Saturday, October 09, 2010

Conservative women making waves for the mid-terms

The pro-abortion EMILY's list does NOT have a lock on the female vote

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee, throws cold water on EMILY's shrieks of horror. "Women voters are fired up for this year's election and will most definitely not be staying home on Nov. 2, and there are at least 146 good reasons for this. A record number of Republican women have sought federal office this year -- 129 GOP women in House races and 17 in Senate races. In 1994, another record-breaking year, 91 Republican women ran in the House and 13 in the Senate. How can EMILY's List say that the party is running women out when more and more women are running? This is the year of the strong conservative woman, but because those women are overwhelmingly pro-life, EMILY's List clearly doesn't see them as good enough."

Blackburn's colleague, Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, adds: "The type of women we are running -- political outsiders who are moms, small-business women, women who up until recently never thought of running for office but were inspired to run because of the dangerous course President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are taking America -- are threatening to the liberal special-interest groups who believe that to be a woman you must be a liberal and that conservative women candidates ... must not only be defeated, but also branded as somehow anti-woman. This is absurd."

Billie Tucker, a tea-party organizer from Florida, has no patience with Schriock's attempt to hold onto governing power: "It's not the number of women in Congress Ms. Schriock is really worried about. It's the number of women with Nancy Pelosi's behaviors that she wants to keep there." Stacy Mott, president of Smart Girl Politics, adds: "The next Congress is going to get this country back on track because brave women have had enough of Speaker Pelosi and President Obama's pandering, condescension and broken promises."

All of these women are people that EMILY's List exists to drown out. But they're being heard loud and clear. As Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, the closest thing the pro-life movement has to an organized response to EMILY, says: "EMILY's List has only dominated women's politics for so long because it discourages female voter turnout of what they consider the 'wrong kind of woman.' That dominance is clearly on the wane."

This election season points to a reality that hurts EMILY's List at its core. There is "enormous consensus" on the issue of abortion, Knights of Columbus head Carl Anderson argues in his upcoming book, "Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street, and the Media." Marist polling done for the Knights found that eight out of 10 Americans "favor restrictions that would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy at most." Additionally, he notes that "53 percent of Americans would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of a mother -- or would not allow it at all. Among women, the number is even higher -- 55 percent."

In this election, EMILY's List is playing to less than a quarter of Americans, according to the Knights' polling (which is consistent with CNN and other polling): the minority that wants abortion available throughout a woman's pregnancy. Republicans, for the most part -- even consistently pro-life ones -- seem to be playing to the real consensus as described by Anderson, while being true to their principles. If we can all agree on some restrictions, how about we start with prohibiting all federal funding of abortion? That's a far cry from overturning Roe v. Wade, but it's a start. And, by the way -- contrary to the scare tactics of EMILY's List -- a House Speaker Boehner wouldn't have the power to overturn Roe v. Wade even if he wanted to.

People are fed up with alarmist fear-mongering, because they are genuinely concerned about the future of their country. They know who they are, and they know that fear doesn't build a nation. They know how to keep those who are supposed to represent them accountable. EMILY's List doesn't speak for me; it speaks for fewer Americans every day. I understand why EMILY's List and the people who support it are spooked, but this year, voters will not be tricked.

More HERE

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Epic "Feminist" Hypocrisy (again)

By Carol Platt Liebau

The day after he (or a member of his staff) is caught on tape calling Meg Whitman a whore, Jerry Brown has announced the endorsement of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

You know, it's fashionable in feminist circles to sit around bemoaning the fact that few young women want to identify themselves as feminists.

Wanna know why? This kind of hypocrisy is the reason why. It's OK with NOW, supposedly an organization devoted to the equal and respectful treatment of women for Jerry Brown to call his opponent -- an accomplished woman, and more importantly, any woman -- a "whore." It's OK with NOW for Bill Clinton to engage in sexual harassment of an intern in The White House, and possibly worse in his pre-presidential days. It's OK with NOW to allow Sarah Palin to be denigrated in the cheapest, lowest and most sexist ways.

NOW has nothing to do with women's rights, or the proper treatment of women. They are simply shills for abortion and big government. They ought to admit it and take the word "Women" out of their name, because they no more stand for "women" in general than President Obama stands for small government and low taxes.

Women -- and men -- are on to NOW's racket. That's why their endorsement means nothing. They're just political hacks. What young woman in her right mind would want to be associated with such cheap political opportunism?

SOURCE

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What public-sector unions have wrought

by Jeff Jacoby

ORGANIZED LABOR in the United States achieved a milestone in 2009 that once would have been unthinkable: for the first time, union members working in government jobs outnumbered those working in the private sector.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of unionized private employees fell last year to 7.4 million. That represented just 7.2 percent of the private-sector labor force, the lowest proportion in over a century. By contrast, union membership in the public sector topped 7.9 million, or 37.4 percent of all federal, state, and local government jobs. The share of government workers belonging to labor unions, in other words, is more than five times the unionized share of the private sector. Union membership in private industry peaked at 35.7 percent in 1953 and has dwindled ever since. In the public sector, unions surpassed that level years ago and show no sign of weakening.

The number of government employees at all levels surged from about 8.2 million in 1959 to 22.5 million in 2009. Historically, government work paid less than comparable employment in the private economy, but greater job security and good pensions compensated for the lower wages. No longer: now government workers tend to fare better than private-sector workers across the board—not only in job security and pensions but in wages and other benefits as well.

Supporters of government pension benefit increases routinely argue that public employees are underpaid compared to private-sector counterparts, so retirement benefits must be sweetened to compensate. However, recent surveys used by the City's [NYC] Department of Human Resources to benchmark compensation disclose that in nearly all job classifications the City pays more in wages and salaries than the other governmental agencies and more than most private-sector employers.

Nationwide, according to BLS data for 2009, state and local government employees were paid an average wage of $26.01 per hour, which was 34 percent higher than the average private-sector wage of $19.39 per hour. Even more lopsided was the public-sector advantage in fringe benefits, such as health and life insurance, paid vacations and sick leave, and—above all—retirement income.

With compensation so generous, it is not surprising that government employees are only one-third as likely to leave their jobs as workers in the private sector. The logical inference is drawn by Chris Edwards, a scholar at the Cato Institute: "[S]tate and local pay is higher than needed to attract qualified workers."

Yet when it comes to outearning Americans who labor in the private sector, state and local government employees are left in the dust by their counterparts at the federal level.

In 2008, the 1.9 million civilians employed by Uncle Sam were paid, on average, an annual salary of $79,197, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The average private employee earned just $49,935. The difference between them came to more than $29,000 -- a disparity that has more than doubled since 2000. Add benefits to the mix and the federal advantage is even more striking.

In its budget narrative for 2011, the Obama administration acknowledges the premium in federal compensation but attributes it to the specialized skills and greater education of federal workers:
The federal government hires lawyers to tackle corruption, security professionals to monitor our borders, doctors to care for our injured veterans, and world-class scientists to combat deadly diseases such as cancer. Because of these vital needs, the Federal Government hires a relatively highly educated workforce, resulting in higher average pay. In 2009, full-time, year-round federal civilian employees earned on average 21 percent more than workers in the private sector.

In a similar vein, when Scott Brown, the newly elected senator from Massachusetts, called in February for a federal hiring and salary freeze "because... federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts," he was promptly taken to task by the 150,000-member National Treasury Employees Union. "Comparing salaries of federal employees and private sector employees is not an apples-to--apples comparison," the union's president admonished Brown in a letter. "The only appropriate way to make a fair pay comparison is to compare similar jobs with one another."

A few weeks later, USA Today published just such a comparison. Analyzing the salaries (not including benefits) paid in the 216 occupations with direct equivalents in both the federal and private-sector labor markets, it found a government premium in more than eight out of 10 categories. Registered nurses in the government's employ, for example, were paid an average of $74,460 a year, while those in the private sector earned an average of $63,780. Among librarians, the federal pay advantage was $12,826; among graphic designers, $24,255; among pest-control workers, $14,995. Overall, the paper concluded, "the typical federal worker is paid 20 percent more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation."

Even when taxpayers fall on hard times, the good life goes on for public employees. During the first year and a half of the current "Great Recession," the number of federal workers with salaries of $100,000 and up increased 46 percent. At the Defense Department, the number of civilian employees making $150,000 or more quintupled from 1,868 to 10,100; at Justice, the increase was nearly sevenfold.

The devastation wrought by the worst recession in two generations has not been evenly distributed. Between January 2008 and June 2010, the American private sector lost roughly 8 million jobs. Over the same period, the public sector workforce grew by 590,000.

IT IS NOT by happenstance that the growth in public-sector union jobs—from a trivial share of overall union membership 50 years ago to a majority today—has coincided with so vast an expansion of government and of its employees' pay and perquisites. As FDR had foreseen, there are crucial differences between collective bargaining in the public and private sectors. Labor unions negotiating on behalf of government employees enjoy at least four potent advantages, which they long ago learned to exploit.....

