Friday, November 30, 2007
The Herald article isn't terribly well-written, but this is understandable, given the short deadline.
Shaw Theater was full; the audience was about 55o people.
Stossel delivered his speech very well. The event was well-run.
In addition to the topics mentioned in the articles, Stossel also discussed the destructive effects of government regulations such as waiting periods imposed by the Food and Drug Administration and the ban on DDT.
Toward the end, Stossel conducted an ambush interview with two members of the audience. He asked whether they would ban a gas that killed twenty people each year. He was referring to natural gas.
There was a strong contingent of Ron Paul supporters in the audience. This was reflected in questions concerning the Patriot Act, RFID chips, the North American Union, and privatizing the police.
One questioner asked a question that Stossel liked. After his answer, Stossel threw his copy of the Declaration of Independence/Constitution toward the questioner. It wasn't a very good throw; the booklet, being fairly light, curved off into the audience, either hitting someone or nearly doing so. We've had a member of the audience throw something at a speaker before, but we've never had a speaker throw something at the audience!
Overall, it was a good event.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Turns out ex-President Clinton has joined the bandwagon of people that think our government is doing such a great job with our money that it needs more! Unfortunately for Bill, however, the government won't take enough of his money. (*Terrified gasp*). If only the Bush tax cuts were abolished, he could get back to paying the taxes he wishes he could. Luckily for our sake, the National Taxpayers Union has put together a resource for both Bill and anyone out there who thinks the programs our government funds need more of our actually-earned money:
An Offer for President Clinton
Posted by Demian Brady - November 28, 2007
Former President Bill Clinton complained to Iowans yesterday that he doesn't pay enough in taxes:
"Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers," Clinton said. He said he "should not have gotten" the tax cuts he received as a wealthy earner."
It is odd that someone with so many resources and connections needs to be "given the opportunity" to support the troops. But I will step up and, as he requested, ask him to support the troops and provide him with some opportunities to do so:
1) Cut a check to the government:
Make your check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it is a Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to:
Attn Dept G
Bureau Of the Public Debt
P. O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
This will free up federal resources to support the troops.
2) Contribute directly to organization that supports soldiers and veterans.
The Pentagon has a web site, http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/americasupportsyou/help.html, with lots of ideas for President Clinton.
He could donate frequent flier miles (he might want to also suggest this to his globe-trotting pal, Al Gore), donate computers, write letters, support service aid societies and more.
3) Give up your taxpayer subsidized perks.
Taxpayers pay for rent and expenses for Clinton's Harlem-based office, including a $75 thousand phone bill in 2006.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
BY ALISON BLACK
Special to the Gazette
KALAMAZOO -- John Stossel, an Emmy-winning consumer reporter, author and co-anchor of the ABC News show ``20/20,'' is a staunch supporter of free-market capitalism. But he's no Gordon Gecko.
Stossel opened his lecture to a packed house at Western Michigan University's Laura V. Shaw Theatre Wednesday by asserting that it wasn't his decision to bill the show as: ``Freedom and Its Enemies: Why Greed Is Good.''
``Greed is good? Give me a break,'' Stossel said, eschewing the Adam-Smith-run-amok motto made famous by the cunning capitalist Gecko, played by Michael Douglas in 1987's ``Wall Street.''
``I think I'd prefer `useful.'''
For over an hour, Stossel discussed hot-button topics like the unintended negative side effects of the U.S. drug war, the ``spider web of freedom-killing rules'' added to federal code since President Clinton heralded an end to ``the Era of Big Government,'' and global-warming science.
``Frankly, if it were a little warmer in Michigan, it would not be a catastrophe,'' he joked.
He expressed doubt that cars or swimming pools would exist were they introduced today -- because of over-regulation they'd cease to be practical. And he took the news media to task for doing an inadequate job of reporting risks in proportion to the danger they actually present, using a slide presentation to illustrate how plane crashes and terrorism pose far lesser risks to American safety than automobiles.
``If we scare (Americans) about every ant,'' he asked, ``how can we get them to pay attention when the elephant comes around? We're live at the scene and we'll keep telling you about what we don't know for hours.''
Stossel answered questions from the audience after the lecture, and signed copies of his books.
``He was able to say things that we don't hear from the mainstream media,'' said Bill Smith, of Portage. ``He also backs things up with facts. It was nice to see that.''
Kara Fassbender, 15, came to receive extra credit for a 10th-grade economics class at Mattawan High School.
``I liked his ideas,'' Fassbender said. ``The government is a little too controlling right now.''
``To me, he was pretty truthful,'' added Fassbender's mother, Julie Fassbender.
Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards for investigative journalism and has been honored for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. He has authored several books.
His lecture was sponsored by the Western Michigan University's College Republicans.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
WMU College Republicans sponsor visit by Stossel
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
BY PAULA M. DAVIS
KALAMAZOO -- Broadcast journalist and author John Stossel is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Western Michigan University's Shaw Theatre.
Stossel's presentation, free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the WMU College Republicans. The group says Stossel's topic is ``Freedom and its Enemies: Why Greed is Good.''
``He has a message that is very in line with our group's goals,'' said WMU College Republican Chairwoman Megan Buwalda, noting that she expects his message to be pro-capitalist and pro-business.
``We thought it was about time a speaker like that came to Western,'' she said.
Co-anchor of ABC TV's ``20/20,'' Stossel has won numerous Emmy awards and written several books.
Following his talk, he's expected to answer audience questions and be available for book signing.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
All too often, self-described "consumer reporters" and "consumer activists" are actually anti-capitalism activists. They attack business as greedy and heartless, imperiling and cheating consumers and mistreating its own employees. They promote government regulations and socialism to protect consumers from this supposed threat.
Stossel began his career as a conventional consumer reporter, not consciously seeking to promote liberalism, but basing his work on liberal assumptions about how the world works. Over time, however, he began to question the effectiveness of government regulations. He realized that government is a far bigger threat to consumers than business is. Stossel became a libertarian who recognizes that the free market protects consumers. Now, he exposes the effects of these government programs in addition to the typical work of a consumer reporter.
Myths, Lies, and Stupidity appears to be an edited compilation of Stossel's 20/20 reports. in particular, the chapter on education bears close resemblances to Stossel's special Stupid in America. The book covers more than a hundred topics, some closely related. It is organized into chapters on media, men and women, business, government, schools, business scams, lawsuits, experts, belief, health, parenting, and happiness.
