Former Obama administration Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag comes to a conclusion first floated at Reason in what, 1969
Former Obama administration Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag comes to a conclusion first floated at Reason in what, 1969
… is from pages 15 of Milton and Rose Friedman’s essential 1962 tract, Capitalism and Freedom:
What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game. The characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity. The great advantage of the market, on the other hand, is that it permits wide diversity. It is, in political terms, a system of proportional representation. Each man can vote, as it were, for the color of tie he wants and get it; he does not have to see what color-the majority wants and then, if he is in the minority, submit.
It is this feature of the market that we refer to when we say that the market provides economic freedom. But this characteristic also has implications that go far beyond the narrowly economic. Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated – a system of checks and balances. By removing the organization of economic activity from the control of political authority, the market eliminates this source of coercive power. It enables economic strength to be a check to political power rather than a reinforcement.
The Obama administration was urged on Monday to stop diverting grain to gas amid warnings of an "imminent food crisis" caused by America's drought.
US government forecasts of a 4% rise in food prices for US consumers because of the drought have sharpened criticism of supports for producing fuel from corn-based ethanol.
Meanwhile, research published last week by the New England Complex Systems Institute warned of an "imminent food crisis" because of the diversion of corn stocks to ethanol.
So, it should become readily apparent that the answer to both concerns is what made America great in the first place: the competitive discipline of free enterprise. If you can succeed in the market by persuading consumers – not government – to buy your product or service, you should get the rewards. If you cannot, you alone will suffer the losses. Government’s only role in this process is to protect consumers from fraud, not to protect corporations – and certainly not executives – from the consequences of their actions.
The economy as a whole benefits from such free competition. Not only does innovation produce ever more beneficial products and services, but the process of creative destruction produces more innovative new firms to replace old, uncompetitive ones. Thirty years ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average contained firms like Eastman Kodak, International Harvester and Woolworth. If cronyism rather than competition continues to have its way, there will be much less change among the top ranks of US business in the future, and supporters of the regulatory state will be to blame.
I had dinner with Dr. Woody Brock this evening in Rockport. We were discussing this issue and he mentioned that he had done a study based on analysis by an institution that looks at all sorts of “fuzzy” data, like how easy it is to start a business in a country, corporate taxes and business structures, levels of free trade and free markets, and the legal system. It turned out that the trait that was most positively correlated with GDP growth was strength of the rule of law. It is also one of the major factors that Niall Ferguson cites in his book Civilization as a reason for the ascendency of the West in the last 500 years, and a factor that helps explain why China is rising again as it emerges from chaos.
One of the very real problems we face is the growing feeling that the system is rigged against regular people in favor of “the bankers” or the 1%. And if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit there is reason for that feeling. Things like LIBOR are structured with a very real potential for manipulation. When the facts come out, there is just one more reason not to trust the system. And if there is no trust, there is no system.
Now that the Supreme Court has given its narrow blessing to the Affordable Care Act, the big question is whether it will deliver the benefits that its proponents promise. Unfortunately, as it is now constructed, the plan will backfire causing fewer healthy people to buy insurance, raise premiums for those who do, destroy employment opportunities, cripple the health insurance industry, and weaken the economy.
By John Derbyshire on July 30, 2012 at 4:20pm
Reviewing Eric Kaufmann's book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? a couple of years ago, I was struck by his observation, based on good demographic analysis, that "Most large Western European countries will be between 10 and 15 percent Muslim in 2050, though Sweden may approach 20-25 percent."
Perhaps the biggest lie of this election year, and the one likely to be repeated the most often, is that the income of "the rich" is going up, while other people's incomes are going down. If you listen to Barack Obama, you are bound to hear this lie repeatedly. But the government's own Congressional Budget Office has just published a report whose statistics flatly contradict this claim.
The 2012 campaign trail has been rife with accusations of “cronyism” from both sides.
Anger over backdoor deals between government and business has spurred an uptick in legislation, regulation, and oversight. Here’s the problem: with an increase in government comes an increase in privileges for special interests. And in the end, taxpayers and consumers get the short end of the stick while politicians and their cronies reap the rewards of having friends in high places.
So, why does cronyism occur? In my paper, entitled The Economics and History of Cronyism, released today by the Mercatus Center, I cite two factors: government power over the economy and the discretionary power available to particular government officials. If there was ever a doubt that this connection existed, consider this study from MIT, which shows that in the days following the leak of Tim Geithner’s appointment to Treasury Secretary, stocks of firms having any pre-existing connection to him jumped by about 15 percent. Clearly, the market expected firms that were connected to Geithner to do better, all other things equal.
So what’s wrong with this cozy relationship between business and government? It’s not just that cronyism takes wealth from the less politically organized to give to the more politically organized, but also that this taking and giving destroys wealth. For example, when the government bails out its cronies (think former Treasury Secretary Paulson and AIG), it destroys wealth in several ways.
First, by taxing people to get the bailout funds, it reduces the incentive for taxpayers to be productive. Even if the bailout is financed with borrowed funds, borrowing now means higher taxes later. Additionally, business risks are transferred from companies and banks to the taxpayers footing the bill.
Second, by giving money to companies that can’t make it on their own, the government diverts capital from where consumers want it used to where the government wants it used. As we’ve seen in the case of Solyndra and so many other subsidies, the government doesn’t always hit the mark when it comes to good investments.
Finally, when politicians dispense special privileges to certain businesses, a vicious cycle ensues: Businesses put their financial resources towards currying favor with politicians rather than investing those resources in their product and their customers. In short, the government doesn’t do a very good job of picking winners and losers. As Lawrence Summers, Obama’s former economic adviser once said, “...the government is a crappy [venture capitalist].”
