Monday, March 31, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
And please don't try to give me any lines about no WMDs. The intelligence on that stuff was real. If they didn't exist, Saddam could have just let the inspectors do what they pleased rather than go through with a war he had no chance of winning and that would ultimately lead to his execution. Instead, he hindered them, tricked them, lied to them, and threw them out altogether over and over and over again. Innocent people don't act that way. Iraq is much better off now than under Saddam. And so are we.
"Recipients weren't the only ones hooked on the narcotic of 'relief'; the pushers were, too. Like a man determined to pound a square peg into a round hole, establishment liberals kept insisting that just a little more money, a little more effort, would produce the social euphoria of the elusive Great Society. As Mickey Kaus argues in The End of Equality, the liberal response to every setback could be summarized in one word: 'more.' When welfare seemed to cause fathers to abandon their families, liberals responded that payments should be extended to families where the father remains at home. But this in turn encouraged recipients to stay or become unemployed. The answer to that? Give money to employed poor fathers, too. But this in turn created an incentive for families to split up the moment the father moved out of poverty, so they wouldn't lose their benefits. Meanwhile, if you criticized any of this, you were a fascist."
Whenever people's behavior becomes disconnected from the consequences (whether good or bad), productive behavior is discouraged and unproductive or even harmful behavior is encouraged. Government should quit shielding people from experiencing the natural results of their choices. Unfortunately, in our current political environment, politicians who allow their constituents to bear the brunt of bad decisions--who fail to "feel their pain"--end up looking like uncaring jerks and losing their jobs. Like the hapless parent cowed into buying their brat a candy bar at the grocery store checkout line, modern politicians are powerless to resist the childish demands of an American electorate who refuses to grow up and face reality.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Home prices must adjust lower to end the housing downturn. And it’s precisely these lower prices that will allow young families to afford new homes. Prices may fall, but homes don’t go away. Markets, not government, are the best way to sort this out.
Bush gets all this. And yet he’s attacked for his free-market moorings. Liberal columnist Maureen Dowd says he’s “plum loco.” She and Sen. Charles Schumer call him the new Herbert Hoover.
But let’s take a closer look.
It was Hoover who signed the Smoot-Hawley trade-protectionism act and overturned the Coolidge-Mellon tax cuts. These disastrous measures — along with monetary contraction from a fledgling Federal Reserve — turned a recession into a depression. FDR didn’t help matters, either. His misbegotten tax hikes on successful earners and businesses, and his alphabet agencies to control the industrial and farming sectors, extended the depression and held unemployment near 20 percent.
Today, it’s the Hill-Bama Democrats who want to raise taxes on successful producers. And they want to turn protectionist by reopening NAFTA and stopping any new open-trade treaties. Schumer himself has spent years bashing China, threatening the nation with huge tariffs if its currency policies don’t conform to demands.
If anyone has resurrected the party of Hoover, it’s today’s Democrats. They’ve adopted pessimism as their national pastime, and want us to believe we’re already in a long and deep recession.
Until the days of the "progressive" Hoover, et al, presidents did nothing to interfere in market downturns. As a result of this do-nothingness, the free market worked out its own kinks. The minute these progressives tried to "fix" the free market, the country got hurled straight into the Great Depression.
Nowadays people expect, even demand, that the president and congress lurch into action when anything goes wrong--especially when it's the economy. While this seems logical and makes people feel better, it really just ends up hurting productive citizens and rewarding unproductive ones. This sort of thing is bad for everyone. We need to support more candidates who pledge to do nothing!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This brings us ever closer to the ultimate Republican scenario: Obama wins the popular vote, but Hillary wins the nomination (due to super-delegate turn-around or dirty tricks). This would throw the Democrats into utter chaos and leave the eventual nominee with little chance to campaign for the top job.
Meanwhile, McCain sits back and looks, well...presidential.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Any guesses? Marx? Mussolini? Hitler? Stalin? You're on the right track. This little passage of blatant socialist dogma, written in 1890, comes from Woodrow Wilson (elected president in 1912), whom Jonah Goldberg declares as the "first fascist dictator of the twentieth century."
