Archive | April, 2011

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Daniel Hannan on the American Past and Future

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-13 20:55:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Brian Brown
August 11, 2009
Humane Pursuits

Last week Daniel Hannan, the member of the European Parliament best-known for his scathing dressing-down of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, delivered a lecture at The Heritage Foundation. It’s a good 40 minutes or so, but well worth watching–Hannan articulates American political principles better than most Americans, and warns against chasing a technocratic solution to health care or any other problem.  Though he underestimates how far America has already walked down the path of rationalism, he is an entertaining speaker who has a penchant for quietly working great political thought into his words (see if you can find the subtle not-quite-quotations of Edmund Burke).  Watch it here.

One of Hannan’s more insightful points responds to the question of why, if Britain’s statist government is so bad, British voters have not long since gotten rid of it (Britain has had government-run health care since 1948).  Hannan blames it on the temperamental conservatism of the British people–its resistance to change, its fear of (relevant to Bryan’s point) an abstract alternative that does not yet exist.  Though Hannan faults such conservatism in this case, his criticism is gentle, almost as if he were reproving a particularly close friend for a well-intentioned mistake.

Appropriate enough, since Hannan’s speech ultimately defends such conservatism against the kind of revolutionary liberalism that brought about government health care in the first place.  At the heart of such liberalism is the belief that life as we currently know it is intolerable and must be radically changed.  At the heart of conservatism is the belief (conscious or not) that life as we currently know it is worth living.

The significance of this distinction is that the revolutionary liberal wishes to reshape the world in the here and now, while the conservative wishes to preserve it and pass it on, preferably somewhat improved, to the next generation.  To borrow Anna’s analogy, conservatism holds less potential for a brand-new building, but also less potential for the destruction of generations-old foundations.  Hannan urges his listeners not to forget how good their foundation is–not to forget that life, as they know it, is worth living.

In its respect for its foundations, Hannan argues, it is the American way–not the utopian dreams of radical reformers–that is truly oriented toward the future.  The genius of the American people, as Hannah Arendt once observed, “consisted in the extraordinary capacity to look upon yesterday with the eyes of centuries to come.”

Hannan channels Arendt’s observation in his remarks, arguing that America’s ability to bind itself back to a beginning, to build on the foundation chosen by generations past, is what enables it to keep its constitutional promise to pass on the building to future generations.  In one of his most poignant lines, Hannan warns that in chasing European-style statism, “You are breaking faith with your founders, and also with your posterity.”

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Brian Brown writes for Humane Pursuits

Article has been published with the author’s permission

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To Sur, With Love

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-07-28 17:17:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Rick SincereRickSincere
RickSincereThoughts
July 16, 2009

As part of the gargantuan (1,000-page-plus) health care “reform” package introduced by members of the Democratic majority in Congress, the Obama administration proposes to raise taxes through a “surtax” on Americans who earn the most money.

The Washington Post explained this “soak the rich” policy in a front-page article on July 15:

The surtax would start at 1 percent and rise to 5.4 percent on income exceeding $1 million. Combined with the expiration next year of tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, the surtax would drive the top federal tax rate to 45 percent, the highest level since lawmakers rewrote the tax code in 1986.

The Washington Times, for its part, points out that this raises U.S. marginal tax rates to their highest levels since the 1980s:

A new surtax of 5.4 percent in the health care bill, which would apply to married couples’ income above $1 million, would bring the top federal income tax rate to 45 percent.

After consideration of state and local income taxes and the Medicare payroll tax, which applies to all wage and salary income, taxpayers in 39 states would face a top marginal income tax rate of more than 50 percent, according to a study by the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit tax research group based in the District.

“That means government would be taking more than half of every additional dollar from high-income taxpayers,” said Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge. “The lowest tax rate would be 47 percent – and that’s in the nine states that don’t tax wages.”

Businesses say the surtax would hurt the economy.

“The intention of this plan is to tax high-income households, but the real victims would be America’s small-business owners,” said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Placing a big tax burden on the small-business community would rob them of the resources they need to create the jobs that will lead us out of the recession.”

President Obama would be wise to look to history to see what happened the last time a president made a surtax the centerpiece of his economic program. (Some might object that this is a “health care” program. That’s true, up to a point. The fact that the bill has been referred to the Finance Committee in the House suggests that this is really a revenue bill.)

