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Acceptable Genocide

from The Real #GenocideinGaza in Slate by Ron Rosenbaum

Excerpts:

For a quarter century now this genocidal Hamas pledge has been there for the world to see. Genocide, not some metaphor, not some Godwin’s Law–breaking comparison, but genocide—a mission statement. I find the unwillingness of the world to take this into account, to take it seriously, to understand the Israeli response to it, the Israeli rage generated by genocidal threat that dictates what to some—including myself at times—may seem a disproportionate response, is probably the most telling disconnect between the reality and the reporting on the Gaza conflict. Because believe me, the Israeli people are not ignorant of the Hamas Covenant, they are not unaware of its seriousness and the consequences thereof.

Apparently the world is content to ignore the fact that the Hamas Covenant is, in and of itself, a war crime. (A war crime, not yet a genocide.) Apparently the various moral equivalence explainers are unaware that advocating genocide is a punishable war crime, different only in degree from genocide itself. Indeed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicted the perpetrators of a Rwandan radio station of crimes against humanity just for its broadcasts inciting the murder of the Tutsis as that genocide (yes, genocide) got underway. Though neither party is a signatory to the Rome Statute on Genocide, I wouldn’t be opposed to that idiot Jewish advocate of genocide being hauled before the International Criminal Court. As long as the entire leadership of Hamas was there in the dock, too, for advocating genocide in their covenant.

Because of course the entire governing entity of Hamas is prima facie guilty of advocating genocide. But the ignoramuses comparing Israelis to Nazis and Gaza to genocide while ignoring actual ongoing genocide in Syria and Iraq must be seen as an excrescence of the enduring double standard to which Israelis—and Jews—are subjected.

Everyone debates the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. I think the #GenocideinGaza analogists have shown us one place it can be found. Those who use it give themselves away.

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How Not to Improve Wages

Kevin Williamson writes What to Do About Wages in The National Review.

Excerpts:

There are basically three ways to raise incomes.

The first is through capital investment that raises the value of labor. But capital investment also replaces labor in many instances, and it is just as effective at raising the value of labor in overseas markets. And EPI’s analysts are correct to point out that in the United States wage growth has lagged behind productivity growth, suggesting that deeper investment may not be enough to really move Americans’ wages forward.

The second way to raise the value of labor is through education and the cultivation of skills. Here, EPI’s analysis seems to me grievously mistaken, emphasizing, as it does, that a four-year college degree has relatively little effect on many workers’ prospects: “The gap between wages near the top of the wage distribution and the middle (and, for that matter, between the very top and the top) has grown much faster since 1995 than has the wage gap between those with a four-year college degree and those with a high school degree. This suggests that rising demands for this credential cannot fully explain the growth in inequality.” What it really suggests is that a four-year degree is not a credential at all, and that markets are much better at sorting than are college-admissions committees and the teaching assistants who are entrusted with the grading. After a generation of complete and utter domination of the higher-education system by the Left, many four-year degrees are nearly meaningless, as are many advanced degrees. The evidence suggests that return on in-demand skills in fields such as technology and finance is very high.

The third way to increase the value of labor gets us right back where we started: bigger markets. Workers in fields that have benefited from more efficient international trade have thrived in many cases — but many have not. The so-called race to the bottom in wages is largely a myth — Audi is not going to move from Ingolstadt to Port-au-Prince — but globalization puts pressure on many U.S. workers’ wages, inevitably.

The problem facing conservatives, at least politically, is that the Left’s empty promises about the effects of minimum-wage hikes and the like strike many workers as more plausible than our story about tax and regulatory reform. And the real outcomes of the policies preferred by conservatives are uncertain, too. There are things we can and should do: Don’t have the developed world’s highest corporate income tax rate and its only non-territorial tax system. Don’t have a cumbrous and unpredictable regulatory apparatus that imposes more in compliance costs than U.S. firms pay in business taxes. Don’t entrust the education system to a self-serving cartel of bureaucrats that doesn’t get the job done. Don’t treat people who might be very prosperous welders and mechanics like losers because they don’t have an MFA from Third-Rate State. Don’t traffic in the superstition that wages at the bottom would somehow magically improve if wages at the top didn’t. Don’t structure your social-welfare system in a way that discourages work and eventual self-sufficiency.

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A Gun and a Grudge

isis-terrorists

From Daniel Greenfield at The Sultan Knish, Where the Black Flags Fly

Excerpts:

About the only reliable source of wealth comes out of the ground and the countries that have it are usually too lazy to get it themselves. That’s what the armies of Western engineers are for. They don’t build their own skyscrapers with the oil money. That’s what the disposable Asian workers are for.

Killing is the easiest solution to most problems. Men kill over honor. Women kill themselves out of desperation. Children grow up torturing animals.

Clerics settle religious questions with murder. It’s just easier that way.

Theological debates are complicated and impossible to settle, but fly the black flags, seize a village, kill the men and force the women to convert to the true faith of the machine gun and the sword and the debate is over.

