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Re April 8, 2012: Blockbuster: Obama is waiting for Campaign 2012 to announce the opening of ANWR by executive order. Oil will be in the $60-70 range.
Paul A. Rahe: Hillary says that she is not interested, but I have never believed that. As I put it back in November -- http://biggovernment.com/prahe/2010/11/03/hillarys-date-with-destiny/ -- there is an affair in the tides of men. My view is that for her it is now or never. She needs to seize an occasion on which she can resign over a matter of principle, fall silent for a few weeks, and then announce that she is running to save her party.
That said, the fix is in. Obama has changed the rules so that it will be virtually impossible to oust a sitting President. If he showed the same enthusiasm for defending our interests that he has shown in pursuing his own, . . . · Mar 17 at 1:14pm
In what fashion has Obama changed the rules so that it will be virtually impossible to oust a sitting President? He sure appears vulnerable to me.
Charles Gordon: Employers began providing health insurance as a ruse around the apparatus of government wage controls during World War II.
Ending this practice of conveying a benefit in the place of a wage should appeal to the patrons of Washington profligacy—it would provide a surge of federal revenue without the political pain of raising new taxes or rates.
By compelling the employer to remit directly to the employee as wages the same amount previously withheld but paid in his name to the insurance company, part of the windfall to the employee passes into the pocket of the treasury via the higher gross reported on Forms W-2 and 1040.
What more unfortunate an outcome of a past generation’s coercive controls than have government conjure from that policy new flows of taxes levied on the backs of today’s working dupes. · Mar 11 at 2:38pm
I surmise you may have followed debates on this question during the ObamaCare hearings. Any discussion of lifting the benefits exclusion on employers included creating a parallel exclusion for individuals. The windfall you envision above is a political non-starter.
Ah, but whose word? The fact that our elected representatives may have made a promise ostensibly on our behalf, in my opinion, does not make it our promise. The state is not us. The reason the Founders established a constitutional republic -- a limited one with enumerated powers -- was in an effort to maintain this distinction, and to prevent such things as the majority being able to vote themselves a share of the wealth of what at that time were only a few wealthy citizens. The erosion of those constitutional limits is what enabled liberals to establish Social Security--a transfer program disguised as an insurance program, neither of which is consistent with constitutionally limited government. The politicians who have promised ever-increasing largesse to beneficiaries have no authority to make any such promise for me. If we buy into the concept of the "social contract," we say goodbye to individual liberty.
I must say, unless you are splitting hairs with regard to the degree of emphasis, I disagree with these distinctions. All of the above are anathema to both libertarian and conservative--which is precisely the point. There is much common ground.
When I mentioned social issues as the main sticking points between the two philosophies, I left out the issue of foreign policy, which is also a significant area of divergence between most libertarians and most conservatives, as I understand each of them.
Re: abortion and Ron Paul -- I am of the same mind as he, an implacable opponent of abortion. Opposition to abortion is also the protection of the right to life--one of the rights listed in the Declaration. The libertarian case is rooted in individual rights, and the right to life is rightly the first among them.
Of course Sowell is right, but the housing issue is one that affects only a small number of big-city voters.
What about things like public "education" that consigns most black children to an environment where it is not physically safe, and also not psychically safe to be a student and prepare to advance yourself? Substandard "free" health care? Social Security taxes that significantly detract from a worker's ability to build wealth? Liberal policies and programs place any number of obstacles in the way of any relatively poor American who wants to improve his circumstances or that of his progeny.
Conservative policies are good for everyone except the special interests that the Democratic Party is beholden to. Blacks are not a special interest. Conservatives should make a long-term, intentional effort to educate blacks as to how liberal policies are problematic. Life-long Democrat voters may not be the appropriate audience--focus on younger folks.
"pro-choice" - euphemism for "pro-abortion"
"social compact" (or 'contract') - for using the state to coerce others to serve your interests and/or values
"environmentalist" or "environmental activist" - for totalitarian anti-human
"liberal" and "progressive" - for statist, socialist, collectivist
"regulation" for arbitrary intervention in free enterprise
The King Prawn commented that SS has been transformed into a welfare program. Correct, but for the word "transformed" - it was welfare from day one, sold in a fraudulent manner as insurance by the left. It is easy to convince people that when they get something for nothing they deserve it. Just tell them they really are paying for it. Why would they question that premise?
I am 48. By the time I had graduate from college, pretty much everyone in my age cohort had heard plenty often that Social Security wouldn't be solvent by the time we reached retirement age. We have no illusions about who is responsible for funding our retirement. I think there is a substantial minority my age and younger who will be very amenable to a transition from defined-benefit to defined-contribution, very similar to what we've seen in the private sector. The problem is one of education and information vs. demagoguery. Democrats will have no choice but to employ their tried-and-true tactic of predicting the end of the world. If they lose on Social Security and Medicare, the liberal jig is really up. Considering the stakes, the campaign to overcome that campaign must be long-term, multi-pronged, well-orchestrated, well-funded, and straightforward. Obama might pull out 2012 by accusing the GOP of trying to destroy entitlements, but sooner or later, this tired old horse is a loser for liberalism. Go, Paul Ryan!
Prof. Epstein, the list of regulatory convolutions that has accreted could ( and does) fill reams of laserjet paper, but I think two stand out: The first is licensing requirements that enable physicians to retain monopoly status on the provision of many services that could as effectively be provided by less expensive providers. The second is the massive intrusion of the state into drug development and marketing, which now makes what could be the single largest area of improvement and cost-containment in health care prohibitively expensive. New drugs save lives, improve quality of life, and save big money; the FDA is in the business of new drug prevention.
What is it going to take for Commerce Clause jurisprudence to ever become sane?
I concur that the distance between conservatives and libertarians is, in most instances and on most issues, not great. We make far more appropriate allies than, as I occasionally read with bemusement, libertarians and modern liberals. How can an advocate of a de minimis state consider himself an ally of an advocate of statism? Hayek didn't want to be called a conservative, but in my opinion he was distancing himself from British Conservatism, which at that time may have been too much about protecting class privilege, rather than protecting individual liberty.
If the difference between the conservative and the libertarian is mainly on "social" issues, I'd suggest Hayek can be edifying on the subject. Hayek deeply respected institutions and traditions. He did not believe a tradition which had been adopted by the culture from time immemorial ought to be discarded because it didn't have an evident rationale. Conservatives and libertarians could find common ground if we can agree that traditional institutions have value, and that the state ought not interfere, either in supporting or in dismantling said institutions.
I do think the attack on collective bargaining in Wisconsin is morally abhorrent.
I do think the attack on collective bargaining in Wisconsin is morally abhorrent.
What is morally abhorrent, to second several earlier comments, is the suggestion that there is such a thing as a "right" to collective bargaining. If there really were a fundamental right involved, I'd find a way to support the poor union thugs. I am no philosophy professor, but to my mind a more apposite term is the "political power" to bargain collectively. And it is a power bought and paid for by union dues, delivered by Democrat politicians since the days of FDR. As an entrepreneur who has to prove my value on the market every day, I resent the abuse of power that enables public employees to shelter their incompetent and unproductive brethren from accountability. As a taxpayer, I resent the systematic collusion that allows public employee unions to extort compensation packages well above what their performance and value justifies. It is only the power granted unions by the federal government that allows them to blow the budget with impunity. It's high time their privileges were revoked in the public sector, as competition has done in the private sector.
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