Comments on politics, the culture, economics and religion by Paul Tuns -- in short, everything about the human endeavour from a non-hyphenated conservative perspective. I am Toronto-based writer and editor, whose articles, columns and reviews have appeared in more than 35 publications. I am editor-in-chief of The Interim, Canada's life and family newspaper, author of Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal and a regular contributor to the book pages of the Halifax Herald.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Syria is dangerous for children (and other living people)
A UNICEF report released today says that Syria is not a good place for children because of the civil war:
As the conflict in Syria approaches another sombre milestone, more than twice as many children are now affected compared to 12 months ago, says a new report by UNICEF published today. Particularly hard hit are up to a million children who are trapped in areas of Syria that are under siege or that are hard to reach with humanitarian assistance due to continued violence.Under Siege – the devastating impact on children of three years of conflict in Syria focuses on the immense damage caused to the 5.5 million children now affected by the conflict and calls for an immediate end to the violence and increased support for those affected.
'What the president's budget reveals'
E21's James C. Capretta:
As many others have noted, and administration officials have all but admitted, the first priority of the 2015 budget is not to pass anything important in 2014 but to retain Democratic control of the Senate in the November mid-term election. The president himself has said previously that this is his top priority for the year. The budget assembled by his administration quite clearly had this objective in mind when setting priorities. Gone are any (even superficial) attempts to appeal to Republican legislators through serious tax and entitlement reforms, and thus to build the foundation for bipartisan support of significant budgetary legislation. Instead, this budget emphasizes higher levels of spending for liberal priorities and new entitlements, such as preschool education, financed with higher levels of taxation.
Politics is all about the Permanent Campaign.
Students expelled for inadvertently representin' gangbangers in school photo
The Daily Caller has the sordid story about two Alabama students were suspended and almost expelled from school because they held up three fingers to represent their jersey numbers* in a photo taken at school, apparently in a manner in which a gang in Chicago holds up their fingers. The school district has a rule against gang-related paraphernalia and assistant principal Todd Nichols suspended the duo immediately upon seeing the photographs. Alabama teens are probably not gangbangers in Chicago, so a little investigation and common-sense would have avoided this injustice, but school administrators seem quick to suspend students for fake crimes like shooting fingers, which violate zero-tolerance rules about guns. (Schools apparently have problems with fingers.) After serving 21 days of the indefinite suspensions following a recommendation for expulsion, the public reaction against the heavy-handed and misplaced punishment forced the school to relent and let the teens return. The Daily Callers says:
Many say common sense should have prevented administrators from disciplining the boys in the first place. Sadly, so-called “zero tolerance” policies often result in otherwise well-behaved students facing steep punishments for innocent misunderstandings or harmless mistakes.
Apparently you have to be pretty stupid to climb the ladder in education today. Or racist. As the story suggests, you also have to wonder if the vice principal would have jumped to the same conclusion about a white student holding up three fingers.
* I wondered how two students at the same school have the same jersey number. The story explains that one student has the number three on his jersey, while the other has an older brother with that number.
'The case of the compromised condom'
Kathy Shaidle in Taki magazine on the Supreme of Canada upholding a sexual assault conviction against Craig Jaret Hutchinson, who was given an 18-month sentence after piercing his girlfriend's condom:
Callers to the phone-in radio show we were listening to echoed our reaction: Hutchinson had done something sneaky, silly, dishonest, and pretty twisted, without a doubt. At the very least, he should have been charged with “possession of Ken Burns’s haircut.”But “sexual assault”? Certainly not. To a man (and woman), callers opined that “fraud” would have been a more appropriate charge — something civil, not criminal.
In other words, it isn't a crime to be a prick.
'Left Exposes Its Anti-Minority Bias In Charter Schools'
If anyone wanted to pick a time and place where the political left's avowed concern for minorities was definitively exposed as a fraud, it would be now — and the place would be New York City, where far left Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched an attack on charter schools, cutting their funding, among other things.These schools have given thousands of low-income minority children their only shot at a decent education, which often means their only shot at a decent life.Last year 82% of the students at a charter school called Success Academy passed citywide mathematics exams, compared to 30% of the students in the city as a whole.Why would anybody who has any concern at all about minority young people — or even common decency — want to destroy what progress has already been made?
