Thursday, June 28, 2007
O come on. Before anyone starts believing this oldman that we the lower income earners are really paying more taxes, letÂ´s get back into perspective using some of the general facts given in this news article: Mr. Buffet earned $46,000,000 for YoA 2006. Assuming that his taxable income is a mere $1,000,000 he would have paid $177,000 being 17.7%. Now letÂ´s assume that his receptionist's taxable income is a pathetic $10,000 for YoA 2006 and unfairly taxed at 35% (US max rate), which would be $3,500.
$177,000 compared with $3,500? Come on, whoÂ´s paying more taxes? From the point of view of contribution to the country, the rich man certainly does more than the average Jane & Joe.
It would appear that Mr. Buffet is trying to 'seduce' the people.
Kong Kek Kuat, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The reason Mr. Buffett doesn't pay much in taxes is that most of his income is derived from capital gains and dividends, which are quite correctly taxed at a lower rate than personal income.
Capital investment is the engine that drives the American economy. Raising taxes on capital gains discourages investment. It should also be noted that historically, treasury revenues increase when capital gain are taxed at a lower rate. If the purpose of the tax code is to raise revenues for federal spending, wouldn't it be wise to tax capital at a rate designed to produce the highest amount amount of tax revenues? As for dividends, the elderly in America are heavily dependent on the dividend checks they receive. Why raise their taxes?
What Mr. Buffett and other like-minded liberals don't seem to understand is that there is nothing stopping them from sending whatever they consider to be their fair share in taxes to the federal government. Then perhaps they can all sleep at night.
Tony P., montclair, NJ/US
Mr. Buffett's lower effective rate is due to income of capital gains (and probably tax-free muni bonds), not salary. For the receptionist, her income is salary, thus subject to the higher rates.
Second, lower capital gains rates encourage capital formation and investment. Why is no one wanting to lower the receptionist's rate but instead demanding an increase for the capital gains?
Third, Mr. Buffett can pay as much tax as he wants. If he feels that he's cheating the system or his poor receptionist, he can pay more to assuage his guilt. No need to bully the rest of us.
Fourth, the inheritance tax does not affect exclusively "rich" families, but those who have assets. This means that small business owners and family farms are "rich" in their total company value or land, but cash poor.
The death tax simply destroys these families, forcing them to sell the family legacy.
As for the 30m poor families, they aren't paying any tax anyway., let alone $1000 for the death tax.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
When a shooting takes place where guns are permitted or where the victims are children (who could not have legally owned guns), it sets up a what-if situation and allows the anti-gun crowd to say, "See? If only society had banned handguns this could've been prevented."
However, if a shooting takes place where guns are already banned and where, unlike in Columbine, the victims could've legally had guns to defend themselves had they not been, the anti-gun lobby receives a one-two punch.
First, the shooting is a real-life example proving the futility of trying to keep guns away from criminals by banning them: Guns were banned, but a criminal violated the law and brought a gun where he wasn't supposed to. People are left thinking, "Gun laws don't stop criminals."
Secondly, the defenselessness of the victims highlights how devastating not having a gun is when you need one. People are left thinking, "If only the students had guns too!"
Sunday, March 25, 2007
A great article summarizing all the problems with the case against the Duke lacrosse players.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
This professor is a socialist but he makes money from finding racism. Is it any wonder he finds racism where there is none? Ho, Ho! Three cheers for incentives! Try as they might, even socialists themselves can't psychologically escape the mighty...Invisible Hand!
But not with Eminem and other rappers, Rodman said. Society refuses to believe rappers have the intellectual capacity to sing about purely fantastical, violent situations.
"Why is it so difficult for us to envision Eminem (and other rappers) as someone who might have enough creativity, intelligence and artistry to fashion and perform a convincing fictional persona?" he said. "(It's) a bias that rests on the misguided notion that some people are simply incapable of certain sorts of higher thinking and artistic creativity."
That's funny. I have a different explanation of why Society (the professor means "whitey") believes that when rappers rap about violence, they rap about their true feelings. Simply this: We take them at their word (and not just their lyrics). To rappers, that what they rap about is "fo' reeel" is a given. When an outsider questions whether it is just "for show" or entertainment they essentially question the rapper's "street cred", a faux-pas of perhaps deadly proportions. Heck, rappers insult each other by calling their opponents "wanna-be gangstas" as opposed to themselves who really live "da thug life." When in real life rappers are routinely arrested for drug possession and weapons possession (see Snoop Dog), when not just their entourage but their record producers (see Suge Knight) are put in prison, and when popular rappers (see Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., et al.) are gunned down the onus is on those who claim rappers don't mean what they say about violence to prove it.
