Conservatives understand liberals; this doesn’t work in reverse

William Voegeli, senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books [the best one around these days], and author of The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion, writing today at The Daily Signal:

Just before the recent midterm electionsThe Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky called the GOP “as intellectually dishonest and bankrupt and just plain old willfully stupid as a political party can possibly be,” one whose only agenda “is to slash regulations and taxes and let energy companies and megabanks and multinational corporations do whatever it is they wish to do.”

I’ve accused Republicans of being stupid but it seems to me that a conservative like me has more cause to think and say that about Republicans than any liberal. After all, conservatives think Republicans are stupid for a good reason. We vote for them. We want them to win and to govern. But they don’t appreciate us and always seem to make us think they’d prefer that we didn’t vote for them. That’s awfully damn stupid. Elected Republicans like to say they can’t win elections with conservatives alone. But they must think they can win elections without conservatives.  Another sign of being stupid.  If conservatives ever go the third party route Republicans will never win another election.  Of course, conservatives won’t either. That’s why they aren’t ever going to go that way. Conservatives aren’t stupid. Anyway, all this should please Michael Tomasky. He’s sort of stupid himself if he doesn’t get it.

As to what he says about regulations and taxes, we conservatives only wish he were right. But he isn’t. No one can name one thing Republicans have done (or tried to do) in the last decade to reduce taxes or ease regulations in an over-regulated America. That’s another reason we think they’re the stupid party. They rely on the flimsy excuse that Obama will just veto anything they do, or Harry Reid will not allow their legislation to come before the Senate. Huh? That’s the sort of defeatist thinking that brings defeat. The Chicago Bears would stop playing football if they thought that way. Now that Republicans are going to control both Houses of Congress some of them are signaling that they still can’t do anything because Obama will veto whatever they do. So?  Doing what they were elected to do, whether or not Obama vetoes every bill, lets their voters know why they elected them and might want to do so again.

Tomasky is engaging in the worst sort of blind hubris if the thinks Republicans are the party of “megabanks and multi-national corporations.”  They’d probably like to be but the Democrats have already taken that slot with massive crony capitalism and financial backing from billionaires on a scale Republicans can only dream about.

Even with the recent Republican victory in the midterms, some elected Republicans are interpreting the election as “the people want us to work with Democrats.” O’boy, now that’s really stupid. If the people wanted Republicans to work with Democrats they would have elected Democrats. [UPDATE: The Denver Post is already trying to convince Colorado’s new Republican senator-elect Cory Gardner that he better be willing to work with Obamanista Michael Bennet or he will risk alienating Colorado voters. I hope Gardner is smart enough to know that if Colorado voters had wanted a senator to work with Bennet they would have re-elected Mark Udall.]

The people more likely want the Republicans to engage Democrats in the political version of mortal combat. War without the guns is what they want. They want Obama’s radical leftist agenda to be stopped. Of course, that doesn’t mean they want conservatism. Since Republican establishment also don’t want conservatism they have never explained to the American people what it is and how it would benefit them. Consequently, not enough people really understand it even though most of them will tell pollsters that they are conservative. It’s a bit weird but that’s the way it is.

It’s much easier to know how a liberal thinks than how a conservative thinks. Voegeli explains that liberals believe, “…it is impossible not only for any reasonable person to be conservative, but even to take such idiotic, malignant ideas seriously.” Voegeli points out that liberals flunk the Ideological Turing Test, referring by analogy to Alan Turing’s test for Artificial Intelligence. The Ideological Turing Test requires that one be able to characterize a viewpoint he disagrees with so discerningly and scrupulously that an adherent of that position finds his summary of it as clear and persuasive as any provided by a true believer.

Astute conservatives easily pass the test. They can explain the liberal viewpoint as well as liberals themselves, probably better, not only because most conservatives were once liberals themselves before seeing the light, but also because liberalism is so simple and easy. That’s why it is and probably always will be the dominant point of view, even among some people who mistakenly believe they are conservative. All one need do is advance rhetoric dripping in compassion, empathy and kindness and it’s guaranteed one will have explained the liberal viewpoint as clearly and about as persuasive as a true believer.

So, Michael Tomasky, you don’t really have any reason to call Republicans stupid. But I do.

UPDATE: If the two-party system in the U.S. ever gives way to a multiple party system that even slightly mirrors a parliamentary system, the Republican party would have to change or suffer greatly.  The Republican establishment should look carefully at how the UKIP in Britain is tearing into the Tory vote.  Conservatives going third party is remote and will probably remain so, but the UKIP example is out there for all to see.