In many states, strikes by public employees are prohibited, and disputes that cannot be settled through collective bargaining are resolved through mandatory binding arbitration instead. Far from promoting compromise, however, binding arbitration undermines it. Unions have every incentive to bargain to impasse and then insist on arbitration, since they know that an arbitrator will almost never award public employees less than the government's final offer. That makes binding arbitration a can't-lose proposition for the unions and a certain loser for the taxpayers.

As a state senator in 1969, Coleman Young authored Michigan's mandatory-arbitration law. As mayor of Detroit years later, he came to deeply regret it. "We know that compulsory arbitration has been a failure," Young told National Journal in 1981. "Slowly, inexorably, compulsory arbitration destroys sensible fiscal management" and has "caused more damage to the public service in Detroit than the strikes [it was] designed to prevent."

It didn't take unions long to figure out that their members' votes, and the political donations funded in part with their members' dues, would yield tremendous leverage at the bargaining table. Consequently, for many public-sector unions, politics became a core function.

Time magazine, reporting in 1973 that the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees was "teach[ing] local unionists how to organize political rallies, telethons, and letter-writing campaigns," quoted AFSCME's president, Jerry Wurf: "We're political as hell." That attitude is reflected on the AFSCME website, which boasts that candidates "all across the country, at every level of government" have learned to "pay attention to AFSCME's political muscle." The union is blunt about its reliance on politics to achieve its collective-bargaining aims. "We elect our bosses, so we've got to elect politicians who support us and hold those politicians accountable," AFSCME says. "Our jobs, wages, and working conditions are directly linked to politics."

For an even blunter expression of political hardball as played by the public-sector unions, turn to YouTube and watch the video labeled "SEIU Threat." At a budget hearing in the California legislature in 2009, an official of the Service Employees International Union, the nation's fastest-growing union, was recorded telling lawmakers to give the union what it wanted—or else. "We helped get you into office, and we got a good memory," she says evenly. "Come November, if you don't back our program, we'll get you out of office."

SEIU's memory—not to mention its clout and deep pockets—was clearly appreciated by the Obama administration. SEIU spent $67 million to elect Barack Obama and other Democrats in 2008. In the first nine months following Obama's inauguration, union president Andrew Stern visited the White House 22 times—more than any other visitor. Several top SEIU officials were appointed to posts in the new administration, including Patrick Gaspard, who became the White House political director, and Craig Becker, who was named to the National Labor Relations Board. "SEIU is on the field, it's in the White House, it's in the administration," gloated Stern—with reason—in a video to his members.

The unions' power to "elect our bosses" has thus turned public-sector collective bargaining into a rigged game -- rigged in favor of a privileged government elite and against the private taxpayers who pay its bills.

PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS will fight tooth and nail against any effort to rein in their outsize benefits, and with their immense political clout, they will not be easily defeated. But neither will it be easy to ignore the widening gulf between the public-union aristocracy—with its recession-proof jobs, automatic raises, early retirement, and spectacular pensions—and the scores of millions of Americans working in the private sector, whose standard of living is being eroded by high taxes, profligate government, and a shaky economy. In states where public-sector unions are dominant, such as California and New York, politicians will increasingly find themselves pressed to choose between the unions and a restive, indignant public.

Much more HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Friday, October 08, 2010

On Winning

Oliver North

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- For reasons not altogether clear to me, only brief snippets of Fox News Channel's broadcasts are carried on the satellite signals available on U.S. military installations here in Afghanistan. That means that if I want to watch the news over here, it has to be one of the "major network" shows carried on the American Forces Network -- or the 24/7 broadcasts of CNN International and Al-Jazeera.

That's how thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines assigned to these bases learned that their commander in chief was holding "backyard conversations" in lieu of campaign rallies this election season. And that's where they heard him talk about how "difficult" the war in Afghanistan has become, how "challenging" and "uncertain" it is, and how the outcome cannot be "a sure thing."

Here's some news, Mr. Obama: All wars are "difficult" and "challenging." Most armed engagements are "uncertain" while they are happening. And few are ever "a sure thing" between start and finish. No one I have met here on this visit to these battlefields is prepared to hoist a "Mission Accomplished" banner. But the U.S., allied and Afghan National Security Forces personnel we have talked to on this "embed" overwhelmingly believe we are winning. Perhaps more importantly, it doesn't help the morale or motivation of our troops, our allies or the Afghan populace -- but it does encourage our adversaries -- when the president of the United States is consistently ambivalent about the prospects for victory in this war.

It should be expected in this day and age that the so-called "mainstream media" will prognosticate disaster at every turn. That's what happened during the campaign in Mesopotamia. The potentates of the press told us Iraq was on the brink of civil war and forecast an irreparable sectarian upheaval. They were blind to the Sunni "Awakening" in Anbar province during 2006. Then they ignored the spreading nationalist movement when it was embraced by the Shiite tribes along the Tigris River basin. And now they are wrong about prospects in Afghanistan. All the more reason for our nation's leader to sing a different tune and use his bully pulpit to extol what is being accomplished here in the shadow of the Hindu Kush.

Our Fox News' "War Stories" team once again has traveled the length and breadth of this country -- accompanying U.S., coalition and ANSF troops and police on operations in some of the most inhospitable, difficult and dangerous terrain on the planet. We have met, interviewed and gone on lengthy missions with them. We have seen them bloodied, bandaged and evacuated to hospitals -- and we have seen and documented the successes being won daily by Americans, Afghans and the troops and trainers from nearly four dozen allied nations. They are all volunteers to this fight. None of them would be in it -- not even the much-maligned Afghan soldiers and police -- if they didn't think they could win.

In the week since our second report, we have been in the field with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Helmand province. In places such as Now Zad and Marjah, where Marines once encountered only Taliban insurgents and hostility, they patrol the streets alongside Afghan police and soldiers -- and scores of children. We spent the better part of a day at the Afghan army and police noncommissioned officer academy, documenting how U.S. and International Security Assistance Force "mentoring" and "partnering" programs with Afghan units are paying off.

Little to none of this ever gets reported in the U.S. media. But the video of fuel trucks burning in Pakistan and allegations of U.S. military misfeasance or even malfeasance in an engagement gets replayed countless times on U.S. television broadcasts. Not even Al-Jazeera beats this drum harder or more often.

Thursday morning, we observed the ninth anniversary of the start of this war by accompanying a combined American, Afghan and ISAF special operations task force on a raid to take down a major opium transshipment point within sight of the Pakistani border. The operation netted more than 275 pounds of processed heroin, more than 150 pounds of morphine base, about 35 gallons of opium processing chemicals, about 45 pounds of hashish, weapons, ammunition and hand grenades. Taliban thugs relying on cash from this contraband were surely disappointed by the deafening explosion that destroyed the haul.

And here's the kicker: Two members of the raid force were women -- a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent partnered with an Afghan National Interdiction Unit female officer. That's a sign of progress in this war that couldn't be found just six months ago.

We shouldn't expect our media elites to mention such "trivial details." But it would be nice if our commander in chief would occasionally take note of these positive changes instead of constantly bemoaning how "difficult" this fight is for him.

SOURCE

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Nobel literature prize goes to a conservative!

Peruvian writer and one-time presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa, a chronicler of human struggles against authoritarian power in Latin America, won the 2010 Nobel prize for literature on Thursday.

An outstanding member of the a generation of writers that led a resurgence in Latin American literature in the 1960s, Vargas Llosa was a champion of the left in his youth and later evolved into an outspoken conservative, a shift that infuriated much of Latin America's leftist intelligentsia.

"I hope they gave it to me more for my literary work and not my political opinions," the 74-year-old author said at a news conference in New York.

"I think Latin American literature deals with power and politics and this was inevitable. We in Latin America have not solved basic problems such as freedom," Vargas Llosa said.

"Literature is an expression of life and you can't eradicate politics from life," he added.

The Swedish Academy awarding the 10 million crown ($1.5 million) prize said Vargas Llosa had been chosen "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat."

The author of more than 30 novels, plays and essays, Vargas Llosa made his international breakthrough in the 1960s with "The Time of the Hero", a novel about cadets at a military academy. Many of his works are built on his experiences of life in Peru in the late 1940s and the 1950s.

In the 1970s, Vargas Llosa, a one-time supporter of the Cuban revolution, denounced Fidel Castro's communism, maddening many of his leftist literary colleagues like Garcia Marquez.

SOURCE

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The Fabled Recovery

When the housing bubble popped in 2007 and financial mayhem ensued over the next two years, revenues to the federal and state governments dried up. This has produced untenable budget situations as states struggle to keep spending at pre-financial crisis levels. “Stimulus” has been justified in part to give the economy the juice it needs to restore growth, which in turn would promote higher revenues.

