Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Land of the Envious and Home of the Victim

President Obama laid out his vision of America in Osawatomie, Kansas. We are no longer, in our president’s take on things, land of the free and home of the brave. America now is land of the envious and home of the victim.

We are a land, as our president explains it, where the success of one American comes at the expense of another. Where the poor are poor because the rich are rich. And where the role of government is not to ensure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but to tax away wealth from those it deems to have too much and determine how to invest our nation’s resources.

The president chose to give this speech in Osawatomie because President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, spoke there in 1910 and made a plea for more government in American life. How clever.

But in 1910 the federal government was extracting less than five cents from every dollar produced by the American economy. It was not until the 1930’s, except for the period of World War I, that this doubled to 10 cents of every dollar. After World War II, this doubled again to 20 cents.

Now, after three years under President Obama’s vision, the federal government takes 25 cents of every dollar produced by the American economy. If we throw in the costs of state and local government, barely 50 cents of each dollar of our economic output remains in the private economy.

But President Obama thinks we’re languishing because we’re still too free. The idea that “the market will take care of everything” may look good on a “bumper sticker” according to our president, but, in his words, the idea of free citizens and free markets “…doesn’t work” and “…never worked.”

Perhaps our president ought to wake from his dream, and our nightmare, and take a closer look at the country he is living in.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, which specializes in studying entrepreneurship, almost all net new jobs created in our country come from firms less than five years old.

Net new job growth in American comes from entrepreneurs. Not from government bureaucrats and not even from corporate monoliths. This entrepreneurial activity takes place at considerable risk. According to one study from Case Western Reserve University, only 30 percent of new business start-ups are still operating after ten years.

Entrepreneurs start and build their businesses with personal savings, credit cards, funds from family and friends, and loans and investments from banks and venture capitalists.

But what entrepreneur will take these risks if there isn’t upside as well as downside? Who will do it if success is punished rather than rewarded? If power seeking politicians decide that certain successful entrepreneurs have become too wealthy?

Our president cannot seem to grasp that freedom and entrepreneurship is not about “doing your own thing” but is the essence of what he calls “we’re greater together than we are on our own.”

Businesses grow by competing to serve customers.

It is also not about, to the president’s confusion, “making up your own rules.” It works when we don’t make up our on rules and live by eternal truths which prohibit theft and protect private property. Our problems start when government stops doing its job to enforce those rules and starts making up its own.

Where President Obama was correct was to say that “This is the defining issue of our time.”

Whatever solutions Republicans propose to deal with issues like government spending, taxation, healthcare, and education must flow from a core vision of what America is about.

Whoever emerges as the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 must be ready to offer a dusted off and clear vision of America that will restore our understanding of and faith in the freedom that made and makes this country great.



Is This What Democrats Want For Our Future?

Terrorist threats are on the rise, government debt threatens the world, and the value of our currency is being questioned almost daily. Is this the “fundamental change” that Democrats wanted from President Barack Obama?

Like it or not, President Obama sets the agenda for the Democrats. And it’s time for every elected Democrat – especially those in Congress – to answer some questions. Is this your idea of the American future? Is this your vision for the United States? We should be asking these questions in light of two broad areas of domestic policy:

National security policies that ignore trends of murderous behavior:

Within the first eighteen months of the Obama presidency, the United States sustained no less than three terrorist attacks on American soil. The first one quickly became known as the “Ft. Hood Massacre,” an inside job wherein Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army Major, a psychiatrist – and a devout Muslim - killed 13 Army service members and wounded 29 others, all within the confines of the otherwise “secure” Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas.

At the memorial service for the murdered service members, President Obama noted that “no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts” – implying that the Islamic faith had nothing to do with Mr. Hasan’s murderous behavior – this, despite the fact that Hasan himself claimed that he was acting in accordance with his religion.

Weeks later Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was permitted to board a Northwest Airlines jet in Amsterdam and fly to Detroit on Christmas Day, despite repeated warning signs that the passenger intended to do harm in the U.S. While the explosives that the now-famous “underwear bomber” was able to smuggle on to the flight did not detonate to their intended extent, they did nonetheless cause an in-flight explosion.

After the attack – and after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared that “the system worked” (she admitted a day later that our air security system had failed), we were to learn that the man about whom repeated warnings were ignored was a “devout Muslim” and claimed to be operating at the direction of Al-Qaeda.

On May 1st 2010, NYPD officers were able to disarm an ignited bomb planted in a parked vehicle in Times Square. Two days later federal authorities arrested Faisal Shahzad in connection with the attack, whereupon federal agencies rushed to point out that Shahzad was an American citizen and that the attack was “home grown.” The authorities also tried to downplay the fact that Shahzad had only been a U.S. citizen for 14 months, was originally from Pakistan, and was also a self-described Muslim.

While seemingly ignoring the proliferation of terrorist attacks carried-out by people who call themselves Muslims, President Obama and members of his Administration have largely refused to acknowledge the pattern. Even this past week the Obama Administration officially classified the Fort Hood Massacre as merely a matter of “workplace violence,” as though the immense security breaches of a military compound were to be taken no more seriously than an angry outburst at any other business establishment.

Economic policies that encourage dependency and malign productivity:

President Obama’s speech at Osawatomie high school in Kansas last week is being heralded by some as his most profound speech thus far. But few of the President’s supporters have bothered to question if his rhetoric bares any resemblance to reality.

Prior to his inauguration, he claimed, America had been a nation where “those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments…but everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t.”

Really? Do the President’s supporters realize that over half of the American population has private investment and savings accounts, and that such items are not merely luxuries afforded only to those “at the top?”

