Higher Taxes Are a Recipe for Higher Spending, not Lower Debt

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

 

With both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agitating for higher taxes (and with more than a few Republicans also favoring more revenue because they don’t want to do any heavy lifting to restrain a growing burden of government), it’s time to examine the real-world evidence on what happens when politicians actually do get their hands on more money.

Is it true, as we are constantly told by the establishment, that higher tax burdens a necessary and practical way to reduce budget deficits and lower debt levels?

This is an empirical question rather than an ideological one, and the numbers from Europe (especially when looking at the data from the advanced nations that are most similar to the US) are especially persuasive.

If the Houston debate doesn’t stop Trump, nothing will

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After Nevada, the depression set in.

Trump blew his rivals out of the water in the Silver State caucuses. Rubio, who briefly lived in Nevada and attended a Mormon church, was expected to do well in the sparsely populated state. He didn’t. While he did come in second, Trump still beat him 2-to-1 and got twice as many delegates.

In three of the first four primary states, Trump has either met or exceeded polling expectations. While his delegate lead is already large, it’s still very early, with 46 states and hundreds of delegates left to go. Theoretically, anything could happen. Bill Clinton lost nine the first ten primaries in 1992, but still went on to win the Democratic nomination after surprising in mid-March.

And although Rubio has a very similar political talent to Clinton, this is not 1992.

Bill Gates Sides with FBI Against Apple and It Is No Surprise

Bill Gates

If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.

No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.

Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.

Obama’s Cuba Trip Highlights U.S. Failure to Curb Abuses

Barack Obama has a history of gravitating toward the worst of humanity, being an apologist and a cheerleader for them, accommodating them, and seeking to expand their influence.

He got his political start in the home of domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn. Frank Marshall Davis, a devout communist and likely pedophile, was like a father figure to him. His mother, father, and stepfather all hated America. In his autobiography “Dreams From My Father”, Obama spoke of how, as a college student, he gravitated towards Marxist professors and leftist radicals.

Before he ran for president, he spent two decades in the church of the racist, hate-spewing “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright. After being elected president, Obama cancelled a missile defense system with our Eastern European allies that would have protected them from Russian aggression. When Iranians took to the streets in peaceful protest following the rigged election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Obama was virtually silent as Iranian police and the Basij (paramilitary) clubbed, kicked, beat, and shot the demonstrators.

Deeply embedded in his ideological DNA, Obama has followed this pattern throughout his presidency, so it was disgusting, but not all that surprising, when Obama in 2014 announced that he was reversing decades of U.S. policy regarding the murderous, communist Castro regime, and re-opening the U.S. embassy in Havana as part of a resumption of diplomatic relations. This week, Obama announced that he would be the first U.S. president to visit Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge in 1928, though that was under far different circumstances.

“So it may be conservatism’s lot to return to the wilderness” ~ Noah Rothman

Expect the conversation regarding who is truly conservative to heat up in the coming weeks. Noah Rothman has a fantastic piece at Commentary about Trump and his brand of “conservatism” and how, while conservatives have been here before, there is reason for concern but not despair:

It’s easy for Republicans who know quite well that Trump is not conservative, and barely even pretends to be one, to indulge despair. That’s a bit self-indulgent. Conservatism has known the wilderness before. While there have been popular conservatives, conservatism properly understood is not popular. The vehicle through which conservatives achieve political power – the Republican Party — may be well and truly euthanized in the event of a Trump nomination, but the ideology to which its most effective politicians adhere will not be so easily put down.

Trump supporters have been vocal (not unfairly) that the GOP — specifically their unwillingness to work for the good of the people, to listen to the demands of the voter, to fulfill the promises they made to their constituencies once elected — gave rise to Donald Trump. The irony is that the riseof Donald Trump may be what returns conservatism — if not the Republican party — back to its roots.

Marco Rubio, for his part, has received endorsements over the last few days that will highlight the other side of the debate, namely: does being a Republican automatically make you a member of the establishment?

Trump Voters Weren’t Betrayed by the GOP, He’s Their White Knight

A broken clock is right twice a day, and Saturday night Van Jones was that malfunctioning timepiece. On CNN’s coverage of the South Carolina GOP primary results, he’d had enough of the media’s placating Trump’s antics and the teeming hordes who eat it up.