“We need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape,” said Barack Obama on January 2th, 2009.

The trouble is that it just has not happened.

The American people are still waiting for this fabled recovery. With growth slowing to 1.7 percent in the second quarter and unemployment remaining unacceptably high, the long-awaited recovery has now become an article of faith on the Left. It has become akin to the belief that the end times will come in our lifetimes.

A key indicator to look at over the past few years has been state budget deficits. In Illinois, reports Bloomberg News, the state faces yet another $15 billion deficit for fiscal year 2012. “The state’s financial condition ‘continues to deteriorate,’ [state comptroller Dan] Hynes said, citing 36 percent surge in fiscal 2010 bills to be paid from current-year revenue,” according to the report.

Despite the terrible numbers, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn “is committed to paying all” the bills from 2010. Cutting spending is apparently not on the menu.

In New York, next year’s deficit could be another $8.2 billion. California’s shortfall remains at $19 billion. Despite Governor Chris Christie’s herculean efforts in New Jersey to eliminate an $11 billion deficit and balance the budget, the state “is expected to face a similar gap next year,” according to the Daily Record.

So, nobody is expecting an immediate rebound, despite all of the Keynesian deficit-spending that was promised to turn the economy around. The first $150 billion “stimulus” in 2008, the $700 billion TARP, the failed foreclosure “prevention” and mortgage modification programs, and the second $816 billion “stimulus” in 2009 did not work.

The near-zero interest rates, and the Federal Reserve more than doubling the money supply and purchasing $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities, the government seizures of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM, and Chrysler, the $26.1 billion states bailout passed this year, and then the government takeovers of the health care and financial sectors have not worked either.

None of it has produced the fabled recovery.

All told, the federal government has contracted more than $4.6 trillion in new debt since 2007 under the congressional leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi — all to no avail. Housing prices are still slowly declining. New jobs are only being created at a snail’s pace and well below the rate of new entrants into the workforce. Exports and wages remain flat.

Meanwhile, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are set to expire at year’s end, which will result in automatic tax increases across the board on all Americans, including critical job creators. Gold has spiraled up to $1,341 an ounce, signaling future inflation. Already food and other commodities are inching upward in prices. Medical costs are still on the way up.

Together with the new regulations from ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial takeover, higher prices and tax hikes will impose new, dramatic costs on American businesses, hamper economic growth, and leave Americans out of work.

The United States cannot compete in the global marketplace with these sorts of costs being imposed on jobs and wealth creation. With over 14.8 million Americans unemployed, virtually unchanged from a year ago, now is the time to begin rolling back these disastrous government policies that have critically damaged the economy.

Nobody believes the propaganda anymore. The American people are not holding out for the government “stimulus” to kick in. They’ve seen what it does and does not do, and they want a change. It didn’t work. The fabled recovery is nowhere to be found.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Obama as Roman emperor: Rise & fall of the propaganda master: "Two years ago, Democrats were clamoring to ride in on Barack Obama’s coattails. Proximity to the Obama persona was a prized political asset. Today, amid dim presidential polling numbers, anxious Democrats are keeping their distance. … To understand Obama’s fall, we must understand his rise; and to do that, we must look to ancient history. It was neither for his resume nor his policies that America fell in love with him. In fact, Obama’s policy priorities have turned out to be quite unpopular. It was instead by following the lead of Rome’s greatest emperors that Obama won (temporarily) America’s awe and devotion. This sort of ruler cult begins to crumble, of course, when the ruler is required to make decisions and take positions under unprecedented media scrutiny."

SCOTUS hears scientists’ challenge to background checks: "The Supreme Court confronted the range of personal questions a government employer may ask during a background check, in a case Tuesday raising individual privacy interests and national security concerns. Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, suggested by their questions that the federal government should be given wide latitude, particularly in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

Even Cuba finally gets it: Capitalism works: "It follows the eclipse of similarly stultified economies in three other lands of lingering communist persuasion — China, Vietnam, and North Korea. All have either moved, or appear to be moving, to free, market-based economies while retaining a communist structure to continue harsh political control. Cuba may be no exception. It recently announced plans to dump hundreds of thousands of government workers into a suddenly ­authorized private sector. That doesn’t mean democracy is right around the corner. Though the brothers Castro, Fidel and Raul, may soon be passe, some Cuba-watchers expect their successor may be a tough, but as yet unidentified, general from the powerful military who will use the Communist Party structure to maintain authoritarian rule.”

Europe’s broken economies: "During September this year, much of Europe descended into mild chaos. Millions of Spaniards and French went on strike (following, of course, their return from six weeks vacation) against austerity measures introduced by their governments. Across the continent, there are deepening concerns about possible sovereign-debt defaults, stubbornly-high unemployment, Ireland’s renewed banking woes, and the resurgence of right-wing populist parties (often peddling left-wing economic ideas).”

Thousands of “stimulus” payments went to dead people, prisoners: "More than 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each went to people who were either dead or in prison, a government investigator says in a new report. The payments, which were part of last year’s massive economic recovery package, were meant to increase consumer spending to help stimulate the economy.”

The economics of fire protection: "The cost structure implies natural monopoly. A two-part tariff is probably optimal. You charge a ‘membership fee’ to cover the $1 million in fixed costs and then charge a fire-fighting fee of $10,000 to put out each fire, paid by the owner who has the fire. Some customers might want insurance against having to pay the fire-fighting fee, in which case they would prefer to pay a higher ‘membership fee’ and a lower fire-fighting fee. Depending on the degree of moral hazard, the fire company might provide this insurance, perhaps even charging nothing for fighting the actual fire. The more members a fire company has, the lower the membership fee. Hence the tendency toward natural monopoly.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Left is All About Confusion

Despite their claims of superior intelligence and intellectual sophistication, liberals apparently suffer from an extreme math deficiency, given their misperception of crowd size. For example, the Left will tell us that the recent One Nation rally far outnumbered this summer’s Beck rally, despite much evidence to the contrary. In addition to crowd size, liberals seem to have a problem figuring out what proportion of the American population supports a given cause or agenda. Poll after poll demonstrate that, despite what liberals and their pet media tell us, most Americans do not agree with their views and positions on everything from the environment to illegal immigration to terrorism to government involvement in people’s lives. Given all of this liberal distortion of reality, one should not be surprised by yet one more nasty habit frequently exhibited by liberals.

A review of America’s rich history will powerfully demonstrate the recipe of this nation’s greatness. While this formula can be described in many forms, the most concise equation may be epitomized in one word…diversity. While liberals love to use this word as their mantra against intolerance, they are the ones who actually exhibit intolerance and constantly seek to inhibit diversity. This is yet another example of the Left’s ironic hypocrisy. Theirs is a pattern of accusing others of precisely that which they exhibit and twisting what has made America great into supposedly what holds America back.

The Right is all about highlighting and honoring America’s diversity. Conservatives accept that people are unique and look to turn this individuality into the ingredients for enhancing this nation’s greatness. Allowing people to use their unique skills and gifts to succeed and help others is central to the Right’s agenda. Encouraging and promoting each person’s special contributions and potential will necessarily result in people achieving diverse levels of success, but that is only natural and just. Philosophers like John Rawls, famed proponent of distributive justice, tell us that people have different needs and distinct potential, goals, and backgrounds. America, and the Right, has been all about promoting equality of opportunity if not necessarily result. If the Left will tell us that such opportunity equality is a myth that must be addressed, the Right may counter with the assertion that any deficiencies in that opportunity equality must be addressed, not by enforcing artificial uniformity, but by improving the process of the opportunity equality itself.

Stated differently, the Right tells us that some people are better cooks and others are better carpenters, resulting in diverse levels of cooking and carpentry where the resulting product reflects diverse and distinct skill levels. This diversity should be encouraged since it will not only reward those who excel, but will also encourage those who do not to either work harder or seek another path for their efforts. Perhaps some average cooks will become good cooks, some inferior cooks will try their hand at carpentry, and so on, but the net result will be that individuality, unique ability, and diverse potential will be both respected and promoted for the good of society.

The Left, on the other hand, denies that some people are better cooks or carpenters, or spends half its time whining about why this is so, probably blaming some injustice or America itself for the disparity. Rather than seeing this diversity as a rich and vibrant expression of individual uniqueness, the Left will condemn it as foul evidence of some massive conspiracy to thwart human beings. What results is a mess where bad cooks are given tons of free cooking classes, poor carpenters are allowed to build defective chairs to appease their ego, and the resulting distasteful meals and dangerous furniture are accepted as the necessary by-product of supporting people’s endeavors regardless of their natural inclination, determination, or qualification for those endeavors.

