Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reality Trumps The Onion for Insane News

Tourism is a human right. Now I've heard everything. Why can't we be entitled to everything? Then none of us would have to worry about anything!

Health care has already been deemed a human right in Europe, so logically the next step in universal entitlements is subsidized tourism. Can't wait for the government (aka, rich taxpayer dollars) to buy me a vacation, then I don't have to work for it!

In America, we don't have the right to happiness, we have the right to pursue happiness.

From the U.K. Times:

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.

Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” he said.

Tajani, who used to be transport commissioner, said he had been able to “affirm the rights of passengers” in his previous office and the next step was to ensure people’s “right to be tourists”.

The European Union has experience of subsidised holidays. In February the European parliament paid contributions of up to 52% towards an eight-day skiing trip in the Italian Alps for 80 children of Eurocrats.

Tajani’s programme will be piloted until 2013 and then put into full operation. It will be open to pensioners and anyone over 65, young people between 18 and 25, families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances and disabled people. The disabled and the elderly can be accompanied by one person.

In the initial phase, northern Europeans will be encouraged to visit southern Europe and vice versa. Details of how participants are chosen have not yet been finalised, but it is expected the EU will subsidise about 30% of the cost.

Officials have envisaged sending south Europeans to Manchester and Liverpool on a tour of “archeological and industrial sites” such as closed factories and power plants.

Tajani’s spokesman said: “Why should someone from the Mediterranean not be able to travel to Edinburgh in summer for a breath of cool, fresh air; why should someone from Edinburgh not be able to travel to Greece in winter?”

The idea is based on a project in Spain in which holidays in the winter off-season are subsidised by the government for European residents aged 55 and over. Spain calculated that for every €1 it spent in subsidies, €1.6 was gained for its resorts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reputation Tarnished; Not Good Enough for Headhunters

Toyota today agreed to pay more than $16 million in penalties because of the faulty gas pedal fiasco, representing the

Although it sounds good to stick it to a company that has hurt its customers, an investigation and penalty like this (a favorite pastime of headhunters like Henry Waxman) is a redundant penalty unnecessary to keeping companies honest and consumers protected in a free market.

Why? Reputation. Toyota has already lost millions in sales from its tarnished reputation. It has lost the faith of its consumer base, and millions of people in the next few years will think twice before buying a Toyota, which is a much larger cost than any arbitrary penalty anti-business congressmen can think up.

As economist John Lott puts it in his book Freedomnomics:
"...future profits are what a firm stands to lose if it cheats its customers. The potential loss of profits stemming from the loss of a good reputation helps keep businesses honest. This holds true so long as a business is concerned with its future profits."
How many moms out there do you think will be buying a Toyota any time soon?

To get a little more conspiratorial, it's interesting to note that General Motors (Government Motors) is more than 50% owned by the government, so perhaps the government is simply trying to kick the legs out of its non-union worker automaker competition?

Monday, April 12, 2010

How the Great Depression Really Ended

A lot of people think that FDR ended the Great Depression with his big-government, New Deal policies, but a closer look really shows that his policies in reality perpetuated the depressed economy, rather than fix it. I fear that some of the same actions taken by the current administration are pushing us down the same path, creating a stagnate economy for years to come and provide government with excuses to take from us more of our freedoms in the name of "security."

I read a great book on just this topic which looks into this subject in depth, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depresson, by Amity Shales, which I highly recommend if your reading list is getting short.

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Did FDR End the Depression?
The economy took off after the postwar Congress cut taxes


'He got us out of the Great Depression." That's probably the most frequent comment made about President Franklin Roosevelt, who died 65 years ago today. Every Democratic president from Truman to Obama has believed it, and each has used FDR's New Deal as a model for expanding the government.

It's a myth. FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression—not during the 1930s, and only in a limited sense during World War II.

Let's start with the New Deal. Its various alphabet-soup agencies—the WPA, AAA, NRA and even the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority)—failed to create sustainable jobs. In May 1939, U.S. unemployment still exceeded 20%. European countries, according to a League of Nations survey, averaged only about 12% in 1938. The New Deal, by forcing taxes up and discouraging entrepreneurs from investing, probably did more harm than good.

What about World War II? We need to understand that the near-full employment during the conflict was temporary. Ten million to 12 million soldiers overseas and another 10 million to 15 million people making tanks, bullets and war materiel do not a lasting recovery make. The country essentially traded temporary jobs for a skyrocketing national debt. Many of those jobs had little or no value after the war.

