Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Uncertainty is ruining the recovery

Good editorial from Allan Meltzer in today's WSJ.

It is probably the most important thing you never hear about when people talk about the economic recovery, or lack thereof. Uncertainty. Health care reform, the pending expiration of the Bush tax cuts, financial reform, cap and trade, the oil spill...all of these things create an uncertain environment. Businesses and the stock market hate uncertainty. No one wants to play a game where the rules are in flux. I do not understand how Pres. Obama's econ team is not telling him this. Or maybe they are and he is just not listening. Of course I doubt that too many of the people that Pres. Obama surrounds himself with have ever started or ran a business, so maybe they don't even understand how much uncertainty hinders hiring and overall economic growth.

Put some rules in place and stick too them Mr. President, or this recovery is going to take a long time....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Please define "fair share"

Steve Forbes has a nice rebuttal to Hillary Clinton's fair share comment at the Brookings Institution.

As Mr. Forbes points out, the richest 1% of Americans pay ~40% of federal income taxes. The richest 5% pay ~60% of income taxes. How much does Mrs. Clinton think is fair? 1% pay 50%, 60%, 80%? Any avg American will recognize that 1% paying 60% - 80% of taxes is basically robbery, which is why no one on the left will give a number. 40% is bad enough but no sane person will demand anything higher, which is why Clinton and others run around crying about some subjective "fair share". In fact, if we want to use the term fair, we should be lowering the tax burden on the wealthy, not raising it.

All of this class warfare needs to stop.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stunning Hypocrisy

In its brief, Mexico "underscored that it is fundamental and imperative that the human and civil rights of its citizens are duly respected while present in Arizona or in any other state of the United States," the foreign ministry said.

All I can say is wow. Is it truly possible that Mexico has the audacity to lecture the US on human rights? This coming from a country that in the last 40 yrs committed the following, according to the Human Rights Watch:

"violations included the massacres of student protesters in 1968 and 1971, and the torture, execution, and forced disappearance of hundreds of civilians during the country's "dirty war" in the 1970s and early 1980s.Compounding the horror of these atrocities was the fact that, for decades,Mexico failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible, thereby forcing Mexican society to assimilate the ultimate lesson in the limits of their country's rule of law: government officials could get away with even the most brutal crimes."

The entire report from HRW can be found here:

The Mexican gov't needs to use its resources to fix its problems at home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Govt is too big to function correctly

Good op ed piece from Paul Rubin. While I still maintain that the federal government would be doing a poor job of stopping the oil leak regardless of who was in charge (how can anyone get something that messy to work right?), I do agree that Pres. Obama was being treated far more kindly than Pres. Bush until recently. It was also interesting to read about the mistakes made by the local politicians Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin, but that is another issue.

We as Americans need to decide what we want our federal, state, and local governments to do. Until we realize that they can not and should not do everything, we will have an inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare at all levels, and the things that we want them to do, like manage oil spills, they will be unable to do.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jus soli

AZ republicans are planning to introduce a law that would prohibit the children of illegal immigrants born in the US from becoming citizens. The 14th amendment seems to prohibit this, but I will let the courts decide that if it gets that far.

More interesting to me is the argument by some that say that this goes against the spirit of America. This country was built by immigrants after all. While I won't deny history, I also think that comparing current Mexican immigration to say, the Irish immigration of the late 19th century, does not hold up. I say this for 2 main reasons:

1. When the Irish were coming over, there were no immigration laws. Thus they were not breaking any laws. The people who are crossing our borders today illegally are doing just that, breaking laws.

2. There was no social safety net in the 1800's. Becoming a US citizen entitled you to nothing. No Social Security, no Welfare, no Medicare, no Medicaid, nothing. You were given an opportunity only, and you got out of it only what you put in to it. That is not the case today. Every US citizen adds to our already exploding entitlement burden. Sure they pay taxes, but illegal immigrants are generally poor and the poor receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. This was not the case in the pre FDR days. This added fiscal burden is probably why most Western European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK do not allow a child to become a citizen simply because they were born in the country.

The economic structure of this country has changed immensely since the Irish and other Europeans were coming through Ellis Island. The US is no longer a dog eat dog world, where you alone are responsible for your well being. As we continue to increase our safety net it is imperative that we recognize the cost of our altruism. We simply do not have the money to pay for every single person that wants to be a US citizen. I am not sure that denying children born on US soil is the best way to keep costs down, but it is obvious that something needs to be done. Of course a good place to start would be to enforce our current immigration laws.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Should we be surprised?

Dan Klein, an economics professor at George Mason University, conducted a survey that asked basic economic questions. Self identified Democrats averaged 4.59 incorrect answers, Republicans 1.61, and Libertarians 1.26.

I don't think it is a stretch to conclude that this explains some of the current economic woes.

Surprised? I'm not.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Do we?

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter gave the commencement speech at Harvard this year. In it, he talked about interpreting the Constitution and how it is necessary to treat it as a "living" document. While I strongly disagree with his interpretation, I found this quote from his speech to be especially troublesome.

"A choice may have to be made, not because language is vague, but because the Constitution embodies the desire of the American people, like most people, to have things both ways. We want order and security, and we want liberty. And we want not only liberty but equality as well. These paired desires of ours can clash, and when they do a court is forced to choose between them, between one constitutional good and another one. The court has to decide which of our approved desires has the better claim, right here, right now, and a court has to do more than read fairly when it makes this kind of choice."

I for one do not desire equality. I know that it is attainable only by bringing the excellent down to the average. For Mr. Souter to equate the desire for liberty to the desire for equality is to go against every thing this country once stood for. Liberty should always win over equality, there should be no debate, no struggle. I am confident that every Founding Father would agree. Patrick Henry cried out, "Give me liberty or give me death!". I remember no such quote concerning equality.

To hear a retired Supreme Court Justice announce his desire for equality, and then broadly apply this desire to all Americans, shows exactly what is wrong with the supreme court. But perhaps Mr. Souter is referring to the equality of opportunity. If this is so, then I would agree with him to some extent. Of course, if that was the case, then equality would not clash with liberty as he suggests. His voting record also leads one to believe that he is referring to the equality of results.

The Supreme Court should not be in the business of promoting the equality of results. Even if it could be achieved, it is undesirable, as equality will always equal mediocrity. For our country's sake, I hope future Justices realize this.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Absolutely ridiculous

A Maryland resident's home was searched, computers and a camera were seized, and he was taken to jail for 26 hrs after he posted a video of a traffic stop he was involved in. All of this was done because of an anti wire tapping statute on Maryland's books that needs to be revised.

Police officers work for the people and we have every right to monitor their conduct while they are on duty. Prosecuting a citizen for posting a video of a traffic stop is the behavior of a dictatorship, not a democracy.