Cronyism isn’t a zero-sum game that takes from some and gives to others; it’s negative-sum. The losses to the losers substantially outweigh the gains to the usually less numerous winners. That’s something both sides of the political aisle should be able to agree on. The solution to cronyism is not more politicians meddling in private business. It’s the opposite: Let the free market do its job and level the playing field.
With regard to the previous entry, “In Liberal World, the human cost of making the slightest ‘misstatement’ about blacks,” it would be worthwhile quoting from Paul Kersey’s January 2011 article, “What is Black Run America”:All the while anyone who dares say that it is Black people and poor decisions made by Black people that keep them in a permanent state of disarray (in America, as well as South Africa, Haiti and wherever they may be found in the world) will be promptly escorted from polite society. Black people cannot be blamed for their poor decisions, namely high illegitimate rates; having high dropout rates in school; high abortion rates; high crime rates; poor credit scores; horrible records of personal health; and a lack of participation in certain vocations, etc.
People daring to harbor insidious views that dare hold Black people accountable for their decisions have no place in a tolerant, Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) led society. White guilt is an eternal sin and slavery is a most convenient excuse for the continued decline in all aspects of Black people’s lives (save for sports) and a rational discussion on racial matters will never transpire in America for hate facts are not allowed in the arena of accepted parlance in approved BRA discourse.
I read Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" twice. Why twice? The first time I forgot to highlight significant passages for future reference. It was worth a second read to understand what Fascism is and is not.
Fascism is a totalitarian form of government wherein the the thoughts and opinions of the masses are heavily regulated, with severe punishments for dissenters. The underlying economic system is somewhat capitalistic, but crony capitalism reigns supreme, with the government granting monopolies to major industries, so long as those industries are amenable and supportive of government programs and propaganda.
Fascism seeks to seize the minds of the population early on, by requiring children to be indoctrinated in government-run schools, often requiring them to live apart from their parents' influence. This was seen in both Jacobin France and later on in more modern fascist societies.
Goldberg discusses several variants of fascism; yes, the well-known kind under Mussolini and Hitler, but other forms like the Jacobins of the French Revolution, who micro-managed French society with mad obsession, executing thousands of people at whim, based on the victims' social class but also based on rumor and slander from neighbors. The French Revolution was a disgusting descent into madness and mass murder by the revolutionary government. "Fascist" is a term that justly fits that epoch and its movement.
In American history, both Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson come closest to fascist rule, displaying the same policies: crony capitalism, an enforced political viewpoint, punishment and imprisonment of dissenters, and government force.
Today we see fascism boldly reasserting itself in the American and European Left. There are unofficial policies, practices and dogmas that must not be questioned and must be vigorously supported....or else. Some of these are:
1. Near-worship of the sacred non-white "other." You may not make jokes, references or comments that in any way might be considered flippant, disrespectful or in any way "iffy" of any member of a leftist "protected group," with blacks being the foremost example. The Lawrence Auster Rule on Protected Groups is “The more troublesome, unassimilable, or dangerous a designated minority or non-Western group actually is, the more favorably it is treated.”
2. Extreme Intolerance of Dissent and Differing Beliefs. Fascism is marked by extreme intolerance for dissenting beliefs. Either tow the party line and support the Official Narrative or suffer the consequences. The most recent example of this is the Fascist Greek Olympics Committee, who abruptly ended the Olympics career of 24 year old Voula Papachristou for tweeting a mild and harmless joke involving blacks in Greece. Her mild joke denigrated no one, but could be considered "iffy" by a man on horseback riding by in a snowstorm, so the fascist ax fell quickly. Voula Papachristou, who had been training for many hours over several years to compete in the Olympics, was kicked off the Greek Olympics team without hearing or appeal. The Greek Olympics Committee, like any official fascist body, acted as judge, jury and executioner, in what can only be viewed as an over-the-top, totalitarian act, a punishment completely out of proportion to the alleged "crime" of free speech.
This is group-think, intolerance for independent thought, with a need to publicly punish and humiliate the miscreants. Before you can regiment society, you must train the minds of the masses. Instill knee-jerk reactions so that alternative views are unthinkable.
Another example is Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain, whose owners have publicly opposed the legalization of gay marriage (putting them in agreement with the vast majority of the American public). To punish the thought crime of the owners, mayors of San Francisco and Chicago have vowed to prevent Chick-Fil-A from doing business in their cities. Its owners are being punished for thought crimes, because fascism allows no diversity of thought or belief. Fascists generally do not tolerate dissent and will go to extreme measures to prevent it. Like under the German and Italian fascists, like the Woodrow Wilson Administration, industry is only supported by the government when business is subservient and supportive of government policies, programs and propaganda.
2. Extreme Bias Against a Specific Ethnic Group. The German fascists had the Jews, and the Jacobins had the Nobility for use as sacrificial lambs and scapegoats. The modern "progressive" movement, our latest incarnation of fascism, detests white, Christian males. Being white is viewed as a mortal sin and a white skin is your uniform in the enemy army, making you a convenient target. Groups that are very intolerant, hateful and violent, like fundamentalist Muslims and the black underclass, are feted and celebrated in an orgy of inclusiveness, though these groups do not support inclusion or tolerance themselves. They are not white, and therefore friends and allies of the neo-fascists, irrespective of all other considerations. The bias against whites goes hand in hand with the near-worship of the non-white "other" described in point 1 above.
