The Locker Room

October 22, 2008

Re: code words for socialism

Posted by Jon Sanders at 8:05 PM

How about the college course-description mainstay: "critical thinking"?

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Code words for socialism

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 8:00 PM

Everyone has probably heard about this article where "socialism" was said to be a code word for "black" used by racists. But in fact those on the left have a whole litany of code words that they use for socialism. Here's just a few--feel free to add others.

Progressivism, sustainable development, smart growth, cap and trade, CO2 abatement policy, the precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle, open space preservation, farm land preservation and nearly any policy offered up in in the name of "helping" the poor, the middle class, the uninsured, working Americans, the elderly, and reducing health care costs. 

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What ails America

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:16 PM

America's most widely read syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas, expects Sen. Barack Obama to win the upcoming presidential race.

He alluded to that expectation during today's John Locke Foundation Headliner luncheon in Asheville. But Thomas never made that prediction directly. He spent much more time discussing the maladies that plague the United States.

9:40 p.m. update: Watch the entire presentation here.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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Transparency, please

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:48 PM

A new Elon poll finds people want to see state government in action on television. From the press release:

Seven out of 10 residents in North Carolina say they are interested in a television channel that would televise state legislative sessions and legislative committee hearings, according to data compiled in the most recent Elon University Poll.

The question was posed after a legislative committee began studying the issue earlier this season. That committee met again today.

One in four respondents indicated not being interested in such a service.

The poll, conducted Sept. 29 - Oct. 2 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 477 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones.

QUESTION: “As you may be aware, the North Carolina legislature is studying the possibility of a state government channel on television that would air the state legislative sessions, as well as legislative committee hearings. How [interested or uninterested] are you in a television channel that would broadcast North Carolina state government? Would you say you are: [not at all interested, somewhat interested, or very interested]?”

Very Interested: 29%
Somewhat Interested: 42%
Not at all Interested: 26%
Don’t care about it: 1.6%
Don’t Know: 1.5%
Refused: 0.1%
Total (N=477; +/- 4.58)

North Carolina currently feeds audio via the web, but not video, from the General Assembly and two committee rooms. Other states with a population similar North Carolina’s provide video from their state governments and frequently other government programming.

The Elon Poll asked residents what other types of programming they would have an interest in seeing.

QUESTION: “A new state government channel would likely televise other programs about state government . . . What types of programs, if any, would you have an interest in seeing on a state government channel?” (Open ended, and asked only of respondents indicating “somewhat interested” or “very interested” to previous question.)

Government proceedings: 16%
(Legislature, press conferences, courts, utilities, committee meetings)

Economic development: 9%

Education: 9%
(UNC system, community colleges, elementary and secondary schools)

Election/Public Affairs programs: 8%
(Debates, public talks, political experts)

Culture Programs: 6%
(Travel and tourism, history, museums, historic sites, state parks)

Human services: 6%
(Health care, immunization information, etc.)

Environmental Programs: 5%
(Conservation issues, reduce/reuse/recycle instructions)

Transportation programs: 2%
(New modes, changes in routes, highway construction, new roads

Don’t need the channel: 4%
Other: 9%
Don’t know: 23%
(N=339; +/- 5.43, multiple responses permitted to this question; does not total 100%)

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Uninsured kids have insured parents

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:42 PM

If you need another reason to get rid of the tax advantage for getting health insurance through your employer, try this. More than two million uninsured children (or 27.9 percent) have parents who are insured, often through their employers. In many cases these parents would be able to purchase insurance in the individual market for the entire family for less than their employer charges them just to cover their children. If the employer put the employee's premium into a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), the employer's contribution could cover the cost of family insurance and some of the taxes.

Let's consider a state employee example, because this probably sounds implausible.

A 40-year-old single mother with two children can get a Blue Cross 70/30 policy with a $1,000 deductible for $475 a month, versus a combined $497 for herself and her children through the state health plan. If she went with the state's standard 80/20 plan, she could save more than $30 per month purchasing coverage through Blue Cross. A United Healthcare 80/20 policy with a $1,500 deductible costs just $465 according to, a 20 percent discount compared to the state health plan for an employee and children.

People with health problems who own their own policy are also more likely to keep coverage if they become unemployed.

