Friday, April 04, 2014
"Alles muss anders sein"
Everyone I know sees things in the world about them that they would like to see changed. So the idea that conservatives are opposed to change is ludicrous. The changes they oppose are the hate-driven changes that the Left want, not change in general.
And the changes that the Left want are extreme. The depths of Leftist discontent are to my mind best encapsulated in a saying from prewar Germany: Alles muss anders sein. Hitler used that slogan and so did most of the German Left of the 1920s and 30s
So what does it mean? It is a very simple statement but it needs some thought to get the full impact of it in English. My translation: "Everything must be changed". Everything. You can't get more discontented than that. A Leftist really does have the fires of Hell burning inside him. No wonder Leftist behaviour is so reckless and beyond reason.
Obama's wish to "fundamentally transform" America is saying the same thing using more formal words.
British tax cut pays off
The amount of tax paid by the best-off has soared since George Osborne slashed the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p, according to a new analysis.
New figures from HM Revenue & Customs show the total income tax collected on earnings over £150,000 has shot up from £40 billion last year to £49 billion this year.
Former Conservative Cabinet minister John Redwood, who produced the figures, said it appeared the Chancellor’s tax cut was having dramatic results in what would be a ‘shock to many of the conventional pundits’ who criticised the measure.
‘Total income tax collected from people earning more than £150,000 has surged from £40bn to £49bn this year compared to last.
'It has more than made up for the loss of tax revenue from lower earners following the big increase in tax thresholds,’ Mr Redwood said.
He said the 50p rate introduced by Labour in its final weeks in power was clearly ‘costly’.
Britain lost high earners overseas, and saw the richest use tax loopholes to declare less income when the rate was high.
‘The rareified group of people earning more than £2m declared income of £12.2bn in 2012-13, but paid tax on £26bn of income the following year with the lower rate.
‘This small group of people alone more than paid for the rise in threshold to take many lower earners out of tax altogether.
‘The top one per cent of earners now earn 13 per cent of the income but pay 28 per cent of the total income tax. The top five per cent earn one quarter of the income but pay around half the total income tax.
‘This progressive structure works as long as the government does not get too greedy, setting a higher rate which means the rich pay less because they either go or they earn and declare less.
‘I wonder how much more revenue the Treasury would enjoy if the top rate were set at a more competitive rate? 'I suspect that too would see a further surge in revenue, money the state clearly needs to end the deficit.’
A Tory spokesman said: ‘The Government is clear that in clearing up Labour’s economic mess those with broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden.’
David Cameron will today hail the Government’s tax changes taking effect this week as the most radical for two decades.
On Tuesday, corporation tax came down to 21 per cent, the tax-free annual investment allowance for businesses was doubled, business rates [property taxes] were capped at two per cent and fuel duty was frozen.
From Sunday, over one million businesses will benefit from up to £2,000 ‘cashback’ on their National Insurance contributions.
The personal income tax allowance will be raised this weekend from £9,440 to £10,000, cutting tax for the typical basic rate taxpayer by £705 this year.
Millionaires Need Your Help!
Last Sunday, The New York Times published a front-page article about the heartfelt need of California farmers for more illegal aliens.
The first tip-off that heinous public policy ideas were coming was that the Times introduced farmer Chuck Herrin, owner of a farm-labor contracting company, as a "lifelong Republican." That's Times-speak for "liberal."
Herrin admitted that he employs a lot of illegal aliens and bitterly complained that they lived in fear of "Border Patrol and deportations." (But, apparently, he doesn't live in fear of admitting he's violating our immigration laws.)
Sorry that running a country inconveniences you, Chuck.
He said his illegal alien employees deserved amnesty because if "we keep them here and not do anything for them once they get old, that's really extortion."
As the punch line goes, "What's this 'we,' paleface?"
Taxpayers have been subsidizing Chuck Herrin's underpayment of his illegal labor force for decades, with skyrocketing taxes to pay for schools, roads, bridges, food stamps, health care and so on. Now Herrin thinks "we" are supposed to support his illegal employees in their old age, too.
Here's another idea: How about a federal law mandating that employers of illegal aliens take responsibility for the people they hire? Why is the taxpayer on the hook for illegal aliens' food, housing and medical care, when Chuck Herrin got 100 percent of the profit from their cheap labor?
We don't allow chemical companies to dump pollutants in rivers, walk away and then say, "If we dump chemicals in rivers and we don't clean them once the plant is gone, that's really criminal."
No, you dumped the chemicals -- not "we." And you, Chuck Herrin, got the cheap labor -- not "we."
"We" got hospital emergency rooms jammed with illegal aliens when we came in with heart attacks. "We" got the crime, drunk-driving and drug trafficking associated with illegal aliens. "We" got the overcrowded schools filled with kids whose illegal alien parents don't pay property taxes. "We" got to press "one" for English.
This is even worse than the Wall Street bailouts -- another example of fat cats pocketing 100 percent of the profits when business is good, but demanding a taxpayer handout when their investments go south. At least the Wall Street bailouts didn't alter the country forever by giving the Democrats 30 million new voters.
According to the California Hospital Association, health care for illegal aliens is costing state taxpayers well over $1 billion a year.. Eighty-four hospitals across California have already been forced to close because of unpaid bills by illegal aliens.
Last year alone, California taxpayers paid $32 million for indigents' health care at hospitals located in Fresno County-- which happens to be where Chuck Herrin's company is based. How about submitting a portion of that cost to Herrin?