3. The Slander and Physical Destruction of Dissenters and Political Opponents. Fascist movements in the recent past have used street thugs, protests and violence to intimidate the opposition and blackmail society in granting them what they want. The fairly recent beating of a black Tea Party member by government union (SEIU) thugs is a case in point. He was merely handing out small "Don't Tread on Me" flags at a political rally when set upon by union members, who closely resemble fascists no matter how you look at it The "Occupy" Movement also bears an uncanny resemblance to fascism. They occupied public property, created disruption and destruction, all in an attempt to blackmail society into supporting them without the necessity of work. Fascism is blackmail, and the Occupy Movement was both. More recently, we see Hollywood "stars" tweeting extreme insults and slander towards conservatives, often involving filthy and extreme language. See Roseanne Barr, Ellen Barkin, and Cher (who has become increasingly unhinged).
4. A Searing Hypocrisy. Fascists believe that they can be ruthless, arrogant, profane and hateful, all the while accusing their opponents of what they are themselves. Hypocrisy is one of the most obvious traits of the modern-day fascist.
These are not the only characteristics that modern-day "progressives" share with fascism, but they are probably the most prominent.
What happens when Obamacare adds millions of new patients to the insurance rolls while doctors fed up with paltry reimbursements and onerous red tape leave the profession in droves?
President Obama recently made a stunning remark about owners and workers under free enterprise. He said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Who? Ultimately, the government.
Free enterprise empowers entrepreneurs who have ideas and imagination, investors who take risks, and workers who hone their skills and offer their labor. Our exceptional country was built up by the ingenuity, capital, and sweat contributed by individuals who risked it all to build a brighter future for their families. America was founded on the shared belief that government’s primary role is to safeguard our God-given freedoms, as individual initiative and a strong civil society are what make prosperity and flourishing possible. America is exceptional for this very reason — no other country in the history of mankind was founded on such a powerful idea.
The President’s policies have stifled this commitment to economic freedom, resulting in millions of Americans facing painful economic hardships. In the President’s revealing rhetoric, we gain insight into why the economy remains so anemic and the future looks so bleak.
In this President’s telling, success is a function of government beneficence — not individual initiative. His outlook not only makes for terrible economics; it also reveals moral confusion. The issue that separates our President from our Founders is a moral one: freedom and individual initiative, or big government alternatives to freedom?
I'm sure Menino, should he be confronted with what was just read, would atempt to wriggle out of it in some way by pointing out how may Muslims are moderate and how many would not take seriously the Quranic command to put the homosexual to death.
But that benefit of the doubt the idiot won't extend to Christians and so in the mental gymnastics tumbling forth from the excuse for a brain that sits in the man's head, he finds Christians more threatening in some way than Muslims.
Yea, I think we can call him anti-Christian.
And I think we can do the same for his buddy Obama. Bowing to Muslim leaders, extending the open hand of friendship while in the same breath attempting to shove the HHS mandate down the throat of Catholics who actually believe in the tenets of their faith.
Yea, I think we can call him anti-Christian as well.
"the true enemy [is] explicitly violent Islamist extremism"
Excerpt, press release, (franks.house.gov) "Franks Statement on IG Letters Concerning Muslim Brotherhood":“I am not sure which should alarm America more, this Administration’s seeming blindness to the violent and extremist nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Administration’s willingness to overlook it in the name of political correctness.Continuing:
“The letters I cosigned asked the relevant Inspectors General to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood's level of influence in our federal government— the very sort of fact-finding investigation for which Inspectors General were commissioned by federal statute. Indeed, I have now received responses to four of the five letters sent. It is relevant that the Department of Justice's Inspector General was in the midst of a related investigation over the nature of the FBI's alleged inappropriate relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations prior to the subject letters ever being sent. As to that investigation, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, informed us that the Department ‘appreciate[s] the importance of the concerns raised,’ and that he anticipates that ‘aspects of this review [regarding the FBI and CAIR restricted relationship] will inform us about some of the concerns outlined in your request.’ I look forward to IG Horowitz’s report.“The evidence of the hostile nature of the Muslim Brotherhood is not in doubt in any reasonable mind. Let us not forget, for example, that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, whose past involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood is well known and incontrovertibly documented, orchestrated the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, killing thousands of Americans.
“Both the 9/11 Commission Report and the 2011 bi-partisan report by Senators Lieberman and Collins on Ft. Hood found that a major failure of the national security apparatus in those instances was the failure to acknowledge the true enemy explicitly as violent Islamist extremism.
William Galston discusses institutional reforms to make government work more effectively.
the time is ripe to push for new fiscal institutions to engage in a long-overdue rethinking of the rules shaping fiscal decisionmaking, to consolidate certain related government functions within unified bureaucratic structures and undo earlier consolidations that have failed, and to adopt measures aimed at depolarizing American politics, including reforms to the judicial confirmation process and to the congressional redistricting system.
Some of his proposals are similar to ones that I have argued for. See Checks, Balances, and Audits, Why We Need Principles-Based Regulation, and The Case for an Executive Reorganization.
If I think of myself as a customer, I am probably more dissatisfied with the performance of my local, state, and national government than I am with 90 percent of the businesses with which I deal. Why is that?
Fundamentally, I think that the answer lies in the nature of competition. Businesses compete for consumers on the basis of results. Governments are monopolies, and political competition is only loosely related to results. Voice is much less effective than exit.
To improve their performance, corporations often take steps that involve subtraction. They exit some businesses. They forego some markets in order to focus on others. They shut down ineffective divisions, fire ineffective managers, and lay off unneeded workers. Government almost never subtracts.
I am afraid that most people hold childish views of the determinants of organizational performance. They see it as a matter of will, or what I call "sufficient moral authority." When the electric utility Pepco does not deliver the service they expect, they think in terms of moral outrage rather than economics.