ISIS is how Islam has been settling questions of theology since the 7th century. Why stop now just because you can order takeout from your smartphone? Westerners are innately fascinated by new technology. For the Middle East, technology is a tool for settling medieval disputes. Twitter is just a way of showing off your latest crop of severed heads. The pickup truck substitutes for a camel.

Politicians settle political debates with more murders. Elections are complicated. Democracy is messy. It’s easier for a colonel to take everyone out back and shoot them. And then spend the next twenty years building palaces with his people’s wealth. And the people mostly like it that way too.

When life is worthless, everyone has a gun and a grudge, it’s easier to kill than not to kill. You can see that phenomenon as readily in Chicago as in Iraq. Why not shoot the guy next door because he owes you money, because your daughter looked at him twice, because he’s on your turf or because he’s a Kurd.

Or because it’s Thursday.

Under crowded conditions, life is cheap but honor is expensive. Fights start over the pettiest things and escalate into relentless violence. You can see it in Yemen or in Ferguson. Everyone is just waiting for an excuse to be angry about something and to take it out on someone else.

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Strangling Entrpreneurship

from The Slow Decline of American Entrepreneurship by Tim Kane

Start-up companies are the reason America’s economy is more innovative, prosperous and dynamic than the economies of other industrialized countries around the world.

New companies create roughly 3 million jobs every year, while existing companies tend to shed 1 million jobs. It is no secret why a healthy entrepreneurial culture is important.

Think of it this way: Roughly 1 in 10 U.S. companies are founded each year, and these young firms create 100 percent of all net new jobs. Even in gross terms, start-ups punch above their weight, with 16 percent of all new jobs created by start-ups. Older firms create fewer jobs per firm, but, on average, cut even more, for a net negative impact.

While start-ups have always played an important role in the U.S. economy, the extent to which they drive job creation was, until recently, underappreciated.

However, thanks to new data from the federal government, we are able to identify job creation across all firms according to their date of “birth.” Yet, as important as this insight is, the data, which only goes back as far as 1977, also shows an alarming downward trend: America’s entrepreneurship rate is declining.

During the Carter administration, 14 percent of U.S. companies were start-ups.

That rate declined by one percentage point during the Reagan years, two points during the recession of the George H.W. Bush presidency, held steady under Bill Clinton, dropped a percentage point under George W. Bush, and then dropped two full points during the first term of President Obama.

We can only speculate why entrepreneurship is declining, but it seems that America’s economic culture is trending toward the European model.

In Europe, as well as Japan, large corporations are the norm, as are ample welfare programs and an erosion of familial bonds.

America’s history of entrepreneurship is strongly rooted in a culture of hard work and self-reliance. Unfortunately, bureaucratic regulations are growing at the same time start-ups are declining. Coincidence?

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The Health Care Pie

Doctor Leo Spaceman\

from the WSJ, The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability by Casey Mulligan

excerpt:

The law has effects that extend well beyond the employment rate and the average length of the workweek. People, businesses and entire sectors will jockey to reduce their new tax burdens or enhance their subsidies. Their adjustments to the new incentives will make our economy less productive and stifle wage growth, even among workers who have no direct contact with the law’s penalties and subsidies.

The “29er” phenomenon is a good example of how the law harms productivity. Because ACA’s “employer mandate” requires firms with 50 or more full-time workers to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, many employers and employees have adopted 29-hour work schedules. This is not the most productive way to arrange the workplace, but it allows employers to avoid the mandate and its penalties and helps the employees qualify for individual assistance.

All of this, and much more, exacerbates the societal problem that the economy cannot expand its health sector without giving up something else of value. A complex law like the ACA has a few provisions that encourage work, such as counting unemployment income against eligibility for health assistance. But the bulk of the law overwhelms them. The ACA as a whole will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively.

I estimate that the ACA’s long-term impact will include about 3% less weekly employment, 3% fewer aggregate work hours, 2% less GDP and 2% less labor income. These effects will be visible and obvious by 2017, if not before. The employment and hours estimates are based on the combined amount of the law’s new taxes and disincentives and on historical research on the aggregate effects of each dollar of taxation. The GDP and income estimates reflect lower amounts of labor as well as the law’s effects on the productivity of each hour of labor.

By the end of this decade, nearly 20 million additional Americans will have health insurance as a consequence of the law. But the ultimate economywide cost of their enrollments will be at least double what it would have been if these people had enrolled without government carrots and sticks; that is, if they had decided it was worth spending their own money on health insurance. In effect, people who aren’t receiving assistance through the ACA are paying twice for the law: once as the total economic pie gets smaller and again as they receive a smaller piece.

HKO

1. There is no such thing as a free lunch

2.  We create Rube Goldberg systems to hide costs from everyone including ourselves.

3.  It is ridiculous to assume that any central planner can manage such a large and complex market without severe economic dislocations.

4.  This plan is a disaster and anyone who supported it should be voted out of office.  Any candidate who refuses to fully repeal it is unworthy of support. Its harm is much wider and deeper than most understand.

5.  ”The first rule of economics is scarcity; the first rule of politics is to ignore the first rule of economics.”