Friday, December 31, 2010

Taxation in spite of representation

FERC YOU!
From the Wall Street Journal (requires registration):
The Midwest Wind Surtax
You'd think poor Michigan has enough economic troubles without the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission placing a $300 million to $500 million annual surtax on the state's electric utility bills. But on December 16 FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff announced new rules that would essentially socialize the cost of transmission lines across 13 states in the Midwest...

Let's be very clear on what's happening here: Mr. Wellinghoff and FERC are trying to establish by regulatory fiat a national energy policy that Congress has refused to endorse. Last summer Congress rejected the Obama Administration's renewable energy standard law because it would have inflated power costs. So the fiefdom at FERC is unilaterally moving ahead to require that industries and homeowners pay a surtax on their utility bills for a nonexistent renewable energy policy. This is similar to the EPA's initiatives to regulate carbon even after Congress rejected cap and trade.
Because Iowa and the Dakotas want to build windmills, you (and taxpayers in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin) are going to pay to build new power lines to distribute the intermittent windmill electricity. This should become known as the "Dumb Grid."

Without billions of dollars in new power line infrastructure, the windmills are uneconomic. However, like the health care individual mandate, I'm sure we will hear a defense of this based on the Commerce Clause: Michiganders must pay for windmill transmission lines they neither need nor want, because not to do so is a restraint of interstate commerce.

Imminently-former-Governor Granholm's desire to manufacture windmills now moves from merely stupid to surreal. You are subsidizing the manufacture of windmills so they may be sold to people who have just arranged to tax you in order to enable distribution of electricity from the windmills. That electricity will charge the batteries Ms Granholm has also subsidized, in cars the Feds have forced you to pay for, built by a company whose union you were made to bail-out. All with no law being passed.

FERC may, justifiably, have assumed Michigan would be happy to cough up half a billion annually to subsidize other States' crackpot energy schemes. "Green" - the hue of Frankenstein's monster - "jobs."

Fred Upton, call your office. And don't return to this state unless you spike this taxation by the unelected of people they do not represent.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Energy policy checklist

Fuel ethanol is the perfect illustration of statist ability to pick economic winners. That is, fuel ethanol is an economic and environmental disaster.

Ethanol may be passé on the merits, but, philosophically, it precisely represents what our once and future governors consider to be an ideal "public/private partnership." Practically speaking, our federal representatives think it still is.

Legislators claim to support ethanol subsidization in order to "save jobs and the planet." In reality, once they started on this gateway drug, more appropriations became the only way to avoid admitting the withdrawal symptoms: Stupidity and venality.

Engine Makers Sue to Block E15 Fuel
Read that and come back.

So here's the government energy policy of the last 30 years:

1- Prevent drilling for new US petroleum supplies.

Result: Less US petroleum supply.

2- Subsidize giant corporations like Arthur Daniels Midland to produce ethanol.
2a- Encourage Governor Granholm to subsidize other minor players who go bankrupt.

Result: Wasted taxpayer dollars and a glut of ethanol. No environmental improvement. Likely environmental degradation.

3- Pass a law requiring an increase in the use of fuel ethanol.

Result: ADM is happy. Jenny learns nothing.

4- Continue a 54 cent per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol.

Result: Encourage Brazil to sign a deal with China for oil extraction.

(Good thing we've got that tariff to keep nasty foreign ethanol out. We wouldn't want a glut of a liquid that is going to save the planet. Good thing gas prices are up. We wouldn't want a glut.)

5- Subsidize electric cars built by a failed union and pay people to buy them.

Result: $40,000 Chevy Cobalt Volt.

6- Mount bird killer windmills on 5 ton concrete platforms all over the fruited plain.

Result: Tiny amount of intermittent power. Exemption for the Kennedys' view.

7- Blame the dead birds, high oil prices and ethanol glut on unregulated capitalism.

Result: Demand regulation. It's all the fault of big business.

(True, but not an iota of that truth is the result of a free market.)

8- "Fix" the ethanol glut by forcing people to buy 50% more of it.

Result: ADM is HAPPY!  Half of American's cars will have to drive farther to find usable gasoline.

9- Future tasks: Subsidize gas stations who were forced to install new underground tanks for a 3rd type of fuel.

Result: Blame capitalism. Reset. Look for a new winner. Like lithium batteries.

10- Continue the ban on drilling on the US continental shelf and in ANWR. Choke off drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Result: Dependence on foreign oil higher than necessary.

11- Blame capitalism for high gasoline prices.

Rinse. Repeat.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Road to Lithiumdumb

Once again Michigan Capitol Confidential nails it. "It" being the foolishness of our present governor, and what I fear to be the fatal conceit of the former MEDC czar who is about to become governor: Picking economic winners. Given his history, it may be even harder for Rick Snyder to resist the Sirens of Corporatism than it was for Jenny. Statism is very much a characteristic of "moderates." Just look at George Bush.

Projections vs. Reality
An article in the July 24 Detroit Free Press reported, "Companies are searching for a billion-dollar breakthrough in battery design. General Dynamics is working on a zinc-air cell battery. Ford is actively interested in a sodium-sulfur cell. Gulton Industries and General Motors are tinkering with lithium…All the activity is bound to pay off probably within the next five years..."

The promise sounds so bright that readers might imagine that the Michigan Legislature’s recent authorization of $500 million worth of subsidies and tax breaks for car battery makers is a good investment. Unfortunately, that article appeared on July 24, 1967.
Read the whole thing.

I will note that 1967 was contemporaneous with envirostatist predictions of a new ice age. From "Ice Age" we went to "Global Warming" and have arrived, temporarily, at "Climate Change." Credit where it is due, while the labels have been contradictory, scientifically corrupt and consequently increasingly ephemeral, the economic instincts have been unwavering.

Paul Ehrlich, call your office.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Find the porker

A list of Senators in descending order of earmark requests in the $trillon omnibus spending bill: The Omnibus Arrives

If your Senator appears, make a note of the name and then look up when they next stand for election. Start campaigning against them now, whenever that may be.

Find an earmark

Taxpayers Against Earmarks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two Reasons

"Erin Brockovich" Town Shows No Cancer Cluster
Erin Brokovich is no Rachel Carson. But multiplying Brokovich's celebrity quotient by her misconception ratio shows she at least equally damaged the reputation of science. Carson convinced the developed countries that condemning millions to suffer and die was good for the planet. Brokovich (through the movie about her) led hundreds of millions to believe a "scientific" conclusion more flawed than Carson's.

Evil Bush Tax Rates Made Rich Bastards Pay More Taxes!
You would think those who want to tax the "rich" would rejoice when the rich paid more in taxes. They don't. An old joke Russians tell about themselves offers a clue as to the the motivation of statists in this country.
Boris and Ivan are neighboring farmers, who differ only in that Boris owns a cow and Ivan does not.

Ivan is interviewed by the newspaper, and is asked, “Wouldn’t you like to own a cow like Boris does?”