I'm sure many rappers would also find this professor's premise, that what rappers sing about is not true, to be not just wrong but patently racist: "What? You can't believe that ghetto-thug life is this bad? That we hate the police, that we think women are just ho's and bitches, and that drugs are commonplace? We should expect a white professor to think only white singers can speak the truth!"Another double standard is while a portion of society believes Eminem symbolizes the demise of youth in society, they fail to recognize or believe the converse -- that so-called positive influences produce positive results in American culture.
"No one seems to believe that popular computer games like SimCity will make us a nation of brilliantly creative urban planners, but it's almost a given that graphically violent games like Mortal Kombat will generate armies of murderous super-predator teens bent on terrorizing our cities," Rodman said.What infantile wishful-thinking! (Professor stomps feet) "Waaaaah! It's not fair! If you say bad video games hurt people then you *have* to say good video games help them! Waaaaah!" No, maybe it works that way or maybe it doesn't. Maybe the facts simply are that seeing and participating in virtual violence makes a person more violent in real life but playing games like SimCity just doesn't help us plan better in real-life. I'd like to see some studies on it but until then, who knows? What I do know is that the professor should pull up his underwear because his false dichotomy is showing.
John Hardin, a doctoral student and USF instructor, said people should listen to Eminem, because most of what he says -- whether pleasant or not -- largely reflects a portion of society.
"I think we need to embrace how complicated society is," Hardin said. "Getting rid of Eminem doesn't get rid of the problems. You still have Dylan Klebolds that walk into Columbine and shoot people."Quite true. But what do receive from these same liberals when you explain, "Getting rid of guns doesn't get rid of the problems. You still have outlaws who will possess guns and kill innocent law-abiding citizens"? I'll give you a hint: it's the name of this blog.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
This is like someone who thinks that the the biggest threat to neighborhood peace is for that guy whose handicapped mother got raped and beaten up to go out and kill the man who did it after he got off on a technicality.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
"I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? (applause) Where were you when he was twelve? (applause) Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol?"
"We cannot blame white people. White people (applause)... white people don’t live over there."
"Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature raised by no one. Give them presents. You’re raising pimps. That’s what a pimp is. A pimp will act nasty to you so you have to go out and get them something. And then you bring it back and maybe he or she hugs you."
"Brown v. Board of Education, these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English."
"You can’t land a plane with “why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. "
"We have to begin to build in the neighborhood, have restaurants, have cleaners, have pharmacies, have real estate, have medical buildings instead of trying to rob them all."
"Basketball players, multimillionaires, can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? It’s there. They paved the way. What did we do with it? The white man, he’s laughing, got to be laughing. 50 percent drop out, rest of them in prison."
Friday, February 09, 2007
One of the most interesting paradigm shifts I underwent via Buddhism was the idea that the opposite of "Black" is not "White", it is "Not Black". This realization, I believe, actually has profound implications for how one views the world. Unfortunately, this principle has been interpreted (twisted?) and put into use by so-called Western Buddhists (who exhibit true Buddhist values about as much as Arlen Specter exhibits true Republican ones) to say something-to-the-effect of, "Hey, man! There is no Good. There is no Evil. It's all the same, man!" as they take another hit of the ganga pipe.
It is much easier to believe "it's all the same" and thereby remove any pangs of guilt, responsibility, and duty one might have to respect, among other things, the private property rights of others and, while this may have been what was taught to them at the "Benjamin Spock School for How to Raise Whiners", the Buddha didn't say that and, more importantly, it's not how reality works.
Unfortunately for the liberals who denigrate western achievement and individual material success, the fact that "Black's opposite" is not, "White" and "White's opposite" is not "Black" does not mean that "Black" and "White" are the same. They are, indeed, two different things and sometimes one is simply "Good" and the other "Bad".
Saturday, February 03, 2007
How will what were management decisions be made at what used to be private businesses?
What about marketing? What would marketing look like (even exist?) under socialism? Socialists are big on saying that corporate Amerika manipulates innocent consumers into wanting things they wouldn't otherwise so are we to assume there wouldn't be marketing at all or just "non-manipulative" marketing?
I gots to find me some South Florida Socialists of whom to ask these questions...they keep me up at night.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
What if in the same movie, rich successful white people are admired and portrayed as helpful fair-minded role-models rather than racist foils and the IRS is a heartless bankrupting bureaucracy?