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In Yanek Mieczkowski’s 2005 book, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s, the Dowling College historian relates what happened when Ford proposed a 5 percent surtax on all incomes above $15,000 (more than it sounds like; remember, these were 1974 dollars) in his first major economic legislative package:

As what he termed “the acid test of our joint determination to whip inflation in America,” Ford pronounced the cornerstone of his new economic program, a one-year, 5 percent surcharge on corporate and personal incomes. The surtax was directed at individuals with yearly earnings of $15,000 or more for married taxpayers and $7,500 for the unmarried. (Taxpayers would have to figure out what they normally owed the government, then add the 5 percent surtax to it.) The advantages of the surtax were that it would be mildly progressive, since the rich would pay more, and temporary, lasting only the calendar year 1975. Nor was it onerous. For example, a single person earning $15,000 would pay a federal income tax of $2,549; the surcharge would add $78. (p. 121)

Despite its modest appearance, Ford’s proposal was met with strong opposition, especially from the Democrats who held a majority in Congress (a majority that would grow substantially after the midterm elections a few weeks after his proposal was announced). Republicans were not too fond of it, either.

Ford took a political risk by proposing a surtax less than a month before congressional elections. Unveiling a tax increase at such a time was like unleashing a skunk at a picnic; representatives and senators ran in the opposite direction, refusing to embrace or even come close to it. Officeholders facing difficult reelection battles, such as GOP senators Bob Dole of Kansas and Marlow Cook of Kentucky, deserted their president rather than support the proposal….

The program itself was a political bomb. The jumble of proposals gave the whole thing an eclectic feel, and the centerpiece — a tax increase — fell flat. One poll showed that Americans opposed the surtax, 58 to 34 percent. Members of Congress resisted it. Just two days after the speech, William Baroody warned Ford that it was “in serious trouble on the Hill and very unpopular politically” and that Congress was in no mood to reduce spending. Two weeks before the election [William] Seidman publicly acknowledged that the surtax faced an uphill struggle on Capitol Hill and called its prospects “uncertain.” The overwhelming Republican repudiation in the ensuing elections turned “uncertain” to “doomed.” Ford’s policy making was off to a rocky start. (p. 124; footnotes omitted)

In one of the more significant parenthetical partial paragraphs of any work of recent history, however, Mieczkowski writes:

(One economist’s skepticism about the surtax generated what later became a mainstay of Ronald Reagan’s “supply-side” economics. Arthur Laffer doubted that the 5 percent surtax would generate much revenue, and while dining at a restaurant with Ford administration members Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, he drew a graph on a napkin to illustrate his belief that tax cuts — rather than increases — would raise more revenue because of increased business activity. His illustration became known as the “Laffer Curve.”) (p. 122)

Apparently other economists caught on, even if they hadn’t seen the napkin. Yanek Mieczkowski writes on page 130:

By November, many economists, realizing that Ford had miscalculated, urged him to drop the surtax proposal and switch his focus to fighting the recession. The president stuck by the surtax and still urged budget cuts.

In the end, the surtax proposal crashed and burned. Mieczkowski notes on page 131:

A political science axiom says that “the president proposes, Congress disposes.” Congress certainly disposed of Ford’s surtax, and quickly. Although he developed a fiscally balanced program incorporating many recommendations from the economic summit conferences, it was also like a multipronged barb that Congress could not swallow. And it soon became incongruous. The deteriorating economy, coupled with the inherent unpopularity of a tax increase, doomed Ford’s first major economic initiative. But that failure was fortunate; as events played out, a surtax would have aggravated the downturn. (emphasis added)

History teaches us, and not just in this example from the mid-1970s, that raising taxes during a recession is a bad idea.

Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have not absorbed this lesson of history and economics. Should they succeed in raising taxes to finance their ambitious program to socialize medicine, they — or, rather, we — will live to regret it.

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Rick Sincere is the editor of RickSincereThoughts

Article has been published with permission

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On the Court Holding Up the Chrysler Sale to Fiat

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-06-08 14:37:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Could it be that finally a ray of hope has peeked through the dark clouds of insanity that was the initial decision about re-ordering creditor priorities in the Chrysler settlement? And of all places, from the left-leaning court?