Goldberg makes this audacious claim, and many others, in his new book, Liberal Fascism. He shatters the cliche, but mistaken, notion that fascism is a product of the political right. It is, in fact, barely more than nationalistic socialism. Because communism is international socialism, fascism gets placed in opposition to it, and, incorrectly, to the right of it, but the two agree on nearly all aspects of economic theory and the role of centralized government over individual freedom.
Wilson suppressed newspapers, jailed political enemies and unleashed gangs of thugs on the American people to keep them in line politically. Imagine if everything liberals accuse Bush of doing and threatening to do in subverting personal freedom were true. Now double that fevered Orwellian vision and you can begin to understand what Wilson actually perpetrated. By the way, Wilson was a Progressive, the very root of today's Democrat Party.
I'm only about 100 pages in, but already Liberal Fascism is the best book I've read this year!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
So it was with great interest that I read Michael Tanner's column today at NRO. He points to a small, but significant, twist to the current shape of the discussion. While Hillary still clings to mandatory health insurance, ala 1993, Obama and McCain have focused largely on reducing the overall cost of health care (currently a whopping 17% of GDP).
Obama's plan: "Obama would rely much more on the heavy hand of government. Among other things, he would impose caps on insurance premiums and price controls on drug companies. He would have the government establish national practice standards for doctors. And, he would create a National Health Insurance Exchange as a sort of clearinghouse to make it easier for businesses and individuals to shop for the best insurance."
McCain's plan: "McCain, in contrast, would attempt to promote greater competition among private health insurers. He would allow people to buy insurance plans across state lines, which will help drive down rates. And he would try to shift away from our current employment-based insurance system toward a system where individuals purchase and own their own insurance plans. He would do this by replacing the current tax break for employer-provided insurance with a refundable $2,500 tax credit for individuals, and $5,000 for families. The idea is that once people start to buy their own insurance, they’ll be in a position to insist on lower prices and higher quality — just as they do with every other product they buy."
Obviously, McCain's free market approach would be far better--better, even, than the status quo, where many employees are convinced they have "free" health care courtesy of their benevolent employer. Removed from the pain of high prices, these consumers have little incentive to demand a better deal. Meanwhile, Obama's plan leads us down the same road on which all price control schemes travel--a road that ends in poor quality and scarcity (see Canada, UK, France, etc. for a more detailed picture of these effects).
The larger point is that the debate has shifted (so long as Clinton doesn't rise from the ashes) away from the absolute government health care system we fear most. This is good news for everyone.
Unfortunately, neither candidate has mentioned the single most effective policy to reduce health care costs: medical liability tort reform. Texas capped pain and suffering damages at $250,000. This improved health care almost overnight. The AMA (see link above) notes:
Internists' premiums in states with caps were 17% less than in states without caps. General surgeons' and ob-gyns' rates were 21% and 26% lower, respectively.
A $250,000 award limit in states without effective reforms could result in premium savings of $1.4 billion.
The number of physicians practicing in high-risk specialties is 4% to 7% higher in states with caps.
A 60% increase in medical liability premiums between 2000 and 2003 was linked to a $7.1 billion increase in spending on physician Medicare services.
A 10% increase in claims payments was tied to a 1.5% to 1.8% increase in utilization of diagnostic and imaging procedures.
Conservatives should be fighting hard for market solutions at every turn, but we also need to advocate tort reform. The Democrats will oppose this agenda to their last breath since trial lawyers contribute the most money to Democrat coffers. Nevertheless, this represents the best solution to the problem. Perhaps when more and more consumers have to come face to face with the true cost of health care, the public will be ready to demand real reform. I only hope that government officials have the nerve to refrain from simply enacting more policies to further shield the public from this much needed dose of reality.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
When the government feeds your child at school, we tend to require a certain level of competence. Is the food healthy? Did the lunch ladies wash their hands before preparing it? If we get any unacceptable answers, phone calls will be made and heads will roll. On what basis do we ask these demanding and probing questions? Schools feed children (and must do it adequately) because we pay them to do it. It's our business to monitor them.