The Right relishes the difference in our people, and unashamedly seeks to use that difference to make America greater. The Left, on the other hand, is so disgusted and ashamed by those differences that it makes every effort to deny, conceal, or pretend that these differences do not exist by slapping quotas, reverse discrimination, and the race card on everything in sight. America’s greatness is that even Barack Obama can be elected because he convinced enough voters to support him, and that many of those very same voters can vote him out of office four years later, not because they suddenly realized that he was African-American, but because they have come to realize that he is not what they thought he was. The Right will embrace that right of the American people; but the Left will swiftly label it racism, intolerance, and hatred and condemn it.

America has always been that beacon on the hill, guiding and enlightening those who seek what can be done where freedom and human diversity is respected. The Right is not afraid of that light. The Left, on the other hand, has been all about covering that light with its phobias, agendas, hypocrisy, and twisted notions of reality and what the American people want. The upcoming elections and the larger one two years hence will be all about removing that shroud from America’s greatness. In its greatest moments, this country has been about pointing fingers upward in celebration and ambition rather than toward the American people in accusation or denial. It is ironic that those who pretend to be about tolerance and diversity are precisely the ones who seek to confuse and fuse America into some distorted, uniform, artificial One Nation which, by the way, seeks to be everything rather than Under God.

SOURCE

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Politicians Exploit Economic Ignorance

One of President Obama's campaign promises was not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans. So here's my question: If there's a corporate tax increase either in the form of "cap and trade" or income tax, does it turn out to be a middle-class tax increase? Most people would say no but let's look at it.

There's a whole subject area in economics known as tax incidence -- namely, who bears the burden of a tax? The first thing that should be recognized is that the burden of a tax is not necessarily borne by the party upon whom it is levied. That is, for example, if a sales tax is levied on gasoline retailers, they don't bear the full burden of the tax. Part of it is shifted to customers in the form of higher gasoline prices.

Suppose your local politician tells you, as a homeowner, "I'm not going to raise taxes on you! I'm going to raise taxes on your land." You'd probably tell him that he's an idiot because land does not pay taxes; only people pay taxes. That means a tax on your land is a tax on you. You say, "Williams, that's pretty elementary, isn't it?" Not quite.

What about the politician who tells us that he's not going to raise taxes on the middle class; instead, he's going to raise corporate income taxes as means to get rich corporations to pay their rightful share of government? If a tax is levied on a corporation, and if it is to survive, it will have one of three responses, or some combination thereof. One response is to raise the price of its product, so who bears the burden? Another response is to lower dividends; again, who bears the burden? Yet another response is to lay off workers. In each case, it is people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, who bear the burden of the tax.

Because corporations have these responses to the imposition of a tax, they are merely government tax collectors. They collect money from people and send it to Washington. Therefore, you should tell that politician, who promises to tax corporations instead of you, that he's an idiot because corporations, like land, do not pay taxes. Only people pay taxes.

Here's another tax question, even though it doesn't sound like it. Which workers receive higher pay: those on a road construction project moving dirt with shovels and wheelbarrows or those moving dirt atop a giant earthmover? If you said the worker atop the earthmover, go to the head of the class. But why? It's not because he's unionized or that construction contractors have a fondness for earthmover operators. It's because the worker atop the earthmover is working with more capital, thereby making him more productive. Higher productivity means higher wages.

It's not rocket science to conclude that whatever lowers the cost of capital formation, such as lowering the cost of investing in earthmovers, enables contractors to purchase more of them. Workers will have more capital to work with and as a result enjoy higher wages. Policies that raise the cost of capital formation such as capital gains taxes, low depreciation allowances and corporate taxes, thereby reduce capital formation, and serve neither the interests of workers, investors nor consumers. It does serve the interests of politicians who get more resources to be able to buy votes.

You might wonder how congressmen can get away with taxes and other measures that reduce our prosperity potential. Part of the answer is ignorance and the anti-business climate promoted in academia and the news media. The more important reason is that prosperity foregone is invisible. In other words, we can never tell how much richer we would have been without today's level of congressional interference in our lives and therefore don't fight it as much as we should.

SOURCE

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Conservatives, Forever on Trial

It's a topsy-turvy, upside-down political world out there for people who thought Barack Obama would be cruising at a 70 percent approval rating while crushing the Republicans like bugs. In fact, the opposite has happened. The Senate majority leader is in grave danger of involuntary retirement. Everyone in Washington concedes Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to bang the gavel in January.

So why in the world does the tone of news coverage suggest all kinds of political problems ... for conservatives, as if they were the collapsing majority in this campaign?

The media elites sound like they're resigned to the idea that a lot of Democrats are going to be unemployed in November. Their coverage seems designed now to stanch the bleeding, to devote their coverage to close races where they can bash conservative challengers in the hope of turning the tide there.

On the first Monday in October, ABC "Good Morning America" reporter Jonathan Karl was alarming the masses about Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, insisting he was at war with history and the mainstream of politics. "In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Alaska's Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years."

"Should the federal government be requiring a minimum wage?" Karl asked. Miller said no, that should be left to the states. But really: Is there any chance that the Senate in 2011 will repeal a federal minimum wage? ABC doesn't really care. They're trying to scare voters about conservative positions. Karl continued: "Miller and other tea party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education. Some want to pull the U.S. out of the U.N." Horrors. Are these likely to happen (as much as this writer would like)? It doesn't matter. Halloween's coming early.

Karl proceeded to announce it was somehow newsworthy that ABC had a supposedly damaging audio clip of Sharron Angle saying she can arrange a meeting with top Senate Republicans when she comes to Washington. That is "news" only if the reporter assumes she's an extremist who's political poison to every other Republican she touches.

Over on CBS News, Jeff Greenfield flagrantly offered tips to the Democrats, including this advice: "Convince the voters that this election is a choice, with ads that argue the Republicans are just too extreme." This was followed by an actual campaign ad: "Sharron Angle, and she's just too extreme." National news stories and local negative ads go hand in hand.

You don't have to be a tea party candidate to have mud thrown in your face. On NBC, reporter Chuck Todd focused on how the California governor's race took a "nasty turn" when moderate Republican Meg Whitman blamed Jerry Brown for the allegation that she knowingly hired (or retained) an illegal-alien maid.

Like the other national reporters who jumped on this non-story with both feet, Todd couldn't find any time to note that the accuser's lawyer, Gloria Allred, has donated to liberal Democrats from Barbara Boxer to Hillary Clinton to Dennis Kucinich -- and Jerry Brown. National reporters couldn't mention that Allred pulled this same trick on Arnold Schwarzenegger when he ran for governor of California in 2003, when a stunt double accused the movie star of sexual harassment. Her lawsuit then was dismissed. But winning the lawsuit or even finding the truth wasn't the point; beating Republicans was the point.

The media somehow deem that Democrats (a) should not be identified as Democrats when they try to ruin a Republican, and that (b) no one should remind the public that this partisan ambulance has been chased before.

Then on Tuesday, the Unwelcome Wagon was yanked along again. ABC began "Good Morning America" with George Stephanopoulos asking, "Is the tea party losing traction? Our new poll says the answer may be yes, as the movement's most famous candidate releases this ad." All three network morning shows highlighted conservative Christine O'Donnell proclaiming in an ad, "I'm not a witch."

NBC's "Today" offered an interview with Carl Paladino, the surprise tea party winner in the New York governor's race. But it was only a setting for co-host Matt Lauer to assault Paladino as too brash a practitioner of "gutter politics," insisting he wouldn't be able to govern New York because they need a "bridge builder." (Do you recall Lauer ever asking uber-brash liberal Democrat Eliot Spitzer about being too harsh?)

The bias is so thick out there you can step in it. But it shouldn't be forgotten that all this biased sludge obscures the real picture of a wave election. When networks like NBC are mortified that a man they would typically ignore like Paladino might just deny Andrew Cuomo his daddy's mantle in New York, that means the polls are really, terribly bad out there for Democrats.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Whitman vs. Brown in CA: "In an election year, this is the time for an ‘October surprise’ — some sensational, and usually irrelevant, revelation to distract the voters from serious issues. This year, there are October surprises from coast to coast. There are a lot of incumbents who don’t want to discuss serious issues — especially their own track records.”

Mexican leader sends bill to disband local police: "Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent lawmakers a proposal to abolish Mexico’s notoriously corrupt and ineffective municipal police forces. Under the initiative, each of Mexico’s 31 states would have just one police department under the command of the governor. Calderon raised the idea months ago and formally submitted it to the Senate on Wednesday.”

Afghans find tons of explosive devices transferred from Iran: "Authorities in southwestern Afghanistan have seized 19 tons of explosive devices that had been transferred across the border from Iran, police said. Nimruz Police Chief Abdul Jabar Purdel said a suspect was detained. Nimruz province, in Afghanistan’s southwestern corner, borders Iran and Pakistan.”

ObamaCare throwing in the towel already: "The federal government has decided to provide waivers to 30 companies and groups that will allow them to cap insurance costs, leaving almost a million workers exposed to catastrophic costs despite a new protection in the healthcare law. The companies and organizations, including McDonald’s Corp., will not be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees. The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers late last month so workers with such plans would not lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop their health insurance altogether.”