It would indeed be a breath of fresh air to see someone at least paging through our Constitution to understand what our laws state in these matters. Let’s hope this is not just a momentary relapse but a first step toward righting the original decision to comply with our long-standing and time-proven bankruptcy laws.

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I Discriminate

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2010-07-14 20:41:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Nancy Morgan
RightBias.com
July 13, 2010


I discriminate. All the time. When I see black teenagers with gang tats coming towards me, I’ll move to the other side of the street. Now if they were carrying Bibles, I might not be as worried.

If I play backgammon with an Asian, I use different tactics than I would with say, an Irishman. Experience has taught me that Asians excel in math and I adopt my tactics accordingly.

If I am going to pick a winner on Dancing With Stars, I’ll pick the black couple, hands down. As a rule, blacks just dance better than whites. (Can I say that?)

If I need to hire someone to do yard work, I’ll choose a Mexican laborer over a welfare recipient any day. Experience has taught me that Mexicans, both legal and illegal, have a better work ethic than do those who rely on welfare.

Not a day goes by that I don’t discriminate. The left calls this racism. I call it survival.

To ignore years of life experience in favor of government mandated political correctness is the height of folly. No-one has the right to legislate morality. And no-one has the right to demand that I believe the leftists’ mantra that all cultures and people are equal. That’s just plain stupid.

People in the U.S. are born equal. The decisions they make throughout their lives, however, result in far different outcomes. Some decide to spend their lives pursuing a free lunch, while some decide to become productive members of society. In my book, that means the one who contributes to society has more value than the one that doesn’t. They are not equal.

The American culture beats the Arab culture hands down. At least for females. And the culture in my little neighborhood in Murrells Inlet most assuredly trumps the culture in most inner cities. By any measure. That’s just reality.

I personally don’t care for deadbeats. I choose not to associate with them. I also don’t care to associate with feminists, global warming idiots and race baiters. Experience has taught me that I just don’t do well when confronted with useful idiots. It’s a choice I choose to make. It’s discrimination.

For leftists to insist that I ignore cultural and personal differences, to insist that I adhere to their ever-changing version of reality, is akin to asking me to believe that white is black. America is still based on individual freedom. That includes the freedom to decide for myself. It’s called "having an opinion."

Why should I agree to suspend my own judgement in favor of a mealy-mouthed platitude whose main purpose is to confer faux moral superiority on any useful idiot who opts to parrott the politically correct soundbite of the day?

Discrimination is a survival tool. It’s wisdom, not discrimination, to learn from past experiences. And to apply that knowledge in everyday choices.

Since I acknowledge that there are differences between different races, I guess I’m also a racist. Believe it or not, we all are. Hey, I wouldn’t put an Asian with a mathematics degree on the basketball court. But according to the left, that means I am "profiling." Color me guilty.

I admit it. I profile people based on their race and appearance.

Somehow, it just doesn’t sink in that a young skinhead sporting a Nazi tattoo is the equal of say, Thomas Sowell. Based on the skinhead’s appearance, I form conclusions about him. The conclusions may be wrong, but I’m not going to bet on it. And I’m not going to invite to dinner the black guy I saw on TV dressed in military gear telling everyone to kill white babies. Life experience has taught me that he is an ignorant racist who banks on our new "culture of equality" to shield him from being held accountable for his hateful rhetoric. In my opinion, he’s just trash.

When I see an obese 29 year-old mother of six living on welfare, I make assumptions. When I see a Christian man with two jobs and six children, I also make assumptions. I choose not to believe that the obese mother is a victim of a male dominated patriarchal society. I choose to, gasp, judge her.

She was born with the same rights as I, and she, like everyone else past the age of 20, is a product of the choices they have made. Choices that all of us are picking up the tab for. (How equal is that?)

The mantra that all people and cultures are equal is a dangerous fallacy. Throughout history, countries that are free are not equal, and countries that are equal are not free. Again, it comes down to choice. I choose to live in a country where I am free to discriminate and judge people myself instead of being forced to adhere to the leftist illusion that we’re all equal. That’s just plain stupid. And dangerous.


Nancy Morgan is a clumnist and news editor for conservative news site RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina.