Redistributing wealth is basically what government does
John Merline in Investor's Business Daily: "70% Of U.S. Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals." Heck, "An IBD analysis found that the richest 1% of Americans, in fact, receive roughly $10 billion each year in federal checks." Merline notes:
This massive shift in federal spending toward direct payments to individuals not only balloons the size of the federal government, it makes cutting the budget all the harder, since any meaningful spending reductions will invariably mean cutting back on some of these check-writing programs.The Congressional Budget Office figures that, by 2038, Medicare and Social Security alone will eat up 42% of the budget.
Someday a potential employer is going to Google Wayne Bryson ...
And will discover that he plead "guilty to a charge of performing an act of of sexual penetration with a dog."
Time to rethink retirement
Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Michael W. Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging, write in the Wall Street Journal about retirement and policies to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce:
Thus at all levels of society—national, organizational and individual—there are advantages to redefining 20th-century retirement. The notion of establishing a fixed "retirement age," with the state paying to support retirees, was introduced in Germany in 1889 by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The initial German retirement age was 70, later dropping to 65—but this was when life expectancy at birth was perhaps 40 years. Today, German life expectancy is over 80. Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought the same retirement age to the U.S. with Social Security in 1935, when U.S. life expectancy was 61, nearly two decades lower than today's 79. Yesterday's way of thinking about aging must be replaced with something that makes sense for the 21st century ...
The most common objection to encouraging older Americans to keep working is that they would "steal" the jobs of younger people and create a "gray ceiling." This is mistaken. Similar arguments were once made about women entering the workforce, but it is now clear that their contributions have been a tremendous economic boon. According to the National Women's Business Council, female-owned firms have an annual economic impact of $3 trillion and create or maintain more than 23 million jobs.America's aging population is a great untapped economic resource. The right policy reforms and business practices could leverage this resource to unleash another century of American economic growth. But first a profound transformation is needed in how we think about work, activity, aging and retirement.
This will require new thinking on the part of government and the private sector, not to mention workers themselves, many who look forward to a life of relaxation after four decades of going to work. The culture shift required is probably too great an obstacle.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Liam Neeson vs. Bill de Blasio
Actor Liam Neeson took some City Council members on a tour of a Manhattan horse stable over the weekend as he tries to rally support for the city's horse carriage industry.Neeson joined carriage drivers and animal caretakers at the Clinton Park Stables to show exactly how the horses are treated.The actor says the carriages should remain in the city because they provide jobs and keep tradition alive.
New York magazine reports:
While there is no shortage of celebrity animal-rights activists who support Mayor de Blasio's plan to end the Central Park tourist attraction, Neeson has sided with the 300 plus drivers and stable workers who may be put out of work by the ban.
(HT: Hit & Run)
Government telling people how to eat
A. Barton Hinkle: "Big Government Will Help You Eat Right." Although as Hinkle notes, people ignore labels, warnings, and government suggestions:
Maybe real problem not “label complexity.” Maybe real problem is, Americans not respond to gummint stimuli like trained rats in lab. Actually think for they own selves. Eat what they want, not what gummint tell them to.
The public doesn't always ignore the state. Hinkle did not note this but government can give the wrong advice. In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. government began urging Americans to eat more "healthy" pasta and in the 1990s it changed its mind saying Americans were consuming too many carbohydrates.
Putting Keystone XL in perspective
Via Small Dead Animals:
This day in Canadian history
On March 10, 1976, the proceedings of the legislature at Queen's Park were broadcast on television and radio for the first time, giving Ontarians an unfiltered view of what happens when the province's elected representatives get together. Is it coincidence that voter turnout declined ever downward from its high in the 1974 provincial election immediately preceding this development? (Actually, yes, but perhaps watching MPPs "debate" hasn't helped matters.)
Cash is expensive
Tyler Cowen notes why, from this article. Costs (including time) such as transporting cash or waiting in line for ATMs are one demand reason for the decline in cold hard cash, but this seems more important:
As the shackles of traditional financial systems are shaken loose the real innovation can begin – currency will be just another data feed for developers to play with.
