Funny how — notwithstanding Emanuel's often disgusting, bare-knuckle politics — it never enters the consciousness of self-styled progressives that without someone to attempt to moderate Obama's agenda, impossible as that may seem, the president might be in even worse shape?
Former JLF speaker Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute will address "America and the Imperial Temptation: Defending a Free Society in Today's World" during a 6 p.m. lecture Monday at Campbell University's Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.
It's the year's first installment of Campbell's Politics, Law, and Economics Lecture Series. Follow the links for presentations last spring from Arnold Kling and Thomas Woods.
Meanwhile, click play below for a reminder of what Doug Bandow told Carolina Journal Radio this spring about ObamaCare.
The progressives over at The Nation want Rahm Emanuel's head. Get this from Ari Berman a contributing writer for The Nation:
The sooner Rahm leaves Washington, the better for Barack Obama. His
White House is desperately in need of a serious shakeup, especially
with Democrats facing a tidal wave of losses in the midterms. Replacing
Rahm is the best place to start.
I’ll never quite understand why a transformational candidate who ran
under the banner of a new style of politics chose the ultimate
old-school inside operator to control his administration. Rahm isn’t
solely to blame for diluting Obama’s unique outsider brand, but he’s a
major reason why. After all, in the Clinton White House and in
Congress, Rahm was often at odds with the very grassroots activists who
powered Obama’s presidential campaign. As head of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee in ‘06, he famously clashed with party
chair Howard Dean and recruited conservative Blue Dog candidates at the
expense of legitimate progressive challengers.
Rahm brought his corporate centrism to the White House, pushing for a
smaller-than-needed stimulus bill, urging Obama not to pursue healthcare reform, watering down the bill when he did and calling progressive activists who wanted to pressure obstructionist Democrats “fucking retarded.” He later apologized to Sarah Palin but not to the Democratic activists he insulted.
John Gizzi details in his latest Human Eventsarticle the business response to President Obama's tax proposals:
In what is almost certain to be a repeated theme from the business community before the fast-approaching midterm elections, two business leaders who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS said without hesitation that Obama’s ending of the Bush cuts was a tax increase.
Not only is the business community sharply opposed to tax rates going back to their pre-2001 levels for couples making more than $250,000 a year, but they are also unimpressed with Obama’s call for $180 billion in selected tax credits and infrastructure spending.
One key player in the economy from the Bush Administration felt the latest Obama package was simply more stimulus spending and higher taxes.
“We should not do anymore government stimulus and we should not raise taxes on anyone,” former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez told HUMAN EVENTS. “It is not right to ask the American people to pay for inefficient programs that are designed to get votes for the President’s party.”
Gutierrez, a former chief executive officer of the Kellogg Company, predicted that “the American people will pay dearly for this administration’s policies for years to come.”
The warning issued by Gutierrez could easily be a clarion call for a business-backed assault on both the Obama economic initiative and on congressional Democrats who support the President.
At the Truth on the Market blog, Todd Henderson of the University of Chicago Law School (no relation) looks at data published recently on Slate.com showing rising income inequality.
While ducking the debate over whether such stratification is a good or bad thing, Henderson notes that the article makes what he calls a "startling admission":
“[I]t would be hard to argue, based on this data, [that tax cuts] were a major factor.”
Henderson includes a couple of charts showing median compensation over the past several decades, and also plots CEO pay compared with the stock indexes. His conclusion: When CEOs started getting stock options in their compensation packages, their pay started rising dramatically.
The solution for rising income inequality? An expansion of what (yes) George W. Bush called the "ownership society." As more and more wage earners own pieces of corporate America, the more able they are to accumulate real wealth.
So, in other words, it may be that the growth of income inequality is driven by the top 1 percent getting more income from investments. If this is the case, then policies like Social Security and defined-benefit pension plans (pushed by labor unions) are somewhat to blame for this trend not being experienced more widely. Policies that push ownership and investments down the income curve, like stock options for employees and 401(k) plans, may help reduce the problem of income inequality without more government intervention.
CEOs of struggling companies have sometimes taken the symbolic step of forgoing a salary or taking only $1 in compensation to show their commitment to the company's success. President and Mrs. Obama earned 13 times more from book royalties and other sources than his $400,000 presidential salary, which itself is high enough to land them in the highest tax bracket.
If the president were truly concerned about the deficit, perhaps he could set an example for the others like he and his wife who are "well-off and well-connected." He could give up the presidential salary and make a voluntary contribution to the government to help pay off the national debt. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are very committed to giving their money away and raising taxes. I'm sure he could convince them to chip in a billion dollars each. Maybe George Soros could divert his money from funding left wing groups and actually fund the progressive government programs those groups promote.
It could be like the war bond sales of the miracle 1940s. Not a lot of money in practical terms, but an important symbolic step. It could also set a new course of cajoling cooperation instead of cudgeling capitulation.
The latest column from Newsweek’s Robert J. Samuelson suggests that school reform efforts are doomed to failure as long as they avoid the key issue of student motivation.
Samuelson’s ideas make for interesting reading, especially his assessment of previous reforms:
Standard explanations of this meager progress fail. Too few teachers? Not really. From 1970 to 2008, the student population increased 8 percent while the number of teachers rose 61 percent. The student-teacher ratio has fallen from 27 to 1 in 1955 to 15 to 1 in 2007. Are teachers ill paid? Perhaps, but that’s not obvious. In 2008 the average teacher earned $53,230; two full-time teachers married to each other and making average pay would rank among the richest 20 percent of households (2008 qualifying income: $100,240). Maybe more preschool would help. Yet the share of 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool has rocketed from 11 percent in 1965 to 53 percent in 2008.
Want some other ideas for reform? The John Locke Foundation is happy to oblige.
A Newsweekarticle about a pending leadership change within France’s National Front party carries the headline “What a Tea Party Looks Like in Europe.” Why might Newsweek compare American Tea Party activists to this French group?
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the 82-year-old firebrand of France’s far right—the man who for decades has played on the inchoate fears, xenophobia, knee-jerk racism, and ill-disguised anti-Semitism of many of his supporters—had just finished speaking to the faithful on a farm not far from the English Channel.
Perhaps they need to read Newsweek’s new article about China’s Xinhua news agency:
The challenge is finding an audience for “news” that is best known for its blind spots. The typical Xinhua sentence is thick on the tongue (“out of which 20 percent were the HIV-infected persons”) and often inaccurate by design. In Xinhua’s world, the Tiananmen Square massacre never happened, Falun Gong is an evil cult, and the Dalai Lama is the Guy Fawkes of Tibet. Xinhua also gathers sensitive news—such as the full heads-rolling horror of the Uighur riots last summer—and releases it to Chinese officials alone. It’s as if The New York Times were to stamp its scoops “internal reference reports” and file them to President Obama.
One could hope that this background information could help squelch support for directing tax dollars toward dying American newspapers.