To which Ivan responds, “No, I want Boris’s cow to die!”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Only Congressional Republicans contemplate compromise

Why?

Regarding the potential temporary failure to prevent a tax increase: Tax deal: purists vs. dealmakers

Me, I'm a purist until they can demonstrate they aren't making corrupt, sleazy deals. Which means never. Isn't that the point of the recent election?

So. No pork because of The Dems' Crackup The Democrats don't want any compromise, so let's not give it to them.

Taxes? Up or the same? If the GOP doesn't say "You pick Nancy. On the merits," then they should be replaced in 2012 along with Obama.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ethically consistent

Compared to Crony Car Capitalism grafting 5 billion in ethanol pork onto a tax-increase prevention bill is almost ethical. Of course, it's habituation to that sort of thinking that makes it easy to give the UAW hundreds of billions when the opportunity arises. Don't Waste It. It is the Right Thing to do.

The slope is not so much slippery as it is non-existent. That's what statists mean when they say "level playing field."

Read the link.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stop spending. Stop Spending!
STOP SPENDING!

The AP reported yesterday that the deal between the President and the GOP to maintain a taxation status quo is being modified to include load of pork. The pork is designed to bring reluctant Democrats on board.

Why? Let them vote no. Let them raise taxes; Just Stop Them From Spending.

The $5 billion dollar ethanol subsidy, by itself, demands a No vote. Just last week envirostatist, Nobelist, Oscar winner and former Tipper Dipper Al Gore called it a scam and a stupid idea.

The inconvenience of waiting until January to vote to preserve tax rates is well worth the message it sends: We are not going to buy votes for ethanol, windmills, transit subsidies, or any other unrelated items. If you want to preserve the current tax regime, lower payroll taxes and extend unemployment benefits - vote for it. If you don't, vote against it. We're done handing out billions of dollars to whiny political district-pimps at the behest of their lobbyist mobs. We don't need your damn vote.

If you vote no, we'll propose a bill you'll like a lot less in January. If the Senate stops it, or the President vetoes it, we'll bring it up again. And again. Until 2012. Higher taxes for the next 2 years will actually be a small price to pay for 5 decades or so of control of all 3 branches of government.


Every Republican should vote no if the tax-maintenance deal isn't voted straight up-an-down on the merits. Make ethanol the poster child. If the GOP is going to eschew earmarks, why pander to Democrats' earmarks?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Our first clue should have been that they didn't name it 'MichiganWatt'

GlobalWatt Sells Someone Else’s Solar Panels – on eBay 

Saginaw-based GlobalWatt, beneficiary of soon-to-be-former Governor Granholm's "green jobs" subsidies, has this to say about their solar panels,
"These are Made in India. But they are using very high content of US made material. The cells are from Suniva, from Georgia."
To be sure, someone should check whether Suniva, Georgia shares a border with Florida or with Russia.  In either case, no manufacturing occurred in Michigan.

I'm all for free trade, and if the Indians can make solar panels that save money for Americans, good for them. What I'm not so much in favor of is subsidizing those Indian manufacturing workers via Michigan tax credits.

I'm also all in favor of creating jobs in Michigan, but by the unsubsidized private sector. Rather than tax credits, let's just eliminate corporate income tax and pass right to work legislation. I am confident GlobalWatt would be able hire more people under such conditions. Some of them maybe even in manufacturing positions.

Governor Granholm is taking a last kick at the catastrophe by revealing an utter inability to learn. Remember, she's the Governor who poured money into the "green jobs" ethanol revolution. The favored Michigan companies in that instance are now all bankrupt. Hopefully, we can arrange some damage to federal corporatist ethanol bandits like ADM, too. 


Despite bad reviews of ethanol and an unrequited flirtation with windmills, the Governor thinks she has a clue about THE NEXT BIG THING: How to win the race for jobs
In Michigan, we are trying our own version of this race — focused on the lithium-ion advanced battery for electric cars, a high-tech product previously manufactured almost exclusively in Asia.

We offered irresistible state tax incentives for manufacturers of “advanced energy storage.” We pancaked our state incentives on top of the competitive federal Department of Energy grants to advanced-battery companies and suppliers. We also created robust public-private partnerships.
Next it would be 'irresistible' subsidies to some genetic engineering startup who promise to create a goose that lays golden eggs. But, if there are golden eggs, why would anyone need a subsidy?

Monday, December 06, 2010

The country is in the very best of hands

First, the corruption:
Then the incompetence:
The Fed Has a $110 Billion Problem with New Benjamins
A significant production problem with new high-tech $100 bills has caused government printers to shut down production of the new notes and to quarantine more than one billion of the bills in huge vaults in Fort Worth, Texas
The good news is that that $100 billion is fiat currency in any case. The biggest cost of producing it was labor, and that stimulated the economy in the same way broken windows do.

And hey, it looks like EU script. Maybe we can recycle it to bail out Ireland.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Recycling electrons & some ideas

I was searching the "accumulated wisdom of TOC" today (;)) on a slightly different topic.  Serendipitously, this June-09 post struck me as worth repeating: 

Taxes and the economy

Some comments on Sunday's post, Health care notes, were interesting to me and resulted in this post. Here are the comments:
Janet Brown said...

This is just one more reminder that the only real way to keep our economy strong is not by raising taxes, but by keeping taxes low, fair and simple.

We need to take action and contact our legislators and sign petitions like the ones the U.S. Chamber of Commerce backs (here).
1:08 PM EDT


Life Insurance Broker said...

@Janet Brown

Explain to me how keeping taxes low will help anything? With no tax money there will be no money in the government thus no money for the economy.

Take care, Lorne
12:00 PM EDT


Paladin said...

@Lorne

By "money in the economy" let's presume you mean the value created in the economy. Almost all of this value is created by private productive individuals and organizations. The allocation of that value is properly vested in free markets. The government's legitimate role is to take a very small portion of that value and use it to provide its legitimate services. High taxes reduce "money in the economy". Low taxes increase it.

Thomas Sowell has written an excellent overview titled "Basic Economics". Henry Hazlitt's "Economics is One Lesson" is good too, but maybe not quite as accessible.
12:55 PM EDT

Lorne,

There are so many very basic, common, and erroneous assumptions packed into your short comment that I am not sure if you are serious. I will respond as if you are, however, because you would be far from alone in such thinking, and I hope addressing these ideas may be useful to others as well.

You seem to be confused about how wealth is created. We may call it money, but that is just a proxy. I think Paladin well addressed this issue, but there are other questionable memes he left unanswered.

One of your problematic assumptions is that without “the government” there wouldn’t be an “economy.” This begs the question of what "the economy" is, and we don’t have time for that here. Suffice it to say that, historically, good government has assisted economic activity by providing a stable and trusted medium of exchange, i.e., money, in a stable environment. This is not to say government must do this, it has just been convenient. It is also not to say that government can be trusted to be a good steward. Recent events prove this.