Sadly, some of the most well-educated people in the world are also the most childish. I give Galston credit for trying to start an adult conversation.
The control freaks are winning, and they are absolutely killing America. Our founding fathers intended to establish a nation where Americans would be free to pursue "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in an environment where freedom was maximized and government interference was minimized.
Unfortunately, our nation has turned away from those principles and is now running 180 degrees in the other direction. For some reason, our political system tends to attract psychotic control freaks that want to micromanage our lives and make most of our decisions for us. These control freaks are actually convinced that freedom and liberty are "dangerous" and that there should be a rule or a regulation for just about everything.
This is not just happening on the federal level either. The truth is that the control freaks are often the worst on the local level. When you add up the red tape on all levels of government, we literally have millions of laws, rules and regulations in America today. All of this red tape is suffocating our businesses, destroying our liberties and our freedoms, and slowly sucking the life out of all of us. If we ever want to have any hope of restoring America to what it once was, then we have to start doing something about this horrific mountain of red tape.
In America today, there is very little that you can actually do without getting some sort of a "license" or a "permit" first.
The report projects that the federal government will run a budget deficit in excess of one trillion dollars for the fourth consecutive year. Consistent with an alarming track record of missed budget deadlines and a refusal to adhere to budget laws, the Administration has not once met its legal obligation to provide this update by July 15 in the past four years. Today’s report of a $1.2 trillion budget deficit comes on the same day the U.S. Commerce Department reported of sluggish economic growth. Today also marks the 1,185th day since the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate last passed a budget resolution.
An audit of the Federal Reserve would be nice but really it wouldn't change anything. In fact, it would likely prove a kind of sideshow from reality, which is that monopoly central banking should simply be abolished.
And that probably won't happen until people get so sick and tired of being driven into bankruptcy and despair that they begin to kick the doors down and arrest the criminals cowering inside.
And they ARE real criminals. The system is responsible for debasing currency the world over and driving billions into poverty and even suicide. In the West it has blighted the hopes and dreams of millions who scratched and saved and then found their portfolios devalued by half or whole on a single day.
But it is worse in Third World countries. The money never even trickles down in these countries. Billions of people live on literally a couple of dollars a day.
This despite the United Nations and other international institutions that are supposedly dedicated to eradicating poverty. In fact, these institutions create the poverty they supposedly wish to remove. They do so via institutionalized violence costing trillions. War is the health of the state but it sickens everyone else.
It's not as if people don't already know the depths of the depravity that is the modern money system.
No. It's not the same. Our taxpayer dollars have been paying for all sorts immorality, including unjust wars, abortion and contraceptives, and the Church, though it urges a change of policy in such matters, has never mounted the sort of resistance we now see being directed against the HHS Mandate. Why? Because with taxes, the State, though it may mishandle money, nonethless has a legitimate role in providing for the common good that outweighs the inefficiency and corruption that often accompanies government. So Paul, for instance, urges, the Romans to pay their taxes -- even when the Emperor is Nero (Romans 13). But the HHS mandate is not taking from a fungible pool of tax dollars providing for the common good and spending it badly. Rather, it is ordering -- targeting, really -- Catholic institutions and commanding them to do something specifically repugnant to their conscience and threatening to destroy them financially and legally if they do not comply. The entire and sole point of the HHS Mandate is to make open and naked war against the Church and punish her for her beliefs about sexual morality. The Church has a duty to resist such an act of war against her teaching.
In January, unless dramatic action is taken, the Defense Department will suffer even deeper, more devastating cuts. Consider: the one damn thing the federal government was chartered to do by the nation's founders, its most important mission, was securing the nation's citizens. And it has been put at dire risk by infantile, Utopian progressive fantasies of wealth redistribution and equality of outcome.
What's the easiest way to prevent the evisceration of our national defense?Answer: Repeal Obamacare
Yesterday, the Senate narrowly voted (51-48) to raise taxes on 1.2 million small businesses, which will likely kill more than 700,000 jobs at a time when nearly 13 million Americans are out of work. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Jim Webb (D-VA) joined all Republicans in bipartisan opposition to the tax hike.
Most Americans have a sense TARP was a badly managed program that bailed out "fat cat" bankers at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. Well, it's even worse than you think, according to Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general for TARP (SIGTARP).
Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations took the attitude "bankers know best," Barofsky recalls. "It was somewhat shocking how much control big banks had over their own bailout [and] the overwhelming deference show by Treasury officials to the banks."
As Corner readers are aware, earlier this week the Congressional Budget Office put out its updated estimates of the fiscal impact of Obamacare, now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law (while giving states the ability to opt out of the Medicaid expansion). I thought it would be a useful exercise to go back and compare the CBO’s most recent estimates to those the agency put out in 2011 and 2010. I found that, compared to those prior estimates, Obamacare will spend more, tax more, and reduce the deficit less than the CBO had predicted in 2010.
President Obama unilaterally changed immigration policy by skirting Congress and implementing his own version of the DREAM Act. Now we’re paying the price with chaos on the border. ICE and Border Patrol union leaders appeared at a press conference yesterday (see video below) and said that illegals are routinely exploiting of Obama’s new directive and causing chaos on the border.
