Capitalism

United Liberty Is (Cato) Unbound!

cato_unbound_fusionism

Every month, Cato puts out a new issue of Cato Unbound, an online journal that looks at various topics. This week, the topic is fusionism, something that has received quite a bit of attention here at United Liberty.

The format of Cato Unbound is quite simple. One writer contributes a lead essay, and then three other writers write response essays. Then, it descends into a furball as we all starting writing shorter response posts to each other. The discussion is not just there, however; blog posts elsewhere will be linked, and everyone—yes, including YOU!—is encouraged to join in the discussion.

Our lead essay this month is written by Jacque Otto, a friend of mine and a writer at Values and Capitalism, a project of the American Enterprise Institute. She writes:

Internet Analogies: Remember When the Internet Was the Information Superhighway? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this post, I described the history of government intervention in the funding of the Internet, which has been used to exempt commercial users from paying for the use of local Internet infrastructure. The most recent intervention, known as “net neutrality”, was ostensibly intended to protect consumers, but in practice, requires that consumers bear all the costs of maintaining and upgrading local Internet infrastructure while content and application providers pay nothing. This consumer-funded commercial subsidy model is the opposite of the approach the government took when funding the Interstate Highway System: The federal government makes commercial users pay more for their use of the highways than consumers. This fundamental difference in approach is why net neutrality advocates abandoned the “information superhighway” analogy promoted by the Clinton Administration during the 1990s.

Conservatives: Ignore Taxes, Just Focus On The Spending Cuts

Editor’s note: While the larger point of the post is a good topic for debate, Fortenberry was a bad example. According to the scorecards released by the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, Fortenberry hasn’t been a friend to the taxpayer on fiscal issues. Thanks to Matt Hoskins for bringing this to our attention.

Author’s note: Yes, kudos to Matt Hoskins. I’ve added an update below.

Last week, Rod Dreher at the American Conservative magazine wrote about John Fortenberry, a Republican congresscritter from Nebraska who is considering a run for the seat of retiring Republican Senator Mike Johanns. What has Dreher annoyed —understandably — is that the Senate Conservatives Fund has come out against Fortenberry. Why? Because Fortenberry is “too liberal” on taxes:

“We can already say that we won’t be able to support Congressman Fortenberry if he runs. His record on spending, debt, and taxes in the House is just too liberal. Republicans in Nebraska deserve better,” said Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins. SCF, which was started by conservative Jim DeMint and involved itself in the 2012 Nebraska Senate GOP primary, is looking to identify a candidate it can get behind, Hoskins added.

Dreher argues that’s completely bunk. In an interview with the Congressman last year, he wrote:

US Sues Standard & Poor’s Over Credit Ratings, Forgets It Made The Mess Itself

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. The United States government has sued credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s over the ratings it gave to mortgages just before the financial crisis:

The U.S. government is accusing the debt rating agency Standard & Poor’s of fraud for giving high ratings to risky mortgage bonds that helped bring about the financial crisis.

The government said in a civil complaint filed late Monday that S&P misled investors by stating that its ratings were objective and “uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest.” It said S&P’s desire to make money and gain market share caused S&P to ignore the risks posed by the investments between September 2004 and October 2007.

The charges mark the first enforcement action the government has taken against a major rating agency involving the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

According to the government filing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the alleged fraud made it possible to sell the investments to banks. The government charged S&P under a law aimed at making sure banks invest safely.

S&P, a unit of New York-based McGraw-Hill Cos., has denied wrongdoing and said that any lawsuit would be without merit.

It is without merit, but not for the reasons S&P thinks. See, this whole thing is hilarious, because the situation itself was created by the government. That’s right; if it wasn’t for government meddling in the credit rating market, this would never have happened:

Bobby Jindal Sandblasts the GOP: Thank God, Finally

Bobby Jindal

Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog—arguably one of the best blogs about politics today—have gotten a copy of Bobby Jindal’s speech to the RNC this Thursday. It looks like it will be a well-needed tongue-lasher:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver a forceful denunciation of his party’s Washington-centric focus in a speech to the Republican National Committee on Thursday evening, arguing that the GOP is fighting the wrong fight as it seeks to rebuild from losses at the ballot box last November.

“A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and short-sighted debate,” Jindal will tell the RNC members gathered in Charlotte, N.C. for the organization’s winter meeting, according to a copy of the speech provided to The Fix. “If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win.”

Jindal’s speech — and his call to “recalibrate the compass of conservatism” — is the latest shred of a growing amount of evidence that the Louisiana governor is positioning himself to not only run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 but do so in direct (or close to it) opposition to his party in the nation’s capital.

In the speech, Jindal will repeatedly caution that Republicans in Washington have fallen into the “sideshow trap” of debating with Democrats over the proper size of the federal government.