As to what is “money,” it has ranged from Cowry shells to tulip bulbs to tobacco to limestone wheels 12 feet in diameter. All of these things were a medium of exchange (could be traded for something else), a unit of account (could be traded at a standard value), and a store of value (could be put aside and used later at a similar exchange rate). Whenever they lost any one of those characteristics, they ceased to be money.

Government, then, has hardly been the sole source of money. At one time banks issued their own currency. Gold and silver have themselves served as money without any government’s imprimatur. Not so long ago, our national paper currency was backed by those precious metals. Paper was simply easier to transport.

So, it is not necessary to have government to have either money or an “economy.”

Money, today, in the US, is not backed by any commodity with intrinsic value. What used to be silver certificates, redeemable for the actual metal “payable to the bearer on demand”, are now Federal Reserve notes backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States government.” The intrinsic value is zero, or at best equal to the value of a good counterfeit. The value of a Federal Reserve note is psychological.

As to money supply, to over-simplify, good government should provide a psychologically acceptable currency in sufficient volume so as to allow for the orderly exchange of goods and services. The volume of money in circulation should keep pace with the value of productivity: It should grow at the same rate as productivity. Too much growth in the money supply begets inflation, too little means deflation.

Inflation is itself a tax, and therefore a conflict of interest for your government, because when that government issues (prints) money in excess of the requirement, the money you got paid yesterday suddenly buys less. It becomes diluted, and the real value of your savings shrinks. The Weimar Republic and modern Zimbabwe are extreme examples. As a thought experiment, imagine what would happen if the government decided to wipe out its deficit by the simple expedient of printing money equal to the amount of the deficit. Don't laugh, in a similar vein Zimbabwe declared inflation to be illegal while printing new money at a ratio of a million to one to the old. Zimbabwean inflation in July 2008 was 40-50 million percent.

Lorne, you seem to think that government may actually create wealth. It does not. Not even when it owns General Motors. If General Motors could produce cars people wanted to buy at a profit, what role does government have? If General Motors cannot produce such cars at a profit, how can government fix that? Certainly not by simply taking your money and giving it to General Motors. That does not create wealth, it destroys it by robbing you.

Government, at least in Western democracies, has typically reasonably well performed one function beneficial to the economy. It provides a mechanism for the enforcement of contracts – the rule of law. Not that this could not be done privately, but we have generally ceded the responsibility to government because we trust the process (even so, special entities exist for arbitrating disputes). If we were to cease to trust the government process it would be a serious problem.

So, what does this say about a government, like the Obama administration, willing to quadruple the deficit and to abrogate legal contracts? Quite simply, it erodes the faith and confidence necessary to assign value to the money that government produces. The Chinese have noticed.

Further, it damages the economy by misdirecting resources for political purposes. Resources taken from you. Higher taxes is the government taking more of those resources. From you.

So, when that same government raises taxes what is it doing? [It is] Illustrating another misconception in your comment. Taxes do not create jobs or products or the economy. The jobs that money could have created, and the investment in productivity and innovation that could have been made, are stopped in favor of tattoo removal among Los Angeles gangstas, or propping up a failed auto workers union.

Without economic freedom you cannot have political freedom. All of this economic discussion should be framed with that reference. Specifically, the loss of political freedom represented by government intervention in the form of excessive direct taxation, or in indirect taxation through regulation and inflation. You are not free to choose.

On that note, I will add three other books to the ones Paladin mentioned in his comment (Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics and Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson) that could also help you understand this better. I assume you would like to.

  1. Eat the Rich, P.J. O’Rourke. A really fun read. Pay special attention to the chapter on Hong Kong under John Cowperthwaite.
  2. Free to Choose and Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Freidman. Classics, easily understood, but take them in that order.
  3. The Road to Serfdom, Freidrich Hayek. Heavier going and appropriate for more advanced study.
Thanks for stopping by and inspiring this post.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here is Calvin Coolidge, from his 1923 Thanksgiving Day proclamation. He wrote this himself, as he did all his speeches.
The American people, from their earliest days, have observed the wise custom of acknowledging each year the bounty with which divine Providence has favored them. In the beginnings, this acknowledgment was a voluntary return of thanks by the community for the fruitfulness of the harvest. Though our mode of life has greatly changed, this custom has always survived. It has made thanksgiving day not only one of the oldest but one of the most characteristic observances of our country. On that day, in home and church, in family and in public gatherings, the whole nation has for generations paid the tribute due from grateful hearts for blessings bestowed.

To center our thought in this way upon the favor which we have been shown has been altogether wise and desirable. It has given opportunity justly to balance the good and the evil which we have experienced. In that we have never failed to find reasons for being grateful to God for a generous preponderance of the good. Even in the least propitious times, a broad contemplation of our whole position has never failed to disclose overwhelming reasons for thankfulness. Thus viewing our situation, we have found warrant for a more hopeful and confident attitude toward the future.

In this current year, we now approach the time which has been accepted by custom as most fitting for the calm survey of our estate and the return of thanks. We shall the more keenly realize our good fortune, if we will, in deep sincerity, give to it due thought, and more especially, if we will compare it with that of any other community in the world.

... We have been blessed with much of material prosperity. We shall be better able to appreciate it if we remember the privations others have suffered, and we shall be the more worthy of it if we use it for their relief. We will do well then to render thanks for the good that has come to us, and show by our actions that we have become stronger, wiser, and truer by the chastenings which have been imposed upon us. We will thus prepare ourselves for the part we must take in a world which forever needs the full measure of service. We have been a most favored people. We ought to be a most generous people. We have been a most blessed people. We ought to be a most thankful people.
Yes, we should.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

General Government Motors

It would be very nice to believe that General Motors' recent IPO represented the successful culmination of a multi-billion dollar bailout, especially since that bailout was combined with the General Government's flaunting of the rule of contract law.

The rescue of the UAW was morally hazardous, ethically reprehensible and accomplished on the backs of taxpayers - the majority of whom objected to the transaction. It would be nice to believe jobs were saved and taxpayers profited. It would be the very minimum definition of nice, and it would still be BS.

The Cadillac of Bad Ideas

Did the Auto Bailout Really Save One Million Jobs?

It would even be nice if General Government Motors applied a lesson already learned:  Buy what you want or need instead of compromising. Makes great sense

But the General Government has insulated General Motors from that lesson. You are meant to buy a Chevy Volt.  Not some car you actually want.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rombamacare and 2012

Bush was excoriated because he couldn't tell the MSM about mistakes he had made. Obama does not recognize the possibility that someone who stopped the oceans from rising could ever make a mistake. Conventional wisdom has Bush as an idiot, Obama as a genius.

Mitt Romney also has a reputation as a smart guy, moreover one who understands business and finance. He has an easy path to turn a mistake into a benefit. He could say, "Federalism is, among other things, about the idea that individual states can serve as venues for policy experiments. I led Massachusetts in such an experiment: I was instrumental in designing a state mandated health insurance system upon which Obamacare was modeled. My plan has been a disaster for Massachusetts.

Ironically, that lesson was made possible by the vestigial Federalism which President Obama seeks to finally destroy via initiatives like his own health care mandate. I am able to learn from my mistake, so should the country.

