Monday, December 31, 2007
Understanding Economics series
Understanding Government series
2008 Presidential Candidates series
We Will Not Be Silenced
A New Birth of Slavery
The Case Against the Minimum Wage
How Liberals avoid Debate
What Environmentalists Want
State of Emergency
The Victory of Reason
Why Character Counts
Take Back the Night
End the Campus Gun Ban
The Diversity Shibboleth
Diversity in Education
Thank You, Doctor Haenicke
Alternative Energy Inanity
The Inner Ring
The Economics of Labor Unions
Banned Books Crock
Hall of Shame in Review
What Diversity Really Means
Phyllis Schlafly Speech
Is Rudy Giuliani Electable?
Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity
"Queer Students Say Harassment Has Increased"
Axis of Queers
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
Previous: The Best of The Western Right: 2006
Did Huckabee go too far?
DES MOINES, Iowa - Mike Huckabee may have finally gone too far.
After running an unconventional, surprisingly strong and sometimes strange race to the top tier of the Republican presidential campaign, the former Arkansas governor topped himself Monday with a campaign stunt that smacked of hypocrisy.
He called a news conference to unveil a negative ad that he had just withdrawn from Iowa television stations because, he told a room full of journalists recording the ad, he had a sudden aversion to negative politics. Quite a convenient epiphany.
"If people want to be cynical about it," Huckabee said, "they can be cynical about it."
If he loses Iowa's caucuses, New Year's Eve will forever mark the day Huckabee blew it — the day a crowd stopped laughing with the witty Republican and laughed at him.
If he wins — a possibility that even Huckabee now thinks he put at risk — he sealed victory in a weird way Monday.
Here's what happened:
Huckabee came out of nowhere a few weeks ago to overtake former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa polls, despite being massively outspent and out-organized. Romney answered back with television ads criticizing Huckabee's record in Arkansas.
While guilty of cherry-picking the worst aspects of Huckabee's resume, the negative ads stuck with the facts. For example, Huckabee did grant 1,033 pardons and commutations, including for 12 convicted murderers, as Romney's ad stated.
Huckabee's lead evaporated, which suggests that the ads worked or that a series of gaffes had caught up to him.
So he did what desperate candidates do. Huckabee took himself off the campaign trail Sunday to shoot a negative ad. He bought $30,000 in television time to air the spot and called a news conference to unveil it.
While awaiting the late-arriving Huckabee, more than 50 reporters and a dozen photographers got to read five huge cards placed on easels by Huckabee's staff — all highly critical of Romney's record as governor.
"Enough is enough," the signs said.
When Huckabee arrived, he announced that he had just changed his mind. The ad wouldn't run. It was too negative.
"I believe the people of Iowa deserve better, and we are going to try and give them better ...," he said.
But he didn't. Instead, Huckabee showed off the spot to the journalists, knowing full well his negative message would seep out of the room. He told the media to pay close attention.
"You're not going to get a copy of it," he warned, "so this is your chance to see it, then after that you'll never see it again."
The media laughed.
One of the funniest, most charming presidential candidate in recent memory, Huckabee normally makes reporters and voters laugh at his one-liners. On Monday, he made himself the butt of his own joke, urging journalists to take careful note of the negative ad that he had withdrawn because he wanted to run a positive campaign.
"It's never too late to do the right thing," he said.
The ad criticizes Romney's record as governor, fairly so, but goes on to question his character. "If a man is dishonest to obtain a job," Huckabee says in the ad, "he'll be dishonest on the job."
Funny that Huckabee decided at noon that line was too negative, because he used it six hours earlier during a national TV interview.
He used it on a Sunday news show, too.
And he didn't disavow the line Monday. "I said what I said. I spoke the truth," Huckabee said.
If he loses Thursday, Huckabee said, "I'll be the last guy to do this. But I want to be the first who will at least try."
Iowans have a reputation for punishing politicians who go negative. The question is whether voters, particularly evangelicals who make up his political base, will believe Huckabee had the political equivalent of a deathbed conversion.
Or will they think he's treating them likes rubes — appealing to their sense of fair play while being foul?
Either way, the bizarre news conference was the latest twist in a campaign that has given new meaning to the word paradox. Huckabee is an immensely talented communicator and successful former governor who is nonetheless a flawed candidate.
• He is mistake prone, particularly when it comes to commenting about foreign policy.
• He can be thin-skinned and rash. Two of his advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said privately Monday that the production of the ad was fueled by Huckabee's white-hot anger with Romney, and that his change of mind was jarring to the campaign staff.
• He has a paltry political organization in a state that values the ground game, according to an informal survey of GOP county chairs and co-chairs. "I haven't seen much of a sign of him or his people," said Jim Conklin, chairman of the Linn County GOP.
He can also be disarmingly honest. Asked whether Romney should stop running negative ads, Huckabee said, "I'm not going to try to run his campaign."
"I'm having enough trouble running mine."
Beginning in January, our WMU Faculty Hall of Shame became the subject of controversy. Physics Department Chairman Paul Pancella wrote an obtuse letter to our group. AJ gave it the response it deserved. The WMU College Democrats wrote an error-riddled letter to the Western Herald attacking the College Republicans. The College Republicans wrote a response correcting their errors, but they refused to apologize for their libel. On their blog, they admitted a huge double standard in how they judge the faculty and the College Republicans. The Herald posted a poll question allowing students to weigh in on the matter. The College Republicans refused to give in to pressure, and the controversy eventually died down.
Also in January, Governor Granholm appointed new trustees for WMU. WMU's Interim President Diether Haenicke made wise decisions that both saved money and improved services. The Living Wage Coalition continued to promote its cause.
The WMU College Republicans were named the best college republican chapter in the nation in 2006 by the College Republican National Committee. This received coverage in WMU News and the Western Herald.
In February, Diether Haenicke dealt with an angry Muslim. AJ dealt with some "hate mail". The WMU College Republicans adopted a resolution calling on President Bush to pardon Ramos and Compean. Liberals avoided debating a post on how liberals avoid debate.
On March 13, the WMU College Republicans hosted a speech by former Attorney General John Ashcroft. He discussed liberty and security before a crowd of about 900 people in Miller Auditorium. The event was promoted in the Herald. It was reported on afterwards in the media. Assorted liberals protested the event.
Also in March, the WSA passed a resolution asking the Sindecuse Health Center advertise the Alternatives Women's Care Center. Diane Rehm was scheduled to speak on campus, but had to camcel due to a bizarre injury caused by government regulations. Communist Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu spoke on campus.
