Politico has a featured article discussing concerns that exist regarding Fox News employing so many potential Presidential hopefuls.
As Fox’s popularity grows among conservatives,
the presence of four potentially serious Republican candidates as paid
contributors is beginning to frustrate competitors of the network,
figures within its own news division and rivals of what some GOP
insiders have begun calling “the Fox candidates.”...
issue are basic matters of political and journalistic fairness and
propriety. With Fox effectively becoming the flagship network of the
right and, more specifically, the tea party movement, the four
Republicans it employs enjoy an unparalleled platform from which to
speak directly to primary voters who will determine the party’s next
This doesn't seem too complicated to me. Apparently, it isn't that complicated for Fox either:
in an e-mail to POLITICO, indicated that once any of the candidates
declares for the presidency he or she will have to sever the deal with
That's easy enough. Glad we figured that out.
For some reason I don't remember articles on CNN employing Pat Buchanan, or other similar situations.
That was an excellent talk by Prof. Margolis. You have to wonder if those who insist that we get market failures when we rely on open competition really think we'd be better off if we turned decisions about technological paths over to politicians and bureaucrats. Even if you believe that sometimes the market process leaves us on a sub-optimal path (I don't think there is any evidence that it has, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that it's possible), why on earth would you expect better results by entrusting the matter to a group of people who don't stand to gain if they're right or lose if they're wrong? And wouldn't we expect those people to be subject to great pressures from politicians and special interest groups?
And talk about "locking in." What is more resistant to change than a governmental edict?
The idea that government can improve upon the decisions of market participants is absurdly unrealistic.
If you've spent much time with economics, you've heard about "market failure," an instance when government should step in to correct problems created by freely operating markets.
It's a phrase fans of big government love to use. In today's presentation to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society, N.C. State University economist Stephen Margolis revisited the 20-year-old "Fable of the Keys," a paper he co-wrote to refute a "market failure" argument associated with the standard QWERTY typewriter keyboard.
In the original argument, the QWERTY keyboard won market dominance despite its inferiority to at least one other type of keyboard. Margolis' work helped expose the fallacy of the original argument for "market failure."
In the video clip below, Margolis addresses reaction to his findings over the past two decades.
2:15 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 53:38 presentation.
You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.
A new Civitas poll finds Republicans leading Democrats on a generic legislative ballot by 11 percent, "the largest lead in the history of Civitas polling":
According to the poll of 600 likely voters, when asked if they would vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate if the election for State Legislature were held today, 44 percent said they would vote for the Republican. Thirty-three percent of voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate, and six percent said neither. Fifteen percent of voters said they do not know.
This represents a five percentage point increase (39 percent to 44 percent) in support for Republican candidates since a July 2010 Civitas poll. Democratic candidates saw a six percent decrease in support (39 percent to 33 percent).
“The political tide flowing towards Republicans seems to be picking up steam as we head into prime election season,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “Meanwhile, Democratic enthusiasm has greatly waned since the 2008 election, prompting the question of whether or not the party can get their voters to the polls in November.”
President Barack Obama started the school week Monday with a call for a longer school year, and said the worst-performing teachers have "got to go" if they don't improve quickly.
Bemoaning America's decreasing global educational competitiveness, Obama sought in a nationally broadcast interview to reinvigorate his education agenda. At the same time, the president acknowledged that many poor schools don't have the money they need and he defended federal aid for them. But Obama also said that money alone won't fix the problems in public schools, saying higher standards must be set and achieved by students and teachers alike.
1. Money is not the answer. Yet, Obama believes that low income schools need more money and his administration proudly continues to dole out billions to states. Go figure.
2. Increasing the length of the school year, which does not guarantee better schools, would require a lot of additional money that states do not have. (Enter the federal government with carrot on stick, I suppose.)
3. As for firing poor teachers, good luck with that one.
Remember this the next time you're buying stamps at the post office. An audit of the U.S. Postal Service has found that top mail executives left employment there and then returned a few months later as "knowledge transfer" contractors, racking up hefty fees. The Washington Times reports:
"These contracts were put in place, even though highly experienced postal executives filled the positions vacated by the former executives," the inspector general's office concluded in a report, which was ordered by two senators amid a procurement scandal involving the agency's former top marketing officer.
One former vice president retired in May and within two months received a $260,000 no-bid "knowledge transfer" contract for the postal executive who assumed his old job, the report found.
Overall, the inspector general's office found 17 no-bid contracts awarded to former postal executives within a year of their retirement dates ranging from October 2006 to September 2009.
Citing three of the contracts, the report found the rate was $75 an hour for one former executive and $160 an hour for two others. The fees were between $6 and $72 an hour higher than the hourly rate the executives made at the Postal Service, according to the report.
Such contracting practices raise serious ethics concerns, the inspector general's office warned in the report: "It appears unethical to hire back former executives at nearly twice their former pay to advise new executives who were placed in their position based on their expertise and years of Postal Service experience.
I think it's safe to eliminate the "appears" unethical part.
Michael Barone will help the John Locke Foundation read the electoral tea leaves during a Headliner luncheon Wednesday in Raleigh. You'll be able to hear a preview by listening to Bill LuMaye interview Barone shortly after 2 p.m. today on WPTF Radio.