The broader lesson is that central planning cannot replace the free market, no matter how smart the central planner thinks he is. I will not forget that again.
"

Since Romney apparently cannot do this simple and intelligent thing, I'd agree with this analysis.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A moment's silence, please.

A moment silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

I first posted what follows below on 11/11/2008. I don't know if I can do much better, so here it is again. The changes I would make are to shorten it a bit and to put Terry Kelly's song at the top.

There, I did.

Please read the story about why the song was written and then listen to it. Then, if you want, come back and read the rest of this post...


The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month - A Pittance of Time reprise
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If we do not remember those who gave their lives to preserve our way of life, we are likely to lose that way of life by the worst possible means - the habit of thinking things had to be the way they are and not some other way. This lesson is not buried in some dusty tome; our grandparents know better. How could we forget?

Some of us understand that things are the way they are because some soldiers were - and are - so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense. Sadly, the vast majority of us do not seem committed to remember this debt.

The
re is encouragement for this amnesia. We have many enemies, and putative friends, who desire that we forget past courage and honor. They desire that the remembrance of the justice of the causes of the past should slip away. They view even their own immediate ancestors - who rose to meet challenges of personal and cultural annihilation - as quaint throwbacks to an unenlightened age.

These enemies and self-declared friends are wrong. We must reject their idea that our enemies are simply people we haven't yet had the intelligence to recognize as our moral equivalents.

Remember Ypres, Belleau Wood and Dieppe. Do not forget Iwo Jima or The Bulge or the Chosen Reservoir or Khe Sanh.

And Khe Sanh is a good example of how an agenda of defeat twists logic: At Khe Sanh 205 Americans were killed, while the North Vietnamese lost between ten and fifteen thousand. The Western press portrayed Khe San as a defeat. Like Tet. Do not forget Tet, where Walter Cronkite surrendered, on our behalf, following our resounding victory.

Our enemies had these "victories" because, while our soldiers were annihilating them, we lost heart. We should certainly remember that.

What we remember will affect what we think. The ritual denigration of the US military continues to affect Associated Press headlines 40 years after Tet, as observed by TOC.

If
Veterans day is not an event that counters this defeatism, where will we find the will to win the war against Islamofascism? Respect for those who gave their lives on our behalf LAST WEEK is as necessary as respect for those who died in the Civil War and WWI and WWII and Korea and Viet Nam.

Without our continuing consciousness of their effort, those who have died and those who die tomorrow on behalf of our present freedom, are literally dust. You must not let that happen. They died for their homes and families and friends, and for a rule of law and traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for you.

This truth was not a question until latter half of the 20th Century.


In 1915 John McCrae, a Canadian Army doctor, wrote In Flanders Fields, about the horrors he saw in the Ypres salient.

In Flanders Fields


by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Update 10:29AM
Also see: Michigan Taxes Too Much

Monday, November 08, 2010

Red flag in Senate district 17

The Conservative Evolution of Randy Richardville
The future majority leader of the Michigan Senate wants his critics to know that he is no liberal

He may want us to know that, and he may not be a liberal. What he is not is a conservative. He's a "Republican" who favors unionization forced by government
As a recent example, he co-sponsored Senate Bill 731, legislation that would transfer $6.6 million in taxpayer money to the SEIU government employee union. It did it by creating a government "employer" for about 42,000 individuals who are hired by elderly or disabled Medicaid recipients. The Mackinac Center has filed a lawsuit over a similar set- up involving home day care providers.
He wants us to focus on the "big picture" and not on his "voting record from 6 years ago."

OK, let's. His SEIU subsidy was introduced in 2009.

In the 2010 election cycle Sen. Richardville was the Republican with the third largest donation total from the MEA.

Sen. Richardville also showed favoritism toward public employee unions by introducing Senate Bill 1072. SB 1072 expanded the number of public safety groups which can go to arbitration in contract disputes involving Public Act 312.

Sen. Richardville cast a vote for corporatism in May of 2010, preventing the owners of a Michigan insurance company from selling their own investment.

I suspect he'll get along fine with Rick Snyder. I hope I'm wrong about Snyder.

All links from Mackinac Center for Public Policy and its Capitol Confidential newsletter. The Mackinac Center deserves your support.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I'm really, really busy

Posting has been delayed and will be sporadic.

So, to keep my hand in, here are some random things I found interesting.

A Brit on freedom.
Only the Tea Party can save us now

God how I wish I were American right now. In the US they may not have the Cairngorms, the River Wye, cream teas, University Challenge, Cotswold villages or decent curries. But they do still understand the principles of “don’t tread on me” and “live free or die.” Not all of them, obviously – otherwise a socialist like Barack Obama would never have got into power. But enough of them to understand that in the last 80 or more years – and not just in the US but throughout the Western world – government has forgotten its purpose. It has now grown so arrogant and swollen as to believe its job is to shape and improve and generally interfere with our lives. And it’s not. Government’s job is to act as our humble servant.
A couple of notes on Mark Steyn.
Kevin Libin: What do the U.S. mid-term elections, China and Omar Khadr have in common? Mark Steyn knows

Steyn, at his finest, delivers ‘almost a counsel of despair’

A couple of obvious portents to which few are attending:

Dollar at Risk of Crashing, Triggering Inflation: Strategist

Brazil ready to retaliate for US move in ‘currency war’

All worth the reading time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Memo to the San Francisco Chronicle

The other day you told us: Nancy Pelosi is perfect fit for San Francisco

The editorial went on to say she was also the best choice for the country. Apparently, all the stupid people do not see it that way. They do agree that Pelosi embodies San Francisco values, it's why just 8% of independent voters view her favorably. My question is, "By what tortured definition of "independent" are these people describing themselves?"

Republicans Poised to Win Mid-Term Elections: Survey

Likely voters view Ms. Pelosi unfavorably by a two-to-one margin. Among independents, just 8 percent view the Speaker positively, compared to 61 percent who view her negatively.
Requiem for the Pelosi Democrats
"It's been an authoritarian, closed leadership."
Ms Pelosi will not be Speaker of the House in the next Congress. She has never been the speaker for Americans.

Here be dragons

...from the medieval practice of putting sea serpents in blank areas of maps.

Gallup calls today's long awaited thrashing of the Democrats "Uncharted Territory." Let's make sure they are proven correct. Today is the most consequential election of your lifetime.

Don't get cocky.
Make sure you vote!

Readers of this blog probably already know there is no Michigan Democrat, in any race, for whom you should vote, but just in case there is any confusion regarding non-partisan candidates it's:

Mary Beth Kelly and Robert Young Jr for Supreme Court. IMPORTANT.

Billie Jo O'Berry for 30th Circuit Court (because Canady is terrible).

On the partisan candidates, exceptions to the GOP are:


Stacey Mathia or Ken Proctor for Governor. (why?)

Libertarians for all State Boards and Regents.  (To provide a baseline.  See 'why?', just above).