Companies will be better able to serve customers knowing more about consumer spending patterns. And government data-miners will know more about us, too.
2016 watch (Making silly suggestions edition)
The Hill: "Is Ben Carson 2016's sleeper candidate?." Vernon Robinson, a former congressional candidate and a co-founder of the Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, says only the retired neurosurgeon can defeat Hillary Clinton.
I think Carson is an impressive figure, but it is hard to run for president without having previously held political office. He will excite a certain segment of the base, but he's not a viable candidate.
Sunday, March 09, 2014
What will happen to artists when UKIP takes over?
That is a serious question posed by The Guardian. Is UKIP really going to "takeover"? Samizdata's Perry de Havilland says that the worst case scenario (for them) is an artist who loses their national government arts grants can become "a Diversity Enforcement Officer for some tier of local government." You see, there is no end for public teat sucking for Leftists.
Could beating the inequality drum someday lead to bloodshed?
Ralph R. Reiland in The American Spectator:
The Great Divide” series of articles on inequality in the New York Times offers a textbook example of exaggerating the size of the hole and ignoring the donut. In “We Are Not All in This Together,” for instance, sociology professor Shamus Khan at Columbia paints a picture of the economy as a fixed pie: “Let’s be honest. If a few of us are better off, then many are not. If many are better off, then a few will be constrained. Which world would you rather live in? To me the answer is obvious.”In fact, Khan’s assertion of how the world works is far from obvious.Is he saying the rest of us became worse off when Steve Jobs and his top associates became better off? Is he claiming that we’ll somehow become worse off, automatically, if the stockholders of Merck or Bristol-Myers become better off because their investments succeed in producing a drug that can zap cancer tumors via the immune system?And what’s that about “a few will be constrained” if “many are better off”? I hope he’s not saying that Palm Beach would be economically better off if they “constrained” Donald Trump’s ankles in stocks along A1A, Colonial-style.
Economic growth is not a zero-sum game, but economic illiterates who peddle envy to advance their political agenda are almost certainly adding to the stock of hatred in this world; the fruit of their agitation could be violence.
Will on IRS scandal
Washington Post columnist George F. Will on the Internal Revenue Service:
The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party. Furthermore, congruent with exhortations from some congressional Democrats, it is intensifying its efforts to suffocate groups critical of progressives, by delaying what once was the swift, routine granting of tax-exempt status.So, the IRS, far from repenting of its abusive behavior, is trying to codify the abuses. It hopes to nullify with new rules the existing legal right of 501(c)(4) groups, many of which are conservative, to participate in politics.
As for the IRS scandal, President Barack Obama is predictably unserious about dealing with it:
After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns.
Sarah Palin's updating Green Eggs and Ham
Breitbart reports on Sarah Palin's speech at CPAC, where she presented her version of the Dr. Seuss classic:
I do not like this Uncle Sam, I do not like his healthcare scam.I do not like these dirty crooks or how they lie and cook the books.I do not like when Congress steals. I do not like their crony deals.I do not like this spying, man. I do not like, 'oh yes we can.'I do not like this spending spree. We're smart, we know there's nothing free.I do not like reporters' smug replies when I complain about their lies.I do not like this kind of hope and we wont take it... nope, nope, nope.
She also noted the importance of fighting back:
Duck Dynasty even made the speech. Palin defended Phil Roberston and his recent comments on his Christian views. She credited Americans for getting Robertson back on the air after he was briefly canned from the popular reality series. "We pushed back and we won," Palin said. "Now everyone is happy, happy, happy."
In other CPAC news, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey notes that Rand Paul won a massive victory in the CPAC straw poll (31% compared to second-place finisher Ted Cruz who had 11%) despite apparently not having a huge organization at the event.
