Archive

Archive for September, 2010
September 30th, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Does Hollywood Hate Capitalism?
Posted by Troy Senik Print

While it keeps the entertainment industry’s wheels greased, that’s the conclusion that Reason has come to. And it’s hard to dispute their conclusion:

September 30th, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Not to Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, Rahm Bails Out
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 29th, 2010 at 11:47 am
CFIF’s “One More Vote” Campaign Launches Ad in Support of Balancing the Federal Budget Without Raising Taxes

Earlier this month, the Center for Individual Freedom launched its “One More Vote” campaign in support of a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to balance the federal budget without raising taxes.

This week, the campaign launched its first 30-second ad, which can be viewed below.

 

CFIF’s goal is to get this ad in front of as many concerned Americans as possible, but we need your help.  Please consider a contribution to CFIF’s “One More Vote” initiative today to help us publicize this urgent campaign to force the politicians in Washington to stop the spending. 

To make a donation, click here.

September 28th, 2010 at 11:56 pm
I’m All In … With Your Money
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Today’s quote of the day comes from former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who — in a remarkably dishonest attack on conservative economics at the Huffington Post — pulls out one of the oldest rhetorical tricks in the book, making a prediction he’ll never be held accountable for:

Look, I used to be a trustee of the Social Security trust fund. Believe me when I tell you Social Security is basically okay. It may need a little fine tuning but I guarantee you’ll receive your Social Security check by the time you retire even if that’s forty years from now.

Put aside that the substance of Reich’s argument is “trust me”. The 64-year old Reich is writing a check that his actuarial table can’t cash. May Secretary Reich live to be 104. That’s a good age for humility to kick in.

September 28th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Rats Jumping From Obama Sinking Ship
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 27th, 2010 at 10:49 pm
Paul Krugman Aggresively Refutes Paul Krugman
Posted by Troy Senik Print

If America continues to be a sober nation, there will be a time a few decades from now when Paul Krugman’s economic hypochondria will be viewed with the same sneering contempt as Paul Ehrlich’s crazed claims that hundreds of millions would die from famine in the 1970s and 1980s or the fears of the rise of Japan that dominated public discourse in the late 1980s and early 1990s (the old empire’s economic lost decade intervened).

On his blog at the New York Times today, Krugman frets aloud (his muscle memory prevents him from doing otherwise) that Americans may tank the economy by attempting to pay down their unsustainable levels of debt (further proof that Keynesianism is the economist’s version of a drunken weekend in Vegas). But the big story here is buried in the complaint that undergirds his thesis:

So what will happen? In the end, I’d argue, what must happen is an effective default on a significant part of debt, one way or another. The default could be implicit, via a period of moderate inflation that reduces the real burden of debt; that’s how World War II cured the depression. Or, if not, we could see a gradual, painful process of individual defaults and bankruptcies, which ends up reducing overall debt.

Hang on a tick. World War II? Hasn’t Krugman spent the past two years using every inch of column space available to him to advocate that President Obama embrace aggressive neo-Rooseveltism? But now it’s the war — not the New Deal — that ended the Depression? We know that Krugman is a specialist in non-falsifiable theories (if only the stimulus had been bigger …), but if the eight years that FDR had set aside for “bold, persistent experimentation” prior to Pearl Harbor weren’t sufficient to heal the nation’s markets, maybe that was a sign that the problem was strategic and not tactical. Maybe the Sage of Hyde Park should have taken some pointers from the benighted Warren Harding.

This is all a bit shocking coming from a Nobel Laureate. After all, if Paul Krugman doesn’t speak with authority on economics … then maybe Barack Obama doesn’t speak with authority about peace.

September 27th, 2010 at 10:51 am
Federal Tax & Regulation Burden: 35% of National Income
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

According to a report entitled “The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms” just produced by Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain for the Small Business Administration, the annual cost of federal regulations alone has reached $1.75 trillion.  That excludes the annual cost of taxes.  And that was as of 2008.

Combined, taxes and regulatory costs consumed a staggering 35% of America’s income in 2008, or $37,962 per household .  Alarmingly, that was the number before such new fiascoes as ObamaCare, “stimuli” and bailouts increased the burden.  Small businesses create most new jobs in America, but the authors highlight that regulatory costs hit them disproportionately hard relative to larger businesses (due primarily to economies of scale in dealing with regulatory compliance costs).  The authors found that businesses with fewer than 20 employees incur regulatory costs 42% greater than firms of between 20 and 499 employees, and 36% greater than firms with over 500 employees.  Per employee, small businesses face $10,585 in compliance costs versus $7,454 per employee for medium-sized firms, and $7,755 for larger firms.

As government gets bigger and bigger, the regulatory compliance costs only get more and more oppressive.  We needn’t search far to understand why the economy isn’t recovering and businesses aren’t hiring.