On propositions:

 

NO on additional taxation for Ingham County Police Patrols.

NO on Con Con.

Show me the dragons.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fatuous bunch of crap

Carolyn Lin is professor of communication sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and associate dean of the UConn Graduate School. She is "an expert on campaign strategy."

Here's the proof in her own words:

The most damaging aspect about negative political advertising is that when the lies about another candidate stick, there is no easy way for that candidate to rebut those lies...

Around the country, a lot of candidates have been condemning government and the need for government to participate in people's lives. But Lin says most voters really don't agree with that, since elimination of government might mean you have to pave your own street, establish you [sic] own fire department, go without food safety regulations, or live without government help in a disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or oil spill...

You have to craft messages in such a way that people can understand them. You need one clear message, and you need to hang on it throughout the campaign...

Says Lin, “Turnout will be the key for both candidates.”
"[T]he need for government to participate in people's lives"? Need? Participate?? I guess that's more profound than “Turnout will be the key for both candidates,” less profound than "when the lies about another candidate stick, there is no easy way for that candidate to rebut those lies," and as profound as "You have to craft messages in such a way that people can understand them."  Where would we be without expert campaign strategists?

"Elimination of government." Where did she get that? Though I'd be happy to repair my own streets if people like Carolyn Lin were in charge: I'd be directing the moat digging and the placement of caltrops.

"Establish my own Fire Department?" Hell, Ingham County already tells me I have to establish my own Police Department.

I hope, for UConn's sake, that parents paying for their children's education there do not become aware this drivel.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Municipal narcissism

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
Nancy Pelosi is perfect fit for San Francisco

That might have been better rendered "is a perfect example of San Franciscan values."

...there is no doubt that the city's best interest rests with Democrats maintaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

As speaker, Nancy Pelosi has used her powers of prerogative and persuasion to help San Franciscans get what they want out of Congress, in terms of both philosophy and funding for specific projects.

...It's in San Francisco's best interest to keep Nancy Pelosi in Washington, working for the city's values and needs. It's in the nation's interest to keep her as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"[U]sed her powers of prerogative and persuasion?" That would be better rendered as "her powers of bribery and bludgeoning."

The Chronicle has succumbed to the pathology of narcissism afflicting Democrats in general and Pelosi, Reid and Obama, in particular. San Franciscans who place their interests before the nation's will certainly expect the rest of us to bail California out of its Greece-like economic disaster. While Nancy Pelosi's re-election may be in San Francisco's best interests, it certainly is not in ours.

San Franciscans may believe that the rest of the country should be just like them:


...but it is obvious the following SF statutes must have been repealed or Nancy Pelosi would not be able to campaign from a soap-box on any street corner in the city:

  • It is illegal to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a street corner
  • Persons classified as “ugly” may not walk down any street
Ref. here, here, here, here, here.

The rest of the country is poised to tell San Francisco we want Pelosi off her soap-box and off the streets.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why you should not vote for Rick Snyder

Be not afraid: Your vote will not hand a victory to the Democrats and it will not be “wasted.” Snyder has a 20 point lead. Voting for a limited government candidate will send him a message, not elect his opponent.

Why does Mr. Snyder need such a message? Mainly because he sincerely believes government should actively interfere in the economy by picking economic winners. This is not different from Ms Granholm, nor from Mr. Bernero. They all agree that they can command the economy to perform better than can the invisible hand.

Here are Mr. Snyder's corporatist credentials:

As its first Director, he “created” the disaster known as MEDC, and now thinks it merely needs reform, rather than elimination. Adding injury to insult, after he left MEDC he availed himself of $7.5 million in MEDC funds. Rick Snyder believes that government "picking winners" is a good idea if it's done by the “right” elite. So do Granholm and Bernero. They differ merely in who comprises the elite.

When asked about Michigan's preposterous subsidies for the movie industry, Mr. Snyder said he wants to continue them, but to do so in a way that makes sure Michigan companies get the benefit. As an example of such reform, he would eliminate catering from out of State. That'll show Jenny how the game is played.

Snyder emphasizes continued State subsidization of the mythical “green job.” Jennifer's bankrupt ethanol plants, ill-advised windmill subsidies and battery manufacturing give-aways will bring prosperity if only we put the “right” bureaucrats in charge of picking the technology-of-the-month. If they could do this, they wouldn't need a taxation system. They could run the State off their investment gains.

In his single debate, Mr. Snyder indicated he thinks making Michigan a right to work state is not worth the trouble, despite much evidence to the contrary. Right to Work States Gain Billions It is hard to accept the idea that Snyder isn't aware of this. But...

He won the primary at least partially as a result of soliciting Democrats to cross party lines. This strategy was viable because he did not give (and has not given) any clear idea what he actually intends. His “tough nerd” policy documents are devoid of specifics. Snyder's strategy succeeded because the vote for candidates with clear limited government platforms was split. Rick Snyder is either putting one over on the Democrats or he will continue the command-and-control economic policies so dear to his predecessor. On the evidence, I think it's the latter.

In this key area the difference between Snyder and Bernero is the funding channel, not the recipient. Snyder will use an MEDC-like intermediary. Bernero will give directly to the unions. Corporatism is a bad idea no matter who is in charge, and notwithstanding the spoils distribution mechanism.

The good news for those hesitant about a third party vote? Given Snyder's double digit lead, you can play the politics as the multi-year game it is instead of just rejecting, yet again, the greater of two evils. It's a free vote protest against statism. It's without electoral consequence, but still carries policy implications.

Sending this message to Snyder isn’t some mindless obsession with purity. It’s part of presenting a coherent message to other voters and to politicians. It is about offering a real contrast with the bankrupt lunacy of the Democrats. Do you really want to hear, for the next 4 years; “See, Republicans do the same thing!”? If not, you need to do everything you can to constrain Rick Snyder.

In summary: Rick Snyder gives every indication of being a corporatist's best friend. If you want to encourage him to adopt more sensible economic policies, don't let him get a double digit win. Given Snyder's 20 point lead you can vote for a third party without worrying about Virg Bernero. You should consider this so as to send a message to Mr. Snyder: “STOP THE SUBSIDIES. GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF PICKING ECONOMIC WINNERS!”

Vote for Stacey Mathia or Ken Proctor.

If the Taxpayer Party/Libertarian Party vote doubles the expectations - say getting to 12% - Rick Snyder may get the message. If he doesn't, he's no nerd.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I think she's wrong about this...

...because they are about to discover exactly what credit they deserve.

Pelosi: 'We haven't really gotten the credit for what we have done'

It's up to us to go out there. I'm very confident; our members know why they voted for what they did.
She says that as if bribery and corruption were a good thing. It certainly isn't that they voted for that mess of pottage because they had, you know, read it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NO! To Mark Meadows.

State Representative Mark Meadows (D, East Lansing) is running against Susan McGillicuddy. On November 2nd, vote for McGillicuddy. Or, at least vote against Meadows because of his sponsorship of these 3 bills:

HB 6214
This bill would change the sales tax law so that the free meals supplied to some restaurant employees will become subject to sales tax. Many of these workers earn only minimum wage.

