance" more in line with the conditions enumerated by one entitled little twerp called Jesse A. Myerson. I won't link to his Rolling Stone piece - Jonah Goldberg did it so that I wouldn't have to - but to Jonah's deconstruction of it, which commences thusly:

"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.

While I sought to establish a safe level of capitalist subsistence for every man such that he could pursue pleasurable and profitable pursuits, the young Myerson wants everyone to be paid for nothing because "jobs blow." Other things "blow" in Myerson's estimation, including "hoarding" or what my parents used to call "saving for a rainy day." Millenial Myerson's Rolling Stone Rant is essentially the Grasshopper's Manifesto Against the Ant. Tsk... winter is here, silly insect. To bad you failed to "hoard."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link to Jonah's column. My Twitter feed erupted on the Rolling Stone nonsense, the major thesis being that this says a whole lot more about Rolling Stone's faux hipster chic than anything else.

Fair to discard the mincome (which at least sounds smaller than BIG) on slippery slope grounds. Demands are pretty much insatiable as Yaron Brook said. Those demanding $15/hour for a kid filling burgers are probably not going to be happy with a five-figure mincome.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:09 PM
But dagny thinks:

In response to Mr. Myerson, Megan Kelly found this bright millennial advocating a moral defense of capitalism as antidote to today's problems.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/01/06/rolling-stone-article-tells-millennials-push-communism

He says, "This is how the Occupy Wall Street movement thinks. This is a group of people who graduated with degrees in lesbian dance theory and then were surprised when they didn’t get a six-figure paycheck out of college.”

and “You have to be productive in a capitalist society in order to earn anything.”

Guess he doesn't consider Lesbian Dance Theory productive. I recommend the whole interview.

Posted by: dagny at January 7, 2014 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Kelly reading from the RS Piece: "Imagine a world, where people could contribute the skills that inspire them, like painting murals, rather than whatever stupid tasks that bosses need done." (~2:05)

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:23 PM
But dagny thinks:

Not sure I have ever put 2 comments in a row before. So much for lunchtime. Also of interest (to local Objectivists at least) in Mr. Shapiro's comments are his use of the terms selfish and altruistic.

Posted by: dagny at January 7, 2014 4:27 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Rolling Stone basically advocated communism.

I don't know if that has enough support to say that it would be part of the 'balancing' equation.

The slippery slope point is well taken. I can understand it, though after thinking about it I think I still disagree. As long as we have democracy the slippery slope is there. The only difference is that by collapsing all of our federal programs into one payment movements along the slope are unmistakable, apparent and seen by all.

I think I would prefer that to the behind the scenes creep of our current government.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 9, 2014 3:33 AM
But jk thinks:

I think we all agree that it is an improvement in transparency and efficiency.

To enact it would be a huge hurdle and would engender the full panoply of "you hate the poor" and "throwing granny off the cliff" responses expected of any reform effort.

I won't presume to speak for brother jg (but yes, he will have another vanilla porter...) but who wants to start a difficult fight for something they really do not believe in? It is indeed better, but it is actually less worse.

The same effort toward privatizing social security or rescuing the bleeding nation from the ravages of the PPACAo2010 would be more fruitful.

Larry Kudlow points out that eliminating the Corporate Tax would do more for the poor than most social programs. That's a tougher sell. Yet I can make a principled case for it that is consistent with my beliefs and the general advancement of liberty.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2014 11:13 AM

December 11, 2013

"Rewards?"

A better word would be subsidy.

To summarize the CBS Denver 4 report:

Electric company establishes surcharge to customers to subsidize boutique power.
Initial kickback set at about 50 percent of installation cost.
Chinese "predatory pricing" and old fashioned competition drive costs down.
Electric company reduces surcharge.
Non-competitive boutique power installers whine that they "can't afford to pay employees."

Rilly? You were able to pay them when you paid half the cost to start with. What gives?

Oh, it's harder to sell your product to customers. I see.


Shadenfreude,
Shadenfreude,
Every morning you greet me.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2013

O-Care: What the people want, good and hard

The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" rations medical services more than the mere use of a panel of bureaucrats that decides who gets what treatments. It also rations in the way it was ostensibly created to eliminate - by price.

Ms. Cantwell of the Department of Health Care Services said federal and state rules assured "geographic and timely access" for Medicaid patients, and the state closely monitors managed-care plan networks to make sure they include enough doctors. In California, she said, some 600,000 of the people entering Medicaid in January have already been assigned primary care doctors through an interim health care program for low-income residents that will end next month.

She also said that since the expansion population will be older on average than current adult Medicaid beneficiaries - until now, most adults who qualified were pregnant women or parents of young children - the state had decided to pay doctors a rate "somewhere in between that for our regular adult population and our disabled adult population" for their care.

But when government mandates that doctors see more patients, and pays them less to do so, wait times become downright, well, NHS-like.

Oresta Johnson, 59, who sees Dr. Mazer through the state's interim health care program for low-income residents but will switch to Medicaid in January, said she had faced "excessively long" waits to see specialists who could treat her degenerative joint disease. Dr. Mazer is monitoring her thyroid gland, she said, and she is hoping she will not have a problem getting back in to see him next spring, when she may need a biopsy.

"I understand there's a lot of people who need help," she said. "But am I not going to be able to see who I need to see?"

So tell me again how single-payer helps low income people get the same level of medical attention as middle and high income folks? Oh, right, by taking away the private insurance that 200 million already have and replacing it with a government approved alternative that is no more attractive to doctors than Medicaid. Be patient Ms. Johnson, and soon everyone else will receive the same crappy care that you do. Because it's "not fair" that people with more money should be treated better.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:45 AM | Comments (1)
But Jk thinks:

Don't wait for Review Corner, get Avik Roy's "How Medicare fails the poor" ($5 on Kindle and a quick read). Stunning indictment and expansion of this.

Studies show that Medicaid patients do worse than those with no insurance at all.

Posted by: Jk at November 29, 2013 3:01 PM

November 20, 2013

"I will happily pay you today, for a free lunch I don't eat before tomorrow"

In an apparent attempt to deflect attention away from the federal exchange portion of O-care, just as we are learning that the entire functionality of the system is not even built, much less tested, numerous democrats have cheered that the state-run exchanges are working well.

More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October - most in Medicaid - and around 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange’s success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent.

Colorado enrolled just more than 37,500 in the period. New York state - with a population nearly three times the size of Washington's - had enrolled just over 48,000 in health plans as of Tuesday, state officials announced. Kentucky enrolled more than 32,000 in its first month.

All are among the states that embraced Obamacare and crafted their own insurance exchanges rather than rely on the federal site, which has been riddled with breakdowns.

Wawazat? "most in medicaid?" Yup.

Mansfield and Rodriguez huddled together over a shiny new laptop in the busy trailer, setting up the older woman’s account. Rodriguez led Mansfield through a series of questions, typing in the necessary information about citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup.

Mansfield pulled out a letter from the Social Security Administration to prove how much money she makes each month. Rodriguez tapped a few more keys, then looked up, smiling.

"You qualify for Washington Apple Health," she told the uninsured woman, referring to the state’s expanded Medicaid program. And then she shared the best part: "At no cost."

"That’s it?" Mansfield asked, relieved and incredulous that the process was so fast and easy, and the result so comforting. "Wonderful."

And Colorado's metrics are very similar, with most enrollees being in Medicaid - 47,306 versus 6,001 in "private health insurance" through the first six weeks.

I don't know about you but I sure am relieved that, under O-care, no insurance company can interrogate me about my medical history. Now I only have to answer questions about "citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup" and "prove how much money [I make] each month."

But the LA Times story says nothing about website security on the state exchanges, which is what I was researching when I found that Connect for Health Colorado was so forward thinking on the issue that they sought a third party security review for the 2011 startup's flagship, nay, only ship, website way way back in ... June. The proposals were due in less than 3 weeks after the date of RFP and would be reviewed for a full week before awarding a contract, possibly not to the lowest bidder, or at all, before work could begin on July 22, leaving ten weeks and a day for the third party to "Provide additional inputs to the C4HCO team for risk management activities as the system Go Live date of 1 October 2013 approaches."

What could go wrong? No matter, since the result is so comforting. Wonderful! At least, until you try to see your, or any, doctor.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2013

Obnoxious Red Sox Fan: "You Didn't Earn That!"

My first thought when I saw the video of this classless Boston Red Sox fan manhandle a home run baseball away from the woman next to him so that he could throw it back onto the field in an infantile display of tribal disapproval was, "that's a direct consequence of teaching people that any act can be tolerated if it is committed in the name of "the public good." I could almost hear the cretin shout, "You didn't earn that" as he forcibly took property from a weaker person of the fairer sex who had the audacity to also yell, "That's my baseball!"

But the real story here, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, is that the guy is a racist who allegedly called another fan wearing a Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers jersey "Prince Fielder's crackhead brother" and "yelled at another African-American Tigers fan walking through the section, saying: "Go back to the ghetto." Of course the worst offense came as Mister Red Sox fan was being escorted from the area by stadium security and answered a "bye-bye" salutation from the Fielder jersey wearer with "Bye, Travon."

The closest Passan came to criticizing Mr. Red Sox fan was this paragraph about the act that got him ejected.

Video of the man taking the ball from a woman sitting next to him and chucking it onto the field quickly went viral as Boston faced a five-run deficit. The Red Sox came back for a dramatic 6-5 victory to even the ALCS at one game apiece.

Perhaps he would have cared more about the woman with the ball if she had been African-American.

I'll close with the cautionary advice of a commenter to the original linked story:

don't lump the entire Boston crowd in with this idiot... only about 90% of them behave like him.

Stay classy, Boston.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:21 PM | Comments (0)

Tales of the 47%

Just. Wow.

I am uncomfortable discussing "makers vs. takers" and Governor Romney's famous 47%. Rather than call out individual persons, broad categories and policies do not have a sad story or sympathetic visage or even -- egads! -- a discernible ethnic classification.

It's a losers game, but this is ThreeSources and we can be ourselves unless Mom comes in the room unexpectedly...

When a breakdown in EBT cards processing prevented a Walmart* in Mansfield, Louisiana from checking the limit, management advised cashiers to continue accepting the cards as payment.

The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, "It was worse than any black Friday" that he's ever seen.

Lynd explained the cards weren't showing limits and they called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn't press charges if she left the food.


Time to get the government out of the charity business forever. Deserving poor accepting charity from private donations would not likely grow to this level of "entitlement." This cannot stand.

Hat-tip: Insty

UPDATE: Ari Armstrong weighs in. Pretty hard to look at this story and not say that our Randian friends are right.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

It is with only a modicum of satire that I place the blame for this modern (postmodern?) phenomenon squarely on the shoulders of ... you - or at least, people like you.

Could something like this have happened in our grandparents' day? A sense of pride and self-esteem existed then that made "being on the dole" shameful. But Saturday night in Mansfield, Louisiana, the only thing shameful was if you failed to cash in on your chance to "get yours."

The active role in this societal transformation was played by the socialist philosphers and their minions in government, but an enabling role was also filled by every able-bodied man and woman who was "uncomfortable discussing makers vs. takers."

How uncomfortable is it to say, "Demanding something you have not earned is immoral - accepting something you have not earned is not much better?" Leviathan, HALT!

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2013 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop, guv. (Though I thought we had enforced some anti-bullying guidelines...)

This libertarian would be quite comfortable with private charity. But to argue and to stay somewhat in the realm of possible: was there not a sweet spot in granny's day where some benefits were available in a disastrous personal crisis without the entitlement and demand?

I don't know how you put that toothpaste back in the tube. But President Reagan talked about the "truly needy" and even this crusty old guy would accede to a safety net.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2013 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I accede to a safety net for the truly needy, as you and the Gipper call them, but I'm not for taking the cap off of the government toothpaste tube. Private safety net only.

But again, in granny's day, even in a "disastrous personal crisis" there was shame in receiving aid. Doubling back on this aspect, conversion from food stamps or "coupons" to the EBT card was billed as an efficiency improvement but it was widely known at the time that it also aimed to circumvent personal shame. But our elected representatives went along anyway. Damn the moral hazard, full speed ahead!

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2013 4:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Still dazzled at Yaron Brook's talk at LOTR-F. Dr. Brook made a convincing case that as need is boundless, the accession to even the deserving is a moral failing.

Back to coupons, or a big scarlet E-B-T on the recipient, might be a start, but the shame is more than discomfort. Mansfield is not about courtesy, it is theft plain and simple. Just because someone has turned off the burglar alarms does not mean the merchandise is free.

Curious, though: the users did provide their cards, correct? We really do not require M. Clousseau to fly in to find the miscreants. And yet, over and under on number of prosecution? I'll take under one.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2013 5:58 PM

October 11, 2013

JIHADIST


Posted by JohnGalt at 6:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 2, 2013

Keep it Shut

A talk radio caller made a prescient comment this morning. We're not in the midst of a "government shutdown" or even a "partial government shutdown." Instead we're witnessing a "non-essential government shutdown." What a perfect opportunity for Americans to experience life without non-essential government! The longer it goes on, the less it will be missed as individuals take the initiative - much like several Republican congressmen who moved arbitrary barricades closing the WWII Memorial in D.C. yesterday - to solve problems and make things work. You know, that "land of the free" business.

Investors runs an editorial this morning that says not just that the "shutdown" was a good idea, but that Republicans should "own it" and keep it going as long as possible. Read the whole thing, but here is the lede, to whet your appetite:

The Republican Party didn't blink, and as a result non-essential aspects of the federal government are shutting down. Republican politicians and members should cheer, as the "Stupid Party" actually revealed a political and economic savvy that will serve it well in 2014 and beyond.

The Republican Party now has a brand that says it's willing to stand athwart the obnoxious growth of Leviathan. Its decision to allow a shutdown of the federal government, and ideally let it remain shut through the 2014 elections absent substantial concessions from the Democrats, is both good politics and economics.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | Comments (4)
But dagny thinks:

I was listening to the radio this morning and Congressman Perlmutter was on. He stated that the reason that the government shut down was a bad idea was because he had a single mother government employee in his office crying because she had been furloughed and didn't know how she was going to make ends meet. So my question is this: Why is her situation any worse than millions of others who have been laid off or furloughed as non-essential in private industry during the recession?

Posted by: dagny at October 2, 2013 1:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop it, dagny! I'm cryin' my eyes out...

Larry Kudlow asked the same thing last night. Cisco just laid off 1300. The fed workers will likely be back to work and will probably get back pay for stuff they did not do. Laid-off Cisco workers? A free pocket-protector with John Chambers's picture on it.

I should not have been flippant. A friend at work just had a baby and her husband is furloughed -- I am wrong to make light of it. But while individual worker's plights are tragic, fed workers qua fed workers have a lot of stability compared to the private sector (or as some call it real life). As a collective, they are pretty incapable of engendering sympathy.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 6:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A "recession" is when your neighbor loses his job.

A "depression" is when you lose your job.

The "apocalypse" is when government workers have to be fired. (Or when the Air Force-Navy game is canceled.)

There have been several depressions and many recessions in the history of the American economy, but I'm not aware of even a single apocalypse.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 6:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A caller this AM (same day as other post - lots of driving) when from KHOW to KNUS nearly as fast as I could change the channel encouraging Mandy and then Peter Boyles to start cheering the:


...wait for it.....


2nd day of ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT !!

Obam-uh's worst nightmare. Someone please start tweeting the heck of out this: I love it!!!!!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:40 PM

October 1, 2013

If a government shut down in Washington D.C., would it even make a noise?

It's Shutdown Eve and there's a fun meme trending on Twitter: #ObamaShutdownHitSongs



Posted by JohnGalt at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

These are pretty awesome. I retain my sense of humor.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2013 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I, like, big, cuts and I cannot lie." LOL

Did you see my original one, Monty Python inspired? I was actually humming it on my way home, before I ever discovered #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

"I'm a Democrat and I'm Okay, I Sleep All Night and I Fib All Day."

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 6:39 PM

September 29, 2013

I will stop the motor of the redistributionist state

Three Sources favorite Yaron Brook tweeted a reason Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz that was missing from the list compiled by John Dickerson of CBS. Dickerson's reasons include things like "he's fooled the grassroots" and created "false distrust" between members and their constituents. They're also jealous, says Dickerson, that "in a matter of months, Cruz has built a base of support that allowed him to act as the de facto Republican leader of the Senate."

But Brook nailed it, in less than 140 characters:

Why Senate Republicans hate Ted Cruz? Because they are unprincipled power-lusters.

Precisely. While Senate Republicans as a rule are more interested in going along and getting along, Senator Cruz is more interested in doing what he believes is right - acting consistently with his principles. Whatever a senator's principles, Cruz explained during the filibuster, he should be loyal to them and not to the dictates of party leaders. Cruz seeks to dismantle the power structure in the US Senate, where a cabal of senators from both parties effectively decides how every vote will transpire. That's not the way representative government works, it's the way a dictatorship tries to make itself look like representative government.

America's "dictators" employ wealth redistribution through government to maintain political power for themselves and, so far, Ted Cruz has shown he's not going to play that game.

I replied to Yaron Brook's tweet with an observation of my own: "In a very real sense, Ted Cruz has acted as a political John Galt - stopping the motor of redistributionism."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

The blog pragmatist is displeased. There is a fine and infinitely arguable line between purity and "People's Front of Judea."

My particular problems with this latest go 'round are:

-- It is tactics. To make a bold stand on principle is fine. I offer the example of Sen. Rand Paul's (HOSS - KY) filibuster against NSA snooping. Many in the muscular-defense wing of the party held that the intrusions were necessary; Rand stood boldly on principle. Sen. Cruz, conversely, splits the party into good guys and bad guys over tactics. This is not worth it.