Congress can’t repeal economics: "It’s raining! I don’t like it! Why hasn’t Congress passed the Good Weather Act and the Everybody Happy Act? Sound dumb? Why is it any dumber than a law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which promised to cover more for less money?”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Huge exclusions for Gov’t-Run Health Care in AZ

But the one exclusion that is generating all the outrage is the refusal to transplant livers into carriers of Hep C. Hep C is of course the druggie's disease. As a former army man, I have no sympathy for self-inflicted injuries so I see no point in wasting rare organ donations on such people. Note that the virus universally recurs after transplantation. It is the many cutbacks on care for ordinary decent people that illustrate the dangers of government-run health insurance

Arizona's Medicaid agency will no longer cover some non-experimental organ transplants for its adult members, including liver transplants for patients with Hepatitis C, a move blasted as "a death sentence" by one patient advocacy group.

Medicaid is a federally subsidized, state-administered health-care program for low-income people. Some Medicaid benefits are mandated by the federal government, with states choosing to cover additional benefits.

The federal government spent $275.4 billion on Medicaid in fiscal 2010 and $451.1 billion on Medicare, for a total of $726.5 billion on these two government health-care programs, according to the Office of Management and Budget. By contrast, the federal government spent $692 billion on the U.S. Defense Department in fiscal 2010.

In a memo announcing a number of benefits changes for adults 21 and older, the state's Medicaid agency said it was responding to "significant fiscal challenges facing the State and substantial growth in the Medicaid population."

As of October 1, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will no longer pay for liver transplants for patients with Hepatitis C; certain heart and bone marrow transplants; or lung and pancreas transplants.

In addition to eliminating most organ-transplant coverage, Arizona's Medicaid agency also is eliminating most dental care for adults as well as coverage of podiatrist services; insulin pumps; percussive vests; bone-anchored hearing aids; cochlear implants; orthotics; gastric bypass surgery; certain durable medical equipment; "well" medical checkups; some non-emergency medical transportation; microprocessor-controlled lower limbs and joints; and it is limiting outpatient physical therapy to 15 visits per contract year. (See list)

A group that advocates for viral hepatitis patients is outraged by the decision to "deprive" hepatitis C patients of liver-transplant coverage, calling the move "cruel" and "inhumane."

More HERE

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A large lurch to the Left among "Progressives"

A close look at the Saturday "One Nation" rally in Washington reveals something quite telling. It was a major gathering of the "progressive" left, highly billed, vigorously promoted. And it happened to include -- in fact, it warmly accepted -- the endorsement of Communist Party USA.

Expectedly, a bunch of the rally's endorsers carried the word "progress" or "progressive" in their title, from People’s Organization for Progress to Progressive Democrats of America. More still unhesitatingly describe themselves as progressive, from racial eugenicist Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood to Norman Lear's heirs at People for the American Way, plus the usual suspects from the "social justice" Religious Left. And then, too, there was CPUSA.

Why is this so remarkable? It's remarkable because historically, communist involvement at these rallies has been meticulously concealed, hidden from progressives, with the communists using the progressives as props -- as dupes. That the two sides here, on Saturday, happily accepted one another, proudly uniting, shows how far to the left progressives have moved, not to mention their unflagging confidence under the ascendancy of Obama-Pelosi-Reid.

More HERE

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The new black racism: "Polar Bear Hunting"

A trendy sport in our new post-racial America is called polar bear hunting:
What is 'polar bear hunting'?

It's a racist assault by blacks (mostly young men) on whites (mostly men of any age). Most often it involves more than one attacker on a lone victim, and usually from behind with no warning.

In the Champaign, Ill. area "the number of reports of beatings to white men in Champaign appear to be coming in quicker than police can even process them."

The most recent attack was this past Friday night on a lone man walking home after a high school football game.

One polar bear hunter denies there's anything racist about assaulting white people, and expresses concern that somebody could get hurt if Whitey pulls a gun.

Here's a list of national media reports on this alarming phenomenon:

There, that's all I could find after a quick search with Google News. The moral of the story can be summed up in two words: concealed carry.

SOURCE

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Congress beats the trade-war drum

by Jeff Jacoby

THE POLICIES of the Chinese government make it possible for Americans to acquire a vast array of products at affordable prices. For that high crime and misdemeanor, the US House of Representatives voted last week to punish China.

The vote on H.R. 2378, which would authorize punitive tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States -- which includes everything from clothing, furniture, and toys to refrigerators, computers, and sporting goods -- was a lopsided 348 to 79. It was accompanied by equally unbalanced congressional rhetoric. "They cheat to steal our jobs," fumed Mike Rogers of Michigan, while California's Dana Rohrabacher denounced the Chinese as a "clique of gangsters."

From the Senate, where similar legislation is pending, came equally hostile words. "This suckers' game is never going to stop unless we call their bluff," seethed Charles Schumer of New York. There was trade-war drum-beating on the sidelines, too. The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, cheered the "long-overdue" move against China's government, which he likened to "a schoolyard bully." Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, hailed the vote as evidence that US policymakers would no longer be so "incredibly, infuriatingly passive in the face of China's bad behavior."

But what exactly is so awful about selling good stuff cheap to tens of millions of US consumers?

China's communist regime is no paragon of enlightened governance. It criminalizes dissent, represses religious and ethnic minorities, and severely restricts the civil rights and political liberties of its citizens. Particularly brutal have been its occupation of Tibet and its vicious treatment of those who follow Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement. There is no shortage of legitimate and urgent reasons to condemn Beijing's behavior. Keeping the price of Chinese exports low isn't one of them.

China is accused by its protectionist foes of deliberately undervaluing its currency, the yuan (or renminbi), relative to the US dollar. That makes Chinese goods less expensive in the international market than they otherwise would be. No doubt that puts some US exporters at a competitive disadvantage. But it also means far greater purchasing power for innumerable US consumers and businesses. Experts can debate whether there is something unwarranted or "predatory" about China's currency manipulation (which, as The New York Times points out, the World Trade Organization does not define as illegal). But there is no doubt whatever that its beneficiaries are legion, as a visit to any Wal-Mart or Target will confirm. Because it makes so many goods so affordable to so many people, China's currency policy has been called "the greatest anti-poverty program in America." And Congress wants to go to war to shut it down?

The protectionists claim that forcing China to revalue the yuan would boost US manufacturers, adding as many as a million new jobs to American payrolls. That too is debatable. Economist Mark Perry argues that it is the breathtaking increase in US manufacturing productivity, not the value of Chinese currency, that is largely responsible for the disappearance of so many manufacturing jobs in recent years. Contrary to popular view, manufacturing in America is alive and well. The United States is far and away the world's leading manufacturing power, but it takes fewer workers to produce more output than ever.

Not many firms welcome tough competition, so it isn't hard to understand why US exporters who compete directly with Chinese firms want to see Congress rig the trade by slapping punitive tariffs on imports made in China. Their concern is with their bottom line; they aren't thinking about the millions of American households that would be forced to contend with higher prices.

But that doesn't mean Congress has to do their bidding.

Suppose Chinese firms were able to undersell their US competitors not because of Beijing's currency policy, but thanks to a technological breakthrough that dramatically reduced Chinese manufacturing expenses. Or suppose Americans were flocking to buy made-in-China goods because Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Beck, Pastor Rick Warren, and Lady Gaga were all urging their followers to do so. Or because an eccentric billionaire was offering a 25 percent rebate on the purchase of anything imported from China. US firms might fume, but no one would expect Congress to "retaliate" on their behalf by slapping steep new taxes on Chinese products. Why should the bottom line be any different if consumers choose to "buy Chinese" because Beijing holds down the value of its currency?

Affordable imports are a godsend, not grounds for a trade war. It is distressing that so many members of Congress have trouble understanding that. Perhaps a return to private life would help them figure it out.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Tax hikes to drive a second collapse?: "Congress left Washington without addressing the massive tax hikes that will come at the end of the year as the tax-rate reductions of 2001 and 2003 expire. Absent action on Capitol Hill, those increases will take $4 trillion out of the economy over the next ten years — and even if the lower tax bracket reductions get extended, $700 billion of capital will get redirected from the private sector to Washington. How will that impact economic growth in the US? Peter Ferrara argues that it will create not just a double-dip recession, but a second economic collapse — one worse than what we experienced in 2008.

A free press means free from government control: "A free press is a foundation of a free society. For any university president to argue against it would seem unusual. When it’s also the head of the Columbia School of Journalism, then people on both left and the right have reason to scratch their heads in bewilderment. Bollinger has called for federal funding of the media in a piece with the terrifying headline: ‘Journalism Needs Government Help.’ He advocates for the creation of an ‘American World Service that can compete with the BBC and other global broadcasters.’ And he wants government to pay for it. This is not just a bad idea, it’s a dangerous one.”

