The Locker Room

November 30, 2010

New CJO exclusive: Political pundits look forward to 2012

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:04 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' examination of the political scene Tar Heel voters will face in 2012.

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Williams and Buchanan muse over the role of government

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:11 AM

Walter Williams and James Buchanan hold an interesting conversation about government's proper role.

HT: Max Borders and Ideas Matter

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You might be a progressive if.....

Posted by George Leef at 09:04 AM

If you think that people who question the TSA deserve to die in a terrorist attack. Art Carden explains here.

I can remember when "progressives" ridiculed the "America: Love it or leave it" slogan of Nixon-era conservatives. Today's progressives seem to have adopted a slogan that goes, "America, love its current government or leave it."

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 07:20 AM

...you can find the words "separation of church and state" in the first amendment to the constitution but can't find the phrase "the right of the people to be secure in their persons...against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated" in the fourth amendment.

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Republican wins across the country

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:58 AM

John Hood isn’t the only expert documenting historic GOP gains in elections across the United States. In an article dubbed “The Liberal Crisis,” Commentary editor John Podhoretz touches on similar themes:

Obama has acknowledged that he took a “shellacking” in the November 2 election, though in point of fact he had not personally been shellacked. Instead, more than 750 elected Democrats (or positions held by elected Democrats) from the House to the Senate to governors’ mansions to state legislatures were ousted from office in the largest and deepest partisan rout in American history.

It was perhaps more meaningful that Democrats who had had nothing to do with the controversies in Washington—the ones serving in state legislatures— were wiped out at the same time that 66 House seats went from Democratic to Republican control. You have to go back 37 national elections to find a larger number of Republicans in the House. You have to go back 82 years to find as many Republicans in state legislatures.

These numbers are particularly significant because they suggest the end of one of the shortest eras in American political history—a period lasting two elections, in which non-liberal, non-leftist voters in Republican-leaning states flirted with the possibility that the Democratic Party and a charismatic young liberal might have answers to problems the GOP was unable to address effectively.

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Why don’t more Americans hate the rich?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:57 AM

It’s a question left-leaning liberals must ask themselves continually, since they’ve not been able to secure ironclad political majorities for policies that soak the rich in order to redistribute those riches to others.

William Voegeli takes a stab at answering the question in an article for the latest Commentary (not yet posted online):

I have an unproven, untested, and perhaps untestable hypothesis for why so many middle- and working-class Americans confound liberals by siding, often angrily, with the Stinking Rich against the Beneficent Reformers. It is that [a] version of the trickle-down theory, in which tax increases supposed to be confined to the prosperous are going to wind up imposed on the precarious, is more broadly applicable and resonant. In this view, the “principle” that rich people should be forced to surrender some of their wealth, just because they are deemed to have too much, is eventually going to justify policies that force non-rich people to surrender some of their wealth, just because. …

Every redistributive scheme … rests on the planted axiom that private property is only provisionally and transiently private. It wasn’t the “dream factor” that caused pathetically deluded factory workers and clerks, imagining they might win the lottery, to oppose George McGovern’s plan to confiscate inheritances he considered too large. It was small-r republican disdain for the idea that government should be empowered to confiscate wealth lawfully acquired and held. And it was the companion fear that if asserting that some people have too much money is the justification for such confiscation, other pretexts targeting other citizens will be waiting in the wings. Call it the nightmare factor.

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A major philanthropic mistake

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:56 AM

The latest Commentary magazine features Martin Morse Wooster’s argument (not yet posted online) that the MacArthur Fellows Program — which features the “genius awards” — has turned into a flop.

Among other problems, the grants tend to go to establishment academics who’ve already reached the peaks of their careers:

In her 1992 New York Times survey of the MacArtur Fellows Program, Anne Matthews found that … the typical MacArthur winner — an older, well-credentialed white male Ivy League professor good at self-promotion and winning grants — simply took the fellowship, added it to his savings account, and went back to work. “Oh, 20 years ago I might have gone to Paris to write,” one MacArthur winner told Matthews,” but now I have a cat and a dog and kids in school and a wife who works. The windfall is going for college tuitions and high-return CDs. All right, maybe a patio.

The MacArthur program is one of the “great philanthropic mistakes” Wooster describes in a recently reissued book. He discussed the topic recently for the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society.

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Looking beyond the spin in the Bowles-Simpson report

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM

Geoff Colvin of Fortune offers a blueprint for detecting whether the final report from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson’s federal deficit reduction panel offers useful recommendations.

Among Colvin’s most interesting observations:

The panel might try to soothe worried citizens with a reassurance that we still have time -- the Medicare Part A trust fund won't be exhausted until 2029, and the Social Security trust fund not until 2037. Yet every commissioner knows that's nonsense. Those trust funds are invested in Treasury securities; they're just more government debt. Medicare and Social Security start to bite not when their trust funds run out but when the programs go cash-flow negative. For Social Security that happens this year; for Medicare it was last year. We do not still have time.

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Compromise is fine, if you reach the right outcome

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:54 AM

The latest Fortune asks whether junior Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will stir up a Tea Party tempest by trying to work with Democrats in the next session of Congress.

That’s possible, but not probable if the ultimate goal is the one spelled out in the article’s opening paragraph:

"I'm going to find Democrats who'll come along," declares Tennessee Republican Bob Corker. The Chattanooga real estate mogul-turned-senator is hoping to cajole folks from across the aisle to embrace his plan to reduce federal spending from 24% to 18% of gross domestic product -- in line with federal revenue.

As Corker no doubt sees, the primary problem the federal government faces is overspending — not a lack of revenue.

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Fortune explores the state’s battle to take over Alcoa’s dams

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

If you’ve followed the fight between state government and Alcoa over control of the company’s hydroelectric dams along the Yadkin River, you might want to read a new four-page feature (“The North Carolina Power Grab”) on the topic in the latest Fortune magazine.

You’ll read arguments on both sides of this dispute, including a single paragraph that encapsulates the heart of the debate from the property-rights perspective:

Alcoa beat back legislation last year that would have created a state trust to manage the hydroelectric projects. Its most effective argument was that the state wanted to seize private property without paying sufficient compensation. “It’s almost as if it’s Venezuela,” a company spokesman said during the fight.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Kristy Bailey's report on the Durham City Council's decision to accept the Mexican matricula consular as an official identification card. 

John Hood's Daily Journal focuses on the importance of fighting for freedom.

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