Archives for July 2012
Once in a while, an article I read will stick with me over several days. That happened last week when I saw this article about fairness and equality. The author uses some great examples that I had never really considered:
- In sports, making one team trade their better players to weaker teams.
- In acting, excluding someone from Oscar nominations because he/she has won too many.
- In technology, a successful company being forced to fund research for its competitors.
Consider the example of forcing a sports team to make the league “fair” by trading its star players to less competitive teams. Would baseball be better if the stars were divided equally around the league? Or would every team having the same amount of skill make the game boring?
The place where there should be fairness and equality is in the opportunity each team has to succeed. Give every team a chance to succeed, and let there be winners and losers.
Of course, that doesn’t make any sense. Just the though tof the logistics of it all is pretty mind boggling. Yet when this concept reaches the topic of taxation, we still hear about taxing the “haves” more than the “have nots” because it’s fair. It lets everyone can be equal. We actually already do that. It’s called a progressive income tax. And still we hear calls to make it even more extreme.
The concept works the same whether it is applied to baseball or to taxes. I really like the quote at the end of that article: “A good and just tax system should be designed to make the poor rich, not the rich poor.”
It seems a day doesn’t go by that I don’t see or hear someone complaining about jobs going overseas. They invariably want the government to do something to keep jobs on American shores. They blame “greedy corporations” for seeking profit and not looking out for the interests of Americans who desperately need jobs.
Well, those Americans really do need jobs, so here are some helpful tips to help bring those jobs back to American shores.
1. End the unions
Unions are a large chunk of the reason many companies have looked overseas for labor. Unions, which once existed as a way to deal with abusive management, now seek to line pockets. Not just theirs, but those of their members. Through collective bargaining, they have jacked up wages for what are often unskilled positions to a point that borders on the ridiculous. In some cases, that border is crossed. Reports of auto workers with high school educations making six figure incomes while not filling any kind of management role are a prime example.
The thing is, non-union shops in the same industries often pay comperable wages. They simply expect more work out of their employees, minimizing the number of people required. Companies want the best workers they can get, and even without unions you won’t see wages plummet. The best and brightest want to be compensated, and they will be.
However, if unions continue to push for more and more, then more and more companies will seek to move their operations overseas.
2. End the EPA
Yesterday, I gave some thoughts on President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment, which are reflective of his views, not only on business, but government as well. But to offer a more in-depth take, Aaron Ross Powell, editor of libertarianism.org, recently spoke with Caleb Brown of the Cato Institute, about the comments.
Powell explains that Obama’s view of a government that provides basic infrastructure isn’t really isn’t that bad, but he notes that this isn’t all that government does, pointing to vast and bloated federal programs that devour taxpayer resources. Powell also explains that Obama’s offers an “impoverished view” of cooperation and community:
Who were the conservatives in the colonies during the Revolution? They were those loyal to the Crown. They were those who supported the status quo because of the state privileges that they received. Unfortunately, today’s conservatives do the exact same thing.
The fight today isn’t between conservatives who are interested in individual liberty and liberals who are interested in socialism. Neither party are interested in more freedom for you. They are interested in power and money. The both revel in the sovereignty of the state and the subjugation of the individual. That is no different then the attitude that King George had in regards to his “subjects” in the American colonies before the Revolution.
The Revolution of 1776 was the opposite of conservatism. It was a revolution of thought and reason in which the individual was sovereign and government was the servant. Like Judge Andew Napolitano used to say on Freedom Watch, “Does the government work for us or do we work for the government?” That is a fundamental question that the history of conservatives in this country have gotten wrong.
The victories of the collectivists in this country are never rolled back. The New Deal by FDR and the “war on poverty” by Johnson which are typically expounded by the conservative intelligentsia as the reason why we are living in an increasingly collectivist society have been cemented into America. If you want more freedom in this country today your best bet you are told is to support Republicans. But are they the party of liberty like they claim?
There’s been a lot of nonsense lately over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, with Barack Obama’s “truth team” claiming on Twitter that since Obama has released his forms for the past decade, he is better suited to lead this country. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has called for them while refusing to give out her own. But she isn’t the only one. From Politico:
Over the past three months, McClatchy Newspapers asked all 535 members of the House and Senate to release their tax records. Only 17 — or just over 3 percent — handed over the documents. Another 19 percent said they wouldn’t release them. The remainder didn’t respond to McClatchy’s request.
While members of the executive branch are expected to release their tax records either while running for office or as part of the vetting process for Cabinet appointments, members of Congress aren’t held to the same standard. While they fill out annual disclosures, those forms aren’t as detailed as a tax return.