Does it work the other way around? Do state officials have the right to look in your refrigerator and certify that your food is healthy? Do they have a right to check your hands pre- and post-meal? Of course they don't! Even communists don't take it that far. Why does the state not have a similar right to demand and probe? We (well, most of us) pay for our own food. It's really none of their business what we feed our kids, so long as they don't starve to death.
Now, apply all this to the California homeschooling controversy. We require that teachers in government schools be certified because we pay for them. Certification is expected for private school teachers by the parents of their students because they foot the bill. Does it work the other way around? Should the state require certification for parents who only teach their own children? Last time I checked, states aren't very interested in paying my wife to homeschool our children. Who's footing that bill? Us. Whose business is it? Ours and ours alone.
The only way the California stance makes sense is if you switch around the responsibility for the children. If parents are responsible (if they are the parents' kids), parents should get the final say in any matter regarding their children. However, if government is responsible (if they are the government's kids), they should get to call the shots. So whose kids are they anyway?
Friday, March 7, 2008
Despite the specifics of this case, it is clear that liberal educrats and teacher unions will use any means available to curtail and/or end homeschooling as an option for American parents. These liberals understand the benefit of shaping the next generation inside the classroom where liberal values (eco-friendliness, anti-capitalism, pro-homosexual, evolution, anti-American, etc.) can be dispensed without the inconvenience of an opposing viewpoint. They see (correctly) that homeschooling poses the greatest threat to their education monopoly.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
WE HAVE JUST HAD A MAJOR PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK HERE IN JERUSALEM, JUST HOURS AFTER I SENT OUT THIS EARLIER COMMENTARY TO YOU. IT IS THE FIRST MAJOR TERROR ASSAULT IN THE ISRAELI CAPITOL SINCE A CITY BUS WAS BLOWN UP BY A SUICIDE BOMBER ONE BLOCK FROM MY HOME ON FEBRUARY 22, 2004. THAT ATTACK TOOK EIGHT LIVES. THIS ASSAULT, AT A WELL KNOWN JEWISH RELIGIOUS HIGH SCHOOL LOCATED NEAR THE WESTERN ENTRANCE TO THE CITY, AROUND THE SAME NUMBER. CURRENTLY THE MAIN HIGHWAY FROM TEL AVIV INTO JERUSALEM IS CLOSED AS POLICE CARRY OUT SEARCHES. SPONTANEOUS ISRAELI DEMONSTRATIONS EXPRESSSING ANGER OVER THE PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK ARE TAKING PLACE IN THE CENTER OF THE CITY.
WITH TENSIONS AT A FEVER PITCH IN THE CITY, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE UNTIMELY SLAUGHTER OF SO MANY YOUNG JEWISH MALE STUDENTS WILL PROVOKE A MAJOR ISRAELI MILITARY RESPONSE. EARLIER AT SUNSET, I WATCHED FROM MY ROOF AS SMOKE AROSE FROM SEVERAL PALESTINIAN DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE CITY, APPARENTLY DESIGNED TO COINCIDE WITH THE VISIT OF AMERCIAN SECRETARY OF STATE RICE, WHO IS STILL HERE TONIGHT.
THINGS ARE DEFINITELY HEATING UP HERE TO A SIGINFICANT DEGREE, AND I SUSPECT THIS MONTH WILL NOT ONLY MARK THE BEGINNING OF A NEW VIOLENT HAMAS-LED PALESTINIAN UPRISING, BUT WILL ALSO SIGNAL A MUCH FULLER CONFLICT IN THE REGION, POSSIBLY ENDING UP IN WAR WITH HIZBULLAH, SYRIA AND IRAN. WITH THE CONFLICT SEEMINGLY ESCALATING EVERY DAY, WE DO APPRECIATE YOUR PRAYERS.
More information available from The Jersualem Post, Haaretz, Reuters, AP, AFP.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Obama and Hillary both have told us so many times. Fred Barnes reveals the real reason for