The Presidential Search Process neared its conclusion as the Presidential Search Committee named four finalists to be President of Western. This blog profiled John Folkins, John Dunn, and Avijit Ghosh. The Committee selected John Dunn, interim chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, as Western's next President. The Board of Trustees made it official. Phyllis Schlafly reported two incidents of campus liberalism at Dunn's school. Ghosh was later involved in a scandal involving veterans' scholarships.
Also in April, AJ was fired from the Herald. The dire predictions about the MCRI didn't come true. The Herald attacked critics of bilingual education. It was revealed that the average total compensation of full professors at WMU is $136,800. The Teaching Assistant Union threatened to strike, but ultimately settled. Feminists held their annual Take Back the Night event. The mass murder at Virginia Tech inspired a call to eliminate Western's gun ban. The WMU College Republicans passed a resolution supporting gun rights on campus. WMU increased room and board prices.
Over the summer, we learned of a victory for free speech on campus thanks to President Haenicke. Letters to the Herald debated allowing guns on campus. This blog debated diversity in education. The Herald had another letter about guns. The Board of Trustees rejected a 9% tuition hike. They approved a 6.4% hike and approved "The Western Edge", President Dunn's plan to increase graduation rates.
This blog thanked President Haenicke for his service to Western and chronicled his achievements.
A new school year began in September. The WMU College Republicans constructed a memorial to honor the victims of 9/11. This blog has pictures of the memorial and participants.
Also in September, the WSA affiliated with the radical SAM and USSA. Guns were again debated in the Herald. The Sangren parking lot became a focus of controversy. A Herald columnist offered some odd self-defense advice.
In October, a forum was held on the "Living Wage" proposal. Liberal activist Tim Hurttgam died of cancer. Some stupid criminals were revealed at Western. Students advocated something about Darfur. A Kalamazoo City Commission candidate forum was held on campus. Students took highly ineffective actions against rape.
In November, an Anti-American Mexican Marxist spoke on campus. The Herald had several letters to the editor debating the candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul. Phyllis Schlafly spoke at Kalamazoo College. Western offered a survey on the living wage.
On November 28, the WMU College Republicans hosted a speech by libertarian reporter John Stossel in Shaw Theater. The event was promoted in the Western Herald, WMU News, and Kalamazoo Gazette. Stossel spoke about the value of free market, the harm caused by government regulations, and his personal conversion to libertarianism. The day of the speech, the WMU College Republican office was vandalized with anti-capitalist graffiti.
In December, the Speaker of the Senate of the WSA was convicted of violating the WSA Constitution. The Herald ran a story headlined "Queer Students Say Harassment Has Increased". This story, which appears to be mostly fraudulent, sparked an absurd kerfuffle in the Herald. The Board of Trustees killed the Living Wage proposal.
The Presidential transition was a major story. The WMU College Republicans kept the papers busy. The Living Wage and gun rights were ongoing issues on campus. What will happen next year?
Previous: 2006: The Year at Western
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Immigration was the most frequent topic, inspiring eight updates. Second was environmentalism/global warming with six, and third was the North American Union with five. What follows are my choices, in chronological order, for the ten most important news or opinion pieces of 2007.
Phyllis Schlafly: Bush's Plan To Bankrupt Social Security
A secret agreement with Mexico would give illegal immigrants Social Security benefits.
William Jasper: Putin's Russia
Russia is controlled by the KGB, and is increasingly dictatorial.
Donald Devine: How To Win War on Terror
There is progress in the war on terror, which can be won through prudence, not hysteria.
Gregory Hession: This is Child Protection?
Government 'child protection' agencies often break up families, abuse children, and violate civil liberties.
Phyllis Schlafly: Economic Integration on the March
The North American Union is composed of elements including the SPP, NAFTA Superhighway, amnesty, and more.
Walter Williams: Deadly environmentalists
Environmentalism is an anti-human ideology that has claimed millions of lives.
Jerome Corsi: Mexico's Fox openly calls for North American Union
Former Mexican President admits a plan for North American Union.
William Jasper: Continental Merger
More and more evidence confirms a plan for North American Union.
Ann Coulter: McCarthyism: The Rosetta Stone of Liberal Lies
Senator Joe McCarthy was correct and has been smeared by liberals.
William Jasper: Chinopoly
China is still communist, and its prosperity is the result of American government policies.
Mac Johnson: Onward Christian Mothers...
Pat Buchanan: Corruption in the Schools
Ron Paul: The Coming Entitlement Meltdown
Ann Coulter: Let Them Eat Tofu!
Sam Antonio: Punished for Doing Their Job
Ann Coulter: Bush's America: Roach Motel
William Jasper: Behind the Job Loss
Jacob Hornberger: Tyranny and the Military Commissions Act
Michael Telzrow: The New Chinese Take-Out
Phyllis Schlafly: Deep-Six The Law Of The Sea
Steven Greenhut: Liberate the Public Schools
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality: Part III
William Jasper: Behind Islamic Terror
Phyllis Schlafly: Scholars Explain Bush's SPP
John Stossel: Our Crazy Health-Insurance System
Thomas Sowell: An Investment in Failure
Gregory Hession: Behavior Worth Medicating?
Best of 2006
Best of 2005
Saturday, December 29, 2007
John Lott: The High Cost of Higher MPG restrictions
Michael Economides: Biofuels Balderdash
Terry Easton: Moving Deck Chairs on the Titanic
Bob Unruh: Hundreds of scientists reject global warming
James Inhofe: Climate Bill Will Devastate American Families and Jobs
Chris Horner: A Cry for Help, Wanted
Deroy Murdock: Al Gore, Global Warming and Convenient Untruths
John Stossel: The Free Market Does It Better
Mac Johnson: Excess Environmentalists -- The Greatest Threat to Planet Earth
Dennis Behreandt: The Economics of Climate Change
Chris Horner: Algore’s Nobel Prize for Globaloney
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
THE BASICS OF GOVERNMENT
Government is an organization that has a near monopoly on the use of force in a given geographical region. All of government's actions are fundamentally based on the use or threat of violence.
Private actors bear responsibility for their actions, while government employees do not. Thus the free market consistently outperforms government.
THE ACTIVITIES OF GOVERNMENT
Democide is government murder of civilians. Government murdered 262 million people in the twentieth century.
War is a government program that killed 36 million in the twentieth century. Militarys are needed to defend against aggression.
Taxation takes people's money by force. It misallocates resources and creates perverse incentives that make people poorer.
Government spends money on redistribution, socialism, bureaucracy, and waste. Spending and taxation are two sides of the same coin.
