The Locker Room

August 9, 2010

"Everyone likes Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels"

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:16 PM

William Kristol says it is progress when Juan Williams makes a comment like this. Pair this with Canada's experience with spending cuts that spur growth and you have a winning formula for Gov. Bev Perdue and the state's legislature in January.

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Canada leading the way

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:50 AM

Canada cut government spending in the 1990s and began to grow after five years of flat economic growth. At the time, government spending accounted for 52% of GDP. Today Canada is the industrialized country recovering fastest from the great contraction, has lower tax rates, is opening health care to private competition, and is on track to have a smaller government as a share of GDP than the United States.

Long the refuge of disaffected liberals, Canada may soon attract freedom-loving Americans north.

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Very few Robeson County voters approve local sales tax increase

Posted by Becki Gray at 11:16 AM

Despite common sense warning and research from JLF Research staff, a quarter cent local sales tax increase passed in Robeson County last week.  According to a news report, only 4.2 percent of registered voters turned out for the special election, costing taxpayers between $18,000 to $25,000.  County officials denied they tried to suppress the vote by holding the single issue vote in August, promised to lower property taxes, and claimed the increase shifts the county tax burden to immigrants.  

Anyway you look at it - it's a tax increase and anybody buying anything in Robeson County will now pay more. With unemployment at 12%, this hardly seems the right time to raise taxes on Robeson County families.

Be warned  -  A local sales tax increase may be coming your way soon.  November votes have already been scheduled in Alamance, Alleghany, Bladen, Cherokee, Clay, Columbus, Harnett, Montgomery, Orange, and Wautauga.

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Texas to the EPA: We Will Not Comply!

Posted by Daren Bakst at 10:51 AM

Give Texas credit.  They are the first state to tell the EPA that they will not comply with the EPA's global warming regulations.  I expect many other states to follow.  The letter is worth a read to get the proper background and context.  The EPA, by its own admission, recognizes that using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases will lead to absurd results so it is trying to rewrite the statute to get around these absurdities.   

From the Texas letter to the EPA:

Dear Administrators Jackson and Armendariz:

In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrial development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency's recently enacted greenhouse gas regulations--regulations that are plainly contrary to United States law.  [citations omitted].  To encourage acquiescence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcement authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On behalf of the State of Texas, we write to inform you that Texas has neither the authority nor the intention of interpreting, ignoring, or amending its laws in order to compel the permitting of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Re: Speaking of socialists/Winning an election makes you an economic expert

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:49 AM

Mitch, both of those posts point to the deplorable lack of understanding of spontaneous order on the dictatorial Left.

In other words, they can understand the gloved fist holding the gun; they can't figure out the invisible hand.

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Third Narnia film to be released in Dec.

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 07:58 AM

"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" I hope this movie version is better than the second movie. The book is fantastic.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 07:23 AM

  • Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price, running for re-election in the 4th Congressional District, agrees to donate lobbyist’s tainted cash to charity.

  • GOP creates a website targeting Democrats who aren’t planning to hold townhalls with their constituents.

  • Public Policy Polling looks at the competitiveness of state races in North Carolina.

  • Speaking of PPP, the firm will now be polling for the uber-liberal blog the Daily Kos.

  • Elaine Marshall says she would welcome Obama to the state, after (sorta) indicating she wouldn't.

  • There's a new Democrat vying for state Sen. David Hoyle's Senate seat, after the party's nominee dropped out.

  • Rasmussen Reports has U.S. Sen. Richard Burr up by 9-percentage points over Marshall.

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Joe Klein continues to return to his first love

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:43 AM

The more time that passes since George W. Bush left the White House, the more TIME columnist Joe Klein’s Bush-bashing appears gratuitous and irrelevant.

Klein’s latest serving of Bush-inspired bile — embedded within a column praising President Obama's plans for "ending" the Iraq War — does serve at least one useful purpose. It reminds us that Klein seldom exhibits any evidence of the ability “to think difficult thoughts and weigh conflicting options with clarity and subtlety.”

