Archives for October 2011

How can a candidate without core principles win the GOP nomination?

While none of his rivals have landed a punch on the health care issue — though it seems like Rick Santorum is on the right path, it is certainly something that Mitt Romney will continue deal with during his campaign as he bobs and weaves from his own past statements; as the Wall Street Journal notes:

The exchange began when Rick Santorum scored Mr. Romney for lacking health-care “credibility,” since the 2006 Bay State reform “was the basis for ObamaCare.” If the first claim is for primary voters to decide, no one who knows anything about health policy on the left or right would deny the second: When Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, they borrowed liberally from Mr. Romney’s model.

If the plans are not identical in every detail, they share major phenotypes: an individual mandate to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty; large transfer payments to subsidize the middle class; and much more government control over how insurance plans are structured, how medical services are delivered, and how both are priced.

“This is something that was crafted for Massachusetts,” Mr. Romney responded in Las Vegas, repeating his stock answer. “It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation.” The former Governor says Mr. Obama’s plan “must be repealed” and then states can experiment with their own health-care solutions.
But the larger and more important point is that Mr. Romney continues to defend his Massachusetts plan as a success for precisely the same reasons that President Obama says it should be imposed on all states. In reality, the Massachusetts plan is not a success and its problems are the best refutation of the duo’s arguments.

Quote of the Day: Penn Jillette on compassion

Several friends shared this quote from Penn Jillette, part of Penn & Teller, on Facebook recently and given the collectivist Occupy Wall Street crowd, it’s worth sharing:

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

That is gospel. Here are more of Jillette’s thoughts on morality and capitalism:

Wall Street furious with Dems

Wall Street typically gives a fair amount of money to Democrats.  This isn’t unusual.  Like the nation as a whole, the specific amounts swing with the times.  Some givers are purely Republicans.  Some are purely Democrats.  Usually, Wall Street does trend Republican however.  Of course, many others are swing givers and right now those folks are a little upset with the DNC.

President Barack Obama and other top Democrats are parroting the anti-corporate rhetoric running through the Occupy Wall Street protests, trying to tap into the movement’s energy but keep the protesters at arms’ length.

But many bankers aren’t buying the distinction. And some financial services lobbyists and industry insiders say the liberal line will make swing givers think twice before opening their checkbooks this year.

“Most Wall Street guys, they feel like they’re going to be burned in effigy,” said Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner of SkyBridge Capital, who gave to Obama in 2008 but is now fundraising for Mitt Romney. Some moderate donors, who have given to both parties, “fled from Obama in his support of the Wall Street protests,” he said.

In 2008 Obama edged out John McCain in Wall Street fundraising and Democrats overall raised about as much as Republicans. Giving patterns went back to normal in 2010 when the GOP came out back on top.

Politico quotes one person who argues “You can’t have it both ways,” who then goes on to say, “It just makes it harder for people who are Democrats in New York, Boston, Chicago to on the one hand be demogagued and then be asked ‘Hey, you can get your picture with the president for $30,000.’ It doesn’t square.”

Ron Paul’s latest ad: Consistency

The latest ad from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which will be airing in Iowa and New Hampshire, focuses on the consistency of his message over the years while targeting Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney over their support of the Wall Street bailout:

Book Review: It Is Dangerous To Be Right When The Government Is Wrong

Fox News analyst and best-selling author, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, released a new book Tuesday October 18th entitled, It Is Dangerous To Be Right When The Government Is Wrong: The Case For Personal Freedom. I have not read any of Judge Napolitano’s prior books, yet I have watched his television show on Fox Business, Freedom Watch, and I find myself agreeing with nearly everything that he says.