Stimulus: Government snooping in your trash: "Somebody could be snooping in your trash … and you’re paying for it! In a growing number of cities across the U.S., local governments are placing computer chips in recycling bins to collect data on refuse disposal, and then fining residents who don’t participate in recycling efforts and forcing others into educational programs meant to instill respect for the environment. In at least one city, Dayton, Ohio, this invasion of your privacy is paid for by federal ‘Stimulus’ funds.”

Zernike’s stupid outrage: "In a news report on October 2nd, 2010, titled ‘Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts,’ New York Times reporter Kate Zernike tells us that books like Frederick Bastiat’s The Law, from 1850, and F. A Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom from 1944, are selling like hotcakes among Tea Party members. OMG! How awful. Next we will be told that some people are studying Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Hume, Smith, Locke, Marx and other authors of ‘long-ago’ texts in order to learn about political economy, ethics, social philosophy and such.”

We can’t afford the luxury of high-speed rail: "This past Tuesday, Amtrak proposed to spend more than $100 billion increasing the top speeds of trains in its Boston-to-Washington corridor from 150 to 220 miles per hour. In August, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood estimated that President Obama’s proposal to extend high-speed rail to other parts of the country will cost at least $500 billion. No one knows where this money will come from, but President Obama argues that we need to spend it because high-speed rail will have a ‘transformative effect’ on the American economy. In fact, all it will do is drag the economy down.”

Finance, TARP, and the Great Recession: "These days, we are hearing that TARP is ending, that it will cost less than expected, and that it worked. In an interview at the main event yesterday, Treasury Secretary Geithner says that by injecting capital into large banks, policy makers did something unpopular that would benefit the country. They took one for the team, so to speak. This may be the true narrative. But there are many unknowns.”

UK to overhaul welfare, child benefits: "Britain will cap payments to jobless families and scrap child benefits for high earners in a sweeping overhaul of the country’s welfare system, George Osborne, the Treasury chief, said yesterday. … Osborne said Britain’s coalition government would introduce a new welfare cap to make sure families in which both parents are unemployed do not receive more in benefits than an average family earns in wages. Osborne also announced parents who earn more than $70,000 per year will lose child benefit payments from 2013. Currently, all families are paid $32 a week for their eldest child and about $20 for other children.”

How to kill off a recovery: "One of the things which can be very difficult to get over to a certain type is this idea that fiscal or monetary stimulus are not the only things which can aid a recovery in a battered economy.It really isn’t that the State must do more: there is also the argument that in other areas the State must do less. For example, those streamers of red tape with which we festoon industry.”

If you like your health plan, you may lose it anyway: "Another major employer, 3M, has decided to ‘eventually stop offering its health insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor.’ As Reason’s Peter Suderman notes, ‘despite the Obama administration’s repeated promises to the contrary, many people and employers will not, in fact, be able to stick with their current health care plans and arrangements.’”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010



So you still think Obama has forgotten that he was raised as a Muslim?

Patrick Poole recently reported that a known Hamas operative and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history - Kifah Mustapha - was recently escorted into the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and other secure government facilities, including the FBI's training center at Quantico, during a six-week "Citizen's Academy" hosted by the FBI as part of its "outreach" to the Muslim Community. The group was accompanied by reporter Ben Bradley of WLS-Chicago (ABC), who filed a report on the trip. Poole quoted Bradley:
Sheik Kifah Mustapha, who runs the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, asked some of the most pointed questions during the six week FBI Citizens' Academy and trip to Washington. He pushed agents to fully explain everything from the bureau's use of deadly force policy to racial and ethnic profiling. "I saw a very interesting side of what the FBI does and I wanted to know more," Sheik Mustapha explained after returning from D.C. He hopes the FBI's outreach runs deeper than positive public relations.
Poole drily commented: "Yes, I bet he wanted to know everything about the FBI's policies." Poole adds: "Curiously, Bradley's report on the Citizen's Academy fails to make note Mustapha's extensive terrorist ties and support for Hamas..."

Now comes Andrew McCarthy to explore "The trouble with Islamic outreach." Mustapha is McCarthy's Exhibit A. McCarthy updates Poole's report with this:
Mustapha's participation in the Citizen's Academy so soon after his identification as an unindicted co-conspirator has been a source of supreme embarrassment to the FBI. At first, outraged citizens who called the Bureau's Washington headquarters to complain were told that reports of Mustapha's inclusion in a sensitive-access FBI program were false -- and even that a picture showing Mustapha with other participants (see Pat Poole's Big Peace report) must have been photo-shopped. Alas, that story had a couple of holes: The class picture was an official Bureau photo and the class had been covered by a local ABC correspondent who remembered the sheikh quite well.

Thus came explanation number two: Yes, Mustapha was there, and yeah, maybe that means we took a Hamas supporter through a few top-secret locations, but don't look at us -- blame Chicago. Headquarters thus started referring irate callers to the Chicago field office, where {FBI Chicago flack] Mr. [Ross] Rice now labors through explanation number three: Sheikh Mustapha is our guy.

Come again? Rice dutifully explains that if the Feebs had really thought the unindicted Hamas coconspirator "was a security risk, we wouldn't have included him." But he was included because "he is a very influential leader of the Palestinian community here and imam of the largest mosque and was a welcome addition."

Hatem Abudayyeh is McCarthy's Exhibit B. Abudayyeh is at the center of the federal grand-jury investigation in Chicago that resulted in raids on several domiciles in the Twin Cities. One might guess that Abudayyeh has previously been the recipient of "outreach," and one would be right. Citing Josh Gerstein's report, McCarthy writes:

He's been through White House Muslim outreach. As Josh Gerstein explains, Abudayyeh was among a select group invited to the White House in April for a briefing by the Office of Public Engagement on what the Obama administration says involved issues of "concern" for the Arab American community.

Clearly, Abudayyeh is very concerned about such matters. That's why, for example, he strenuously objected in a 2006 interview to the American description of "Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations as 'terrorists.'" Instead, "the real terrorists are the governments and military forces of the U.S. and Israel."

What is the trouble with "outreach"? Andy doesn't say exactly what it is in this column, but the trouble with it is staring us in the face.

SOURCE

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A political climate change?

Blogger Dan Riehl disagrees below with columnist Peggy Noonan’s assertion that the political wave of 2010 represents two “tornados” hitting the parties simultaneously, instead arguing that the grassroots Tea Party movement is something much larger and more permanent than that – it’s a full-on “climate change.”

Peggy Noonan depicts what's happening in both parties as a twister, or tornado. While correct on the merits of her relatively limited argument, I believe she fails to see the entirety of the storm that's brewing. Most in what has been called the elitist, or ruling class, can't and won't see it, no matter how they strain their eyes, or spin their metaphors.
And part of what's driving it is what is driving the evolution of the Republican Party. The Internet changed everything. Everyone has facts now, knows who voted how and why. New thought leaders spring up and lead in new directions. Total transparency leads to party fracturing. Information dings unity. We are in new territory.

This isn't two tornadoes. It's the climate of American politics changing forevermore; unless, of course, Noonan believes the Internet is going to up and blow away one day. But rather than do that, it's only going to develop, expanding its reach and influence even more. Think of it as a hurricane, in certain respects.
Another tornado: The president's influential counselor, David Axelrod, attempted this week to insinuate into the election what Democrats used to deride as "wedge issues." In an interview he said abortion will "certainly be an issue," for Democrats. It will be raised "across the country."

Surely Noonan can recall the Reagan Revolution. How can one look at various GOP primaries this past year and not say one developed, but with no Reagan at the front. There were pundits, talk radio hosts and political figures who have nurtured, or flirted with it, Sarah Palin comes to mind. But it's a ground up, genuinely people-powered revolution for the most part. And it draws much of its energy from the Internet.

Time was it took a week, or more, to get 100 people to show up on a Boston street corner, or at a harbor, perhaps. Today, thousands, tens of thousands, or more can gather on the street corner of point and click at the drop of a hat, finding tools of political empowerment when they arrive.

While there can be no real predicting the future of American politics, there are at least some signs we are headed in the right, and center-Right, direction. While other forces were in play behind the scenes, being early adopters allowed the far Left to take control of the Democrat Party. They helped give Hillary Clinton the boot and elected a would be messiah. We all see how that's working out, as that movement is so out of step with the majority of Americans. But that's the Democrat Party's problem to solve, not mine.

Now, having mostly caught up, the so called silent majority of Americans we're always told are more conservative are showing up en masse and amassing technology-enabled political wisdom and power. What we should strive for is not a too far Right Republican Party that would repeat the mistakes of the far Left - but a center-Right GOP in step with the American public. And despite the media and ruling class trying to make them out as extremists, I think that is precisely what we're seeing on the horizon, or at a Tea Party, if you will.