Thanks to Clint Atkins for pulling the numbers.

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Moving into market socialism

Posted by George Leef at 12:11 AM

Today's Mises article by professor D.W. MacKenzie explains that, alas, we are moving into "market socialism" where capital will increasingly be allocated by politics rather than by the profit-driven decisions of investors. Read it here.

True capitalism allocates resources to the highest economic uses through the profit and loss system. It is responsible for the rising living standards of people around the globe. Per contra, socialism allocates resources according to the whims of those in power, whether elected politicians, monarchs, or dictators. It has a lousy record. In countries that have gone from capitalism into market socialism (or state capitalism, which amounts to the same thing), living standards have fallen. Argentina is a good case.

And yet the advocates of socialism proclaim that they demand their system (which can only come about through state coercion) because it's so good for "the common man." No doubt there are some "useful idiots" (as Lenin put it) who fervently support market socialism because they've been told that it "puts a human face on capitalism" but the masterminds know that it's all about power.

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It Just Ain't So

Posted by George Leef at 12:01 AM

Each issue of The Freeman contains a column entitled "It Just Ain't So" and in the current issue, professor Larry White contributes an especially timely one, refuting the leftist mouthpiece Paul Krugman's assertion that the financial crisis came about because of insufficient government regulation. Read White's excellent piece here.

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Predictions, markets, health care, and climate change

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:28 AM

A New York Times report on the McCain and Obama health plans picked up by the News & Observer today provides terrific insight into the problems of models (economic or climate) and inadvertently also shows the value of markets:

  • Uwe Reinhardt on models - "Every econometric study is an effort in persuasion. ... Depending on what I feed into the model, I get totally different answers."
  • Sherry Glied - "We are estimating what would happen in a world we've never seen."
  • Roger Feldman - "Every candidate should say that these numbers were produced by my experts and they're my best estimates but they're not exact."

If only we had such humility from Al Gore and the CO2 haters.

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The worrisome "tipping point"

Posted by George Leef at 11:14 AM

In today's WSJ, economics professor Adam Lerrick observes that we are approaching a "tipping point" where there will be more Americans dependent on the government for income than Americans who aren't. Read his piece here.

As Murray Rothbard used to say, Marx was right about class warfare, but got the classes wrong. It isn't capitalists versus workers, but tax payers versus tax consumers. The proportion of the former has been steadily shrinking since the 1930s. What happens when the people who work and produce wealth outnumbered by and at the political mercy of those who don't? Some of them are apt to coast on accumulated wealth, putting it into yachts and tax-free bonds. Capital will flee to avoid high taxation, leaving less and less to be politically distributed to the demanding constituencies of the governing party. Britain of the 60s and 70s presents a vision of our future. It's not a pretty picture.

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William Ayers and "social justice" teaching

Posted by George Leef at 09:57 AM

In this week's Clarion Call, Jay Schalin examines the idea of "social justice" teaching that Barack Obama's friend William Ayers has been pushing.

When the Ayers-Obama connection comes up, a food fight erupts between conservatives who denounce Ayers as an unrepentant bomber and liberals who praise him as an esteemed "educational reformer." Jay does neither, but looks into the ideas Ayers and his allies are pushing. Ideas that have taken firm root in many American education schools.

One might wonder what effect "social justice" teaching would have. Does it radicalize students and teachers, building momentum for the eventual overthrow of "the oppressors"? Or does it simply waste valuable class time that poor students need to learn the fundamentals of language, math, science, and so on? I strongly suspect the latter.

One might also surmise that this is part of what Don Luskin calls "the conspiracy to keep you poor and stupid." To leftist agitators, angry and ignorant people are far more valuable than are those who are gainfully employed and enjoying the rising prosperity that capitalism makes possible.

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When the government tries to close "gaps"....

Posted by George Leef at 09:19 AM

The results are going to be bad.

Retired teacher and friend of the Pope Center Tom Shuford compares the efforts by politicians and regulators to close the "educational achievement gap" with the efforts by the same bunch to close the "housing ownership gap" here.

Tom has really dug into the history of our current financial debacle and his article is loaded with useful information that quite a few politicians would rather see erased from our memory bank.

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And I Mean Anything

Posted by Hal Young at 09:18 AM

When the question begins, "First of all, I'm serious," you know to brace yourself for what follows.

