Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classic Quote, Unknown

"To prevent people from squandering their money, politicians invented social security so they could squander it for them."  Unknown

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue Model

In the heyday of the blue model, economists and social scientists assumed that from generation to generation Americans would live a life of incremental improvements. The details of life would keep getting better even as the broad outlines of society stayed the same. The advanced industrial democracies, of which the United States was the largest, wealthiest and strongest, had reached the apex of social achievement. It had, in other words, defined and was in the process of perfecting political and social “best practice.” America was what “developed” human society looked like and no more radical changes were in the offing. Amid the hubris that such conceptions encouraged, Professor (later Ambassador) Galbraith was moved to state, in 1952, that “most of the cheap and simple inventions have been made.”1 If only the United States and its allies could best the Soviet Union and its counter-model, then indeed—as a later writer would put it—History would end in the philosophical sense that only one set of universally acknowledged best practices would be left standing.
Life isn’t this simple anymore. The blue social model is in the process of breaking down, and the chief question in American politics today is what should come next.

As far as I'm concerned, this author is a must read.

There are several ugly truths that the country (and especially those states whose governments are bigger and bluer than the rest) must soon face. One concerns taxes. The debate today at the elite level is about whether the rich should pay more. Given the historic lows of marginal and capital gains tax rates, this is a debate of consequence for reasons having to do with fairness. But it distracts attention from a more fundamental political reality: Voters simply will not be taxed to cover the costs of blue government, and in most cases they will vote out of office anyone who suggests otherwise.2 That, at base, is what the Tea Party movement is all about. Voters with insecure job tenure and, at best, defined-contribution rather than defined-benefit pensions simply refuse to pay higher taxes so that bureaucrats can enjoy lifetime tenure and secure pensions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Will: Gingrich's "Logic" Appeals to SCAR

In the physics of politics, actions generate reactions. Granted, Newt Gingrich carried 43 of the state’s 46 counties, and at least six of the seven congressional districts, now leads in delegates, and his colorful personal life did not prevent him from decisively beating Romney among the women of a culturally conservative state. But Sunday morning, from coast to coast, Republican candidates for Congress, governorships and other offices awakened to a sobering thought: They could be running next autumn with Gingrich — whose current approval rating nationally in a Jan. 12-14 Fox News and Opinion Dynamics poll was 27 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable — atop the ticket. They have nothing to fear so much as an absence of fear about this. With Gingrich defining the GOP brand, the Republicans’ dream — unified government: a trifecta of holding the House, winning the Senate and the White House — might become three strikes and they are out.

The Cafe On The Aspirants

I side with Will regarding Gingrich.  Four more years of Obama in the Oval Office would be better, in my view, than four years of Gingrich there: each man is mad for power; each man’s Promethean opinion of himself is quite the opposite of what a realistic self-opinion would be; each man is a font of economic idiocy; and each man’s principles are such that each would – recalling Mencken’s description of FDR – fatten up a crew of missionaries on the White House lawn for slaughter if he thought that endorsing cannibalism would get him more votes.  Yet the countless nutty and destructive policies that Pres. Gingrich would likely implement would inevitably be described by our crack mainstream press as “laissez faire” – thus creating more public misunderstanding.  (Of course, four more years of Obama in the White House might also be better than four years of Romney there….)

Well said.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Greedy Dogs Only Want To Hire Americans

A brilliant post again from the Cafe.  Clarity of thought proves illuminating in so many issues!

He totally ignores in this post the other part of "Jobilism" which the assumption on face value that it is more moral to give an "American" a job than it is to give a human being who resides in another nation a job. 

What possible justification for that could there be?

The only "justification" I've ever heard offered is that it's in your best interest to hire others "on your side" or some such - in other words, it's not more moral, it's more self interested, which is to say - in the language of the modern liberal - more selfish/greedy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Believe" In Science?

So Rick Santorum doesn't buy Evolution. So what? What Chivers actually knows about adaptive radiation can dance with an angel on the head of a pin.  He doesn't "accept" science, like progressives constantly try to frame it in smug tones, he simply believes it.  And he should. Evolution is the foundation of biology but it doesn't make him intellectually superior because he believes some aspect of science blindly. A whole lot more Democrats 'accept' astrology than Republicans, does that make all Democrats anti-science?