If I'm correct and we're careful, as well as perhaps a bit lucky, this force of nature is neither hurricane, nor tornado. It is more an accurate reflection of the majority of the American electorate waking up to the fact that they have a stake in the future of America, even more so, perhaps, than any ruling class, or political party. The Internet now makes it possible for them to, not only play a role, but take their rightful seat at the head of the table.

Speaking for myself, I became involved in new media when I did because I realized it could democratize information and news flow. And as that became more democratic, and it is today, the politics of America would become more democratic, as well. Only time will tell, but I believe we're seeing the development of a new and profound and profoundly American majority, with its Reagan Democrats, libertarians and, of course, its conservatives like me, too.

We are finding our voices and citizen leaders not in the tree-tops, but down here in the grassroots. And some roots have a way of anchoring things so deeply they can survive hurricanes and even the occasional tornado. We'll see, but I say, long live a new once silent majority now finding its voice through the Internet. No passing storm, I hope, long may she roar above the fruited plain and eventually from sea to shining sea.

SOURCE

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Blind Faith in Government

Blind faith in government’s policies is a more dangerous form of “fundamentalism” than any religion could dream up -- says Jack Hunter

At the moment, many are having fun mocking Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s stated belief that evolution is a myth. O’Donnell’s view is shared by plenty of Christians, who seem to have formed their own consensus regardless of any data or logic that might contradict it. Whether one is sympathetic to O’Donnell’s view on evolution or not, it isn’t unfair to assume that it is born first of faith, not fact. Evolution is so contrary to her worldview that it threatens her world and challenges her views–therefore evolution must not, cannot, and shall not be true.

O’Donnell reminds me a lot of Barack Obama. She also reminds me of George W. Bush, his Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and those who continue to subscribe to the orthodoxies of both.

Federal stimulus has not worked, though you can’t tell this to its most faithful adherents. This nearly $800 billion package was intended to create jobs but has not made a dent in unemployment numbers, and a year-and-a-half after its passage a majority of the funds have not made their way to “shovel ready” infrastructure projects, as the president once promised. Writes Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman of federal stimulus, “As a way of expanding the economy, it’s a proven failure. But as a way of expanding government, it’s definitely a keeper.” Given the rest of the Democrats’ agenda, one might assume that expanding government was their goal from the beginning, but regardless Brother Obama still insists on the necessity of stimulus and does not take kindly to heretics. When faced with facts, O’Donnell will not even consider anyone who dares challenge her fundamentalist beliefs. Neither will Obama.

America’s interventionist foreign policy has not worked, though you can’t tell this to its most faithful adherents. The most glaring example of this failure is perhaps the Iraq War, which was launched after 9/11 to stop Saddam Hussein from using WMDs or aiding Islamic terrorists. None of this was true. Not even close. Hussein never had any weapons and al-Qaeda had never stepped foot in Iraq until we invaded it. O’Donnell has more proof that evolution is a myth than Bush now has that Saddam ever posed a threat, and yet Dubya, Cheney, and their neoconservative friends still stand by the absolute necessity of launching that war. Seven years to reflect has produced much regret for most Americans, most of whom have now evolved in their view of what really went down in Iraq. But similar to O’Donnell, the neocons do not believe in evolution, still worship at the altar of the War on Terror, and now enthusiastically break bread with Obama and his equally false Afghan denomination.

The War on Drugs has been an abysmal failure and yet maintaining the status quo on this subject has become an accepted, bipartisan religion. There is little no to evidence that marijuana does any more societal damage than alcohol and efforts to stop its use have been about as successful as Prohibition. When weighing the dollars spent, time wasted and lives damaged due to the War on Drugs against any damage done by actual drugs, it becomes clear that the cure has caused more harm than the supposed disease. The War on Drugs has been worse than just wrong–it’s stupid. Millions of Americans now readily recognize this and yet when a politician like Kentucky Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul dares to suggest that 10 to 20 years of prison for possession of marijuana may be too harsh, his Democrat opponent attacks Paul as somehow being pro-drug. Conservative guru the late William F. Buckley understood the failure of the War on Drugs, yet few Republican politicians will dare touch it. President Bill Clinton and Obama both admit to smoking pot and somehow went on to achieve great success, yet today likely wouldn’t publicly disagree with Paul’s Democratic opponent, who, laughably, calls marijuana a “gateway drug.” This is insanity, making the War on Drugs much like Scientology–it’s only a few decades old, a uniquely American invention and it continues to corrupt the minds of otherwise logical people who still refuse to consider its absurd premise.

Democrats now getting their jollies making fun of O’Donnell’s evolution comments or Republicans embarrassed by them might want to take a look at their own fundamentalism, where blanket support for federal stimulus, perpetual war, modern day prohibition and countless other senseless government programs have become little more than articles of faith. That there exists a party consensus, or sometimes even a bipartisan consensus, concerning these and many other status quo issues, doesn’t make them any more justified or true than a million Southern Baptists’ disbelief in evolution discounts all scientific evidence to the contrary. If anything, O’Donnell’s combined opposition to federal stimulus and her libertarian-leaning, states’ rights position on drug regulation, makes her far more sane than the majority of the political and media elites who now lampoon her religious fundamentalism as some sort of “danger.” The government fundamentalists in Washington, D.C. and their media worshippers pose far more danger-and certainly belong to a much larger church.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Centerpiece of Obamacare is not working: “It’s a centerpiece of President Obama’s healthcare remake, a lifeline available right now to vulnerable people whose medical problems have made them uninsurable. But the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan that started this summer isn’t living up to expectations. Enrollment lags in many parts of the country. People who could benefit may not be able to afford the premiums. Some state officials who run their own ‘high-risk pools’ have pointed out potential problems.”

CA: State Supreme Court upholds state employee furloughs: "The state Supreme Court upheld Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s furloughs of 200,000 state employees today, saying the Legislature had ratified his decision to order workers to take three days off each month without pay. A lower court had ruled that Schwarzenegger’s furlough orders in February and July 2009 violated state laws and union contracts that protected employee workweeks. That ruling, if upheld, could have entitled workers to more than $1 billion in back pay and interest.”

The stimulus to nowhere: "No one spends money like the federal government. This year, it will shovel out $3.7 trillion, which works out to $7 million a minute. So it may surprise you to find out the clearest lesson from the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program: The government is not very good at spending money. On the contrary, it’s slow and clumsy. Nearly a third of the $787 billion package, signed into law in February 2009, was assigned to infrastructure projects — from fixing roads and building bridges to weatherizing buildings and upgrading electrical grids. The idea was to simultaneously improve our physical facilities while putting people back to work, which, in turn, would provide a badly needed surge of adrenaline to the overall economy. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.”

Obama's new war on America's West: "The economic track record of the current administration and Congress is not a good one. Unemployment remains stubbornly high at nearly 10 percent, and many believe federal missteps prolonged the recession and are weakening the recovery. While things like ill-advised spending, Obamacare, and looming tax hikes are doing damage nationwide, a number of other federal measures have particularly burdened the American West, the region suffering with the highest unemployment rate in the country.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Monday, October 04, 2010



Democrats, Union Workers, and Communists Rally Together in Washington

Unmotivated, Lethargic Astroturfers Trash the Nation’s Capital



The lines between the Democratic Party, labor unions, socialist and communist organizations, were blurred at the One Nation Working Together rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. It was organized by One Nation Working Together, which is headed by the cream of the Democratic Party.

National Campaign Manager of One Nation Working Together, Leah Daughtry, was CEO and top organizer of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver Colorado where Barack Obama was nominated to be the parties candidate for president. Many of the top organizers have been Democratic candidates for office, or work for Obama for America.

The page on the National Education Association’s website inviting its members to travel to the rally quotes its president: “NEA is proud to be standing with our brothers and sisters in the labor and social justice movement …”



Much more HERE

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Useful Idiots And Usual Suspects

Historian Paul Kengor clearly loves the research aspect of writing. His latest book bears witness to how digging for detail can yield not only clues to the past, but insights for the present. His recently released 600-page tome, Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives For A Century, complete with more than 1,500 detailed supporting notes, is a case in point.

Dr. Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City (Pennsylvania) College and the executive director its excellent Center for Vision and Values. His prolific pen has produced past bestsellers such as, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. Now, with Dupes, he has written the most exhaustive and definitive account of Communism’s 20th century assault on America to date. It is a story that flows with virtual seamlessness into the defining conflict of the new century and millennium—the threat of Islamism. Though the ideologies are vastly different and even the methodologies used in propagation don’t always resemble each other, the Communist threat of the Cold War and before, as well as the current conflict with Islamism, have one clear and sad thing in common.

Our enemies have been aided and abetted by liberal dupes.