Hoisted on his own petard again

Senator Barack Obama, 2008: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”

You know, we’re wasting our time with all this evidence that Obama is a liar and a hypocrite. He knows it and he doesn’t give a flying bleep what anyone thinks about it.  What we think is a badge of shame he thinks is a badge of honor.  That’s pretty much how most sociopaths think.

“If you like your weak economy, you can keep your weak economy”

The tax tail is wagging the economic dog: Effects of Obamacare on Economic Productivity

From a talk given October 24, 2014 at Hillsdale College by University of Chicago Professor of Economics, Casey Mulligan:

The key economic concept required to understand the labor market effects of the ACA is what economists call “tax distortions.” Tax distortions are changes in behavior on the part of businesses or households for the purpose of reducing their taxes or increasing their subsidies. We call them distortions because they don’t occur for real business or real personal reasons. They occur because of the tax code. A prime example of a tax policy that creates distortions is the ethanol subsidy—technically it is a credit, not a subsidy—whereby gasoline refiners are subsidized on the basis of how many gallons of gas they produce with ethanol. Because of this subsidy, businesses change the type of gas they produce and deliver, people change the type of gas they use—which affects engines—and corn is used for ethanol instead of as feed or food. Nor do the distortions stop there. Arguably, food prices are increased due to the reallocation of corn to different uses—and when food prices are higher, restaurants and households do things differently. There are distortions economy-wide, all for the chasing of a subsidy.

To be clear, just because taxes cause distortions doesn’t mean that we should never have taxes. It just means that in order to get the full picture when it comes to policies like an ethanol subsidy or laws such as the ACA, we need to take into account the tax distortions in order to ensure that the benefits we are seeking exceed the costs.

The tax distortions that are imposed on the American economy arise from the employer mandate and the employer penalty, according to professor Mulligan. These are meant, so the proponents of Obamacare tell us, to encourage employers to provide health insurance to their workers. Taken together they become a tax on full-time employment because employers can avoid the mandate and the penalty by switching to part-time employees and/or staying below 50 full-time employees. As Professor Mulligan points out, there are mountains of research over decades proving that when something is taxed there will be less of it. We are already seeing less full-time employment and an expansion of part-time employment. It affects the whole economy, not just employers or those who work.

As a result of the ACA, then, we are going to have fewer people working and less value created overall.

Nor will the loss of productivity end there. As with the ethanol example, there will be more and more tax distortions from the ACA as it continues to roll out. Businesses will change the way they do business, whether it’s by bending over backwards to stay below 50 employees or by having more part-time employees and fewer full-time employees—not because these policies create value or satisfy customers, but because they avoid penalties or enhance subsidies. The Chicago Cubs baseball team changed over to more part-time employees this past summer, and as a result there was a day when the grounds crew couldn’t handle the weather—reducing the value of the game for the fans in general. Incentives and disincentives in the tax code ripple through the economy in unimaginable ways.

So, according to professor Muilligan, the employer mandate and the employer penalty add up to a tax on full-time employment. There is also another tax, and it’s an income tax. It’s called a subsidy, but it’s a tax.

So, when does a subsidy become a tax?

When it’s tied to your income, or the lack thereof:

If you have a full-time job with an employer that offers coverage—which is the case for most employees in our economy—you don’t get the subsidy offered through the exchanges. If you want to get the subsidy, you need to become a part-time worker or spend time off the job. In other words, this discount, too, is a tax on full-time employment. Of course, no politician ever calls it a tax. But when you are in a group of people that doesn’t receive a subsidy that people in another group receive, that’s a tax.

It’s also a regressive tax, i.e., it affects low-skilled workers the most. Professor Mulligan demonstrates that the employer penalty of $2,000 per worker is really about $3,000 because the employer cannot expense it for his own tax purposes. Thus, a worker will have to produce $3,000 of value per year to his employer to justify keeping his job or getting hired. Professor Mulligan estimates that a minimum-wage worker will have to work about 8 hours a week to produce this value to his employer. That’s one day a week year round that a minimum-wage worker will work for the government just because of Obamacare alone. A high-skiller worker will have the productivity to make that penalty up for his employer with less work in less time than the minimum-wage worker.

This is a scenario that seems to play out in everything Obama does. It seems to always hurt the very ones Obama claims to care about, the little people, a lot more than the highly compensated people.

Professor Mulligan demonstrates that there will be huge productivity costs to the economy because of Obamacare, and concludes, “I can make you this promise: If you like your weak economy, you can keep your weak economy.”

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has message for Obama

This video was posted a few days before last night’s Constitution burning party in Obama’s White House. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones recorded this video message to Obama this past Monday asking for immediate immigration reform. He’s not asking for the sort of open-the-flood-gates reform Obama wants; Sheriff Jones wants the border to be closed to illegal immigration. He wants an end to undocumented immigration in favor of the documented kind that only allows in those who have been given a background check to see they are not criminals.  He wants illegal immigrant criminals found in this country to be deported. He wants adequate border control to prevent them from coming back.