-- The bad guys, the mean ol' establishment republicans (eeeew!) include Tom Colburn? Jim Geraghty:

Senator Tom Coburn (Alleged RINO, Oklahoma) said, "You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot. And we will not for sure shoot this hostage." But as I read the conservative blogosphere, I increasingly suspect that there are quite a few folks on the right who are perfectly willing to shoot the hostage.

This is not about weeding out the Lincoln Chaffees and Susan Collinses who are principle-deficient. This is more about rending the party in twain.

Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner are Satan and Beelzebub on my Twitter feed. Fair enough that leadership attracts controversy, but because they will not go full-Quixote, they are "unprincipled power lusters?"

They may be, but it helps not the Judean Peoples' Front to call them on it.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2013 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Chaffee and Collins are not the only principle-deficient senators. That list numbers closer to 90.

How many times have the tactics favored by Coburn et al been tried? How many times have they worked?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think Senator Colburn's tactics have ever been tried. The last GOP majority was the Bush-DeLay-Hastert axis. I'll give each a kind word for their service, but not a one of them had a desire for small government or liberty qua liberty.

You're going to stop the world with

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2013 4:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

... with a House majority that no longer signs the checks that pay the bills.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2013 5:20 PM

August 20, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

Aside from these personal fixes, there is a solution to put the country (including any wayward stragglers or stunted post-adolescents) back on the path of prosperity. Americans could stop supporting anti-growth politicians pushing agendas that strangle the economy, weaken the dollar, and surreptitiously erode civil liberties, but let’s be serious. 60% of those ages 18-29 reelected President Obama. So, what’s left? Keep checking feeds, going on pointless dates, and buying more gadgets? Frankl would tell the lost ones to find a will to meaning in this world, but finding purpose can be put off, even if the abyss persists and they pester the rest of the world as impotently self-involved non-starters, for lack of ever finding a self or a start.

From an excellent awesome Forbes article Millions Of Millenials Live At Home And Support The Policies That Keep Them There by millenial Maura Pennington (BA Russian, Dartmouth, 2009.)

HT: Rush Limbaugh

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:02 PM | Comments (4)
But Terri thinks:

Oh brother.
They are certainly lost, those who have no will to be on their own.
Were they coddled too much? Are there so many rules that the paradigm becomes, "I can't"? I wanted to live on own so badly as an 18 year old I shared a studio with 4 other people in order to do so. It was well worth it, and I had a great child hood home.

Posted by: Terri at August 20, 2013 6:21 PM
But Terri thinks:

Of course I also walked 5 miles up hill both ways to get to school in the mornings. :-)

Posted by: Terri at August 20, 2013 6:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Limbaugh riffed on this some more yesterday. He said millenials are taught they're "special" even without accomplishing anything, and that the pathway to happiness (or to be "free from want?") is to, simply, want less. Forget a car, use a bike and the bus. Forget an apartment, just hang in the 'rents basement. Wardrobe? How much do blue jeans and Che T-shirts cost, anyway?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2013 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Does that include Kim Kardashian in an Obama Shirt?

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2013 3:43 PM

August 5, 2013

Human Ichneumonidae

I'm quite sure blog brother jk linked the George Will piece on Detroit already, but I just got around to reading it today via a still prominent position on the IBD Ed page. It contains an analogy just as apt as Starnesville.

The ichneumon insect inserts an egg in a caterpillar, and the larva hatched from the egg, he said, "gnaws the inside of the caterpillar, and though at last it has devoured almost every part of it except the skin and intestines, carefully all this time avoids injuring the vital organs, as if aware that its own existence depends on that of the insect on which it preys!"

Detroit's union bosses and "auto industry executives, who often were invertebrate mediocrities" were not, however, quite as intelligent as the lowly ichneumonidae. They knawed right through the alimentary canal. Why did the executives go along? Did they not know the lavish compensations were unsustainable? This matters little, for government followed the private-sector lead:

Then city officials gave their employees - who have 47 unions, including one for crossing guards - pay scales comparable to those of autoworkers.

Thus did private-sector decadence drive public-sector dysfunction - government negotiating with government-employees' unions that are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it wants to do: Grow.

And grow it did, in Detroit and in cities and states as far and wide as union influence stretched.

Detroit, which boomed during World War II when industrial America was "the arsenal of democracy," died of democracy.

Yet democracy lives on, an unnoticed and unindicted threat to the life of all American cities, states, and nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The Ichneumonidae Appreciation Society is suing Will for this scurrilous comparison...

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2013 5:06 PM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

April 17, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

First Colorado's first truly Progressive governor, now this:

"I am therefore calling for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act to protect our employers, our industry, and our most important asset: our members and their families."

- United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers International President Kinsey M. Robinson

It's almost as if things that can't go on forever, won't.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2013

CO Governor Lamm's Mea Culpa

Two weeks ago a former establishment Republican said:

When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse.

The reward for his candor was a furious effort to discredit him.

This week a former establishment Democrat - a self-described "former Keynesian" said:

My generation of politicians has relentlessly and quietly encumbered the nation's future and pre-spent our children's earnings. We have also, tragically, locked in an economic crisis in our future.

Boy is he gonna get pounded.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 6, 2013

Obama Administration: 15 years of life after retirement "reasonable"

From Bernie Becker in "On the Money" THE HILL'S Finance and Economy Blog:

President Obama's budget, to be released next week, will limit how much wealthy individuals - like Mitt Romney - can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts.

[For those of us who don't know what a "wealthy individual" is, Becker gives us a helpful example.]

The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.

["Fairness" is the most offensive F-word I've ever heard.]

The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently "accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving."

Under the plan, a taxpayer's tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement - or right around $3 million this year.

There's the American dream, boys and girls: Work hard (or get a plum "Obamacare Navigator" position) and invest wisely (or get a public defined-benefit pension) so that you can have a "reasonable" retirement of NO MORE than $205,000 per year for "right around" 14.63 years. THIS year.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (5)
But Terri thinks:

And don't forget boys and girls that should you want better care than you might buy with your medicare checks, you will nicely be SOL after that 3 mil is spent.

Posted by: Terri at April 6, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

People are going to think I take contrary positions just because I love to argue (NO I DON'T!) but...

I think this is a good "loophole" to give away as part of a move to a fairer, flatter, more transparent tax system.

If I may correct the record, you can save as much as you want. You can plan a lengthy and extravagant retirement full of caviar, expensive wines and fast women. What you cannot do is use your 401K to defer income in amounts outside the range of a typical taxpayer.

Friends still?

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2013 10:02 AM
But Terri thinks:

Ok, by me. But I disagree with you on other things too. :-)

Posted by: Terri at April 7, 2013 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't object to the change in policy as much as the rhetoric that justifies it. A "reasonable" retirement is $200k per year, for 15 years. The unvarnished way to say it would be "the government will forego taxation on a modest retirement." Instead, they used "reasonable" to give the impression that anyone who keeps more of his earnings than this is UN-reasonable.

And before you accuse me of being pedantic, do you for one second believe that this administration has any intention of agreeing to a "fairer, flatter more transparent tax system?" Or even any ONE of those three? No, this is one more layer of unfair tax treatment of "Mitt Romney and his pals." You know, those bastards who Dr. Carson reminded us "don't need to be punished?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2013 11:28 AM
But jk thinks:

It happens I know the exact odds for a "fairer, flatter more transparent tax system" from this administration: six per cent.

That number is in my head because it is also the odds of surviving small cell lung cancer or getting a good job with a literature PhD. This is in that realm.

No, Pedant-O-man, I don't object to your objection of their rhetoric. You are dead-on. I am exploring relaxing the reflexive impulse you and I share to protect tax breaks. Yes, it lowers the net amount applied to Fed largesse -- and, no, it should not be discarded merely to grab revenue from those who produce.

But those intransigent 'baggers' needs would be well served to always offer loophole closure for reduced rates -- that is always a pro-liberty move. Retirement and home ownership may be "good" loopholes, but they are loopholes and should be on the table.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2013 12:52 PM

April 3, 2013

That's not a bubble... THIS is a bubble!

Aw hell, I'm gonna blockquote it anyway, because the widely quoted passages are the wrong ones. The right ones are here:

These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.

And here:

It would require, finally, benching the Fed’s central planners, and restoring the central bank’s original mission: to provide liquidity in times of crisis but never to buy government debt or try to micromanage the economy. Getting the Fed out of the financial markets is the only way to put free markets and genuine wealth creation back into capitalism.

That, of course, will never happen because there are trillions of dollars of assets, from Shanghai skyscrapers to Fortune 1000 stocks to the latest housing market “recovery,” artificially propped up by the Fed’s interest-rate repression. The United States is broke - fiscally, morally, intellectually - and the Fed has incited a global currency war (Japan just signed up, the Brazilians and Chinese are angry, and the German-dominated euro zone is crumbling) that will soon overwhelm it. When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse. If this sounds like advice to get out of the markets and hide out in cash, it is.

From David Stockman's Sundown in America. New York Times Sunday Review, March 30, 2013.

And I didn't even quote the part about feckless calculations of inflation! That's gotta be worth something.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 7, 2013

When it all went to hell.

I enjoy speculation on exactly why, when, and where humans stepped out of the primordial economic soup to increase consumption from $1 per day toward $130. Countless review corners have considered this.

Just as interesting, though, is when we abandoned enlightenment values. When did we chuck wealth creation in the gutter? When did I begin to use such overwrought metaphors? And does anybody miss the two-line (offsides) pass in modern pro hockey?

If I may answer those questions back-to-front: No, I objected to the rule change but admit I was wrong. Always. And -- in America -- the Progressive-era. If I may borrow a riff from my blog brother, that is when her citizens began to "demand the unearned."

I've long been troubled by the phrase "Robber Barons." Those who ennobled and enriched us with heat, light, steel, transportation, capital accumulation, and risk-management are confined to history's villain section. I understand the incentives for a President Roosevelt or Wilson, and I understand the Cardinal sin of envy. But David Henderson adds a piece to the puzzle in a brilliant essay: Neither Robbers nor Barons.

Why do we get such a distorted view of the era of the so-called robber barons? One reason is that the popular press at the time trumpeted that view. Interestingly, Ida Tarbell, the famous "muckraker" who gave Rockefeller his bad press,6 was not a disinterested observer. Early in her life, she had seen her father, an oil producer and refiner, lose out in competition with Rockefeller. Her father had been prospering, and her family, as a result, was enjoying "luxuries we had never heard of." All that came to an end and Tarbell never forgave Rockefeller.

Indeed, virtually none of the impetus for antitrust laws came from consumers. Much of it came from small producers who had been competed out of business. They didn't want more competition; they wanted less. DiLorenzo quotes one of the "trust busters," Congressman William Mason, who admitted that the trusts were good for consumers. What he didn't like was that when large trusts cut prices, small firms were put out of business.


A perfect storm of spreading Hegelian statism, patronage politics, and disproportionate "pull" of smaller producers through government set up a Progressive movement that lasts to this day.

Sunday will see a Review Corner of Amity Schlaes's "Coolidge" (spoiler alert -- five stars!) Harding and Coolidge have to devote every minute to reclaiming the GOP from the TR Progressive wing. Coolidge is more successful than Harding, and of course has to turn the keys over to Hoover at the end.

Yes, the two-line is okay, but we went off the rails when we allowed our real-life Randian heroes to be defamed as Robber Barons.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Great article. Thanks for posting. It even includes a good application of the Constitution's commerce clause, in Gibbons v. Ogden, which struck down a state (NY) sanctioned monopoly. Unfortunately, this decision was interpreted by New Dealers to justify unlimited application of the power, essentially rendering it unlimited, in Wickard v. Filburn.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2013 3:04 PM

February 20, 2013

Don't Demand the Unearned -- UK Edition

Heather Frost, whom the Daily Mail suggests "treats her womb like a clown car," doesn't like the two homes she has been given for her 11 children -- and the jury is still out whether she'll like the 400,000 quid custom job they're building her.

Far from simply being grateful for her good fortune, the jobless mother of 11 says that if she doesn't like the house she'll just tell the council to build her another one.

She is due to move into the property -- valued at £400,000 -- in July after 'struggling' to survive in two adjacent houses in Churchdown, Gloucestershire, which have been joined together by the council.

Her new home will slash water and energy bills with its modern design using natural, locally-sourced materials. Extra large windows will fill it with natural light.

But Miss Frost, 37, who is also a grandmother, said the move is still subject to her approving the two-storey accommodation with its 355sq ft kitchen and dining area.

Neighbours say Frost currently lives with 14 people: all her eleven children, two grandchildren and her partner Jake, who they claim is also unemployed.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 9:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.'" -- PM Margaret Thatcher
Hat-tip: Blog friend Perry, via email.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

The Executive Branch has been a disappointment. We are getting a few good voices in the US Senate, and the Tea Party movement showed that the sentiment is not dead. Pining for the fjords, perhaps, but not dead.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2012 4:57 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It is true there are some few good voices, brother. I ought to have been clearer; if Rand Paul is ever Majority Leader that would void my comment...but note Jim DeMint just quit. Up in Alaska, when a "Tea Partier" won the Republican nomination in '10 Senator Murkowski won the general as a write-in based on one big scare tactic: "Alaska will lose federal subsidies if that awful man replaces me!"

Even Alaska....

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 13, 2012 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

And I am rarely charged with being over-Pollyannaish after '12.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2012 5:59 PM
But dagny thinks:

I noted something else regarding this comment: Some bright boy below here wrote that, "English is a tricky language." I pay attention to M. Thatcher's mastery of the language. I love her phrase, "too many people have been GIVEN to understand..."

I think the solutions to the problem revolve around the questions, WHO gave them to understand and why. Their parents? Their neighbors? The government itself?

Posted by: dagny at December 13, 2012 6:36 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It's merely a style of speech, and not strictly peculiar to the English. It doesn't mean "given" as in received something from someone, but that the people believe a certain things.

"Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." - Ephesians 4:19, KJV

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 19, 2012 7:27 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It's merely a style of speech, and not strictly peculiar to the English. It doesn't mean "given" as in received something from someone, but that the people believe a certain thing.

"Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." - Ephesians 4:19, KJV

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 19, 2012 7:27 PM

November 26, 2012

Democracy Perfected

When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental -- men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre -- the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, 26 July 1920

Investor's Editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez puts this in historical perspective, thusly.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Good and hard.

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2012 3:39 PM

November 16, 2012

"Nut up or shut up"

"Someday very soon, life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go ... empty."

Prophetic.

Is it too late to get Twinkies added to the endangered species list? Where's the EPA when we really NEED it!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:29 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Mondo heh!

However, this being ThreeSources, I am going to warn good people not to allow non-union animus to cloud their economic thinking.

Greedy Bakers (Lochner v New York anybody?) may have hastened the demise of the yellow alleged food. But -- as Governor Romney tried to explain -- plants and brands of value will survive bankruptcy. If somebody wants to invest in Chrysler or Hostess, they can; else the assets will be put to greater use.

And if they are not wanted, it is the loud voice of the free market saying "we are wealthier now and have access to better tasting snacks."

Posted by: jk at November 16, 2012 12:23 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

New hashtag trending on Twitter, to the certain delight of readers and authors here:

#HostessShrugged

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 16, 2012 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Cloud? The movie clip tie-in is two-fold: First as evidence that the Zombie Apocalypse is surely nigh. Second, not to lament the demise of the Twinkie, but to celebrate the fungibility of capital, recipes and trademark rights. I fully expect, in due time, the Twinkie to be reborn. Perhaps even with the original brand name but under new ownership and not a whiff of union labor.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2012 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Apologies if I misconstrued. We're into that C-word "Conservatism" again. I see some, if not y'all, waxing poetic about a snack of their youth at the expense of realizing that demand might be a bigger issue than bakers' benefits.


Posted by: jk at November 17, 2012 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Waning demand may have soon sent Twinkies the way of buggy whips but free men willingly risked their capital on the bet that it would not. By refusing to make bakers' pension payments no longer the most expensive ingredient, the labor union's "consistently poor management" has decided the bet before it was placed.

And why does the union refuse to accomodate? Because doing so is an admission that everything free-market advocates have been saying is sustainably true - and everything the redistributionists say only works for as long as the faith holds out. In the case of Hostess the music has stopped and it's time to scramble for a seat. I look forward to seeing how the public reacts when the workers are left standing, despite the "protection" offered by their unionization.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2012 2:44 PM

They did un-build that

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused to end its strike yesterday.

"Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders." Hostess Brands Inc. had earlier warned employees that it would file to unwind its business and sell off assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by 5 p.m. Thursday. In announcing its decision, Hostess said its wind down would mean the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores in the United States.

But fear not labor leaders...

"Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits," Hostess said.
Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

It's a shame that marijuana legalization in Washington state could not save them.

Time to get bullish on Doritos?

Posted by: AlexC at November 16, 2012 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Pot's legal in Colorado too. Didn't help Colorado's Twinkie bakery.

Posted by: johngalt at November 16, 2012 11:42 AM

November 10, 2012

Make the nation's top earners "pay their fair share."

In light of last week's election, and the President's promise to do the above, I'm compelled to reprint the October 19, 2010 ASQOTD.