Kevin Williamson destroys Jon Stewart
Kevin Williamson does a great job describing Jon Stewart, news purveyor to dimwits:
Mr. Stewart is among the lowest forms of intellectual parasite in the political universe, with no particular insights or interesting ideas of his own, reliant upon the very broadest and least clever sort of humor, using ancient editing techniques to make clumsy or silly political statements sound worse than they are and then pantomiming outrage at the results, the lowbrow version of James Joyce giving the hero of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the unlikely name of Stephen Dedalus and then having other characters in the novel muse upon the unlikelihood of that name. His shtick is a fundamentally cowardly one, playing the sanctimonious vox populi when it suits him, and then beating retreat into “Hey, I’m just a comedian!” when he faces a serious challenge. It is the sort of thing that you can see appealing to bright, politically engaged 17-year-olds.His audience is not made up of bright, politically engaged 17-year-olds. But Mr. Stewart has pulled off a pretty neat trick: He has, as the half-million or so headlines mentioned above indicate, made fake news into real news, and it is not an accident that the verb “destroys” so often follows his name. Mr. Stewart is the leading voice of the half-bright Left because he is a master practitioner of the art of half-bright vitriolic denunciation. His intellectual biography is that of a consummate lightweight — a William and Mary frat boy who majored in psychology, which must have been a disappointment to his father, a professor of physics — and his comedy career has been strictly by-the-numbers, from the early days on the New York City comedy-club scene ...
Putin and the uselessness of the United Nations
Tom Rogan at NRO:
First, Putin invades. He does so by flouting the most basic premise of international law — the inviolability of sovereignty absent threat. He does so with arrogant glee. Then, the U.N. reacts.With condemnation? Nope.With sanctions? Not a chance.With an “appeal” for calm? Bingo!Of course, it’s far from funny. Actually, it’s catastrophic. Because what we’ve witnessed over the last week is a metaphor for what international law has become: something that is revered at dinner parties in the West, roasted at dinner parties in Russia, and referred to subjectively at dinner parties everywhere else. Today, international law isn’t simply ignored by the bad actors around the globe; it’s perverted to their ends.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
1. The Daily Caller: "Patriotism gone wild at CPAC: 8 people who couldn’t control themselves with the red, white and blue."
2. Sports on Earth on camel wrestling.
3. From the Wall Street Journal: "Vodka Goes to Extremes: Neutral no more, vodka is finally expressing itself. A few industry innovators are pushing the boundaries, with surprising (and flavorful) results."
4. Popular Mechanics has a pictorial "A Brief History of Firefighting."
5. Th Mother Nature Network has "7 of the coldest places in the world to live." And from Business Insider: "23 Ridiculously Small Houses For Sale Right Now."
7. From the animal kingdom. There are more fish (by biomass and species) than we thought. National Geographic has photos of a river otter taking on an alligator. Science Daily reports on nature vs. nature: "Deer proliferation disrupts a forest's natural growth."
8. Mental Floss has "10 People Banned from Saturday Night Live."
9. Smithsonian Magazine has photos of Iceland's volcanic rivers.
11. The Atlantic reports that Wikipedia is the number one source of medical information for ... doctors.
12. Even though it will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I can't wait for the next Sin City.
The reform that wasn't
The Wall Street Journal reports that Congress passed a farm bill last month with a reform designed to prevent the so-called "heat and eat" loophole where states automatically enroll any beneficiary of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for food stamps. Some states subsidize individuals for $1 in order to get them the qualify for food stamps. A total of 15 states and Washington D.C., leverage the system this way. The WSJ notes that the minimum energy subsidy had to be increased to $20 to qualify for "heat and eat" and this was trumpeted as reform. The paper reports: "The Congressional Budget Office predicted this change would affect 850,000 households—about 4% of food-stamp beneficiaries—and save $8.6 billion over 10 years." But many states simply increased their token subsidy:
Governor Dannel Malloy last week announced that Connecticut would "expend $1.4 million in available federal energy assistance funding" to raise minimum Liheap payments for 50,000 beneficiaries, or about a quarter of its food-stamp rolls. The increase to a nice round $20.01 from $1 will "preserve approximately $66.6 million" a year in food-stamp benefits. So Connecticut will leverage $1 in additional federal Liheap funds to reap $48 more from Washington for food stamps.Mr. Malloy's neighbor Andrew Cuomo jumped for the free lunch the next day by declaring that New York would "dedicate approximately $6 million in additional federal" heating assistance to maintain $457 million in food-stamp payments.
And Democratic politicians in DC helped facilitate this swindle by increasing funding for heating-assistance programs to states after this particularly cold winter.