That’s right, the names and faces change over time, but the gullibility and culpability of the ever-present usual suspects of American liberalism continue to provide cover for our enemies, as was the case—now completely documented—from 1917 to 1989. In fact, Kengor makes it clear that our real enemy for nearly a century now has been the “anti-anti” mindset. First, it was “anti-anti-communism,” which is alive and well in college history departments across the country, now it is “anti-anti-Islamism,” which ignores an obviously concrete threat in favor of the nebulous mirage of “anti-Islamophobia.”

More HERE

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Capital Gains Taxation: Less Means More

A new study suggests a zero cap gains rate could create millions of jobs at a fraction of the cost of the spending stimulus

Congress is deliberating on what to do about the "Bush tax cuts"—the reductions in income, capital gains and dividend taxes legislated in 2001 and 2003—currently set to expire at the end of this year. The recession may officially be over, but what Washington does on tax policy still matters for an economy that's creating very few net new jobs and is stuck with an unacceptably high unemployment rate and record-high federal budget deficits of over 9% of GDP.

Capital gains taxation is one area in which lawmakers can help jump-start the economy. Capital gains tax rates for taxpayers in the top four income brackets are set to move higher in a few months. My new study, "Capital Gains Taxes and the Economy," published this week by the American Council for Capital Formation, shows that the net effect of lower capital gains taxation is a significant plus for U.S. macroeconomic performance.

The study simulated reductions and increases in capital gains taxes starting in 2011 and extending to 2016 to estimate the effects on economic growth, jobs and unemployment, inflation, savings, the financial markets and debt.

Here are a few of the relevant findings:

• Hiking capital gains tax rates would cause significant damage to the economy.

Raising the capital gains tax rate to 20%, 28% or 50% from the current 15% would reduce growth in real GDP, raise the unemployment rate and significantly reduce productivity. These losses to the economy outweigh any gains in tax receipts from the increase in the capital gains tax rate.

For example, at a 28% capital gains tax rate, economic growth declines 0.1 percentage points per annum and the economy loses about 600,000 jobs yearly. If the capital gains tax rate were increased to 50%, real GDP growth would decline by 0.3 percentage points per year, and there would be 1.6 million fewer jobs created per year. At a 20% capital gains rate compared with the current 15%, real economic growth falls by a little less than 0.1 percentage points per year and jobs decline about 231,000 a year. Smaller increases in the capital gains tax rate have smaller effects on the economy, but the effects are still negative.

• Lowering capital gains tax rates would help grow the economy and jobs.

My study found that when capital gains taxes are reduced to below 15%, the after-tax return on equity rises, stock prices increase, household wealth rises, consumption moves higher, and capital gains can be realized. Capital gains tax receipts to the government increase and household financial conditions improve to provide a healthier basis for future consumer spending.

My study also found that a reduction in the capital gains tax rate to 5% from 15% raises real GDP growth by 0.2 percentage points per year, lowers the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points per year, and increases nonfarm payroll jobs by 711,000 a year. Productivity growth improves 0.3 percentage points a year.

Taken to its logical conclusion, moving to a zero capital gains tax rate would have an even bigger effect, increasing growth in real GDP by over 0.2 percentage points per year and approximately 1.3 million additional jobs per year.

• Higher capital gains taxes will not substantially reduce the deficit.

The net impact on the federal budget deficit of a reduction in the capital gains tax rate to 0% is a decline in tax receipts of $23 billion per year after the positive effects of stronger economic growth on payroll, personal and corporate income taxes are taken into account. This is significantly less than the $30 billion per year static revenue loss estimate, which does not include feedback effects. A capital gains tax reduction to 0% produces new jobs at a cost of $18,000 per worker, far less than might occur from many other proposals.

The bottom line is that any capital gains tax increase is counterproductive to real economic growth. To the contrary, a reduction in the capital gains tax rate would be a pro-growth fiscal stimulus that creates new jobs and new businesses, funds entrepreneurship, reduces the unemployment rate, increases productivity, and in the long run brings in more payroll taxes. In the case of capital gains taxation, less means more.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

The new elite: "Greenhut not only addresses the financial exposure we face from the unsustainable pension and health care benefits that our public employees are receiving, but describes how they are taking advantage of us in other ways. For example, several years ago unions argued that in order to protect their privacy, police and firefighters should not have their addresses available in the Department of Motor Vehicles database. Whether or not that makes sense, it has now been expanded to virtually every government worker in California. That amounts to over 1 million people, which is 1 out of every 22 California licensed drivers. If you get a photo-ticket for a questionable move at an intersection, you will likely have to pay a very hefty fine. But because their information is not in the DMV database, public employees and their families virtually never receive that same ticket. There are a myriad of other traffic violations they escape because of this exclusion, and it’s not just cops who are protected – it’s also the school janitor!

A day of reckoning for public pensions: "In 1967, Dustin Hoffman’s character in The Graduate received a single word of advice for his future: ‘Plastics!’ If Hollywood were to remake that movie today, the updated scene would offer two words of counsel: ‘Government job!’ After all, a number of recent studies conclude that federal workers earn 20 to 30 percent more per hour than their private sector counterparts. And where local, state, and federal government workers really come out ahead isn’t just in pay; it’s in the benefits. Most private sector workers can only dream of getting the generous lifetime pension and health benefits typical of government service. These dream benefits are fast becoming a nightmare for taxpayers.”

Ex-workers get first class deals with Postal Service: "Who says you can’t go back? Apparently you can at the US Postal Service. Dozens of former top executives and hundreds of former employees have returned to the agency in recent years as private contractors, sometimes making double the salaries they made as full-time workers, according to one of three watchdog audits. The reports said the cash-strapped Postal Service is doing a poor job tracking its use of no-bid contracts, contributes more to worker health and life insurance benefits than other federal agencies, and should consider closing more of its regional offices to help address an expected $230 billion, 10-year budget gap. The Postal Service recently reported billions of dollars in losses because of declining mail volume.”

Media hearts Islam: "This weekend appears to mark a turning point in Islam’s war against America. This weekend, the lamestream media, via ABC News, officially declared its allegiance to Islam. On Friday night, Diane Sawyer and Bill Weir hosted a laughably shallow and juvenile (and one-sided) “special,” "Faith and Fear: Islam in America.” And today, the absurdly miscast and undertalented Christiaaaaane Amanpooooouuuuur ran an even worse “town hall“ show, “Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?”

Insurers get real: "Since January, the nation’s five largest insurers and the industry’s Washington-based lobbying arm have given three times more money to Republican lawmakers and political action committees than to Democrats. That is a marked change from 2009, when the industry largely split its political donations between the two parties, according to federal election filings. The largest insurers also are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists with close ties to key Republican lawmakers who could be shaping health policy in January, records show.”

China: Wen Jiabao promises political reform: "Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, has promised that China will carry out political reform and acknowledged that the need for democracy and freedom in China is ‘irresistible.’ … The interview marks the third time in recent weeks that Mr Wen has raised the topic of political reform.”

Science kit makers battle feds over safety tests: "Federal regulators are hard at work making the world a safer place for kids — starting with the threat posed by ‘toxic paper clips.’ Never heard of a toxic paper clip? Neither have the manufacturers of science kits for classrooms across the country. But they’re now locked in a debate with federal officials, who just moved a step closer to requiring costly new safety tests on the components of those kits. The kit makers warn the requirements could end up mandating pointless tests on components ranging from paper clips to nails to rulers.”

Big dig problems never end: "After Sam Maurer’s 19-year-old son was killed in a gruesome crash into handrails in the Big Dig tunnels, Mauer vowed to come up with a fix for the so-called ginsu guardrails that have been involved in seven traffic deaths between 2005 and 2008. This spring, Maurer, a 59-year-old industrial engineer, commissioned graduate engineering students at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Nebraska to search for a repair to the guardrails. The students’ recently finished report urges a chain-link-style fence system that they say would help save the lives of motorcyclists and motorists. They estimated the cost at $873,000. It comes after stories in the Globe in February that pointed out possible design flaws in the handrails that might have contributed to the deaths.”

Company stops insuring titles in Chase foreclosures: "Amid growing concerns about the legal practices of mortgage lenders, Old Republic National Title Insurance told agents Friday it would stop insuring homes foreclosed by JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), The New York Times reported Saturday, citing a company memo. … When house foreclosures are done with faulty documentation, new owners could be vulnerable to ownership claims. Title insurers agreed to protect buyers against defects or errors in the title.”

The real Democratic whiners: "The way Democratic leaders tell it, their party’s current ‘enthusiasm gap’ comes from rank-and-file voters who are irrational and pessimistic complainers. ‘Democrats, just congenitally, tend to (see) the glass as half empty,’ President Obama said last month during a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Connecticut home of a donor named (no joke) Rich Richman. Days later, Vice President Biden told a separate audience of donors that voters need ‘to stop whining.’ Apparently, the two believe that a mix of Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake’ motto and Phil Gramm’s ‘nation of whiners’ mantra will excite the Democratic base. Who knows? Maybe it’ll work. But probably not.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

****************************

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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