No one knew this more than FDR himself. His key advisers were frantic at the possibility of the Great Depression's return when the war ended and the soldiers came home. The president believed a New Deal revival was the answer—and on Oct. 28, 1944, about six months before his death, he spelled out his vision for a postwar America. It included government-subsidized housing, federal involvement in health care, more TVA projects, and the "right to a useful and remunerative job" provided by the federal government if necessary.

Roosevelt died before the war ended and before he could implement his New Deal revival. His successor, Harry Truman, in a 16,000 word message on Sept. 6, 1945, urged Congress to enact FDR's ideas as the best way to achieve full employment after the war.

Congress—both chambers with Democratic majorities—responded by just saying "no." No to the whole New Deal revival: no federal program for health care, no full-employment act, only limited federal housing, and no increase in minimum wage or Social Security benefits.

Instead, Congress reduced taxes. Income tax rates were cut across the board. FDR's top marginal rate, 94% on all income over $200,000, was cut to 86.45%. The lowest rate was cut to 19% from 23%, and with a change in the amount of income exempt from taxation an estimated 12 million Americans were eliminated from the tax rolls entirely.

Corporate tax rates were trimmed and FDR's "excess profits" tax was repealed, which meant that top marginal corporate tax rates effectively went to 38% from 90% after 1945.

Georgia Sen. Walter George, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the Revenue Act of 1945 with arguments that today we would call "supply-side economics." If the tax bill "has the effect which it is hoped it will have," George said, "it will so stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue."

He was prophetic. By the late 1940s, a revived economy was generating more annual federal revenue than the U.S. had received during the war years, when tax rates were higher. Price controls from the war were also eliminated by the end of 1946. The U.S. began running budget surpluses.

Congress substituted the tonic of freedom for FDR's New Deal revival and the American economy recovered well. Unemployment, which had been in double digits throughout the 1930s, was only 3.9% in 1946 and, except for a couple of short recessions, remained in that range for the next decade.

The Great Depression was over, no thanks to FDR. Yet the myth of his New Deal lives on. With the current effort by President Obama to emulate some of FDR's programs to get us out of the recent deep recession, this myth should be laid to rest.

Mr. Folsom, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, is the author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?" (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Mrs. Folsom is director of Hillsdale College's annual Free Market Forum.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No Kidding

A political cartoon I found on the internet. Most of us can agree that political correctness has run hog wild and needs to be reigned in.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I can't believe the lengths to which liberals will go to try to paint us conservatives as angry, racist, violent, extremists in an effort to detract from the red flags our side raises with regards to the radical changes that are being shoved down our throats today.

It's come to the point that it's completely laughable.

For example, recently Sarah Palin released a list of 20 Democrat Congressional seats that her Political Action Committed (PAC) is targeting with funds to win for the Republican challengers in the 2010 midterm elections. Here is the picture that was released:

Now, us normal Americans would look at this and think that it's a perfectly normal idea. These are political targets for 2010, so sweet! Let's play off that and mark each district with a crosshair.

But oh no. Some liberals out there are SO desperate to discredit our side, they try to spin this simple campaign publication as outside the bounds of decency. Some on the lefty blogs, the mainstream media, etc., have accused Palin of "inciting violence" against the opposition by using crosshairs, as well as using language like "don't retreat, reload."

Can I get an "are you kidding me?" Liberals of all people, who seem to have a fondness for symbolism, should be able to recognize a literary metaphor when they see one. OBVIOUSLY Palin is not calling for supporters to snipe each of these representatives as they're heading to Starbucks for their morning non-fat, organic, cup-made-out-of-recycled-tire, dolphin-friendly hippie brew.

We can all pick out a few crazy people on either side who would take these kinds of thing literally and try say that represents the entire opposition. But is that honest? NO. This is a very hasty generalization.

Eric Cantor, a staunch opponent of Obama's health care reform, reportedly had a shot fired into one of his offices and has also received threats in the mail. So it swings both ways, and you don't see us conservatives out there smearing the entire Democrat party because of a few threatening letters and a shot fired at a Congressional office. Come on. A few bad apples doesn't define the entire orchard.

*On a side note, I just want to point out the geniuses at CBS news. I found a CBS article talking about Palin's target list. See how after each representative on Palin's list it says what state and congressional district the rep is from? If you notice, Representative Earl Pomeroy, from North Dakota, has ND-AL after his name, presumably to mean he is "At Large," because ND, like SD, only has a single House of Representative district. CBS really did its homework, as they took the ND-AL to mean that Earl Pomeroy is a representative from Alabama. Nice reporting, keep up the good work, haha.