Pres. Obama did not accept the science that vaccines didn't cause Autism, yet he still got elected in 2008.  Was he 'turning his back on the Enlightenment' the way Republicans supposedly are?  Of course not, he is a progressive and so the fix is in.

When progressives deny the value of animal research in science, they are bequeathed false equivalence positions like it is simply 'moral' but if a Republican 10 years ago limited federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research to existing lines it was not a 'moral' position, it was 'anti-science'.  The fact is that almost all scientists state animal research is necessary for science progress and 62% of Republicans agree but only 48% of Democrats 'accept' that science. And no one in media seems to mention it.


Virtually no one I talk to understands the scientific method, and especially the first principles of it, which is that no scientist is trustworthy.  I like the way the article's author turns the current liberal smugness on its head - but don't take that as an endorsement of the GOP's science stupidity.  Even most of the GOP that correctly identifies the left's belief in AGW as just one more justification for why they think they need to run things does not really understand why the Dems are dumb on AGW science.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Brilliant One

If you have never heard Carlin's analysis of the Ali v. US Govt, you are in for a treat!  35 years ago I laughed at this in a sneaky, juvenile way.  Now, I can't believe how deep Carlin's humor - from back then - cut.  Truly brilliant.
FWIW, the end of this tails off into Carlin's analysis of the Viet Nam war.  Doubtless, I don't see that Carlin's way but he articulates the case for his side quite well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RCP State of the Science

Interesting paper with some interesting data intermingled with unclear thoughts.

Like this one:
Third, our need for energy independence at home has never been greater.

They must have missed the memo that we indeed can have that if desired, but apparently, not enough politicians want that to allow for it to happen.

This one is unquestionably true:
Fourth, we must renew our focus on educating the youngest members of American society. A 2009 survey found that only 59 percent of adults knew that early humans did not co-exist with dinosaurs. While humorous, perhaps, it underscores the serious problems associated with a scientifically illiterate population.
Science literacy is much more than simply knowing trivial tidbits of information. It means being able to ask the right questions to find the best answers for the everyday problems and curiosities of life. It means being able to understand and scrutinize significant scientific studies. Most importantly, scientific literacy means being able to comprehend and make educated decisions about important science issues. We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by ill-informed politicians and fringe activists who would otherwise hold back or misdirect technological progress on everything from genetic modification and pharmaceuticals to embryonic stem cells and vaccines.
However, with the conflict of interest inherent in political control of science research spending, there is also a massive conflict of interest in having a population that understands either science or economics.

This one is hopeful but quaint:
Finally, we must recognize that science is a means to bridge the great divide that exists between the developed world and the developing one.
Without liberty and property rights, science won't do the developing world any more good than it already has.

History 0f Public Sector Unions

There's a lot in this I'd never heard, but I still cannot fathom why anyone thinks having collective bargaining rights that give some of us the power to coercively extract wages and benefits from the others of us is a good idea. 

If people want the priviledge of earning their living from their fellow citizenry, let them do so.  If they are only willing to do so if they can use federal and state law to coercively extract wages and benefits from the ones they should be serving, they should just get a job they want. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hayek Homerun

This link will take you to a "must read" post on the always readable Cafe Hayek site, of which, Dr. B's posts are often so rich with clarifying prose I feel as though I should save and re-read them for several days.

The short version:  to look for anything other than a motive to get oneself elected is to be deluded about the nature of politicians.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Always a Good Bout

I can understand how a fellow might contradict himself occasionally ... but with almost every post?

Obamacare and Cost Control - Will The Two Ever Meet?

In reality, cost control is simple.  Everyone knows how to do it: Austerity and incentives.  Government needs to spend less, and stop using regulation to discourage frugality.  Alas, these realistic solutions are extremely unpopular.  Gruber is too technocratic to go full populist and say, "We should spend as much as it takes to give the best possible health care to every American."  But in the end, that's the philosophy behind Obamacare: Do whatever it takes to cover everyone, and hope the American public one day sees the wisdom of austerity and incentives.

Quite simply, it would be hard to get a better summary of what is wrong with health care and why all the talking heads you generally hear have no idea what they are saying.