Not only should employers of illegal aliens be responsible for their employees' becoming public charges, but they ought to be legally responsible for any crimes their illegal workers commit, just as parents can be for the crimes of their minor children, and bars can be for the behavior of their over-served customers.
Why should employers of illegal aliens be allowed to externalize their costs, while keeping 100 percent of the profits?
The very fact that the American taxpayer is required to subsidize illegal alien farm labor -- to say nothing of anti-competitive marketing orders, tariffs and subsidies given to farmers -- proves that we're propping up an industry the country doesn't need.
If Mexican farm labor is so much cheaper, maybe we should be growing our fruits and vegetables in Mexico. There's absolutely no reason to import Mexicans to do something they could do at home and then sell to us. I believe this is what economists call "competitive advantage."
The Times quotes a report by two pro-amnesty farmers groups, Partnership for a New American Economy and the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, complaining that American consumption of foreign-grown produce has increased by 80 percent since the late 1990s.
I see why rich farmers are alarmed by that, but why should Americans care? If food can be grown cheaper in other countries, isn't it the very essence of libertarian free trade principles to buy it from them?
No. Apparently, we're required to wreck the country by bringing in millions upon millions more poor people so we can save the buggy whip industry.
We didn't do that with oil. We didn't do it with steel. We must be "Fortress America" only when it comes to asparagus!
Hey! Where's the Cato Institute on this? Busy drafting another philippic against our drug laws?
I care more about my fellow Americans who can't get well-paying jobs than I do about multimillionaire farmers, demanding that the rest of us pay to support an industry that claims it can't compete without taxpayer-subsidized illegal alien labor.
One California for Me, Another for Thee
Victor Davis Hanson
No place on the planet is as beautiful and as naturally rich as California. And few places have become as absurd.
Currently, three California state senators are either under felony indictment or already have been convicted.
State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) made a political career out of demanding harsher state gun-control laws. Now he is facing several felony charges for attempting to facilitate gun-running. One count alleges that Lee sought to provide banned heavy automatic weapons to Philippines-based Islamic terrorist groups.
State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who had succeeded one brother, Thomas, in the state Assembly and was succeeded by another brother, Charles, now faces felony charges of wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and falsification of tax returns.
State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), originally entered politics as a champion of social justice. Not long ago, the Democratic leaders of the California Senate in secretive fashion paid $120,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual-harassment suit against Wright. But this time around, not even his fellow senators could save Wright, who was convicted earlier this year on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud.
What is the common denominator with all three California senators -- aside from the fact that they are still receiving their salaries?
One, they are abject hypocrites who campaigned against old-boy insider influence-peddling so they could get elected to indulge in it.
Two, they assumed that their progressive politics shielded them from the sort of public scrutiny and consequences that usually deter such deplorable behavior.
Criminal activity is the extreme manifestation of California's institutionalized progressive hypocrisy. Milder expressions of double standards explain why California has become such a bizarre place.
The state suffers from the highest combined taxes in the nation and nearly the worst roads and schools. It is home to more American billionaires than any other state, but also more impoverished residents. California is more naturally endowed with a combination of gas, oil, timber and minerals than any other state -- with the highest electricity prices and gas taxes in the nation.
To understand these paradoxes, keep in mind one common principle. To the degree a Californian is politically influential, wealthy or well-connected -- and loudly progressive -- the more he is immune from the downside of his own ideology.
Big money is supposed to be bad for politics. But no money plays a bigger role in influencing policy than California's progressive cash, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley. Billionaire hedge-fund operator Tom Steyer is canonized, but he is on track to rival the oft-demonized Koch brothers in the amount of money spent on influencing policymakers and getting his type of politicians elected.
Nowhere are there more Mercedes and BMWs per capita than in California's tony coastal enclaves. And nowhere will you find more anti-carbon activism or more restrictive laws against new oil production that ensure the highest gasoline prices in the continental United States for the less well off.
California's reserves of natural gas exceed those of nearly every other state. And in California, electricity prices are the highest in the nation. The cost falls on those in the interior and Sierra who suffer either from scorching summertime temperatures or bitterly cold winters. Those who set energy policies mostly live in the balmy coastal corridor where there is no need for expensive air conditioning or constant home heating.
In drought-stricken California, building new Sierra Nevada dams and reservoirs was long ago considered passé, but not the idea of diverting precious stored water from agricultural use to help out fish.
Yet the waters of the Sierra Nevada Hetch Hetchy reservoir are exempt from such fish diversions, apparently because they supply 80 percent of San Francisco's daily water supply. Those who wish to either stop more dam construction or divert dammed reservoir water from its original intended use draw the line on restricting their own quite unnatural water sources.
High-speed rail is billed as the transportation of the future in California. But its progressive coastal boosters believe that it should first be tried out on farmers in sparsely settled rural areas rather than in their own precious high-density Bay Area or Los Angeles.
In California, open borders and non-enforcement of existing immigration law are also popular progressive causes. But the immediate impact of illegal immigration on public schools is circumvented for the elite by the growing number of private prep schools along the coast.
Professing that you are progressive can be wise California politics. It means you sound too caring ever to do bad things, while the costly consequences of your ideology usually fall on someone else. And that someone is usually less hip, less wealthy and less powerful.
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Posted by JR at 1:36 AM