And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached the slogan: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'

"This was the whole secret of it. At first, I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this size and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination - when five minutes of that should have told them what would happen if somebody tried to practice what they preached. Now I know that they didn't do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently. If men fall for some vicious piece of insanity, when they have no way to make it work and no possible reason to explain their choice - it's because they have a reason that they do not wish to tell. And we weren't so innocent either, when we voted for the plan at the first meeting. We didn't do it just because we believed that the drippy old guff they spewed was good. We had another reason, but the guff helped us to hide it from our neighbors and from ourselves. The guff gave us a chance to pass off as virtue something that we'd be ashamed to admit otherwise. There wasn't a man voting for it who didn't think that under a setup of this kind he'd muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn't a man rich and smart enough but that he didn't think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better's wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he'd get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who'd get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who'd rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss's, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted - that was the truth of it - but we didn't like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:25 PM | Comments (0)

Well Across the Rubicon

Yesterday I promised evidence that America has crossed "a rubicon of takers versus makers." Prior analysis I'd seen placed that number at 48 percent but yesterday, on the excellent website of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C since 1937, I discovered an article summarizing the findings of their Fiscal Incidence analysis of U.S. Federal taxes and spending. It was published September 21, 2009.

New analysis from the Tax Foundation's Fiscal Incidence project fills this void and puts hard numbers on the current amount of redistribution and how much the Obama administration's policies will affect that. Currently, the majority of American families receive more in government spending than they pay in taxes, with roughly $826 billion being redistributed from the top 40 percent of families to the bottom 60 percent.

Sixty percent takers (net) - forty percent makers (net)

That was before Obama's policies took effect. The effect of those policies, two years later, is higher tax collections from the top 5 percent only. The other 95 get, at least in the aggregate, more transfer payment than tax increase.

In 2012, after all of Obama's policies are in place, the amount redistributed from the top 5 percent of families will grow in real terms to $770 billion, a 34 percent increase over current levels. Every other income group will benefit from the increased amount taken from the top 5 percent of families and the group of families who, on average, get more back in spending than they pay in taxes will jump to 70 percent of all families.

Seventy percent takers (net) - thirty percent makers (net)

Redistribution is ultimately at the heart of all tax and spending debates in Washington. But lawmakers are doing the public a great disservice if they fail to talk in honest terms about who currently pays for government programs and services, who benefits, and how new policies will change that balance.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:42 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hence a discouragement that exceeds the sadness of an election lost. By the next presidential election, 50 - 100 million Americans will be dependent on the government for health care and susceptible to demagoguery and scare tactics.

I will provide some anecdotal sunshine. At a departmental dinner last evening, I was seated next to a co-worker I assumed to be an Obamabot. She let slip that she voted for Gary Johnson and was thinking about joining the big Ls.

I gave her the "Libertario Delenda Est" speech -- I'm nothing if not fair. But I was heartened that this "lifelong Democrat" sees the injury of redistribution (husband owns a small business and voted Romney).

Hope.

Posted by: jk at November 10, 2012 11:06 AM

November 7, 2012

RAHQOTD - Statist President Re-Election Edition

Help us Robert! Give us something to cheer us up!

[Originally posted on July 5, with a link to a nice culture war post.]

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there, now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck."

-- RAH "Time Enough for Love" (1973)


Posted by JohnGalt at 5:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2012

Obama's Solar Panel Cronyism: Move On, Nothing to See Here

"You better let him know that the WH wants to move Abound forward."
- Executive Director DOE Loan Programs, June 25, 2010

Composite video below from RevealingPolitics. Story based on DOE emails obtained by CompleteColorado.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nice -- and further supported:

The new emails contradict claims by Obama and others in his administration that all decisions on the $20 billion DOE clean energy loans were made by career executives in the department.

Most recently, Obama told a Denver television news interviewer on Oct. 26, 2012, that the loan decisions are "decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2012 5:35 PM

September 27, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

The decision that faces us now is a simple one: Either we are going to return to being a society and an economy where you have the right to pursue happiness, which allows for people to fail and has a safety net for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick to keep them falling too far or starving in the street ... or we will have a society built on a system of spoils and sloth, where redistribution and bailouts are a constant and ever-present aspect of life, and government seeks to guarantee happiness for all -- and fails.
Read More At IBD
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2012

All Hail Harsanyi!

Qui Est John Galt?

In completely unexpected news, the fourth richest man in the world, the richest man in France, Bernard Arnault, is reportedly applying for a Belgian passport. Arnault emigrated to the United States during the last Socialist presidency in 1981. For some unexplained reason, the business magnate hasn't picked our country this time around.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2012

Jon Voight: "Obama Turns JFK Mantra Upside Down"

Washington Examiner - Jon Voight: Obama turns JFK 'ask not' theme 'upside down'

Worse, he suggested that JFK wouldn't recognize his party. Voight said that the Democrats have turned upside down Kennedy's famous line, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Obama, he charged, "is saying, 'Ask what your country can do for you. Your government will give you everything. We'll take care of you."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2012

"Global Fairness"

Happy sounding words that mean, "If you have something we're going to make you share it." I was enlightened just how powerful the world socialism movement has become when researching examples of "global fairness" advocacy in defense of Dinesh D'Souza's latest works. Two examples from Progressive Australia:

Mature debate on our future needed, not Tea Party-style militancy

Australia stands at an intersection. Can Australians be convinced to forgo short-term benefits to secure greater prosperity in the future?

California’s referendum last November over Proposition 23 shows voters can still reject short-term populism. Polluting industries poured millions into a proposal to delay cuts in greenhouse gas emissions until the economy was back to full employment. But Californians said no – 62 to 38 per cent – because the debate was framed in terms of embracing the clean energy jobs and industries of the future.

Meanwhile, under the influence of the Tea Party, Kansas voted last November to make gun ownership a constitutional right. It’s not the kind of issue that will build a better future – but it was clever politics. Kansas embraced it lock, stock and barrel, 88 to 12 per cent. The Tea Party militancy of states such as Kansas is now infecting Australia’s Coalition parties and many opinion makers – parochial, inward-looking and uninterested in the economics of the future.

Will Australia follow the road to California or to Kansas?

The False Trade-Off of Prosperity and Fairness

Individuals have also become less willing to sacrifice short-term prosperity in the pursuit of long-term outcomes which combine fairness and prosperity. Responses to Per Capita’s annual tax survey show that Australians want higher spending on public services and infrastructure, but believe their taxes are too high. They believe higher income earners are taxed too little, even when they are themselves high income earners who describe themselves as overtaxed.

This community sentiment has got politicians scared. The Rudd Government retreated from the CPRS in the face of focus group pressure, and Labor has been surprisingly reluctant to trumpet the success of its Keynesian response to the global financial crisis, presumably for fear of being painted as antiquated Lefties addicted to debt.

(...)

The list of policy ideas that builds on these insights is long. We can capture the dividends of the mining boom by channeling super-profits tax into a sovereign wealth fund. We can increase housing supply by restricting negative gearing to new-build dwellings only. We can finance infrastructure by tapping the nation’s superannuation pool. We can stimulate R&D, not only through extra public spending, but also by promoting competition so that our large oligopolists are forced to compete on innovation as well as price.

Each of these initiatives will attract resistance from privileged incumbents threatened by change. Yet each advances fairness as well as long-term prosperity. As we’ve seen in the carbon tax debate, the battle will be fierce. Progressive leaders face no more important fight.

There is absolutely, without any doubt, a global movement toward an "egalitarian" world order. This means that the peoples of prosperous nations - America, Australia, Germany, Great Britain - must be made to "sacrifice short-term prosperity" in the dubious cause of a combined "fairness and prosperity" which these extreme ideologues promise as some indefinite "long-term" outcome. The foregoing is proof positive of such an ideology. Conspiracy theories not required. Does President "Spread the Wealth Around" and his "Forward" campaign for re-election and "Progress" adhere to that ideology? You be the judge.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2012

IOC BS Flag

I took to the comments of a recent post to defend the Olympic movement on the basis of individual competition and excellence, and the opportunity for athletes to measure themselves against each other to find the best in the world. I also said, "If the Olympics were a competition to see who could be the most "average" I would ridicule and despise them." I meant this as comparative example rather than the prescience it has now become.

United States artistic gymnast Jordyn Wieber is the reigning world champion in her sport. In qualifying events for the final field of twenty-four gymnasts from which medals in the Individual All Around competition will be awarded based on score, Wieber's score was the fourth highest. Despite this, Wieber will not be allowed to compete for a medal versus the three who scored higher than her and the twenty who scored lower. Jordan Wieber was disqualified, not by some infraction she committed, but because two of her American teammates also made the All Around final and did so with scores higher than hers. For reasons that can only be interpreted as egalitarian, IOC rules prohibit more than two individual athletes from the same nation advancing to the finals.

Boo! Ridiculous. Two other athletes, one from Great Britain and another from China, suffered the same injustice although their scores ranked them 21 and 22 respectively and neither of them is the REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION IN HER SPORT.

Weiber is not the only loser in this sad saga. Whomever ultimately wins the gold medal will not be able to say she is the best artistic woman gymnast in the world. One who may have kicked her ass all over the spring floor was told "get lost - thanks for playing."

I plan to write my congressman. On this count, the Olympics suck.

UPDATE: David Wallechinsky, author of 'The Complete Book of the Olympics' said the Olympic philosophy is "we want to spread the wealth, we want to spread sport to other parts of the world."

But Wieber's failure to make a final that her scores suggest she clearly deserved points to a philosophy run amok, says Mr. Wallechinsky. "Sure, let them compete in the Olympics, but you don't have to let them compete in the final," he says.

Click through for a good background on the rule, first imposed for the 2004 games.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (9)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

For the 2016 Summer Olympics, the IOC will be adding a new position to their staff, with the title of Handicapper General. There will be some interesting new methods for ensuring that no nation and no competitor dominates.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2012 5:24 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jg, to clarify - the sports federations make up the competition rules. The IOC and the organizing commitee make all the even stupider rules about teeth grilles and threatening businesses who arrange five bagels like the Olympic rings...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

And to clarify my position: nothing like this ever happens on "Kudlow & Company."

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 6:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop, Guv. And yet, I still love baseball despite the DH.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 7:25 PM
But Jk thinks:

Nooooooo! Kudlow is off for two weeks, for the Olympics.

Posted by: Jk at July 30, 2012 11:10 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Upon further review, including your update, I agree. The Olympics suck.

I will still watch women's beach volleyball, however.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 31, 2012 3:22 PM

June 29, 2012

A Thought Experiment

The Refugee has been quiet on Three Sources of late, largely because he's rarely in a place where he can blog in a timely manner. That has not, however, limited his enjoyment thereof.

While killing time in an airport somewhere (they're all alike), he was reading the latest news about Greece and its protesters who continue to unashamedly demand the unearned. It made him think: If you offered someone either a job for $40,000 per year or $20,000 per year without working, which would most people choose?

The Refugee is going to posit this question to his kids - and they'd better not answer wrong.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2012

Constitution 1 - Taxpayers 0

Fellow freedom advocates, do not panic. Step back from the ledge. By a single vote the Supreme Court has avoided a catastrophic expansion of the Commerce Clause. The rest, as they say, is politics. Including Chief Justice Roberts' ruling:

"If an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes," Roberts writes. He adds that this means "the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income."

Hmmm, that's pretty thin Jim. The minority counters:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, usually the court's swing vote, dissented, reading from the bench that he and three conservative justices believe "the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety." In a 65-page dissent, he and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dismissed Roberts' arguments, writing that there is a "mountain of evidence" that the mandate is not a tax. "To say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it," they write.

Very persuasive. So my conclusion is that Roberts just didn't want to be villified as an "unelected emperor" who "took away America's free [unearned] health care." I agree with Yahoo News' Oliver Knox who writes-

But while Obama initially kept quiet, the early response from the law's main supporters and detractors showed that the court's ruling had essentially offered the Affordable Care Act only a reprieve, and that the law's fate was entwined with the results of the presidential election.

Finally, does anyone suppose that news outlets are falling all over themselves to get the "Obamacare Constitutional" message out as quickly as possible?

Individual%20mandate%206-4.jpg

No mention of the name of that tenth justice.

UPDATE: As of 11:57 am EDT that headline has been changed to: Individual mandate survives a 5-4 vote with Roberts voting to keep it

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | Comments (11)
But Robert thinks:

Even better! Salon dude suddenly realizes that the crafty Roberts has lost a battle to win the war: Link.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit the motive I attribute to Roberts is pure speculation but I stand by it. I think he did it not for vanity but for what he perceives to be best for the national polity. The matter can only be justly resolved, he may believe, through democratic election. This is a fair opinion to hold, for any individual NOT a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America as Constituted.

Further thought has me spoiling for a fight over the notion that Roberts' position is defensible under the law- Prior to the inequity of the Sixteenth Amendment the Constitution prohibited unequal taxation, and even after that amendment it allows inequity only in taxation on incomes. The Obamacare "tax" applies only to the class of persons who are uninsured and is therefore not a uniform tax, but punishment for a personal act contravening the wishes of the Legislature. It summarily declares such persons guilty of some crime and punishes them without benefit of a judicial trial. It is effectively a bill of attainder, expressly prohibited under Article I. Section 9.

I submit that this line of reasoning is, at the very least, as defensible as Chief Justice Roberts'.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@Robert: YES! I was just going to post that -- must read!

And most closely resembles my personal early opinion. Getting rid of Wickard would be even better for liberty than getting rid of the ACA.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

@jg: Book me passage for two to your world, bro -- it would be a great place to live.

Seriously, while you are correct, 'round these parts, Congress's taxing authority is limitless. Much better examples of bills of attainder have passed with little scrutiny. Let me say "defensible" in the context of Solum's gestalt.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Slate guy: "Roberts' genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress' power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade."

i.e. To benefit the "national polity." I still think interpreting it as a tax was incorrect but can now forgive Roberts for the error. Especially given Sarah Palin's latest Tweet: "Thank you, SCOTUS. This Obamacare ruling fires up the troops as America's eyes are opened!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Solum piece is very instructive brother. Thank you. Mine was certainly "a pre-New-Deal vision of real and substantial limits on Congress's enumerated powers" along with Justice Thomas. But as an agreeable sort I can be persuaded to join forces with the "alternative gestalt." [Fourth from last paragraph.]

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 3:42 PM

June 20, 2012

Occuschadenfreude

The progressive left incorrectly claims that the TEA Party Movement is dead. Now, to be fair, they're claiming the Occupy Movement is dead.

[Van] Jones, in his speech to the conferees, pleaded with the activists to be as "courageous and determined" as the Occupy movement was, but he needled the left for being soft, comparing today's activists unfavorably with those of the civil rights era.

"They were beaten fighting for change. Some went to jail fighting for change. Some were murdered," he said. "We'll quit over a really mean tweet."

Jones urged them to use their heads, even if their hearts aren't in it.

"If we just support the president, just vote for Democrats, we don't get what we want," he said. "But if we don't, our opponents get power and decimate us. Can we put our thinking caps on now?"

Surely Jones knows that it's hard to put on a thinking cap when you're in the fetal position.


Posted by JohnGalt at 8:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2012

Earned Success

I dug Brooks's book, and I think my favorite may have been his equating happiness with earned success. I fear some folks 'round these parts might object to his pejorative use of the G-Word, but I invite them to enjoy earned success.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

In a free-market capitalist system greed is a null word. Every man who holds accumulation of wealth as his highest value harms only himself.

Greed only has power over others in a non-free economic system. This includes the totalitarian systems and the mixed-economy system in every western nation. These are the systems in which greed can harm one's neighbor.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2012 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"If parasitism, favoritism, corruption, and greed for the unearned did not exist, a mixed economy would bring them into existence."

--Ayn Rand, "The Pull Peddlers" from 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal' p.170

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2012 4:01 PM

May 26, 2012

A new -ocracy

It must be a real word, I read it on the internet.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Think of it as "Kleptocracy for Dummies."

Posted by: johngalt at May 26, 2012 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Reality of the word notwithstanding, it sadly reeks of verisimilitude.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2012 3:58 PM
But Harold D. Thomas thinks:

Kleptocracy is a real word. According to Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kleptocracy) it dates to 1819.

Their definition is "government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed; also : a particular government of this kind."

Posted by: Harold D. Thomas at July 24, 2012 9:27 AM

May 22, 2012

Why don't more people get it?

That's the question dagny asked me at the conclusion of last night's inaugural Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons Chapter meeting. I could do no better than my universal explanation for why so many people make so many bad choices, Ayn Rand's admonishment that, "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it."

Today I was given a much more precise answer to the same question by a guest of 850 KOA's Mike Rosen. Michael Prell is on a promo tour for his 2011 book, "Underdogma: How America's Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power." Prell's premise is that our country's electoral preference for collectivist policies stems not from ignorance, but from a healthy American proclivity to root for the underdog. From the Amazon book review:

David versus Goliath, the American Revolutionaries, "The Little Engine That Could," Team USA’s "Miracle on Ice," the Star Wars Rebel Alliance, Rocky Balboa, the Jamaican bobsled team and the meek inheriting the Earth.

Everyone, it seems, loves an underdog. Why is that?

We begin life tiny and helpless, at the mercy of those who are bigger and more powerful than us: parents and guardians who tell us what to eat, what to wear, how to behave (even when to sleep and wake up). From childhood into adulthood, we’re told what to do by those who wield more power—our parents, teachers, bosses government. So naturally, we have a predisposition to resent the overdogs and root for the little guy.

But this tendency, which international political consultant and human rights activist Michael Prell calls “underdogma,” can be very dangerous – both to America and to the world at large.

In Underdogma, Prell, who has worked world leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Australian and Canadian prime ministers and the Dalai Lama, explores our love/hate relationship with power within our culture and our politics. Underdogma explains seeming mysteries such as why:

•Almost half of Americans blamed President Bush for the attacks of 9/11, even while the American media described the architect of these attacks as “thoughtful about his cause and craft” and “folksy.”
•Gays and lesbians protest those who protect gay rights (America, Israel), while championing those who outlaw and execute homosexuals (Palestine).
•Environmentalists focus their rage on America, even though China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
•The United Nations elevates countries such as Sudan to full membership on the UN’s Commission on Human Rights, even as the ethnic cleansing of Darfur proceeds.