September 27th, 2010 at 8:58 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Is Stephen Colbert Here Yet?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 26th, 2010 at 6:15 pm
Podcast: Economics and Politics 101
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In a recent interview with CFIF, Quin Hillyer, senior editorial writer at the Washington Times and senior editor of The American Spectator, discusses the battle looming over the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and more.

Listen to the interview here.

September 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Bell, CA Officials Arrested in Corruption Sweep

The saga of the systemic corruption of public finances in the City of Bell, CA, is not over.  Earlier this week Los Angeles police officers arrested eight current and former Bell officials on charges of misappropriating upwards of $5.5 million in public funds.

It’s often said that if private business owners kept their books like the government does, there would be lots of CEOs in prison.  With the Bell scandal showing that fraud is criminal no matter who does it, the people who’ve grown rich at the public’s expense should start looking over their shoulders.

The cops – and the pitchforks – are coming.

September 25th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
Reduce Government? Grow Liberty? There’s An App For That.

The Prometheus Institute, an Irvine, CA-based think tank, is at the leading edge of using new media to make government more transparent, while spreading the good news about free markets.  Currently, the group’s signature initiative is the ‘Do-It-Yourself Democracy’ App.

The fruit of hundreds of hours of research, the DIY Democracy App allows users to instantly find the contact information for state and local officials, official forms for filing complaints, propose local initiatives, and research individual rights like freedom of speech and association.

Here’s an interview with the Institute’s founders from Reason.tv:

Prometheus is also gearing up to use the digital capabilities of the Apple I-Pad to promote free market classics like F.A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom to a new generation of readers.  Not bad for a couple of guys trying to “pioneer innovative technology to advance liberty.”

September 24th, 2010 at 5:06 pm
CFIF’s “One More Vote”: Something the “Pledge to America” Omitted
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Conservative reaction to the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” varies.  Whatever one’s views toward the plan, however, it did omit an item high on conservatives’ agenda:  a proposed Constitutional balanced budget amendment.  Enter CFIF’s “One More Vote,” which refers to the fact that Congress fell just one vote short in the 1990s of passing a balanced budget amendment and sending it to the states for ratification.  Our “One More Vote” initiative, which readers are urged to sign, would not only require a balanced budget, but prevent that from becoming a convenient excuse to raise taxes by requiring a 60% supermajority to create or increase taxes, or to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

Party change won’t be enough this time around.  With “One More Vote,” we can collectively create something more lasting for America’s future generations.

September 24th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
Hispanic Dem Plays Identity Politics with Vietnamese Republican Challenger

Remember when then-candidate Scott Brown made reminded David Gergen that the U.S. Senate seat he was contesting didn’t belong to the Kennedy family or the Democrat Party, but the people of Massachusetts?

Well, here we go again.  This time it’s Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) complaining that the Vietnamese-Americans supporting Republican Van Tran’s candidacy are really trying to deny the Hispanic community its rightful claim to congressional representation.  Only in the Democrat Party can identity politics be used as a justification to elevate one ethnicity over another.  After all, the logical implication of Sanchez’s statement is that the Vietnamese in the district are not entitled to having one of their own in Congress.

Time will tell if Sanchez’s district in Orange County, CA – once a bastion of conservatism – can rid the people’s house of this kind of ethnic superiority complex; allowing America can get back to debating real issues, not cosmetic ones.

September 24th, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Harry Reid Promises an Active Lame Duck Session

Unable to reach a compromise on a tax cut package, Democrats decided to wait until after the 2010 midterm elections to vote on how many Americans will get a tax increase before the Bush tax cuts expire this December.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “Democrats believe we must permanently extend tax cuts for the middle-class before the end of the year, and we will.”  (Emphasis mine.)

So now there is at least one to-do item on the Democrats’ lame duck session list.  What are the odds a few more will be added before the calendar turns to January?

September 24th, 2010 at 12:29 pm
For Feingold, Being a Maverick Means Never Having to Say, “Aye”

The difference between a ‘moderate’ politician and a political ‘maverick’ is that the latter takes more joy out of angering his party’s base.  For Republican mavericks like Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that usually means signing onto to Progressive-themed legislation on climate change, amnesty, etc.  They get in trouble for what they’re for.

Not so with maverick Democratic Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), whom The Nation profiles thusly:

Feingold opposed Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement and normalization of trade with China; he opposed George W. Bush’s Central American Free Trade Agreement; now he is challenging attempts by the Obama administration to advance trade policies that do too much for multinational corporations and too little for workers and farmers here and abroad. Feingold was the leading Senate critic of Clinton’s failure to abide by the War Powers Act; he opposed Bush’s rush to war in Iraq and was the first senator to call for a timeline to bring the troops home; now he complains that the Obama administration is not moving fast enough to wind that war down. Feingold noisily challenged constitutional abuses during the Clinton and Obama years, and as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution subcommittee, he is pressing the Obama administration to get serious about civil liberties. Feingold opposed Clinton’s proposal to loosen bank rules, arguing that doing so could threaten financial stability; he opposed Bush’s bank bailout; and he was the sole Democrat to object that the reforms Obama backed did not go far enough because they did not do away with “too big to fail” banks and did not adequately protect consumers or taxpayers.