Redistribution is based on theft. It creates perverse incentives that discourage production by all concerned. It can be used by the rich to steal from the poor and it greatly empowers government. Unchecked, it will lead to bankruptcy and economic ruin.
Democratic governments are likely to accumulate large debts. Unchecked, this will lead to bankruptcy and economic collapse.
Bureaucracy is an inevitable feature of government. It is subject to perverse incentives, government employee unions, and red tape. The free market is more efficient.
Regulations are a form of taxation and spending. They are promoted to increase safety, but they often have unintended consequences that cause great harm.
Law and Order
Laws, police, and courts are necessary to protect society from criminals. Civil liberties and the rule of law are necessary to constrain their power.
Immigration can violate the property rights of taxpayers. It can also hurt society at large. Immigration that is allowed should benefit society.
THE STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT
Democratic elections in a republic can help to limit government power, but democracy cannot solve the fundamental problems of government. Much support for democracy is based on a flawed ideology.
Decentralization leads to less government coercion and more satisfaction of people's political desires. It leads to better policies through more political competition. It reduces the danger that a faction could seize power.
It is virtually impossible to have no government, so the best protection of liberty is limited government. There does not appear to be any foolproof mechanism to protect limited government. However, various procedural mechanisms can help to protect liberty.
Government is destructive in many ways. The cost of government is very high. There are different theories about the moral justification of government. Support for government stems from personal gain, ideology, propaganda, and misunderstanding.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Cox: Illegal immigrants can't get Michigan driver's license
LANSING -- Michigan's attorney general says illegal immigrants can no longer get a state driver's license.
Mike Cox's legal opinion overrules an opinion written in 1995 by former Attorney General Frank Kelley.
Michigan is one of a handful of states in which illegal immigrants have been able to get driver's licenses.
But Cox says people who aren't lawfully in the U.S. can't be residents of Michigan for the purposes of obtaining a driver's license.
The opinion released Thursday may bolster efforts to create a new Michigan driver's license and state identification card.
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has proposed a plan under which only those who are Michigan residents and legally in the U.S. would be able to get the new standard license.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The fundamental flawed premise behind the bill is that we need to use less energy. But our standard of living requires energy use. Thus using less energy means increasing poverty.
The bill is full of regulations that increase conservation, or increase efficiency. One will effectively ban traditional light bulbs. This looks like a boondoggle in the making.
The bill mandates more ethanol use. This will increase oil usage, as oil is required for farm equipment, fertilizer, and other parts of the process of making ethanol. It will decrease fuel efficiency, as ethanol is less efficient than gasoline. It will of course increase corn prices. It will also increase prices for most other types of food, since many animals eat corn, and demand for farm land will increase.
The bill also mandates use of cellulosic biofuels, despite the fact that they don't exist.
Last and worst is the mandate to increase fuel efficiency. John Lott confirms what I wrote earlier--that this will kill thousands of drivers by forcing them into smaller, more dangerous cars. It also won't do much to reduce gas consumption, since decreasing demand reduces price, which increases demand. In other words, people will drive more. This will also hurt Detroit automakers and their employees, as they make more SUVs than their foreign competitors.
A positive energy bill would eliminate government regulations and allow the free market to function. This would encourage more oil drilling and nuclear energy production in America, decreasing prices and increasing energy independence.
Alternative Energy Inanity
Gouging by Government
Freedomnomics is partially a response to the bestselling book Freakonomics, which takes a more positive view of government regulations. Lott's book refutes several errors of this book.
The most interesting conclusions of the book have been ably summarized in this review by Ann Coulter, which leaves little to add.
Lott also destroys the myth of private monopolies maintaining their positions by selling below cost of production.
Freedomnomics is both easily readable and valuable.
UPDATE: A few more:
Club for Growth Releases Updated Huckabee White Paper
Liberals Sing ‘Huckelujah’
Huckabee: Too Soft-on-Illegals
Christians Need To Beware Of Mike Huckabee
More Reasons To Beware Of Mike Huckabee
There’s a Huckabee Born Every Minute
The Unfair Rap Against Mike Huckabee
Huckabee: Holy Man and Heretic
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Many people consider Christianity to be unsubstantiated myth or personal preference unrelated to reality. But this is wrong. Christianity is based on real, historical events. Examining and defending the faith is called apologetics.
One excellent work of apologetics is the book Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. McDowell was an atheist who examined the facts behind Christianity. He discovered that Christianity is true, and this led him to become an evangelist.
Evidence is a long detailed book. It can be tough reading, but it contains much valuable material. It is organized so that it can be used as a reference book.
Evidence makes the case for the Bible. It compellingly shows that the Bible is a unique book in world history. It explains how the Bible was obtained. It demonstrates that the Old and New Testaments are historically reliable. The myth that they were substantially changed through generations of copying is shattered.
In particular, the New Testament dates back to within a generation of the events it describes. Thousands of ancient copies exist, all of which are essentially the same. The New Testament is by far the best documented ancient book.
The Old Testament is also reliable. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm its accuracy, along with the incredibly elaborate copying process used to preserve it. Numerous archaeological discoveries help to confirm both Testaments.
Evidence presents the case for Jesus. It examines the historical evidence concerning the life of Jesus from sources outside the Bible. It discusses His unique character, and the possible explanations for His life--liar, lunatic, or Lord.
McDowell examines the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. These prophecies include His lineage, birthplace, life, death, resurrection, and even the year of His birth! All of these prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. It is mathematically impossible for these prophecies to have been fulfilled by chance or human intention.
Evidence examines the evidence for the resurrection. It explains its importance and documents the predictions by Jesus of His resurrection. It examines the evidence contained in sources outside the Bible. It examines in detail the events immediately before and after the resurrection, including Jesus' crucifixion, death, burial, empty tomb, and appearances afterward.
So-called theories such as the stolen body and swoon are debunked and shown to be utterly incompatible with the facts. The Disciples, who saw what happened and had everything to lose by being wrong, all were killed or tortured proclaiming the truth of the resurrection.
An examination of the evidence demonstrates the truth of Christianity. Christianity is not myth or superstition, and need not be based on blind faith or personal preference.
This issue is of the utmost importance. Literally everything is at stake. The evidence does demand a verdict. Non-Christians should carefully consider the beliefs of roughly two billion people worldwide. Christians should examine the evidence to deepen their faith, refute skeptics, and witness to others. Both will be aided by Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
Monday, December 24, 2007
To understand the government's role in immigration, it is helpful to first consider the situation without government. How does immigration work in the case of private property? Quite simply, it is occurs only if the property owner wants it. Having property rights means having the right to allow and restrict the use of the property to whatever people the owner chooses. If someone other than the owner attempts to use the property, the owner can prevent him from doing so.