Many of the issues covered. Stossel is of course a reliable supporter of free markets. Some of the topics aren't really ideological, they are just myths that caught on through repetition. Others are scams promoted by con artists and small-time crooks. Then there are cultural issues, where the application of Stossel's libertarianism is less straightforward. On such issues, Stossel often takes conservative positions, but not always.
There a few problems with the book. Specifically, Stossel seems sympathetic to polygamy, claims that it is impossible for homosexuals to change their "orientation", argues that violent video games are not a problem, and criticizes spanking. His arguments and evidence seem weak in these cases.
Still, the book is almost always correct and well-argued. Stossel performs a valuable service by exposing how government harms people. Stossel is not mindlessly pro-business; he recognizes that businesses sometimes cheat people, but that this is rare. Businesses cheat people most effectively when they can use government regulations. Stossel's job as a consumer reporter is a free-market mechanism to protect consumers.
Conservatives should be grateful for John Stossel. Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity is a profitable read.
20/20's John Stossel will speak at WMU
Nov. 21, 2007
KALAMAZOO--National newscaster and author John Stossel will speak in Shaw Theatre on the campus of Western Michigan University Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
Stossel's presentation, "Freedom and its Enemies: Why Greed is Good," is sponsored by the WMU College Republicans and is free and open to the public. Following the speech, there will be a question-and-answer session, and Stossel will be available for book signing.
Stossel is the host of ABC TV's "20/20," and his reporting is highly acclaimed, having won 19 Emmy Awards and the George Foster Peabody Award, and being honored five times by the National Press Club. His books have been New York Times bestsellers.
"We expect to welcome a large turnout to Mr. Stossel's speech," says Megan Buwalda, WMU College Republicans chair. "We hope the speech exposes students and the community to a diversity of viewpoint and encourages civil discussion and debate."
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Questions being asked:
Do you feel that WMU should require its contractors to pay a “living wage” ($9.50 per hour with health insurance; $11.50 without health insurance)?
If WMU adopted a policy requiring its contractors to pay their non-WMU employees a living wage as defined above, should it be funded by surcharging WMU residence hall occupants $100 per academic year?
For more information or to vote in the poll (you must have valid BroncoNet ID to vote) click HERE
Michigan's Attorney General Mike Cox in the Wall Street Journal
Full article available online HERE
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Phyllis Schlafly: Supreme Court Case Proves "LOST" Must Sink
Andy McCarthy: Medellin (and Bush) v. Texas
John Cornyn: National Sovereignty: Protecting It
Jeffrey Gayner: LOST is a Loss for the United States
Gun Owners of America: Senate Considering Treaty That Could Affect Gun Rights
Nile Gardiner: Happy UNday?
Jed Babbin: Is America's Sovereignty Obsolete?
William Jasper: French Socialist to Head IMF
Jack Langer: UNTolerance
Get US Out of the UN
Eagle Forum: United Nations
Is this true?
The belief in Giuliani's electability stems from several factors. He generally leads nationwide polling for the Republican nomination. Some polls suggest that he does best against the likely democratic nominee. He was elected in liberal New York City. He holds many moderate or liberal positions that would supposedly attract voters that Republicans have not previously won.
Let's examine these factors. Whether Giuliani is actually most likely to get the nomination is questionable. Mitt Romney leads polls in key early states that affect perceptions in later states. Leading the race for a nomination implies a certain level of credibility, but it doesn't say much about electability. Bob Dole was always the frontrunner for the nomination in 1996, but that didn't make him the most electable candidate in the general election.
Early general election polls have been inconsistent. In any case, they cannot reliably predict the results of a campaign before it has been run. Such polls are mostly based on name recognition and superficial perceptions. During election campaigns, candidates debate issues, qualifications, and character. This debate is almost certain to change people's minds between the start and end of the race.
Giuliani was indeed elected in New York City, but under circumstances very different from the current campaign. New York was in dire straights, with crime and welfare spending out of control. Foreign policy and many social issues were not at issue. Today, crime and welfare are not major issues, and there are many different issues in play.
Finally, there are Giuliani's moderate or liberal positions on many issues. The media and some moderate Republicans have promoted the notion that these positions will help attract voters. But such positions will also repel some voters, who will vote for a third-party candidate or not vote at all.
The question that needs to be asked is what is the net effect. That is, will a given position attract more voters than it repels? Polls asking people's positions on the issue specifically are irrelevant, since the question is whether people will change their votes based on the issue.
Consider abortion. Studies have shown that significantly more people vote for a candidate because he is pro-life than because he is pro-abortion. Thus being pro-life is a significant net benefit to a candidate.
The same is true of gun rights. Far more people vote for a candidate because he is pro-gun than because he is anti-gun.
The same is true of marriage and "gay rights".
While there is less available evidence, there is good reason to believe that the same is true for immigration restriction.
Giuliani is on the wrong side of all these issues. Thus he would surrender the Republican Party's best issues, and the voters who can be won based on them. If these issues are off the table, the election will be fought more over education, health care, and social security, which are usually very strong issues for democrats.
Then there is the war in Iraq. Giuliani is strongly identified as a supporter of the war. This won't help him, and may hurt him so much that victory is impossible.
Another major factor in many elections is scandal. Nothing can sink a candidate faster than a scandal. Giuliani has significant problems on this front. His close associate Bernard Kerik, who Giuliani recommended to become Homeland Security Secretary, has been indicted on corruption charges and may be on trial for a good part of the election campaign. Giuliani also has a troubled personal life, including an affair and messy divorce while mayor of New York.
Giuliani does have some things in his favor. He did well as mayor of New York, and is charismatic and well-spoken. But there is no reason to think that he is more electable than the other Republican candidates, and good reason to think that he is less so.
None of this is intended as criticism of those who sincerely believe that Giuliani is the best choice to be the next President. It is intended to criticise the belief that Giuliani should be supported solely because he is the most electable candidate. Those who wish to cast their vote based on this criterion should at least avoid accepting the advice of the liberal media as to who is the most electable candidate.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
John Stossel: The Tragedy of the Commons
Mike Franc: The Reality of Thanksgiving
James Fulford: The Thanksgiving Of A Grateful Nation—And The Ingratitude Of A Few
Others items of note:
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case on the Second Amendment. Republican Michigander shares thoughts. (Part I Part II)
The new book Blacklisted by History has been released. M. Stanton Evans Reveals the Truth About McCarthy
Ian Smith, former President of Rhodesia, has died. Ian Smith, RIP
A blast from the past: Pat Buchanan at WMU
Democrats versus illegal immigration? Immigrants Could Face Tighter Rules in Michigan
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The name redistribution is somewhat misleading. It implies that wealth was "distributed" in the first place, and that someone decided that some would have more than others. "Distribution" can also refer to a statistical distribution that describes what people have. The fact of a given statistical distribution does not imply how it came about.