Elsewhere in the speech, the President noted that the upcoming election will be, in part, about “whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure a retirement.” Yet the very fact that any of us can even hope for these things demonstrates the functionality of American-styled capitalism over the past many decades.

The President, of course, ignores these economic realities. Instead, he insists that our pathway to prosperity is higher taxes, and more governmental spending of our resources – in short, more of his control over our nation’s wealth. Policies of these sorts have been painful failures for years in Venezuela, Indonesia, and his father’s homeland of Kenya. Yet the President who has positioned himself as a de facto CEO of huge chunks of the economy – with authority over everything from banks to car companies – is still vying for more control. Is this what Democrats envision for another four years – an economy that revolves around the selfish needs and desires of one man?



A "revisionist" view of the British empire

Though still a fairly mainstream view among Britons themselves

[One] might see in the experience of the British Empire some prescriptive remedies for what ails Western Civilization. How about, for instance, the idea of limited government? By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, in the 1920s the British government and its vast empire operated on a budget about 40 percent less, in constant dollars, than the state of California’s budget for 2012. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider that Britain ran the Sudan with a civil service of 140 men, and governed India’s then-300 million people with about 100,000 British soldiers and civil servants. (California has more than twice as many full-time state employees.)

The British Empire certainly did not go in for “nation-building” in the “let’s export the democratic welfare state” sense. The British believed they governed well, and did well for the people they governed, but they always had to ensure that the sum of benefits minus costs was in the black. The British had tremendous national interests, for instance, in Afghanistan (a potential Russian invasion route to India) and Iraq (oil), but they would never have spent a trillion dollars occupying these countries, as we have done. For the most part, they kept them in line with occasional punitive expeditions (Afghanistan) and the RAF supporting a British-imposed pro-Western monarch (Iraq).

The British Empire set a beneficial example in another sense too. It was tolerant. On issues that truly mattered — an independent judiciary, limited government, abolishing slavery and widow-burning — they enforced British standards of fair play, ordered liberty, and decency. But they were also quite content to let Arabs be Arabs, Masai be Masai, and so on. They did not politicize society or, another way of putting it, nationalize it.

They ruled with the lightest of authority, often through local elites, and had a famous affection for the “warrior races” (which they were keen to defeat and then bring on their side). As a Frenchman once marveled, “Wherever the British have penetrated we meet British officers who believe the Bedouins, the Kurds, the Ghurkhas, the Sikhs or the Sudanese, whichever they happen to command, to be the most splendid fellows on earth. The French do not share this passionate interest in other races — they only praise individuals or communities insofar as they have become Gallicized.”

George Santayana’s famous observation bears repeating: “Instinctively the Englishman is no missionary, no conqueror . . . he travels and conquers without a settled design, because he has the instinct of exploration. His adventures are all external; they change him so little that he is not afraid of them. He carries his English weather in his heart wherever he goes, and it becomes a cool spot in the desert, and a steady and sane oracle amongst all the deliriums of mankind.

Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics manage to supplant him.” How true. And between the British Empire and its enemies among the Bolsheviks, the National Socialists, the scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls, and fanatics, I know which side any true conservative should plant his colors.

SOURCE. See also: Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire


Even Officials from the Clinton Administration Agree that the United States Should Have a Lower Corporate Tax Rate

Since the Clinton Administration turned out to be much more market-oriented than either his GOP predecessor or successor, this isn’t quite a man-bites-dog story.

Nonetheless, it is still noteworthy that Elaine Kamarck, a high-level official from the Clinton White House, has a column on a left-of-center website arguing in favor of a pro-growth, supply-side corporate tax reform. Here’s some of what she wrote.
Not only have the OECD countries reduced their corporate tax rates over the years to an average of 25 percent — members of the OECD are starting in on yet another round of cuts. Canada and Great Britain, two of our closest trading partners, are moving in this direction. America has the second highest corporate tax rate of any of the developed nations. We can’t sit by while our competition is changing. A 2008 report by economists at the OECD found that the corporate income tax is the most harmful tax for long-term economic growth. A 2010 World Bank study demonstrated that corporate tax rates have a “large and significant adverse” effect on investment. And investment and economic growth equals jobs. Wage data from 65 countries over 25 years shows that every one percent increase in corporate tax rates leads to a 0.5 to 0.6 percent decrease in wages.

There are things in the rest of the article that rub me the wrong way, but I agree with everything in the above passage.

The thing that’s most striking about Ms. Kamarck’s article is that she acknowledges the link between corporate tax rates and workers’ wages, thus agreeing with me – at least implicitly – about “trickle-down economics” and the deleterious impact of double taxation.



"Stimulus" didn't work in Britain either

Labour's increased spending after the credit crunch actually harmed the economy rather than boosting it, according to a centre-right think tank.

A report by the Institute of Economic Affairs found that stimulus measures pursued by Western governments in response to the economic crisis did not work.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has repeatedly called on the Government to soften its deficit reduction plans and embark on a ‘Plan B’, which would include more public spending in an attempt to boost growth.

But the institute’s study said Plan B would be disastrous for the British economy, and that all Western economies needed drastic fiscal and tax reform if they were to overcome their sovereign debt crises.

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘We must resist the calls of those who say that one last, big spending push could get the economy back to meaningful growth.

'The opposite is true. ‘Many Western economies might well be tipping back towards recession partly because of these giant fiscal packages that were enacted in 2009, and the coalition Government must resist calls for any Plan B that involves more government borrowing and spending.


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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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