Tracing the evolution of this belief system through human history—ancient Greece to Marxism to the dawn of political correctness—Prell shows what continuing with this collective mindset means for our future. While America and its president increasingly exalt the meek and apologize for their power, America’s competitors and enemies are moving in a different direction. China is projected to overtake the U.S. economically by 2027 and is ready to move into the position of hegemon, and radical Islamists are looking to extend their global territory, taking any sign of weakness as a chance to attack.

America must return to its founding spirit, and underdogma must stop now—our nation depends on it.

This is a fascinating explanation that I'm inclined to take at face value until proven otherwise. However, I don't think I'm on board with the conclusion that underdogma "must stop now." I called this tendency healthy and will stand on that position. What must stop is allowing the Progressive left to continue casting the collective as underdog to the individual - any individual. Underdogma is a force that can and should be used for good. The notion that a gang, or state or interest group is less powerful than individual citizens is so preposterous that all can see it, if only some light is given.

It looks like a great book and could be an excellent topic at a future Liberty on the Rocks.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I have a much more declassee way I phrase a similar thought: The left loves people who crap in the dirt.

It's the only way to explain their love of Palestinian Refugees who kill gays and are, can we say, less than 100% committed to women's equality -- compared with pluralist, übertolearnt Israel.

So while I am all for appreciating the underdog, I suggest that the impulse must be subordinated to reason.

Book sounds interesting -- I'll risk one more mention of "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt as the best answer I've encountered to dagny's question.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2012 4:10 PM

May 17, 2012

That's Fresh!

Haven't posted a "Let them eat Cake" for a while. But I need to borrow the WSJ's Notable & Quotable today. "Actor Will Smith during a French television interview this week:"

Smith: I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here--I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing. . . .

Interviewer: Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande's proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.

Smith: 75?! Yeah, that's different, that's different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2012

"Forward"

I just discovered Svetlana Kunin, a Russian emmigrant who has apparently been writing for Investor's Editorial Page for some time now. Playing off of President Obama's official re-election campaign slogan, Forward, today's offering is entitled, "Obama's Slogan 'Forward' Is Used By Socialists Too."

"Too?"

After introducing the motto "Forward!" -- identical to slogans of Socialists of the past and present-- Obama rolled out an imaginary vision of Julia, in which the government is involved in all aspects of a person's life.

No need for virtual reality. There is a real-life timeline for an average person in a society where the government plans, regulates and provides free services for its citizens in countries past and present — the USSR, Cuba, etc.

(...)

I personally lived that life in the former USSR until age 30. When my young family of three immigrated to the USA, my parents stayed behind. After botched medical procedures in a free hospital, my father screamed from pain for three days before he died at age 70.

Like President Obama, Russians also evolved on the gay rights issue. Homosexuality used to be outlawed in the Socialist Soviet Union. Today it is not a crime in Russia. Even so, facing an alarming decline in number of newborns and an eventual demographic disaster, they do not play with the redefinition of marriage.

Otherwise there's a lot in common among an Obama administration striving for total government involvement in people's lives, the communists of the former Soviet Union and modern Socialists in Russia.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

Paying for Julia

Boulder Refugee asks, Michael Ramirez delivers...

paying%20for%20Julia.jpg

"Freedom's just another word for,

Nuthin' left [for government bureaucrats to take away]"

Apologies to Janis Joplin.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:58 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Love the 'toon!

Pedant Man must point out that "Me & Bobby McGee" was written by Kris Kristofferson. Mister Kristofferson is an avowed Socialist and may or may not accept your apologies.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2012 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Learn something new every day.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2012 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

And he was a Rhodes Scholar. His '72? '73? eponymous album is one of the most significant contributions to American music I can think of.

My high esteem is tempered by his love of Communism (championing the Sandinistas in the 1980s and numerous other examples). Plus the fact that I saw him live once and he was too drunk or wasted to function at all. Bad night.

But those songs! Bobby McGee, For the Good Times, Sunday Morning Coming Down, To Beat the Devil. . .

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2012 12:29 PM

May 11, 2012

Three Word Blog Post of the Day

Atlas ALWAYS shrugs -- Sarah Hoyt
Linking to:
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.
Good riddance, pal! We sure don't need guys like that around here!
Posted by John Kranz at 2:38 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

He obviously didn't get the memo that paying $1,382,400,000 in capital gains taxes is patriotic!

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2012 5:18 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You're right - but it is enlightened self-interest.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2012 5:21 PM
But jk thinks:

My snark undercut my message. Of course he is entitled, but it is one of the sadder moments to think that the benefits of US Citizenship for such a producer no longer outweigh their costs. This, Mr. VP, is a big ^&*^&* deal.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2012 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It is sad, but not unexpected. I live in California, and "one-percenters" loading up the Y'all-Haul and voting with their feet for friendlier places like Texas is not uncommon. It's sad that this is being ratcheted up from the interstate level to the international one for America. It happened in Hong Kong, and will happen soon in France.

In your defense, the snark did not undercut your message - in fact, it put an exclamation mark on it. With a bang, I might add (a nod to *nix users everywhere)!

So - sad for America, happy for Singapore. It is a zero-sum game, after all. Costa Rica is still looking nice to me!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2012 6:43 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, Keith, it's been happening already for a long time.

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2005/08/nice-unemployment-if-you-can-get-it.html

I'm largely quoting an old friend, to whose words I added a few of my own. Here's his zinger:

"The list includes many thousands of retired French business persons who, once they sold their French assets, chose to spend their retirement in Switzerland. Since France and Switzerland are on the same latitude, it can't be for the balmy climate."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 13, 2012 10:13 PM

May 2, 2012

The 6 Percenters

Last year's "Occupy" protests brought the term "1 percenter" back into our familiar lexicon. Supposedly representing the "super rich" who "control" America, it is a term of derision used by some who declare themselves representatives of the "rest of us" or the "99 percent."

But surprisingly, as Walter Williams observed, those arrested at Occupy demonstrations are overwhelmingly white and above average in both income and home value.

The median value of the homes of the arrestees was $305,000 – a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied homes of the rest of us. Ninety-five of the arrestees lived in homes valued at more than $500,000. Those who rented paid a median rent of $1,850 per month. Of the 984 protesters arrested, at least 797 are white. One Occupy Wall Street protester arrested – presumably, if you listen to the mainstream media, penniless and from a blue-collar family – lived in an $850,000 home in the nation’s capital.

And less surprisingly, America's wealthiest counties are the suburbs surrounding our nation's capital, Washington D.C. As Williams puts it, "The nation’s richest counties are close to Washington, D.C., where people come to do good and wind up doing well for themselves." But do just 1 percent of Americans "run" America? This article claims that about 1 percent of us have held elective office, now or in the past. But that's about as close as you can get to showing such a small sliver of society "runs" a nation and economy as great and diverse as America's. To actually, functionally "run" a country has been shown to require, at a bare minimum, a group I like to call The 6 Percenters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2012

A "Right" to "Access"

President Obama will give a speech this evening a short 3-mile bike ride from my Boulder office. The Denver Post says it will "focus on preventing the doubling of subsidized student-loan [interest] rates to 6.8 percent in July" but I expect it will include a fair amount of "fairness" rhetoric. Something in the spirit of a radio promo being run on Denver's 850 KOA where a female college student says,

Student loan debt is the fastest growing debt in this country. Something has to be done. Education should be a right and I think everyone should have access to it.

This sounds like a plea for a lot more than lower interest rates. One where "access" is a code word for "I don't care who pays as long as it isn't me."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

One piece of good news. Even the bloomin' AP recognizes this as pandering:

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Wooing young voters, President Barack Obama is on a blitz to keep the cost of college loans from soaring for millions of students, taking his message to three states strategically important to his re-election bid.

It gets nicer after that, but the lede screams "Obama Panders to youth"

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2012 12:50 PM

April 11, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

"So these investments -- in things like education and research and health care -- they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another," the president said today at Florida Atlantic University. "This is not some socialist dream," Obama added, as he called for tax increases on millionaires today to pay for those investments.

From the Washington Examiner - Obama: I'm not trying to 'redistribute wealth'

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

These are the ancient arguments that once pitted the liberty of the American Revolution against the egalitarianism of the French, the statist visions of John Maynard Keynes against the individualism of Friedrich Hayek, and the tragic admission that we cannot be truly free if we are all forced to end up roughly equal versus the idealism that if we are all roughly equal then we are at last truly free.

In blunter terms, Romney's message is that, if you have the money to drive a nice Kia, what do you care if a sleek Mercedes whizzes by? Obama's answer, in contrast, is that you should care, because the guy in the Mercedes probably took something from you.

-- Victor Davis Hanson in IBD: 'The 2012 Election Is A Contest Between Freedom And Fairness'


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2012

Reagan says...

I made a cursory search to see if this had been posted on these pages since the first of the year. If it has never been so in the blog's history we should all consider ourselves ashamed for the oversight.

Ronald Reagan, interviewed by Manuel Klausner in Reason Magazine, July 1975:

REASON: Governor Reagan, you have been quoted in the press as saying that you’re doing a lot of speaking now on behalf of the philosophy of conservatism and libertarianism. Is there a difference between the two?

REAGAN: If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.

So what Reagan lovers should be asking is, it seems to me, which of the GOP presidential nominees are hostile to libertarian thought and which are the very embodiment of it?" Ron Paul for President. Do it for the Gipper.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012

"American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil"

Hillsdale College's Paul Rahe has done it again. Being thrice granted Quote of the Day honors on our humble blog (here, here and most notably here) his posting of last Friday explains in grand detail and with far greater authority the warning I've been sounding for just a few short years of my relatively young life - that Christian altruism enables Marxist-Leninist policies in the west. I called it The Virtue of Selfishness. Rahe calls it American Catholicism's Pact With the Devil and says it goes back to FDR and the New Deal in the 1930's.

In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it.

Amen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

My brother-in-law just signed up for Hillsdale's Constitution 101 10 week online course and suggested I check it out. A new one starts on Feb 20.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2012 6:38 PM

January 26, 2012

Corporations are not people!

After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.

This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:15 AM | Comments (12)
But jk thinks:

Made it through. Clearly I'm going to have to change brother jg's password. It's one thing to hack somebody's account for personal gain, but this character assassination borders on libel.

Okay, he doesn't like Jeff Immelt -- thus 50% as reliable as a broken clock.

What what what did you like? A constitutional amendment to keep corporate money out of politics -- a $100 limit on contributions? Government dictating the size, structure, and allowed transactions of banks (my largest disagreement with Gov Huntsman)? Or did you just dig the repudiation of Reagan's economic vision?

If I may quote In Living Color's "Men on Film" segement: "hated it!"

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2012 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If memory serves, I came in at about 21:30 when I switched on PBS last night. Anything before that I'll defer to a future debate.

I liked the expose of GE's bailout and how it should have been done through a dilution of shareholder value and not by a FED bailout.

I liked the assertion, "Free markets are not free. They've been bought and paid for by large financial institutions."

I liked the identification of the "entitled class" of "Wall Street financiers and corporate CEOs" who "believe the government is there to do whatever is necessary ... whatever it takes to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward."

And most of all, I appreciated Stockman's correction that "it is important to put the word crony capitalism on there, because free-market capitalism is a different thing. True free-market capitalists never go to Washington with their hand out. True free-market capitalists running a bank do not expect that whenever they make a mistake or whenever they get themselves too leveraged, or they end up with too many risky assets that don't work out, they don't expect to be able to go to the Federal Reserve and get some cheap or free money and go on as before. They expect consequences, maybe even failure of their firm. Certainly loss of their bonuses, maybe loss of their jobs. So we don't have free-market capitalism left in this country anymore, we have everyone believing that if they can hire the right lobbyists, raise enough political action committee money, spend enough time prowling the halls of the Senate and the House and the office buildings arguing for the benefit of their narrow parochial interests then that is the way things will work out. That's crony capitalism and it's very dangerous. It seems to be becoming more embedded in our system."

What's not to like with any of this? We can argue about causes and solutions, but can we agree on this particular problem?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2012 7:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee listened to all 34 scintillating minutes and can't quite see what sent JK 'round the bend. Yes, Moyers is an insufferable nincompoop, but we knew that going in. The irony, of course, is that the far left and the fiscal right have finally found common ground in deploring crony capitalism.

The most objectionable part of Stockman's comments was his assertion that we need to change the First Amendment to deny corporations the right to lobby and give political contributions. (Why corporations should be muzzled but not unions or enviros remains a mystery.) Nevertheless, his comments against crony capitalism and in support of pure capitalism seemed to make a lot of sense.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 26, 2012 9:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, at least our ratings are up. I got an email from a good friend of the blog who is enjoying this argument very much.

You know, brothers, Governor Howard Dean doesn't like bailouts and crony capitalism either. I'm sure I can find a clip of his discussing it with Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Rachel Maddow. I'll post it and we'll all agree how very swell it is.

I do not trust either of these men. Both have done extreme damage to this great nation and our concept of liberty and personal achievement. Just because we all agree Jeff Immelt is a dickhead, I am not going to embrace them.

When Stockman longs for the Republican Party of his youth, he is longing for Eisenhower and Ford. Moyers, of course, never came to grips with the idea of a Democrat Party without LBJ.

"Free markets aren't really free" does sound like ThreeSources and I'm sure he'd like to sell us each a copy of his book. But when it comes from a guy who wants to dictate banks' size and business practice, propose extreme campaign finance rules, and has an, ahem, history of government expansion -- I do not accept that he is now calling for lasseiz faire.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2012 10:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I must say my first reaction to this recording was one of excitement over the fact that it could lead to a bridge between left and right so wide and so strong as to absolutely overpower the entrenched crony establishment with a popular laissez-faire revolution. After a second viewing I remain hopeful, and as long as my password continues to function I will strive to advance the topic. (Yes, I know yer just joking about yanking it.)

Let me ask that we seek a point of agreement before we debate whether Stockman is the GOP antichrist or Phil Gramm precipitated TARP. I'm sure we're all on board with "crony capitalism is very dangerous" so how about, this:

When the net worth of a collection of six financial services conglomerations and their six boards of directors approaches the annual GDP of the entire United States private sector, and the members of those boards of directors have unprecedented influence throughout the depth and breadth of the federal government, our principled free-speech rules may no longer be sufficient for preventing this "entitled class" from manipulating the government for their own narrow interests to the detriment of individual liberty and property, particularly in a mixed economic system with fiat currency.

In my youth, "Ma Bell" was deemed "too big" and was broken up. Today, "Wall Street" is deemed "too big to fail" and is instead propped up - by devaluing the net worth of every dollar-denominated individual. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2012 12:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Bad Guys and Three Sourcers can agree that crony capitalism is bad, our reasons for believing so are very different. The Bad Guys view capitalism, in toto, as undesireable. Thus, anything that props it up in any form is a bad thing. Three Sourcers, on the other hand, view crony capitalism as a misuse of taxpayer funds, misallocation of resources and questionable ethics. Because The Bad Guys believe that all things good emanate from the government, when crony capitalism falls capitalism will fall with it. Three Sourcers believe the opposite, and that a lack of crony capitalism will lead to better allocation of resources and therefore economic expansion. Thus, we are willing to accept this deal with The Bad Guys (all other things being equal).

We don't have to embrace them, we just have to outmaneuver them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 27, 2012 12:46 PM

January 24, 2012

But What About His Opponent?

The establishment GOP punditry has been dutifully besmirching Newt Gingrich as "radical" and "erratic." Too much so, they say, to be elected president much less hold the office. But what about the other guy? IBD's editorial page appreciates the way that Newt goes about reminding the media, and the voters, who that guy in the Oval Office really is.

Alinsky's radicalism despises capitalism, entrepreneurship, individualism and, most of all, American exceptionalism. It is the genesis of Obama's demonization of the successful and his passion for the redistribution but not the creation of wealth. It's at the heart of his ongoing apology tour where he tells the world we are sorry for acting like we are mankind's last best hope for mankind, a belief Newt Gingrich shares with President Ronald Reagan.

Obama's is the belief system that Newt Gingrich told NBC's David Gregory, "is fundamentally different from probably 80% of this country." That would be a comfortable electoral majority, would it not? Does Mitt Romney even know how to pronounce "Alinsky?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Exhibit 1: The latest Romney tweet-

Mitt Romney @MittRomney This President's agenda made these troubled times last longer. He made it harder for the economy to recover http://obamaisntworking.com

Memorable, eh? I can smell the formaldehyde from here.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 4:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The former governor can certainly turn a phrase.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 24, 2012 10:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It reads like he took a normal sentence and ran it through a software algorithm designed to lower the grade level of the speech. Maybe he's trying to "connect with the folks."

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 11:40 PM

December 8, 2011

At least we agree we are in a ditch

Well brothers and sisters, I have just read the president's Osawatomie speech, almost in its entireity. Those of us who wondered how he thought he could win re-election can see the answer in this speech. It is a brilliantly deceptive blueprint for a bait-and-switch shell game on the American people.

I actually agreed with most of what he said in the opening, right up until "I am here to say they are wrong" which I would replace with "I am here to say that I am wrong." This comes right after the following passage:

But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. [Agreed.]

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

Yes, Mister President, you are advocating a return to exactly the same practices that got us into this mess: Ever higher taxation, goverment spending more and more of our GDP, greater burdens on private businesses, further layers of coverage mandates for health insurers, interference with supply and demand in higher education which drives costs through the roof and causes shortages of trained blue-collar workers - in short, making life and business more expensive in America and driving jobs overseas. There really is a grave threat to the existence of the American middle class: You, and the repackaged, recycled, and retreaded egalitarian values you seek to "reclaim" demand.