Since the alternative interpretation is that Meadows wants to raise taxes on minimum wage workers, I suspect he thinks of it as a tax on the employers: They'll just absorb the increase. On the margins, of course, this petty sniping at small business will simply mean a few more people will not be able to find entry level work.

HB 6257
A bill to prohibit Michigan's Attorney General from bringing suit, or intervening in a suit in a federal court, or a suit in another state or country, unless the Governor asks for it. This would have prevented AG Cox from suing the Federal Government over Obamacare.

HB 5305
A bill to increase the cost of a marriage license from $20 to $40. The proceeds of this tax increase would go to government-sponsored "family counseling services." Or "don't have a family" counseling services, as the case may be.

H/T Mackinac Center and Capitol Confidential

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Memo from Homeland Security

Michelle Obama violates election law by campaigning within a polling station, and "Baghdad Bob" Gibbs say it's to be expected.

Someone wearing a Gadsden flag button is not allowed to vote.

Someone is arrested for a Gadsden flag bumper sticker.

Equality under the law is not for the fearful clingers. Could be why they're frightened.

Cynthia Tucker Award for Self-Deception in Journalism nominees

Cynthia herself, of course, has the inside track, but, 

Clarence Paige:
President has soft-pedaled his own achievements

(I wonder what it would be like if the President had an ounce of chutzpah?)

and

Steven Pearlstein: 

Democrats suffer from Americans' unwillingness to accept economic reality
(That should read "further economic destruction.")
 

...must not be counted out.

Taking a British idiom, these handsome statuettes of a Unicorn and its editor are known colloquially as the "Starkers" awards.

Note: the links are not recommended, but are included as evidence for members of the Starkers Awards Jury.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Compromise?

I understand Rush Limbaugh commented today on the GOP tendency to self-destruction, noting this comment,
It's pretty clear the American people expect us to use the existing gridlock to create compromise and advance their agenda. They want us to come together [with the administration] after we agree to disagree.
from Rep. Darrell Issa (R., CA).

As the linked article notes, the GOP elite are showing signs that they fear a repetition of what happened to them in 1995 after major victories in the 1994 mid-term elections. That lesson is the wrong one to which to attend. I would have been happy if the government stayed shut down then. Today, tens of millions more people agree.

I expect the Republicans to obstruct, deny, vilify, denounce, stonewall, jam, and reject the far-left agenda of this arrogant President. I expect them to reverse, not revise, the ill-advised laws already passed. I expect them to stand up for the principle of limited government. It will be hard. It may even cost them dearly. But if they compromise this time, they will have abandoned their oath of office. Again.

They had better be thinking that compromise with poisonous policies means the death of their party. If anyone should be compromising it should be the Democrats. They increased the debt by 3 trillion dollars to no effect. They have shoved legislation down our throats. They have applied draconian regulation where they could not legislate. They have suspended the rule of law in examples ranging from contracts, to voter intimidation, to enforcement of US sovereignty. There is no compromise with this cadre of Progressives, because that compromise will kill this country. But first, it will kill the GOP.

The "Pledge to America," is barely enough to start with. It is anemic on cutting spending. But you can be sure that it is the position from which the Democrats will expect the GOP to compromise. The statists have already denounced the pledge as extreme. Will left-wing fire coming from MoveOn, ACORN, the NAACP and the MSM be less withering after an electoral rejection? Will George Soros decide to give his money to the Chamber of Commerce? Those usual suspects already criticize the President for only having taken half-measures.

Advertising a willingness to compromise on the brink of an electoral blowout is much worse than a bad negotiating tactic, it portends a spineless betrayal. Again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Obama failures: An excess of bipartisanship?

As long as we have Cynthia Tucker, we will not be without a measure of how low the editorialist bar can be set.  Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans

Go ahead, read the whole column. It is so deranged it won't even make you angry. Bemused, more likely.

In that same spirit, we have someone named Lance Dickie cautioning voters not to vote against their own interests. Mr. Dickie purports to address the 60 to 70% of Americans who specifically oppose the President's policies on health care, immigration, energy taxation, bail-outs and, particularly, financial "reform."
Voters seeking revenge this election for the collapse of the economy, and their frustrations with a loud, crude campaign season, must not let anger overtake their own self-interest.
Of course, there is a question being begged here. Does the general government best serve your interest by promoting your dependency upon it, or does it do so by securing the blessings of liberty on your behalf? Less abstractly and more broadly: Are you willing to make your grandchildren into wage slaves for your own present comfort?

Mr. Dickie has nearly, if unintentionally, written a brilliant satire. For example:
I think the plan is to make Bernie Madoff the speaker of the House.
This would be funny if it weren't for the fact that Madoff would actually be an improvement. He was self-aware enough to know he was running a scam. The present Speaker is not so wise. She says unemployment benefits “create jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name … it injects demand into the economy.”

Who would you rather have as Speaker: Someone who apprehends reality or someone who does not? It's a given that they are both crooks, but you can at least reason with one of them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

From risible to rampageous

Just a little while ago the tea party movement was beneath the notice of the President and merited only derision from the talking heads on MSNBC. Now, we have Chris "Tingly" Matthews ranting about the dangers of probity, a strong work-ethic, self-sufficiency and voluntary co-operation.  Of course, that's not what he calls it...
If the trapped Chilean miners had subscribed to the tea party’s “every-man-for-himself” philosophy, “they would have been killing each other after about two days.”
One wonders if Mr. Matthews has ever read Animal Farm, or Lord of the Flies. If he did, it seems likely he thinks the common thread is that both novels feature pigs.

Matthews is in line here with the Homeland Security memo warning that possession of a Gadsden Flag or a copy of the Constitution is a yellow flag for domestic terrorism, but when Senator Russ Feingold starts identifying with the tea partiers, and Democrats generally campaign against their own Big Brother policies, perhaps Mr. Matthews should pay attention to the narrative shift.  

His point is the benificence of Big Government in general, of course, not just the Obama regime's version.  However, as Richard Viguerie points out the tea party ire did not begin with the Tingler-in-Chief.
Tea partiers know fully the failures of Republicans prior to 2009. Republicans who assert — wrongly — that the tea party is merely a reaction to the even-worse conditions under the Obama Democrats aren’t just kidding themselves. They blindly and foolishly remain part of the problem.
The GOP would do well to remember that, even if Chris Matthews cannot.

Monday, October 11, 2010

10-10-10 Rally

Beautiful day in Lansing.

Free enterprise.

About 250 people from all over the State attended.

This rally was more overtly partisan than in the past. Speakers running for office have spoken before, but only on the principles of limited government. This time there was electioneering starting with the prayer. Unfortunately.

Opsommer, Schuette, Young, Kelly, Johnson and some local candidates gave stump speeches with a nod toward the 10th Amendment. They all deserve your vote. Still...

I suppose this near an election and with the issues solidified, partisan politicking may be expected - and these were all Michigan or Ingham County candidates. However, the tea party must remember its non-partisan origins.

