Sunday, December 13, 2015

Paris Climate of Conformity

It pays to be skeptical of politicians who claim to be saving the planet. WSJ.  An excerpt. 

The moment to be wariest of political enthusiasms is precisely when elite opinion is all lined up on one side. . . if climate change really does imperil the Earth, and we doubt it does, nothing coming out of a gaggle of governments and the United Nations will save it. What will help is human invention and the entrepreneurial spirit. To the extent the Paris accord increases political control over human and natural resources, it will make the world poorer and technological progress less likely.

The climate confab’s self-described political success is rooted in a conceit and a bribe. The conceit is that the terms of the agreement will have some tangible impact on global temperatures. . . 

As for the bribe, rich countries in Paris bought the cooperation of the developing world by promising to send $100 billion a year in climate aid. So the governments of the West are now going to dun their taxpayers to transfer money to the clean and green governments run by the likes of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. We can’t wait to see New York’s Chuck Schumer make the case on the Senate floor for American aid to China so it can become more energy efficient and economically competitive.

Even if a Democratic Congress made these bribes politically possible, they would do little to ease the consequences of climate change. The world’s poor can best cope with climate harm if they are richer, which requires faster economic growth. Yet everything we know about economic development is that foreign aid retards growth when it expands the reach of Third World governments. . .

The grandiose claims of triumph in Paris represent the self-interest of a political elite that wants more control over the private economy in the U.S. and around the world. These are the last people who will save the planet.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

No Wonder Growth Has Been So Anemic

President Obama thinks more union membership will help the middle class. No, jobs are what’s needed. By Andy Puzder

WSJ - An excerpt.  . . . Here’s the reality: Wages and incomes for workers are stagnant because there aren’t enough jobs. It’s a matter of supply and demand. When jobs are scarce and people are unemployed, wages and benefits decline. When the job market is strong and businesses must compete for employees, wages and benefits improve. The solution, then, is more jobs. This isn’t rocket science. One can only wonder why the president continues to overlook the American businessmen and women who build the healthy economy that enables workers to find jobs and careers.  
Businesses create jobs; labor unions do not. To the contrary, labor unions often discourage businesses from creating jobs, particularly entry-level ones, by increasing the cost of labor without increasing its value. Even if labor unions could magically lift wages for those lucky enough to have a job in this economy, what about the unemployed?  
In September the labor-force participation rate—the percentage of Americans employed or actively looking for work—continued its decline under Mr. Obama, hitting 62.4%, a low last seen 38 years ago during the Carter administration. The rate has been stuck below 63% for 18 consecutive months. For prime working-age Americans—those between 25 and 54—the rate is 80.6%, the lowest figure since 1984. Nearly six million Americans are “not in the labor force” who “want a job now.” 
After more than six years of “recovery,” about 2.5 million more people are working than were employed when the Great Recession began in December 2007. However, the employable population has increased by about 18 million people—seven times the number of people who found job. . .
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Obamacare Falls Short on Sign-Ups While Co-Op System Crumbles

The Fiscal Times. By Eric Pianin. An excerpt . . .     
The big health news last week was that the Affordable Care Act appears to be losing steam and the Obama administration is predicting a modest increase at best in the number of Americans who will enroll with private insurers next year. 
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced on Thursday that an estimated 10 million Americas would be covered by Obamacare by the end of 2016, an increase of roughly 100,000 over the current year’s enrollment. That’s a lot lower than many were expecting. The Congressional Budget Office in June predicted 20 million Americans would be covered by the end of next year. 
The administration forecast is worrisome for a program that has suffered more than its share of bumps and bruises and legal challenges since its near-disastrous rollout in 2013. It suggests that Obamacare may face even bigger challenges in attracting a new wave of uninsured while hanging on to those currently enrolled in the program. 
But an even more troubling development in President Obama’s signature health care plan – one that is jeopardizing insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of Americans -- has received relatively little attention . . . 
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Inalienable Rights on Saturday Morning

We human beings have qualities that derive from our very nature. There is good in our very nature and there is evil in our very nature.  I believe that these qualities of our very nature are self-evident and that the better qualities of our very nature form the basis for what is just, right, and moral.

And so I believe in natural law. Natural law in the sense that some things, based on our very nature, are and always will be right and some things are and always will be wrong. The founders of our country discussed these better qualities of our very nature. From this they identified self-evident inalienable rights.  Inalienable rights are “negative” rights.  This means that inalienable rights are not a right to get something at someone else’s expense such as a “right” to a house, healthcare, food, education, or anything else that someone else is being forced to provide. Inalienable rights have to do with the right to be left alone and the obligation to leave others alone, e.g. my freedom ends where your nose begins.

In my view the right to life is the foundational inalienable right and the foundational principle for moral action.  Your life is yours.  My life is mine.  It is wrong, unjust, and immoral for me to take your life or to harm you in any way and vice versa.  By extension, your property, if gained by doing no harm to others, is yours and it is immoral for me to take if from you by force.  You are free to say and do, and make and trade, and build anything that you want as long as you do not harm anyone else or anyone else's property. By extension you have the right to defend yourself and your property. You also have the right to defend the life and property of others.

Following this principle it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for one person to hurt or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for two persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 10 persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 100 persons to hurt you or steal from you, it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 1,000 persons to hurt you or to steal from you, and it is wrong, unjust, and immoral for 300 million people to to hurt you or steal from you even if they take a vote on it.

For me the better qualities of our very nature and the the self-evident inalienable rights which ensue clarify the principles for what is just, right, and moral.  Life is complex and there are many grey areas, but to the best of my ability I use these principles to guide my own behaviors and to evaluate the words and actions of individuals, politicians, preachers, governments, constitutions, laws, regulations, tax codes, wars, and everything else.

Mark Van Schuyver

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Cost of Bernie Sander's Socialistic Plan - $18 Trillion

By Laura Meckler.  WSJ. An excerpt . . .

WASHINGTON—Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history. 
In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class. 
His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges. 
To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.  
A campaign aide said additional tax proposals would be offered to offset the cost of some, and possibly all, of his health program. A Democratic proposal for such a “single-payer” health plan, now in Congress, would be funded in part through a new payroll tax on employers and workers . . .

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If Only the Fed Would Get Out of the Way

WSJ by Rand Paul and Mark Spitznagel. An excerpt

Friday, September 11, 2015

21st Century Socialism . . .

An opposition leader gets nearly 14 years in prison. WSJ. An excerpt . . 

Congressional elections are scheduled for December and polls say that in a fair contest Mr. López and the opposition would thump Mr. Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela. With growing food shortages, increasing violent crime and hyperinflation, Mr. Maduro might still have to cancel or rig the election to avoid losing control of the unicameral legislature. But that could spark widespread social unrest—which is why Mr. López remains in prison.
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