The sheriff is speaking in the aftermath of the recent murders of his own Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff Detective Michael Davis Jr., by a suspect found to have been in the Country illegally. He had been removed four different times before. Each time he easily came back across the border and committed violent crime, this last time by murdering two law enforcement officers and shooting an innocent citizen in the face. See also my post from November 4th, The Coming Obama Crime Wave.

Obama immediately after his unconstitutional executive order on Amnesty for illegals


The Presidential oath of office required by the United States Constitution in Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

[emphasis added because in these times, it is needed]

Obama took this oath twice, and twice he affirmed this duty.

Barack Obama took this oath for the first time in January, 2009 and then said, “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Guess he had his fingers crossed, but he forgot to call “King’s ex.”

The trouble with Obama’s reliance on the doctrine of “prosecutorial discretion” is that his definition of prosecutorial discretion is completely out of whack with traditional notions of what that entails. Moreover, he is the President of the United States, he is not a prosecutor. The discretion afforded American prosecutors has traditionally been defended on the ground that it provides for case-by-case flexibility and ultimately more leniency for deserving defendants. But critics have traditionally argued that it has been abused with considerations of race, class and political affiliation.

Obama is acting on a broad spectrum of illegal immigration; he is not looking at individual cases and using discretion with respect to an individual person’s situation, as a real prosecutor would do.  In essence, what Obama did last night was a legislative matter beyond his powers as president.

In addition to the Constitution itself, the relevant law on what Obama did last night is Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), also commonly referred to as The Steel Seizure Case. It was a United States Supreme Court decision that limited the power of the President of the United States to seize private property in the absence of either specifically enumerated authority under Article Two of the United States Constitution or statutory authority conferred on him by Congress. It was a “stinging rebuff” to President Harry Truman.

Youngstown Steel is taught in Constitutional Law classes in law schools.  It is (or used to be) also covered in undergraduate political science courses for the proposition that the President is restricted to executive (i.e., non-legislative) functions in what he can do by himself but, when the President and Congress act together they have the combined executive and legislative powers of Articles II and III of the Constitution, limited only by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which sets forth the twenty-two enumerated powers of the Federal government.

Obama said about 40 times this would be illegal; now he’s going to do it

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.17.02 AMThe video below shows Obama saying about 40 times over the past 6 years that an executive order on amnesty would be illegal. Tonight apparently, Obama is going to do what he has acknowledged in his own words that he cannot do; he’s going to attempt to usurp the legislative function that belongs exclusively to Congress and announce a sweeping new law on immigration by executive order. In other words, he’s going to tear up the U.S. Constitution on national television.

Megyn Kelly: “Today we know he’s about to do the very thing he said would flout the law, the very thing he said would be ‘very difficult to defend legally.’ And his defenders say, ‘Well he misunderstood the law.’ For six years?” Megyn Kelly questioned.

If he gets away with this the rule of law will no longer have any meaning in the United States of America. How long before he says, “I am not a crook?”

Net neutrality hasn’t even been enacted and it’s already stifling innovation

Richard Epstein:

This past week, we witnessed the occurrence of two events with the capacity to reshape the Internet for the worst. First, the White House offered a full-throated endorsement “for the strongest possible rules” in support of “net neutrality,” which would prevent telecommunications suppliers from offering their customers priority services in exchange for higher rates.

The second was the response of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson that his company was going to step back from investing billions of dollars in building out its own GiGaPower fiber network until it received greater clarity from the FCC as to what the rules of the game will be going forward. Stephenson clearly fears that the President’s call to the FCC will result in heavy new regulations that will reduce the profit potential of the company. AT&T is holding back to see just how badly the new rules will damage its investment prospects.

The company’s concerns are, unfortunately, right on the money. Right now, the President is importuning the FCC to reclassify broadband services from lightly regulated “information services” to heavily regulated “telecommunications services.” Unless it takes that dramatic step, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals recent decision in Verizon v. FCC will prevent the FCC from imposing any version of net neutrality, including any anti-discrimination rules which would prevent broadband carriers from charging higher rates for superior classes of services.

The President defends this supposed pillar of the Internet policy by insisting that “an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.”

But why should this be the case when paid prioritization is the norm in virtually all highly competitive markets? A quick trip to the Federal Express website, for example, reveals a wide range of “fast and full of options” like “FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx Standard Overnight.” There is also two- or three-day shipping and Saturday service for those who want it. The different tiers of services are offered, not surprisingly, at different rates. These differential services are available to all customers. It is simply wrong for the President to assume that any system of paid prioritization entrenches established companies at the expense of new entrants, or greedy advertisers at the expense of high-school bloggers.