The pressure has to be kept up on all the statists: Nancy Pelosi, Lindsey Graham, Virg Bernero, Jocelyn Benson and fellow travellers like Joe Schwarz.

We also need to send Rick Snyder a message. On which more later.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

10-10-10 Rally

Sunday October 10, 2010
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Michigan State Capitol
100 N. Capitol
Lansing, MI 48933

More here.
Be there!

Friday, October 08, 2010

The New York Times and the rule of the invisible hand

From the people who dare suggest to us that they are our intellectual and moral superiors:

Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts

Kate Zernike, in a generally snide look at the tea party movement, drops this gem (emphasis mine):
"Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, alluded to “The Road to Serfdom” in introducing his economic “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which many other Republicans have embraced. Ron Johnson, who entered politics through a Tea Party meeting and is now the Republican nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, asserted that the $20 billion escrow fund that the Obama administration forced BP to set up to pay damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill circumvented “the rule of law,” Hayek’s term for the unwritten code that prohibits the government from interfering with the pursuit of “personal ends and desires.” "
Right, the 'rule of law' is not written anywhere. This explains decades of SCOTUS decisions. It tells us why the Chrysler bondholders were told to pound sand and it clearly justifies making everyone buy a health insurance policy whether they want to or not.

Of course, it is not merely Ms Zernike, but the editors of the fish wrap in which she is published who can't define the rule of law and who cannot distinguish between dead white males like Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Constitutional duty

Harry Reid: “It Is My Constitutional Duty” to Spend Federal Money… “I Fight For It”

Yes he does. This is why we have to rally on Sunday to bring attention to the 10th Amendment: Harry Reid's oath of office was like Faisal Shahzad's oath of allegiance to the US when he was naturalized, "I did swear but I did not mean it."

Faisal Shahzad is the guy who recently attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York's Times Square. Harry Reid, in contrast, has aided and abetted the explosion of US debt and expansion of executive power which is a bigger threat to this country than anything Shahzad even contemplated.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

One can safely predict...

That these folks will not be at the Lansing Tenth Amendment rally next Sunday. 

See next post for time & place.

Friday, September 24, 2010

10th Amendment rally BUMPED & UPDATED



"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."


Date: Sunday October 10, 2010
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Michigan State Capitol
100 N. Capitol
Lansing, MI 48933

If you are a small business owner wondering how you can afford to comply with new 1099 reporting requirements, you need to attend this rally. If you are an individual who objects to the federal mandate that you must purchase health insurance, you should attend this rally. If you are outraged by the federal government's unilateral abrogation of contracts, you need to attend this rally. If you are nervous about what the explosion of federal spending means for national security and the future freedoms of your offspring, you need to attend this rally. If you think federal government bureaucrats are more likely to destroy the health care industry, the automobile industry, the energy industry and the financial industry than to help them, you should attend this rally. If you think we should be less concerned about the enforcement of federal law by the states than the security of our borders, you should be at the Capitol grounds on October 10th.

If you want federal officials to know you are fed up with their arrogance, you need to tell them. Publicly. Attend this rally and be counted.

Your presence will help reinforce the message, to politicians of all parties, that the federal government's intrusion into the lives of its employers has become excessive. This message has to be delivered continuously. They have very short memories. They are only just beginning to be frightened.

The date, of course, is just 3 weeks prior to what is probably the most consequential election of your lifetime. It will be topped only by 2012.

In the long term, even more important for your children and grandchildren is the idea that the 10th Amendment matters.

Senate won't vote to stop the tax hike

...but they will vote on the so-called "Paycheck Fairness Act" before the elections: Another business tax hike, gift to trial lawyers and regulatory quagmire.

On September 14, TOC noted that the male/female "wage-gap" is non-existent. Christina Hoff Sommers also pointed this out on September 21 in the New York Times. Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay
... a 2009 analysis of wage-gap studies commissioned by the Labor Department evaluated more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and concluded that the aggregate wage gap “may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

...Universities, for example, typically pay professors in their business schools more than they pay those in the school of social work, citing market forces as the justification. But according to the gender theory that informs this bill, sexist attitudes led society to place a higher value on male-centered fields like business than on female-centered fields like social work.
These apparent choices, made by smart women, are actually forced on them by the patriarchal conspiracy:
And this is how those choices manifest themselves in the workplace:

The usual suspects support this legislation, because they think only their choices are the right choices. Call Senate Now for Paycheck Fairness 

And tell them to stop the Bill.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Arlen Specter in a dress?

A mental image everyone could do without, but a good question when Jonah Goldberg asks it about Lisa Murkowski - here. It's short, RTWT.

Seems like the GOP Establishment "big tent," is entirely too small to contain the egotistic sense of entitlement of a Mike Castle, Charlie Crist or Lisa Murkowski.

Arlen Specter (R2D2 - in Taranto's excellent classification) was the template.  To hell with Specter: Done.  To hell with Castle: Done.


And to hell with the rest of them:  In process.

Finally, it's tragic that RINO poster-child Lindsey Graham isn't up for a vote until 2014, but we have a long memory.

Bad link fixed. Sep-19 7:53. Sorry.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who is electable?

Well, lots of people the establishment told us were not. And now, many establishment types are telling us Christine O'Donnell's victory was pyrrhic: An ill advised spasm of childish petulance. They rush to tell us that William F. Buckley would have disapproved.

Buckley suggested this rule: Support the most conservative candidate who is electable.

In light of d'Tocqueville's observation that a Democracy will tend toward statism, the Buckley rule can be a strategy of incremental retreat. The most conservative available candidate may drift leftward as the voters entitle themselves and Parties seek power rather than good governance. This consequence is quite evident today. 

Another problem: Taken as absolute by dedicated partisans, it will fail to take advantage of a period where the determination of who is "electable" is tremendously uncertain. The rule, therefore, tends to restrict the possible in favor of the "certain." Following it we should have ignored Scott Brown's candidacy, and Rand Paul's. We should have ceded Wisconsin to Russ Feingold. Chris Cristie should never have run. Mario Rubio, electable as a state Senator and not as a US Senator, should not have challenged the GOP favorite.

I do not think Mr. Buckley would be pleased with these references to his "rule." Mr. Buckley, after all, was a strong supporter of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy when Nelson Rockefeller was arguably more electable, and as far to Lyndon Johnson's right as is Castle to Coons'. I do not remember Mr. Buckley objecting to Goldwater's acceptance speech line: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Goldwater lost, but it is widely accepted that Ronald Reagan would never have been president if not for the work Goldwater did to prepare the way. It is a multi-year game and we accept the unprincipled, mediocre party hack at our peril. Electing a Mike Castle is an incremental defeat. It defines the deviancy from principle up.

Mr. Buckley never intended a refusal to test the limits of the possible. He certainly never believed electing Republicans was job one.

Go Green!

...is a cheer for the MSU Spartans, not an economic policy.  

