July 16, 2012

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Streetwise Professor catches the president channeling Elizabeth Warren.

Obama’s speech in Roanoke, VA, contains this bit of creepy collectivism:

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

You know the latent message here: You didn’t earn it.  So you have no right to it.  Since you have no right to it, “we”-the government-will take what we want. …

… Man on the moon?  NASA is a tragic shadow of its former self-with Obama’s approval.

Hoover Dam?  Please.  You think it could be built today?  Really?  The enviros* and progs hate dams.  Hate them.

And even something seemingly more benign, like the Golden Gate Bridge, would never be built today, or certainly not as quickly or cheaply as the original. The environmental impact statements, the legislative log rolling, the designs and redesigns to meet the objections of this constituency or that, all make such project a thing of the past.

No, nowadays, infrastructure projects aren’t shovel ready.  They are rent seeker ready.  Lawyer ready.  Bureaucrat ready.  Just look at the train wreck (literally) that is high speed rail in California.  Or the Big Dig in Boston, …


Andrew Malcolm posts on the latest American astronaut who went into space on a Russian rocket.

Now, here’s some real Obama outsourcing.

This morning, Kazakhstan time, the next mission to the International Space Station successfully blasted off carrying the usual trio — a Russian commander, an astronaut from the international community and an American in a seat rented by NASA since the retirement of the last U.S. space shuttle a year ago this month. …


In a WaPo OpEd, Arthur Brooks lists five myths about free markets.

1. Free enterprise hurts the poor.

The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 and plenty of politicians would have us believe that the free-market system is a contest between the ultra-rich and everyone else (the “99 percent”). But in fact, there never has been a greater force for helping the poor than free enterprise.

Since 1970, the percentage of the world’s population living on the equivalent of less than a dollar a day has fallen by more than 80 percent. Hundreds of millions of people have been pulled out of grinding deprivation.

This miracle was not the result of U.N. development projects or U.S. foreign aid. It was free trade, rule of law, property rights and entrepreneurship that achieved this miracle. In China alone, free trade and foreign investment lifted 400 million Chinese out of absolute poverty between 1981 and 2001.

Whatever the Occupy movement claims, every American earning more than $34,000 a year is in the world’s top 1 percent, as World Bank economist Branko Milanovic calculates in his book “The Haves and the Have-Nots.” Americans make up less than 5 percent of the planet’s population, but we’re about half the members of the world’s 1 percent. And we’ve accomplished that through our commitment to free enterprise.

2. Free markets are driven by greed. …


Thomas Sowell on the “invincible lie.”

Anyone who wants to study the tricks of propaganda rhetoric has a rich source of examples in the statements of President Barack Obama. On Monday, July 9th, for example, he said that Republicans “believe that prosperity comes from the top down, so that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth.”

Let us begin with the word “spend.” Is the government “spending” money on people whenever it does not tax them as much as it can? Such convoluted reasoning would never pass muster if the mainstream media were not so determined to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil when it comes to Barack Obama.

Ironically, actual spending by the Obama administration for the benefit of its political allies, such as the teachers’ unions, is not called spending but “investment.” You can say anything if you have your own private language.

But let’s go back to the notion of “spending” money on “the wealthiest Americans.” The people he is talking about are not the wealthiest Americans. Income is not wealth — and the whole tax controversy is about income taxes. Wealth is what you have accumulated, and wealth is not taxed, except when you die and the government collects an inheritance tax from your heirs.

People over 65 years of age have far more wealth than people in their thirties and forties — but lower incomes. If Obama wants to talk about raising income taxes, let him talk about it, but claiming that he wants to tax “the wealthiest Americans” is a lie and an emotional distraction for propaganda purposes.  …


Part Two of Sowell’s Invincible Lie.

Nothing produces more of a sense of the futility of facts than seeing someone in the mass media repeating some notion that has been refuted innumerable times over the years.

On July 9th, on CNN’s program “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer, commentator Gloria Borger discussed President Obama’s plan to continue the temporary extension of the tax rates established under the Bush administration — except for the top brackets, where Obama wanted the tax rates raised.

Ms. Borger said, “if you’re going to lower the tax rates, where are you going to get the money from?”

First of all, nobody is talking about lowering the tax rates. They are talking about whether or not to continue the existing tax rates, which are set to expire after a temporary extension. And Obama is talking about raising the tax rate on higher income earners.

But when Ms. Borger asked, “where are you going to get the money from?” if you don’t raise tax rates, that assumes an automatic correlation between tax rates and tax revenues, which is demonstrably false.

As far back as the 1920s, a huge cut in the highest income tax rate — from 73 percent to 24 percent — led to a huge increase in the amount of tax revenue collected by the federal government. Why? Because investors took their money out of tax shelters, where they were earning very modest rates of return, and put their money into the productive economy, where they could earn higher rates of return, now that those returns were not so heavily taxed. …


Hot Air post on a new EPA reg.

Just in case you needed yet another example of Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency going above and beyond the call of duty in putting their own nebulous agenda before the concerns of the American people, here ya’ go.

The EPA, working through the auspices of the U.S. Coast Guard, is set to begin enforcing a new rule on August 1st that will require all large marine vessels (like cargo and cruise ships) sailing in southern Alaska waters to use low-sulfur fuel. The EPA is justifying the regulation as an extension of an amendment to a treaty, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), that Hillary Clinton accepted in 2010. The problem is that our Senate has yet to ratify that particular amendment — but when have such minute legal particulars ever bothered the EPA?

Fortunately, Alaska is fighting back — on Friday, the state filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration to try and block the costly new regulation. …


Shorts from National Review.

California, home of the little deuce coupe and the girl who’ll have fun, fun, fun ’til her daddy takes the T-Bird away, is the birthplace of car culture. Naturally, Governor Jerry Brown and state Democrats are proposing to spend some $68 billion from the budget-busted state’s coffers to build a high-speed train connecting Los Angeles with San Francisco, apparently never having heard of the Wright brothers and their newfangled aeroplanes. The Obama administration has offered more generous help funding a high-speed train in California, on the condition that the first segment connect Bakersfield and Madera. (Really.) California is setting itself up for an old-fashioned fiscal fiasco: The legislature has committed to the first $4.6 billion in bonds, but voters in a November referendum are likely to reject the tax increase Governor Brown helped secure to pay for them, meaning that the state would be forced to make cuts in real services in order to fund a pointless train that replicates faster air travel and that will under the best-case scenario not carry a single passenger between L.A. and San Francisco for more than a decade. (We’d bet against on-time-and-under-budget in this case.) Liberals have a peculiar affection for trains that mirrors their cultural disdain for cars and the freewheeling culture associated with them: Central planners love a train because they get to tell you where to go. We hope Californians will do the same with this project.

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