Three lessons come from this:
1) Politicians will find ways to continue doling out money.
2) Don't believe a word politicians say.
3) Republicans are also liars, because if they're not, they're incredibly stupid and naive.
Infrastructure over budget and over schedule
Rick McGinnis has an excellent column in Tonight on how and why infrastructure projects inevitably cost more and take longer than originally promised. I say that projects that go over budget and take too long should remain unfinished with the names of bureaucrats, politicians, and the companies responsible erected on billboards so everyone knows who is responsible for them.
Friday, March 07, 2014
Business Insider reports that the U.S. economy added 175,000 mostly private-sector jobs and the unemployment rate still rose from 6.6% to 6.7%.
Steyn on CanCon rules and porn channels
Mark Steyn comments on the CRTC taking three Canadian pornography channels to task not having enough Canadian content:
With Viagra and Cialis, if it lasts more than six hours, you should see your doctor. But, on Canadian TV, if it lasts under eight hours, you'll be seeing the CRTC. Other than that, I don't know how the points system works. Possibly you get points if two of the participants in a three-way are Canadian, or the sex act in question was developed in Canada, perhaps through a grant from the Canada Arts Council. At any rate, the three channels will face disciplinary action for their shortcomings.
'Ezra Levant’s trial echoes a time when Canada’s radical Muslim activists were taken seriously'
If you consider Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant too toxic and right-wing, Jonathan Kay's National Post column on the lawfare/libel suit against Levant is worth reading.
2016 watch (CPAC edition)
Byron York in the Washington Examiner: "Chris Christie avoids hard truths at CPAC."
Guess who has the better chance of winning the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Personally, I like Senator Mike Lee: "New generation of ideas from a new generation of leaders."
Get rid of state/local income tax deductions
Jeremy Horpedahl and Harrison Searles of the Mercatus Center argue for eliminating the deduction for state and local incomes taxes and local property taxes from federal income tax. By doing so, it could encourage high-tax jurisdictions to lower spending/cut taxes and would enable Washington to lower tax rates due to the savings from closing this tax expenditure. I've always viewed the deduction as a subsidy for high-tax states like New York and California. Bruce Bartlett agrees:
Economist Bruce Bartlett took a contrary position to Billman and Cunningham, arguing that this deduction is a subsidy to high-tax states from low-tax states, and high-tax states tend to have higher per capita incomes. He also found that, in general, the deduction is associated with higher state and local taxes because the federal government is paying a portion of these taxes, with most estimates suggesting state and local taxes are about 13 to 14 percent higher.
'Obama’s priorities: population control and endangered species'
Me at Soconvivium.
Open labour markets have made European soccer better
Stefan Szymanski in the current IMF journal, Finance & Development, on how EU labour rules made soccer on the continent better:
The World Cup will also create several new millionaire players—players currently working for small clubs in places like Costa Rica, Croatia, Greece, or Japan will earn lucrative contracts with mega clubs such as Bayern Munich and Manchester United on the back of star performances in Brazil. Almost every player’s ambition will be to play at the highest level in Europe.Thanks to fundamental changes in the regulatory regime and other factors, international mobility in Europe’s soccer labor market has increased markedly in the past two decades. Today, the size of the expatriate labor force in European soccer (at more than one-third of the total) far exceeds that in the wider European labor market, where foreigners comprise only 7 percent of the labor force (Besson, Poli, and Ravenel, 2008; European Commission, 2012). This internationalization is a key factor in Europe’s soccer success ...
