But perhaps the biggest lesson from Goethe’s Faust is that self-deception is intrinsic to all foolish acts. Whenever governments choose comforting economic illusions over difficult economic truths, then, like Mephistopheles, they will employ dubious means such as state-engineered inflation or public-sector indebtedness to make ill-conceived economic policies seem less burdensome to those who will in the long term eventually have to pay the price.
It’s interesting to instead think of how brief, yet sweeping, some alternatives [to thousand-plus-page legislation] might be.
Take financial regulation: … “You are free to fail; proceed at your own risk”.
Or health care: “A true insurance policy, provided by the private sector, can cover you for catastrophic-but-unlikely events. You can cover all other expenses, just like any other consumer good.”
Energy policy? “The government will enforce property rights but otherwise has no dog in this hunt. [B]uild the better mousetrap and let the world beat the path to your door.”
International trade: “We welcome the best and cheapest suppliers, as defined by their customers, to provide them with goods and services. To levy taxes and tariffs on imports is to commit an act of war against our own citizens.”
To modern Progressives the only thing separating us from this hell on earth is the list of federal agencies, so anyone who wishes to abolish these agencies either is utterly ignorant of history or wants everyone but the “rich” to live in misery.
The key fallacy embedded in Keynesian economics is the idea that government spending adds to an economy’s health. In reality, the opposite is true. Wrongheaded governmental interventions are preventing the world’s largest economies from recovering from massive malinvestment.
People who think we shouldn’t be allowed to make our own medical decisions, or decisions about which schools our children attend, certainly are not likely to be happy with the idea that we can make our own decisions about how to defend ourselves.
Dissenting today in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, Justice Samuel Alito put his finger on the majority’s underlying principle: there shall be “no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.” That pretty much says it all.
Today is a big victory for gun rights and a bigger one for liberty. The Supreme Court has correctly decided that state actions violating the right to keep and bear arms are no more valid than those taken by the federal government. …
Justice Thomas grapples with the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, surveying the rich history of the terms “privileges” and “immunities” to find that the right to defend oneself is part and parcel of the inalienable rights we all possess—and indeed it is “essential to the preservation of liberty.” The Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment—the most important “Framers” in this context—plainly deemed this right “necessary to include in the minimum baseline of federal rights that the Privileges or Immunities Clause established in the wake of the War over slavery.” All arguments to the contrary lack legal, historical and even philosophical basis.
Robert Byrd, the president pro tempore of the Senate (and former Ku Klux Klan chapter leader), finally managed to die this morning at the age of 92. Byrd, arguably the greatest advocate of government spending in Washington, served in the Senate for 51 years. To put that in perspective, the total federal spending during Byrd’s tenure was just over $77.2 trillion — and no, I didn’t adjust that number for inflation. Anyway you calculate it, that’s a lot of wealth destroyed.
Hopefully the people of West Virginia get a special election instead of a ‘temporary’ appointee by the Democrat governor.
Smart statists understand that there are very strong Laffer Curve effects at the top of the income scale since investors and entrepreneurs have considerable ability to control the timing, level, and composition of their income. So if higher tax rates on upper-income taxpayers don’t collect much revenue, why is the left so insistent on class-warfare taxation? The answer, I think, is that soak-the-rich taxes are a “loss-leader” that politicians impose in order to pave the way for higher taxes on the middle class.
So in running her articles, the Huffington Post is essentially transcribing (and translating) a Stalinist regime’s propaganda for the benefit of English readers. For proof simply compare Margarita Alarcon’s [Cuban government run]-press archive to her Huffington post archive (different order and titles, same articles).
— In Federalist 45, James Madison said: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.” What did the Father of the Constitution not understand about the Constitution? Are you a Madisonian? Does the doctrine of enumerated powers impose any limits on the federal government? Can you cite some things that, because of that doctrine, the federal government has no constitutional power to do?
— Can you name a human endeavor that Congress cannot regulate on the pretense that the endeavor affects interstate commerce? If courts reflexively defer to that congressional pretense, in what sense do we have limited government?
— The 10th Amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”) is, as former Delaware governor Pete du Pont has said, “to the Constitution what the Chicago Cubs are to the World Series: of only occasional appearance and little consequence.” Were the authors of the Bill of Rights silly to include this amendment?
Laws creating victimless crimes are particularly pernicious laws. Their associated evils are essential rather than accidental; that is, their destructive properties stem from their very nature as victimless. …
[They] invite graft and corruption of all sorts and the suspension of civil liberties, because these are the only effective ways of combating this species of “crime.”
Is corpulence really a disqualification for the presidency in the land of supersized fries? If so, that’s a shame. America might do better with a fat president. After all, some of our best have been big fellows, and lately the trim and ambitious types haven’t served us so well.
[H]ealth care is not and cannot be a “right” — because rights are things that inhere in human beings by virtue of their being human. As the Declaration of Independence says, we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” These “natural” rights are things we enjoy without burdening the rights of others: freedom of speech and belief, the right to earn an honest living, freedom of movement, the right to acquire and possess private property, the right to decide what we do every day … all the way down to the right to get out of bed on the left or right side (or to stay in bed all day) – and the right to defend ourselves against those who would take away these rights. Once you start making “rights” out of things that somebody has to provide you — food, shelter, health care, employment — then you’ve violated everyone’s natural rights and reduced their inherent liberty.
On the Democrat’s oft-repeated (and for them, extremely useful) claim that the poor are forever “falling behind”:
The wealth of nations, according to Adam Smith, the founding father of the market economy, is not measured in GDP or cash reserves. Rather, it “consists in the cheapness of provision and all other necessaries and conveniences of life.”
By that standard, American wealth in general, and the wealth of poor Americans, has skyrocketed in the last half-century, and the government had relatively little — though certainly not nothing — to do with it. And it’s not just that consumer items are cheaper than ever, they’re also better than ever. An iPhone today isn’t just better than yesterday’s phones, it’s better than yesterday’s cameras, calculators, portable stereos and computers. Many of the standard features on a 2010 Honda Accord were considered luxury items 10 years ago and almost unimaginable 20 years ago.
And of course, the areas that haven’t gotten cheaper just happen to be those in which there is more government involvement.
"The law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers," Obama declared in 2007, condemning "unchecked presidential power" and promising that in his administration there would be "no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."
Even a tiny, restricted program that’s only been around for six years increases graduation rates, has a positive impact on at least some groups of students, harms no groups of students, and does this for less than a third of what the DC Public Schools spend.
But of course, it takes money away from unions, and thus it must end.
[T]he idea that good people can be devoted Communists is grotesque. The two categories are mutually exclusive. There was a time, perhaps, when dedication to Communism could be absolved as misplaced idealism or naiveté, but that day is long past. …
Communism is not, as its champions like to claim, an appealing doctrine that has been perverted by monstrous regimes. It is a monstrous doctrine that hides behind appealing rhetoric. It is mass crime embodied in government. Nothing devised by human beings has caused more misery or proven more brutal.