While there’s something about Feingold’s proclivity to vote ‘No’ that a limited government conservative can (sort of) appreciate, it’s a testament to his lack of legislative accomplishment (other than his free speech-destroying efforts at ‘campaign finance reform’) that Wisconsin voters are thinking seriously about firing him after three terms.

For all his opposition over the years, Feingold loses every battle he fights.  Ideas are great.  Ideas with results are better.

September 24th, 2010 at 10:35 am
Brave New World? G.E. Closes Last U.S. Incandescent Light Bulb Factory
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Few things represent American ingenuity more than the incandescent light bulb.  Painstakingly created by Thomas Edison in the late 19th century, it also represents the more universal concepts of hard work, persistence, creativity and the life-improving contributions of private entrepreneurs.

But Edison’s marvel is being relegated to anachronism status in our brave new world of hyper-regulatory big government.

This week in Winchester, Virginia, General Electric ceased operations at its last incandescent lightbulb factory.  Under new nanny-state energy regulations, incandescent lightbulbs will be prohibited and replaced by compact florescent bulbs whose unflattering light makes for an ugly, sinister symbol of the nitpicking green movement.  Most of those florescent bulbs are manufactured overseas, by the way, but that’s also of little concern to righteous green crusaders.

Question:  Anyone else get that sneaking suspicion that famed energy hypocrite Al Gore is hastily stockpiling incandescent bulbs at his various compounds as we speak?

September 24th, 2010 at 12:31 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Party of No More
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 23rd, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Mike Castle Mulling Write-in Bid in Delaware Senate Race

Hell hath no fury like a career politician scorned.  Nine-time congressman and two-time governor Mike Castle (R-DE) will conduct a poll to gauge his chances as a write-in candidate for Delaware’s Senate seat.  If he chooses to challenge the Republican Party’s nominee, Christine O’Donnell, Castle will join Lisa Murkowski(I-AK) and Charlie Crist (I-FL) as moderate GOP statewide elected officials who decided to quit their party rather than their hold on power.

Prediction: If Castle follows through with a write-in candidacy Christine O’Donnell will gain ground in the polls.  Like other Tea Party candidates she’ll be able to attack Democrat Chris Coons for supporting President Barack Obama’s agenda, and charge that Castle is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing career politician.

In this climate, the truth of both of those charges could be enough to give O’Donnelll a Senate seat for six years.

September 23rd, 2010 at 8:15 pm
E.J. Dionne Thinks Tea Party is a Scam

Pulling out a scribble of notes from his tickler file, columnist E.J. Dionne thinks the Tea Party is “one of the most successful scams in American political history”.  Why?  Because the “so-called” liberal media is giving an obscure, ideologically-driven set of voices a microphone big enough to capture the nation’s attention.  To Dionne’s dismay, few of his fellow gatekeepers “recognize that the tea party (note the intentional lower case lettering) constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its members.”

I don’t think Hillary Clinton could give a better summary of the media’s unyielding adulation for Barack Obama.  Like Clinton, Obama was a one-term senator with nary a public achievement to his credit, but somehow his lack of a record was billed as “fresh” and “exciting.”

News flash to Dionne: the media likes a good story, and the TEA PARTY is the most compelling political drama this year.  Hate it if you must, but don’t call it a scam.  That’s a project for bloated institutions and the candidates who support them; not sporadically organizing coalitions of free people.

September 23rd, 2010 at 7:18 pm
What is the Liberals’ Constructive Alternative to GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’?

Conservatives can be forgiven for thinking that every member of the liberal establishment has read and memorized Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.  The subject of Hillary Clinton’s college senior thesis and the inspiration for a young Barack Obama’s zeal for community organizing, the Rules stand alongside Chairman Mao’s little red book in the Leftist’s canon.  But time and again, the liberals running the Democratic Party into the ground seem to be as clueless about the rules as they are about the laws of economic gravity.

Consider Rule #12: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  On some level, liberals knew this when they spent the better part of a year castigating Republicans as ‘The Party of No’.  They knew that the public wouldn’t accept the GOP as a credible governing party until it produced a constructive alternative.  (Though worthy of support, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Roadmap for America’s Future has yet to gain widespread acceptance in the GOP caucus.)  With this week’s ‘Pledge to America’ the GOP is now a party with a constructive alternative.

The field is open, liberals.  And time is dwindling.