If government were capable of predicting which investments would produce jobs they would also be capable of predicting which tax regime would always produce a surplus without damage to economic growth.

“…Funny Numbers They Pull Out of Their Backside”

The fact that the numbers are bogus doesn't stop unions from whining, about stimulus-exported "green jobs" however: 'Green' jobs no longer golden in stimulus

The Department of Energy estimated that 82,000 [?] jobs have been created and has acknowledged that as much as 80 percent of some green programs, including $2.3 billion of manufacturing tax credits, went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States.

Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, said much of the green stimulus funding was "squandered."

"Large grants to build green buildings don't generate many new jobs, except for a few architects," he said. "Subsidies for windmills and solar panels created lots of jobs in China," but few at home.

In one of several embarrassing disclosures for the administration, a report last fall by American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop found that 11 U.S. wind farms used their grants to purchase 695 out of 982 wind turbines from overseas suppliers...

In a trade complaint against China on Thursday, the United Steelworkers union charged that Beijing is trying to corner the market on green jobs by showering billions of dollars of subsidies on domestic producers and discriminating against foreign firms and goods.
The irony of this complaint, while we're subsidizing ethanol, windmills and batteries to the tune of billions, appears lost on the USW.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10-10-10 tea party rally

10th Amendment Tea Party 10-10-10 In Lansing
Join your fellow Michigan patriots as we support our 10th Amendment Sovereignty rights against Unconstitutional Federal over reach such as ObamaCare, a prime example of national law that oversteps state jurisdiction and results in the loss of rights of Michigan’s citizens!
Date: Sunday October 10, 2010
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Michigan State Capitol
100 N. Capitol
Lansing, MI 48933

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Message from Delaware

Christine O'Donnell's Delaware primary victory sent a strong message to the GOP establishment; the establishment we've all griped about. It will be on the mind of every pol for the next 2 years. We should endeavor to keep them focused on this message for the next 2 decades.

Yes, an O'Donnell loss could cost the GOP control of the senate next year, but it's a multi-decade game we can't win unless we insist on principle. We've been gradually losing for decades because we have failed to do that.

The odds seem long for an O'Donnell victory in November, but a year ago, you would have been considered delusional if you suggested the GOP could take back the senate. A year ago, Republican control of the the House was a pipe dream.

The message from Delaware, is: Look out. Look out, Lindsey Graham. Look out, Richard Lugar. Look out, Michael Steele. Look out, Olympia Snowe. Look out, John Dingel. Look out, Barbara Boxer. Look out, Harry Reid.

Given Bob Bennett, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist (Rubio 43, Crist 27, Meek 21) and even Rick Lazio, the GOP establishment should be listening attentively. They're not. The NRSC and Mike Castle will not support O'Donnell in the general.

That makes it all the more important we do. Simply showing support is a strong message, a better than "establishment wisdom" showing in the general election would be a very strong message and a win would represent seismic shock.

I have made my small contribution to O'Donnell. You may wish to consider doing so also, if you'd like to see a GOP paying attention to principle over pragmatism.

Update, 1:15PM
Changed their minds on that one, anyway:
NRSC Chair Cornyn Commits to Backing O'Donnell

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wage gap trope, sigh...

You can search the Lansing State Journal's web site today for the phrase "gender wage gap," but you will get no results. This, despite the fact of the headline on page 3A: "Gender wage gap narrowing," a story by Dennis Cauchon of USA today, where it was titled "Gender pay gap is smallest on record."

Perhaps excluding this from local search is because the story appeared yesterday at USA Today, and the LSJ is embarrassed to be recycling it a day later. I can't think of another reason, because I seriously doubt the LSJ is at all discomfited by the continuing distortion of this supposed wage gap. It is not as if I have not pointed it out to them.

NOV-16-04
Letter to LSJ:

Regarding Susan Stock's article of November 16th, "Wage inequities persist for Michigan women"; this is the essentially the same story you published on April 20th.

The 20 year old anecdote about wage discrimination as the lead seems about the only change, but you definitely get points for consistency.

The same basic facts are missing that were missing in April. For example, this 'study' utterly ignores such useful variables as industry, occupation, continuous years in the workforce, level of education, field of study, experience, and number of hours worked.

The authors of the study are another far-left advocacy group, whose president, Heidi Hartmann, has said: "The marriage of Marxism and feminism has been like the marriage of husband and wife depicted in English common law: Marxism and feminism are one, and that one is Marxism."

A little research and skepticism on behalf of your readers would be appreciated.
They also published a 600 word OpEd I wrote on the same subject.

If you include the factors mentioned in the 3rd paragraph of the letter above, the "wage gap" disappeared long before 2004, if it ever existed. 

For example, men average 5.6 more hours work per week than women, or about 7 weeks a year. In 2008 there were 1,277 male work-related deaths for every 100 female work-related deaths. Maybe some danger pay is due.

Also, let us look at the educational preferences of the females (who outnumber men) in PhD programs, and then at why some of those PhD preferences are what they are. 


Earnings-wise these graphs speak for themselves (thanks to Carpe Diem).




To those who claim the difference in that last graph is due to an oppressive patriarchy, I refer you here. Keep reading after you get there.  

This SAT score difference says nothing about individual women, whose math skills may be every bit as good as any man's.  What it does reflect is that despite the fact that males disproportionately occupy the very lowest areas of SAT scores, they also occupy the vast majority of the very uppermost.


There is no wage gap.

Fed Spending



Leaving "transparency" to the government gets you what you would expect.

Clearspending has been added to the blogroll. Use the link, and then check out the Sunlight Foundation.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fiddling on the edges of Statism

State Senate Finance Committee Chair Nancy Cassis (R-Novi) says, "Legislation needed to address MEGA audit findings

MEGA is the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).  The Senator is concerned because:
A major finding by the state auditors was that the strategic fund's procedures were not sufficient to validate the summary information detailing job claim and wage data maintained by the companies. Auditors reported 10 of 15 of those sampled, or 67 percent, of companies failed to submit all requested information needed to verify the data for the tax credit and often relied on self-reporting for new jobs and payroll figures.
Inadequate procedures? That's what needs to be corrected? I don't think so. MEGA doesn't need new legislation and MEDC doesn't need reform. They need to be eliminated.
I am extremely concerned about the impression of MEDC inflating job creation numbers in press releases, especially with the strategic fund's failure to verify job and wage numbers before giving out a number of refundable tax credits. These actions over time could significantly erode the public's trust and result in an inability to measure the program's effectiveness to create jobs.
It's maddening that Senator Cassis accepts the idea that the State of Michigan should be picking economic winners and losers. It's laughable she's focused on "measuring the program's effectiveness to create jobs," when, in fact, no government agency has ever done so. 

Sadly, her views accord with those of GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, who is calling for MEDC "reform." It's worth noting Snyder was MEDC's first Director, and after leaving that position was himself a beneficiary of $7.5 million in MEDC funds.  

The GOP message? If the right people are in charge, corporatism is a good idea.  Vote for us, we can do a better job of managing the corporate welfare state.