Jones is absolutely right that the media has “adapt[ed] to the absurdity” of Trump’s campaign. One of the worst ways they’ve done this is by accepting the premise that his popularity is a reaction to the GOP’s failure to enact change or stop Obama over the last 7 years. As Erick Erickson put it six months ago: “The Republican Party created Donald Trump, because they made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them.”

What a load of hogwash. Here’s why.

Beating the VAT Horse Until It’s Dead

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

This is a very strange political season. Some of the Senators running for the Republican presidential nomination are among the most principled advocates of smaller government in Washington.

Yet all of them have proposed tax plans that, while theoretically far better than the current system, have features that I find troublesome. Marco Rubio, for instance, leaves the top tax rate at 35 percent, seven-percentage points higher than when Ronald Reagan left town.

Meanwhile, both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (now out of the race) put forth plans that would subject America to value-added tax.

This has caused a kerfuffle in Washington, particularly among folks who normally are allies. To find common ground, the Heritage Foundation set up a panel to discuss this VAT controversy.

You can watch the entire hour-long program here, or you can just watch my portion below and learn why I want Senator Cruz to fix that part of his plan.

On Scalia Vacancy, GOP Should Follow Democrats’ Example

“The Constitution is not a living organism…It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” ~ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

At about 8:45PM last Saturday night, I grabbed my favorite blanket and the remote and sat on the couch to watch the fireworks that were sure to be on display in the rancorous GOP presidential debate. I’d had a wonderful, news-free day out with my wife, and was not really in the mood to watch the debate, but I felt it was my obligation as a citizen, preparing to exercise my constitutional privilege to vote, to listen to each man make the case for their candidacy. I was gratified to watch as, unbidden, my 17, 15, 12, 11, and 6-year old children joined me.

Moments after the candidates had been introduced, the moderator asked his first question, and that was when I first learned of Scalia’s death. It was like a kick to the gut. My eyes opened wide in shock and I let out an audible gasp of dismay, and my eyes watered. Though Clarence Thomas edged out Justice Antonin Scalia as my favorite Supreme Court justice, it is inarguable that Scalia has been the anchor of the conservative wing of the court. His loss is devastating and cannot be overstated. His jurisprudential brilliance and his sharp wit were legendary, and even though he spent most of his career on the Court in the minority, he had more influence in the minority than his lesser colleagues had in the majority. Such was the high quality of his legal reasoning.

Republicans Should Check and Balance Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

Against all wisdom and common sense, I engaged in a debate online about Senate Republicans potentially filibustering or blocking President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee-to-be to replace Justice Antonin Scalia following the justice’s untimely passing this weekend. Truly, I don’t recommend it. It was not only as futile as all online arguments are (no one is ever convinced of any opinion except the one they went in with. It’s almost exclusively a forum to rant), but it was disturbing in a way that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the blatant, admitted, and poisonous hypocrisy some on the left have in matters of politics.

The vacancy left by the great Scalia (who, as an aside, my opponent in the online “debate” was convinced was a biased right-winger and was petulantly annoyed when I shared this article and told him to educate himself) will be hard to fill simply because the man who created it with his death was so great. That is nearly universally accepted.

But what Democrats seem to want to do is forget the concept of advice and consent (the constitutional provision that gives the Senate the authority to accept or disdain a presidential appointment), even as their own recent history shows their willingness to use it with careless abandon.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies, Unleashing an Election Year Earthquake

Supreme Court associate justice and giant of US politics and constutional law, Antonin Scalia, 79, has died of apparent natural causes in Texas.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Widely considered to be an “originalist”, Scalia actually used a “textual” interpretation of the Constitution, relying on the plain reading of the text as written to rule on cases. This interpretation placed him as one of the most conservative justices on the Court, and his intellect and integrity will make him impossible to replace.

It is no exaggeration to say that Justice Scalia was the most consequential jurist of the past 35 years. A persistent, pugnacious and persuasive advocate for textualist statutory interpretation and originalist constitutional interpretation, he had an outsize effect on his colleagues, the court and the course of the law. More than anyone else, Justice Scalia is responsible for the renaissance of these interpretive methodologies and the displacement of “living constitutionalism” and reliance upon legislative history.

He certainly won’t be replaced by President Obama.

 


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