Voting: Party or Principle?

The Problem: Fat and Sassy Many of our so-called “political leaders” are concerned about the obesity of individuals out there in the public. They seem intent on saving them from their own “misbehavior”.  Yet, the governments that these folks operate are so morbidly obese in their own right that they are close to death—which for a government would be akin to going bankrupt and disappearing. But the politicians who are so eager to govern people’s personal choices are not taking any action on the size of government. Why? Well, because it doesn’t feel good and the solutions required involve hard, unpopular decisions. Here’s an example: Mayor Bloomberg of NYC decided to restrict sizes of soft drinks sold in the city. He could have spent that time and energy assuring that the city was ready for a natural disaster, not to mention a man-made financial crisis caused by debt and overindulgence created by his honor himself.  It doesn’t take the benefit of post-hurricane hindsight to know which would have been a better use of his time and influence. Who did this? We the People, that’s who. We elected these folks. Plato tried to warn us that, “One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.”  No one can deny that voting without knowledge of the issues or candidates (or for one’s own immediate gain) is the same as not truly participating at all.  And right now, that lack of true participation could signify the end of the American Dream. Who would be accountable, forced to accept the consequences of this abdication...

Challenge for the American Left: Go on Record For Hollande’s Socialist Program

by Paul R. Gregory During the French presidential campaign, pundits assured us that Francois Hollande was simply playing to his socialist base. Once in office, he’d prove to be a pragmatist. All his talk of 75 percent income tax rates, wealth surcharges, infrastructure banks, new taxes on dividends, hiring more public employees, not giving an inch on entitlements, and punishing the financial sector was just talk. Two months later, we know Hollande meant every word. Armed with a solid parliamentary majority, he is carrying out his socialist agenda, no holds-barred. . I’d like to count them when the French economy goes down the toilet, as it certainly will unless Hollande changes course. The American Left counts among Hollande’s many cheerleaders. At long last, a leader of France is standing up to the austerity crowd. Liberal New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, rails against the Hollande hysteria of the staid Financial Times and the stingy Germans. Per Krugman: we need not fear someone who genuinely believes in the need for a fair society, and we know the mess we get into when the government does not run things.  By ignoring the austerity nonsense, Hollande offers the “possibility of something better” not only for “new Keynesians and old socialists” but for France, Europe, and the world economy. As they say, time will tell. President Obama was diplomatically constrained not to root for Hollande, but he is a cheerleader no less. After all, French socialists are test driving Obama’s own electoral program. Obama must be watching with envy.  If only he also could do what he wants without those obstructionist Republicans! If...

French Socialists Test Ride Obama Platform

French voters went to the polls today to winnow a ten-candidate presidential field down to the “right-of-center” incumbent (Nicolas Sarkozy) and his socialist challenger (Francois Hollande). The two will face each other in a  runoff election on May 6. A Sarkozy loss would be the first of an incumbent French president in  thirty years. It would threaten the German-French sponsored European Union rescue package. It is no surprise that Germany’s Angela Merkel openly supported Sarkozy’s candidacy. The French election previews the U.S. November election contest between incumbent Barack Obamaand challenger Mitt Romney in the following four ways: 1). Both Obama and Hollande offer almost identical leftist platforms (details on this below). 2) The bland challengers (Hollande and Romney) ignite electoral passions less than their more colorful opponents (playboy Sarkozy with his celebrity wife and Obama, the first black president). 3) The sorry state of the economy gives both challengers a hefty leg-up. 4) The French and American elections are foreshadowed by electoral disasters for the incumbent party in off-year races in 2010 and 2011. In both, the incumbent  party lost long-held majorities in one house of Congress or parliament. Whereas the outcome of the U.S. election is currently too close to call, opinion polls show the French socialist candidate poised to win in the run off. As the odds tip increasingly in favor of a Hollande victory, the risk premium on French bonds will rise. It is no secret that the investment community views a Hollande victory  a threat to France’s solvency. It is too early to count Sarkozy out. The unexpected strong showing of the far right candidate...

A Community Organizer Among Hunter-Gatherers: Do We Have Socialist or Individualistic Genes?

by Paul Gregory “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Barack Obama October 13, 2008 The  story below is based on Thomas Mayor’s Hunter-Gatherers: The Original Libertarians. He demonstrates that we are genetically programmed to respect  individual rights to the fruits of our own efforts. Our prehistoric forbearers did not engage in voluntary redistribution. They shared perishable food, not out of altruism, but as insurance and reciprocal gift giving. Consistent shirkers were expelled from the band. If anyone tried to force them to redistribute, they simply picked up and moved on to another hunting ground. Here is the story: “A young community organizer is struck by lightning and is transported back to 20,000 BC, sitting around a fire as twenty five cold fur-clad men recount their day of hunting and gathering. The community organizer feels an immediate kinship.  His Ivy League course on “Liberation Writings from Marx-Engels to Cornell West” taught him that these noble “first communists” constitute “our loving, peaceful, lyrically fair human core.”  Shared belief in collective production and equal distribution make us spiritual brothers. He is fortunate to be able to observe the “blissful conditions of a fabulous golden age of the remote past,” as one writer phrased it. This should be fun. The glorious savages name him their leader.  Anyone who could make fire with the “flick of a Bic lighter” must be a god. Well, if our intrepid time traveler can organize tough Chicago neighborhoods, he can help this clan live up to its principles of  collectivism and redistribution. The next day, the community organizer dispatches the hunters and...

The Wrong Plea

A critique of the Occupy Wall Street protests. by Cody Hensarling When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.  — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Charles Hammond [1821] The Occupy Wall Street movement both fascinates and disgusts me. It is fascinating in the sense that its rapid spread cannot be underestimated. Until OWS came along, I did not believe a left-wing protest movement would ever spread in America on a major level, a la the Tea Party. However, that does not mean that I am thrilled about the development and spread of OWS. I am disgusted by many of the allegations that have been made about the participants of the protests. Everything from public defecation, to sexual assault, to violence against police officers has been reported as occurring at OWS protests. My generation is rapidly moving to join this movement as they have supported nothing else, save perhaps Justin Beiber, and as a result I am forced to evaluate the consequences of such a decision. The basic desire of the OWS movement appears to be redistribution of wealth. Protestors are complaining about perceived injustices including, but not limited to: the “greed and excess” of the banks, the inability to repay college loans, the inability to get a job befitting certain levels of education, the tax evasion of the rich, and the Jews (http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/wall-street-protests-antisemitism/2011/10/18/id/414817). How that last grievance fits into...