WRAL's "Ask Anything" feature turns to candidates for the 2nd Congressional District. Bill Boyd of Cary raises a question I admittedly haven't heard addressed yet this election, either:

There is much ado about the UFO phenomenon. In my mind, we are being visited and some in government know. What should be done to get to the bottom of this? Thank you. – Bill Boyd, Cary

WILL ADKINS [Libertarian]: With initiatives such as the Patriot Act, the federal government is increasingly infringing upon our right to privacy. I support a restoration of our right to individual privacy while acting as a champion for transparency in government. Other than those documents directly impacting national security, I support the release of significant government documents to the public; further, this should be done in such a fashion that they are accessible to the public in digitized fashion over the Internet. The results of these studies are tax-payer funded and owned; it’s only proper to share these documents with their owners.

BOB ETHERIDGE [incumbent Democrat]: (Mr. Etheridge declined to answer the question.)

DAN MANSELL [Republican]: I have no ideas on this subject for I do not believe in UFOs or until I see one or see undisputable proof of one, I can not talk intelligently about this.

On the other nine questions, the three candidates ran true to form, with the Libertarian linking to tax policy and educational choice and the Democrat supporting government programs that shouldn't be in Washington anyway.

Props to Dan Mansell for correctly answering questions about education, gas prices, and nursing homes -- they're state issues, not federal.

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Completed F&R lunch application = free gift card

Posted by David N. Bass at 08:59 AM

This kind of promotion is not unusual, but it's worth noting anyway. The Chillicothe R-2 School District (located in Missouri) is offering a $10 Wal-Mart gift card and a shot at a $100 gift card for parents who submit applications for free and reduced-lunch.

As far as the school district is concerned, here is the key:

The number of applications for free and reduced lunch on file at the local school on the last Wednesday in January has a direct bearing on the amount of state money the district will receive during the next school year. Each child on a Free or Reduced Breakfast/Lunch Form will generate an additional $1,025 in state funds for the school district. It will also keep the district’s E-rate reimbursement at a high percentage, which allows the district to get 75 percent of its communications costs reimbursed by the federal government.

All personal records are kept confidential and only the Food Service Director reviews the applications. If for some reason families may not qualify at this time, they may apply at anytime throughout the year. Parents or guardians who are unsure whether they qualify are urged to fill out the form anyway [emphasis mine].

F&R applications, by the way, do not require proof of income, unlike other food entitlements such as food stamps. So, applicants can write in whatever income they chose without recourse.

Looks like the goal is to get as many applications sent in as possible. Considering there is no oversight of abuse by the USDA, it's not unreasonable to assume that number fudging occurs.

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Latest dispatches from the political trail

Posted by John Hood at 07:59 AM

• A raft of new polls show close races in NC. Barack Obama leads John McCain slightly in most, as does Kay Hagan over Elizabeth Dole. In the governor's race, a simple average of the latest surveys — from PPP, Research 2000, Civitas, and Survey USA/WTVD puts Beverly Perdue at 46, Pat McCrory at 44, Mike Munger at 4, with 7 percent undecided.

• McCrory and Perdue pledge to run a more-open state government if elected. McCrory calls attention to Democratic politicians supporting his candidacy, including Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. Campaigning in the east, Perdue dismisses polls showing a tight race with McCrory and accuses him of wanting to stiff North Carolina's small towns. Both candidates say they want to enact state tax cuts, though a looming budget deficit may affect their plans. McCrory will speak at a Parents for Educational Freedom event in Durham.

• Hagan attracts some unwelcome media attention for her husband's membership in a exclusive country club that was segregated until 1995. Dole's personal loan to her campaign totals $3 million. Hagan's personal loan is $350,000. Speaking in Greenville, she argues that her record in the legislature contrasts favorably with the performance of Congress. Dole explains her vote against the financial bailout and discusses her record on other issues. She picks up the support of an immigration-control group. National support for Democratic challengers for Senate, including Hagan, significantly outpaces national GOP support for its candidates.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 05:43 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Michael Lowrey's report on a state appellate court ruling linked to a dispute in Beaufort over historic preservation rules.

John Hood's Daily Journal examines how states can enact health care reforms.

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