Since the owner can choose whom to allow onto his property, he will naturally tend to allow those who best comport with his own interests. That is, they will usually be people that he likes and gets along with, or those who advance his economic prosperity.
But what about government-owned property? Government did not get its property from nowhere. Its property has been purchased, maintained, and improved using money taken from taxpayers. Whether or not this taxation is legitimate, it is the taxpayers who have a legitimate claim to the use of this property, since it is their money that has been used to pay for it.
Thus the taxpayers can decide how to use this property, and who to allow or not allow on it. They can decide this through the democratic process. While this is a far from perfect means of making decisions, it is the best available as long as the property is owned by the government.
The supposition that everyone has a right to use government-owned property is wrong. If a policy of unrestricted use of government property is adopted, then everyone will receive a benefit that only some people will pay for. Thus adopting this policy will increase the costs to taxpayers for maintenance while limiting their ability to use what they have paid for.
This means that adopting a policy of "open borders", allowing unrestricted access to government-owned roads, parks, and forests, would not increase freedom. Rather, it would decrease freedom and increase the exploitation of taxpayers.
The costs to taxpayers are exacerbated even further if a country has welfare programs that are not restricted to citizens. These can include public schools, emergency medical care, police services, and other government benefits. Providing these services to non-citizens will encourage immigration, whether legal or illegal, and costs taxpayers even more money. While eliminating such incentives may be ideal, but limiting immigration may still be the best policy to protect freedom in the mean time.
Immigration also has costs for a society. Immigrants may commit crimes at different rates than citizens of a country. The may cause car crashes at different rates than citizens. They may unintentionally bring diseases that are common in their homelands, but uncommon elsewhere. Some proportion of them may engage in terrorism or promote radical ideologies. All of these costs are not borne by those who promote immigration, but are borne by all of society.
Immigration can also cause cultural conflict. People from significantly different cultures will tend to distrust each other. This can easily lead to strife. Also, it will often lead to political conflict, with different groups seeking government benefits and advantages over others.
Emigration, or leaving a country, is also often not a product of the free market. Why would someone leave behind family, country, and everything familiar and move to a foreign land? Usually, it is extreme poverty, hunger, and lack of freedom. But these would not exist in the modern world without oppressive government. Thus immigration depends not only on the government policies of the country receiving immigrants, but on the government policies of foreign countries as well.
Some governments may actively encourage emigration to get rid of politically troublesome or economically unproductive subjects. Others may encourage subjects to settle in other countries to obtain greater influence over their politics, as Russia did in eastern Europe, and Mexico is doing in America.
Taking in these immigrants relieves political dissent and economic pressures in those foreign countries. It thus discourages political reforms that would allow prosperity in these countries. A loose immigration policy can be seen as a subsidy to corrupt foreign governments.
Any country is defined by some geographical region with borders. For the reasons given above, a country must be able to defend its borders and stop unauthorized people from using private and government property. This might require guards, fences, or other such measures.
This does not mean that all immigration is bad. Some immigration can be beneficial. But how should a society decide which immigrants to admit and which to reject?
Just as private individuals will admit those they like, society should admit those who are culturally similar, who can assimilate easily or those who have desirable cultural traits. Thus a good immigration policy would favor those who speak the native language, understand society, and hold similar values.
Just as private individuals admit those who benefit them economically, society should admit those who are educated, have a good work ethic, and will start businesses. However, admitting low-skilled workers will only benefit some while hurting many others.
Some immigrants will enter or stay in a society illegally. For all the reasons above, they must be deported to their home countries. Enforcing immigration laws will create a disincentive to breaking them. If there are many illegal aliens in a country, enforcing the law and deporting a few will encourage many more to leave on their own.
Because people differ, immigration can be both beneficial and harmful. Some levels may be beneficial and others harmful. A nation's immigration policy should protect the property rights of taxpayers and admit only those who benefit society.
44% of professors who responded to the survey classified themselves as liberal, 46% as moderate, and 9% as conservative. The study's authors, Neil Gross and Solon Simmons, were surprised to find so many moderate professors, but other academics attending the presentation disagreed with their conclusions. Much of the conservatism and moderation in higher education cropped up in certain subcategories: the health science professions, for example, and community colleges and non-elite universities.
At community colleges, 37% of professors identified themselves as liberal, 44% as moderate, and 19% as conservative. Professors at liberal arts colleges were most likely to identify themselves as liberal: 61% were liberal, and just 4% conservative. Elite Ph.D.-granting institutions were fairly close behind, with 57% liberal, 33% moderate and 10% conservative.
Business and health sciences professors helped to boost the representation of moderate and conservative views at both elite and non-elite Ph.D.-granting universities, compared to liberal arts colleges. 20.5% of health sciences professors are liberal, 20.5% are conservative, and 59% are moderate. Business professors are another less liberal group, with 24.5% conservative, 54% moderate, and 21.5% liberal.
Predictably, humanities and social sciences professors were most likely to lean left. 17.6% of social sciences professors declared a Marxist political identity. Marxism also claimed 5% support in the humanities, and negligible support in other disciplines. 88% of social sciences professors voted for John Kerry in 2004, and 84% of humanities professors. Half of the social sciences professors who did not vote for Kerry voted for non-mainstream candidates, leaving the Republican Party with just 6% of their vote. Only health sciences professors supported Bush in 2004, by a narrow margin of 52% of votes for Bush and 48% for Kerry. Overall, 78% of academics voted for Kerry.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Joe Guzzardi: 2007 In Review: Immigration Patriots Demolish Treason Lobby “Sewer Rats”
Michelle Malkin: The Incredible Disappearing Border Fence
Michelle Malkin: Meet the GOP's Border Control Cross-Dressers
Phyllis Schlafly: To Assimilate Or Not To Assimilate; That's The Question
Mac Johnson: Criminal Aliens Not Sent Home
Jerome Corsi: Feds admit smuggler lied in Ramos-Compean case
Ron Paul: On Illegal Immigration and Border Security
Jim Boulet: The Salvation Army or the Hispanic Caucus?
Ann Coulter: NYT: An Undocumented Newspaper
Ann Coulter: NYT: Suicide Manual for Dems
Jerome Corsi: Arrest prompts call for release of Ramos, Compean
For more on immigration, see VDARE.com.
