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The Price of Avoiding Failure

from Everything Millennials Need To Know About Politics And Economics in 25 Quotes by John Hawkins in Townhall

my favorites:

4) As my father-in-law once said, when they talk about taxes it’s always for teachers, firemen, and police – but when they spend your taxes, it always seems to go to some guy in a leather chair downtown you never heard of. —Glenn Reynolds

6) If there is no moral foundation for a system of laws, then the law is reduced to “These are the rules. They’re the rules because I say so, and I control all of the guys with guns.” We can ask those who survived Pol Pot, Stalin, or Mao how that worked out…

So the law is either codification of morality or it is thuggery. The real argument is about which moral code will be implemented by the law. To claim to reject a moral underpinning for the law is either a wish to live in a place where the law is whatever one guy says it is today, or else it is a disingenuous attempt to substitute your own moral code for the one that has already been codified. —Beregond

9) When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union — like public housing in the United States — look decrepit within a year or two of their construction… —Milton Friedman

10) Repeatedly asking for government help undermines the foundations of society by destroying initiative and responsibility. It is also a fatal blow to efficiency and corrupts the political process. When everyone gets something for nothing, soon no one will have anything, because no one will be producing anything. —Charles Koch

19) Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. —Will and Ariel Durant

25) Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks — drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it’s the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives. – Mark Steyn

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Kansas Tax Cut Debate

from Why Kansas Drives Liberals Crazy by Allysia Finly

The governor has also struggled to communicate Kansas’ modest, but real, progress. Since the tax cuts took effect in January 2013, private job growth in Kansas has surpassed growth in Nebraska and Iowa after trailing for the prior decade. Services (i.e., small businesses) account for 95% of the state’s growth in private jobs, compared with about 70% in Iowa and Nebraska. Last year, Kansas’ private GDP growth exceeded the nation’s and growth in high-tax states like California, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey.

this is in response to Reaganomics Tax Experiment Still Going Poorly in Kansas

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Capitalism vs Crapitalism

from How we ‘won’ in Vietnam, but are losing at home by Glenn Harlan Reynolds in USA Today

So I guess we won that war after all. According to thePew Global Poll, 95% of people in Vietnam agree that most people are better off under capitalism, even if there is inequality.

By contrast, only 70% of Americans believe the same thing. (America is out-performed by such other less developed countries as Nigeria, China, Turkey, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India). Maybe, quipped an Internet commenter, the Vietnamese should send us some advisers.

But there are some lessons to be learned here, one of which is that history plays out slowly. (Though it’s probably a myth, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai supposedly once said about the French Revolution, it’s “too early to say” how it has turned out). Had you asked people in 1974 about support for capitalism in Vietnam 40 years later, few would have predicted that 95% of Vietnamese would support capitalism today. The lower level of support in America might have surprised some folks, too, though maybe not.

But the Vietnamese view of capitalism is based on their experience, while the American view, sadly, may be based on our own. The Vietnamese have their recent experience with the lies and deprivation that always accompany communism to contrast with the growth and opportunity that a newly opened free market has provided. Many Americans, on the other hand, look at our free market and see that it’s not all that free sometimes, and that a lot of what passes for capitalism is really what Jason Mattera calls Crapitalism, a politicized crony-capitalism in which insider connections and government subsidies and compulsion play a bigger role than they should.

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Economic Dogma

From John Mauldin in his blog, Mauldin Economics, Where is the Growth?

We’ve tried countercyclical deficit spending to resist recessions, procyclical (and rather wasteful) deficit spending to support supposed recoveries, and accommodative monetary easing all along the way (to lower real interest rates and ease the financing of those pesky deficits); but growth has been sluggish at best, inflation has been hard to generate, and labor market slack is making it difficult to sustain inflation even when real interest rates are already negative.

Call me a heretic, but I take a different view than the economists in charge. To my mind, the sluggish recovery is a sign that central banks, governments, and, quite frankly, the “textbook” economists (despite their best intentions) are part of the problem. As Detlev Schlichter commented in his latest blog post (“Keynes was a failure in Japan – No need to embrace him in Europe”), “To the true Keynesian, no interest rate is ever low enough, no ‘quantitative easing’ program ever ambitious enough, and no fiscal deficit ever large enough.” It’s apparently true even as debt limits draw closer.

While the academic elites like to think of economics as a reliable science (with the implication that they can somehow control a multi-trillion-dollar economy), I have repeatedly stressed the stronger parallel of economics to religion, in the sense that it is all too easy to get caught up in the dogma of one tradition or another. And all too often, a convenient dogma becomes a justification for those in power who want to expand their control, influence, and spending.

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An Ad Agency for Central Planning

kevin williamson

Kevin Williamson writes The Unmanageable Man in The National Review.

Excerpt:

This is a particularly acute problem for the Left, because central planning, variously mutated, is at the center of the Left’s political program. With the collapse of Marxism as a bedrock intellectual model, the Anglo-American Left, and to a lesser extent its European and Asian branches, has been reduced to very little more than performing public-relations work on behalf of a collection of parochial economic interests and sundry tribal enthusiasms. The Democratic party is in effect an advertising agency for central planning, tasked with selling its worst failures as its most notable successes (public schools, Medicaid, financial regulation), and, being fortunate in the nature of its main antagonist, its salesmen have done a better job than one might have expected convincing the American public that it really does like New Coke after all.