An honest review of history shows us that such wealth-sharing demands - not, as you claim, free market capitalism - have failed to produce economic prosperity. Every, single, time. Free market capitalism has never been allowed more than enough rope with which to hang itself.

UPDATE: IBD Ed Page refutes the top five lies from Obama's Osawatomie speech.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:16 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

You are perhaps being kinder to the President than was the WaPo Fact Checker (three pinocchios). I blame this on rampant left-wing bias at ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

The folks at IBD are somewhat less than impressed...

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ha! If I were awarding "Pinocchios" I'd have given him four. The highest ranking, it means the statement consists of "whoppers."

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2011 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought "Pants on Fire" exceeded the dreaded four-Ps. So hard to keep up with politics -- I guess that's a different site.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2011 3:52 PM

November 29, 2011

Giants Walked the Earth

What Milton Friedman might say to the Occupy movement Two awesome clips at Mankiw's site.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2011

She Can't be Serious

Can she?

Occupy%20Dummy.bmp

Related: Hippie chicks strip for free. (I can't believe I'm pushing Charisma Carpenter off the front page for this.) As a public service: Charisma Carpenter link. Come to think of it, maybe we'll just include that with every "Occupy" post. Sort of an ... innoculation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Oh, my.

Not to beat on a theme too badly, but I'm certain the HTG&L Studies sign is a joke. Had she really obtained such a degree, there would be an apostrophe in studie's.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2011 11:46 AM

November 4, 2011

Villifying the "Occupy"-ers

Bloggers and editorialists around the country seem to be trying to discredit the "Occupy" movement by publicizing certain bad or illegal acts by individuals within its ranks. The Tacoma News Tribune, for example, writes:

Seattle has been occupied. Tacoma has been occupied. Good heavens, even Puyallup has been occupied. [Uh, that's "pew-AL-up" for all you southeasterners.]

If nothing else, Occupy Wall Street is a triumph of branding. Any collection of individuals with gripes about the status quo can call itself an “Occupy,” lay claim to some public space and instantly be anointed part of the international phenomenon begun by a group of enterprising protesters in Manhattan.

A mass protest of some kind was inevitable in the current pit of economic distress and widespread joblessness. There are legions of exceedingly unhappy people out there. To its credit, Occupy Wall Street has emphasized nonviolence; eruptions of public rage in years past have often degenerated into arson and angry mobs.

Arson? No, not the Occupiers. Well, maybe a few little trash fires in Oakland. Or a puny $10 million condo fire in Fort Collins, Colorado. Kids will be kids!

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:53 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

How can you denigrate "a business owner and war veteran?"

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2011 4:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I sense you are as skeptical of those claims as I.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2011 1:55 PM

October 31, 2011

Word of the Day

Investor's Editorial:

Yet the American Federation of Teachers has "fully endorsed" the Occupy protest and is calling for the rehiring of 1,000 laid-off teachers, presumably to include McAllister.

"We need to listen to what the individuals camped out in Liberty Plaza for Occupy Wall Street -- and those marching in the streets from Boston to Denver to Los Angeles -- have to say," declared AFT President Randi Weingarten in a statement issued after McAllister made her speech.

Fox News has reported that the fraud-plagued community-organizing group Acorn has partially recrudesced as something called New York Communities for Change, a group aligned with teachers.

The Acorn group collected funds for what it claimed was an American Federation of Teachers fundraiser to replace dangerous lightbulbs in schools. The money, according to Fox, went to Occupy protests instead.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Onomatopoeia.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2011 3:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, poetic indeed.

I'm still working on my three sentences containing 'recrudesced' that I may permanently add the word to my vocabulary.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2011 4:58 PM

October 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Shrugs

Robert Tracinski has additional analysis of events such as in the New York Post story JK posted last weekend. In a TIA Daily email he explains how Occupy Wall Street Shrugged.

Over at Occupy Boston, a protester complains, "It's turning into us against them. They come in here and they're looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don't bring anything to the table at all." Another report concludes with a similar sentiment.
"We have compassion toward everyone. However, we have certain rules and guidelines," said Lauren Digioia, 26, a member of the sanitation committee. "If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled."

These people had better watch out. If they start thinking that like this, pretty soon they might find themselves at a Tea Party rally.

"Our" food? What did they do to earn it? Who is it who really feels "entitled?"

Then he refrains a tale he dubs The Spaghetti Bolognese Incident.

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a "counter" revolution yesterday—because they're angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for "professional homeless" people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other Spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti Bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep's-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.

To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said.

Behind the hypocrisy, there are real lessons to be learned: lessons about the relationship between productive people and freeloaders. About the need for police to protect decent people from criminals. About how con-men and the power-lusters always take over utopian schemes for their own benefit. About the taxing power and unaccountability of central authorities.

The spaghetti Bolognese incident sums it up. The workers who provide the goods everyone else lives off of are going on strike to protest against their exploitation by freeloaders. Has anyone else noticed that this is the basic plot premise of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged? Yet that is the story line they are unintentionally acting out. Call it Occupy Wall Street Shrugged.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2011

Not Getting It

How much longer do we have to endure government economic estimates based on static analysis of tax rate changes?

In November the mail-in ballot votes will be tallied to decide whether Colorado will lose 7,400 to 11,600 private sector jobs [you know, the ones that pay their own way and don't require a new tax every year to keep them going?] The culprit is Colorado's Proposition 103, a five-year plan to hike three different state taxes on individuals and businesses, conceived and placed on the ballot almost single handedly by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and his personal fortune.

Voters will decide between the projected outcome voiced by one Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) who said "she’s optimistic that state finances will not take a turn for the worse," or that of Barry W. Poulson, Senior Fellow in Fiscal Policy and Professor of Economics (retired), University of Colorado, Boulder and John D. Merrifield, Professor of Economics, University of Texas whose analysis resulted in the job loss estimate in the lede. To understand the magnitude of the job loss you can read the paper or just watch this video from a Jon Caldera press conference that, somehow, I haven't seen reported by Denver's Fox 31.

By the way, there weren't enough dominoes to have one for every job lost. Each domino represents TWO jobs.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Awesome!

For our out-of-state friends, this is about the only thing on the ballot most places. It should be very low turnout. And the Fox affiliate Brother jg torques me with runs a commercial every four minutes about "our children try so hard, but some have a four-day week, some have to pay to ride the bus, and our state is 49th in higher-education spending."

Colorado has been good in the past at rejecting these things but I think the polity is changing for the worse and fear this will pass.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2011 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes and, setting the statistics straight, while spending may or may not be 49th as a fraction of the state's economy or some other measure it is 30th per capita.

Furthermore, educational results are not directly proportional to spending. For example, more spending on teachers and less on adminstrators would be helpful. American schools have on the order of one administrator per 3 teachers, while those in other, more successful, western nations are closer to one per 20 teachers. And there are domestic differences as well. For our below-average investmentColorado's SAT scores rank 15th in the nation.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2011 2:06 PM
But jk thinks:

A friend had a bumper sicker: Colorado, 49th in education spending. I told him he should have his kids educated in Newark or Washington DC.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2011 2:28 PM

October 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

For Democrats, millionaires are the new Gypsies--a minority whom it is perfectly acceptable to persecute because its wealth is ill-gotten, not the product of hard work. -- Shikha Dalmia
Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2011

Friend of JG's?

Friend of us all, perhaps: http://the53.tumblr.com/post/11440770797/keep-your-freebies

Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

My army is silent but vast.

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2011 1:35 AM
But jk thinks:

You must share your secret; my army is simply half-vast.

Posted by: jk at October 17, 2011 10:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Try as I may, yours is clearly the dryest wit in the west. Or, at least, in ThreeSources.

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2011 3:10 PM

October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day!

I'm going to blog extra because I know everybody has the day off today for Columbus Day.

It is always fun to watch somebody step into a public political discussion when they really do not expect it. A slightly grouchy vendor I patronize and enjoy on Facebook hit return before he had completely thought it through:

Put basically, JustStrings.com can't operate when the USPS isn't open and I have today off because of Columbus Day. I understand that this is basically a Catholic holiday but can't it be substituted with Mother Teresa Day or some person who deeply cared about people? Columbus enslaved and murdered Caribbean Indians to achieve his goal which was to map a spice route for Europe.

Fifty one comments as I type; mine is #51:
a) Just got my order from you via UPS (thanks!) Maybe the problem is more with government unions than holiday legislation.
b) Not going to launch a full-throat defense of Señor Columbus, but it is more nuanced than your suggestion. He wanted to explore. He explored. I would neither credit him with civilization’s gains nor saddle him with every fault.
c) 0.11s on top, but I used a wound G on the archtops and a plain G on solidbodies – does everybody think that’s okay?

You can be wherever you want on Chris, really. I think it is funny that my Dad was taught that he was a great hero and my nieces are all taught he was a genocidal monster. I don't remember what they told me but would a little nuance kill the education system? As far as an American holiday -- no way in hell: recognize somebody who contributed to the American experiment. Fredrick Douglass is next in line if you ask me.

But here this poor small business guy is out of work for a day because the postal union is the only outfit in the nation that gets this lame day off off. That's sad. I was telling the absolute truth. I did just get an order. I paid a couple bucks extra to use UPS because it comes all the way to my door. (And you know how many guys die lugging their guitar strings all the way from the mailbox...) No idea it would save a day.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2011

A TEA Party for Britain?

JK linked an excellent article on the UK "riots" [scare-quoted since they're more accurately characterized as looting sprees] that revealed the failures of government as protector of property and liberty. But one expects a Libertarian to recognize these realities. What is remarkable is when a self-proclaimed "left-winger" does so. Brendan O'Neill blogs from Great Britain:

This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one's own community. And as a left-winger, I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly negative impact on working people's lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, the welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth recalling Marx’s colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base amongst parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that 'ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars... and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation.' In very different circumstances, we have something similar today -- when the decadent commentariat's siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, 'the labouring nation', look on with disdain.

This fraction of English society, 'the laboring nation' as O'Neill applies Marx' term, is what I would call the analog to America's TEA Party. Those Americans are fed up with being taxed to support a free ride in food, lodging, healthcare and pensions in our Euro-style welfare state, and in the wake of the latest wave of English hooliganism a comparable share of Britons are fed up when the lumpenproletariat that their taxes support roll through town and "shit on their own doorstep."

Atlas is shrugging on both sides of the pond.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If you look up "lumpenproletariat" in the dictionary, there is a second meaning: "British soccer fan."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 10, 2011 4:41 PM

August 9, 2011

Headline of the Day

Give a man a fish, and he'll riot for free fish -- Jim Treacher

Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2011

Gangster Government

Shall we play, duelling pretty-smart folk? While the WSJ Ed page can find some nuggets to praise in the Gang-of-Six plan outline, the pretty-smart people at Investors Business Daily's Ed page see worse and worser.

And what details it does contain show that the gang has employed some of the most egregious budget tricks available to make the spending cuts look bigger and tax hikes smaller than they actually are.

The best example of this is the plan's tax proposal, which alternately boasts that it cuts taxes by $1.5 trillion and raises them by $1 trillion, but which more likely will result in taxes going up by more than $3 trillion.

And then there are the spending "cuts."

Plus, most plans take current spending levels as a given, and make "cuts" off this hugely inflated base, ignoring the fact that federal spending has rocketed upward by an astonishing 24% in just the past three years.

A credible plan would bring spending as a share of the economy back to prerecession levels. That would mean a spending cut in the neighborhood of $450 billion next year.

And the close:

The fact that more and more lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are willing to sign onto the phony Gang of Six plan, and that Obama would lend it his effusive praise, is a testament to why the country is in such deep fiscal trouble.

UPDATE: Washington Examiner Ed page - Gang of Six Plan is More Smoke and Mirrors

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2011

President Obama as Sheriff of Nottingham

President Obama and the Democrats love to frame the debate over redistribution of wealth as "millionaires" versus "working folk." In their fantasy scenarios they are brave and virtuous Robin Hoods, "taking from the rich and giving to the poor."

Iain Murray's new book Stealing You Blind - How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You explains that a curious thing happens to much of that money on the way from one pocket to the other.

Remember when we used to call government employees “public servants”? They’re servants no more—now they’re bureaucratic masters of the universe, claiming inflated salaries (up to two times as much as private sector employees) and early retirement with unparalleled pensions and benefits. And how do they spend their time? When they’re actually working, they spin red tape and regulations that make your life harder (and their lives easier), your taxes higher, and your share of the nation’s debt unsustainable.

In Stealing You Blind, you’ll discover:

- Why the wealthiest congressional district in America is in a recession-proof suburb of Washington, D.C.

- How the Department of Transportation went from having one employee making $170,000 or more to having nearly 1,700 making that much—during the peak of the recession

- Why even FDR thought federal workers shouldn’t be allowed to unionize

- How state, local, and federal bankruptcy could be coming your way thanks to public employee union greed

- Why bureaucrats regard taxpayers as sheep to be shorn—and how they do it

Robin Hood did not "take from the rich and give to the poor" but rather stood up to the rulers of a tyrannical government bent on ever greater taxation, calling them out on it in the public square. "Brave, brave sir Robin!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

Now it's getting interesting

On the decorus floor of the United States Senate, the minority leader says the President of the United States wants Americans to have "smoke and mirrors, tax increases, or default."

Even more devastating was "I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office a real solution is probably unattainable."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

This "titanium spine" business seems to be contagious.

(Follow the link to a HuffPo piece wherein a South Carolina GOP official says, "I do think they think there's a winnability factor here, based on her dynamism and her passion, that they maybe don't see in Mitt Romney.")

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2011 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

She lit the world on fire in her appearance on Kudlow Monday night. Media figures always want to pull up some old social conservative quote, but left to her devices, she talks spending and taxes and liberty in a way none of the others does.

Your linked piece in the comment closes with "She's 50 times smarter than the people who think she's stupid" and I must say that she is easily shaping up to be the pride of the primaries. I find myself drifting into her camp.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2011 4:20 PM

June 27, 2011

USDA - Repeal it or Rename it

Victor Davis Hanson, descendent from farmers himself, argues for "plowing under" the Agriculture Department.

The Department of Agriculture no longer serves as a lifeline to millions of struggling homestead farmers. Instead it is a vast, self-perpetuating, postmodern bureaucracy with an amorphous budget of some $130 billion -- a sum far greater than the nation's net farm income this year.

In fact, the more the Agriculture Department has pontificated about family farmers, the more they have vanished -- comprising now only about 1% of the American population.

(...)

Originally, the food stamp program focused on the noble aim of supplementing the income of only the very poor and the disabled. But now eligibility is such that some members of the middle class find a way to manipulate such grants. In fact, 2011 could be another sort of record year for the Agriculture Department, as it may achieve an all-time high in subsidizing 47 million Americans on food stamps -- nearly one-sixth of the country.

(...)

In these days of record federal deficits and unsustainable national debt, it is long past time to eliminate the department -- or least rename it "The Department of Food Subsidies."


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Oh man, we'll all starve! Now this site is not only pro-slavery, but anti-food!

I actually did see this and that first paragraph has been burning in my head for a while. Do we truly spend more an agriculture department than the nation's farm income? I think even some lefty friends of mine would be disturbed by that.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2011 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I had to include that sentence for its shock value, at least. I think it's quite possible given the $70 Ba-Ba-Billion spent annually on the food stamp program. [Hey, let's stop subsidizing Big TV-Dinner!]

And 46 Ma-Million Americans receive food stamps?

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 6:28 PM

A "balanced approach" to the deficit problem

Senator Jon Kyl went on Fox News Sunday yesterday to explain why he withdrew from deficit reduction negotiations over the President's conditional requirement that government revenues be raised as part of a "balanced" solution. "But isn't one dollar of new taxes for every three dollars of spending cuts a fair deal" asked Chris Wallace?

But you don't want to pile taxes on at a time when companies don't have the ability to invest and hire people. That's the primary reason we are opposed to raising taxes right now.

Treasury Secretary Geithner explains the real reason for insisting on tax hikes.

"If you don't touch revenues," Geithner said, "you have to shrink the overall size of government programs, things like education, to levels that we could not accept as a country."

What do you mean "we" Kemosabe? Investor's Business Daily opines:

Some factions just won't accept shrinking the size of government. Most in them run in the same tight circles as Geithner. Never hearing anything other than support for increasing the size of government, they assume that's what Americans want.

But quite a few Americans have been wanting to cut government for decades, and that number is growing as the almost intractable problems created by overspending have become more obvious.

From Social Security and Medicare to housing assistance and farm subsidies to, yes, even education, federal programs need to shrink or be eliminated. There's not a single item in the budget, including defense, that can't use some judicious trimming.

No Tim, America's economy has shrunk. Americans' net worth has shrunk. It's well past time for America's government to shrink.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2011

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today’s lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,” Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

June 16, 2011

On Plunder

JK gave me the bountiful gift of a link to Bastiat's "The Law." A principal theme therein is the immorality of plunder, whether by individuals or by the government. Why? Because man, liberty and property existed before law.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

He explains how law becomes immoral when it becomes an instrument of plunder, on the part of the group against individuals. So it may be said that Democrats and Progressives are willing to engage in group plunder despite, on the whole, opposing it on principle when exercised by individuals. Many contemporary Republicans have also taken this stance.

The TEA Party is the nation's last, strongest bullwark against that tendency. Quoting from "The Law:"

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain -- and since labor is pain in itself -- it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

"The TEA Party - Making plunder more painful than work since 2010."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2011

You Have to Want to Know

Well-read people probably heard of David Mamet long before I did as the creator of CBS television's The Unit. A tough and realistic portrayal of life as an Army Special Forces soldier, I was convinced that its message was created by a conservative mind "behind enemy lines" in Hollywood.