And what if the person who holds these views is a homeless black man who somehow has realized that in life, the reason why you don't get what you want is usually not because some enemy (whitey, the po-leece, societal racism, etc.) thwarted you, but that you simply made poor decisions and didn't work hard enough?
Oh yes, and what if I told you it's based on a true story. (That you might have guessed since all of the viewpoints above are based on reality.)
Well, you say it's uniquely great and should win multiple academy awards.
It won't, but you should see The Pursuit of Happyness anyway. I'll see it more than once and make gifts of the DVD when it comes out.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Great article recommending we just "Go Roman" on the Iraqis. I'll say this: At this point we need to either do this or split the country up into three sections and only protect those areas who don't attack us from the inside or get the hell out. One of my justifications from the very beginning for invading Iraq was just that; to send a message to the world that if you fuck with us, someone (Saddam, Iraq, our enemies) is going to pay. What better way to send a message by leaving Iraq in chaos?
Quite simply, some people and situations respond better to positive reinforcement and some respond better to negative. While I think it is morally preferable to first treat someone who attacks you with kindness (in an effort to win them over as a friend), if they don't respond it makes logical sense (and its good psychology) to attack them.
I know someone who is concerned that if we leave Iraq in chaos, Iran (who hates us even more and is more dangerous) will swoop in and gain influence and power. When I say the answer to that is simply aiding their enemies and helping the entire region to become a raging Arab War he says the end result will be a more battle-hardened and experienced Arab fighting force, presumably a bigger threat to Israel (and us).
My response to that is: not if it's done right. Yes, a country's military can be improved by a some real war-time experience but if the country and military itself is devastated (infrastructures blown to hell, war-weary populace, etc.) then the military gain is offset by those other factors. Of course we'd have to make sure oil flow is not disrupted. Done right, a carefully crafted Arab War would see most of the countries (or at least our avowed enemies Iran and Syria) much weakened and with overthrown governments and the U.S. in control of some oil fields.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
How the "Communal Sharing", "Equality Matching", "Authority Ranking" and "Market pricing" worldviews help (and hinder) us understand life situations, including economics.
It is unfortunately first a great irony that Buddhism made me more appreciative of "Authority Ranking" and perhaps secondly a testament to the tremendously (if I may use a technical term: "fucked-up-ness") mistaken interpretation of 99.99% of American so-called Buddhists who use Buddhism as an endorsement of moral relativism, laziness, and wealth redistribution that, unfortunately for them, simply doesn't match the way the world operates. As someone once pointed out, in its natural state a row of trees is beautifully diverse with each growing at a different speed, to a different height in a different direction. It is a most unnatural act to cut them so they all look (achieve) the same.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
The only things that amazes me more than liberals, in the heat of battle, substituting violence, intimidation and ad hominem attacks for cogent arguments and reason are those away from the fray who praise their actions. Ah, yes. Where are the, at least intelligent, liberal icons of yore like Isaac Asimov who might have ironically been warning his own followers when he noted, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”?
What is there left to do but laugh when the rank-and-file shout, "Yes, more!" as the philosophy of supposed peace loving, non-violent, freedom-of-speech defending, respecting-of-diversity ivory-tower intellectuals becomes steeped in barbarism once it enters the public square. Perhaps there is something to the old adage about “theory” and “reality” being two different things, afterall.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
A bunch of ivory tower academics, no doubt liberal Bush-hating types (see below), have got themselves a website to promote the idea that 9/11 was an inside job. I actually bothered to go to their website and see who some of them were, and I have to tell you, when you have not just luminaries, but academics whose fields of study and expertise match so closely with the subject matter of their hypothesis...why...who can doubt them? I got tired of listing members' credentials after "K" but you get the picture:
Kevin Barrett (FM) Folklore, UW-Madison; (Now HERE is a professor whose speciality IS matched to the topic!)
Anicha Bay (FM) Visiting Professor of English, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea (An Engrish teacher who can't teach in America.)
Tracy Blevins (FM) Bioengineering, Rice University (Perhaps Tracy has inhaled some hallucinogenic genetically altered wheatgrass)
Clare Brandabur (FM) Assistant professor of English Literature at Dogus University in Istanbul (Is it a coincidence that Dogus rhymes with Bogus? I think not.)
Larry Burk (FM) Radiology, Medical hypnosis (Self-medicating, are we Dr. Burk?)
John Bylsma (FM) French language and culture (This professor obviously knows a thing or two about collapses.)