From the Gazette:
If Jack runs for Senate, it will be on the cheap
Dick DeVos spent millions of dollars of his own money, outspent his opponent, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and still lost the governor's race in a landslide last year.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been far outspending opponent Mike Huckabee in advance of the Iowa caucuses, and guess what: Huckabee is leading Romney.
None of this is lost on Jack Hoogendyk, the Republican state representative who is considering seeking the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Carl Levin next year.
So when a conservative political consulting firm, Maurice Bonamigo and Associates, earlier this week made a pitch to Hoogendyk, offering its services to his campaign, it explained via e-mail how he would need to go out of state to raise enough money to challenge Levin, get on the top national political programs and gather a "strong management team that will be capable of handling ALL aspects necessary for a successful campaign.''
Hoogendyk, true to his direct nature, responded in an e-mail: "I have NO interest in a bunch of high-paid consultants who are going to drain me of valuable and limited resources. I don't want a bunch of `experts' telling me what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. ... I will not be `handled.' ... I am Dutch, cheap, and my wife is even cheaper. I cannot stand wasting money, especially on high-priced out-of-towners who think they can snow me into thinking they are going to make me a winner by throwing my money away.''
You'd think Bonamigo -- who is listed as having a home in Portage and told the Kalamazoo Gazette that he is a constituent of Hoogendyk's -- would be aware of the state rep's blunt nature, but apparently he was a little taken aback by Hoogendyk's response.
Bonamigo senior political consultant Darrel Zeck blasted off this response to Hoogendyk via e-mail: "Since it would take about $20 million for you to have a CHANCE at unseating Levin, I would step away before you waste people's hard-earned money. Based on your lack of understanding of this process, and your complete inability to professionally respond to an e-mail, you may want to consider not running (again) for public office at all.''
Hoogendyk is undeterred by this welcome into statewide campaigning.
And he's adamant he won't go into debt for this campaign.
"It's a reflection on the candidate,'' he said. "If a candidate goes into debt on his campaign, what is he going to do'' with taxpayers' money once in office?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This isn't a big surprise, as his campaign didn't do very well. This is too bad, because of all the candidates, Tancredo's views are closest to those of Reagan. He is a conservative across the board. He has a lifetime 99% rating from the American Conservative Union. He is completely pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-tax. Unlike most of the contenders, he actually regularly votes against government spending bills. Also unlike many of the candidates, he is a staunch defender of American sovereignty against the United Nations and other global entities.
Of course, Tancredo is best known for his views on immigration. He has been relentless in pushing for enforcement of our immigration laws. He founded the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus. He has unceasingly advocated the cause of immigration reform in the media. He deserves a big chunk of the credit for the defeat of amnesty in 2006 and 2007.
Tancredo visited Western Michigan University in 2005. He spoke to an audience of about 100 college Republicans. His speech was the best live political speech that I have ever heard. He covered immigration, western civilization, education, and CAFTA. It was a great event, and was not marred by the incredibly biased write-up in the Herald.
Unfortunately, Tancredo's campaign never really took off. Becoming an "electable" candidate requires raising a lot of money early in the race from large money donors. Tancredo's stance on immigration made him unpopular with many such people. Also, his campaign simply wasn't run that well.
Yet in a way it was a success. Tancredo had hinted that his main goal was to make immigration a major issue in the campaign and push the other candidates to the right. With the other candidates trying to "out-Tancredo Tancredo" on immigration, as one article put it, this goal has been achieved.
Conservatives owe Tom Tancredo a debt of gratitude.
Michelle Malkin: Tom Tancredo’s exit
Every society is faced to some extent with the problem of people who violate the rights to life, liberty and property of others and who act so as to undermine order or public morality. If such threats are left unchecked, society will be weakened or even undermined. Thus any society needs some way of mitigating or eliminating these threats.
Crimes must be punished, whether with fines, imprisonment, or even execution. A basic principle of justice is that punishment should be proportional to the crime. When possible, criminals should be made to make restitution to their victims. Imprisonment prevents crimes from occurring by keeping criminals away from the public. Any punishment deters crimes from occurring by providing a disincentive to crime.
It appears that only government can provide law enforcement. This is because law enforcement is inherently coercive, while the free market depends on the absence of force. It appears inevitable that some entity will achieve a near monopoly on force in a given territory. It seems that the best that can be achieved is to limit its powers and try to make it serve the public as much as possible.
The power to coerce and imprison is dangerous, particularly in the hands of the government. Allowing the government to use punish whomever it wants is a recipe for tyranny. Thus there is a need for law. That is, there should be a set of rules that determine which behaviors will be punished and which will not. This will minimize lawbreaking, since people will better know what actions to avoid.
But government must also follow the law. Laws that criminalize actions after the fact, called ex post facto laws, can be used to punish individuals rather than protect society. Laws should be as clear as possible, so that people do not innocently fall afoul of them and they cannot be used to harass innocent people. Laws should apply to all people, not only some. In particular, laws should apply to the government, as well as its subjects. This is called the rule of law.
The rule of law promotes economic prosperity. Government takes money from people through taxation, and private criminals take money from people though theft. But if theft is systematized, then at least people can plan their actions. This greatly reduces risk, and allows greater economic growth. Thus government theft can be better than private theft, even when the government takes more. Even governments that don't care about their subjects have an incentive to promote the rule of law, since then there will be more production for them to tax.
Self-defense can prevent and deter many crimes. But it is not applicable in many cases. Given certain levels of population and crime, police are necessary to enforce laws. However, their powers must be constrained if they are to serve the public. In many foreign countries, police corruption is endemic. Even in America, police in New Orleans participated in illegal seizures of guns in the wake of hurricane Katrina.
If the government wants to punish someone, a court is necessary to determine innocence or guilt. The writ of habeas corpus requires that someone who has been arrested appear before a court. This stops the government from holding someone for an arbitrary length of time without charges. Civil liberties such as protection against unreasonable search and seizure, jury trials, presumption of innocence, protection against self-incrimination, protection against double jeopardy, and more help to protect the innocent from being falsely convicted.
The attitude that if people have nothing to hide, they should not worry about civil liberties reverses the proper attitude. It is the government that seeks the punish people. If the government has nothing to hide, it should not fear protecting civil liberties.
People should never assume that just because someone has been charged with a crime, "he must be guilty of something". There have been far too many cases of people charged with crimes who have been completely innocent. There are even cases in which the prosecutor knew this to be true.
Some judges seek to enforce their own conception of justice by bending or ignoring the law. This can occur in both criminal trials and "judicial review" of laws. But judges have no special competence in lawmaking. There is no reason to believe that their decisions are better than those of legislators. Even if a judge is right in a particular case, ignoring the law does great damage to the rule of law. Thus judicial activism can have very negative consequences.