Deregulation has done much to diversify the European soccer labor market. Sports organizations are private associations and, as such, have considerable latitude to set their rules and regulations free from government interference. However, restrictive employment agreements can fall foul of the legal system, as happened in the landmark “Bosman ruling.”Jean-Marc Bosman was a Belgian player with the Belgian club Liège whose contract had expired; the French team Dunkerque wanted to hire him and he wanted to move. Dunkerque offered to pay a transfer fee for his registration, which, under the rules at the time, still belonged to Liège. Liège considered the offer inadequate, and so Bosman could not move. Bosman sued, and the case went to the European Court of Justice. In 1995 the court ruled that the rules of the transfer system contravened EU laws on the free movement of labor and that rules restricting the number of foreign players also breached the law (European Court of Justice, 1995). This ruling was widely seen as facilitating a big increase in cross-border migration of players.As a result, the transfer regulations were significantly recast in negotiation with the European Commission. Since then, transfer fees are applicable only to players whose contracts have not expired, except for those under the age of 23, to compensate for training. Clubs participating in UEFA competition must field a minimum of eight “homegrown” players—at least four trained by the club itself and another four from the national association. At the time, many experts argued that the Bosman ruling would destroy the transfer market, and with it the economic viability of smaller clubs. Neither forecast proved correct.
Szymanski goes on to say that while soccer is better and the labour market is more efficient, it is still an open question whether the outcome is economically efficient for teams and the sport as a whole and that UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations on spending (assuming teams don't figure out how to get around them) could hurt the ability of players to play where they want and to reap the rewards due to their labour.
Obama misspells most over-used song in TV & film
ABC News reports:
President Obama has nothing but “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” for the women of soul, even if he accidentally misspelled the title of Aretha Franklin’s signature anthem.In an “oops” moment tonight, the president dropped a letter when paying tribute to the one and only Franklin at the White House concert series event, “In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul.”“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved. They wanted some respect,” the president said.
If George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, or Ronald Reagan did that, it wouldn't be an "oops moment" but a sign of their idiocy or age.
On this day in Canadian history
On March 7, 1963, members of the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec), a separatist and Marxist terror group operating in Quebec, committed the group's first violent acts, attacking three Canadian Army armories with Molotov cocktails. The FLQ would commit more than 160 terrorist acts from this date through 1970. The eight-year terror campaign resulted in eight deaths, the most famous being British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte in 1970 (the so-called October crisis).
Good policy, but politics will prevent it
An Investor's Business Daily editorial says that eliminating the more than 70 welfare programs that exist would easily pay for an increased Earned Income Tax Credit, which should increase the incentives to work (unlike welfare). It is good policy because "the best antidote to poverty is work, not welfare," but it is a radical idea that politicians aren't going to want to touch.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Liberalism, tolerance and social friction
The Cato Institute's Doug Bandow:
Leaving people largely left alone to manage their own lives should be what a free society is all about. Of course, those who are on the receiving end of social disapproval understandably don’t like the result. But no one has a “right” to be served by any particular person. Forcing someone into servitude is infinitely worse than simply finding someone else to do the job ...
Unfortunately, throughout history newly empowered minorities often learn the wrong lesson. Rather than create barriers to new state injustices, some people use law for their own advantage. Hence state persecution of the New Mexico wedding photographer who felt she could not promote gay ceremonies which she believed to be wrong.
Bandow also says:
Any large, diverse society will find people at frequent odds, believing and behaving differently. In the main, government should leave them alone to find their own way. Especially when most basic freedom of conscience is involved. Tolerance is a cardinal virtue.Indeed, liberty of conscience undergirds all human freedom. Such liberty is inherent to the human person, not a privilege granted by the state. Americans who believe in freedom should respect even unpopular religious beliefs, as in this case.
I'm mostly for live-and-let-live, but I also have no problem with a little social friction, which many progressives and supposed "liberals" seem incapable of tolerating. For them, disagreements must be stamped out, by government coercion of necessary. True tolerance requires not that we eliminate differences, but countenance them and learn to live wit difference of opinions, even judgmental ones.
Minority outreach panel at CPAC is poorly attended
The Brookings Institute's John Hudak reports:
About ten minutes into the panel, I snapped a photo (shown above) of a largely empty ballroom. The lack of attendance for the panel is a huge loss and missed opportunity for participants. CPAC brings together some of the Republican Party’s most passionate, engaged, and eager members. The people who attend the meetings run campaigns, volunteer for issue-based efforts and candidates’ campaigns. They are leadership in an army of grassroots conservatism. The panel of Gillespie, Roe, Sailor and Woodson was there to address a basic question: how do we grow our ranks in areas where we traditionally underperform?
Where are all the people who bleat endlessly about making the GOP a big tent by reaching out to groups that do not vote Republican?
