April 26, 2009

Econ 202: Individual Behavior

The last thing this country needs is a pirate raid on the wealth creators who still dare navigate our stormy waters

The opinion polls have uttered. The country loves the new 50 per cent top rate of income tax. Soak the rich. Smash the bankers.

...He says that he is young enough to set up shop somewhere else. The new tax rates were the final straw. These talented young people know they will make it impossible for them to educate their kids privately in the UK.

So Britain plc loses not just the 40 per cent he would have paid in personal taxes under the old regime - plus NI and everything else - but... Come on, I don't need to explain the knock-on effect. It's obviously huge and immensely damaging...

Read the whole thing and remember, capital flight includes human capital. We compete world-wide as a nation not just for financial capital and industrial production but also for top talent--in ALL fields.

Even Andrew Effing Lloyd Webber gets it.

UPDATE: Michael Caine provides an example.

April 24, 2009

Democrat Science = Gag Dissent

Democrats Refuse to Allow Skeptic to Testify Alongside Gore At Congressional Hearing
UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington. Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.

... GOP House source told Climate Depot that the Democrats on the Committee said “absolutely not” to allowing Monckton to appear during today's Gore hearing. The GOP committee “pushed at multiple levels” to bring Monckton in to testify but the Democrats “refused,” according to the GOP source. Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich was called in to testify after Monckton was rejected by the committee Democrats, according to the Congressional source.

Gore has repeatedly dodged debating Monckton despite several highly-publicized challenges, and he's not about to start. Gingrich is allowable because he lacks Monckton's credentials and can be easily demonized.

New Whig

The Modern Whig Party
Established in 1833, the Whigs are one of America's oldest mainstream political parties. We were the original party of Abraham Lincoln and four other U.S. Presidents.

Revived by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the grassroots movement has quickly attracted tens of thousands of members. We represent moderate voters from all walks of life who cherry-pick between traditional Democratic and Republican ideals in what has been called the Modern Whig Philosophy.

This includes general principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and bold social progression.

Damned if I'm not feeling rather Whiggish nowadays.

April 22, 2009

Doh! And Duh!

The yield curve predicts growth. Check. Consumer sentiment is ticking up. Check. But CEO confidence is lousy, and CEOs are (not) spending accordingly. Whoops. This begs the question: Why are CEOs in such a low mood?

Answer: If you are a CEO in financial services, manufacturing, energy production and health care, you are going to be more regulated. Period, end of story. Your response to forthcoming regulation of yet-to-be-determined complexity will be to hunker down. Keep your name out of the news, improve the balance sheet and hold tight.

This is why the U.S. economy, which wants to turn the corner, is still stuck in the intersection as it decides which way to go.

In her book The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes (now a Forbes columnist) wrote that the 1937-38 “depression within a depression” occurred when “capital went on strike.” President Roosevelt’s willingness to “try anything”–including retroactive taxation, laws against discount pricing and an attempted Supreme Court packing–had businesses and their backers so confused about Roosevelt’s rules that they simply withdrew.

This is the risk of Obama’s willingness to “do what it takes.” The words sound positive and action-oriented. But in practice, “do what it takes” really means “anything can happen.” Tearing up of legal contracts … that can happen. Limits to salary and travel … that can happen. Bullying by the Environmental Protection Agency … that can happen. Nationalization of General Motors and Citigroup … that can happen. Nobody knows for sure. Government is sorting it out, day by day.

Shorter version: The economy is recovering despite Washington, but that recovery is still greatly impeded by a deep distrust of the current Congress and admininstration.


April 21, 2009

Brave New World

A Rahm Bomb for Jane Harman?

So the inside-the-Beltway question is: Who, high up in the administration, authorized the leak of a super-secret NSA wiretap against a sitting member of Congress, Rep. Jane Harman (who also happens to be the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee) And how do the anonymous sources know they will not be prosecuted?

Does the fact that Jane Harman agreed with the Bush Administration in significant ways come into this?

I'll bet it does.

Hope! Change!

April 17, 2009

Shut Up, She Explained

Janeane Garofalo demonstrates Klavan's point in action....

Liberal actress says tea parties were racist
"Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don't know their history at all. It's about hating a black man in the White House," she said on MSNBC's "The Countdown" with Keith Olbermann Thursday evening. "This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. There is no way around that."

Olbermann did not once try to challenge her on those assertions.

Don't take my word for it, go watch it for yourself. The YouTubery is HERE.

Pretty much any time someone diverts a discussion by tossing in ad hominem responses to substantive argument, they're saying "Shut up!" Meaning they have no counter-argument at hand worth advancing.