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The problem is spending

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:40 AM

If you’ve read entries in this forum during the past week, you’re likely to have read arguments in favor of scrapping the Bush tax cuts and in favor of maintaining the lower tax rates associated with those cuts.

This week’s Bloomberg Business Week cover story examines the issue as well, and it starts with the assessment of Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School:

The Republican academic was instrumental in designing the tax cuts, first as a Bush campaign insider and then as the President's first chief economic adviser. The idea behind the cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, was to encourage work, savings, and investment, thus stimulating long-term economic growth. Hubbard is especially proud of the 2003 cut in taxes on dividends and capital gains, which he calls "the most pro-growth tax reform that anybody did since Kennedy."

Now that the Bush tax cuts are coming up for renewal—they expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress acts—Hubbard has a queasy feeling about them. The cuts, he says, have been undermined by years of deficits. Until the trajectory of spending changes, he says, "deficits are just future taxes. You're just talking about taxes today vs. taxes tomorrow."

Hubbard hits the nail on the head when he discusses the “trajectory of spending.” As regular readers of this forum have learned, government spends too much.

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Speaking of socialists …

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:39 AM

It’s always disturbing to read an American businessperson singing the praises of an autocratic regime, as investor Wilbur Ross does in a Bloomberg Business Week interview with Charlie Rose:
Does manufacturing in the U.S. have a future? I think it does. What I'm worried about is R&D. You have to have new technologies. We think of China as a polluter. Let me tell you, China is the leader in wind power technology. They already are producing 40 percent of all the wind turbines in the world and exporting 80 percent of those. And they did it in typical Chinese fashion. They ordered that the power grid must take alternative power before it can take anything else. Second, it must do it under long-term contracts, and third, it must do it at a big premium price. So they managed to create a huge domestic market, and now they're beaming in on the export. That's how you have an industrial policy.

One almost expects Ross to have said, “I’ve seen the future, and it works.” That was (a slight reworking of) muckraker Lincoln Steffens’ line about the Soviet Union in 1921.

To learn the dangers associated with romanticizing central planning, read The Road to Serfdom.

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Winning an election makes you an economic expert?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:37 AM

If you watched Michael Sanera’s weekend presentation about the original Progressives, you’ll remember his discussion about the concerted effort to invest the presidency with as much power as possible.

That presentation came to mind as I read Bloomberg Business Week’s new article, “Obama: Venture Capitalist-in-Chief,” which describes the president’s efforts to insert himself into economic decisions that no one person is able to make:

Meet the country's venture capitalist-in-chief, President Barack Obama. By the end of 2011, the White House plans to channel more than $50 billion to thousands of clean-technology companies through tax credits, low-interest guaranteed loans, and grants. Add in money for a "smart grid," research, and consumer tax breaks, such as the $7,500 credit for buying an electric car, and the commitment rises to $69 billion.

Obscured by the epic political battles over health care and financial regulation, Obama has turned the government into the chief financier of a manufacturing base for clean-energy technology. He envisions thriving new industries putting Americans to work churning out green products such as high-performance batteries, electric cars, low-energy lights, super-efficient air conditioners, wind turbines, and solar panels.

That level of government intervention in a selected business sector adds up to a new American industrial policy—and it's stirring a heated debate among economists and academics. The Administration's clean energy assistance is "undoubtedly one of the larger efforts" to create an industrial policy in U.S. history, says Harvard Business School Professor Josh Lerner.

The president’s faith in his own powers to discern the best use of Americans’ resources — as opposed to allowing Americans to make their own choices about the use of those resources — brings to mind the following words from Ludwig von Mises: “Every socialist is a disguised dictator.”

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:24 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report on yacht slips, iPods, and other items funded by the latest round of Golden LEAF grant money. 

John Hood's Daily Journal makes the case for official recognition of the rutabaga.

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