Harriet Cianci (FM) Tunxis Community College, CT (Tunxis...Tunxis. A step below BCC?)
William A. Cook (FM) Professor of English, University of La Verne, Author of "Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy" (An objective opinion can be had from Mr. Cook, no doubt.)
Richard Curtis (FM) Philosophy, Seattle University (Dr. Curtis should go back to contemplating his navel.)
Albert Dragstedt (FM) Classics and Philosophy, St. Mary's College, Oakland, CA (Dr. Dragstedt should go back to contemplating Odysseus' navel.)
Ted Elden (FM) Architect, Communicator (He lists his profession, "communicator". That's okay, I'm a "tricorder.")
Jeffrey Farrer, Ph.D. (FM) Director of Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory at BYU (Ah yes. Nothing qualifies someone to research conspiracies more than electron microscopy. Except maybe, cow milking.)
Michael Keefer (FM) English and theatre, University of Guelph (B-b-b-but, I was only....ACTING! Oh, the irony!)
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Thursday, August 31, 2006
An article in Slate, surprisingly dead on the mark regarding how we should change our foreign policy in the Middle East. To use a piece of lingo from the "new age human potential movement", we need to "hold both." Supporting dictatorships in the Middle East is morally wrong, regardless if they are "our dictatorships", and gives terrorists a reason to hate us and an excuse for why their societies are so backwards. Support should be withdrawn from them. At the same time we should kick Bin Laden's ass.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Poor sad liberals.
Man, after reading this, I was so glad that this movie was just a vague memory, I had seen it so long ago. I will NEVER watch it again. What crap. Liberals have NO shame. Period.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I love 95% of what he says. The only thing I would be concerned about is Iran arming the Shiites in Iraq and having them take over and abuse the rights of the Sunnis. I'd feel some sort of obligation to protect them and also it would be bad for the region (and our interests) for Iran to get so powerful.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Just another example of how liberalism is a mental disorder which is correlated to an inability to face reality.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I'm reminded of the cocaine-snorting slick would-be-terrorist-negotiator from the original Die Hard movie whose arrogance was only matched by his strategic incompetence. I'll be delighted to see liberals in power after the '06 and '08 elections. After another taste of the fruits of limp-wristed foreign policy (aka "the Jimmy Carter school") , which I think will be two more successful 9/11 scale attacks, we won't have to deal with a democrat in office for another 20 years.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Let’s assume one day that we woke up in a socialist society where all “means of production” were owned/controlled by the people in general. I’m assuming that there is private ownership of property, like homes, stereos, furniture and lawn equipment.
What is to stop the following scenario from happening?
Let’s say that one enterprising woman who happens to own a lawn mower (she bought it originally to mow her own lawn) realizes that there are lots of people who don’t like to mow their lawn -- they’d rather watch football or do something else on a Sunday -- who would be willing to pay her to mow their lawn so they don’t have to. This woman starts mowing lawns (she charges $30 per lawn) and making extra money by working on weekends.
If that would be allowed, then what’s to stop the next scenario from taking place?
This woman is particularly industrious and enterprising and realizes that there are more people who would like her to mow their lawns than she can mow. So she saves up her extra money and buys a second lawn mower. She finds somebody who does not have a lawn mower (they live in an apartment and have no need for one) and says to them, “Hey, if you want to, I’ll let you use my lawn mower to mow peoples’ lawns and we can split the money. You can get $15 and I’ll take $15, because I’m letting you use my lawn mower.” The person accepts and starts mowing people's lawns for $30 and give the woman who owns the lawn mower they're using $15 each time.
If this would be allowed, then what’s to stop the next scenario from taking place?
The woman who owns two lawn mowers starts saving more and more money and buys more and more lawn mowers. She finds more and more people who don’t have lawn mowers themselves (and don’t want to buy them) but are willing to mow a lawn using one of her and split the $30 - the woman who owns the lawn mower getting $15 and the “worker” who actually does the mowing getting $15. Pretty soon she has so many lawn mowers and people mowing lawns giving her half their pay that she decides to stop mowing lawns herself and just take care of the maintenance of the lawn mowers - replacing blades, keeping the engines tuned, etc.
If this would be allowed, then what’s to stop the next scenario from taking place?
Eventually, she has so many lawn mowers, that she decides to rent a warehouse (she can’t keep them all in her garage) and hire someone (who happens to an even better mechanic than she) to maintain them. Now, she doesn’t mow lawns or do the grunt work of maintaining them - she just focuses on making sure everybody has enough work, advertising, and paperwork.