If you point out that the legal decisions favoring same-sex marriage are for the most part blatant judicial activism, you're a homophobe. Even if you're in favor of consenting adults making whatever family arrangements they wish, and cheered Vermont for (partially*) reaching that conclusion through the democratic process rather than having it forced on them by an activist court.

Disagree with the President on any small bit of that dogma, and you're automatically a racist, simply because the President has extra melanin.

And oddly enough, agree with the Tea party protestors that doubling our national debt essentially overnight to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at Dem party wish-lists is probably not a good idea, and you're magically that worst of all things...a racist Republican. (Never mind which party you're registered with--or even if you're registered with any.)

I'm guessing the only reason Garofalo left out "homophobe" was that it's kind of hard to call someone a homophobe while also sneering at them as being "teabaggers," regardless of the veracity or relevance of the labelling. Besides, they'd kind of like to distract folks from the rather blatant un-PC other-hating involved in the sexually-loaded adolescent sneers.

Gay Patriot has some additional thoughts on the general subject.

(*--Those in "poly" families feel left out...)

April 13, 2009

Shut Up, They Explained

Andrew Klavan pretty well nails it.

Pretty much any time someone diverts a discussion by tossing in ad hominem responses to substantive argument, they're saying "Shut up!" Meaning they have no counter-argument at hand worth advancing.

April 12, 2009

Navy, Jack!

Pedicaris alive or Ruisali dead...or both. No other acceptable option. Luck comes to those who prepare for it.

I still think there's a yardarm shortage.

UPDATE: Official: US sea captain freed in swift firefight
The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates," said the commissioner, Abdi Aziz Aw Yusuf. He said he organized initial contacts between the elders and the Americans.

There was in my humble American opinion no negotiation to be made aside from this: "There will be no ransoms paid. Release Captain Phillips alive, and you can live to face trial. Fail to do so and you will die. Those are your only options."

I hope they got a good GPS fix on the pirate's "clan elders." They should be next.

April 07, 2009

Advance to the Rear!

Reality hits Obama Express
President Barack Obama, after a lightning-quick start for his agenda on Capitol Hill, is bracing for a much slower pace and big changes in his proposals as early urgency and excitement give way to the more languid rhythms that are the norm for Congress.

...The officials said none of this is catching them by surprise: Obama knew Congress has limited bandwidth, and he simply wanted to get the wheels of government turning on every big issue this year. A big part of their communication strategy will now focus on highlighting incremental progress on the Obama agenda, to show people Washington is working again.

The White House’s handicapping for three centerpiece proposals: Financial-services reform has “a very good chance.” Health care “has a lot of momentum behind it.” And energy “got off to a great start” with the introduction last week of a model bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

Translation: It's time to dial back expectations and put a happy face on the admin's inability to sweep away all opposition with a blinding wave of magical unicorn rainbow-farts.

April 06, 2009

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Administration defends Bush wire-taps
The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration's wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records.

The silence of the lambs left is deafening.

No, wait, now I hear some bleating!

Patterico has more nifty coverage.

April 04, 2009

Sounds Familiar...

...but only because I've said much the same thing for years.

A Three-Way Fix For Health Reform That Saves Money
Before President Barack Obama and Congress overhaul the U.S. health care system at great expense - and, as things look now, without a cost-control mechanism - they ought to consider an alternative conceptual framework.

It comes from Tom Cigarran, founder of Healthways Inc., the nation's largest disease-management company, who says that - despite politicians' denials - some sort of health care rationing is inevitable and needs to be done rationally and fairly.

Worth your time, though light on critical analysis. But the key points about rationing are there.

April 03, 2009

Monica? Is That You?

White House Corrects Conference Call Number After Directing Reporters to Sex Line
Journalists seeking to talk a little foreign policy with high-profile Obama administration officials live from the G20 meetings in London this week were solicited for phone sex instead after ringing up the toll-free number given by the White House.

Wonder how the wrong number got in there...maybe someone was writing personal notes in the margins of briefing papers or something?
In a press release, the White House accidentally listed a sex line number for journalists seeking an "on-the-record briefing call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones to discuss the NATO summit."

Ah, so that's it! Hillary's been leaving things lying around the house again! We knew there was probably a Clinton involved.

April 01, 2009

Nutshell VI

Schedule leaves Obama a media no-show
Unlike President Bush's White House communications team, which usually timed press conferences abroad to coincide with the U.S. morning programs, the Obama operation kicked off the president's first day in Britain while most Americans were still asleep. What's more, the president banned most reporters from nearly every event he held on a day busy with bilateral talks with foreign leaders, and even held cameras at bay for his visit to Buckingham Palace to meet the queen.

Just gotta love that that most transparent White House in history, eh? Even the NYT is starting to notice...