Laws, police, and courts are necessary to protect society. But they can be dangerous as well. Civil liberties and the rule of law must be protected to minimize the danger.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
When some entity spends more than than it takes in, the result is a deficit. The sum of deficits and surpluses is debt.
Governments are more likely to accumulate debts than private entities. One reason for this is that the people who run the government are not using their own money. Thus they are less likely to act responsibly. Another reason is that government has the power to tax, so it can pay its debts by force.
Democracies are more likely to accumulate large debts than other governments. The reason for this is that in democracies, there is public pressure to redistribute money.
The "national debt" of the United States in 2007 was officially about 9 trillion dollars. However, this figure ignores the unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. With these figures included, the present value of the real national debt is approximately 59 trillion dollars. That's $59,000,000,000,000.
Because of the dynamic of concentrated and dispersed interests, 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 EpochGovernment debt is dangerous to prosperity. Government should spend less and avoid accumulating debts.
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."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The plan would give college scholarships to students who live in poor school districts. Bizarrely, the bill would give scholarships to both rich and poor students in poor districts, but it would not give scholarships to poor students in rich districts.
Even worse, the bill discriminates against charter, private, and home schools. It doesn't offer any scholarships to students of these schools. Thus it effectively discriminates against Christians, who often cannot attend public schools for religious reasons.
It also won't make college more affordable. The more government subsidizes college, the more that colleges can increase prices. This is why college costs so much.
This proposal won't help students, but it will help teacher unions, which is who democrats really care about.
Monday, December 17, 2007
The stated goal of Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, to improve gas mileage, is laudable. But Congress cannot magically change the laws of Physics. They could pass a law requiring that all cars run on magic pixie dust, but that doesn't mean that it would happen.
So in the real world, what will be the effects of this law? Small vehicles have lower gas mileages than large vehicles. To meet the standards, automakers will have to sell relatively more small vehicles than large ones. To do this, they will have to raise the prices of large vehicles until many people cannot afford them.
This is what happened when these standards were first passed. This is why there are no large cars on the roads like there were in the 1950's and '60's, except for luxury cars. SUVs have become popular because they are considered trucks, and so are exempt from the standards.
The problem with small cars is that they are less safe than large cars. In fact, some studies suggest that more than a thousand people are killed in car crashes each year because of them. More people will die because of this agreement.
Government kills again.
As shocking as Murray’s repugnant acts were, even more shocking was the deep-seated hatred of Christians that seems to have motivated his actions. Between shooting sprees, Murray, who had been home-schooled in a highly religious family, made an online post explaining what drove him to commit his unspeakable crimes.There was also a spree of church-burnings in the South perpetrated by Atheists earlier this year.
“…God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you…as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”
If Murray’s anti-Christian animus seems familiar, it’s because it closely resembles that of a number of other recent mass murderers, including the Columbine High School shooters, the Virginia Tech shooter and even the monster who massacred five young Amish girls at the West Nickel Mines School in Pennsylvania. The common denominator of anti-Christian bigotry is difficult to miss. But what’s more difficult to overlook is that the intense hatred of Christianity that often fuels these violent acts is the same hatred of Christianity so often cultivated and promoted in the media by America’s cultural Left.
Could the atheist rhetoric about Christians yearning to impose a theocracy and burn nonbelievers be having an effect? In one memorable incident this year, the opinion editor of the Western Herald blamed Christians for everything from the Holocaust to slavery. Should it be any surprise that someone who takes such rhetoric literally would commit murder? Of course, the perpetrators are responsible for their crimes. But the purveyors of anti-Christian rhetoric should think long and hard about what they are doing.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This was a good slogan to get people interested in John Stossel's recent speech. But three words are not enough to express complex ideas. So what ideas lie behind this catchy slogan?
This slogan was popularized by the 1987 movie Wall Street. But this movie was an attack on capitalism, which portrays a character advocating a distorted version of free market economics before committing white collar crimes.
The truth is that greed has good effects in the free market. It has good effects because in the free market, people who want more for themselves cannot rob, steal, or cheat. Thus they must convince people to give them money by providing them with valuable goods and services. Both sides benefit, since value is subjective and people value goods differently.
Greed has terrible effects in an unfree market. Specifically, government greed is destructive because government can take people's money by force. This greed can bankrupt a country.
Greed isn't good by itself. But greed will exist no matter what economic system a nation has. the free market is the system that best channels it to constructive purposes.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Ron Paul: Pain at the Pump
Thomas Sowell: Political "Solutions"
Jed Babbin: Hawaii Five-0-Five
Wilton Alston: Living Under Surveillance
Gregory Hession: Behavior Worth Medicating?
Gary North: On Fixing Social Security
Ron Paul: Keeping Promises to Seniors
Terry Easton: Social Security, Ponzi Schemes and Moral Hazards
Terry Easton: Of Traveler’s Checks, Green Stamps, & Little Iron Men
Robert Rector: Are Our 37 Million Poor Really Poor?
POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.
This week, The Club for Growth began running this ad on tv attacking Huckabee's record on taxes. Our party (not to mention our nation and our pocketbooks) will be in a lot of trouble if we are supporting "big government Republicans" in 2008. For more on the Club for Growth's review of Huckabee click HERETo the best of my knowledge this is the first attack ad being run on TV relating to the primary.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Trustees reject living wage proposal
KALAMAZOO--Acting at their meeting today, Western Michigan University trustees voted down a proposed policy mandating that contracts for work done on campus adhere to a "living wage" standard.
The motion to adopt the policy proposed by a student group was rejected by a vote of seven to one, with the sole vote for the policy cast by Trustee Larry Tolbert of Kalamazoo. Following the vote, four of the eight trustees, including Tolbert, spoke briefly about the reasons for their votes. All reiterated their commitment to fairness, but pointed to problems with the language, detail and breadth of the policy proposed. The trustees praised the students for working to raise awareness of the issue.
Custodians in WMU residence halls, who work for an independent contractor, are the only workers whose pay would have been affected under the living wage policy proposed. The proposed policy defined a living wage as $9.50 per hour with health insurance or $11.50 per hour without insurance.Before their vote, trustees were given results of a recently concluded survey of student opinion on living wage and WMU policy. The survey was conducted at the request of the trustees, following a presentation by student-proponents of a living wage at the board's October meeting.
About 75 percent of the more than 1,800 students who responded to the survey said they agreed the University should adopt a living wage policy. By a two-to-one majority, however, students disagreed with the idea that an estimated $100 in additional residence hall fees should be assessed to pay for a living wage policy.