Unless something stops this kind of thing from happening (and the only thing I can think of is some kind of force/violence being used to prevent adults from freely agreeing to do thing for/with each other for something in exchange) I think any socialist society would find small businesses like these sprouting up all over, in all kinds of industries. I think you would just find that some people are either more hard-working, enterprising, or just lucky in some cases and would start to accumulate wealth/ownership of "means of production". These small business would grow bigger and bigger until eventually you would have the same kinds of disparity of income/wealth distribution we find in society today.
I would love to know if I missed something in my prediction and welcome your feedback.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Something else to consider. In most Muslim countries, and certainly in the orthodox Muslim religion, women are looked at (and treated) as inferior. They are seen as weaker and unworthy of an education, important jobs, etc. What does someone who holds this view think of a woman running a country? Probably that it is a dumb move and signifies that the country (in addition to being a moral cesspit worthy of being destroyed) is weak and "easy pickins". My prediction is that shortly after the demos take back the White House in '08 (and especially if Hillary is in office) there will be massive attacks by terrorists againts the U.S. who will hold the above described view. I only hope that they're wrong.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Friday, December 30, 2005
In August, NBC’s “Today” show was in Iraq, and Specialist Steven Chitterer told co-host Matt Lauer that "Morale is always high. Soldiers know they have a mission. They like taking on new objectives and taking on the new challenges." Lauer won the “Good Morning Morons Award” for interjecting: “Don’t get me wrong here, I think you are probably telling me the truth, but a lot of people at home are wondering how that could be possible with the conditions you’re facing and with the attacks you’re facing. What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale can be that high?” Captain Sherman Powell unloaded a quote for the ages: "Sir, if I got my news from the newspapers also, I’d be pretty depressed as well."
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Grover G. Norquist, MD
There are two competing coalitions in American politics today that are organized around how one views the relationship between the individual and the state.
In the past, the Republican and Democrat parties had within them a broad ideological range. Regional differences --- North vs. South --- and religious and immigrant status had a great deal to say about whether one viewed himself as a Republican or Democrat. The Roosevelt coalition held together in the Democrat party a solid South with ethnic immigrants and Catholics in northern cities.
But starting in the 1970s, the two parties and the liberal and conservative coalitions that surround them began to separate out along lines of policy rather than region or ethnicity.
The Reagan Republican party and conservative movement can best be understood as a coalition of individuals and groups that --- on the issue that brings them to politics --- want the federal government to leave them alone.
The "Leave us Alone" coalition includes taxpayers who want the government to reduce the tax burden, property owners, farmers, and homeowners who want their property rights respected, gunowners who want the government to leave them and their guns alone, homeschoolers who wish to educate their own children as they see fit, traditional values conservatives who don't want the government throwing condoms at their children and making fun of their religious values.
The Leave us Alone coalition also includes those Americans who serve in the military and police as they are the legitimate functions of government that protect Americans' right to be left alone by foreign agressors or domestic criminals.
The modern American left is a "Takings Coalition," a coalition of groups and individuals who view the proper role of government as taking things from one group and giving to another. This often is in the form of money. And the recipients of others money are usually the leaders of the "Takings Coalition."
The Takings coalition consists of the Trial Lawyers, the corrupt Big City Machines, the Labor Union Bosses and the two wings of the Dependency Movement --- those who remain trapped in dependency and those who make $80,000 a year managing the dependency of others and making sure they don't get jobs and become Republicans. They are joined by the various coercive Utopians who want to reorganize society through force to make us stop wearing leather or driving sport utility vehicles or owning large toilets or otherwise run our lives as they see fit.
The Left puts forward the fiction that the Right want to force their morality on others. However, the homeschooler movement does not demand that homeschoolers be recognized as an alternative lifestyle. Gunowners do not insist that schools teach ten year olds books entitled "Heather has Two Hunters."
The good news for friends of liberty is that the "Leave us Alone" coalition is growing. In 1965, only 10 percent of Americans owned shares of stock, in 1980 it was only 20 percent, today 50 percent of Americans own stock in IRAs, 401Ks, and mutual funds. As more and more Americans own shares of stock the politics of hate and envy becomes more difficult. In 1965, a politician could say, "I will steal money from corporations and give it to you," and 90 percent of the people in the room might think this a good idea and only 10 percent would clearly see that they would be paying for this government largesse. Today, the same politician's bluster would find fully half of this audience reacting: "Hey, that is my retirement income you are looting."