CONSEQUENCES AND TYPES OF REDISTRIBUTION
What are the consequences of redistribution?
Redistribution necessarily means taking money from some people. This is accomplished through taxation, which is based on the threat of force, or violence. Redistribution makes these people poorer by the amount that is taken from them.
Beyond this, redistribution creates incentives that affect people's actions. Taxing the creation of wealth discourages the production of wealth. Thus redistribution makes those who pay for it poorer yet again. This makes the whole society poorer, since any innovation, investment, or production that is no longer profitable cannot provide new and cheaper goods to the public.
Redistribution also creates incentives for those who receive money. Unless money is given to everyone, there must be some standard to determine who receives money and who does not. Redistribution encourages people to act in such a way as to meet that standard, and discourages them from acting in such a way as to not meet that standard.
For example, redistribution is often supported to alleviate some hardship, such as poverty. However, giving people money on the condition that they be poor means that people will be encouraged to be poor and discouraged from ceasing to be poor. Thus redistribution intended to alleviate poverty will actually increase poverty.
When money is given to people in a certain country, it encourages people to move to that country. Thus redistribution encourages immigration, whether legal or illegal.
There are usually alternative ways of achieving a goal. Encouraging one of them will discourage the others. Giving out money will discourage other ways of making money. The way that most people increase their wealth is to get a job and work hard, get an education, get married, spend less, save more, and use their money wisely. Thus redistribution intended to alleviate poverty encourages unemployment, underemployment, laziness, ignorance, divorce, and foolish and wasteful spending, and discourages production, education, marriage, saving, frugality, and prudence. Thus redistribution encourages harmful behaviors and discourages beneficial behaviors.
The prospect that removing the consequences of bad behavior or lack of good behavior will encourage bad behavior and discourage bad behavior is known as moral hazard.
Another type of redistribution seeks to aid victims of calamities such as natural disasters or medical emergencies. These calamities themselves may be unavoidable, but that does not mean that people's preparation for or reaction to them is unchangeable. The management of risk can be accomplished in the free market through insurance. Purchasing insurance can best alleviate the harm caused in a catastrophe.
Further, insurance companies encourage behaviors that reduce risk. Government payments to victims of calamities encourage risky behaviors. For example, aid to people whose houses have been destroyed by hurricanes encourages people to live in areas more prone to hurricanes and makes such disasters more likely.
Another alternative means of dealing with hardship and calamity is charity. Thus people freely give to those in need. Aside from the fact that it is voluntary, the difference between charity and redistribution is that when people give their own money, they are better able to insure that it goes to those who are truly in need, and does not create moral hazard.
Redistribution discourages charity, both because people have less money to give and because people have less reason to give when they believe that the government is already addressing a problem. Thus more effective charity is displaced by less effective government aid, further harming the poor and needy.
While redistribution is often accomplished through a combination of taxation and spending, it can also be accomplished purely through the tax code. Thus some people can be charged more than the value of the services they receive, while others are charged less than the value of the services they receive. In America, so-called "progressive taxes" include the income tax and estate (death) tax.
DEMOCRACY AND REDISTRIBUTION
A simplistic analysis of redistribution in a democracy says that since there are more poor people than rich people, the poor will vote themselves government benefits at the expense of the rich. This is seen as good or bad depending on a person's politics. However, this analysis is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of democracy.
The fact that people have equal votes in a democracy does not mean that they have equal power. People's votes are based on information that comes from a small number of people. Accomplishing political goals requires organization, strategy, and hard work. The rich and the political class are disproportionately capable of these things, and so will have disproportionate political power.
If government is given a power, it may be used for other than its stated purpose. So it is with redistribution. If government has the power of redistribution, it cannot only take from the rich and give to the poor, but also take from the poor and give to the rich. Given the disproportionate political power of the rich, what reason do we have to think that this would not happen?
In fact, this is exactly what happens. Many programs redistribute from the relatively poor to the relatively rich. In America, these include corporate welfare, most government employment, Social Security, Medicare, college funding, art subsidies, farm subsidies, and foreign aid.
Similarly, many taxes are actually regressive, or fall more heavily on the disproportionately poor and less on the disproportionately rich. These include sales taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, income tax loopholes, monetary inflation, and cigarette taxes.
When there are many different redistribution programs, people are a part of many different groups, some of which are redistributed to, and some of which are redistributed from. Thus it is far from obvious whether someone actually gets more from redistribution than he pays in.
There are a few people such as government employees and those who live off welfare for whom we can say this. But this is not the same as saying that they benefit from redistribution. Redistribution is not a zero-sum game; it is actually a negative-sum game. This is due to the perverse incentives described above. Many of those who receive more than they pay could still do better in a system without redistribution. Thus very few people truly benefit from redistribution.
SUPPORT FOR REDISTRIBUTION
Redistribution programs are among the most popular government programs. They are also among the most destructive. What accounts for their popularity?
One reason is that people think they are getting more than they really are. Less visible methods of taxation tend to predominate, while more visible methods of spending tend to predominate. Thus the government can take money from someone, give some of it back to him, and make him think that he has come out ahead!
Another reason that redistribution is supported is egalitarian ideology. Many people want to help the poor and some also want to hurt the rich. But as shown above, redistribution hurts the poor rather than help them. And redistribution often goes to the rich, rather then from them.
Another powerful reason for the existence of redistribution programs is the desire of politicians to control people. Redistribution allows politicians to control people with their own money, because they can impose conditions that people must meet to receive money. Thus redistribution is a powerful tool of those who wish to impose their own agendas on society.
Many redistribution programs continue to exist even when few people support them. This is due the difference between concentrated and dispersed interests. When a small number of people benefit from a redistribution program, it is easier for them to organize support for it and more efficient to do so. In contrast, it is harder to organize opposition and more costly to do so.
DEBT AND BANKRUPTCY
The destructive consequences of redistribution described above take affect relatively quickly. But there another is another disastrous consequence that usually takes some time to appear.
Because of the dynamic of concentrated and dispersed interests described above, spending on redistribution programs will tend to increase and increase. People who forbear from receiving redistributed money must still pay the same amount in taxes. Thus they have an incentive to organize and create programs that redistribute money to them, or increase spending on such existing programs.