Trustees also were apprised of a vote by the Western Student Association, WMU's student government body. By a vote of 20 to 19, the WSA passed a resolution in support of the policy Oct. 25.
Survey Seeks Student Opinion on Living Wage
Waging War Update
The Coalition for Higher Tuition Returns
The Coalition for Higher Tuition
There has also been talk of proposals involving the Fair Tax, right to work, taxpayers bill of rights (TABOR), immigration.
Whether to legalize marijuana use for medical reasons;
Whether to repeal the state ban on embryonic stem-cell research;
Whether to approve a constitutional mandate to ensure every Michigan resident has affordable, comprehensive health-care coverage;
Whether to give voters the power to repeal tax increases passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor;
Whether to get rid of the state's full-time Legislature and replace it with a part-time body, and repeal term limits; or, alternately
Whether to get rid of the state's full-time Legislature, replace it with a part-time body, but without repealing term limits.
Smoking isn't good for your health, and it annoys many people. But it is none of government's business. Banning smoking is a violation of people's property rights. No one has to work for or patronize a business if they don't want to.
Once again, the Democrats think they know how to run people's lives better than they do. Whatever happened to freedom?
Hoogendyk may run against Levin
WASHINGTON -- Two Republicans are nearing a decision on whether they will challenge Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., next year despite long odds against the five-term senator.
Businessman Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk said they are leaning toward entering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate next year.
Hoogendyk, R-Kalamazoo, said he was leaning toward entering the race and would make his intentions known next month. He formed an exploratory committee a few weeks ago and is starting to receive contributions from supporters.
"I'm past the 50 percent point. I'm definitely leaning," he said. "With each passing day as I talk to more people I get more positive feedback."
Hoogendyk, who was first elected to the state legislature in 2004, cited the Republicans' historic takeover of Congress in 1994 as an example of the topsy-turvy nature of politics.
"I don't know that today anybody would say it's a seat ripe for the taking but the political winds change. Who would have predicted in December of 1993 what ended up happening in Congress in November of 1994?" he said.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I looked under my rep, Kathy Angerer (Or as I call her, Kathy Angersme). There I found a boatload of ways she's helped raise taxes on the people of my community and in the whole district.
Now prior to this, I've mentioned to people around me, both conservatives and liberals, the tax hikes I've seen Jack Hoogendyk mention on his blog. They can't believe how our state is doing such things in our current economy. Well if I mention to them that their rep in the House is a big part in that, then that'll really help people out there realize that the Dems in the House are hurting our state with stupid tax hikes that scare away people and businesses.
So I suggest all of you do the same. If you see your rep on that list, take a look at the list of taxes they've helped put on you and your neighbors. And then spread the news. I think if more people knew what their reps were doing, they'd be less likely to support them the next time around.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The front page features an article about the controversy created by the previous article in the Herald. It seems that not everyone is cool with the q-word. The article quotes several people who were offended, including those who send this letter to the editor that appeared inside the paper. It offers a helpful guide to the proper newspeak, which will probably be out of date by the time you read it.
If that's not enough, the Herald also contains an editorial about the controversy. They offer this explanation.
While some members do value the term "queer," it is still not universally accepted, even within the LBGT community. It is strongly urged that the term be avoided, unless quoting someone who self-identifies that way. In the case of the Nov. 26 article, that is exactly what the Western Herald was doing.
The term "queer" is not the only controversial term surrounding the LBGT community. The term "homosexual" has been adopted by anti-gay extremists to suggest that lesbians and gay men are diseased or psychologically disordered. Please use "lesbian" or "gay man" to describe people attracted to members of the same sex.
Try to avoid labeling an activity, emotion or relationship "gay," "lesbian," or "bisexual," unless you would call the same activity, emotion or relationship "straight." For example, instead of a "homosexual relationship," use "relationship"; instead of "homosexual couple" use "couple."
There is no single lesbian, gay or bisexual lifestyle. Instead of referring to something as a "gay lifestyle," please use lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
This was, indeed, a choice made by the editors of the Herald. It was not a casual decision. The primary drive behind the use of the word was inclusiveness.Mission accomplished!
But that's not all. Both the Western Student Association and the administration have jumped into action. The President of Outspoken introduced a resolution in the WSA "focusing on education and awareness concerning violence against lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender students".
Under questioning, she admitted that the "20 to 25" incidents of "verbal and physical attacks" include one exactly one alleged physical attack. She further admitted that she has no actual evidence that this alleged attack has anything to do with the victim being any of the above. It still isn't clear what constitutes "verbal assault", but it appears to be simply criticism.
Needless to say, the WSA passed the resolution. Only one courageous senator voted against it.
But that's still not all. Western's administration tripped all over itself rushing to fight this non-existent wave of hate crimes. The Office of Institutional Equity and LBGT Student Services office have rushed to offer their services.
The article helpfully points out that:
According to the Student Code, students have the right to free inquiry, expression and association. Students should be free from discrimination and harassment based on race, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, national origin, religion, disability, marital status or family status.So it's still OK to discriminate against and harass Republicans.
This article also helps to explain the origins of the original article.
Discussions of harassment at OUTspoken meetings and numerous unreported incidents on and off campus were cause to bring the recent events to the university's attention, seeking action, OUTspoken President Maggie Walters said.So this whole controversy started because people were whining about perceived slights, somebody decided to contact the Herald, and they wrote a story about it. Ironically, given the controversy and the circulation of the Herald, the biggest perpetrator of "verbal assault" and "harassment" on campus is Outspoken.
"We know that things are going on because students are mentioning them at OUTspoken meetings," Walters said.
In case you lost count, that's five pieces in the Herald on the same subject on the same day. (In other front page news, the WSA debated what a fine is.)
On the off chance that it slipped your mind for a moment, Western Michigan University has over a hundred academic majors and hundreds of faculty members conducting groundbreaking research. Apparently, none of that was as newsworthy as the fifth piece on the 'queer' controversy.
Don't the Western Herald, WSA, Outspoken, and the above-mentioned university offices have anything better to do? Isn't there any real news on campus? These groups are pathetic. To be inclusive, just calls them the axis of queers.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Thomas Sowell: Expanding Opportunities
John Derbyshire: Diversity Boot Camp Closed At The University Of Delaware—But Big Brother Is Still Going Strong
Bob Unruh: University to students: 'All whites are racist'
Thomas Sowell: Prestige Versus Education
Walter Williams: Academic Cesspools
Phyllis Schlafly: Advice To College Students: Don't Major In English
Ann Coulter: Have You Hugged an Islamo-Fascist Today?