As noted before, courtesy of the GDP revision, all the kneejerk reactions in the past 3 years to various GDP headlines (preliminary, first and final revisions at that), were all for nothing. In fact, today's GDP number will be revised and re-revised in the next two months, then re-re-re-revised at the annual revisions in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In other words, the number after (and likely before) the decimal comma is irrelevant. One thing however stands, and that is the trendline change in actual GDP compared to the change in debt used to "buy" said GDP. Which is why we present our favorite chart showing how much more total federal debt was added per quarter over the GDP. Bottom line: in Q2, the US added $274.3 billion in debt while adding $117.6 billion in GDP (from the revised data: Q1 GDP of $15,478 billion rising to just $15,595 billion in Q2). Probably what is more indicative, is that in Q2 the delta change between debt and GDP rose from 2.28x in Q1. But that too is largely noise and will be revised. What won't be revised is that over the past two years, the US has added 2.42x more debt than it has added GDP.
Another way of visualizing the above courtesy of two trendlines- that of US debt and of GDP:
And that is all that matters (and all who say corporations benefit from the relevering of the sovereign host due to some wrong equation they learned in Econ 101 may want to take a long hard look at Q2 corporate revenues and then explain why it has just printed the first year over year decline since the Lehman collapse).
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it has filed an emergency motion asking that Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan stop the HHS Mandate which goes into effect on August 1, 2012
It took some eighty years for Communism to fail in the former Soviet Union. Along the way, millions were sent to gulags and millions more died from starvation and World War Two added to the death tolls. Spreading Communism like a religion, it had similar results in China and everywhere it has been adopted.
It takes a long time to rid the world of a really bad idea and, in the latter part of the last century, environmentalism sprung up like a weed to overwhelm the common sense of people with its mix of lies and hatred for humanity.
What does this have to do with the price of corn? A lot.
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an ethanol mandate exists that requires refiners to blend this moonshine with gasoline for the alleged purpose of reducing the emissions that driving a car produces. We are told it contributes to cleaner air and the effects of global warming—which is not occurring.
What it actually does is ruin your car’s engine because it is highly corrosive and it reduces the mileage you would get if it was not part of the gasoline blend. It also ensures that the growers of corn have a government mandated requirement that it be purchased. It is a farm lobby bonanza.
As Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out about the RFS, “No matter how much of the U.S. corn crop is ruined by drought, no matter how high corn prices et, no matter how many people in developing countries are imperiled, the RFS requires that billions of bushels of corn be used to fuel cars rather than feed livestock and people. This is crazy.”
What most people, being city folk, don’t realize is how great a role corn plays in the nation’s economy, its export generates, and the astonishing list of uses to which it is put other than as a vital food for livestock—beef, pork and poultry—and consumed in hundreds of ways by people.
Corn is used in bakery products, baby foods, brewed beverages (bourbon, beer, ale), carbonated beverages, cheese spreads and foods, cereals, condiments, chewing gun, prepared mixes (pancakes, waffle, biscuit, cake flour, puddings), gravies and sauces, canned soups, coffee “creamers”, frosting and icings, in instant coffee, marshmallows, sweetened ice tea, most snack foods….I could go on, but the list is long, very long.
The Wall Street Journal, on July 19, reported that corn and soybean prices leapt to records on rising fears that the searing Midwest drought is further eroding the size of the coming harvests for two of America’s most important crops…The drought now covers more than half of the continental U.S. and covers a wider stretch of the country than in any drought since 1956, according to the U.S. government.”
And, even so, the Journal reported that “U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the situation wasn’t bad enough to warrant a reduction in government mandates for how much ethanol—typically made from corn—is blended into gasoline.” As for as Vilsack is concerned the RFS mandate must be enforced.
Marlo Lewis asks “Why as a matter of law should ethanol producers get first dibs on the U.S. corn crop?”
“What should their interest legally trump that of every other industry and consumer affected by corn prices?”
“Why should they have a legal privilege to jump to the front of the line ahead of meat, poultry, and dairy producers, or those who export grain to hunger-stricken countries?”
If we got rid of the ethanol mandate tomorrow our cars would last longer and drive farther. Since they are on our roads and streets anyway, does anyone really believe that air quality would be significant affected?
So ethanol, like communism and environmentalism, is yet one more very bad idea that is backed by the power of government mandates that benefit its growers, but does little else of any value for consumers.
As we’ve said before, it is certainly possible that some of the environmental concerns are valid, and as the technology expands in usage, more research should be done to determine how fracking can continue with minimal impact on the environment or nearby communities. But there’s a big difference between the sober and deliberate deployment of a powerful new technology with appropriate safeguards and kneejerk Nimby know-nothingism.
So, inequality is a hard, unalterable, empirical fact. Yet egalitarianism isn't just false; it is invidious
For years there have been reports on blogs, personal testimonials and the like, about what looked like a literal epidemic of rape by Muslim men of both women and children, especially in northern European nations where the Muslim immigrant population is high.
But the disturbing reports rarely rose to the level that would make the general population aware of the dangers that were becoming evident. After all, such a report would be blasted for attacking Islam and discriminating against Muslims.
Until now, when a case from the United Kingdom has proven so egregious it could not be ignored.
The BBC reported that nine men were convicted of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester, after they had “groomed” girls as young as 13. But even there, the report identified the convicts only as “Asian” while revealing their victims were white.
The Guardian took one more step and labeled them as “Pakistani,” but it took a lesser-known online news site, The Salfordian, to identify the suspects as “Muslim men” who “plied girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could use them for sex ‘several times a day.’”
Now, the subject that long has been ignored or suppressed finally may be getting the attention a major crime wave would deserve, regardless of the political correctness of the facts.
It's widely known that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), being negotiated as I type, is simply gun control by another name. Although it is being sold as a treaty to lessen the number of guns moving across borders illegally, it will ultimately require a national gun registry to be enforceable: perhaps even an international gun registry.
And while all of us should be contacting our Senators to demand they refuse to ratify this ridiculous treaty when it comes before them, it behooves us also to remind them (and ourselves) that the 2nd Amendment transcends any U.N. treaty at any time and any place in this country.