Mitt Romney must be trying to bore the American people into electing him this November. There is no real bold, inspiring vision behind his campaign other than “Obama sucks”. Nor should we really expect anything bold from a man who has been on both sides of most political issues. Romney’s campaign also shows an unwillingness to buck the conventional Beltway wisdom and propose any bold solutions to our nation’s problems. Mitt Romney is running a “safe” campaign, but I fear he maybe running too safe of a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November.
More evidence of how safe (ie. dull) of a campaign that Mitt Romney is running is who has already been excluded from speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa next month:
Texas congressman Ron Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican to be denied a speaking role at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. Here’s another high-profile snub from the Mitt Romney camp… Nope, the woman who was the HIT of the 2008 Republican National Convention — not to mention the party’s VP nominee — Sarah Palin, has not yet received an invitation to speak at the 2012 shindig. Must be stuck in, ahem, e-mail. But, as Palin told The Daily Beast, she wasn’t surprised. And not because she hasn’t endorsed her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, other than to tout him someone who isn’t President Obama and has a pulse.
As an Eagle Scout, I follow the BSA policy controversy towards homosexual scouts only occasionally. For me, the big issue was never that—I am not gay, and I do not know any Scouts or potential scouts who were or are gay—for me it was the religion. I’m an atheist, which is the one theologica position that the Boy Scouts actively frown upon. (I was forced to get a religious “medal” in the United Methodist Church, and the last point in the Scout Law is that a scout is to be “reverant.”)
However, I have gay friends, and I have always thought that the BSA’s policy towards homosexuals was, in a word, disappointing. And now that they’ve finished their review, they’re keeping the same disappointing policy:
After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.
An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
As a result of the committee’s decision, the Scouts’ national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.
The headline of a recent story in Politico reads “President Obama’s jobs panel missing in action”. My response to this? Good!:
President Barack Obama’s Jobs Council hasn’t met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election.
At this point, the hiatus — which reached the half-year mark Tuesday — might be less awkward than an official meeting, given the hornet’s nest of issues that could sting Obama and the council members if the private-sector panel gets together.
The last official meeting of the 26-member President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness took place Jan. 17 in the White House complex. Obama and a slew of other administration officials attended, including his then chief of staff, Bill Daley.
Obama named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the panel in January of last year as the president tried to mend his frayed relationship with the business community and highlight his commitment to job creation. Part of the council’s political value was to show Obama working closely with top business leaders on behalf of the American people. But the White House insisted that the council’s recommendations would lead to real action.
The panel held three “quarterly” sessions last year with Obama: in February, June and October.
“This has not been a show council. This has been a work council,” Obama declared during the January 2012 session, where the panel presented a report containing more than 60 recommendations aimed at stimulating job creation.
Among the distractions in the presidential campaign right now are calls for Mitt Romney to release more of this tax returns. He has released returns dating back to 2010, but that isn’t enough for Team Obama and campaign surrogates. They’re now speculating on what he may be hiding, goes so far as to say that he may have broken the law. The media, of course, is also dragging out the story for all it worth.
But during a press conference yesterday, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called on Romney to release more information about his taxes, became the subject of questions about her own tax returns. The questions came about due to a McClatchy report finding that only handful of members disclose their tax records. Pelosi initially reacted with contempt for the questions, explaining that when she runs for president, the media “can hold [her] to that standard.” But she quickly began downplaying the tax return issue, calling it a distraction:
[W]hile maintaining Romney should release more documents because of “custom” and “tradition,” Pelosi said the issue was trivial compared with economic issues.
“We spent too much time on that. We should be talking about middle-income tax cuts,” Pelosi said after answering two questions about the issue.
The left loves to label free market types as enemies of Mother Earth. However, I’ve said for a while that the left should probably start looking at how the free market can actually help them attain their goals with regard to the environment. For example, many companies have adopted so-called “green” practices, not so much because of a social conscious, but because it allows them to position themselves as if they have a social conscious.
According to some data that isn’t exactly burning up the mainstream media, it looks like the free market is having a more direct impact on the environment, particularly with regard to CO2:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) June energy report says that energy-related carbon dioxide fell to 5,473 million metric tons (MMT) in 2011.
That’s down from a high of 6,020 MMT in 2007, and only a little above 1995’s level of 5,314 MMT.
Better yet, emissions in the first quarter of 2012 fell at an even faster rate — down 7.5% from the first quarter of 2011 and 8.5% from the same time in 2010. If the rest of 2012 follows its first-quarter trend, we may see total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions drop to early-1990s levels.
Awesome for the left, right? I mean, surely that means some of their efforts are starting to show results. Well, I wouldn’t be so sure. You see, Investors.com has another bit of data that should be considered: