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Smothered in Quasi-Socialism

Bernie Sanders Rally in Los Angeles

from Mona Charen at National Review, How Bernie Sanders Became the Conscience of the Democratic Party

The idea that “the rich” sit permanently atop a pyramid of worker drones is false. Consider the companies that were once ubiquitous but are now ailing or gone: The Sharper Image, Borders, Circuit City, Polaroid, Yahoo!, Sears, and Toys-R-Us. Creative new competitors take their places. A U.S. Treasury study in 2006 found that among taxpayers in the highest brackets in 1996, 30 percent had dropped below that ten years later, with 2.6 percent dropping all the way to the bottom. Among those in the lowest income quintile in 1996, more than half had moved up ten years later.

A dynamic economy grows out of respect for free markets, willingness to take risks (which includes tolerance for failure), reliable protection of property rights, future focus, light regulation, and openness to ideas. These traits traditionally made the American economy the most innovative in the world. From aeronautics to computers to medical equipment to energy to retailing to entertainment, U.S. creativity has produced the world’s most prosperous middle class. We still lead the world in patents, and we’re still inventing new business models like Uber and AirBnB. But we’ve layered so many stones onto the shoulders of businesses that the engine of innovation is slowing. For the first time since the 1970s, more businesses are dying than being born. In 2000, the U.S. ranked second in the world in economic freedom according to the CATO Institute. Now, we’ve dropped to 16th.

Contra Sanders, we’ve been smothered in quasi-socialism for the past six years. The U.S. economy desperately needs a shot of capitalism and growth. The middle class stagnates and poverty increases. The rich, as in Venezuela, Cuba, and Sweden, are making out fine in Obama’s America. It’s the middle class and the poor who need capitalism to lift them.

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Keep The Cadillac Tax

Doctor Leo Spaceman

Democrats Asked for Obamacare but Now Try to Duck Out of Paying for It by Kevin Williamson at National Review

The teachers’ unions, it should be noted, are the biggest political spenders in the country — not the NRA, not the Koch brothers, not the Chamber of Commerce or Big Oil or Big Whatever. In the private sector, unions are in decline and have been for decades, mainly because extortion is a terrible business model in the long term. But in the public sector — in government — unions rule the roost, which is why they run the Democratic party in spite of their relatively small overall numbers. Hillary Rodham Clinton cannot be president without the support of the teachers’ unions, period, and so she supports repealing one of the main revenue-generating measures attached to Obamacare.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is a numbers guy, should have the CBO rescore Obamacare as it is actually being implemented, incorporating not only the proposed Cadillac-tax repeal but also the effects of enrollment numbers that are lower than projected — current expectations are that 2016 will see about half the enrollments originally estimated. The result will be not billions but hundreds of billions of dollars in additional deficits. Let Herself defend that on the campaign trail this year, or let that batty old loon from Vermont try to convince the public that all that lost revenue can be made up by raising taxes on 400 guys in Manhattan. By all means, let’s have that fight.

For now, eliminating the Cadillac tax is one tax cut that Republicans should resist. The teachers’ unions and the AFL-CIO put these clowns in office and inflicted Obamaare on the country, and we should make them pay for it. As Ed Koch famously said: The people have spoken, and now they must be punished.

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ACA Rigor Mortis

Doctor Leo Spaceman

From Kevin Williamson at National Review, Obamacare is Dead :

Insurance is, by its very nature, always forward-looking, considering events that have yet to come to pass but that may be expected and, to a reasonable extent, predicted with some level of specificity. Under ACA, insurance is retrospective. ACA mandates that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, meaning events that already have happened, which renders the basic mathematical architecture of insurance — the calculation of risk among large pools of people — pointless. Insurance ceases to be insurance and instead becomes something else, namely a very badly constructed cost-sharing program.

The basic principles of meaningful health-care reform are these: Let insurance be insurance; understand that ordinary, regular medical procedures, such as physicals and prostate exams, are not insurable events, and account for that in your calculations; the only way to mitigate the effects of scarcity on health care is to make it less scarce by expanding the supply of medical practitioners and facilities; the only way to make insurance more competitive, and therefore more affordable and more responsive to consumers, is to increase the number of players in the markets; the best way to deal with people who are, for example, profoundly disabled, children, or otherwise unable to provide for their own care, is direct, clear-eyed subsidy of their medical expenses, rather than laundering those payments through the insurance market; so long as practicing medicine pays less than filing frivolous lawsuits against doctors, there’s going to be a lot of politically induced inefficiency in the system.

Of course markets work for most people, and of course there are exceptions to that. For 93 percent of the population, the solution to health-care reform is: Let markets do their thing. The only real argument is how big a check to write to those looking after the other 7 percent, and how to structure the payments. That’s a real fight, too, but it isn’t the one we’re having. Right now, the Republicans and the Democrats are two political coroners arguing over what time and cause of death to put on the paperwork; rigor mortis set in long ago.



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Jefferson and Hamilton


From National Review, Hamilton and Jefferson: The Deserving and the Deserter, a fascinating comparison and myth busting comparison between Jefferson adn Hamilton by M.D. Aeschliman

“The Constitution did more than just tolerate slavery,” Chernow writes, “it actively rewarded it.” The completely racialist and undemocratic Electoral College bias in favor of the South “inflated southern power against the north and disfigured the democracy so proudly proclaimed by the Jeffersonians. Slaveholding presidents from the south occupied the presidency for approximately fifty of the seventy-two years following Washington’s first inauguration.” And liberal-democratic historians until recently have been kind to these “democrats.” Chernow concludes: “Many of these slaveholding populists were celebrated by posterity as tribunes of the common people. Meanwhile, the self-made Hamilton, a fervent abolitionist and a staunch believer in meritocracy, was villainized in American history textbooks as an apologist for privilege and wealth.”

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The Anti-Math Party


from Mona Charen at National Review, How Bernie Sanders Became the Conscience of the Democratic Party

No problem, the self-described socialist counters, he will raise the money by taxing the “greedy one percent.” The problem is — arithmetic. The top one percent already pays 45.7 percent of all income taxes. The federal government brings in about $1.5 trillion a year in tax revenue. Even if you confiscated 100 percent of the earnings of those making $1 million or above, you’d only net $616 billion, not nearly enough for Bernie’s wish list (to say nothing of the depressing effect on productivity such taxes would have).

Without Elizabeth Warren in the race, Sanders has become the conscience of the Democratic party. They fulminate about the rich, promise the moon, and flunk math.