Politicians will tend to create entitlement programs, which promise guaranteed benefits far into the future. This will only accelerate out-of-control spending. The demand for spending on redistribution programs will outstrip people's ability to pay. Cutting spending will be politically dangerous, and directly raising taxes by the amount needed would be unpopular and unfeasible.
Most likely, they will borrow money. Redistribution practically guarantees that a huge government debt will be incurred. But government can only borrow money as long as people are willing to lend it. When the supply of lenders drys up, the most likely course of action will be massive monetary inflation, as the effects of printing more money can less readily be traced to politicians than spending cuts or direct tax increases.
But massive inflation robs people of the value of their money and guarantees massive price increases. This in turn leads to a painful economic collapse. This is exactly what happened in the Wiemar Republic in the 1930s and other countries at other times. This is an extraordinarily painful way to learn the lesson that you can't get something for nothing.
As Kipling put it in The Gods of the Copybook Headings,
In the Carboniferous Epoch
we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter
to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money,
there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings
said: "If you don't work you die."
Redistribution is an extraordinarily destructive type of government program. It depends on theft backed by government force. It discourages productive activity amongst both those from whom money is taken and to whom money is given. It encourages destructive personal behavior. It discourages private charity. It is often used by the rich at the expense of the poor. It empowers government and diminishes freedom. Finally, unless stopped, it will lead to bankruptcy and economic collapse. Thus government redistribution programs must be opposed.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The original letter-writer wrote a second letter responding to one of the first responses. Both letters attack Paul for wanting to eliminate federal government funding for education. The author fails to understand that government subsidies of college are the reason why the cost of tuition is so high and increasing so fast.
Ironically, the author is a great example of the results of government control of education. For fun, let's proofread his latest letter.
Ron Paul candidacy offers little substance
While I certainly respect Derek Getman's opinion in response to my opposition to the Ron Paul candidacy, I challenge him to explain to me exactly how a Paul presidency would expand our nation's intellectual horizons or make the lives of average Americans even marginally better? [This is a statement, not a question. It shouldn't end with a question mark.] It is true that I look upon the Paul candidacy the way one looks upon a kindergartner's finger painting, respecting the effort but not fully understanding the principle [Can anyone understand this analogy?] and it's also true that I identify Rep. Paul as a lunatic and radical only for the lack of more foolish words. [This is a run-on sentence.] ["Foolish words" means that the person who writes them is a fool. Oops.]
Getman cites the Constitution as Rep. Paul's ideological centerpiece, [centerpiece?] but his platform strays from the document somewhere between "we the people" and "more perfect union." I view the Constitution as a timeless document not meant to be strictly followed to the T, but in a way many look at the Bible or other historic documents - as guidelines to be applied to the times. [It doesn't matter what you think. The Constitution is the law.] Our willingness to apply progressive principals [School principals? Or does he mean principles?] to the Constitution in order to deal with the troubles of the day is why we are the greatest county to ever serve humankind. [Really?]
The destruction [DESTRUCTION!] of the Department of Education and termination of Pell Grants and Stafford Loans would dramatically decline [decrease] enrollment in institutions of higher education and severely inflate prices for those still able to attend. [Learn some economics.] How exactly is that going to help our country? Paul's strict constitutionalism [As opposed to lenient constitutionalism?] would fast track [!] us back to the economy of 1776 and effectively put most college graduates on the same social level as high school dropouts. [social level?]
While it is true that government spending is out of control, we need only to look to the sitting president and his "fiscal conservatism" to put things in perspective. [what perspective?] Ron Paul's platform lacks substance [Could he be more wrong?] and practicality and will ultimately shine just enough light on the congressman from Texas to get him ousted from his house seat in 2008. [Care to bet?] Ideas are good, [always?] but in the Oval Office you don't get points just for trying - that's why students need to get over Paul candidacy. [Can anyone follow this?]
Treating Successful Taxpayers Like PiñatasI found this article to be absolutely stunning. The top 5% of the income earners are now paying 60% of the total taxes and the Democrats still want to hose them with more! It's enough to make you sick.
New data from the Internal Revenue Service confirm that the so-called rich are paying a huge share of the tax burden. As Richard Rahn explains in the Washington Times, “The IRS just released the numbers for 2005, and they show the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid almost 40 percent of the nation’s total income tax bill, and that the top 5 percent paid 60 percent of the taxes.” This is normally considered an economic issue since people on the left argue that higher tax rates on the rich are a never-ending source of money for politicians, while people on the right explain that low tax rates encourage productive behavior and boost growth. But the disproportionate tax burden on successful taxpayers, combined with the fact that a huge share of the population does not pay any income tax, also is a moral or philosophical issue. As Walter Williams writes:
The fact that there are so many American earners who have little or no financial stake in our country poses a serious political problem. The Tax Foundation estimates that…”When all of the dependents of these income-producing households are counted, there are roughly 122 million Americans — 44 percent of the U.S. population — who are outside of the federal income tax system.” These people represent a natural constituency for big-spending politicians. In other words, if you have little or no financial stake in America, what do you care about the cost of massive federal spending programs?
Jonah Goldberg also is concerned about this development. In his Townhall.com column, he explicitly warns that the nation’s social capital will be eroded if a large share of the population learn that the tax system is nothing more than a way to confiscate other people’s money:
…our politics seem to be suffering from a “rich people curse.” We treat the rich like a constantly regenerating pinata, as if they will never change their behavior no matter how many times they get whacked by taxes. And we think everyone can live well off the treats that will fall to the ground forever. … Democrats keep telling the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers that America’s problems would be solved if only the rich people would pay “their fair share” of income taxes. Not only is this patently untrue and a siren song toward a welfare state, it amounts to covetousness as fiscal policy. … it’s unhealthy for a democracy when the majority of citizens don’t see government as a service they’re reluctantly paying for but as an extortionist that cuts them in for a share of the loot.
These concerns may be somewhat overstated because there is still considerable income mobility in the United States, so many people who today are not paying tax presumably envision that they will be swept in the tax net in the future. But there probably is a tipping point, a level of taxation and redistribution that results in a permanent economic sclerosis. Indeed, some speculate that nations such as Italy are now incapable of reform because the electorate is dominated by people who have concluded that they have a right to live off the income of others.