Published with the author’s permission.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2010-05-25 22:12:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Nancy Morgan
RightBias.com
May 24, 2010


As Congress labored furiously to ensure that women have equal access to federal bathrooms, insurgents in Afghanistan this month launched a series of bold strikes on U.S. and NATO bases in Afghanistan. The Potty Parity Act is proceeding apace.

The Obama administration’s response to the upsurge in violence in Afghanistan? They launched an investigation into allegations that a number of American soldiers were responsible for the "unlawful deaths" of at least three Afghan civilians. This, despite the recent unanimous acquittal of three heroic Navy SEALS who were swiftly exonerated by a jury after being accused of, gasp, slapping one of the most dangerous terrorist detainees in the world. Who, by the way, the SEALS heroically captured. Thank-you, Navy SEALS. No update yet on the terrorist’s hurt lip.

As our young men are fighting and dying in Afghanistan, our current elected officials remain hard at work. Their most recent work product includes a proposal for a new medal to reward our troops for "courageous restraint." You got that? A medal for not killing the enemy. Of course most of these medals would, of necessity, be awarded posthumously.

Maybe by the time the first new medal is awarded, the "enemy" will actually be defined. The only concrete message so far from Washington, via Attorney General Eric Holder, is that the enemy is NOT radical Islamic terrorists. Whew!

The month of May could very well be likened to a chapter out of Alice in Wonderland. As oil from the BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico continued gushing into the ocean (day 36 and counting), the Obama administration was otherwise occupied – holding a gala State dinner for Mexican President Calderone. A good time was had by all, although extensive media reports suggested that one of the guests had a dress quite similar to Michelle’s.

To be absolutely fair, Obama did appoint a commission to study how to deal with the BP catastrophe. Just because Obama is the largest recipient of BP campaign cash for the last twenty years doesn’t mean he’s in their pocket. No word yet on when or if the commission will release its expert findings.

Meanwhile, Obama blithely continued to side with foreign countries against the U.S., as he bravely spoke truth to power, teaming up with President Calderone to condemn the newly passed immigration law in Arizona. Although the Arizona law mirrors federal law, thanks to Obama’s TelePrompTer and a derelict media, millions of Americans now believe that upholding the Constitution is racist. And I guess its now OK for foreign leaders to criticize America from the White House lawn.

Also this month: Unfazed by the 368 point plunge in the stock market, which occurred the same day the Senate passed a financial regulation bill, Obama took to the airwaves to announce an executive mandate. Bypassing Congress, Obama unilaterally declared tougher, expanded fuel emission standards for cars and trucks. Damn the economy, Mother Earth is more important. Right?

As world stocks tumbled, Obama responded by granting unions expanded power, making it easier for airline and railroad workers to unionize. That unions are one of the reasons behind this year’s economic meltdown was left unreported.

As Bangkok was being burned by deadbeats protesting cuts in social spending, Congress remained totally focused on a slew of new and expanded social spending measures, costing a mere $200 billion. They hope to get it to Obama for his approval in the next three weeks, well before those pesky November elections.

Congress appeared unfazed by a new NATO report that identified Iran as a "Major Article 5 Threat." They were otherwise engaged crafting a formal apology to American Indian tribes for "ill conceived policies" and acts of violence committed by them."

As North Korea threatened war and sent 50,000 troops to the border, the House remained busy passing a beer resolution. House Resolution 1297 officially supports "the goals and ideals of American Beer Craft Week." North Korea and American alcoholics rejoiced.

As the new jobs numbers came out showing another "unexpected" increase in the jobless rate, the Democrats were busy crafting another $190 billion raid on taxpayers under the guise of a "jobs bill." That their last "jobs bill" exacerbated the jobless problem didn’t deter them.

As the world hurtles towards the edge of the cliff, the United States remains focused on the really important things. AG Andrew Cuomo was successful in forcing clothing retailers to hire transgenders. And Sen. Robert Menendez is busy urging the Major League Baseball Players Assoc.to boycott Arizona.

And let’s not forget the states. California, which is one step away from going bankrupt, was busy passing a bill that would require "diversity" in California pension plans. The very same pension plans that will soon put taxpayers on the hook for millions.

I could go on, but I’m starting to scare myself. This article is not fiction. Nor is it satire. It is a recap of the month of May in this, our United States.

Is it just me, or is something seriously out of whack in our country?



Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for conservative news site RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina
Article published with the author’s permission

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