Many of you know that I am a Libertarian (card-carrying, candidate-supporting Big “L” Libertarian), so it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the latest work by Judge Napolitano. While most libertarians or Libertarians use the Constitution as their basis for political philosophy, the Judge goes beyond the Constitution to its roots as a protection of natural rights and Natural Law for all people. As someone who believes that the Constitution serves as our protection from the government trampling on our natural rights, I found this book aligns nearly identical to my political philosophy, as well as my sense of morality. Do not let that alignment keep you from reading what I found to be one of the best cases for personal liberty and the responsibility that an individual pays for such liberty.

Can we stick a fork in 9-9-9 yet?

Coming off what was arguably his worst debate performance, Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is still taking fire from conservatives and libertarians over the fact that the national sales tax portion of the plan is essentially a value added tax (or VAT).

Chris Edwards, an economist at the Cato Institute, is the latest to express concern with Cain’s pitch for a VAT:

The Herman Cain campaign released details of the revenue expected to be collected from his 9-9-9 tax plan. Here are the estimates for 2010:

  • $701 billion from the 9 percent personal income tax.
  • $753 billion from the 9 percent retail sales tax.
  • $863 billion from the 9 percent business VAT.

Yikes! By far the largest tax haul under the Cain plan would be from the business VAT—a tax which would be hidden from most voters.

By the way, the Cain business tax is not a tax on “corporate income,” as some media stories are identifying it. The new revenue data makes it clear that it is a tax on all value added by all businesses in the nation—corporate, partnership, and proprietorship.

Occupy Wall Street: The scum of the intellectual left

Democrats may want to heed the words of pollster Douglas Schoen, who recently went inside Occupy Wall Street and found that the protesters do not represent mainstream America; instead many are the scum of the intellectual left (to borrow a phrase from Ayn Rand):

Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that “the protests you’re seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America… . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don’t seem to play by the same set of rules.” Nancy Pelosi and others have echoed the message.

Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.

The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.

House GOP freshman on board with trade agreements

Given that free trade is essential to economic growth and prosperity, I would have thought that support for trade agreements passed last week from tea party-leaning House GOP freshman would have gone without question:

The 89 House Republicans new to Congress this year — many of whom were backed by the Tea Party — were courted by both sides of the debate over the long-stalled trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

With their views on trade relatively unknown, some opponents of the deals thought they had an opening to sink them from the right.

But in the end, almost all of the GOP frosh voted in favor of the three agreements. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) told The Hill a consensus formed among the newcomers that the trade deals deserved their support.
Of the 89 House GOP freshmen, only seven voted against the Korea trade agreement. Those “nay” votes were Reps. Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Robert Hurt (Va.), David McKinley (W.Va.) and Mick Mulvaney (S.C.).

McKinley was the only other House Republican freshman to vote against the other two trade deals, with Colombia and Panama.

I think, in some respect, that the populism in the tea party movement may have been thought of as a reason that these guys wouldn’t support these much needed agreements. That’s been a long-standing concern of mine about the tea party movement as a I often hear cries for “fair trade.” I really think that there is a divide on this issue amongst conservatives and tea party-ers, and there shouldn’t be given the overwhelming benefits of free trade.

Cartoon of the Day: Occupy Wall Street wants us to trust the government?

Stephen Littau posted this over at The Liberty Papers yesterday and it needed to be shared here as well. The logic coming from Occupy Wall Street doesn’t make much sense.


Cato Institute on Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America”

Over at Cato @ Liberty, Tad DeHaven offers some thoughts on Rep. Ron Paul’s recently released budget proposal, the “Plan to Restore America,” which would eliminate five cabinet-level departments and cut $1 trillion in spending:

Presidential candidate Ron Paul has released a fiscal reform plan that would dramatically cut spending and rein in the size and scope of the federal government. My reaction to the proposal can be summed up in one word: hallelujah.

Republican policymakers – including the current GOP field of presidential candidates – talk a good game about reducing spending, but very few are willing to spell out exactly what they’d cut. As NRO’s Kevin Williamson puts it in the title of his write-up on the plan, “Ron Paul Dropping a Reality Bomb on the GOP Field.”

The following are some of the plan’s highlights:

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