The Democrats are building a society where the majority has a mindset of dependency and entitlement that their needs be satisfied not by their own efforts, but by leeching off the productivity of others. Not only is this type of mentality perverse in its implications (that individuals are working not for themselves, but for society), but leaves all members of the system worse off in the long run.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Here's a letter that I sent today to the Baltimore Sun:Boudreaux does an articulate job attacking the realities of the policies that progressives promote. Do we want to build a society of dependence or of responsibility? Do we want to build a society that promotes productivity or that promotes being the most effective free rider?
Although de rigueur among "progressives," Jim Salvucci is mistaken to describe bourgeois values as "empty" and consumerism as "mindless" (Letters, November 17). Bourgeois values encourage the substantive and mindful traits of hard work, sobriety, thrift, honesty, and self-reliance - all which earn their practitioners the ability over time to enjoy greater material comforts and amusements.
What is truly empty is the value that counsels A to live off of the wealth given to him by B and which B confiscated from C. And what is truly mindless is the notion that society progresses as greater numbers of us live as A's or as B's, and all the while thinking of C's as being nothing more than contemptible cows to be milked for the "general good."
Donald J. Boudreaux
At the heart of progressive policies is the insistence that individuals become less self-reliant and more dependent on government to run their lives. Progressives want you to become an "A" or "B," and scorn the "C's." Republicans want more productive, responsible individuals and create policies that promote people's abilities to produce for themselves.
Sadly, "Giuliani" is misspelled "Guiliani." Not all the Republican candidates are listed (no Thompson, Huckabee, Tancredo, or Hunter) despite their polling higher than some of the other candidates who were listed. Regardless, everyone should vote for your favorite candidate and cheer on the GOP to victory!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Ann Coulter: McCarthyism: The Rosetta Stone of Liberal Lies
Thomas Sowell: An Investment in Failure
David Limbaugh: The Liberal Compassion Mirage
Ann Coulter: Another Liberal Noose-ance
Ann Coulter: How Long Before the ADL Kicks Out All its Jews?
Robert Spencer: CAIR plays defense
Robert Bluey: Liberals Target Labor-Union Watchdog
John Gizzi: Foundations of Betrayal: How the Super-Rich Undermine America
Much information on liberal individuals and organizations can be found at David Horowitz's Discover the Network site.
She has been a delegate to numerous Republican conventions. She wrote many books on topics including education, feminism, national defense, and judicial activism; her total sales are several million. She led the movement to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, the chief goal of the feminist movement. She founded and still leads Eagle Forum, a conservative organization focusing on national sovereignty, immigration reform, education, and traditional values. Schlafly writes a weekly column and a monthly newsletter.
Her topic for the speech was feminism. She discussed its ideas, history, goals.
Feminism promotes the belief that there are no differences between men and women, except for a few trivial biological differences that have no practical importance. Feminism then promotes policies to impose equality of outcome and suppress the differences between men and women. These policies often hurt women, rather than help.
Schlafly discussed numerous differences between men and women. One that got an unusual reaction from the audience was that 45% of women can't throw a hand grenade far enough to avoid killing themselves.
Schlafly discussed the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment promised "equal rights" for women, but in many cases this would actually hurt women. The most prominent argument against the ERA was that it would have subjected women to the military draft, which existed at that time. One fact that Schlafly did not mention in her speech (but did mention in her book Feminist Fantasies) is that feminists actually tried to force women to be subjected to the draft. They took a case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they thankfully lost.
The ERA also contained ambiguous language that would have made it easy for liberal judges to mandate government funding for abortion and "gay marriage".
Schlafly debunked the nonsense that women are discriminated against in pay. This statistic is arrived at by adding up everything that women make and everything that men make. But women work fewer years than men, work less full time, work less dangerous and less physically demanding jobs. In similar circumstances, discrimination is almost nonexistent.
The feminist scenario makes no economic sense, as companies would have a huge advantage if they could get the same work done for 24% less pay. Such a huge gap would have to disappear through competition.
One questioner asked what Schlafly what she thought of Hillary Clinton. Schlafly pointed out that "Hillary got her power the old-fashioned way, by marrying it."
Another questioner asked why he couldn't stay home and look after the kids while a women was employed. Schlafly had written a column about this very question that appeared in Feminist Fantasies. She pointed out that he didn't need her permission, he just needed to find a woman willing to agree to such an arrangement.
The audience at Kalamazoo College was mostly hostile, but relatively respectful. Schlafly's speech was very successful.
The provisions of the Michigan Constitution that this amendment would repeal have the common feature that they are seen as being unconstitutional. That is, contrary to the federal Constitution.
In one case, this is certainly true. The power to vote may not be denied to those over 18 based on age. This change came about through a federal constitutional amendment passed by Congress and ratified by 3/4 of the states. Changing the Michigan Constitution to make it consistent with this provision is certainly appropriate.
However, most of the provisions in question were not nullified by constitutional amendment, but rather were declared "unconstitutional" by federal judges.
Thus the amendment amounts to a surrender to judicial activism. It isn't immediately clear whether the policies found unconstitutional actually are. The brief descriptions in the linked articles raise questions as to the validity of these decisions.
But in any case, the federal courts have no legitimate power to overturn state constitutional provisions. This power was simply asserted in the 1819 Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland.
Whether or not the court is correct on the underlying merits of the provision in question, allowing it to have the final power of decision centralizes power in Washington. This violates the principle of federalism. Centralization of power will lead to worse outcomes on average than decentralization of power.
The proposed amendment would have no immediate impact, as the provisions in question are not currently being enforced. Thus there is no particular need for it. But if the court decisions in question were overturned, the relevant provisions would come back into force.
The proposed constitutional clean-up should be changed substantially so that it does not surrender to judicial activism. If it is not, it should be defeated.
The national democratic party punished Michigan for moving the primary up so far, leading many of the candidates to withdraw and refuse to campaign in Michigan. It also appears that Hillary Clinton will have a fairly easy time securing the democratic nomination (though this could change).
This means that democrats would see less reason to vote in their own primary. Thus they will be free to cause mischief in the Republican primary. This is hardly a theoretical concern, as a widespread campaign amongst democrats succeeded in winning Michigan for John McCain in 2000. Democrat involvement in the 2008 primary would likely benefit Rudy Giuliani.
The Republican back-up plan is a state convention. This would benefit candidates who have strong grassroots support and eliminate the possibility of democrats interfering in the Republican nomination campaign.
The judge's decision has been met with complaints that the decision will harm Michigan. But an early primary mainly benefits the political class, not the state at large.
Previous: Primary Obsession
The private bridge would cost one billion dollars. The government bridge would cost three billion dollars. Thus the government bridge would cost three times as much, which sounds about right for a government project.
