Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Political Digest August 26 2009

The Great Escape
Another must-read from Dr. Sowell
Excerpt: The great escape of our times is escape from personal responsibility for the consequences of one's own behavior. Differences in infant mortality rates provoke pious editorials on a need for more prenatal care to be provided by the government for those unable to afford it. In other words, the explanation is automatically assumed to be external to the mothers involved and the solution is assumed to be something that "we" can do for "them."

How Tort Reform Cut Florida Workers' Compensation Costs
We could do a lot to reduce the costs of defensive medicine, which would save many billions, but with the League of Leftwing Lawyers running the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, fat chance. They don’t want to cut costs if those costs go to lawyers’ incomes.

Taxes too high? You ain't seen nothing yet.
“If (Barack Obama) is elected president, no one making less than $250,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes.” Some people were stupid enough to believe that.

High-Speed Boondoggle
Why Obama's bet on rails is an expensive mistake
Excerpt: The Obama administration's enthusiasm for high-speed rail is a dispiriting example of government's inability to learn from past mistakes. Since 1971, the federal government has poured almost $35 billion in subsidies into Amtrak with few public benefits. At most, we've gotten negligible reductions—invisible and statistically insignificant—in congestion, oil use or greenhouse gases. What's mainly being provided is subsidized transportation for a small sliver of the population. In a country where 140 million people go to work every day, Amtrak has 78,000 daily passengers. A typical trip is subsidized by about $50. Given this, you'd think even the dullest politician wouldn't expand rail subsidies, especially considering the almost $11 trillion in projected federal budget deficits between now and 2019. But no, the administration has made high-speed rail a top priority. It's already proposed spending $13 billion ($8 billion in the "stimulus" package and $1 billion annually for five years) as a down payment on high-speed rail in 10 "corridors," including Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and Houston to New Orleans.

United Kingdom: Over 45,000 National Health Service Staff Call in Sick Each Day
When healthcare providers become government employees.

Oil Industry Details Costs of Climate Bill
Excerpt: By 2030, U.S. refining production could drop 17 percent from today's levels if the climate bill is passed as currently proposed. The drop would have to be made up by foreign imports, meaning the United States could end up relying on other countries for 19.4 percent of its refined fuel -- nearly twice the amount it imports today.

G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier
Women at Arms: Living and Fighting Alongside Men, and Fitting In
Two interesting articles on women in combat today. I’ve long said that in a tight spot I’d rather have a female Marine next to me than the average weenie found on today’s university campuses.

Obama’s Human Rights Disaster'
Excerpt: I think there are two explanations for Obama policy. The first is that they associate the freedom agenda and the promotion of democracy with President Bush, so they reject it. The desire to dissociate from a previous Administration is understandable, but not when it comes to human rights. Promotion of human rights was also Carter policy and Clinton policy, in some ways, so what they are actually abandoning is decades of foreign policy consensus. The second explanation is the one you suggest, left-wing politics. These apology tours suggest a view that America has been a source for trouble, violence, oppression and not an inspiration for freedom. It's a version of the old McGovernite view that we are a bad country and the more we do in the world the worse off everyone will be. Reagan won in 1980 in part because he did not believe that, and the American people don't believe it; they believe we are the greatest influence for good on the face of the earth. And they are right.

Death of a Libel Tourist
Excerpt: Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz died in Jeddah last Saturday. The 60-year-old former owner of the Saudi National Commercial Bank and banker for the Royal family also owned a charity, the Muwafaq (blessed relief) Foundation that funded al-Qaeda and Hamas, to name but a few. He should be remembered not only because of his involvement with the shady Bank for Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) aka “banks for crooks and criminals” and the illegal purchase of the First American Bank in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s, but mostly because inadvertently he led Americans to better protect their free speech rights.

National Suicide
Excerpt: Remember when the deficit was so bad that Democrats said we (or more accurately the Republicans) were placing a terrible burden on our grandchildren?
That was several trillion dollars ago. Democrats now appear perfectly fine with extending the growing deficit and national debt to their great-grandchildren. Perhaps politicians think they will never be held accountable three generations from now because they won't be around to explain to those not yet born why they refused to stop our financial hemorrhaging.

Unions fighting for 10 Billion dollar payoff in health care rationing bill.
Excerpt: These would be the (generous) health care plans that the UAW essentially extorted out of the auto industry. Also note that this is in addition to the percentage of the auto industries already traded to labor unions in exchange for assumption of obligations stemming from those health care plans. And now the expectation is that the unions will be able to pass along the costs of early retirees to the government - which is to say, you. Put another way: fully one percent of the health care rationing bill’s minimum final cost will go towards rewarding the UAW’s original health-care looting.

Democrats Organizing to Actively Disrupt Rep. Paul Ryan’s Townhalls
Wait, I thought it was the insurance companies flooding town halls with “Astroturf”?

Back on Uncle Sam's plantation
Excerpt: The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families. Through God's grace, I found my way out. It was then that I understood what freedom meant and how great this country is. I had the privilege of working on welfare reform in 1996, passed by a Republican congress and signed into law by a Democrat president. A few years after enactment, welfare roles were down fifty percent. I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black communities and replacing it with wealth producing American capitalism. But, incredibly, we are going in the opposite direction.

Reid faces political squeeze between fellow Dems and Nevada voters
Excerpt: The weekend brought bad news for Reid as he faces a potentially tough fight for a fifth term in 2010. A Mason-Dixon poll showed Reid would trail two prospective Republican opponents, former University of Las Vegas basketball player Danny Tarkanian and state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden by 11 points and 5 points, respectively.

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