With little fanfare in 2008 an article he wrote was published in the Village Voice with the title "Why I am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal." I don't believe I ever took the time to read the entire 3-page article when JK linked it, since it doesn't look familiar now, but the point is that he had a David Horowitz moment: He decided to stop swallowing the blue pill and became, philosophically, a free-market conservative and a warrior against anti-Americanism.

He is currently on a media tour to promote his new book, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture." He was interviewed this week by 850KOA's Mike Rosen and had some choice things to say in the 34-minute segment [introduction begins at 3:50.]

"There's a great quote in the Talmud: 'Who doesn't teach his son a trade teaches him to become a highway robber.' And I realized that one of the great failures of my baby boomer generation was we aren't teaching our children a trade, we're struggling and lying and scheming and scrimping and saving to get them into colleges which teach them that America is no good and that they don't have to work for a living. And it is absolutely immoral."

(...)

We've lost the capacity ... to stop government and say, you know, that just doesn't work. So we're now at the point where we need a complete revision. And that revision is a reversion to the principles of the Constitution. Which is, take care of the roads and sewers, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, provide the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, and if you don't - guess what - I'm gonna vote you out and you can go back home."

Rosen brings the book Lost Horizon into the discussion, and Mamet draws analogy between the ruling "good people" on the mountain top in Shangri La who know better than everyone else and our liberal government overlords.

And the worst of it is they want to be shielded from intellectual discourse. That the liberal community which never heard of Thomas Sowell, let alone of Freidrich Hayek, wants to be, needs to be shielded from responding to the question, what exactly are your precepts, what are your principles, what's the historical record of playing out and how do you account for the difference between the two?"

(...)

Voltaire said Every man is satisfied with his wit; no man is satisfied with his fortune. There's no one in the world who wouldn't like to have more money, both the one who is living from hand to mouth and the multi-billionaire who is investing his money. We'd all like to have more money. There's only three ways to get money in a free society - one is to steal it, the other is to get lucky, and the third is to fulfill someone else's needs, which is the way most of us earn money.

And there's more, if you care to listen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Good post, man! I started to listen but was called away. I will try to make it back later today. I loved the bit from his Rabbi about both sides' being able to express the other's case succinctly and fairly. That was rolling around my head all evening.

UPDATE: Rosen recommends Michael Novak's "Spirit of Democratic Capitalism" at 8:30 Woohoo!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2011 11:04 AM

June 8, 2011

Demanding the Unearned

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 49% of Americans do not favor heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 47% do. That is a truly frightening statistic. The only good news is that the numbers are actually reversed from 2007.

What is it that makes almost half of America think that it's OK to simply take money from somebody else?

Hat tip: Fox News

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:50 AM | Comments (9)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Upon further reflection, I'll take exception to one of JG's points: that is, taking property from another is not a Judeo-Christian principle. It's OK for me to give some of my wealth to the homeless dude. This is consistent with Liberty and Judeo-Christian ethics. It's not OK for me to mug someone for the purpose of giving the money to the homeless dude. This is inconsistent with both Liberty and J-C ethics.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 8, 2011 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like the story of Robin Hood, the story of Jesus Christ has "Progressed."

So then, is it fair to hold these storied religious traditions responsible for what the ill-meaning have done to them? Whereas they grant anyone, mortal or holy, supremecy over another individual they are tailor-made for such moral misappropriation. A society of people who stand up on their hind legs and look each other in the eye is better off without them.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2011 8:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Man has been using (read: perverting) religion to justify his selfish deeds since he first ascribed Deity status to the sun.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 8, 2011 9:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll only quibble on your use of the word "selfish." It is possible and even moral to be selfish, if it is done without harming others. But religious moralizers have a different goal in mind - pick your pocket and make you feel happy that they have done it. Their tool is guilt and their goal is larceny.

Watch for my upcoming post on David Mamet's new book, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture."

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2011 2:40 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The 49% is the ~50% of us who pay income taxes, excluding the very very top like Warren Buffett (the ultra-rich who now don't care about tax rates).

That percentage is very familiar. Someone earlier sent me this at Mises.org. "48 percent of Americans believe raising the limit would lead to more government spending and higher debt." Notice that these people aren't saying they don't want more government spending and higher debt, merely that they believe more spending and debt are consequences. So absolutely, why don't 100% believe that simple truth?

Now, I have to wonder how much that 48% overlaps with the ~50% who pay taxes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 9, 2011 10:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me rephrase a little. You're talking about roughly half who believe it's ok to take others' money. Of course, I'm referring to the half who are paying taxes and don't believe it's right to force others to give up their property.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 9, 2011 10:49 PM

May 19, 2011

Government by Whim

I wanted to write here today that "I hereby call out Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to apply for an Obamacare waiver for the entire state of Colorado." After all, another path to repeal, thought I, is for the entire country to be waived from the law's requirements. Needing a foundational article upon which to rest my "great idea" I found Mona Charen:

A few wags [ouch!] have suggested that the HHS grant the rest of the country a waiver and be done with it. But the implications of what Professor Richard Epstein has called "government by waiver" aren't funny. As Congress has ceded more and more power to regulatory agencies, the opportunities for abuse of power multiply. Writing in National Affairs, Epstein notes that among the companies and entities that successfully sought waivers from Obamacare's provisions were PepsiCo, Foot Locker, the Pew Charitable Trusts, many local chapters of the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and numerous public-employee unions.

But, asks Epstein, "(W)hat about employers who do not have the resources to navigate the waiver process? What about those lacking the political connections to make their concerns heard in Washington? And what happens when the one-year waivers run out? Will they be renewed? Under what conditions? And what rights will insurers have to waive then in order to avoid going out of business?"

The world of Obamacare is no place for the little guy.

The danger of waiver power is that it will be used differentially, giving one private entity a competitive advantage over another. The company denied a waiver can bring suit -- but litigation is expensive and slow.

Additionally, companies may fear government retaliation: "It is no accident that it is often public-interest groups or patient groups that take on the FDA, for instance. It is simply too risky for a pharmaceutical company with multiple applications before the agency to challenge one action if it is vulnerable to a government-induced slowdown on another," writes Epstein.

So it isn't just the threat of tax hikes that makes the Obama Administration such a threat to American free-market liberty; or massive deficit spending, or hostility to energy production or the subjective law of appointed judges or the proliferation of unelected "Czars" or any of the other "gangster government" ploys the administration has so quickly and expertly embraced. It is the 2000-pages of statutory "we can do what we want" called the Patient Protection and Affordability Act that makes these government bureaucrats so dangerous.

Full and complete repeal is the only answer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2011

Freedom vs. Equality

'World-class HOSS Milton Friedman said:

"The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both."

I mentioned the "spectacular 'Free to Choose' episode, 'Created Equal." Said episode is number five in the series and while I recommend the whole thing (which appears to be posted on YouTube in six parts) I will highlight part 5, with some excellent exchanges between his Hossness and a young Thomas Sowell in the red corner and Frances Fox Piven (of Cloward and Piven infamy), British Ambassador Peter Jay, and moderator Robert MacKenzie in the blue corner.

First a HOSS-quote (taken from the official transcript) then the video:

FRIEDMAN: __ I want to carry it back to an earlier point. Number one, there's no question but what equality of results, if it comes about through a framework of freedom, is a desirable result. Number two, I argue in the film I've argued here that in point of fact you get greater equality of actual results by a system under which people are free to achieve unequal results. That for the poor people of the world that Frances Fox Piven was talking about, the most effective mechanism for enabling them to improve their status is not a governmental program which seeks to ascribe to them certain positions which seeks to provide them with certain goods and services, but a governmental program which tries to eliminate arbitrary barriers to advancement. I would say that in this world the greatest source of inequality has been special privileges granted by government.

And another HOSS-quote from the chapter's conclusion-

"Because if I were wrong, if freedom led to wider inequality, I would prefer that to a world in which I got artificial equality at the expense of freedom. My objective, my god, if you want, is freedom. The freedom of human beings and the individuals to pursue their own values."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

The Natural Enemy of Liberty

Today I give evidence, albeit somewhat anecdotal, that the Looter of the Spirit component of human civilization is as old as civilization itself.

From the Robert Service poem Equality:

He is the warrior supreme, The Super-caveman, one might say; The pride of youth, the maiden's dream, And in the chase the first to slay. Where we are stunted he is tall: In short, a menace to us all.

(...)

Comrades, grave counsel we must take,
And as he struts with jest and jibe,
Let us act swiftly lest he make
Himself Dictator of our Tribe:
The Gods have built him on their plan:
Let us reduce him to a man.

(...)

And tribal justice has been done.
For men are equal, let us seek
To grade the Strong down to the weak.

Thus, according to Robert Service (1874-1958) even tribal societies had their Ivy Starnes or Diana Moon Glampers.

Hat Tip: My wise father, who read this to me when I explained the story of Harrison Bergeron during our viewing of the spectacular 'Free to Choose' episode, 'Created Equal.'

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Grisly. Makes one appreciate Rep. Pelosi...

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2011 11:24 AM

April 29, 2011

Degrees of Selfishness

Another rich, white, male, "gay-hater" says capitalism is better than socialism:

Yet, while [entitlements are] producing increasingly selfish people, the mantra of the left, and therefore of the universities and the media, has been for generations that capitalism and the free market, not the welfare state, produces selfish people.

They succeed in part because demonizing conservatives and their values is a left-wing art. But the truth is that capitalism and the free market produce less selfish people. Teaching people to work hard and take care of themselves (and others) produces a less, not a more, selfish citizen.

But does that make him wrong?

And I love his close: "Capitalism teaches people to work harder; the welfare state teaches people to want harder."

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Of course he's not wrong. I agree with a lot of Mr. Prager's opinions. I used to enjoy his column in JWF -- those were the days!

Likewise, I loved Michelle Malkin, read a couple of Ann Coulter's early books. A short time ago, Brother br quoted Bernie Goldberg. Goldberg wrote two incredibly powerful and important books on media: "Bias" and "Arrogance."

Then he wrote "The 100 Worst People in the World." I bet that was cathartic and I have no doubt that he was hurt by the bridges he burned writing his serous media critiques.

But I find Prager, Coulter, Malkin and Goldberg to be of little worth in any serious advocacy. Like the swiftboaters, you bring up a substantive comment or opinion and immediately have to defend the speaker's most outlandish statements.

I don't know if that is fair but I know it to be real. I don't mind defending the most outlandish statements of Milton Friedman, FA Hayek, or Ludwig von Mises.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2011 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I think that was my point: "But does that make him wrong?" In other words, do you have any rebuttal aside from ad hominem?

One need not defend every statement a man makes in order to defend one such statement.

Peace on.

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2011 1:31 AM

April 26, 2011

'Mother of Exiles'

This is the name that Emma Lazarus gave to the Statue of Liberty when it was gifted to America from France in the 19th century. The poem she reluctantly wrote to aid in raising funds for the building of a base to place it upon came to be the statue's meaning put into words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

One analysis of the poem published by the University of Virginia errs in its characterization of an irony:

"As political propaganda for France, the Statue of Liberty was first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. Lazarus' words, however, turned that idea on its head: the Statue of Liberty would forever on be considered a beacon of welcome for immigrants leaving their mother countries."

I disagree with this conclusion. The statue and Lazarus' words were, in fact, symbols of enlightenment and freedom and did stand in contrast to European tyranny and oppression. However, the fault for European emmigration was not America's new statue but the fecklessness and intransigence of Old Europe's governments.

Is this germane again, today? Do the words in the great statue's base beckon to a new generation of American Patriots to strive for not just "democracy" but liberty?

It is true that much progress toward liberty has been made in America's 19th and 20th centuries, but in many other ways the once "golden door" of America has become as tarnished as the oppressive societies to whom she once showed the way. From the U of VA's concluding paragraph:

Just as Lazarus' poem gave new meaning to the statue, the statue emitted a new ideal for the United States. Liberty did not only mean freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led the American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.

Yet this means little if economic persecution remains. Let not the New Colossus be transformed from the Mother of Exiles to the Mother of Equals, nor let our "tired" our "poor" our "huddled masses" once able to breathe free, succumb to the persecution of "shared sacrifice." Some lecture us that "cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong" and "when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us." And yet, how do government policies which violate the eighth and tenth commandments advance Jesus' word?

God's judgement, and liberty itself, are things reserved only to individuals and not to the abstract form we call "nations." Our government "overlords" would do well to remember this important distinction, as would voters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 26, 2011 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what he said!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2011 6:25 PM

April 25, 2011

What Would Jesus Pay For?

I've been drawn to do a post on the "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign by "a coalition of Progressive Christian leaders" for some time now but couldn't quite compose a counter-invective with comparable magnitude to this ode to suicidal selflessness and moral misdirection. I"m still not sure that WWJPF is adequate but the battle must be joined.

Take a good, long, close look at this photo of Reverend Jim Wallis.

wallis-sojourners.jpg

This is the face of the man behind the campaign that says, "Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, children’s health and nutrition for low-income families? If so they should be ashamed of themselves."

Notice any similarity to the way another contemporary redistributionist speaks? They both use a strawman and guilt. But any guilt rightly due to America was assuaged long ago. Only the unearned guilt of success and prosperity remains as the tool for these mystical moochers.

No, Mr. Wallis (I will not call you Reverend) "we" are not saying anything. We cannot speak. I can speak. I say I will provide for the common defense but will not give coerced alms to any who do not deserve them. I have no shame from the likes of men like you, for what are you without the power of other people's money? What have you created, without it? What have you protected, without it? How would you survive, without it? Please sir, read the sign: NO SOLICITORS. Good day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

They may talk about the second coming, but this line shows up on Facebook every couple months as soon as a new prog friend "discovers" it.

In an effort to clear the confusion in America: Obama is NOT a brown-skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus Christ.

When I say something (I stopped several times ago) I am told it's just a joke, lighten up. Yet there is an implicit QED after this, that they have discredited the concept of limited government.

Or maybe it's just a joke and I should lighten up. The "Republican Jesus" stained glass window, in contrast, was pretty funny: sorry I cannot attribute.

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2011 4:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To an extent they have discredited the concept of limited government; to the extent that one believes Jesus Christ is his Lord and savior.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2011 11:31 AM

April 22, 2011

Counting Money

"I'm rooting for everybody to get rich," [Pres. Obama] said. "But I believe that we can't ask everybody to sacrifice and then tell the wealthiest among us, well, you can just relax and go count your money, and don't worry about it. We're not going to ask anything of you."
That is a quote from the president's speech today at a renewable energy company. Apparently, that's what rich people do. They just sit around and count their money.
Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I heard that quote too. Let's deconstruct:

"I'm rooting for everybody to get rich." Obama's patented opening strawman.

"But I believe that we can't ask everybody to sacrifice ..." Implying that everybody does indeed "sacrifice." What sacrifice is there in taking an Earned Income Credit to get a tax refund when you paid no tax?

"... and then tell the wealthiest among us..." Those earning $200,000 per year or $125,000 per year each for married couples are "the wealthiest among us."

"...well, you can just relax and go count your money, and don't worry about it." Except maybe that little worry about the massive inflation the president is happily bringing your way, making your savings go down in value and your relative tax burden go up. Gold anyone?

But this time, the best is saved for last. "WE'RE NOT GOING TO ASK ANYTHING OF YOU." Because if federal income taxes are not RAISED on productive individuals they won't be doing their part. They aren't already paying huge shares of their incomes in taxes already or anything like that.

The president and congressional Democrats like to talk about "shared sacrifice." Giving upwards of 1/4 of one's earned income to the government is one helluva sacrifice. When do the government spenders start making their sacrifices?

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 1:29 AM

April 11, 2011

Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie

Robert J. Samuelson writes "On the Left" in today's IBD ed page that Big Gov't Edges Ever Closer to Self-Destruction:

Public opinion is hopelessly muddled. Polls show Americans want more spending for education (74%), health care (60%), Social Security (57%) and, indeed, almost everything.

By the same polls, between half and two-thirds regularly feel their taxes are too high; in 2010, a paltry 2% thought them too low. Big budget deficits follow logically, but most Americans want those trimmed, too.

The trouble is that, despite superficial support for "deficit reduction" or "tax reform," few Americans would surrender their own benefits, subsidies and tax breaks -- a precondition for success.

This has always been the basis for my belief that everyone would be better off without the government's "help." Some would have more and others would have less, but at least everyone would know where he got his and have the comfort of getting to keep it. The disconnect between voters' "wants" and their willingness to pay for it is evidence of the fatal flaw with socialist governments: The witches-brew of human nature mixed with democracy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The public wants more redistribution to them, and to pay less - or nothing - to get it. Magical thinking. I want a steak dinner, medium, with all the trimmings; I want to only pay $2.00 for it; and I want it delivered to my front door.

I don't need to take a Home Ec class to know that my wish isn't coming true anytime soon. If the public had passed a Civics class when they were in school, they'd already know theirs isn't either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 11, 2011 4:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Civics? Is that like recycling?

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2011 4:12 PM

April 8, 2011

JK Gets a Bailout!

It was a banner day for liberty theory at the Condo of Love™ yesterday.

I started the day with an email from a good friend, soliciting book recommendations. He is on the side of liberty and light but wanted intellectual ammunition to counter the Bono crowd. My suggestions were not necessary but it was an honor to be asked. (For those playing the home version, I went with Postrel, Mises, Hayek, and Russ Roberts in the first round. I am saddened at the omission of Henry Hazlitt.)

Then, some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time gave me a big hunk of the day to read Hans Hermann-Hoppe's A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism. Hoppe is a protogee of Murray Rothbard. Rothbardians are sometimes too out there for me even, but I discovered their primacy of self sovereignty as a foundation of property rights. Enthralling.