But some democrats want the bridge to be government owned, even though it would cost so much more. This is pure statism, the preference for government over freedom.
Private ownership of roads appears impractical due to the need for efficient routes and the difficulty with payment. But bridges don't have these problems. The ambassador bridge is a good example of private management in action.
Witnesses, including one who escaped the duplex by jumping out of a window, told police four suspects had entered the three-story residence in the Knollwood neighborhood, Public Safety Interim Deputy Chief Donald Webster said. Police late Friday were still looking for the fourth suspect, described as a black male about 20 years old with a stocky build, last seen wearing dark clothing.Take back the night with guns!
Investigators said six people were in the house when one suspect knocked on the door, asked the person who answered if there was a party going on and asked if he could use a bathroom. When he was denied entrance, four people forced their way into the residence, police said.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Save the date! 20/20 Anchor John Stossel will be speaking at Western on Wednesday, November 28 at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public.
A big thanks to our friends at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for helping us design this flyer!
If you are planning to bring a group of college republicans from another school, or if you would like to attend the private book signing before the event please email me at MeganBuwalda@hotmail.com for more information/ reservations.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Governments spend massive amounts of money. In America in 2007, all levels of government spent an estimated total of 4,877,100,000,000 dollars.
Government spends money on several different types of programs. The most common of them is redistribution, taking money from some people and giving it to others. This type of program is significant enough to be the topic of a separate essay. Here, it will suffice to say that redistribution discourages productive behavior, encourages unproductive behavior, and dramatically empowers government.
Another type of government program is socialism. Socialism is government production of a good or service funded by taxation. While it is often used as a vehicle for redistribution, it could in principle provide goods or services to the taxpayers in proportion to what they paid in.
Socialism has today been largely discredited. Its early proponents claimed that it would produce goods and services more efficiently than capitalism. However, there are sound economic reasons that this will not happen. Socialism provides no good means of determining how resources should be allocated, implying that there will be perpetual overproduction of some goods and underproduction of others. It provides no incentive for hard work and investment, leading to economics stagnation.
Few today would openly claim that socialism is more efficient than capitalism. But this assumption seems to underlie efforts to create "national health care" and oppose greater school choice. There is a simple answer to the belief that socialism is more efficient than capitalism. If so, then let people engage in it voluntarily, and it will outproduce capitalism and win out in the free market. In fact, all experiments with voluntary socialism have ended in various degrees of disaster.
Another significant recipient of government spending is bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is also significant enough to be the topic of a separate essay. Of course, there are administrative costs in the private sector as well, but private and government employees face very different incentives. In the private sector, administrators must make a profit to survive. Thus they must freely convince people to give them money, and to do so they must make products and services that people want.
In contrast, government bureaucrats are funded by mandatory taxation whether they do a good job or not. They are not punished for failures, nor are they rewarded for successes. Bureaucrats advance not by doing a good job, but by having more subordinates. In fact, bureaucracies may actually gain from failure, since they can demand more resources to fix the problems that they caused. Different bureaucracies are often reluctant to share information, as this will hurt their quest for more funding.
The type of government spending that attracts the most condemnation is waste, fraud, and abuse. This is far more common in the government than the private sector, since government employees are not spending their own money. Ironically, though, waste may actually be less destructive than some of the most popular government spending, which creates incentives that make society worse off than if the money had just been destroyed.
Government spending and taxation are two sides of the same coin. This is because all spending must be paid for. The most direct way is through taxes. Government also spends money that it borrows. But money that is borrowed must still be paid back through taxes. Refusing to pay back lenders would effectively be a tax on them. Inflating the money supply is another possibility, but this is a tax on the value of money. Thus government spending is taxation.
As with taxation, giving money can be done in various ways. It could be secretly slipped into someone's account so that he would never notice. Or, it could be sent as a check complete with fawning news articles and preening politicians praising their own generosity. Just as the least visible methods of taxation tend to win out, so too the most visible methods of spending tend to win out. This creates the perverse situation that government can take someone's money, give some of it back to him, and make him think that he has come out ahead. This is one reason why government spending tends to have significant support.
Many government spending programs continue even though they have little public support. This is due to the difference between concentrated and dispersed interests. Government spending programs often take money from many people and give it to a few people. Thus the recipients of government money have a significant interest in preserving these programs, while those being taxed to pay for them have a much lower interest in stopping any particular program. This dynamic encourages more people to become recipients of government spending and serves to increase the size of government.
Like taxation, government spending gives the government power over the people. Government can encourage behaviors that it desires by subsidizing them. If government tried to mandate these behaviors by law, people would rebel, but spending accomplishes the same goal with little resistance.
Government spends money on a variety of programs, most of which are destructive. Government spending must be paid for with taxes. It misallocates resources and makes people poorer. It creates destructive incentives that make people poorer still. It can be used to control people and empower government. It ultimately rests upon the use of force. Government must spend no more than absolutely necessary.
KALAMAZOO -- Final results of the Kalamazoo City Commission election certified by the Kalamazoo County Board of Canvassers showed no changes from totals reported election night.They were only 2800 votes short of winning! Will they take this as an indication of the popularity of their agenda?
The canvassers' final report did include the results for two, declared write-in candidates whose totals were not reported Nov. 6. Thirty-two voters wrote in the name of Jonathan David Braun, while 31 wrote in Angela M. Suarez.
Among other things, the letter attacked Paul for wanting to abolish the department of education. It was obvious that the writer is a product of government schools, as his letter contained many egregious grammar errors.
Ron Paul supporters Derek Getman and David Bell didn't waste any time responding.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Stupid in America.
Greed is Good?, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
John Stossel Goes to Washington, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
Sick in America, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
I'll put more up later! For now, enjoy these and don't forget to join the Facebook event group.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
He is also a radical leftist who began as a communist and advocated anti-American and pro-communist policies in office. He has written a biography of communist terrorist mass-murderer Che Guevara. He has advocated undermining American immigration laws.
His anti-Americanism is most clearly expressed in a quote in an interview with Mexican journalists in 2002. He advocated destroying the sovereignty of the United States.
I like very much the metaphor of Gulliver, of ensnarling the giant," Castañeda told Mexican journalists in a November 2002 interview. "Tying it up, with nails, with thread, with 20,000 nets that bog it down: these nets being norms, principles, resolutions, agreements, and bilateral, regional and international covenants."Naturally, he refuses to stem the tide of illegal aliens coming from Mexico.