As more and more Americans own shares of stock, the idea of reforming Social Security to allow Americans to invest some of their FICA taxes is winning popular support unimaginable only a few years ago.
Americans also want the death tax repealed and the Republicans in the House and Senate --- with some Democrat support --- have just voted to phase out the death tax.
More and more Americans are homeschooling. Increasing numbers of minority parents want to have school choice to send their children to private, religious or parochial schools. They want to be left alone to raise their own children.
More and more Americans are starting small businesses and becoming self-employed, working from home. They are all likely recruits for the Leave us Alone coalition.
The 2000 election will tell us the relative strength of the "Leave us Alone" coalition vs. the "Takings Coalition."
Mr. Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, http://www.atr.org.
GROVER NORQUIST: And we now have 27 versions of that at the state capital level, including one in New York City. So we're taking the model of the "leave us alone" coalition from the national level to the state level as well.
BILL MOYERS: "Leave us alone?"
GROVER NORQUIST: Um-hmm. Look, the center right coalition in American politics today is best understood as a coalition of groups and individuals that on the issue that brings them to politics what they want from the government is to be left alone. Taxpayers, don't raise my taxes. Property owners, don't restrict or limit my property. Home schoolers, let me educate my own kids. Gun owners, don't restrict my Second Amendment rights. All communities of faith, Evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, people want to practice their own religion and be left alone to raise their own kids.
BILL MOYERS: But what about those real people we saw in that film, the woman who needed the health insurance, who needed the health coverage, who was going to have to take $400 out of her $800 a month salary to meet medical costs that she didn't have?
GROVER NORQUIST: I think you have to look at the total level of what government does to her in terms of the taxes that they impose on...
BILL MOYERS: She's not paying much taxes, though, at $800 a month.
GROVER NORQUIST: And she's got...well, she's paying sales tax in that state, she's paying Social Security taxes in that state.
BILL MOYERS: But aren't all of those taxes sort of the membership dues we pay for living in a cooperative and collaborative society?
GROVER NORQUIST: Well, first we have to decide what we want the government to do. What is it legitimate to require with force people to pay for? It is not charity. I mean, guys with guns will show up if you don't pay your taxes and take that money from you. And I think that we want in order to have a free society to have as little as possible done coercively.
BILL MOYERS: What would you do about real life situations like this? This is a story out of New Jersey, the caseworker who closed a child abuse investigation and to a mother whose son was found dead in a locked basement here on Sunday had been working on more than 100 other investigations at the same time. That's more than six times the national standard recommended by national child advocacy groups. The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services says its field agents juggle an average of 35 cases. Why shouldn't those of us who are well off be taxed a little more to try to make a system like this work for those who have nothing at all?
GROVER NORQUIST: Because I'm not interested in saving that system. I'm interested in saving and protecting the kids that that system is supposed to help.
BILL MOYERS: How would you do it?
GROVER NORQUIST: Well, I've been active with groups, the Institute for Children and some of the pro-adoption groups in Washington, D.C. The last numbers I saw, there are about 500,000 kids in foster care, about 50,000 kids free to adopt, and more than a million parents looking to adopt. And we have state rules and federal rules that are being liberalized, but that up until this point have made it difficult for kids to get adopted. And, the rules are...the Federal government gives subsidies to state governments, institutions like that, for every kid they keep in foster care, and they lose the subsidy if they get the kid adopted. That is the wrong kind of incentive to have. Nobody should have 100 kids they're chasing after...
BILL MOYERS: This is the real world, this is the only system these people have.
GROVER NORQUIST: We need to get them out of that system and into families where they're adopted. There are more people who want to adopt than there are kids that need to be adopted. And the government is in the way of having that happen.
BILL MOYERS: But in the meantime, can we hire more caseworkers, more people, to look after these children?
GROVER NORQUIST: As we're finding out, the government isn't looking after those children, and no government can look after children the way a family could, the way parents could. Let's get those kids into real families and adopted by real families who will take care of them.
In addition, the age cohort that is most Democratic by party ID are people who grew up and became 21 years of age between 1932 and 1952. People of that age who came of age during the New Deal and the Great Depression are now 70 to 90 years old, and every year 2 million of them pass away. So the Democratic Party -- the Yellow Dog Democrats are passing away, and the 20- and 30- and 40-year-olds coming up are more likely to be Republican than Democrat. So they have a demographic disaster ahead of them for the next 15 years that mirrors what happened to the Republicans from '60 to '75. That was the period where the older people who were passing away were Republicans who had become 21 years old before the Great Depression, and if you were north of the Mason-Dixon Line, you were Republican.