Lance Izumi: The Myth of the Middle-Class School
Michelle Malkin: Fuzzy Math: A Nationwide Epidemic
Walter Williams: Bitter Partisan Politics
John Stossel: Turning Kids into Sex Offenders
Learn more about education issues in Education Reporter.
Mike Huckabee’s surging campaign has created a three-way toss-up in Michigan’s Republican Primary. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds Huckabee earning 21% of the vote. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the son of a former Michigan Governor, attracts 20% support while former New York City Mayor is the top choice for 19% of Likely Republican Primary Voters.
Trailing the Michigan frontrunners are Fred Thompson at 9%, John McCain at 8% and Ron Paul at 7%. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter split 2% while 15% are not sure how they will vote. Michigan’s primary is scheduled for January 15, twelve days after the Iowa caucuses and a week after the New Hampshire Primary. Results from those earlier contests may have a significant impact on the Michigan results.
In Michigan, 37% of Likely Republican Primary Voters name the economy as the top voting issue. Twenty percent (20%) say immigration is the top priority while 17% say that the War on Terror is most important. Among those who name the economy as their highest priority, there is little differentiation between the leading candidates—21% prefer Giuliani, 20% favor Romney, and 15% support Huckabee.
One item worth noting is a discussion of the situation surrounding the county jail currently at the bottom of the page.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
THE COSTS OF REGULATIONS
Regulations have costs, but their costs are mostly not reflected in government spending. The costs of enforcing them are usually only a small part of total government spending. The major costs of regulations are borne by those affected by them.
In fact, regulation can be seen as a hidden form of government taxation and spending. A regulation mandates or prohibits some action. The mandated or allowed alternative way of achieving a goal must be more expensive, or else it would already be used without need of a regulation. But if some additional amount of money were given along with the mandated or allowed way, it would be more economical than the more efficient alternative.
Now imagine that this amount of money was taken from someone and then given back to him on the condition that uses the mandated or allowed alternative. But this is the same as if the regulation is simply mandated. Thus regulations can be looked at as a combination of taxation and spending. They have monetary costs.
This cost is hidden, and is far higher than most people realize. The Competitive Enterprise Institute issued a report entitled Ten Thousand Commandments which estimates the total cost of all federal government regulations in 2005 was 1.13 trillion dollars. This compares to total federal spending in 2007 of 2.78 trillion dollars. The list of all proposed and final federal regulations in 2005 was 73,870 pages long.
Actually, the costs are even higher because regulations often create perverse incentives that encourage wasteful actions.
The most common justification for government regulations is to protect safety. This could be the safety of products, services, food, jobs, or anything else. The implication is that without government regulations, these things would be unsafe or less safe.
One problem with this argument is that there is no such thing as absolute safety in this world. There is always some risk. Something can be more safe or less safe than something else, but it can never be completely safe.
Are government regulations the best way to achieve "safety"? Presumably, consumers would not knowingly buy "unsafe" products. Would a business sell products that it knows to be dangerous? If it does, it is almost certain to be exposed. Its reputation would be significantly damaged, and it might well go out of business. Thus businesses have a significant incentive to make their products as safe as possible at a given price and quickly correct any mistakes that they make. Thus businesses often issue voluntary recalls of products.
Beyond this, businesses that knowingly sell defective products can be prosecuted. They can also be sued in civil courts. Both of these possibilities further encourage businesses to promote safety. But government regulations are different because they seek to dictate safer behaviors ahead of time.
What reason is there to believe that government knows better how to make products safe than private businesses do? Government may issue regulations that make products cost more but make no difference in terms of safety. The regulations it issues may actually make products less safe.
Government regulations may well make products more safe. But this is not necessarily a good thing irrespective of cost. Thinking of safety as categorical rather than relative tends to encourage regulators ignore the costs of regulations. But regulations must make products and services more expensive.
This can actually make people less safe. If some product is made more expensive by regulations, people may switch to an alternative that is less safe than the original product. Alternatively, the money that is spent on a more expensive product could be used to increase safety in some other way. Government regulations may also promote a false sense of security that can lead people to behave more dangerously.
Further, the money spent satisfying a regulation could be used to increase happiness in some other way. But government has no way to know how safe is safe enough. Only the free market can determine this.
Government regulators face very different incentives than businesses. They are much less likely to suffer the consequences of making mistakes. The consequences of not regulating are often much more visible than the consequences of regulating. Thus many unnecessary and harmful regulations are created.
One particularly disastrous example of this is the Food and Drug Administration. Prescription drugs can save thousands of lives, but they sometimes have side effects that can hurt a few people. The FDA holds up approving drugs for many years, and thousands of people die needlessly.
Another example of government regulations in action is Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which seek to increase the gas mileage of cars. But government regulations cannot magically make cars more fuel efficient. Instead, they increase the price of larger cars and force more people into smaller, less safe cars. This increases the number of deaths in car crashes.
Government also creates regulations with the stated goal of protecting the environment. Such regulations often infringe on property rights, discourage production, and increase poverty. Actually, this is often exactly what environmentalists want. One disastrous example of environmental regulations is government efforts to eliminate the use of DDT, which caused millions of needless malaria deaths in the third world.
Some environmental regulations are necessary. For example, pollution can infringe on the rights of others. But even in this case, stricter regulations are not always better. At some point, the cost of stricter regulations will outweigh the benefits.
Why are regulations of business so widespread? Concerns about safety and a bias toward government are only part of the answer. A major explanation is that businesses often support government regulations. They support regulations that will damage their competitors and not themselves, or damage their competitors more than themselves, or prevent new competitors from forming. With less competition, businesses can make larger profits. However, such regulations hurt consumers.
A common phenomenon is 'capturing', in which a panel or agency that regulates some industry becomes captured by that industry. This happens because the industry in question has the largest interest in the contents of the regulations, and so works hardest to influence the agency. When an agency has been captured, regulations can be neutralized, or written to benefit the industry, or to punish competitors.
One particular form of regulation that restricts competition is licensing. This is presented as necessary for safety. But it is a restriction of competition that increases prices for consumers.
Regulations are also used by government politicians and bureaucrats to control people. They take away freedom and give government more power over people's lives.
Regulation is a major activity of government and is usually destructive. It depends on the threat of force or violence. It is a hidden form of taxation and spending, and it costs far more than most people realize. The free market can better promote safety than government regulations. Regulations can be used by business to restrict competition and increase prices. Most government regulations should be eliminated.