Read the rest of this great Richard Epstein essay.

Net-Neutrality-copyThe first thing to know about “Net Neutrality” is that there is nothing neutral about it.  It’s been given a fraudulent name to make it appear to be something it’s not. It’s an attempt to regulated the internet in much the same fashion the government used to regulate telephones in the 1920s.  The result, if this monstrously bad idea ever comes to pass, will be just like Obamacare. If you like what you have now, that’s too bad. You will not be able to keep it. What you will get will be more expensive and not nearly as good as what you have now. That’s not even factoring in the lost opportunity cost.  We’ll never know what good things might have happened because of the disincentive for companions like AT&T and others to invest billions of dollars to improve their service.  Business investment is the key to economic growth, and that is what creates economic opportunities for everyone.  Killing business investment is just about the worst thing Obama could be doing right now.

As usual, Obama is the great destroyer of good things, always fixing stuff that isn’t broken.

A Civil Rights’ history that is routinely ignored — on purpose

Juan Williams: Say it Loud: Black, GOP and Proud.

 As a black Democrat I have to say: 2014 was a marquee year for black Republicans.

 But the reaction from the NAACP and black Democrats has been revulsion.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a member of the Democratic House leadership, dismissed Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s victory as insignificant: “If you call progress electing a [black] person … who votes against the interests and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”

 Another critic of the black Republican ascendency, Darron Smith, wrote in the Huffington Post that Mia Love’s achievement in becoming the first black Republican woman elected to the House is “dangerous.”

 Someone needs to fill Rep. James Clyburn and the NAACP in on some civil rights’ history.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first civil rights legislation to further the participation of Black people in the political process since the Reconstruction Era. It was a Republican bill signed into law on September 9, 1957 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The impetus for the law was to further implement the Supreme Court’s anti-segregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.  It also contained provisions to strengthen voting rights of Black Americans.

Although influential Democrat congressman whittled down the bill’s initial scope, it still included a number of important provisions for the protection of voting rights. It established the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, and empowered federal officials to prosecute individuals that conspired to deny or abridge another citizen’s right to vote. Moreover, it also created a six-member U.S. Civil Rights Commission charged with investigating allegations of voter infringement.

President Eisenhower was also the first to send Federal troops into the South to enforce de-segregation.  Does the name Orval Faubus ring a bell with anyone anymore?

The final version of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved in the Senate with 82% of Republicans voting yea and only 69% of Democrats. In the House it was approved by 80% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats. Eighteen Democrats and one Republican had filibustered in the Senate for 57 days before a vote of cloture finally allowed the bill to be brought up for a vote.

Democrats who joined the filibuster included Robert Byrd, Clinton’s hero William Fulbright, and Al Gore’s father Albert Gore Sr. Republicans were key to the cloture vote that ended the filibuster.

Democrats must have been ashamed of their performance the year before because when the final version of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came up in the House the yea vote was 80% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans (Democrats 217-54, Republicans 111-20). The bill was passed in the Senate with 74% of Democrats and 97% of Republicans (Democrats 49-17, Republicans 30-1).

In fact, Republican actions that favor Black Americans began much earlier. It was the newly founded Republican party that ended slavery, and Blacks who could vote voted solidly Republican until 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt successfully demonized Herbert Hoover (not a difficult task) in the 1932 election and converted Blacks to the Democrat party where they have remained since.

It was the Republican party that championed and got the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in 1867, all of which were to the benefit of the newly freed Black slaves.  These would have been much more to the benefit of them if the Southern Democrats had not successfully replaced slavery with Jim Crow laws.

Chief Justice Earl Warren was a Republican appointed by President Eisenhower.  Justice Warren, through his efforts of urging other justices, gets the credit for the Brown v. Board of Education being a unanimous 9-0 decision.

Despite being shunned by Black Americans in 1932, it was Republicans in Congress who pushed for an anti-lynching law in the 1930’s and Democrats, including President Roosevelt, who consistently blocked it from coming up for a vote.

How is it that Democrats today have so successfully demonized Republicans as racist? Maybe they get away with this because today’s Republicans are too chicken to challenge them on it by defending the stellar record of the Republican party on behalf of Black Americans?  It’s a truly stellar record that is easy to champion. So why, oh why, don’t they do it?  Now, with the recent election wave for Republicans, is surely the time.

Postscript: I’d be here all day if I tried to cite a reference for each and every fact and number stated above. They are all simple facts of history that can be easily checked by anyone who has any doubt of their accuracy.  You can be your own fact checker.