Hoppe goes on some epistemological digressions that I think my brother jg would enjoy more than me, but he comes home to the absolute relative impoverishment to society that results from any restriction, limitation, or removal of the producers' right to sell the means of production. Brilliant. I snuck in an extra chapter after dinner before firing up the TiVo and watching--

Kudlow. "We still believe that free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity." My favorite guest, Don Luskin, co-author of "I Am John Galt" is on discussing whether "The Ben Bernank" must follow Trichet's ECB lead in tightening. (Larry-Y, Don-N, Michael Pinto-Y). Then the phone rings..............is it Satan?

Having dominion over the telecom industry, the dark lord's caller ID matches the original underwriter of my condo loan, and his corporeal incarnation is a pleasant young man. He informs me that I have qualified for an FHA Loan Adjustment. I can get a new 25 or 30 year fixed mortgage at 75 bps below my current rate with no closing costs, or a 15 year fixed at a percent-and-a-quarter less. Would I be interested? "Do I need an appraisal (on my underwater property)?" Nope. "So, this is some government thing?" Yes sir, this is an FHA modification program. "If I meet you at the crossroads, do I get mad guitar skills?" I'm sorry, sir, I'll have to check with Underwriting...

Speaking of underwriting, you'll be glad to hear that there were credit checks involved. He had to get my permission to pull reports and call me back.

I was watching John Stossel when the return call came. Veronique de Rugy and The Jacket were saying that government overspending and mismanagement were so bad that even the Ryan Plan would not --

Hello? Yes, how's it goin'?

As Dudley Moore says at the end of Arthur [spoiler alert!] "I took the money," in this case, the 15yr at 4.25%. The irony was keenly imprinted in my brain, but I'll confess that thoughts of a principled stance did not survive long. I don't think there is any mechanism that would allow my refusal to be heard by anybody more in control of policy than a telemarketer. The money would not be returned to the taxpayers, it would just go a recipient less likely to fulfill his obligations than me.

So thank you blog readers! Productive members will guarantee a loan with negative collateral at a below market rate -- and pay Quicken Loans's closing costs and sufficient bounty to warrant a telemarketing push. If any readers think I am rationalizing and should have made a principled stand, I'll take my criticism like a man.

In the meantime, I think I owe you all lunch, or coffee or something.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

And I swear my first year savings (~2500) will go to promote candidates who will not pursue such inane policies.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2011 11:14 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Heh! While was reading your comments, The Refugee was muttering, "I'm going to tell him that he owes me a coffee," just for laughs.

Actually, The Refugee just bought a truck that uses FlexFuel. So, he can buy fuel at below market prices thanks to the generocity of ThreeSourcers and other like-coerced taxpayers. Consider us even.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2011 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Goramned MOOCHERS!!

[kidding]

If I recall, Rand herself acquiesced to the idea of taking these rare opportunities to get some of your taxed bounty back. The correct attitude is that this is an offset against prior taxes you've paid YOURSELF. It's a subtle form of the Danneskjold strategy.

And your planned use for the windfall is superb.

One caveat in all this - Make sure the refinance is permanent and non-revokable. In the early stages of this new way to deliver the unearned there were cases of temporarily restructured loans...

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2011 12:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Just saved $12 filling up with E85 subsidized ethanol (compared to regular unleaded). That would be $4 from JK, JG and Keith. Many thanks, guys. Don't think that I don't appreciate it.

Curious what it will do to my gas mileage - will track and see.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2011 4:42 PM
But dagny thinks:

Please DO NOT talk about the inequities of mortgage financing. It makes steam come out of my ears! In contrast to JK, jg and I are not upside down on our home. Our LTV is about 67%. Additionally (probably much like JK) our credit scores, income, and payment history are fine and WE CANNOT GET a re-finance.

We have been told this is due to extensive government regulations regarding the nature of the property itself. The fact that we have 30 acres in a rural area and our barn is worth more than the house apparently makes us unfinanceable! Heaven forbid we should prefer to live somewhere that does not fit in Barney Frank's little box.

By now you can probably see the steam from my ears in Erie.

Posted by: dagny at April 8, 2011 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Fairness is on its way, dagny. A bit more mistreatment and disregarding of property and contract rights like this and soon nobody will be able to get a mortgage.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2011 6:20 PM

April 6, 2011

Colorado Dems Choose Unions over Schools

When news of a 2011-12 budget compromise between Colorado's Republican House and Democrat Senate was announced this week the big story was that cuts to state funding of K-12 education would be $82 million less than our Democrat Governor had recommended - $250 million instead of $332 million. Despite this change and that Democrats are largely in control, the house majority leader's insistence on some relief from last year's new $60 million per year tax on local businesses earned him the blame of at least one house Democrat, Pueblo's Sal Pace:

"I think it's disappointing that a greater reduction in cuts to K-12 didn't materialize, and it could have if the speaker didn’t insist on corporate special-interest tax cuts," Pace told members of his party during a caucus meeting immediately after the budget compromise was announced. "We could have minimized the cut to schools to around $200 million if (McNulty) wasn’t protecting his (campaign) donors."

But Pace and his fellow Democrats had an opportunity to save far more than $40 million in cuts to schools by agreeing to another Republican proposal that was scuttled:

McNulty also pressed to allow local government agencies like school districts to raise the employee contribution rates to the Public Employees' Retirement Association.

In the end, McNulty got it all, except the local PERA hike.

No figures were given for what kind of savings could have resulted but PERA costs are counted in billions, not millions of dollars. So the Democrats had a choice to cut funding to schools or ask unionized teachers and state employees to pay a slightly larger share of their own retirement costs. Judging by which way they went it is clear that McNulty isn't the only one who can be accused of "protecting his (campaign) donors."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

We need a Captain Renault category, for when we are "shocked, shocked..."

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2011 6:33 PM

April 5, 2011

The Pitchfork Judiciary

Colorado's state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, just as United States Supreme Court justices. This explains my surprise that high court judges in many states, including Wisconsin, are actually elected directly by popular vote. Tyranny of the Majority, anyone?


A brief review of the "debatepedia" entry on the election of judges provides two opposing views:

Elected judges are more in tune with public opinion - The system of training through law schools and vocational work is elitist and prolonged, and leaves judges' opinions at risk of being, or appearing, out of date or out of touch. (...) Judges are often seen as lacking knowledge of recent social trends. Elections can help reverse these trends by forcing judges to understand and respect public opinion so they can advance a form of law that is seen as "just" to all citizens, not just to their own conscience.

v.

Elected judges wrongly interpret public opinion over the law - Legal decisions require a strict interpretation of law. It should not be driven by popular opinion. Yet, this is precisely what judicial elections call for. This diverges from basic judicial principles of applying the law objectively and neutrally.

Today's high court election in Wisconsin is as obvious an example of the latter opinion as one may ever see. Wisconsin Election Is Referendum on Governor is a predictably biased NY Times "news" story on today's vote, but the headline tells the story. Namely...

"This has really become a proxy battle for the governor's positions and much less a fight about the court itself," said Charles H. Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The outcome is now in great doubt, which is surprising considering where voter sentiment was 6 weeks ago.

For his part, Justice Prosser contends that Ms. Kloppenburg has become the darling of union leaders, protesters and others who opposed Mr. Walker's collective bargaining cuts. He said he saw protest signs in Madison that read: "Stop the Bill; Vote Kloppenburg."

"I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting," Justice Prosser, 68, said in an interview in which he described his record on the court as moderate. "Here I am, I’m walking along, I should win this race going away. But I mean, not if people aren't thinking about what they're doing."

In a primary election on Feb. 15, Mr. Prosser won 55 percent of the vote, compared with 25 percent for Ms. Kloppenburg. The balance went to two other candidates.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Hrrrmphhh. Just finished the very unsatisfying "The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic" this weekend. Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule suggest that Madisonian limits were never enough to constrain the executive and that instead of seeking legal remedies, we should just be happy that political pressure does a swell job.

Sorry to do a review corner in a comment, but that book got me thinking of the DNCC commercials against Ken Buck's Senate campaign. The phrase "Seventeenth Amendment" is conspicuously absent from Posner's book, yet it is the elephant in the room in almost every chapter.

But the sadness is that "tyranny of the majority" is completely unrecognized outside of elite circles of people devoted to liberty theory. The blog optimist does not see that toothpaste ever going back in that tube.

More democracy == more freedom. The world accepts that as truth.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2011 3:37 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Color me naive - but when members of the judiciary are elected by the general public based on their stances on the issues and how they will "vote," then how are they different from members of the legislature?

Mayhaps I'm drawing too much on silly, outmoded ideals and a little Schoolhouse Rock, but I was under the impression that it was supposed to be legislators who enact laws that represent the will of the people, and judges who were supposed to interpret that law consistent with overarching Constitutional principles - not render decisions based on their own individual political stances, law-be-damned.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 5, 2011 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And rule not merely on their own individual political stance but also, demonstrating "knowledge of recent social trends" they must "advance a form of law that is seen as 'just' to all citizens."

Or if it can't be 'just' to all citizens, a simple majority will suffice.

Br'ers, our challenge is larger than any of us previously realized.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2011 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Robert Tracinski observes that since Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement they've worked hard over the decades to reshape state government in their own image.

Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement, and in addition to promoting the power of unions, the Progressives also tried to break down the constitutional structure of government, including the separation of powers and indirect representation, and replace them with "direct democracy," in which every issue is put to an immediate vote by the people. This election is their ideal at work, and we see what it means in practice: giving outsized political power to any faction that is good at mobilizing a mob in defense of its special interests—which in this case is the unions.
Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hot Air blog covered the WI supreme election tonight. Latest word was with most precincts reported except for a few in Kloppenburg country, Prosser led by just 1600 votes. "...needless to say, we're headed for a recount" says Allahpundit.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The recount will give them time to find another 1700 ballots that someone misplaced in a union members car trunk.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 6, 2011 11:21 AM

March 26, 2011

"It's critical that we get it."

Fair warning: Reading this story made me want to throw up.

Since sometime in the '70s Boulder County, Colorado voters have been approving tax hikes on themselves (and their neighbors) for the purpose of buying farmland between cities and towns to prevent its development and create an "Open Space buffer." In my youth I thought this sounded like a good idea. Over the decades I saw Boulder County become the largest single landowner in the county and the price of land there go through the roof. Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that read "Colorado is full - go home?" They were printed in Boulder.

Not even close to admitting maybe they've done enough already, the Boulder County Open Space Department has negotiated a purchase of 756 additional acres west of Longmont for the "not a dime less" price of $30,000,000.00. Thursday night the rubber-stamp Open Space Advisory Board unanimously recommended that the purchase proceed. But what really makes me sick are some of the quotes.

Seven people spoke during the advisory committee's hearing on the proposal. All but one backed the purchase.

"I very strongly urge you to buy it," said former Boulder County Commissioner Paul Danish.

Danish, who's now a Longmont resident, said one of his few disappointments in nine years as a commissioner was that he didn't get a chance to vote on buying the property, which he said has both environmental and urban-shaping values.

Purchasing the AHI Property would continue longstanding municipal and county government efforts to use open space buffers as a way of keeping the county's cities and towns from growing together into urbanized blocks, Danish said.

Try re-reading that last sentence and replace the words "the county's cities and towns" with "municipal governments." They need to spend $30 million to keep themselves from doing something they don't want to do?

Or this from "Hygiene Road resident" Nancy Dayton.

"I would hate to see the city of Longmont ever annex across 75th Street" and allow development there. "It's critical that we get it" in county ownership said Dayton, a former county Parks and Open Space Department staffer who noted that had been the county's goal as well when she worked there.

Of the seven people who spoke at the advisory board hearing, at least two of them were former goverment functionaries who strongly support the Open Space mission. Open government at its finest. But at least they have a really, really good reason for spending $30 million of other people's money - because Nancy Dayton "would hate to see" it be otherwise.

And next week these same people will wring their hands over the lack of "affordable housing" in Boulder County.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:01 AM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

"Tyranny of the Majority" loses its scare as the plebiscite gets smaller. It gets easier both to influence and escape the vote. For this reason, we create State and Federal constitutions to ensure that minority rights are protected.

In an HOA, town, city, county, or family, a simple majority generally rules.

Perhaps it's not definitional libertarianism, but I was comparing an open space purchase approved by the city, county, or plebiscite to what I thought was your suggestion that municipal governments should create these buffers through zoning and regulation.

I paid extra for a condo on the golf course, and both our development and the Anthem development across Hwy 7 established large open space buffers, which are advertised toward prospective purchasers "47 miles of bike trails."

I know it gets me kicked out of the CATO party, but I remain unconvinced that communal purchase of land is necessarily wrong.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2011 12:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother PE ... hellllllp!

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2011 2:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Refugee is generally sympathetic to JK's arguements, he would suggest that open space, parks and bike trails are not as non-coercive as advertised. In many cases, the conditions placed by governments on developers severely restricts the developer's rights. They may be able to develop less than half of the property and are required to put the remainder in open space, parks, trails, etc. Of course, the cost merely gets transfered to the homeowners who pay higher prices as a result. But they don't have to buy.

An alternative model is Texas where nearly all land is private and has very few zoning restrictions. As a result, you may get a mansion surrounded by trailers. Almost all building restrictions are at the HOA level in planned communities.

The Refugee abhors HOAs and does not want some busy-body telling him what color to paint his house or determine if he can build another horse barn. We all have a right to live anywhere we want, but not under the conditions (or price) that we want. Choose your own location.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 28, 2011 12:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice tag. The Refugee is correct that the integrated open space amenities I spoke of are coerced and I withdraw that portion of my argument.

No one has refuted my principle point that the residents of Boulder Colorado are free to band together to perform bad economics.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are correct: Just as individuals are free to band together and move to New Hampshire with the intent of creating a free state, other individuals are free to band together in the formerly free town of Boulder and create a people's police state. Ain't democracy grand?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2011 4:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg makes a brilliant defense of Federalism using the analogy of college dorm rooms. He suggests that having a party dorm and a study dorm as a better solution to forcing the partiers to go to bed at ten and studiers' enduring loud music until ten.

Boulder does what it does and we all leave. Democracy's not so bad.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2011 4:33 PM

February 26, 2011

"Sustainable" Energy Unsustainable

Live by the subsidy - die by the subsidy.

More than 200 supporters of solar energy rallied on the west steps of the state Capitol this afternoon to protest Xcel Energy's decision to cut incentives for solar system installations.

Had this been a "Teabaggers" rally the narrative would have been "Nearly 200 opponents of the Obama Administration rallied ..." But I digress.

"It has created a lot of fear in the industry. My job is on the line," said Gary Gantzer, a Boulder resident and installer for Namaste Solar who was at the rally with his two young children.

About 5,300 people work in the solar installation industry, and insiders estimate half those jobs could be at risk if the Public Utilities Commission lets the proposal stand.

So what you're saying is, those jobs might never have existed in the first place had those subsidies not been given. Given by whom, you may ask. Ratepayers.

A 2 percent charge on utility bills supports the program and other efforts to promote renewable energy development.

How much subsidy, you may ask.

Since 2006, the program has provided $274 million in incentives for 9,346 installations on homes and small businesses.

9,346 incentives over a 5-year period is about 1,870 subsidies per year. And the average cost of each subsidy: $29,317.

Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? 306 (and 5 months.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:25 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Mike Rosen took on this subject in his third hour today. His first impression was the same as mine - Subsidies created those jobs in the first place!

He also did a good job exposing how this is average rate payers helping solar proponents put expensive power systems on their homes at little or no cost to themselves.

And many callers defended the program on the basis that "fossil fuels have huge subsidies too." Yet not a single one of them could give an example of said subsidies. To paraphrase multiple callers - "I just read that they're there, and they're numerous, and they're huge." (No word whether it was from an authoritaritive source, like the internets.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2011 3:00 PM
But JC thinks:

Here is an example of subsidies.
Please comment to let me know if this resource is acceptable to you.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf

Posted by: JC at March 4, 2011 1:35 PM
But JC thinks:

"Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? ...306 [years] (and 5 months.)"

Just for MORE fun:
Estimated number of people on the planet = 6.9 billion
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html

Estimated global subsidies for oil in 2008 = 312 billion
http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2010/11/23/global-fossil-fuel-and-renewable-subsidies/

Estimated U.S. Energy Subsidies (tax expenditures (TE)) = 6.74 billion (subtracting TE subsidies for ALL renewables)
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf
Hold that thought - this is for U.S. subsidies alone

How many years could these U.S. subsidies power a single, average American home if every person on the planet had an average American home? Well? How many?

Thought experiment: What kind of impact would there be on global energy markets if every person on the planet had an "average American home"? (frightening)

Subsidizing Big Oil:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/vehicle_impacts/cars_pickups_and_suvs/subsidizing-big-oil.html

Posted by: JC at March 5, 2011 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

You asked if the DOE site was an acceptable source. To be fair, I was still thinking about it -- I place moderate faith in gub'mint statistics and the DOE is toward the bottom.

Then you link to far more partisan sources.

We don't agree on much around here, but I suspect all ThreeSourcers would agree that neither oil, ethanol, nor unicorn farts should be subsidized. Let them all compete in the free market.

However, what many opponents call subsidies are simply standard features in the tax code. I'd love to clean up the tax code, but in the meantime, the only way a large company can exist in the US is to take advantage of all the loopholes.

GE and Whirlpool use these to pay pretty much zero taxes, but because they're making Energy Star appliances -- and grease the right palms -- they get less flack than the big bad oil companies.

Real subsidies need to go bye-bye, no arguments 'round here. But do you think they just happened last week? You want to subsidize "green" energy? In decades, that will be what's keeping us from transitioning to something better.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2011 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for bringing the debate here from Facebook JC. When my online time is limited it will go to this page before any other.