One of the indubitable effects of the secularization of our culture and our society is the debasement of our collective moral fabric, our social mores. The absolute and fundamental metrics of value forming the basis of our Judeo-Christian society have steadily eroded, and at an accelerated rate over the past few decades. This erosion of traditional values and standards has long contributed to an emergence of relativism that is profoundly symbolized through the uncertainty of our modern financial and monetary system. Just as moral relativism manifests a disintegration of society’s traditional values, the relativism we see permeating the financial system today portends a decline in the future viability of our global economic system as a whole.
In this post-September 11th world, the inspectors general should absolutely investigate whether individuals with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups are contributing to the adoption of policies that favor organizations that pose a threat to our national security. As we saw with Nidal Hasan, people get killed when political correctness gets in the way.
It is not McCarthyism to state these irrefutable facts. These are legitimate requests by Members of Congress seeking, through the appropriate formal channels, to establish whether the Muslim Brotherhood has gained a foothold in our government. This is especially important in light of the adoption of Brotherhood-friendly policies by the Obama Administration.
Representatives Bachmann, Franks, Gohmert, Rooney, and Westmoreland should be applauded for their letters. They are Congressional leaders practicing due diligence; they are not on some sort of witch hunt or publicity stunt. If the inspectors general find nothing nefarious in nature, then case closed, but we must be vigilant. It is the duty of the government to protect Americans from all threats, foreign or domestic. These legislators are fulfilling their constitutional oaths. It is nice to see that despite the current era of political correctness there are still some people willing to do their jobs.
•A 3.8% surtax on “investment income” when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint-filers). What is “investment income?” Dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc. Taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to 18.8%–if Congress extends the Bush tax cuts. If Congress does not extend the Bush tax cuts, taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to a shocking 43.8%. (WSJ)
•A 0.9% surtax on Medicare taxes for those making $200,000 or more ($250,000 joint). You already pay Medicare tax of 1.45%, and your employer pays another 1.45% for you (unless you’re self-employed, in which case you pay the whole 2.9% yourself). Next year, your Medicare bill will be 2.35%. (WSJ)
•Flexible Spending Account contributions will be capped at $2,500. Currently, there is no tax-related limit on how much you can set aside pre-tax to pay for medical expenses. Next year, there will be. If you have been socking away, say, $10,000 in your FSA to pay medical bills, you’ll have to cut that to $2,500. (ATR.org)
•The itemized-deduction hurdle for medical expenses is going up to 10% of adjusted gross income. Right now, any medical expenses over 7.5% of AGI are deductible. Next year, that hurdle will be 10%. (ATR.org)
•The penalty on non-medical withdrawals from Healthcare Savings Accounts is now 20% instead of 10%. That’s twice the penalty that applies to annuities, IRAs, and other tax-free vehicles. (ATR.org)
•A tax of 10% on indoor tanning services. This has been in place for two years, since the summer of 2010. (ATR.org)
•A 40% tax on “Cadillac Health Care Plans” starting in 2018.Those whose employers pay for all or most of comprehensive healthcare plans (costing $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for families) will have to pay a 40% tax on the amount their employer pays. The 2018 start date is said to have been a gift to unions, which often have comprehensive plans. (ATR.org)
•A”Medicine Cabinet Tax” that eliminates the ability to pay for over-the-counter medicines from a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account. This started in January 2011. (ATR.org)
•A “penalty” tax for those who don’t buy health insurance. This will phase in from 2014-2016. It will range from $695 per person to about $4,700 per person, depending on your income. (More details here.)
•A tax on medical devices costing more than $100. Starting in 2013, medical device manufacturers will have to pay a 2.3% excise tax on medical equipment. This is expected to raise the cost of medical procedures. (Breitbart.com
The quote below is from a story in Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the U.S. armed forces, about the first gay wedding at a military chapel:
Coming out on base was much easier than Erwynn expected. Right after the repeal of DADT, his squadron held a farewell luncheon for him before he began a special duty assignment. In front of 40 of his fellow airmen, Erwynn announced that he wanted to thank a particular person for support and encouragement in helping him succeed. Everyone assumed he was referring to a colleague. Instead, he announced that this person was his partner and fiance, Will Behrens. Two beats of dead silence were followed by a standing ovation.Why did they give him a STANDING ovation? We can talk about the failings of the Republican candidates, but the reality is that a traditionalist, conservative view of the world is dead in the U.S. and Europe. I don't see any way it can be revived apart from a Christian revival. Europe has learned nothing from their experience of the last 90 years of nihilism. Michele Bachman was the only candidate who was consistently conservative, yet she was only able to get a few percentage points of the so-called conservative Republican party. There is no anger or concern that western Europe and the U.S. are being invaded and will be taken over by hostile non-Western peoples that will do everything in their power to tear down the existing order. In fact, that is the goal of the left as well. We are about to enter another Dark Age once the rotten structure finally collapses.
This is significant for the future. The heart of every legal system is legitimacy. If the government – family, church, or civil – is viewed as legitimate, people who are under its jurisdiction cooperate. They add self-government to external systems of sanctions. If they refuse to do this, the government’s enforcement system cannot force them to obey consistently. The system does not have enough resources to enforce compliance.
How’s this story for further proof that the real point of the DISCLOSE Act is not transparency, but kneecapping conservative groups while protecting labor unions from disclosure burdens?