"No border security is possible without Mexican cooperation," declared Castañeda. "There can be no future cooperation beyond what already exists without some form of immigration package." He warned that border security is "very, very sensitive" to Mexicans.Castaneda's goal of ensnaring the United States in globalist agreements is not just theoretical. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has admitted that the proposed FTAA was intended to create a regional merger. He also admitted plans for a North American Union and common currency.
Mike Franc: SCHIP's Path for Illegal Immigrants
Dana Rohrabacher: President Bush Should Quickly Pardon Jailed Border Agents
James Edwards: Open-Borders Politician Impersonates Law-and-Order Stalwart
Frosty Wooldridge: Vaporizing Our American Culture
Martin Golden: Fast Lane to Disaster
Joe Guzzardi: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer—Latest Toast Of The Treason Lobby
Pat Buchanan: Demography No Laughing Matter in Russia
Pat Buchanan: Mexican Imperialism Comes Out Of The Closet
Phyllis Schlafly: Dream Act Is Backdoor Amnesty
Martha Zoller: The DREAM Act -- Really a Nightmare?
Kris Kobach: A Sleeper Amnesty: Time to Wake Up from the DREAM Act
For more on immigration, see VDARE.com.
This book is a compilation of quotes by Coulter. It begins with a introduction discussing liberal outrage over Coulter. The book has 47 sections containing quotes on a given subject. The sections are arranged alphabetically by topic, from airport security to the war on terror. Most of the sections are between four and ten pages.
Much of the material in the book will be familiar to longtime Coulter readers. But it also contains quotes from print interviews, television appearances, and college speeches that many will not have seen.
As a compilation of quotes, this book is necessarily less substantive than Coulter's previous works. Coulter is controversial for two separate reasons--her bomb-throwing style and her anti-liberal political beliefs. This book concentrates on the former.
Conservatives looking for amusing, "insensitive" political one-liners should read this book. Those looking for analysis of liberalism could better read Treason, Slander, and Godless.
Previous: Godless: A Review
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Ernie Fletcher, the Republican governor of Kentucky, was defeated by Democrat Steve Beshear. Fletcher was hurt by the perception of scandal.
Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi was easily reelected. Given that Republican Bobby Jindal won Louisiana's governorship two weeks ago, this means that there was a net of no change in partisan control of governorships.
Republicans lost a few seats in the Virginia House and Senate, Mississippi Senate, and New Jersey Senate. However, they gained a couple seats in the New Jersey House.
Ohio held a primary for a special election to fill the seat of the late Paul Gillmor. Bob Latta beat Club for Growth-endorsed Steve Buehrer and several others.
Democrats held big-city mayoral offices in Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. However, Republican Greg Ballard upset Democratic mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson. Republicans also picked up several seats to win a majority on the Indianapolis city council.
Ballot initiatives held some interesting results. New Jersey rejected a measure to spend money on the destruction of human embryos (stem cell research). This comes in a state where even many Republicans are not pro-life. This ought to destroy the myth that stem cell research is a winning issue popular with voters.
Oregon rejected a measure to fund health care for poor children with cigarette taxes. This is the same model used by the proposed expansion of the SCHIP program. This disproves the idea that such programs are inevitably popular with voters.
Washington passed a proposal requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes.
Utah rejected a measure to create a statewide system of school vouchers. John Stossel offers some thoughts on the bill.
There were some small victories for immigration restriction, with Virginia county officials who passed a measure cracking down on illegals reelected. Immigration may have helped Republicans win some county offices in upstate New York, where voters reacted against governor Elliot Spitzer's plan to give drivers licences to illegals.
Overall, there wasn't much of a net change in 2007. But the results of ballot initiatives suggest that conservatism is more popular than the Republican Party.
All 6 incumbents were reelected. There was a huge drop-off between the incumbents and the challengers. Convicted embezzler Stephanie Moore was elected to the seventh spot on the commission.
In Portage, Margaret O'Brien and Larry DeShazor were reelected. Elizabeth Campbell captured the third open seat.
All of the tax increases passed. The KRESA strategy of holding the election when there would be higher turnout in Kalamazoo and Portage appears to have succeeded. Both Portage tax increases also passed.
This brings to mind the Mencken quote:
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
Monday, November 05, 2007
All seven seats on the Kalamazoo City Commission are up for election. The top seven vote-getters win, and the top vote-getter becomes Mayor. Six incumbent commissioners are running for reelection, and five challengers are on the ballot. Two homeless people are running as write-ins. One of the challengers has been convicted of embezzlement. A forum was held at Western for the candidates to express their views.
Portage Mayor Peter Strazdas is unopposed for reelection. Three seats on the Portage City Council are up for election. Two incumbents, Margaret O'Brien and Larry DeShazor, are running for reelection. Three challengers are also running.
Several tax proposals are also on the ballot. Kalamazoo is seeking renewal of a millage for Metro Transit, the local bus system. Kalamazoo County voters approved a tax increase for the bus system last November.
The Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency (KRESA) put a tax increase proposal on the ballot for some of its programs. This is similar, but slightly smaller, than a tax increase proposal that voters shot down last May. There are questions about how they are promoting the proposal.
Portage Public Schools has two tax increase proposals on the ballot. They are similar, but slightly smaller, than a proposal that was shot down by voters in February.
The Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association has urged voters to oppose all these proposals.
You can see election results at Election Magic.
Kalamazoo (in order): Hopewell, McKinney, Anderson, Cooney, Miller, McCann, Barnard, Moore, Davis, Schaff, Jackson, Braun, Suarez.
Portage (in order): O'Brien, DeShazor, Fox, Campbell, Bailes.
Buses: Yes 65%
KRESA: No 52%
Portage 1: No 55%
Portage 2: No 55%
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Saturday, November 03, 2007
John Stossel: Medical Competition Works for Patients
Ron Paul: Congressional Control of Health Care is Dangerous for Children
John Stossel: Our Crazy Health-Insurance System
Ann Coulter: Is There a Trial Lawyer in the House?
Michael Reagan: It’s Not Hillarycare, It’s Hillarycon
John Stossel: Socialized Medicine Is Broken and Can't Be Fixed
Thomas Sowell: No 'Health Care'?
John Stossel: Why the U.S. Ranks Low on WHO's Health-Care Study
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) exposed the mandatory program. It includes the following dogma.
"A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. 'The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination….'"The purported "definition" of racism is a lie. Racism means treating people differently based solely on their race or hating people based on their race. This definition poses a problem for liberals, as it allows the reality that some individuals who are racial minorities are racist. Thus liberals invented the notion that those with "power" can or must be racist, while those without "power" cannot be racist, even if they murder people based on race.
