from Kevin Williamson at National Review, We’re Not That Far from a Balanced Budget
One, Americans earning $100,000 or more pay basically all of the federal income taxes, about 80 percent. That is far in excess of their portion of national income (“national income” being another thing that does not exist but which we are obliged to talk about), and they are only about 15 percent of all taxpayers. Households earning $250,000 or more, a tiny group (2.4 percent of taxpayers) pay about half of all federal income taxes, which is, again, disproportionate to their income relative to the rest of the population.
You do have to stop pretending that you can give the American middle class a big income-tax cut when it hardly pays any income taxes, and stop pretending that you can get spending under control without touching the tiny handful of popular programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national security) that constitute the vast majority of federal spending. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just have to cut federal spending from 21.4 percent of GDP to 19.1 percent a couple of years from now, and maybe reform the tax code with an eye toward making revenue meet spending halfway. That isn’t going to make everybody happy, but it isn’t landing on Omaha Beach, either.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/balanced-budget-is-possible
from The Orange County Register, Jews finding less comfort on the Left by Joel Kotkin
Like their European counterparts, some Democratic politicians soon may find that appealing to Muslims pays larger dividends than catering to Jews; by 2030 there will be more Muslims than Jews in America, according to Pew.
In the end, there remains an opportunity for a conservative who can adopt the open, nonthreatening approach epitomized by Ronald Reagan, who received upward of 50 percent of Jewish votes in 1980. We know that tough GOP pragmatists, like former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan or New York’s Rudy Giuliani, won the Jewish vote in their cities against strong liberal opposition.
Jews may never become a core constituency of the political Right, but the days when they automatically supported the latest fetishes of the Left may also be coming to an end.
Anti Semitic leanings from Pat Buchanan and now Ann Coulter leads to their marginalization. More blatant remarks do not cause the same results on the left.
from Kevin Williamson at National Review, Squeaker of the House:
As Gohmert notes without quite saying so, these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself. Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model. The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.
This isn’t only a matter of executive opportunism and legislative sloth. The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one. American democracy was born in the New England town-hall meeting and in state assemblies, relatively intimate venues where following the operations of government was non-cumbrous. A population of more than 300 million with worldwide interests is a very different sort of thing. From the very beginning, the mere scale of the American project ensured that most Americans would find it incomprehensible: How many Americans at the time really understood that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton went into the Philadelphia Convention plotting to abolish their government and set up a new one? How many can identify the main points of contention between Senator Cruz and Senator McConnell?
Speaker Boehner’s successor inherits a diminished role in a diminished institution, and it isn’t clear that there is much of anything he will be able to do to help the national legislature recover its self-respect, which lags so far behind its self-importance. Congress no longer has the power to return the president — and the presidency — to its proper role. That power, too, is now in the hands of the president, which is why it is unlikely that our national slide into autocracy will be reversed until the current political equilibrium is disturbed, which is to say until certain danger encounters uncertain danger.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424666/john-boehner-speaker-house-president-obama
from The Week, Why liberals should support banning late-term abortions by Damon Linker
Flush from their sweeping victory in the fight for same-sex marriage, many liberals may be inclined to think things are going their way on every issue in the culture war. But that simply isn’t true about abortion. Yes, exactly half of the country calls itself ”pro-choice,” but when pollsters ask people their views broken down by trimester, the results look far more conflicted. While 61 percent think abortion should be legal during the first trimester (up to 12 weeks), that number drops all the way down to 27 percent during the second trimester (13-27 weeks), and it collapses to 14 percent (with a whopping 80 percent of Americans thinking the procedure should be illegal) during the third trimester (27-40 weeks).
The fact is that just six other nations in the world — and just one member of the EU (The Netherlands) — permit abortion-on-demand after 20 weeks. Aside from The Netherlands and Canada, the U.S. stands shoulder-to-shoulder with China, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam on this issue.