Investor's Business Daily editorializes about the long-term economic goal of environmentalists:
They call it "de-growth," but it would be better described as "insanity." The advocates of this plan want to literally "de-grow" the economy back to what they believe is a "sustainable" level."There's no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.," Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian told Sierra Magazine. "We have to de-grow our economy, which is obviously not a popular stance to take in a culture that celebrates growth in all forms."Someone should tell Mr. Assadourian there's a good reason why his stance is not a popular: People don't want to be poor and live shorter, unhealthier lives.
'Women's work opportunities declining in GTA'
Maybe. The Toronto Star reports:
The report, called “Working Women, Working Poor,” was produced by several unions including Unifor and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Forty-four diverse women were interviewed about their experiences with lay-offs, unemployment or precarious work.“I think the study raises the larger picture of what is happening to Toronto and Ontario’s economy,” said lead author Prabha Khosla.“I see us becoming a low-wage economy. Is that the kind of society we want?”
I don't know if you can come to many meaningful conclusions based on a study of a mere 44 women.
Also, the Star says of the union report: "Women have also been pushed into 'job ghettoes' such as personal support work, which typically pays low wages while offering only part-time or on-call employment." That betrays quite the view of women who enter the care professions such as personal support work.
Furthermore, many of the challenges women are facing according to this report are also being faced by men as the job market changes.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Pandering to the middle class is expensive and unsustainable
William Watson in the Ottawa Citizen:
That everybody is middle class is a big problem for policy: To help the whole middle class we’d need foreign aid. Our poor people can lend moral support but not much else. Our rich people simply aren’t numerous or rich enough. According to the latest Statistic Canada data, in 2011 there were 258,465 tax-filers in the infamous top one per cent. To qualify, you needed an income of $207,900. Average income in this group was $441,400. If you taxed the one per cent at 100 per cent — if you simply seized their incomes — that would give you $3,232 for every man, woman and child in the country. For the used-to-be-typical family of four, that’s $13,000, a tidy sum most middle-class families could certainly make use of.
In other words, most of government's redistribution is not robbing from Peter to pay Paul, but robbing from Peter to pay himself. That's idiotic.
Watson also notes that middle class incomes are generally up and that the Tories could "legitimately run on a program of 'you've never had it so good'," although the figures he quotes are total income which includes transfer payments but excludes taxes, so "if most middle-class Canadians don't really think they've never had it so good, maybe taxes are the reason."
So: tax cuts, please.
'Culture and politics'
Riffing on what ProWomanProLife's Andrea Mrozek said after attending the Manning Networking Conference, I very briefly note at Soconvivium that culture and politics are different but not entirely separate spheres.
Thank God for those budget caps Republicans agreed to three months ago
Stephen Moore in Investor's Business Daily:
Barack Obama keeps saying there isn't a government program for every problem in America, but you wouldn't know it from reading his new 2015 federal budget.This nearly $4 trillion document would spend more federal dollars on everything from climate change to green energy to transit systems to welfare state expansion to federal land purchases to day-care subsidies.The spending blueprint is a back-door scheme to bust the budget caps that already were raised just last December.It calls for spending $56 billion above those caps ...
You could make a fair argument that $56 billion in government spending hardly amounts to real money (which in itself could be a problem), but the point is not the spending but the meaningless of the spending caps and agreements between Congress and the White House.
More anti-gun hysteria at schools
Hot Air: "10-year-old who pointed his fingers like a gun suspended from school for three days." Threats of longer suspension or expulsion if he does it again.
Thoughtful article on legalizing marijuana
Jonathan Rauch has a good piece in the Washington Monthly on legalizing cannabis (WM runs a number of articles on the theme this month). Libertarians view legalizing pot as a victory for liberty, but Rauch contends that support for permitting marijuana stems from the public's understanding that the war on drugs has failed and that the tolerance to license for marijuana is limited. He contends that the regulatory regime will be important and that if reckless pot use is shown to increase that support for legalization will probably decline. He also compares legalization to Obamacare, saying there is a right and wrong way to proceed, and the handling of implementation hiccups perhaps being vital to long-term success. Overall, it is a fair examination of the issue.