The education program also notes that "reverse racism" is "a term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege." And "a non-racist" is called "a non-term," because, the program explains, "The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift the responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called 'blaming the victim')."
The school requires its approximately 7,000 residence hall students "to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy and environmentalism."
Further, the school requires "a systemic change" as a result of the program, FIRE noted. As one RA told students: "Like it or not, you all are the future Leaders, and the world is Diverse, so learning to Embrace and Appreciate that diversity is ESSENTIAL."
According to university materials, RAs are instructed to ask students during one-on-one sessions questions such as: "When did you discover your sexual identity?" "When were you first made aware of your race?" and "Who taught you a lesson in regard to some sort of diversity awarness? What was the lesson?"
Liberals' definition of racism is itself racist. It demonizes people based solely on their race. It also attacks open discourse, as counterarguments are smeared as racist without substantive response.
This program exposes liberals' purported principles as shams. Free speech? Not if you say anything they don't like. Open-mindedness? Nope. The "right to privacy"? "When did you discover your sexual identity?" Freedom? Not at University of Delaware.
What happened to all the liberals who supposedly believe in these things? Did any liberals at University of Delaware object? Did any liberals anywhere object? After initially defending the program, the university was forced to back away from it, but this was due to pressure from conservatives, not liberals.
Thus the real meaning of diversity, the liberal shibboleth, is exposed. It has nothing to do with improving education, and it is not a harmless fad. Diversity is anti-white racism. Leftists hate white people, America, Christianity, and Western Civilization as "racist", "imperialist", etc. "Diversity" is the socially acceptable way to express hatred of these things. Increasing "diversity" means reducing and tearing down America, Christianity, and Western Civilization.
Diversity is simply the latest guise of cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxism was developed by Marxist theorists to destroy the culture of Western Civilization. They launched a culture war against the West. Like political correctness, multiculturalism, and "tolerance", diversity seeks to destroy Western Civilization. Of course, most people who blather about diversity don't know any better, but at its core this is what it means.
There is a whiff of Stalinism to liberals mandating that RAs pry into people's personal beliefs and hold the correct political positions. Liberals can't throw Americans into gulags. The closest they can come is sensitivity training. But if someone did try to imprison dissenters, would liberals object? Or would they be turning people in?
Friday, November 02, 2007
Vote "NO" on everything
If there were ever a time when the people of Michigan needed to smack our public officials upside the head, now is the time. It is clear that those who are running our state government, local governments, and schools have no idea of the economic pain that the people are going through.
Michigan's unemployment rate is about 7.5 percent, nearly three points higher than the national average. Our state is the epicenter for the home foreclosure crisis, with thousands of families losing their homes, or being forced to sell at huge financial losses. Wages are stagnant or being cut, and employers and jobs are fleeing to sunnier economic climates.
In the midst of this economic crisis, what solutions do our elected officials have to offer us? Only this: they want more of our money. The state, in a ginned up budget "crisis," ramrodded through not one, but two huge tax hikes on personal income and on dozens of everyday services. Instead of cutting bloated employee health and pension benefits, state lawmakers and the governor said: "No, we're not giving up our perks. You taxpayers have to dig deeper."
This attitude of "public be damned" has infected our local governments and schools as well. Instead of tightening their belts and reforming their spending habits, several local jurisdictions are asking for more tax dollars this November 6. The Portage school district, KRESA, and Metro Transit are all asking taxpayers to squeeze more blood from a stone, and come up with even more money.
Individually, these local tax hikes are being sold as "just pennies a day" to try to fool the public into voting yes. But weary taxpayers should not fall for this trick anymore. It is time we evaluate all these tax requests as a package, including the latest tax hikes shoved down our throat by the state. The people of Michigan, and Kalamazoo County, simply cannot afford bigger, more expensive government.
That's why we are issuing this rally cry to the voters of Kalamazoo County: "Vote NO on everything!" The people of this region need to send one single, clear, strong message to our local, and state, officials. We are not sheep to be fleeced, we are not birds to be plucked, we are not cattle to be led to the slaughter.
The people of Michigan have given and given, and given some more, until our local and state tax burden now stands at 14th out of the 50 states. And that calculation was done before the latest tax hikes by the state. We have been overly generous to our public institutions and employees, and now, during these tough economic times, we only ask that they do what we have done--tighten your belts, become more efficient, and live within your (that is, our) means.
The answer to our reasonable request by our public officials has been "NO." So now is the time for voters to say the same thing, right back at them: "NO!"
NO to your never-ending requests for millage hikes.
NO to your refusal to make sensible reforms and money-saving cuts.
NO to the ever-spiraling tax burden that is pricing more and more people out of their homes.
It doesn't matter what the tax request is for, it doesn't matter how many times "the children" are invoked, it doesn't matter how they try to manipulate our emotions with sob stories of poverty. Our governments and schools get enough of our money. They don't need any more. Make them live on the already generous support that we taxpayers give them. Vote "NO" on everything November 6.
Democrats seem to believe that drug companies spend too much money on advertising. They want to restrict how much companies can spend.
One common criticism of drug companies is that they spend more money on advertising than they spend on research. Suppose that's true. Let's review the economics of advertising.
A company can make the best product in the world, but no one will benefit from it if they don't know about it. By advertising, a company lets people know about a product that may benefit them. Thus advertising benefits society.
Democrats criticize advertising as if a dollar that is spent on advertising is a dollar that could be spent on research. But why do companies advertise? It's not because they like giving money to the media. It's because advertising attracts more customers and increases profits. Companies have more money because of advertising than they would otherwise. Restricting advertising would decrease the amount of money available for research, not increase it.
Advertising may sometimes encourage people to buy bad or unnecessary products, but whose fault is that? If a product is bad, the problem is the product, not advertising.
If a drug is unnecessary, why would people buy it? The problem here is not the free market, but government regulations. Government subsidizes employer-provided health insurance in the tax code, and so discourages people from controlling the costs of their own health care.
Drug companies save lives; government kills.
Stephanie Moore, the leftist candidate running with Don Cooney, has been convicted of...
...wait for it...
She pleaded guilty to misusing $63,418.32 from and organization she ran.
She now works for the leftist group ACORN, which has been involved in voter fraud and has argued that it should be exempt from the minimum wage laws that it advocates.
Who better to run the government than someone who already has experience stealing money?