So there are these period[s] of times when younger people look around and decide to be more Republican or more Democrat, and they hold that until they die. And so the Republican Party had this implosion in their numbers from '60 to '75, and the Democrats are in the middle of that now.
He argues that there is an emerging "Leave-Us-Alone Coalition" of property owners, anti-tax activists, gun owners, home- and private-schoolers, small business owners, religious conservatives, and libertarians who want the government to stop interfering in their lives. By contrast, the constituencies of the New Deal alliance (what he calls the "Takings Coalition," because they want to transfer money and power from some people to others) of labor unions, government employees, trial lawyers, government contractors, and government grant and welfare recipients are shrinking. As government shrinks, Norquist says, the Takings Coalition implodes.
The distinction between the Leave-Us-Alone Coalition and the Takings Coalition is that we think the proper role of the state is to protect people. The abortion issue will never be solved because the disagreement is over whether there are one or two people involved. The question isn't who should be left alone--the question is, "How many people are there?" With abortion, if there's one person, then the role of the state is to protect that person and let her have an abortion. If there are two people, then both of them deserve protection.
I don't know any pro-choicers who say, "There are two distinct human beings here--kill one." And I don't know any pro-lifers who say, "No, there's only one person here and we want to compel her to have a baby." But that doesn't mean they should disagree about whether the government should steal people's property or grab their guns or about school choice.
I know lots of people who are pro-choice and are radical libertarians.
Two Great Norquist Quotes:
"We do not have two prices of bread - one for the poor and one for those who earn more. All goods and services have one price for all Americans," Norquist said. "Government should be the same. We should all pay the same price (tax) for government."
"Some politicians are elected by voters that do not pay the true cost of government," Norquist said. "We should not be surprised that voters who get subsidized government want more of it."
BY: Peter Beinart, The New Republic
DATE: May 21, 2001
SECTION: Page 18
LENGTH: 1170 words
Why isn't there a liberal Grover Norquist? Norquist runs a group called Americans for Tax Reform. But that's not his real job. His real job is to host a meeting every Wednesday that brings together every species of conservative--gun nuts, home schoolers, anti-environmentalists, capital gains tax cutters--to plot strategy. Why is this important?
First, it keeps conservatives on-message. If the White House says America needs a tax cut because the economy is tanking (as opposed to last year, when it said America needed a tax cut because the economy wasn't tanking), Norquist's meeting makes sure everyone is reading from the same script.
Second, Norquist's meeting facilitates inter-conservative back-scratching. It reminds UPS (to take a hypothetical example) to donate money to the Christian Coalition's gay-conversion program so the Christian Coalition will tell its members that federal ergonomics rules violate Judeo-Christian morality.
But, most of all, the meeting helps the conservative movement set priorities. It's through Norquist's conclaves that conservatives learn that the White House isn't going to push for school vouchers, or an immediate increase in defense spending, or a loosening of the arsenic standard. And it's through them that conservatives disgruntled with those decisions are told to play along--or else.
One reason there isn't a liberal Grover Norquist is that Norquist is an unusual guy--shrewd, fanatically committed, catholic in his devotion to all right-wing causes, big and small.
Another is that Norquist has access to money--from corporations looking for tax breaks or freedom from regulation--and that money gives him the leverage to keep fractious conservatives in line.
Liberals don't have an activist of Norquist's stature and savvy. And given their often adversarial relationship to corporations--which provide most of the real money in politics--they don't have his finances, either. But there's a larger reason conservatives have produced a Grover Norquist and liberals haven't: Conservatives have a central, unifying purpose, and liberals, at least right now, do not.
A great deal of ink has been spilled in recent years on the crisis of post-cold-war conservatism. Conservatives no longer have the Soviet Union to define themselves against; they no longer have welfare; they no longer have soft-on-crime liberals. All that is true--but they still have taxes. Economic conservatives may hate taxes because they believe they undermine liberty, and social conservatives may hate taxes because they believe they undermine the family, but both groups hate them with a passion. Norquist understands this, and it's what holds his Wednesday meetings together. It's no coincidence, after all, that the man convening them is first and foremost an anti-tax crusader. His congregants know that while they may occasionally have to cave on education, the environment, or affirmative action, they will all go to the mat on taxes, and a victory on taxes will justify everything else. George W. Bush understands this too. He saw his father, the man who won the Gulf war and nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, nonetheless denounced by conservatives because of his apostasy in raising taxes. And W. has governed accordingly. The tax cut is his number-one priority; number two isn't even close.
