Have you seen that really awful ad supposedly from a Ron Paul supporter about Huntsman and his knowledge of Mandarin and adoption of a Chinese baby? I won’t link to it here because I have dignity, but it’s gotten the interwebs in a twist and Huntsman supporters are using it to diss Paul.
Except it was made by the Huntsman campaign for that exact purpose. You can read the article above, but essentially the proof is that it was posted to the Huntsman website before it was posted to Youtube.
We expect our politicians to lie, to bend the truth, to change their opinions; but when a politician’s staff does something so disgusting, he had better distance himself from them as soon as possible. I used to think Huntsman was a good potential candidate, but if he doesn’t work fast to fix this he will have lost almost all of my respect.
From the Adam Smith Institute:
The Daily Mail (who else?) reports that reality TV star Kim Kardashian has been used in a left-wing political ad in California, which argues for higher taxes on the rich. The Courage Campaign, which is apparently backed by the California Federation of Teachers, says:
“Millionaires like the Kardashians only pay a tiny bit more in taxes than a middle-class Californian.”
They base this on the fact that Kardashian only pays a 10.3 percent tax on her income, whereas a ‘middle-class’ Californian would pay 9.3 percent.
But hang on a second. 10.3 percent of $12,000,000 comes to $1,236,000 in taxes. 9.3 percent of $47,000 comes to $4,371. In other words, Kim Kardashian pays $1,231,629 more in tax than Average Joe. Is that really only a ‘tiny bit more’?
It’s also worth noting that California already has the third-highest state income tax rate in the US, with only Hawaii and Oregon taxing their highest earners more. More broadly, the Tax Foundation says that California has the sixth-highest state and local tax burden in the US, and ranks 49th out of 50 states for its business tax environment. And despite all that, the state has been struggling to make ends meet since 2008.
The Courage Campaign might want to ask themselves whether Kim Kardashian is really the problem. Couldn’t it be that, in fact, the Californian public sector has simply grown too large to be funded, even with some of the highest taxes in America? It’s a story that will be horribly familiar to most European readers.
That always bugs me. Also, people who confuse “percent” (%) and “percentage points” (pp). But yeah, math is cool.
[rob lowe: I relish your wit.
ann perkins: Well, I salsa… your face.
rob lowe gives her a mildly confused grin as he walks away.]
at this moment i thought “ann is one of us…”
Parks and Recreation really is the best. I’m going through West Wing right now and can’t think of Rob Lowe’s character as anything but Chris. Not gonna lie, I was really cut up that Chris and Ann broke up (really cut up in my “oh, that’s unfortunate” kind of way).
1. Is government subject to diminishing returns to scope? In the business world, it is usually considered a better strategy to stick to one purpose rather than to constantly get into new lines of business. The thinking is that if you try to combine too many businesses, you end up being ineffective. Does this consideration apply to government? If not, why not?
2. Are government monopolies efficient? In theory, in the business world monopoly is efficient, because it eliminates duplicate overhead. (Monopoly is inefficient in theory because the monopolist charges a price that is too high, but we might suppose that government will not do that.) In practice, however, monopoly is inefficient because without the pressure of competition, business practices tend to stagnate. Is government immune from this stagnation problem, and if so, how?
3. Most new businesses disappear within a few years. Most government programs persist. Does this persistence indicate that government is more effective than the private sector at choosing carefully which initiatives to undertake, less effective at choosing which initiatives to terminate, or both?
4. Because of the profit and loss system, businesses are accountable to some extent for keeping their promises. (There are weaknesses in accountability mechanisms, to be sure. Most notably, an executive with a short-term focus can gain personally while making decisions with adverse long-term consequences.) In government, the main accountability mechanism is an election. But most government workers are not subject to elections, and elections are very crude expressions of voter preferences. Overall, is the accountability mechanism in government nearly as effective as that in business?
I do not believe that government is necessarily evil. I do not believe that liberty is the only good. I do not believe that individuals are always rational. I do not believe that markets are perfect. What makes me lean libertarian is that I have no enchantment with big institutions in general or with government in particular.
As corporations become large, they become more powerful in some ways, but they also become clumsy. As their behavior deteriorates, competitors will provide me with alternatives. As government gets large, I see the clumsiness. What I do not see is any tendency for the clumsiness of government to be corrected by competitive forces. I think that if instead of romanticizing government or treating it as an abstract solution (“when problem X occurs, we need government to fix it”), we need to evaluate it in terms of its institutional reality.
—A. Kling writing for Library of Economics and Liberty (January 4, 2012)
Drawing attention to the inconsistency in the modern liberal argument is one of the most important arguments that libertarians can make. While they purport to support civil libertarian ideals (and, as seen by the actions of the Obama administration, don’t deliver), they concentrate power in the very institution that they will have just spent time confining. It’s clear that the only way to reliably safeguard liberty is to constrain the state in all of its actions, whether economic or social. I often find liberals don’t know what to do when confronted by a self-styled right-winger and free-trader who - as they see it - turns around and supports civil liberties just as strongly. People have become trapped in the left-right mentality, a framework that constrains meaningful analysis for many people.
Modern liberalism is a mixture of two elements. One is a support of Federal power – what came out of the late 1930s, World War II, and the civil rights era where a social safety net and warfare were financed by Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the RFC, and human rights were enforced by a Federal government, unions, and a cadre of corporate, journalistic and technocratic experts (and cheap oil made the whole system run.) America mobilized militarily for national priorities, be they war-like or social in nature. And two, it originates from the anti-war sentiment of the Vietnam era, with its distrust of centralized authority mobilizing national resources for what were perceived to be immoral priorities. When you throw in the recent financial crisis, the corruption of big finance, the increasing militarization of society, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the collapse of the moral authority of the technocrats, you have a big problem. Liberalism doesn’t really exist much within the Democratic Party so much anymore, but it also has a profound challenge insofar as the rudiments of liberalism going back to the 1930s don’t work.
This is why Ron Paul can critique the Federal Reserve and American empire, and why liberals have essentially no answer to his ideas, arguing instead over Paul having character defects. Ron Paul’s stance should be seen as a challenge to better create a coherent structural critique of the American political order. It’s quite obvious that there isn’t one coming from the left, otherwise the figure challenging the war on drugs and American empire wouldn’t be in the Republican primary as the libertarian candidate. To get there, liberals must grapple with big finance and war, two topics that are difficult to handle in any but a glib manner that separates us from our actual traditional and problematic affinity for both. War financing has a specific tradition in American culture, but there is no guarantee war financing must continue the way it has. And there’s no reason to assume that centralized power will act in a more just manner these days, that we will see continuity with the historical experience of the New Deal and Civil Rights Era. The liberal alliance with the mechanics of mass mobilizing warfare, which should be pretty obvious when seen in this light, is deep-rooted.