They are truly crazed. The Left just can’t stand any challenge to their narrative about the financial crisis and will go to absurd lengths to prevent views different from their own from getting exposure. Below is a “review” on Amazon.com of Oonagh McDonald’s recent book, “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Turning the American Dream Into a Nightmare.” The book is a carefully researched and thorough description of how an ideologically-based desire to increase low-income home ownership led to the insolvency of Fannie and Freddie and the financial crisis.
The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee released a report on Friday entitled A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance. The report makes it clear that abstinence education is the best approach when it comes to the different approaches for teaching sex education to teenagers.
The report examined the theory and the evidence behind both Sexual Risk Avoidance Abstinence Education and Sexual Risk Reduction, or so-called Comprehensive” Sex Education and concluded that abstinence education is the superior approach and one that deserves policy priority.
“America’s teens need guidance to protect them from the consequences of risky sexual behavior. Unfortunately, the current course of national policy on teenage pregnancy prevention is undermining the desired health outcome,” the report says. “Careful examination of research confirms that a value-neutral and risk reduction approach to sexual behavior is not consistent with teenage behavioral theory and not effective in impacting America’s high rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs.”
The report goes on to recommend that abstinence education: “is a better approach, because it is built on sound theory and empirical evidence.”
I'd never associated my love of history with my intellectual affinity for human liberty. I'd merely regarded history as a useful tool for potentially avoiding past mistakes. But it is true, the totalitarian thirst for eliminating and creatively rewriting history does tend to lend some credence to the idea that the knowledge of history is important, perhaps even integral to understanding and upholding human freedom. The goal of the totalitarian is always stasis, which involves not only destroying the future and turning it into a facsimile of the present, but the past as well.
So just why do we give our money and respect to this organization? It's all for the feel-goodism of saying we belong to a multi-national organization. No American leader has the moral courage to push forward with pulling us out of the UN. The fantasy of what the UN was supposed to stand for when it was first created is enough to exert sway over people's imaginations, rather than their brains. Reality is not even in the same ball park, yet we must preserve the illusion. This is what we have come to - funding the fantasy rather than recognizing the reality.
Republican governors gathered here this weekend gently nudged Mitt Romney to wage a more aggressive campaign, urging the GOP standard bearer to share more about his background and draw a sharper contrast between his vision and that of President Barack Obama.
"Nation building" wouldn't fail so egregiously if our leaders learned something about the people whose hearts and minds they're trying to win. But our leaders find it more comforting to exchange liberal cliches than to deal with reality. The international conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo last weekend was "an awkward mixture of hope, fantasy and failure," said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"Nation building" in Afghanistan hasn't worked. And with trillion-dollar budget deficits, we can afford it no longer. Ronald Reagan had the right idea. He provided aid and moral support to people fighting for freedom in their homelands, but left the building of their nations to them.
Keynesian economics is the false vision of human action which says the way to promote economic recovery and renewed growth is through increased government spending, deficits and debt. If that sounds nuts, that’s because it is.
The idea is that the increased government spending and deficits will increase demand in the economy for more production, and that producers will increase supply to meet that demand, hiring more workers and reducing unemployment in the process. Keynesian economics arose in the 1930s in response to the Depression. It never worked then, as the recession of 1929 extended into the decade long Great Depression. And it never worked anywhere it’s been tried since then, in the U.S. or abroad.
I am not saying anything that a good economist or thoughtful person doesn’t know. I am merely pointing out that we can be more effective in the health care debate if we are more precise in our language. We do not face a choice between methods of rationing medical services. We face a choice between rationing according to a bureaucratic plan and being freed to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges.
The intellectual decay of Western civilization has brought us to a crossroads, and we must choose the path take from here. We must choose liberty or an “Age of Darkness.” It is our task as freedom-loving Americans to ignite a political Renaissance, reawakening and re-energizing the ideas of the founders.
As the philosophy of a people goes, there, inevitably, is civilization led. Philosophies of confusion and detachment from reality lead to decay and collapse; those of order and rationality provide the conditions that make social harmony and human happiness possible. Yet the austerity of the rational life is not for the faint of heart; it demands virtue and a steely stoicism. Ultimately, many will retreat into utopianism and mysticism, which obviate our personal responsibility and detach us from the real world. The outcome of the battle between reality and unreality is the fulcrum on which the fate of civilization turns.
You cannot understand the left if you do not understand that Leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some Left-wing Christians' and Jews' claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in Leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian.
A recent CNNMoney survey found that 75% of money managers and investment strategists believe a Mitt Romney victory would lift U.S. markets. The survey also found that "many are also hoping for the GOP to gain control of both the House and the Senate."
Nowhere is the element of choice inherent in energy policy more evident than in California, home to five of the nation’s twelve largest oil fields and energy reserves equal to those of Nigeria, the world’s tenth-largest producer. As high-paying energy jobs swell payrolls in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and parts of the Gulf, the Golden State has double-digit unemployment, a collapsed inland economy and a series of bankrupt municipalities. Amidst a great national energy boom, California’s energy production has remained stunted even as the state’s draconian “renewable” energy mandates are slated to drive up its already high electricity rates. The state’s high cost of energy has impacted industry: despite its vast human and natural resources, the Golden State, with 12 percent of the nation’s population received barely 2 percent of the country’s manufacturing expansions last year.Such inattention to California’s resources may be popular in wealthy precincts of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and west Los Angeles, but the state’s green approach has helped place traditionally manufacturing-oriented communities such as Oakland, east Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Stockton in deep distress. Despite central California’s vast deposits of oil and gas, unemployment rates in some oil-rich areas there are over 15 and sometimes even 20 percent.
As economic forecaster Bill Watkins recently told an audience in hard-hit Santa Maria: “If you were in Texas, you’d be rich.”