This is why Bush, and conservatives, are winning the tax cut battle: They care more. While support for tax cuts is clearly the top priority for conservatives, opposition to tax cuts isn't the top priority for liberals. Ralph Neas, director of People for the American Way, has gamely enlisted an array of liberal groups in a "Fair Taxes for All" coalition. But while Neas may be able to get lots of liberal organizations to say they oppose the tax cut, he can't get them to make it a priority.
Feminist and civil rights groups are hoarding their resources for the fight over judicial nominations.
Environmentalists have taken to the airwaves against Bush's environmental policy, not his budget.
The AFL-CIO is more concerned about permanent normal trading relations with China, Bush's assault on ergonomics rules, and various anti-union guidelines instituted by the Labor Department.
The Naderites care more about stopping the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
You can see the difference between conservative and liberal priorities in the recent budget votes in the House and Senate.
Republicans who opposed the tax cut genuinely feared conservative retribution. And for good reason: As Michael Crowley reported in tnr ("Central Casting," May 14), the Norquist-allied Club for Growth threatened to back primary challengers against GOP moderates who didn't support the president. The result was that every single House Republican voted for Bush's tax cut, and the three Senate Republicans who didn't were the subjects of attack ads in their home states. By contrast, House and Senate Democrats who defected from their party's position to support the tax cut feared--and received--no such retaliation.
You could make a case that taxes shouldn't be the top liberal priority of the Bush era. Or, at least, you could make a case if you had a good alternative. But liberals don't. The alternative favored by culture-war liberals, as far as I can tell, is the judiciary. Last month 42 of the 50 Senate Democrats participated in a retreat at which feminists, civil rights leaders, and academics rallied them against Bush's impending nominations to the courts. (As far as I know, liberals never held a similar event on the tax cut.) Fights over judges are really proxies for fights over abortion and affirmative action. But there's simply no way those identity-politics battles can serve as liberalism's overriding purpose, because they hold little or no appeal to that large chunk of the left motivated by economics. Unlike tax cuts, they are inherently parochial. The alternative focus suggested by the economic left--globalization--is even worse. The unions were clearly more galvanized by the nafta and fast-track fights than they are by the tax cut; and, by sinking Al Gore, the Naderites made it clear they considered his support for free trade more significant than his opposition to tax giveaways for the wealthy. To the extent it is allowed to define left-liberal politics, the anti-globalization movement will wreak political disaster and moral catastrophe. And it will alienate upper-middle-class pro-choicers as much as abortion rights alienates blue-collar hard hats.Grover Norquist is right: Taxation, defined broadly to encompass government redistribution of wealth, is the central political question of the moment. A tax cut as large as Bush's effectively predetermines how government will (or will not) respond to a vast array of other issues--entitlements, defense policy, environmental regulation, health care, education, welfare, you name it. Conservatives understand this. Liberals, for the most part, don't. And that's why conservatives are winning.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005
This is a great book. Schweizer is dead on in scewering liberals. It may appear self-serving for a conservative to say, "When I commit hypocrisy it's different than when liberals do it, so let me say as a libertarian, it is different; in exactly the way Schweizer describes. Perhaps conservatives need to learn to be more tolerant of people's vices but liberals need to just drop fuckin' dead.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Apparently they were too busy congratulating themselves over protesting South Africa's apartheid to issue nary a peep. What a classic "do what feels good" hypocritical liberal moment. We care more about blacks being discriminated against by whites than about blacks being massacred by blacks.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Does "victims" in the first sentence above have to be possessive? Someone let me know.
Monday, December 12, 2005
2. I changed it to read "How to Edit Your Links"...and so it good. (inside joke with John)
3. The changes seem to showing up without having to clear any caches so that's great!
4. I've figured out how to post...it's pretty easy when you are permanently signed into the Blogger so this should go good.
5. Now I'll try and "Blog This" something. yee-hah!
I'm still a little concerned because I thought I cleared the cache on another computer and, at the time, still couldn't see the blogroll. I will test this shortly by going back to the other computer but for now, though, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume its going to work. Now that that seems behind me, I can get down the business of actually blogging.
1. I know how to make a post. That's good.
2. I need to figure out how to edit how the links the are showing up.
3. Add a couple more blogs to the blogroll.
4. Blog a couple of things.