It's likely that Barone will touch on at least some of the topics he discusses in his latest Washington Examinercolumn:
The interesting thing is that this year's Pledge to America concentrates more on substantive issues of governance than the Contract with America did 16 years ago.
Yes, the Pledge does include some procedural reforms (any House member can get a vote on an amendment cutting spending) as did the Contract (cutting the number of committees and committee staff).
But the Pledge to America also addresses two central economic issues and makes commitments that will embarrass House Republicans if they gain a majority but fail to deliver.
One is to roll back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels. The other is to repeal -- not revise or amend or embroider, but repeal -- the health care bill signed by Barack Obama exactly six months before the shirt-sleeved House Republicans made their pledge.
The rollback to 2008 strikes me as good policy and politics -- or at least good conservative policy and good Republican politics.
Good conservative policy because the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders vastly increased domestic spending in the 2009 stimulus package and the 2010 budget. With a Democratic president and Democratic supermajorities for the first time in more than 30 years, experienced and dedicated Democrats took out their wish lists and turned them into law.
In particular they increased the budget baselines for many domestic programs. Getting those baselines back down will make a significant difference not just this year but for years to come.
Hard not to see great gobs of it, but a particularly egregious case is the US Postal Service. Thanks to a union that most politicians bow to, the red ink flows year after year and the "service" now wants an increase in rates so it can pay more to workers who average $83,000 per year.
Today's Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial on this.
The solution is simple. Repeal the statute giving the USPS a monopoly on first-class mail and never give it another dollar in subsidy. It should compete for business just like any other enterprise.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is the latest Republican to get the TIMEprofile treatment as a potential challenger to President Obama in 2012.
While Barbour has made no commitment to run, he's keeping his options open:
As Barbour sees it, Barack Obama's fiscal policies are a flop with voters. And that, more than anything else, has opened the door to a huge year for his party. "I think the American people understand," Barbour explains, "we need to have more focus on jobs and the economy instead of 15 months on a so-called health-reform program that actually increases the cost of health care."
Joel Stein applies his usual wit to the ongoing tax cut debate for his latest TIMEcolumn.
One of the most interesting passages highlights the complexity of the tax system. Before reading this excerpt, it’s helpful to know that Stein reported income of $288,000 in 2009:
After hearing the specifics of my tax returns, [tax lawyer Mike] Foster informed me that I am not rich. The debate is over people who report more than $250,000 after deductions, and I had only $182,532 in taxable income, thanks to my giant mortgage and high income and property taxes. … Even more confusing, my income was high enough that I had to pay the alternative minimum tax, which makes the Bush tax cut irrelevant. Or something like that. Foster wasn’t sure. “I don’t even do my tax returns anymore,” he said. “I don’t know any tax lawyer who does their own tax returns. The forms are Greek even to us.”
… or audit it, you might appreciate the work of Thomas Hoenig, who heads the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
This is Tom Hoenig's moment, and it's a strange one. In Washington, he is the burr in Fed Chairman Bernanke's saddle: the rogue heartland banker who keeps dissenting alone—for the sixth straight time on Sept. 21—to protest the Fed's rock-bottom interest-rate policy. Hoenig warns that the Bernanke majority is setting the country up for an as-yet-unknown asset bubble: the next dot-com or subprime craze. He can't tell yet where the boom-and-bust will materialize, but he can feel it coming, like a Missouri wheat farmer senses in his bones the storm that's just over the horizon.
The son of an Iowa plumber, he argues that it's not primarily inflation he fears but the reckless borrowing and distortions engendered by sustained low interest rates. The hard truth, in his view, is that there just isn't much more the Fed can do to help, and we all ought to admit that.
The latest Bloomberg Businessweek searches for the answer to that question, and the nation’s poor economic picture might offer a good clue:
Jim Sensenbrenner pays extra to cruise his pontoon boat across Pine Lake in southern Wisconsin. He's willing to hand over 30˘ more per gallon for gasoline free of ethanol, which he calls "a lousy fuel" that corrodes his two-stroke outboard engine.
One boater's opinion might not matter, except that Sensenbrenner happens to be the top Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. His ethanol aversion is a sign that the darling of alternative fuels is hitting a political wall. "People are worried about deficits, debt, and special-interest handouts," Sensenbrenner says. "Ethanol is all three."
Why are ethanol subsidies so counterproductive? You’ll find more answers here, here, and here.
Not only are mainstream media outlets pitching John Boehner as the best guy to serve as the next U.S. House speaker, they’re already plotting the best way for President Obama to employ Bill Clinton’s triangulation strategy in 2011.
Students of recent American political history remember that Dick Morris helped Clinton develop his triangulation scheme after Republicans took over Congress in 1994.
What does the President need to do about tax policy? It's really pretty simple. It's saying, "Let's extend the Bush tax cuts until we have the next Presidential election so that we can have a real debate on the size of government and how we're going to pay for it." That would clear up an awful lot of uncertainty.
Defend the plutocrats' arguments against the President. About half of the people in the top 1 percent of income are business owners, so they're the people who create jobs. It is not us vs. them.
Is stimulus working? We had a package that the Congressional Budget Office costs out at $814 billion. That's equivalent to giving almost $100,000 to every newly unemployed person. We know it didn't have a very significant effect.