If you have a point to make other than villification of American prosperity then you'll have to spell it out for me. That's a lot of info there.

But I think you may have mistaken the fun I poked at callers having no clue how government subsidizes oil for my personal approval of said subsidies, or denial that they exist. I want them ALL killed. All corporate welfare, whether for conventional, productive energy or for alternative, wishful energy companies - zeroed. We can argue about research later but I think we should agree on the corporate subsidy point. (Caveat: Namaste Solar and other small, local businesses fall under the heading of "corporation.")

It took until recently for me to realize it but when a Republican politician says he is for "all of the above" on energy policy he isn't just saying he is pro-drilling. Unless he says otherwise you must assume he is "pro-subsidy" for "all of the above." And if this can be verified, OFF WITH HIS HEAD! (Electorally, of course.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 11:23 AM

February 12, 2011

Fictional 'Atlas Shrugged' Becomes America's Reality

With the 'Atlas Shrugged' movie [thanks for the link KA] set to open in just two months it is nice to see favorable treatment of the book in the press. This short column by Michael Smith of the Panama City News Herald includes one of the most objective summaries of the plot that I've ever read. But the main point is to show how the 1957 fictional plot so closely mirrors 21st century current events.

Hayek and Rand provide examples that are simplified views of our current times and the evolution of governmental control using collectivist policies in a "crisis" as an effective approach to problem resolution. A similar march toward a predictable endgame pitting the "looters" against the "producers" of value is clearly visible today.

And yes, he does also quote Hayek. (Now you can't resist clicking through, can you!)

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2011

The "TEA Movement" is More Popular Than a "Big-Tent"

Comity? Who needs comity?

Jared Rhoads of The Lucidicus Project (Helping medical students understand free markets) agrees with me (and Robert Tracinski) that limited government is not merely a practical issue, but a moral one.

I used to think that Republicans did stand for individual rights on principle, but that they shied away from moral arguments because they deemed it better public relations to be "big-tent," inclusive, neutral. Well, over the past two years, the Tea movement has demonstrated that pro-individualist moral sentiments are popular and effective. We are still waiting for the Republicans to catch up.

What is holding them back? As writer Craig Biddle explains in a recent article in The Objective Standard, Republicans face a self-imposed obstacle in their effort to limit government to its proper functions: they still believe that being moral consists of sacrificing oneself for the needs of others.

Imagine approaching your moderate Republican Congressperson and making the case for cutting government based on the morality of individual rights. He may smile and nod in agreement, but as Biddle indicates, there is conflict churning in his head:

•Repeal Obamacare? How can we do that if the right thing to do is to sacrifice for others? People need medical care, and Obamacare will provide it by forcing everyone to sacrifice as he should.

•Phase out Medicare? How can we do that if we are morally obliged to provide for the needy? The elderly need medical care, and Medicare provides it by forcing everyone to pony up.

•Phase out Social Security? How can we do that if, as the bible tells us, we are our brother's keeper? The elderly need money for retirement, and Social Security provides it by forcing everyone to do the right thing.

The only proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights. It is not to oversee our healthcare, help us be charitable, or assist with our retirement planning. There is no way to roll back Obamacare or other government encroachments without recognizing this fact and stating it openly on the floors of the House and Senate.

The next time we circulate a petition, let's tell the supporters of Obamacare that what they have done is not simply impractical, unfair, or too expensive. Let's tell them it is wrong.


Posted by JohnGalt at 1:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Video Contest Winners

Yaron Brook and John Stossel handed out the check on this show last night (I'm, of course, yelling at the TV: "MAKE HIM SHARE THE PRIZE WITH #2!!!")

atlas_film.jpg

The top three are all worth a watch.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2011

The Next Moral Crusade -- Capitalism


Over the New Year's holiday spent here in Seattle with Mr. and Mrs. Macho Duck I re-read an article in a 2008 issue of The Intellectual Activist (Vol. 20, No. 1.) The article's title is 'Fusionism Comes Unfused.' It reopened some internecine disputes in a clearly stated way so I wanted to share. Checking first for posts containing the word "Tracinski" (the author) I found a drought from 2007 until 2010. Shame on me!

The piece reviews the 2008 GOP primary season, where Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee's early leads evaporated, for no apparent reason, to leave the field wide open. Tracinski attributes the cause to a "desperate desire" on the part of GOP voters to avoid the stark choice between a pro-defense, pro-markets and "not particularly religious" Giuliani and a "strongly religious, anti-abortion candidate who has nothing particular to offer on the war and denounces the pro-free-market Club for Growth as the 'Club for Greed."

"But in avoiding the choice between a religious agenda and a secular agenda, Republicans were forced to evade the substantive issues at stake in th election and focus instead on the personal qualities of the candidates. (...)

In short, faced with a big ideological question on the role of religion, Republicans dodged the issue and instead chose a candidate on non-ideological grounds. [McCain, the flip-flip-flopper]

Yet the conflict between the religious and secular wings of the conservative agenda cannot be avoided, even if Republicans declined to resolve it this year.

Republican fusionism is unstable because its basic premise -- that the moral foundation of free markets and Americanism can be left to the religious traditionalists -- is false. For five decades, under the influence of fusionism, conservatives have largely ceded to the religious right the job of providing the moral fire to sustain their movement. But they are discovering that the religionists do not have a strong moral commitment to free markets. In fact, the religious right seems to be working on its own version of 'fusion' -- with the religious left.

(...)

The reason for this shift toward the religious left is that religion ultimately cannot support the real basis for capitalism and a strong American national defense: a morality of rational self-interest. Christianity is too deeply committed to a philosophy of self-abnegation, a destructive morality that urges men to renounce any interest in worldly goods and to turn the other cheek in the face of aggression. (...)

Tricked by William F. Buckley and his fusionists into outsourcing moral questions to the guardians of religious tradition, the right has never been able to develop the moral case for rational self-interest -- which means that it never developed the moral case for the profit motive, property rights, and the free market. Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues, but thanks to "fusionism," they are unable to articulate them. And this means that they have never been able to turn the defense of free markets into a moral crusade."

To my religious brothers and sisters I urge you not to read this as an indictment of your faith. Religious morality has much to offer in the realm of personal values. But as a universal guide for the conduct of civilizations it is too easily co-opted by the forces of World Socialism.

A defense of capitalism as the means for men to deal with one another is not only not an abandonment of moral values, it is the only moral crusade that can hope to ever have a peaceful end.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I guess this post means holiday comity is now officially over. It was fun.

I don't know that Mr. Tracinski has changed his tune since 2008, but I posit that the Tea Party and the 2010 elections have about completely debunked his argument.

I had the good fortune to meet, via one of my most leftist friends, one of Hizzoner's state campaign chairmen, I parroted the media line about how Giuliani erred in waiting for the Florida primaries, yadda, yadda. This person, 25 years my junior looked at me as a naive waif and said "yeah, that's what we said -- we spent piles of money in New Hampshire and couldn't get anywhere." Without dismissing the candidate's faults, the GOP is clearly not ready for a social libertarian of Giuliani's stripes.

But by the same token, they did not pick His Huckness. TIA sees that as some nefarious plot, I see it as recognition of electoral exigencies. Moderates appeal to the American electorate and prosper in the American system.

Yet I return to the Tea Party, which brought a bounty of serious freedom candidates like Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul. Subtract the evangelicals from the Tea Party and you have a typical libertarian gabfest with some angry bearded guys.

I think this comment still holds: we have to hold our uneasy partnership together to hold back the forces of collectivism. Frank Meyers was right -- it's worth it.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2011 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And I say the TPM validates his argument.

I read you as focusing on one aspect of the post: why Rudy and Huckabee were rejected. It is a fact that they were, and you passed right on by the new fusion of the religious right with the religious left or the assertion that Republican fusionism is fundamentally unstable.

As for the TEA Party verdict, consider from the last quoted paragraph - "Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues..." But they don't understand why it is virtuous. The closest they usually come is to quote the Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The World Socialists slay this foe with the ol' "200 year-old dead white guys" argument.

The past quote you linked celebrated that "pro-lifers line up to vote when it's 40 below." They do so because it is a moral cause for them. You couldn't oppose making the profit motive, property rights and the free market an equally or more powerful moral cause, so you must just consider it impossible. "If man were meant to fly then God would have given him wings."

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2011 2:52 PM

November 8, 2010

Voters for Property Rights

In last Tuesday's election 1,339,522 Washington State voters chose not to "demand the unearned" when they rejected Initiative 1098 by a whopping 2-1 margin. What did this Democrat-leaning state find so objectionable? I-1098 proposed a new state income tax on people making $200,000 per year or more (adjusted gross income.) A chief advocate for the proposal, Bill Gates Sr., said "Our tax code is unfair" and "Poor people and middle-income people are paying too much to support the state and rich people aren't paying enough. That's the starting point for me." Is it also unfair that poor people get exactly the same number of votes as rich people - one per person? Why then is it unfair that everyone pay an equal share of the cost of running the state?

Michelle Malkin uses the Washington result to urge "outing" the White House's "war on wealth."

I-1098's promoters tried to disguise their wealth-suppression vehicle as tax "relief" by tossing in a few stray targeted cuts. But they were called out by a judge and slapped with a court order to make the income tax burden explicit in the ballot title.

If only the taxmen in Washington, D.C., were required to do the same. Obama's budget proposal is a soak-the-rich scheme adorned with a few business tax breaks that would -- for starters -- impose nearly $1 trillion in higher taxes on couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000. Some "relief."

Now a few words on those who did attempt to "demand the unearned." The I-1098 campaign was naturally supported by donations from Bill Gate's Sr., in the amount of $600,000, but also by many thousands of unwitting supporters who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA.) These two unions were the measure's 1st and 2nd highest donors, respectively giving a combined $3.3 million. And they committed a moral crime by using union dues to lobby for this new tax against the wishes of doubtless thousands of members. In essence, the unions used unearned dues from coerced members to buy the megaphones they used to demand unearned tax dollars from productive Washingtonians.

But they failed. For their effort, however, I will thank them for the referendum that proves the unpopularity of their "fairness" scheme. Hope for liberty still flickers.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Now there's an idea - let's get someone to sponsor a Constitutional amendment whereby each citizen gets one vote per dollar of federal income tax paid. It would go nowhere, but the resulting uproar from the left would graphically highlight our inequitable tax system.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 8, 2010 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

For a mere thirty pieces of silver, you can read a good piece in the WSJ Ed Page today as well:

So what's the matter with Washington? Clearly, its middle-class residents understand an economic reality that eludes Mr. Gates and many other already-rich advocates of higher taxes: The absence of an income tax has been Washington's greatest comparative advantage over its high-income tax neighbors in California and Oregon. Texas Governor Rick Perry even sent a letter to Washington state's biggest employers, inviting them to move to no-income-tax Texas.

The larger message, which also eludes the nation's leading proponent of soak-the-rich tax ideas--the fellow in the Oval Office--is that the average person simply doesn't believe that the taxers will stop with the wealthy. To protect both themselves and the greater economy outside their windows, voters prefer a tax system whose rates aren't rising--on anyone.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2010 4:27 PM
But PoppaGary thinks:

Part of the reason we voted this measure down was the fact that in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature. Based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone.
We had to re-implement the law requiring a super majority to pass tax increases after they repealed it once the 2 yr window was up. Their reason?: it was a fiscal emergency! BUT, if so, then they should not have had any problems getting a super majority (60%) to pass the increases as the PEOPLE wanted.
Gary

Posted by: PoppaGary at November 10, 2010 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for bringing that up, PG. (And welcome to our commentariat.) As I read about I-1098 I couldn't stop thinking about my father's explanation of America's first federal income tax: "It was a small percentage on only the highest earners and was gradually revised to soak the middle-class." It is no great conspiracy theory to suspect that I-1098 backers in Washington State had similar intent.

(See above soon for a post on the original income tax.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 10, 2010 2:44 PM

November 5, 2010

COEXI$T

COEXI$T

 

A well known but poorly attributed sentiment on free trade states, "If goods don't cross borders, armies will."

Frederic Bastiat wrote, "By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."

And Ayn Rand wrote, "So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

All of these values are expressed through the brand new ThreeSources-dot-com bumper sticker: COEXI$T - Don't Demand the Unearned.

It stands in clear contrast to the popular "peacemonger.org" Coexist bumper sticker that promotes "religious freedom, tolerance and understanding." Not that any of these things are objectionable but they don't, in and of themselves, lead to peaceful coexistence. Free, voluntary, uncoerced trade does - and the symbol of trade is the sign of the dollar.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

If any state capitol in the nation deserves that fate, none is more worthy than California's. Alas, it is only a bumper sticker.

Would you settle for "Its ideas are bulletproof?"

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2010 1:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That, or: "Its ideas are nuclear." Mine would be banned in California, while yours would merely be strangled by regulation.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 5, 2010 2:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


I want 3, but am not quite ready to set up PayPal. Soon, very soon...

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 7, 2010 1:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's the spirit - get one for each car!

I was surprised to learn that paying through PayPal, even with credit card, results in "signing up" for a PayPal account. It looks like it's mostly just to save your personal information and gain your consent to their user agreement (pages of legal jargon to protect them from the trial lawyers association.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2010 9:18 AM
But jk thinks:

NB -- I feel your pain. I have other reasons to need PayPal but it is a service that elite economists frequently describe as "icky."

I would happily intercede and pay brother jg out of my PayPal account and acept your personal check. Email jk [aht] three sources [dought] com if you'd like to pursue.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2010 11:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's where I thought it would be a good idea to have a PO box. Maybe when we're rich and famous. (Or just famous.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2010 1:37 AM

October 21, 2010

Three Sources' first bumper sticker!

Here are some new design efforts, presented in order of creation.

1) coexist1.jpg

2) coexist2.jpg

3) coexist3b.jpg

1 & 2 are 3" x 10", 3 is 4" x 6". 1 and 3 include URL. (I know which one is my favorite.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:05 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Virginia Postrel call your office!

I confess I was not that into this project with the first design but I like all three of these a lot. I guess I vote 3, 1, 2 (isn't that Chicago?)

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2010 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the designs have improved, and the abuses of those demanding the unearned have only intensified. Beside this, most of us will need some new stickers for our cars on November 3rd.

Posted by: johngalt at October 21, 2010 10:40 AM

July 18, 2010

COEXIST II

COEXIST%21bumper%20sticker.jpg

Better?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:01 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Awesome on stilts!

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2010 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Or how about: ESCHEW USUFRUCT!

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2010 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Is that German? ;)

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2010 2:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Nein. A legal term describing a situation wherein a person or company has a temporary right to use and derive income from someone else's property (provided that it isn't damaged).

My internal definition does not include the "not damnaged" clause.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2010 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm thinking of changing the exclaimation point to a question mark and changing "don't demand" to "stop demanding."

And if I could I'd add, at the bottom in small type, "(and practicing human sacrifice.)"

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2010 3:38 PM

July 16, 2010

Coexist

This, on the other hand, might fit on a bumper sticker:

"I hold that there is no clash of interests among men who do not demand the unearned and do not practice human sacrifices." -Hank Reardon

UPDATE (7/18): There's already a "COEXIST" bumper sticker. The world needs one of these too.

No%20Clash%20bumpersticker.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:23 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

...well, except immigration, drug legalization, abortion, World Cup soccer, the designated hitter, President Theodore Rooselvelt...

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2010 6:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother, the operative word is "clash" not "diversity."

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2010 8:30 PM

July 26, 2008

An Olive Branch from One America to the Other

John Edwards' greatest legacy in American politics may be in revealing the existence of "Two Americas" that uneasily coexist with each other in the same time and space on this continent. I propose the following olive branch, from one of those Americas to the other:

"You let us legalize drilling for oil and we'll let you legalize pot."

Now that's what I'd call a real kumbaya moment.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:04 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

That would be win-win for the libertarians, where do I sign?

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2008 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wouldn't it be win-win for everyone? Who could possibly want pot AND oil to be against the law?

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2008 1:17 AM
But jk thinks:

You need to use some smiley faces or LOL or something, I can't determine the sarcasm level.

At the risk of seriousizing frivolity, how many people would support legalized pot and ANWR drilling? I'd say about 9%, making a pretty good little-l-lib identifier. Though my favorite is still the Instapundit commenter: "I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons."

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2008 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I tried to get my point across with a one-liner but it seems we've got different impressions of what "win-win" means.

In "my reality" it doesn't mean that a majority of voters win on BOTH counts, but that by giving up something of less value (to them) they receive in return something of greater value (to them.) Hence my question, with ZERO sarcasm: "Who could possibly want pot AND oil to be against the law" meaning that drilling for oil is likely of more value to those who want to "prevent the decay of our nation's moral fabric through abuse of the demon-weed" and I presume, from observation of citizen's initiative efforts, legalization of pot (use, cultivation, sale, possession, etc.) is more important to hippies than ANYTHING else on earth.

So the only subset of voters for whom this proposition is NOT win-win are those who value neither legal use of petroleum oil or legalization of cannibis. How many people are really in that group? Who would they be? Puritanical environmentalists? Show me one!

Posted by: johngalt at July 28, 2008 3:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the explanation -- speaking slowly and using very small words usually works great.

I'm fine with drilling AND assault rifles AND pot AND gay marriage -- if we can only do something about those wicked trans-fats!

I am really intrigued by this book recommended by Samizdat Dale Anon. Anybody read it? (This full-color graphic novel re-tells the story of police Lt. Win Bear, who while investigating the murder of a university physicist, gets blown "sideways in time" and finds himself in a technologically advanced, fabulously wealthy world where government is nearly extinct and everyone carries guns.)

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2008 4:15 PM