This is what happens to workers when their union leaders make insane demands year after year, and when the corrupt alliance of politicians and union bosses reaches is logical destination: bankruptcy and collapse. Detroit is where the ideas that drive the urban Democratic party had a free hand; it is the clearest example of what happens when political systems reject the implications of the collapse of the old economic model.
Arithmetic, when it finally comes into play, is as nonpartisan as gravity. In Detroit, as in many other cities and states facing dealing with the fallout from blue it is Democratic politicians who end up making cuts much more devastating and hurtful than anything Paul Ryan has ever proposed.
Procrastination does not pay. If Detroit’s leaders had behaved intelligently, making reasonable and prudent cuts, rejecting over-the-top union demands and laying the economic foundations for the city’s turnaround, nothing as serious as these cuts would have been needed. But a combination of Blue ideology, short term thinking and greed have brought the city to its knees. It will take much more than this to put Detroit back on the right path, but this is at least a step in the right direction.
With regard to the exponentially worsening economic crisis here in the United States, maybe we are just not being direct and honest enough.
The next time you see a city, county, state or federal public employee — be they teachers, postal workers, librarians, in the mayor's office, or even police or firefighters — don't view them as neighbors, friends or friendly civil servants, but rather as the destroyers of your economic future.
To be sure, the vast majority of these people are incredibly decent human beings — and no doubt see themselves that way. Just as the vast majority of them are very intelligent and know right from wrong.
And yet, given those absolutes, they also fully understand that their unfunded public pensions and elaborate health-care plans are depleting the savings desperately needed for the vast majority of Americans who are not public employees, and they just don't care. They are putting themselves before all.
When asked about it, many hide behind their corrupt unions and try to justify their naked greed as deserved compensation for the "measly salaries" they are paid.
Give me a break.
Every honest American knows that if one of these public service jobs was offered tomorrow with zero pension — jobs that pay from $20,000 to well over $100,000 per year — thousands of the unemployed would line up immediately and consider themselves blessed with good fortune if they landed one.
In large part because of the unchecked greed of the public employee unions and workers, San Bernardino this week became the third California city to seek bankruptcy protection.
Of course, if you were looking for that honest explanation from Democrats and pro-public employee union media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times or Reuters, good luck. They either ignore the elephant in the room (pun intended) or mention the toxically unfunded public employee pension issue in the last half-sentence of the story.
With regard to our economic crisis, the conduct of the majority of the mainstream media has not only been unethical and unconscionable, but legally questionable.
They have known for years that these unfunded public employee pensions and health care plans were destroying the budgets of cities, counties and states, but purposely looked the other way to protect liberal politicians and corrupt unions.
Because most of the mainstream media are in the tank for the Obama White House or the liberal "cause," you will not hear or read in their outlets that Moody's just tripled their estimate of the national pension debt to $2.2 trillion. That's trillion with a "T." Some analysts believe it's even higher.
Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive bludgeons the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation
Environmental regulations restricting the construction of forest access roads have limited the ability of the Forest Service to clear combustible brush and trees, adding dangerous fuel to the wildfires that have ravaged Colorado this summer. The so-called “roadless rule,” which was first implemented in 2001 by President Clinton shortly before he left office, restricts and in many cases prohibits local and federal officials from building and maintaining roads that allow firefighters to clear out growth that could instantly become tinder for a new fire.
That outlines some of the problem the Obama record has. Of course, unspoken here is the auto bailout and how that effected workers. The implication is the bailout was a net positive. Of course Obama, et al, think that workers will reward him for that move.But the entire record of the auto bailout on the left has been one of spin. And most of that spin has been about as disingenuous as one can imagine. Even Dionne creeps around it by mentioning that the workers took a haircut in average salary well, at least for new workers.However, the assumption is that’s the worst that happened hey, at least they still have a job and workers will be grateful. Or, business as usual, a politician used taxpayer money and debt to buy votes, you have a problem with that?As Bruce says, the Obama admin has to make this mess appear to have been a success, or at least credibly spin it as such. The Midwest is vulnerable and softer in support for Democrats than it’s been for decades. If people recognize just how foul the GM crony/labor scam is, that’s going to hurt Obama in states he can’t afford to lose, including MI, OH, PA, and WI. RTWT, and share it widely.
Well yes, I do.
But none of this matters to Barack Obama. If class warfare rhetoric about taxes leads to more votes for him, that is his bottom line, whether the government gets a dime more revenue or not. So long as his lies go unchallenged, a second term will be the end result for him and a lasting calamity for the country.
A new paper states that government favoritism, which is often referred to as crony capitalism or corporatism, is destroying the free enterprise system. Matt Mitchell, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, has written “The Pathology of Privilege: The Economic Consequences of Government Favoritism.”
In it, Mitchell cogently argues that privileges offered by the government to big business, in the form of bailouts, monopoly status, favorable regulations, subsidies, loan guarantees, targeted tax breaks, protection from foreign competition, and noncompetitive contracts, are killing the impetus for small business owners to innovate and enter the market.
House Republicans are looking to eliminate government funding for the biofuels industry through the farm bill — and it feels so good. I am always pleased when any federally subsidized product, service, or industry is finally forced to face the music and compete in the free market based on its meritorious profitability rather than its political profitability. …Granted, that doesn’t seem to happen often, due the ever-expanding size of our federal bureaucracy and the ensuing tendency to nurture bad policies, but it looks like the biofuels industry may at last find itself released back into the wild of unsubsidized competition.
Newly released data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms what many already knew–wealthy Americans are already paying their fair share of taxes.
While wealthy Americans earn about 50% of all income, they pay nearly 70% of the federal tax burden, according to the latest analysis by the CBO.