Despite Obama’s second term, there is light at the end of the tunnel

As the presidential inauguration comes upon us today, I can’t help but think that we’re seeing Bush’s fourth term. Barack Obama, while talking up a good liberal game on international peace and social issues, is really quite similar to his Republican predecessor. He has widely broadened the use of drones pioneered with Bush 43. His signing of the NDAA act authorizing indefinite detention is merely a sequel to the PATRIOT Act Bush signed in 2001. And his recent executive orders on guns have elicited much the same outrage from conservatives that liberals had over Bush’s signing statements.

Combined with staying the course on military spending, staying the course on not making any significant reforms to entitlements, staying the course on the War on Drugs, and staying the course on corporate bailouts…

…and I’m wondering if George W. Bush ever left.

Certainly, there are differences. George W. Bush championed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, while the Obama Administration has just given up on defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama is also far more supportive of a woman’s right to choose, while George W. Bush was pro-life (mostly). But on nearly all other issues, ranging from torture, to war, to government spending, our 44th president is little more than an “expansion pack” to our 43rd — doing the same things, only worse.

French Socialist Minister of Nationalization: “Obama Does It!”

In what is sure to raise eyebrows and cause some headdesk moments across the world, the French Industry Minister, a member of the ruling Socialist Party, has said that what he’s doing is what Obama is doing:

The French politician who said Indian steel company ArcelorMittal should leave the country has told CNBC that his government is only acting like U.S. President Barack Obama.

FRANCE-POLITICS-ECONOMY-COMPETITIVENESS

Eric Feferberg / AFP/Getty Images

French Minister for Industrial Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg poses as he arrives at the Hotel Matignon (the Prime Minister’s official residence) in Paris.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, a member of the governing Socialist party, caused controversy last week when he said that the Indian company, which employs close to 20,000 people in France, should leave after it said it would have to close down a factory.

The French government announced on Thursday that it could nationalize the factory in question, with backing from an unnamed businessman.

The news raised the specter of the nationalizations of the early 1980s, which were instigated by Hollande’s predecessor Francois Mitterrand.

Montebourg told CNBC after a meeting with trade unions in Paris: “Barack Obama’s nationalized. The Germans are nationalizing. All countries are nationalizing. I’ve also noticed the British nationalized 6 banks.”

How to Explain the Entitlement Crisis to Children

Promoted by AEI and based on Nicholas Eberstadt’s book, “A Nation of Takers,” this Dr. Seuss-like video depicts the dangerous dependency of entitlements and the importance of liberty.

Very clever animation with an important message:

The “Independence” of the Thoroughly Dependent: Modern Scotland’s Welfare Mentality and Proposed Secession in 2014

Scotland holds a very special place in my heart as it always does for anyone who has had the pleasure to travel there.  My wife and I lived in Scotland while I was at the University of Glasgow, and our time spent amongst those charming, funny, witty, spirited people will never be forgotten.  I still enjoy all things Scottish and look forward to my future visits to that amazing country.  It is because of my admiration for both the Scottish people and succession movements in general that I have been closely watching the Scottish independence movement and am eagerly awaiting the upcoming referendum.  I’d love to see a truly free Scotland loosened from the socialist, statist, bureaucratic chains of the United Kingdom.  I get goosebumps at the very thought.

We all know the fighting spirit of William Wallace who proclaimed that the enemies of Scotland may take their lives but never their freedom.  Statism and state-dependency have taken both from today’s Scotland.  As shown on the Drudge Report this week, Mrs. Ruth Davidson of the Tory party recently got into hot water by drawing attention to the fact that nine out of ten Scottish households take more from the government than they pay in.  In her words they are “living off of the patronage of the state.”  This should shame those nine out of ten households, but it won’t.  For the European lefty political class, there is no such thing as shame and they have passed this mentality onto their constituents.

Update: Occupy’s “Autonomous Individuals” Share Cohesive Message

OWS goons

This morning Citizen Journalist blogged (with video) about a Bay-Area meeting of Occupy types billed as “Hoodies and Hijabs.”  Although commenters at this site and others attempt to distance themselves from any calls for destroying capitalism that come from these gatherings - stating that no one is a “leader” of Occupy and it’s a gathering of autonomous individuals - the message coming from these rallies, gatherings, protests (whatever you want to call them) - is remarkably cohesive.

  • “Joyful violence against the state is the sanity to the everyday misery.” (Occupy Oakland)
  • “An organization has to be built which can bring down capitalism.” (Occupy DC)
  • “We need a revolution to overthrow capitalism and take society into a socialist direction.” (March on the RNC)
  • “Fight Genocide, Destroy what is civilized.” (Occupy Oakland)

It is becoming ever more clear that the Occupy movement is cohesive and with a single goal of overthrowing capitalilsm.

 


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.